Since 2014, Eater’s roving critic Bill Addison has traveled America searching for the country’s 38 essential restaurants. This year’s Best Restaurants in America features local stalwarts Herbsaint (returning the second year) and La Petite Grocery (as a new addition).
So how does Addison decide which restaurants make the cut? “Both inclusion and exclusion ultimately always come down to the question of which restaurants feel most relevant right now,” he writes, “even if their relevance comes in the form of a certain timelessness.”
Addison also looks for restaurants that he believes “form a mosaic illustrating how we eat in this country, and how we build culture around food.”
Read on for what he has to say about New Orleans’ selections for the National 38.
La Petite Grocery
Addison writes: “The elegant dining room at Justin Devillier’s Garden District charmer—hardwood floors, crown molding, dim lighting as thick as caramel—unwinds the senses with its quintessential New Orleans vibe, and the bartenders craft an impeccable Sazerac. Devillier’s kitchen style leans contemporary, but with flawless dishes like crab beignets and turtle Bolognese, still evokes an unmistakable sense of place.”
What else you should know: This Uptown favorite is also home of the cult favorite LPG burger, pictured above. The restaurant has been garnering praise since opening in 2004, but continues to just...well... keep getting better and better. Devillier also opened the acclaimed Warehouse District eatery Balise in 2015 and took home the Beard award for Best Chef: South in 2016.
4238 Magazine St., New Orleans, 504.891-3377, lapetitegrocery.com
Addison writes: “Nola’s myriad cultures assimilate on Donald Link and Rebecca Wilcomb’s graceful menu.” Case in point, the pictured Kurobuta pork belly with mushrooms and potato puree.
What else you should know: The French-inspired beauty has been a local favorite since Donald Link opened its doors in 2000, and has ushered in an abundance of talent when it comes to up-and-coming chefs (Beard award winner Ryan Prewitt, now of Peche, cut his chops here). Renowned for its seasonal menu, exceptional wine program and service, the restaurant is currently headed up by talented chef Rebecca Wilcomb and general manager and wine expert Joe Briand.
701 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA, 504.524.4114, herbsaint.com
The National 38 [-E-]
The Eater NOLA 38 [ENOLA]
Photos via Josh Brasted