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Where to Eat in Baton Rouge

A wide-ranging mix of hot plate stalwarts, fine-dining standouts, and girls' night scenes

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Not to be overshadowed by New Orleans, Baton Rouge is a culinary hub in its own right. Home to historical soul food haunts, lively, collegiate-centered nightlife, and upscale seafood destinations, there’s more to this state capital than great examples of Cajun cuisine (though there’s definitely that, too). In recent years, the food scene has grown more varied, thanks in part to its two major universities, Southern University and A&M College and LSU, making room for Korean-Japanese mashups, Jamaican specialties, and top-notch birria tacos. Below is a wide-ranging sampling of some of the best Baton Rouge has to offer, restaurants that can only be found here.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

Royal Taste of Jamaica

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There aren’t many places for Jamaican food in Baton Rouge, yet it’s home to one restaurant serving up some of the best of the cuisine in the region. Royal Taste of Jamaica, just a few years old, draws visitors from far and wide to its small storefront downtown. David and Miya Suarez serve a concise menu of standouts, starting with eight varieties of patties and including plates of brown stew chicken, curry goat, ackee and saltfish, and oxtails.

Cocha can’t really be defined, and that’s how owners Saskia Spanhoff and Enrique Pinerua like it — always keeping things fresh, showcasing different cuisines, and generally aiming to offer something new every time diners come in. The chic downtown hotspot combines influences for a menu of dishes that might include Spanish grilled octopus; Venezuelan corn cakes; Caribbean braised jackfruit; vindaloo curry; and Indonesian stir fry; a dizzying array of food that somehow makes sense.

Louie's Cafe

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Classic diner fare thrives at this LSU institution, a former 24/7 destination that’s since gone the way of so many others like it — that is, no longer 24/7. While it sadly only serves breakfast and lunch currently (open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), it remains a must-visit, satisfying the universal craving for greasy spoon comfort food. Order fluffy banana pecan pancakes or a loaded waffle, Eggs Louisiane or Breaux Bridge, or country-fried steak and bask in the friendly service and well-loved red leather chairs.

The New Ethel's Snack Shack

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Located a half mile from Southern University in North Baton Rouge is the reopened Ethel’s Snack Shack, a historical landmark known for plate lunches and comfort food. Ethel’s is as mom-and-pop as it gets, serving home-cooked food made from family recipes (that are over 70 years old) out of a barn-like building that beckons with friendliness. Favorites like smothered pork chops, fried catfish, and shrimp étouffée come in large portions for good prices.

Elsie's Plate & Pie

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You could be fooled into thinking Elsie’s Plate & Pie is a longtime staple in Baton Rouge, but you’d be wrong. Despite its old-school (with a touch of hip) feel and homestyle menu, Elsie’s (named after the owner’s grandmother Elsie Marie Campeau Rupe) has only been around about five years, but it’s made a major splash with its sweet and savory pies. For the former, it’s known especially for coconut cream, turtle pie, and skillet apple pie, and when it comes to the latter, a crawfish hand pie, Louisiana poulet pot pie, and boudin hand pie. It also serves comforting soups, specialties like red beans and rice, and excellent sandwiches, and has become popular for brunch.

The Louisiana poulet pot pie from Elsie’s, a favorite.
Elsie’s Plate & Pie

Parrain's Seafood Restaurant

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Parrain’s is a Baton Rouge staple, in part due to its rustic, bustling atmosphere, and in part due to its huge, simple, and satisfying menu. The food is classic Louisiana, drawing tourists and visitors in for a taste of Cajun and Creole cuisine, (and yes, that sometimes means a tad salty or heavy). Fan favorites are the blackjack charbroiled oysters, hushpuppies, whole fried catfish, barbecue drum, and seafood pasta.

Jubans Restaurant & Bar

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Jubans is a place to get pampered with over-the-top service and food to match. For years, it flitted along among its Baton Rouge fine-dining peers like Mansurs on the Boulevard and the Gregory, but after a reinvention in 2022, it sails past them. Chef Chris Motto’s new dishes, like the fried oyster Rockefeller, cauliflower crab and brie soup, charred corn arancini, Louisiana Two Birds, and Hallelujah crab represent a fresh take on Louisiana cooking: familiar ingredients with advanced techniques, always full of flavor. Your special occasion restaurant awaits.

Curbside Burgers

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Curbside is a classic collegiate haunt, a quirky food truck-turned-restaurant that beckons with backyard party vibes, boozy milkshakes, and affordable burger creations. There’s something here for everyone, from the Big Brett burger with pork belly preserves, blue cheese sauce, and fried onion strings, to the spicy chicken sandwich, to the veggie burger. Don’t forget an order of tots and a shake — boozy or not — and settle in on the courtyard for a game of bocce or some live music.

DC Eats

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Consistency is the name of the game at DC Eats, a popular counter-service spot by Southern. It’s hard to go wrong at this soul food haven, where daily specials reign supreme and typically sell out by 1 p.m. Tuesday is a particularly busy day, with smothered pork chops on the board, but then there’s Friday, when baked turkey wings and gravy are served with cornbread dressing. Still, some customer favorites are available daily, like the fried pork chop sandwich with potato salad, the Swedish meatballs, and of course, the wings.

Owen's Grocery & Market

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There are several feel-good restaurants in Baton Rouge, but perhaps none as much as Valley Park’s Owen’s Grocery and Market (also known as Miss Emma’s), open since 1938. Back then it was a gas station and grocery store, but the addition of hot breakfast and lunch in the ’80s made it into the institution it’s known as today. You’ll want to try all the sides here (mac and cheese, yams, green beans, potato salad, collard greens, red beans) to go with daily specials of fried or smothered chicken, fried pork chops, lasagna, and the shop’s Truck Driver Sandwich: meatloaf and American cheese, dressed like a po’ boy on a French baguette. Desserts like peach cobbler and sweet potato pie are the best around.

Soji: Modern Asian

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Chef Thien Nguyen, a New Orleans native, serves sushi, poke, and ramen at this eclectic Mid City restaurant opened by Chase Lyons in 2018. Modern, young, and fun, this is a great spot for girls night, with tons of pink neon signage, plant life, and a literal Girls Night Special: $25 for a small plate, sushi roll, and a glass of champagne or cocktail. Nguyen has only elevated the menu since coming on board in 2020, with some non-sushi standouts including the salt and pepper calamari, Malaysian coconut curry ramen, and a pork katsudon bowl.

Eliza Restaurant

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Looking to get your gumbo fix in BR? Look to Eliza, a contemporary Creole restaurant on Jefferson Highway. The husband-and-wife owners both worked on the business side of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans in the early aughts but took away an appreciation for the culinary side, particularly when it comes to Louisiana seafood. The menu and interior at the six-year-old spot are both simple but elegant, with highlights including fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, an oyster toast starter that’s reminiscent of an oyster loaf sandwich in New Orleans, crab cakes, chicken fricassee, and paneed Gulf fish with brabant potatoes. Seasonal specials and cocktails impress.

Cheng's Restaurant and Bar

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It was a sad day for many when Omi closed in 2021, but its replacement, Cheng’s, is a more than worthy successor. In the short time it’s been open it’s become known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Baton Rouge, offering friendly, attentive service, an extensive menu of Chinese stapes, and a pleasant, sit-down setting. Standout items include the spicy garlic eggplant and double-cooked pork belly.

Birria & Barbacoa de Chivo Los Compadre's

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Birria is more than a trend at this hole-in-the-wall spot in Baton Rouge, it’s a staple. Located near Home Depot, Birria & Barbacoa serves some of the very best tacos in town, without the gimmicks but with all the warmth. The quesabirria special is the standard here, consisting of four shredded beef and cheese tacos topped with fresh cilantro and diced onion on fried corn tortillas and served with two salsas and a cup of warm consomé.

Royal Taste of Jamaica

There aren’t many places for Jamaican food in Baton Rouge, yet it’s home to one restaurant serving up some of the best of the cuisine in the region. Royal Taste of Jamaica, just a few years old, draws visitors from far and wide to its small storefront downtown. David and Miya Suarez serve a concise menu of standouts, starting with eight varieties of patties and including plates of brown stew chicken, curry goat, ackee and saltfish, and oxtails.

Cocha

Cocha can’t really be defined, and that’s how owners Saskia Spanhoff and Enrique Pinerua like it — always keeping things fresh, showcasing different cuisines, and generally aiming to offer something new every time diners come in. The chic downtown hotspot combines influences for a menu of dishes that might include Spanish grilled octopus; Venezuelan corn cakes; Caribbean braised jackfruit; vindaloo curry; and Indonesian stir fry; a dizzying array of food that somehow makes sense.

Louie's Cafe

Classic diner fare thrives at this LSU institution, a former 24/7 destination that’s since gone the way of so many others like it — that is, no longer 24/7. While it sadly only serves breakfast and lunch currently (open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), it remains a must-visit, satisfying the universal craving for greasy spoon comfort food. Order fluffy banana pecan pancakes or a loaded waffle, Eggs Louisiane or Breaux Bridge, or country-fried steak and bask in the friendly service and well-loved red leather chairs.

The New Ethel's Snack Shack

Located a half mile from Southern University in North Baton Rouge is the reopened Ethel’s Snack Shack, a historical landmark known for plate lunches and comfort food. Ethel’s is as mom-and-pop as it gets, serving home-cooked food made from family recipes (that are over 70 years old) out of a barn-like building that beckons with friendliness. Favorites like smothered pork chops, fried catfish, and shrimp étouffée come in large portions for good prices.

Elsie's Plate & Pie

You could be fooled into thinking Elsie’s Plate & Pie is a longtime staple in Baton Rouge, but you’d be wrong. Despite its old-school (with a touch of hip) feel and homestyle menu, Elsie’s (named after the owner’s grandmother Elsie Marie Campeau Rupe) has only been around about five years, but it’s made a major splash with its sweet and savory pies. For the former, it’s known especially for coconut cream, turtle pie, and skillet apple pie, and when it comes to the latter, a crawfish hand pie, Louisiana poulet pot pie, and boudin hand pie. It also serves comforting soups, specialties like red beans and rice, and excellent sandwiches, and has become popular for brunch.

The Louisiana poulet pot pie from Elsie’s, a favorite.
Elsie’s Plate & Pie

Parrain's Seafood Restaurant

Parrain’s is a Baton Rouge staple, in part due to its rustic, bustling atmosphere, and in part due to its huge, simple, and satisfying menu. The food is classic Louisiana, drawing tourists and visitors in for a taste of Cajun and Creole cuisine, (and yes, that sometimes means a tad salty or heavy). Fan favorites are the blackjack charbroiled oysters, hushpuppies, whole fried catfish, barbecue drum, and seafood pasta.

Jubans Restaurant & Bar

Jubans is a place to get pampered with over-the-top service and food to match. For years, it flitted along among its Baton Rouge fine-dining peers like Mansurs on the Boulevard and the Gregory, but after a reinvention in 2022, it sails past them. Chef Chris Motto’s new dishes, like the fried oyster Rockefeller, cauliflower crab and brie soup, charred corn arancini, Louisiana Two Birds, and Hallelujah crab represent a fresh take on Louisiana cooking: familiar ingredients with advanced techniques, always full of flavor. Your special occasion restaurant awaits.

Curbside Burgers

Curbside is a classic collegiate haunt, a quirky food truck-turned-restaurant that beckons with backyard party vibes, boozy milkshakes, and affordable burger creations. There’s something here for everyone, from the Big Brett burger with pork belly preserves, blue cheese sauce, and fried onion strings, to the spicy chicken sandwich, to the veggie burger. Don’t forget an order of tots and a shake — boozy or not — and settle in on the courtyard for a game of bocce or some live music.

DC Eats

Consistency is the name of the game at DC Eats, a popular counter-service spot by Southern. It’s hard to go wrong at this soul food haven, where daily specials reign supreme and typically sell out by 1 p.m. Tuesday is a particularly busy day, with smothered pork chops on the board, but then there’s Friday, when baked turkey wings and gravy are served with cornbread dressing. Still, some customer favorites are available daily, like the fried pork chop sandwich with potato salad, the Swedish meatballs, and of course, the wings.

Owen's Grocery & Market

There are several feel-good restaurants in Baton Rouge, but perhaps none as much as Valley Park’s Owen’s Grocery and Market (also known as Miss Emma’s), open since 1938. Back then it was a gas station and grocery store, but the addition of hot breakfast and lunch in the ’80s made it into the institution it’s known as today. You’ll want to try all the sides here (mac and cheese, yams, green beans, potato salad, collard greens, red beans) to go with daily specials of fried or smothered chicken, fried pork chops, lasagna, and the shop’s Truck Driver Sandwich: meatloaf and American cheese, dressed like a po’ boy on a French baguette. Desserts like peach cobbler and sweet potato pie are the best around.

Soji: Modern Asian

Chef Thien Nguyen, a New Orleans native, serves sushi, poke, and ramen at this eclectic Mid City restaurant opened by Chase Lyons in 2018. Modern, young, and fun, this is a great spot for girls night, with tons of pink neon signage, plant life, and a literal Girls Night Special: $25 for a small plate, sushi roll, and a glass of champagne or cocktail. Nguyen has only elevated the menu since coming on board in 2020, with some non-sushi standouts including the salt and pepper calamari, Malaysian coconut curry ramen, and a pork katsudon bowl.

Eliza Restaurant

Looking to get your gumbo fix in BR? Look to Eliza, a contemporary Creole restaurant on Jefferson Highway. The husband-and-wife owners both worked on the business side of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans in the early aughts but took away an appreciation for the culinary side, particularly when it comes to Louisiana seafood. The menu and interior at the six-year-old spot are both simple but elegant, with highlights including fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, an oyster toast starter that’s reminiscent of an oyster loaf sandwich in New Orleans, crab cakes, chicken fricassee, and paneed Gulf fish with brabant potatoes. Seasonal specials and cocktails impress.

Cheng's Restaurant and Bar

It was a sad day for many when Omi closed in 2021, but its replacement, Cheng’s, is a more than worthy successor. In the short time it’s been open it’s become known as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Baton Rouge, offering friendly, attentive service, an extensive menu of Chinese stapes, and a pleasant, sit-down setting. Standout items include the spicy garlic eggplant and double-cooked pork belly.

Birria & Barbacoa de Chivo Los Compadre's

Birria is more than a trend at this hole-in-the-wall spot in Baton Rouge, it’s a staple. Located near Home Depot, Birria & Barbacoa serves some of the very best tacos in town, without the gimmicks but with all the warmth. The quesabirria special is the standard here, consisting of four shredded beef and cheese tacos topped with fresh cilantro and diced onion on fried corn tortillas and served with two salsas and a cup of warm consomé.

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