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Overhead shot of a green bowl of crispy, head-on Gulf shrimp sitting in a small amount of brown sauce.
Gulf shrimp from Dakar NOLA.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

38 Essential Restaurants in New Orleans

A guide to the city’s defining restaurants spanning cuisines, neighborhoods, and price

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Gulf shrimp from Dakar NOLA.
| Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Welcome to the Eater 38, our answer to the question, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” It’s a wide-ranging, varied list meant to highlight the best of contemporary New Orleans dining while spanning cuisines, neighborhoods, settings, and price points. Showcasing a mix of po’ boy shops, Creole cafes, and fine dining institutions that make New Orleans one of the most interesting places to eat in America, these are 38 restaurants that are crucial visits for any New Orleans diner.

Each quarter, Eater New Orleans updates the Eater 38 with destinations that have been open for at least six months to keep things fresh. For the summer 2023 update, Eater adds Dakar NOLA, the home of chef Serigne Mbaye’s stunning Senegalese tasting menu, Mamou, a modern Parisian brasserie that sets a new standard for French Quarter elegance; and Irene’s, a classic example of New Orleans-style Italian-Creole cuisine.

For a guide to the best new restaurants in New Orleans, turn to the Eater Heatmap.

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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. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Brigtsen's Restaurant

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Frank Brigtsen, prize pupil of legendary chef Paul Prudhomme, opened this namesake restaurant in a cozy Riverbend shotgun with his wife, Marna, in 1986. Since then, Brigtsen has become one of the most respected chefs in New Orleans with his modern but familiar Creole cuisine, like New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp with calas, a once nearly extinct fried rice ball that street vendors used to sell near the French Market and at Congo Square.

A plate of dark brown liquid with shrimp and a calas cake in the middle.
New Orleans BBQ shrimp with shrimp calas griddlecake.
Brigsten’s

Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar

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It’s impossible to say any shop has the best po’ boys, but these make a strong claim to that title. Domilise’s doesn’t look like much from the outside on an Uptown corner; adorned only with a hand-printed sign, it’s been that way for decades. Inside, longtime employees sling giant po’ boys to locals, politicians, visiting celebrities, and anyone with good taste. The po’ boys might be considered pricey (a large shrimp currently goes for $15), but they’re generous and worth every penny, especially the melty roast beef and crispy fried shrimp, fully dressed.

A counter bar has four green0topped stools in front of it, a wall behind is covered in family and New Orleans memorabilia.
At the bar inside Domilise’s.
Domilise’s

Luvi Restaurant

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Remaining one of the most exciting restaurants in New Orleans since opening in 2018, Luvi is a petite and colorful Uptown cottage where chef Hao Gong wows with his mastery of Japanese and Chinese cuisines. Gong, who worked for years at Sake Cafe, nails dishes of raw and nearly raw fish paired with the likes of cucumber and yuzu vinegar and pink dragon fruit, as well as Shanghai comfort food like dumplings, dan dan noodles, and bam bam chicken.

Overhead view of a blue and white porcelain bowl filled with light brown broth and dumplings and topped with scallions.
Curried favor dumplings from Luvi
Luvi Restaurant/Official

Queen Trini Lisa

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This eponymous island soul food restaurant from Queen Trini Lisa, a New Orleans chef from Trinidad, brought a joyful, friendly destination for doubles to Mid City in early 2022. Airy and colorful, the corner restaurant offers a slew of Trinbagonian specialties, with the fish sandwich, oxtail soup, curry chicken, and Caribbean-style spinach all standouts. Try the doubles, of course — as Queen Trini Lisa says, “More doubles, less troubles!”

Don’t be misled by the quaint little Mid City building that holds Zasu — Sue Zemanick’s restaurant is a powerhouse, delivering a memorable meal every time. James Beard Award-winning Zemanick and chef de cuisine Jeff McLennan wow with intricate preparation of seasonal Gulf coast products. While the menu changes, a few dishes have stayed consistent since it opened in 2019: grilled baby octopus with baby potatoes, olives, capers, and red peppers, and gruyere and potato pierogies among them.

A thick piece of white fish seared brown sits on top of a base of potatoes, green beans, and squash on a green and white plate.
A fish dish from Zasu’s seasonal menu.
Chris Granger/Zasu

La Petite Grocery

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Justin Devillier’s Uptown gem doesn’t disappoint for any fine dining occasion, whether a business lunch or a romantic anniversary dinner. From its elegant Magazine Street storefront to its cozy, dimly lit dining room, La Petite Grocery is a charmer. Don’t miss the turtle Bolognese or blue crab beignets, which were some of the first to pop up on fine dining menus in the city and are now a common small plate.

Overhead view of a light brown broth-based stew filled with head-on prawn, clams, and chunks of crab.
Shellfish stew from La Petite Grocery.
La Petite Grocery

Saffron

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Saffron’s highly-praised debut on Magazine Street was years in the making: Prior to its opening, the Vilkhu family served a menu of modern Indian food in a West Bank strip mall, on weekends only, for five years. Devoted diners eventually convinced the family to go all in on the business, and the result is a modern, dazzling space with a buzzing energy and dishes that at times fuse Indian and Louisiana cuisines, and at times fuse North and South Indian. Among the many standouts are the lamb chops, goat masala, any of the shrimp dishes, and the paneer pudha.

An elegant, upscale dining room with deep red suede chairs, red tables, dark walls, wood beams, and golden light fixtures.
The dining room at Saffron.
Saffron

Mosquito Supper Club

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Melissa Martin’s Mosquito Supper Club in the Milan neighborhood honors Louisiana, serving food that’s been passed down through generations in a homey, eclectic space that seems to nurture conversation. Beyond the atmosphere, the restaurant celebrates Gulf coast seafood in shrimp okra gumbo, oyster soup, stuffed crab, and other elegant versions of the dishes from Martin’s childhood.

A handcrafted pottery bowl filled with an oyster stew, light orange in color.
Oyster soup.
Mosquito Supper Club/Official

Dakar NOLA

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James Beard nominee Serigne Mbaye’s dazzling Senegalese tasting menu dinners are now a permanent fixture at an intimate cottage in Uptown New Orleans. At Dakar NOLA, opened in November 2023 after years of pop-up dinners, Mbaye’s upscale riffs on traditional West African and Senegalese dishes that blend West African and Louisiana ingredients are served in a communal setting accompanied by detailed explanations. Stunning dishes might include soupa konja, a sort of Senegalese gumbo; fonio salad with West African millet, finger limes, and satsuma (or other seasonal produce); and a Gulf shrimp dish made with tamarind and parsley oil, which loosely recalls a less-saucy New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp.

Randy Schmidt/Dakar NOLA

Marjie's Grill

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At Marjie’s Grill in Mid City, Herbsaint alumni Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney make food based on the flavors of Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos with a Delta twist — think backyard barbecue meets night market. The seasonal menu offers bold dishes like crispy pig knuckles, chile butter head-on prawns, fried hard crabs, and slow grilled beef. Don’t miss the tangy, seasonal som tam salad.

A vintage plate is topped with white rice, fried chicken, and a side of cucumber salad.
A seasonal yardbird dish from Marjie’s Grill.
Marjie’s Grill

Heard Dat Kitchen

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Jeffery Heard’s Central City restaurant Heard Dat Kitchen is a favorite for comforting, stick-to-your-ribs Creole-style soul dishes named after local landmarks. Heard’s blackened and fried seafood dishes, red beans, a traditional New Orleans combo of grilled cheese and gumbo, and plenty of seafood cream sauces fly out of the shop’s convenient takeout window on Felicity Street, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Fried chicken on top of mac and cheese served with potato salad from Heard Dat Kitchen.
Bourbon Street Love dish from Heard Dat.
Heard Dat Kitchen

Commander's Palace

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The Garden District grand dame of New Orleans-style fine dining has a new head chef, takeout options, and expanded courtyard dining, making it a good time to revisit the famed Victorian-era mansion. Ever celebratory, Commander’s still raises the bar for hospitality and service, while delighting with reliably delicious Creole dishes like turtle soup, lacquered quail, and a not-to-be-missed bread pudding souffle.

Street view of a large, blue and turquoise corner building.
Outside Commander’s Palace.
Commander’s Palace

Cafe Degas

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Cafe Degas sits on one of New Orleans’s dramatically tree-lined thoroughfares, Esplanade Avenue, just a few blocks from the house Edgar Degas lived in during his several-month stint in the city. The dining room, more like an open-air patio with a pecan tree growing in the middle of it, is the quintessential New Orleans setting for mussels and frites, escargot, French onion soup, and the seasonal soft shell crab dish, at surprisingly reasonable prices.

View of a tree-draped front porch and door opening into a restaurant with a neon Cafe Degas sign in the window.
Cafe Degas on Esplanade Avenue. 
Shutterstock

Liuzza's by the Track

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This horse-themed, no-frills neighborhood joint near the Fairgrounds attracts regulars and tourists for frosty goblets of Abita beer, bloody marys, fried seafood platters, and po’ boys. Known also for gumbo and an herbaceous barbecue shrimp po’ boy (actually a pistolette, or hollowed-out roll, rather than typical po’ boy bread), the star of the menu might be the only slightly less recognized garlic oyster po’ boy, stuffed to the brim with fried oysters.

A corner no-frills building with light yellow siding, doorfront, and old Liuzza’s by the Track sign above.
Liuzza’s By the Track Lounge and Grill in Faubourg St. John Neighborhood.
Shutterstock

Sweet Soulfood

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Since opening five years ago, the casual counter-service Sweet Soulfood has delighted and impressed the New Orleans vegan community and those outside it with a mashup of vegan soul food and sweets. From vegan options like chicken fried cauliflower, eggplant lasagna, and cheesy grits to bread pudding, potato salad, jambalaya, and ice cream, there’s plenty to choose from at this affordable, lively, and welcoming Treme eatery.

Café Reconcile

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One of New Orleans most endearing restaurants (and there are many), Cafe Reconcile doubles as a successful job-training program for teens and young adults. Led by hugely talented local chef Martha Wiggins, the old-school New Orleans soul food, like seafood stuffed peppers and fried catfish, stands on its own, served in a welcoming, art-filled setting in the heart of Central City’s Oretha Castle corridor.

Dooky Chase Restaurant

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Food world icon Leah Chase (who died at 96 in 2019), also known as the “Queen of Creole cuisine,” turned Dooky Chase’s into the legendary fine dining establishment it is now, and luckily the new generation is innovating while upholding her tradition-centric legacy. The Treme institution continues to nourish bodies and souls with gumbo z’herbes, shrimp Clemenceau (a dish of shrimp, potatoes, mushrooms, and peas), and fried chicken in the tradition of Miss Chase.

A view of a bowl of Creole gumbo and a bread basket on a table with a white tablecloth and red striped chairs.
Gumbo at Dooky Chase’s.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Stein's Market and Deli

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It’s good to know your order when heading into Dan Stein’s tiny Jewish/Italian deli and crowded lunch destination on Magazine Street, but if you’re really unsure, staff will (sometimes begrudgingly) help you pick the perfect sandwich. Corned beef and pastrami are the stars here, so the Reuben or Rachel serve as shining examples of the shop’s abilities.

Stein’s storefront on magazine street with large windows next to a door.
Stein’s
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Addis Nola

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Addis Nola is a cherished addition to New Orleans dining, now in its new digs on Bayou Road. The beautiful, colorful spot from owners Dr. Biruk Alemayehu, Prince Lobo, and chef Jaimito “Jaime” Lobo offer warming stews; sambusas and kitfo; and whole fried red snapper. Visit on vegan Monday and try a taste of everything, starring lentils, split peas, collard greens, mushrooms, sweet potato wot, and shiro, a dense, chickpea-based stew.

Tables and booths inside Addis Nola. Addis Nola

Maïs Arepas

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David Mantilla’s Central City destination for Colombian cuisine flies under the radar, but for locals in the know, it’s a frequent visit. Bright, colorful, and lively, Maïs Arepas serves festive fresh fruit cocktails, Colombian-style ceviche, empanadas, and brochetas, and of course, a vast menu of savory, overstuffed arepas. Its sauces are also a standout — don’t miss the maiz de la rueda served with spicy butter, or the salsa rosada.

Turkey and the Wolf

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The buzz generated by Mason Hereford’s delicious twists on childhood favorites at Turkey and the Wolf has yet to wear off, but for good reason — the sandwiches and specials that won so much acclaim upon the restaurant’s Lower Garden District debut continue to surprise, satisfy, and delight. While it was the bologna sandwich that first caught on nationwide, the collard green melt and smoked ham sandwiches are just as notable. Don’t miss the frozen margarita.

A sandwich of Rye bread, coleslaw, collard greens, and sauce is cut in half on a white plate.
Turkey and the Wolf’s collard green melt.
Bill Addison/Eater

Union Ramen Bar

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This much-anticipated debut solo venture from former Kin chef Nhat Nguyen has lived up to the hype. Ramen fans from around the city have descended to the charming Magazine Street storefront over the last few years, but diners can expect so much more than just Nguyen’s rich, chicken broth-based varieties. There’s also a creative Vietnamese/“East meets West” small plate menu, with dishes like a confit mushroom Caesar salad and purse dumplings stuffed with pimento cheese. Seasonal cocktails from the bar always hit the mark.

One of New Orleans’s best new restaurants is Charly Pierre’s Fritai, a hub for Haitian specialties and exciting cocktails in Treme. The drinks to try are made with the Haitian spirit clairin, and all pair well with the fritai sandwich, tender pulled pork between two fried plantains with avocado, mango sauce, and pikliz (a spicy Haitian slaw); espageti with smoked herring; and mirliton salad with grilled carrot and candied plantain.

In a background is a plate of tender pulled pork between two fried plantains with avocado, mango sauce, and pikliz, and in the foreground is a plate of fried plaintains and grilled shrimp pikliz.
A Fritai sandwich and grilled shrimp pikliz starter.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Herbsaint

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Herbsaint first introduced New Orleans to the now-prolific restaurateur Donald Link. Of all Link’s restaurants, the French, Italian, and Creole Herbsaint is a dazzling standout, one of the city’s best dining destinations for gumbo, chicken fricassee, and duck confit, with the bonus of romantic outdoor seating along the downtown St. Charles streetcar line.

A bowl of dark roux gumbo from Herbsaint with white rice and topped with green onions.
Gumbo from Herbsaint.
Herbsaint

Lengua Madre

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Excitement builds as soon as you walk through Lengua Madre’s neon pink-lit hallway. Once seated in the minimalist, dimly lit dining room, servers will walk you through Ana Castro’s five-course, modern Mexican tasting menu, one that might begin with a sip of luscious seafood broth and include dishes like mole blanco cauliflower with brown butter followed by cobia al pastor and a bright, fresh dessert. It’s currently one of New Orleans’s most interesting and unique dining experiences.

Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

GW Fins

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GW Fins celebrates everything seasonal, fresh, and from the water, with chef Michael Nelson dreaming up dishes like the delicate lobster dumplings and creative scalibut, a scallop-encrusted filet of halibut served with royal red shrimp risotto. The white linen French Quarter restaurant’s dedication to its product — fish collars, sheepshead, sea bass, and more — makes GW Fins a great special occasion choice.

Closeup of a white piece of fish encrusted with slices of halibut on top of brown rice and sugar snap peas.
GW Fins’s scalibut dish.
Sam Hanna/GW Fins

Arnaud's

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Of the many historic, defining French Quarter restaurants, Arnaud’s has much to offer: Its James Beard Award-winning bar, French 75, iconic dishes like the souffle potatoes with bearnaise sauce, and an ornate, dazzling setting that’s tough to beat, even in the Quarter. Try the oysters Ohan, which are baked with eggplant and andouille, and be sure to end your meal with a fire show and order the cafe brulot.

A waiter’s hands pouring liqueur into a ladle above a pan to make cafe brulot.
The cafe brulot experience at Arnaud’s.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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New Orleans nearly lost this Treme institution during the pandemic, but a third generation of the Baquet family came together to reopen the family-owned favorite. Li’l Dizzy’s serves grilled catfish and grits, gumbo, po’ boys, and top-notch fried chicken in a quaint, low-key corner building on Esplanade Avenue with walls covered in New Orleans, Saints, and Baquet family memorabilia.

A brown takeout container holds two large pieces of fried chicken next to a styrofoam container of collard greens.
Fried chicken and greens from Lil’ Dizzy’s.
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Vyoone’s

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Go to Vyoone’s for the great atmosphere, classic French food, and warm hospitality — the Warehouse District hidden gem excels in all areas. A local’s favorite for special occasion dinners, group dining, and private parties, it’s equally ideal for a date, especially if you can snag a seat in the secluded courtyard. On Vyoone Segue Lewis’s contemporary French-meets-Creole menu, try the escargot, French onion soup, and soft shell entree with maque choux and crawfish cream sauce if available.

Seared scallops topped with chimichurri on top of maque choux on a rectangular white plate.
A scallop dish from Vyoone’s.
Vyoone’s

Bright and flirty with a Parisian vibe, this charming brasserie on the edge of the French Quarter is from New Orleans chef Tom Branighan and sommelier Molly Wismeier. Branighan has created a fine-dining menu of Louisiana ingredients prepared with French techniques, intricate dishes like braised celery hearts with smoked beef tongue; an escargot tartlet with romesco; and poisson a la Florentine topped with caviar beurre blanc and parmesan wreath. Mamou feels both like a special occasion restaurant and a neighborhood standby, where stunning food is served in a cozy setting.

Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Irene's

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This family-owned Creole Italian restaurant sets the standard for New Orleans-style Italian food, a unique, Sicilian-influenced cuisine that is homey and cheesy while remaining elegant. Open since 1992, Irene’s is much loved for its lasagne Bolognese, cioppino, and crispy duck St. Philip. Its newish location on Bienville Street is bustling and welcoming and begs for a pre-dinner martini in the piano bar before tucking into a satisfying feast.

Chicken’s Kitchen

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It’s always a treat to see what chef and owner Marlon “Chicken” Williams is cooking up at his uber-popular lunch plate spot in Gretna, where New Orleans favorites like smothered okra, stuffed catfish, stuffed pepper balls, and smothered turkey necks rotate daily. It’s incredible, really, just how many specialties Williams serves and excels at — both mains and sides — so it’s no surprise that the sunny, three-year-old Derbigny Street restaurant has grown into the West Bank’s favorite place to run into friends and enjoy homestyle cooking at its best. Be prepared for a (fast-moving) line during peak lunchtime hours.

Tân Định

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Tan Dinh is not New Orleans’s only great Vietnamese restaurant located in a strip mall, but it is perhaps the one most universally loved by East Bank and West Bank residents. Everything here is excellent, but regulars swear by specialties like the goat curry and lemongrass chicken wings. Few New Orleanians either haven’t tried it or have a bad word to say about this Gretna gem.

A blue and white plate of crispy roasted duck next to cucumbers and topped with a fried rice patty.
Cơm nếp vịt nướng chao (roasted duck served with a sweet crispy rice patty).
Bill Addison/Eater

Plume Algiers

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Tyler Stuart and Merritt Coscia call their three-year-old West Bank restaurant a “celebration of regional Indian cuisine born from one couple’s love of communal eating and the dynamic dishes of India.” That emphasis on simplicity, respect, and community comes through in the food and atmosphere. An incredible and affordable ever-evolving menu and frequent specials might include kozhi, a spicy fried chicken stew with coconut dumplings, recheado shrimp salad, pork axone, and aloo chaat.

Bywater American Bistro

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At Nina Compton’s second New Orleans restaurant, she’s adapted the rich Caribbean flavors of Compère Lapin to a menu that skews American South, and the result is a sampling of the finest of both. Dishes like hogs’ head boudin and fried Gulf oysters over rice and oyster gravy bring all the comfort of New Orleans, while the spaghetti pomodoro, cavatelli with shrimp and oyster sauce, and rabbit curry bring variety. Beyond being a neighborhood go-to, Compton keeps Bywater American Bistro fresh with chef collaborations, special brunches, and themed menus.