clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Overhead shot of a plate of dark, crusty fried chicken and a bowl of red beans and rice topped with parsley.
Red beans and rice and fried chicken from Willie Mae’s.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

38 Essential Restaurants in New Orleans

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

View as Map
Red beans and rice and fried chicken from Willie Mae’s.
| Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Welcome to the Eater 38, our answer to the question, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” It’s a 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 destinations 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 different destinations; eligible restaurants have to have been open for at least six months. For the Summer 2022 update, we’ve added modern Mexican tasting restaurant Lengua Madre, Metairie’s hand roll hub Yakuza House, and Gretna’s enduring Thai restaurant, Banana Blossom.

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

For all the latest New Orleans dining intel, subscribe to Eater New Orleans' newsletter.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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

Copy Link

Frank Brigtsen has been delighting diners at his quiet, upscale Riverbend restaurant since 1986, with his personal approach to food and classic Louisiana menu items like New Orleans barbecue shrimp with calas, catfish des allemands, and crab-crusted Gulf fish. Desserts, particularly the seasonal strawberry shortcake, are a nostalgic delight.

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

Barrow’s Catfish

Copy Link

Originally called Barrow’s Shady Inn, New Orleans’s favorite catfish restaurant Barrow’s is still run by Deirdre Barrow Johnson, a third-generation member of the Barrow family, now on Earhart Boulevard (with a Westbank location on the way). Along with light, cornmeal-dusted fried catfish and their celebrated potato salad, Barrow’s serves delicious fried shrimp, crab claws, gumbo, po’ boys, and barbecue ribs.

A white plate overflows with fried catfish, shrimp, and garlic bread.
A Barrow’s catfish and shrimp platter.
Barrow’s Catfish

Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar

Copy Link

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, and 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

Copy Link

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

Charlie's Steak House

Copy Link

Charlie’s is a 1930s-era steakhouse in Uptown’s Milan neighborhood that’s held onto its status as a New Orleans institution throughout the decades. New chef Aaron Burgau has only improved on the restaurant’s beloved old-school service, churning out high-quality steaks and classic steakhouse sides like onion rings, creamed spinach, and potato gratin, all served on metal dishware.

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

Copy Link

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 is 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

Copy Link

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 Northern and Southern 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

Copy Link

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

Toups Meatery

Copy Link

James Beard-nominated chef Isaac Toups surprises and delights with his welcoming Bayou St. John restaurant while routinely showing up for the citizens of New Orleans — he and his team (and family) provided free meals and delivered goods and food to families in need throughout the pandemic. Toups’ offers a chance to get a taste of Cajun country in New Orleans, with cracklins, sausage, pork chops, charbroiled oysters, and a killer chicken thigh dish.

A closeup of a marinated clab claws with chili lime vinaigrette, pickled pineapple, and trout roe  in a small glass bowl.
Toups’ crab claw starter.
Toups Meatery

Addis Nola

Copy Link

Broad Street’s Addis Nola is a cherished addition to New Orleans dining, a colorful spot where owners Biruk Alemayehu and Jaime Lobo with chef Samuel Shiferaw 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.

A platter with lentils, collard greens, yellow split peas, beets, cabbage with carrots, green lentils, mushrooms, sweet potato wot, shiro, and injera.
Vegan platter from Addis Nola.
Addis Nola

Marjie's Grill

Copy Link

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, chili butter head-on prawns, fried hard crabs, and slow grilled beef. Don’t miss the tangy, seasonal son 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

Copy Link

Jeffrey 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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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

Coquette

Copy Link

The frequently-changing menu at Coquette aims for balanced and beautiful dishes: from fancy-pants versions of shrimp remoulade and fried chicken to unexpected dishes like carrot bolognese and pork sausage topped with shrimp, crawfish, and smoked trout roe. The two-story restaurant is sexy and romantic, filled with dark wood and exposed brick on a corner of bustling Magazine Street. Desserts are always phenomenal.

View of a dining room with a cherry wood bar, old, classic chandeliers, and diners seated at the bar.
The bar at Coquette.
Bill Addison/Eater

Café Reconcile

Copy Link

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.

Willie Mae's Scotch House

Copy Link

Willie Mae’s crisp, tender, and somehow non-greasy fried chicken is often called the best in town, or even the best in the country. Situated on the edge of Treme, waiting in line for lunch at Willie Mae’s is a memorable experience on its own, so don’t let one deter you. A menu of nourishing soul food that also features veal, baked chicken, and mac and cheese, is rounded out by top-notch sides like fried okra and Brussels sprouts. Willie Mae’s great-granddaughter and current proprietor Kerry Seaton-Stewart and her husband are currently in the process of opening a second restaurant in Los Angeles.

A plate of dark brown fried chicken next to a bowl of red beans and rice topped with parsley.
Fried chicken and red beans from Willie Mae’s.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Dooky Chase Restaurant

Copy Link

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 topped), 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

McHardy's Chicken & Fixin'

Copy Link

McHardy’s is a tiny, quick-service gem on North Broad Street that’s been serving up some of New Orleans’s finest fried chicken for decades: peppery, rich, and full of flavor. The sides are just as good as the chicken, especially the fried okra, rice and beans, and mac and cheese. Affordable and always busy, this family-run joint (owner Rahman Mogilles operates it with his parents) is a bright spot for its warmth and friendliness as much as its food.

Stein's Market and Deli

Copy Link

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

Maïs Arepas

Copy Link

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, Mais 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 rosado.

Turkey and the Wolf

Copy Link

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

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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

Lengua Madre will be a year old this summer, a year that began with COVID shutdowns and an extended closure prompted by Hurricane Ida. You wouldn’t know the fits and starts that have happened here, however, pretty much as soon as you walk through the 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.

Two pottery shot glasses of seafood broth on a plate, a plate with seared cauliflower, and a dish topped with pickled red onions.
Small plates from Lengua Madre.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

GW Fins

Copy Link

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 — make 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

Copy Link

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 béarnaise 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

Copy Link

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

Copy Link

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

Compère Lapin

Copy Link

Compère Lapin is the debut restaurant from famed chef Nina Compton and it remains one of New Orleans’s most original restaurants, serving food that blends Caribbean flavors with French technique and a whole lot of creativity. While the menu changes often, Compere is known for a mix of small plates that might include a dirty rice arancini served with sour orange mojo, crispy pig ears, and conch fritters; entrees like her famed curried goat and spiced chicken with Jollof rice and chow chow, and unbeatable cocktails.

A large dining room with white and black tile floors, wood tables and chairs, and a long bar with stools lined up in front.
Inside Compere Lapin.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Banana Blossom Thai Restaurant

Copy Link

Gretna’s Banana Blossom dishes some of the best Thai on either side of the Mississippi thanks to Jimmy Cho’s creativity— try the ka pao chicken ramen, a riff on the popular Thai street food. His tasty version of steamed or fried pork dumplings, served with a sweet soy ginger sauce, are comfort food and its best, and curry is served six ways, from an elegant green curry studded with fresh vegetables to the egg noodle-based Chiang Mai style.

Tân Định

Copy Link

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 has a bad word to say about this Gretna gem.