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Iconic New Orleans dessert bananas Foster
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Where to Find 25 Iconic New Orleans Dishes

A guide to the city’s famous destinations for po’ boys, bananas Foster, turtle soup, and more

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Iconic New Orleans dessert bananas Foster
| Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Perhaps more than anywhere else, New Orleans is a city filled with iconic dishes. Po’ boys, jambalaya, gumbo, beignets — these dishes define the city’s cuisine and culture to the outside world. Many also serve as part of a restaurant’s identity and history, like the gumbo z’herbes at Dooky Chase, or turtle soup at Commander’s.

The below guide outlines where to find the city’s most iconic food, in some cases because it’s their birthplace — like bananas Foster at and oysters Rockefeller — and other instances because it’s simply one of the best versions to be had. For specific iconic New Orleans dishes, see Eater’s guides to the city’s essential spots for po’ boys, muffulettas, gumbo, beignets, and sno-balls.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Charbroiled Oysters at Drago's

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Drago’s is the original home of chargrilled oysters — it opened in 1969, but owner Tommy Cvitanovich first introduced the future staple in 1993 — a concoction of garlic, butter, and herbs brushed on creamy, salty Gulf oysters, topped with a mix of Parmesan and Romano cheese, and thrown on a hot grill until they bubble. A perfect bite (or slurp) of food.

A plate of chargrilled oyster served with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.
Drago’s chargrilled oysters

Roast Beef Po' Boy at R & O's

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Widely regarded as the best roast beef po’ boy in all of New Orleans, R & O’s is actually in Bucktown near the lake. Open since the early 80s, it’s a family-friendly, no-frills Italian Creole spot that has longtime, loyal customers.

Shrimp Po’ Boy at Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar

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If R&O’s is known for roast beef, Parkway for shrimp, and Liuzza’s for garlic oyster, it’s safe to say Domilise’s is known for all of the above equally. Around since 1918, Domilise’s started as a bar and transitioned into a spot for plate lunches for longshoreman and river front workers, and is now one of the most well known po’ boy shops in the city. We vote for the shrimp here.

Sno-Ball at Hansen's Sno-Bliz

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It’s sno-ball season again in New Orleans, designated by the gradual reopening of the many beloved stands devoted to the local specialty. Easily confused with snow cones but different entirely in texture, the New Orleans version uses finely shaved, fluffy ice made from a specific machine. No trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to the James Beard Award-winning Hansen’s.

Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal's Manale

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Found in restaurants throughout the city, New Orleans’s iconic dish of barbecue shrimp is not, actually, barbecued shrimp. Rather, it’s made by sauteing Gulf shrimp in butter, garlic, white wine, and Worcestershire on the stove — no smoke or pits involved. The original is from the 100-year old Pascal’s Manale, and it still tops the list.

Raw Oysters at Casamento's Restaurant

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This family-run, 1920s-era oyster house decked in white and green tile is known for its oyster bar, a destination for conversation with the restaurant’s longtime shuckers in addition to a dozen of the raw delicacies accompanied by a bottle of Dixie. Casamento’s closes for a time during summer (a tradition leftover from when there was limited refrigeration to keep the oysters cold), so keep that in mind. The oyster loaf, similar to a po’ boy but different, is another classic.

Boiled Crawfish at Bevi Seafood Co.

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Bevi Seafood’s location on Carrollton Avenue is typically bustling, a top locals destination for boiled crawfish during the season. Order by the pound to have on the patio or to take home, along with the Peacemaker po’ boy, another specialty. Bevi also makes excellent frozen drinks that change daily — another must-try.

Ms. Linda’s Yakamein at Festivals

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Known as “old sober,” this noodle soup is a New Orleans original, once primarily sold at second lines and in the back of Black-owned bars. Dark, salty broth is packed full with beef brisket, shrimp, or crawfish (or a combination of all three), and topped with a hard-boiled egg, curing all that ails. The version from Ms. Linda, aka the “Yakamein Lady” is famous for a reason. She dishes the good stuff at festivals and other events — follow her Instagram for appearances, and visit her website for catering options.

Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein in a cup; broth with shrimp and noodles topped with half a soft-boiled egg and green onion
Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein 
Ms. Linda Green/Facebook

Turtle Soup at Commander's Palace

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Turtle soup is a must-try when in New Orleans, a silky soup rich with savory flavor and often topped with a pour of sherry. Commander’s Palace is probably the restaurant most closely associated with turtle soup au sherry given its long history serving the decadent dish. Other spots known for their versions are Brennan’s, Mandina’s, and for a grab-and-go option, Mr. Ed’s and Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar.

A white bowl filled with turtle soup served on a white tablecloth with silverware on each side is shot from above
Turtle soup with sherry at Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Bread Pudding Souffle at Commander's Palace

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An exercise in frugality, dessert pudding is made from stale bread soaked in a mixture of eggs, cream, and sugar before being baked and laced with whiskey sauce. Heavy traditional versions abound, but the bread pudding soufflé at Commander’s Palace is legendary. It’s probably big enough to share, but you’ll want it all for yourself.

Caramel sauce is spooned on top of bread pudding soufflé served in a white ramakin on a white plate
Bread pudding soufflé from Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Garlic Oyster Po’ Boy at Liuzza's by the Track

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The po’ boy goes back to 1920s New Orleans, when striking streetcar drivers seeking affordable sandwiches from a local bakery gained the nickname. Airy French bread gets stuffed with everything from roast beef to fried seafood to french fries and debris. Roast beef is an R&O’s specialty and Domilise’s is often associated with a shrimp po’boy, but the garlic oyster po’boy from Liuzza’s by the Track is one of the city’s all-time favorites. Best served with a frosty goblet of Abita. Here’s a list of some of the city’s best po’ boys.

Garlic oyster po’boy at Liuzza’s
Liuzza’a by the Track/Facebook

Fried Chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House

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Considered by many to be one of the best fried chicken offerings in the country, this Treme landmark’s Coke-based brine and wet-batter recipe sets it apart from nearly every other fried chicken in town — it results in a dark brown crust that coats peppery, juicy pieces of chicken.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

Gumbo Z’herbes at Dooky Chase Restaurant

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Chef Leah Chase’s rich legacy lives on at Dooky Chase thanks to a new generation, who’ve kept the iconic Treme institution top-notch since her death in 2019. The restaurant’s famous gumbo z’herbes is only available on special occasions — but when it is, locals line up around the block for the incredible dish. Still, Creole gumbo is always on the menu here, and unlike the minimalist gumbo z’herbes, this one is chock-full of meat and seafood.

A bowl of gumbo on a yellow table
Dooky Chase’s Creole gumbo
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Oysters Rockefeller at Galatoire's

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In 1889, Antoine’s (known as the second-oldest restaurant in America) created oysters Rockefeller when the escargot supply was low, naming it for the richest man in the world because of its green color. Restaurants take an oyster on the half shell and top it with a pureed blend of parsley and other herbs before baking it. Though Antoine’s version is great, Galatoire’s bright green version is a favorite.

Souffle Potatoes at Arnaud's

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Crispy razor thin potatoes puffed up with air, soufflé potatoes are probably more addictive than any other potato and salt combo. Plus, they are served with a bowl of béarnaise sauce, softly fragrant with tarragon. Either have them to start a full meal at Arnaud’s or to compliment cocktails or Champagne at the handsome French 75 bar next door.

A plate of potatoes fried to look like tiny pillows, puffed up and hollow in the center; served with a green dipping sauce.
Soufflé Potatoes from Arnaud’s
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Red Beans at Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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This economical tradition is the ultimate Louisiana comfort food, made with slow cooked red beans and spiked with ham hock and spicy sausage. As such, Mondays at Lil Dizzy’s are all about red beans, smoky with sausage, and creamy but not too, with the option to add fried chicken and cornbread. You should.

Bananas Foster at Brennan's

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Bananas Foster was born in 1951, when Owen Brennan asked his sister Ella to come up with a dessert for a dinner in honor of Richard Foster, who had been named chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission. As the story goes, Ella grabbed some bananas and brought in the restaurant’s chef and headwaiter to experiment, a collaboration that resulted in the now-famous dessert of bananas sliced lengthwise and flambéed in dark rum, banana liqueur, sugar, and cinnamon, spooned hot over vanilla ice cream. The tableside show at Brennan’s is nearly as iconic as the resulting dish — and the dessert does not disappoint.

A bowl of bananas sliced lengthwise and flambéed in dark rum, banana liqueur, sugar, and cinnamon, served hot over vanilla ice cream
Bananas Foster from Brennan’s
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Eggs Sardou at Antoine's Restaurant

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First created at 175-year old Antoine’s restaurant, eggs Sardou is a tower of poached eggs, artichoke bottoms, creamed spinach, and hollandaise. It is named for the French playwright Victorien Sardou (1831-1908), who is best known as the author of ‘’La Tosca,’’ the play on which Puccini’s opera was based. Regardless of the history, this is the ultimate brunch dish, like a textural spinach and artichoke dip.

Muffuletta at Napoleon House

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With Central Grocery still temporarily closed from Hurricane Ida damage (though the muffulettas can be currently found in the deli section at Zuppardo’s) the second most historical place for the iconic muffuletta is Napoleon House, a building once set up to receive Napoleon in exile. Napoleon House pairs its hot muffulettas with opera music, a lovely courtyard, and cold Pimm’s cups.

Napoleon House/Facebook

Shrimp Remoulade at Tujague's

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This legendary New Orleans restaurant is known for a number of iconic New Orleans items — the Grasshopper cocktail, an old-school boiled brisket, and the shrimp remoulade on fried green tomato. Galatoire’s has a different, but equally iconic version. Catch the brisket, a customer favorite and a childhood memory for many, on special menus around the holidays.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde

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One of New Orleans’ most famous treats, Cafe du Monde’s version of the cloud-like, square doughnuts piled high with powdered sugar is worth the visit to the original in the Quarter. Still, some residents swear by the Morning Call beignet instead, another longtime purveyor that’s back in action by City Park.

A platter of Cafe du Monde’s beignets, three to an order
Cafe du Monde’s beignets
Ryan Theriot/Getty Images

Jambalaya at Coop's Place

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This place is as real as they come, delivering New Orleans staples like gumbo, jambalaya, fried chicken, and red beans and rice at decent prices since 1983. This hole-in-the-wall on Decatur has a standout version of rabbit and sausage jambalaya, which pairs great with an ice cold beer.

Pralines at Loretta's Authentic Pralines

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As the first African American woman to successfully own and operate her own praline company in this city, Loretta Harrison won the hearts of New Orleanians with her charm and sweet treats. Though the chef and shop owner died in early 2022, diners can still try all of her famous recipes on Rampart Street, including the festival-favorite praline beignets.

Loretta’s Authentic Pralines on N. Rampart Street. 
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Creole Gumbo at the Munch Factory

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For one of the very best versions of a dark roux gumbo in New Orleans, head to Gentilly’s Munch Factory. One bite brings so much flavor — savory shrimp, crab, and andouille blends with the trinity and perfectly cooked rice in a swampy, silky liquid and topped with crisp green onions. Do try the oysters Gentilly.

Cochon de Lait Po’boy Walker's BBQ

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At Walker’s it’s all about barbecue: pork, brisket, and smoked chicken. It’s most known for its tender cochon de lait po’ boy, a perennial favorite at Jazz Fest. Note: Doors close when the meat is gone.

Charbroiled Oysters at Drago's

A plate of chargrilled oyster served with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.
Drago’s chargrilled oysters

Drago’s is the original home of chargrilled oysters — it opened in 1969, but owner Tommy Cvitanovich first introduced the future staple in 1993 — a concoction of garlic, butter, and herbs brushed on creamy, salty Gulf oysters, topped with a mix of Parmesan and Romano cheese, and thrown on a hot grill until they bubble. A perfect bite (or slurp) of food.

A plate of chargrilled oyster served with lemon wedges and sprigs of parsley.
Drago’s chargrilled oysters

Roast Beef Po' Boy at R & O's

Widely regarded as the best roast beef po’ boy in all of New Orleans, R & O’s is actually in Bucktown near the lake. Open since the early 80s, it’s a family-friendly, no-frills Italian Creole spot that has longtime, loyal customers.

Shrimp Po’ Boy at Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar

If R&O’s is known for roast beef, Parkway for shrimp, and Liuzza’s for garlic oyster, it’s safe to say Domilise’s is known for all of the above equally. Around since 1918, Domilise’s started as a bar and transitioned into a spot for plate lunches for longshoreman and river front workers, and is now one of the most well known po’ boy shops in the city. We vote for the shrimp here.

Sno-Ball at Hansen's Sno-Bliz

It’s sno-ball season again in New Orleans, designated by the gradual reopening of the many beloved stands devoted to the local specialty. Easily confused with snow cones but different entirely in texture, the New Orleans version uses finely shaved, fluffy ice made from a specific machine. No trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to the James Beard Award-winning Hansen’s.

Barbecue Shrimp at Pascal's Manale

Found in restaurants throughout the city, New Orleans’s iconic dish of barbecue shrimp is not, actually, barbecued shrimp. Rather, it’s made by sauteing Gulf shrimp in butter, garlic, white wine, and Worcestershire on the stove — no smoke or pits involved. The original is from the 100-year old Pascal’s Manale, and it still tops the list.

Raw Oysters at Casamento's Restaurant

This family-run, 1920s-era oyster house decked in white and green tile is known for its oyster bar, a destination for conversation with the restaurant’s longtime shuckers in addition to a dozen of the raw delicacies accompanied by a bottle of Dixie. Casamento’s closes for a time during summer (a tradition leftover from when there was limited refrigeration to keep the oysters cold), so keep that in mind. The oyster loaf, similar to a po’ boy but different, is another classic.

Boiled Crawfish at Bevi Seafood Co.

Bevi Seafood’s location on Carrollton Avenue is typically bustling, a top locals destination for boiled crawfish during the season. Order by the pound to have on the patio or to take home, along with the Peacemaker po’ boy, another specialty. Bevi also makes excellent frozen drinks that change daily — another must-try.

Ms. Linda’s Yakamein at Festivals

Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein in a cup; broth with shrimp and noodles topped with half a soft-boiled egg and green onion
Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein 
Ms. Linda Green/Facebook

Known as “old sober,” this noodle soup is a New Orleans original, once primarily sold at second lines and in the back of Black-owned bars. Dark, salty broth is packed full with beef brisket, shrimp, or crawfish (or a combination of all three), and topped with a hard-boiled egg, curing all that ails. The version from Ms. Linda, aka the “Yakamein Lady” is famous for a reason. She dishes the good stuff at festivals and other events — follow her Instagram for appearances, and visit her website for catering options.

Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein in a cup; broth with shrimp and noodles topped with half a soft-boiled egg and green onion
Ms. Linda’s shrimp yakamein 
Ms. Linda Green/Facebook

Turtle Soup at Commander's Palace

A white bowl filled with turtle soup served on a white tablecloth with silverware on each side is shot from above
Turtle soup with sherry at Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Turtle soup is a must-try when in New Orleans, a silky soup rich with savory flavor and often topped with a pour of sherry. Commander’s Palace is probably the restaurant most closely associated with turtle soup au sherry given its long history serving the decadent dish. Other spots known for their versions are Brennan’s, Mandina’s, and for a grab-and-go option, Mr. Ed’s and Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar.

A white bowl filled with turtle soup served on a white tablecloth with silverware on each side is shot from above
Turtle soup with sherry at Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Bread Pudding Souffle at Commander's Palace

Caramel sauce is spooned on top of bread pudding soufflé served in a white ramakin on a white plate
Bread pudding soufflé from Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

An exercise in frugality, dessert pudding is made from stale bread soaked in a mixture of eggs, cream, and sugar before being baked and laced with whiskey sauce. Heavy traditional versions abound, but the bread pudding soufflé at Commander’s Palace is legendary. It’s probably big enough to share, but you’ll want it all for yourself.

Caramel sauce is spooned on top of bread pudding soufflé served in a white ramakin on a white plate
Bread pudding soufflé from Commander’s
Commander’s Palace/Facebook

Garlic Oyster Po’ Boy at Liuzza's by the Track