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Gumbo from Dooky Chase
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

23 Classic Restaurants Every New Orleanian Must Try

New Orleans is a city brimming with classics, but here are some of the best

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Gumbo from Dooky Chase
| Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

New Orleans is one of the oldest dining cities in the country, and though it seems there’s always a shiny new restaurant opening (and plenty closing), the city has a deep reverence for the restaurants in and around it that earned it that designation.

Here are some of the greatest of New Orleans’ classic restaurants, all of them decades if not a centuries old. They range from legendary Creole stalwarts in the French Quarter to gritty po’ boy joints to hidden gems in quiet neighborhoods, all quintessentially New Orleans. The one thing that is true of all of them is that they still serve excellent food and the city would be less if it lost them.

Yes, the Crescent City is a town full of classics, and it’s nearly impossible to capture the true essence of its dining landscape and heritage in a scant 24 places alone. So let this be a starting point, the places most locals will agree are essential to the storied history of New Orleans’s dining.

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Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mosca's

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4137 US-90
Westwego, LA 70094
(504) 436-8950
Visit Website

Located in a white clapboard building on a quiet stretch of highway on the Westbank, walking into Mosca’s feels like coming in from the cold. The lights glow soft yellow, the food comes out family-style, and New Orleans’ own Louis Prima croons from the jukebox. It opened in 1946 with real mafia ties (a New Orleans crime boss used to be the landlord) and today slings garlic heavy dishes like spaghetti Bordelaise, cooked perfectly al dente, chicken a la Grande, red gravy, and oysters Mosca (oysters mixed with Italian seasonings, topped with breadcrumbs, and baked).

2. Brigtsen's Restaurant

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723 Dante St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 861-7610
Visit Website

Prudhomme’s prize pupil, Frank Brigtsen, opened this namesake charmer in a cozy and tidy Riverbend shotgun with his wife, Marna, in 1986. Since then Brigtsen has become one of the most respected chefs in New Orleans with his inventive Creole/Acadian cuisine. He serves his New Orleans style barbecue shrimp with shrimp calas, a once nearly extinct fried rice ball that street vendors used to sell near the French Market.

3. Clancy's

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6100 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 895-1111
Visit Website

Tucked inside the charming Uptown neighborhood known for Creole cottages and air perfumed with night-blooming jasmine, you’ll find Perlis-clad Uptowners dining on Clancy’s decadent, fried, cold-smoked, crab-topped soft-shells over white tablecloth topped tables as waiters who still wear tuxedos keep the bourbon flowing. It’s as good a homage to the soft shell as there ever was. Reservations are a must.

Clancy’s/Eater

4. Domilise's Po-Boys

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5240 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-9126

One of the oldest po’ boy shops in the city, dating back to 1918, Domilise’s sits in a yellow house with a hand-painted sign in the middle of an Uptown neighborhood near the river. It started as a bar and transitioned into a spot for plate lunches for longshoreman and river front workers and finally into one of the most well known po’ boy shops in the city. It’s worth the trip to see inside the place alone. Just take a number when you enter and be prepared to wait, and to order when the time comes.

Half shrimp and half oyster po-boy
Yelp/Mona W.

5. Gautreau's Restaurant

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1728 Soniat St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-7397

This secluded Uptown gem first opened its doors in 1982. All these years later, this restaurant still feels like a discovery, but it’s under-the-radar by design: The restaurant doesn’t even have a sign. Housed in a century-old building that was once a pharmacy and camouflaged in a leafy residential neighborhood, the dining room buzzes with well-heeled locals enjoying rich and multilayered preparations of Gulf seafood, duck and lamb, and fresh pasta.

Brasted/ENOLA

6. Charlie's Steak House

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4510 Dryades St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 895-9323
Visit Website

This 1930s-era, working class steakhouse in the Milan neighborhood has held onto its status as a New Orleans institution throughout the decades. Chef Aaron Burgau has only improved on the old-school service, churning out high-quality steaks and classic sides, with favorites like onion rings, creamed spinach, and potato gratin, in the simple, throwback space. 

7. Pascal's Manale Restaurant

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1838 Napoleon Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 895-4877
Visit Website

This birthplace of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, Pascal’s Manale opened in 1913. Today, you'll still find great service, and killer oyster bar with friendly shuckers, and a laid back attitude at this Uptown legend.

Barbecued shrimp and Leidenheimer French bread
Pascal Manale’s/Facebook

8. Casamento's

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4330 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 895-9761
Visit Website

Casamento’s oyster-shuckers have been holding court on Magazine Street since 1919, when this family-owned oyster classic opened. Per tradition, the restaurant closes during the summer as it has since it was difficult to keep oysters cold during hot months. What to order: raw oysters; an oyster loaf (like a fried oyster po’ boy, but on toasted, thick, white sandwich bread); and a Dixie beer. Casamento’s Creole style gumbo is the opposite of the dark and rich gumbos that have become so popular. Instead, it’s filled with tomatoes and okra, making it somewhat lighter.

Casamento’s oyster loaf
Yelp/ Ms T

9. Mandina's

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3800 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 482-9179
Visit Website

A late 19th century corner store that became a sandwich-slinging pool hall and finally a come-as-you-are, neighborhood restaurant in 1932, Mandina’s serves comforting, old school Creole Italian seafood and other New Orleans classics (like po’ boys, gumbo, and red beans). Get the Wednesday special, daube spaghetti, or Thursday’s bruccialone (veal rolled and stuffed with spinach, egg, and seasonings) with shell pasta.

10. Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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538 Hagan Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 482-3047
Visit Website

A neighborhood bakery dating back to 1911, which added the “poor boy” to the menu when it was invented in the 1920s. While the place closed in 1993, current owner Jay Nix resurrected the landmark Parkway Bakery & Tavern in the early aughts, serving some of the finest po’ boys in town.

Bill Addison/Eater

11. Commander's Palace

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1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 899-8221
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Commander's Palace has been around since the late 1800s, but under Ella Brennan’s leadership starting in the 1970s, the restaurant essentially redefined New Orleans cuisine and catapulted into stardom with the help of celeb chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Today, the menu and service are still top notch; make sure to start the meal with turtle soup topped with sherry and end it with the bread pudding soufflé and whiskey sauce.

Commander's Palace
Commander’s Palace
Nikki Mayeux

12. Liuzza's by the Track

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1518 N Lopez St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 218-7888
Visit Website

It started as a neighborhood bar near the horse tracks in 1936. Sixty years later, James Lemarie and Billy Gruber bought Liuzza’s by the Track and turned it into the quintessential neighborhood corner joint and the unofficial gathering place for Jazz Fest. Order the garlic oyster po-boy and a cold beer, served in a large frosted goblet.

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

13. Willie Mae's Scotch House

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2401 Saint Ann St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 822-9503

The wet-battered fried chicken at this Treme soul food institution (open since 1957) is the stuff of legend, which is why the line to get inside Willie Mae’s Scotch House usually wraps around the building. The best bet for getting in quickly is to come with a party of two. Do yourself a favor and get the mac and cheese too.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House/Facebook

14. Dooky Chase Restaurant

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2301 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119-5025
(504) 821-0600
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The legendary Dooky Chase’s turns out a mean gumbo and what some consider the best fried chicken in town, and is regarded for its place in the Civil Rights movement and its collection of African-American art. A lunch buffet isn’t a fair description of the spread of glorious dishes that feeds a steady lunch crowd: fried chicken, lima beans, and sausage, among others. One of the most beloved restaurant meals of the year is on Holy Thursday at Dooky Chase, when the restaurant serves its famous gumbo z’herbes.

dooky chase fried chicken Bill Addison/Eater

15. Galatoire's

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209 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 525-2021
Visit Website

A Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is the stuff of legend, but good luck getting in. The black and white tiled downstairs dining room at the more than a century old Bourbon Street reprieve is the only acceptable place to sit, and while the restaurant takes reservations, a seat in the main dining room is not guaranteed. Favorites include the Galatoire goute (crabmeat maison and shrimp remoulade); pompano meuniere with crabmeat; oysters Rockefeller; and fried soft shell crab laced with brown butter when it’s in season. Jackets required, but check your sobriety at the door.

Friday lunch at Galatoire's
Friday lunch at Galatoire’s
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

16. Arnaud's Restaurant

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813 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(866) 230-8895
Visit Website

To last more than a century means embracing tradition and change, something this huge restaurant with its labyrinth of dining rooms does well. A grande dame of French Quarter dining, Arnaud’s offers impeccable service and Creole dishes that are still on point. Arnaud’s is also home to the award-winning French 75 Bar. Whatever you do, have the souffle potatoes with drinks to start.

arnaud’s bar
arnaud’s bar
Josh Brasted/ENOLA

17. Broussard's

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819 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 581-3866
Visit Website

This 100-year old restaurant was scooped up by Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, a huge local restaurant group that dusted it off and gave it a good polishing in a million dollar renovation in 2013. The restaurant is white tablecloth, but the dress code is casual, so diners in flip flops and shorts sip wine at tables next to those in ties and jackets. Have drinks at Broussard’s swanky bar and dine in the lush courtyard if the weather permits.

Josh Brasted/ENOLA

18. Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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1500 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 766-8687
Visit Website

New Orleans nearly lost this Treme institution, but a third generation of Baquets came through to keep the family-owned favorite going. It first opened its doors in 2015, but quickly became a citywide staple for grilled catfish and grits, gumbo, po’ boys, and top-notch fried chicken. The low-key corner building on Esplanade Avenue has walls covered in New Orleans, Saints, and Baquet family memorabilia, and is as welcoming as it gets.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

19. Brennan's

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417 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Inside Brennan’s iconic pink Royal Street building, breakfast is a hedonistic, multi-course affair complete with dessert, cocktails, and many more cocktails against a backdrop of jubilant and lavishly colorful dining rooms, many of which look out at the brick courtyard and turtle pond through huge plate glass windows. Brennan’s gets the credit for creating the bloody bull (a twist on the bloody Mary with the umame-rich saltiness of beef bouillion), bananas Foster (a flamed dessert of bananas, rum, cinnamon, and sugar over vanilla ice cream that is as good as legend says it is), and eggs Hussarde (English muffins, coffee-cured Canadian bacon, hollandaise, and marchand de vin sauce).

20. Antoine's Restaurant

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713 Saint Louis St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 581-4422
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The oldest continuously operating restaurant in America, this sprawling French Quarter jewel box is a maze of elaborate, storied dining rooms run by waiters that may have been there 50 years. What to order: oysters Rockefeller, which originated at Antoine’s; cafe brulot, a devilish coffee and cognac drink flamed tableside (also created at Antoine’s); and ethereal souffle potatoes puffed up like pride contained in the a fragile shell.

Brasted/ENOLA

21. Napoleon House

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500 Chartres St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 524-9752
Visit Website

Named for the famous Frenchman intended to live there after his exile from France, Napoleon House is a 200+ year old historical landmark. The speakers play classical music and there’s a lovely courtyard. Order a Pimm’s Cup and a muffuletta, served warm.

Muffuletta at Napoleon House
Napoleon House/Facebook

22. Tujague's

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429 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 525-8676
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The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans and birthplace of the grasshopper cocktail, Tujague’s relocated down the street in 2020 with a revamp, an upgraded bar program, and a freshened-up menu (but the iconic brisket still remains a holiday classic).

23. Central Grocery Co.

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923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 523-1620
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Ground zero for the muffuletta, a sandwich that packs Italian meats, cheese, and olive salad between slabs of sesame-topped Italian bread as big as a plate. The deli was once the go-to lunch spot for Sicilians working near the French Market at the turn of the century, who bought cheeses, meats, olives, and bread — and ate the food standing up or balanced in their laps. In 1906, Central Grocery’s Salvatore Lupo wanted to make things easier and this iconic sandwich was born (the name refers to the bread). Central Grocery serves its muffulettas room temp or cold, and they travel well. Eat standing up at the deli or at the nearby Mississippi River, but bring a friend to share.

Brasted/ENOLA

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1. Mosca's

4137 US-90, Westwego, LA 70094

Located in a white clapboard building on a quiet stretch of highway on the Westbank, walking into Mosca’s feels like coming in from the cold. The lights glow soft yellow, the food comes out family-style, and New Orleans’ own Louis Prima croons from the jukebox. It opened in 1946 with real mafia ties (a New Orleans crime boss used to be the landlord) and today slings garlic heavy dishes like spaghetti Bordelaise, cooked perfectly al dente, chicken a la Grande, red gravy, and oysters Mosca (oysters mixed with Italian seasonings, topped with breadcrumbs, and baked).

4137 US-90
Westwego, LA 70094

2. Brigtsen's Restaurant

723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

Prudhomme’s prize pupil, Frank Brigtsen, opened this namesake charmer in a cozy and tidy Riverbend shotgun with his wife, Marna, in 1986. Since then Brigtsen has become one of the most respected chefs in New Orleans with his inventive Creole/Acadian cuisine. He serves his New Orleans style barbecue shrimp with shrimp calas, a once nearly extinct fried rice ball that street vendors used to sell near the French Market.

723 Dante St
New Orleans, LA 70118

3. Clancy's

6100 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70118
Clancy’s/Eater

Tucked inside the charming Uptown neighborhood known for Creole cottages and air perfumed with night-blooming jasmine, you’ll find Perlis-clad Uptowners dining on Clancy’s decadent, fried, cold-smoked, crab-topped soft-shells over white tablecloth topped tables as waiters who still wear tuxedos keep the bourbon flowing. It’s as good a homage to the soft shell as there ever was. Reservations are a must.

6100 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70118

4. Domilise's Po-Boys

5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Half shrimp and half oyster po-boy
Yelp/Mona W.

One of the oldest po’ boy shops in the city, dating back to 1918, Domilise’s sits in a yellow house with a hand-painted sign in the middle of an Uptown neighborhood near the river. It started as a bar and transitioned into a spot for plate lunches for longshoreman and river front workers and finally into one of the most well known po’ boy shops in the city. It’s worth the trip to see inside the place alone. Just take a number when you enter and be prepared to wait, and to order when the time comes.

5240 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70115

5. Gautreau's Restaurant

1728 Soniat St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Brasted/ENOLA

This secluded Uptown gem first opened its doors in 1982. All these years later, this restaurant still feels like a discovery, but it’s under-the-radar by design: The restaurant doesn’t even have a sign. Housed in a century-old building that was once a pharmacy and camouflaged in a leafy residential neighborhood, the dining room buzzes with well-heeled locals enjoying rich and multilayered preparations of Gulf seafood, duck and lamb, and fresh pasta.

1728 Soniat St
New Orleans, LA 70115

6. Charlie's Steak House

4510 Dryades St, New Orleans, LA 70115

This 1930s-era, working class steakhouse in the Milan neighborhood has held onto its status as a New Orleans institution throughout the decades. Chef Aaron Burgau has only improved on the old-school service, churning out high-quality steaks and classic sides, with favorites like onion rings, creamed spinach, and potato gratin, in the simple, throwback space. 

4510 Dryades St
New Orleans, LA 70115

7. Pascal's Manale Restaurant

1838 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115
Barbecued shrimp and Leidenheimer French bread
Pascal Manale’s/Facebook

This birthplace of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, Pascal’s Manale opened in 1913. Today, you'll still find great service, and killer oyster bar with friendly shuckers, and a laid back attitude at this Uptown legend.

1838 Napoleon Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115

8. Casamento's

4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
Casamento’s oyster loaf
Yelp/ Ms T

Casamento’s oyster-shuckers have been holding court on Magazine Street since 1919, when this family-owned oyster classic opened. Per tradition, the restaurant closes during the summer as it has since it was difficult to keep oysters cold during hot months. What to order: raw oysters; an oyster loaf (like a fried oyster po’ boy, but on toasted, thick, white sandwich bread); and a Dixie beer. Casamento’s Creole style gumbo is the opposite of the dark and rich gumbos that have become so popular. Instead, it’s filled with tomatoes and okra, making it somewhat lighter.

4330 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70115

9. Mandina's

3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

A late 19th century corner store that became a sandwich-slinging pool hall and finally a come-as-you-are, neighborhood restaurant in 1932, Mandina’s serves comforting, old school Creole Italian seafood and other New Orleans classics (like po’ boys, gumbo, and red beans). Get the Wednesday special, daube spaghetti, or Thursday’s bruccialone (veal rolled and stuffed with spinach, egg, and seasonings) with shell pasta.

3800 Canal St
New Orleans, LA 70119

10. Parkway Bakery & Tavern

538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119
Bill Addison/Eater

A neighborhood bakery dating back to 1911, which added the “poor boy” to the menu when it was invented in the 1920s. While the place closed in 1993, current owner Jay Nix resurrected the landmark Parkway Bakery & Tavern in the early aughts, serving some of the finest po’ boys in town.

538 Hagan Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

11. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Commander's Palace
Commander’s Palace
Nikki Mayeux

Commander's Palace has been around since the late 1800s, but under Ella Brennan’s leadership starting in the 1970s, the restaurant essentially redefined New Orleans cuisine and catapulted into stardom with the help of celeb chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Today, the menu and service are still top notch; make sure to start the meal with turtle soup topped with sherry and end it with the bread pudding soufflé and whiskey sauce.

1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

12. Liuzza's by the Track

1518 N Lopez St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Garlic oyster po-boy
Liuzza’s by the Track/Facebook

It started as a neighborhood bar near the horse tracks in 1936. Sixty years later, James Lemarie and Billy Gruber bought Liuzza’s by the Track and turned it into the quintessential neighborhood corner joint and the unofficial gathering place for Jazz Fest. Order the garlic oyster po-boy and a cold beer, served in a large frosted goblet.

1518 N Lopez St
New Orleans, LA 70119

13. Willie Mae's Scotch House

2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Willie Mae’s Scotch House/Facebook

The wet-battered fried chicken at this Treme soul food institution (open since 1957) is the stuff of legend, which is why the line to get inside Willie Mae’s Scotch House usually wraps around the building. The best bet for getting in quickly is to come with a party of two. Do yourself a favor and get the mac and cheese too.

2401 Saint Ann St
New Orleans, LA 70119

14. Dooky Chase Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119-5025
dooky chase fried chicken Bill Addison/Eater

The legendary Dooky Chase’s turns out a mean gumbo and what some consider the best fried chicken in town, and is regarded for its place in the Civil Rights movement and its collection of African-American art. A lunch buffet isn’t a fair description of the spread of glorious dishes that feeds a steady lunch crowd: fried chicken, lima beans, and sausage, among others. One of the most beloved restaurant meals of the year is on Holy Thursday at Dooky Chase, when the restaurant serves its famous gumbo z’herbes.

2301 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119-5025

15. Galatoire's

209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Friday lunch at Galatoire's
Friday lunch at Galatoire’s
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

A Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is the stuff of legend, but good luck getting in. The black and white tiled downstairs dining room at the more than a century old Bourbon Street reprieve is the only acceptable place to sit, and while the restaurant takes reservations, a seat in the main dining room is not guaranteed. Favorites include the Galatoire goute (crabmeat maison and shrimp remoulade); pompano meuniere with crabmeat; oysters Rockefeller; and fried soft shell crab laced with brown butter when it’s in season. Jackets required, but check your sobriety at the door.

209 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Related Maps

16. Arnaud's Restaurant

813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112
arnaud’s bar
arnaud’s bar
Josh Brasted/ENOLA

To last more than a century means embracing tradition and change, something this huge restaurant with its labyrinth of dining rooms does well. A grande dame of French Quarter dining, Arnaud’s offers impeccable service and Creole dishes that are still on point. Arnaud’s is also home to the award-winning French 75 Bar. Whatever you do, have the souffle potatoes with drinks to start.

813 Bienville St
New Orleans, LA 70112

17. Broussard's

819 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112
Josh Brasted/ENOLA

This 100-year old restaurant was scooped up by Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, a huge local restaurant group that dusted it off and gave it a good polishing in a million dollar renovation in 2013. The restaurant is white tablecloth, but the dress code is casual, so diners in flip flops and shorts sip wine at tables next to those in ties and jackets. Have drinks at Broussard’s swanky bar and dine in the lush courtyard if the weather permits.

819 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112

18. Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

New Orleans nearly lost this Treme institution, but a third generation of Baquets came through to keep the family-owned favorite going. It first opened its doors in 2015, but quickly became a citywide staple for grilled catfish and grits, gumbo, po’ boys, and top-notch fried chicken. The low-key corner building on Esplanade Avenue has walls covered in New Orleans, Saints, and Baquet family memorabilia, and is as welcoming as it gets.

1500 Esplanade Ave
New Orleans, LA 70116

19. Brennan's

417 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130