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

27 Classic Restaurants Every New Orleanian Must Try

In a city brimming with classics, these are the places essential to the storied history of New Orleans dining

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Creole seafood gumbo at Dooky Chase’s.
| 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. It’s nearly impossible to cover all of the city’s classics, best restaurants, or to capture the extent of its dining landscape and heritage in one guide, so let this be a starting point. Here are 27 places essential to the storied history of New Orleans’s dining, from roadside po’ boy shops to white tablecloth fine-dining.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Cafe Degas

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Cafe Degas is uniquely New Orleans, an ethereal setting for mussels and frites, escargot, French onion soup, and a seasonal soft shell crab dish 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, looks out onto one of New Orleans’s dramatically tree-lined thoroughfares, Esplanade Avenue.

Cafe Degas on Esplanade Avenue.
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Liuzza's by the Track

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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.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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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

Mandina's

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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).

Willie Mae's Scotch House

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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 and red beans too.

A plate of crusty, dark 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

Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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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 has become 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

Dooky Chase Restaurant

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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 role in the Civil Rights movement and collection of African-American art. A “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.

A table with a white tablecloth has a bowl of gumbo filled with seafood.
Dooky Chase’s Creole gumbo.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Adolfo's

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Adolfo’s is a cozy and bustling Frenchmen Street institution with a slew of loyal regulars. The grouper with lemon, capers and artichokes is savory goodness and the herbaceous, peppery lamb rack is tender. In a city where Creole Italian is highly regarded and heavily debated, Adolfo’s is known for a slightly chaotic, familial experience in a throwback setting.

Jack Dempsey's Restaurant

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Jack Dempsey’s small white building is named after a New Orleans police reporter from back in the 1980’s, becoming known as a down-home Poland Avenue spot known for overflowing fried seafood platters. Still family-owned and on the affordable side, it’s a nice experience away from the hub of downtown.

Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant in Bywater Neighborhood
Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant
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Cafe Sbisa

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Originally opened in 1899, this classic French-Creole restaurant is led by the talented Alfred Singleton, now chef and partner. Cafe Sbisa’s menu is old-school Creole, and the crab cakes are some of the best in town. This place is a stunner, with original wood, intimate balcony and patio dining, and a staircase that harks back to a golden age, just right for a date night or special occasion meal.

Street view of Cafe Sbisa, a local business in NOLA, exterior signage hangs above a store in South Louisiana.
Cafe Sbisa.
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Antoine's Restaurant

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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 known for waiters that have been there for more than 50 years. What to order: oysters Rockefeller, which originated at Antoine’s; cafe brulot, a coffee and cognac drink flamed tableside (also created at Antoine’s); and the fragile, puffed-up souffle potatoes.

Baked Alaska from Antoine’s.
Josh Brasted/ENOLA

Broussard's Restaurant & Courtyard

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This century-old restaurant, though bought by huge local restaurant group Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts in 2013, remains true to its French-Creole history dating back to 1920. The restaurant is white tablecloth, but the dress code is casual, which means you don’t have to sweat through a suit on the walk over. Have drinks at Broussard’s swanky bar and dine in the lush courtyard if the weather permits.

The bar at Broussard’s.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Brennan's

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Brennan’s iconic pink Royal Street building is where a number of now-famous creations came to be: bananas Foster, the bloody bull (a twist on the bloody mary made with beef bouillion), and eggs Hussarde. A meal here is a lavish affair, set against a backdrop of colorful dining rooms, many of which look out at the brick courtyard and turtle pond through huge plate glass windows. 

Napoleon House

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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

Arnaud's Restaurant

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To last more than a century means embracing tradition and change, something this huge restaurant with its labyrinth of dining rooms does well. Arnaud’s offers stellar fine-dining 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 French 75 Bar.
Josh Brasted/ENOLA

Tujague's

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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 still remains a classic).

Galatoire's

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A Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is the stuff of legend. The black and white tiled downstairs dining room at the more than a century old Bourbon Street reprieve is the place to be — but good luck getting a table (while it accepts 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.

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

Brigtsen's Restaurant

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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.

Street view of Brigtsen’s Restaurant awning and sign in Uptown New Orleans.
Brigsten’s.
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The Camellia Grill

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This diner at the historic location on Carrollton Avenue, with long-time waitstaff, grilled pecan pie, chili galore, and usually a wait out the door, will forever be known as New Orleans’s ultimate greasy spoon. Dating back in 1946, it’s nostalgic fun for the whole family, with an old-school counter that winds through the restaurant.

A line outside Camellia Grill.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Jamila's Cafe

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The couscous is as legendary as the warm vibes at Jamila’s, perhaps New Orleans’s only Tunisian cafe, located in a small, wood-paneled building Uptown. The main joy of Tunisia’s is the in-person experience, with Jamila waving from the kitchen as husband Moncef brags about her food to tables. The couscous, excellent lamb chops, and outstanding crawfish, spinach, and zucchini bisque are highlights.

Gautreau's Restaurant

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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.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Pascal's Manale Restaurant

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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.

Charlie's Steak House

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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. 

Brick exterior of restaurant with brown door and Charlie’s Steak House sign Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Commander's Palace

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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

Clancy's

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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

Domilise's Po-Boys

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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. Take a number and be prepared to wait, and to place your order when the time comes.

Mosca's

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Located in a white clapboard building on a quiet stretch of highway on the Westbank, Mosca’s opened in 1946 with real mafia ties (a New Orleans crime boss used to be the landlord) and today still slings garlic-heavy, family style 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).

Cafe Degas

Cafe Degas on Esplanade Avenue.
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Cafe Degas is uniquely New Orleans, an ethereal setting for mussels and frites, escargot, French onion soup, and a seasonal soft shell crab dish 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, looks out onto one of New Orleans’s dramatically tree-lined thoroughfares, Esplanade Avenue.

Cafe Degas on Esplanade Avenue.
Shutterstock

Liuzza's by the Track

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.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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.

Bill Addison/Eater

Mandina's

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).

Willie Mae's Scotch House

A plate of crusty, dark 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

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 and red beans too.

A plate of crusty, dark 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

Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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 has become 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

Dooky Chase Restaurant