Being a foodie and visiting New Orleans can be overwhelming, because there is just so much food to try! Everywhere you look, there’s another restaurant delivering slobber-inducing smells from out the door. There’s so much to try, it’s hard to know where to even start!
Luckily for you, I ate my way around New Orleans for four days, and I’m here to give you my personal recommendations for the very BEST food in New Orleans. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of taste testing 😉
1. Oysters from Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
I normally like to save the best for last but I just can’t. The fried oysters from Felix’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar were without a doubt my #1 favorite food that I ate in New Orleans. I don’t like raw oysters because I don’t like how fishy they taste. The oysters at Felix’s fix this problem completely. They are a buttery, parmesan-crusted delicacy that you won’t be able to get enough of.
New Orleans is close to the Gulf, the absolute ideal place for oysters to live. Oysters from the gulf thrive in the warm, less salty waters, so they grow much larger than oysters from other waters.
Because the oysters are so large, you can cook them without them losing too much body mass. Felix’s grills the oysters for 7 minutes on a grill and top them with breadcrumbs, parmesan, and a garlic butter sauce. They’re served with French bread which is perfect for dipping.
And, if you go early enough, make sure to get the Deluxe Bloody Mary. It comes with raw oysters and boiled shrimp!
2. Pralines from Anywhere in the City
New Orleans’s most popular candy is pralines, and they can be found on almost any street in the French Quarter. Pralines are a very sweet dessert made of sugar, butter, and pecans. They taste almost like a hardened pool of crumbly caramel.
I couldn’t finish even half of my praline, because it was so sweet. I wouldn’t say that this was my favorite dessert, but I definitely think it’s a must try while in New Orleans.
3. Beignets from Cafe Du Monde
If you read any food articles about New Orleans that don’t mention Cafe du Monde, do NOT trust that article. Cafe du Monde is one of the most iconic spots in all of Louisiana. People line up down the street just to go into the cafe and try their beignets.
Beignets are little square, light and fluffy fried donuts. Cafe du Monde makes sure to pile their donuts HIGH with powdered sugar. Make sure to not wear black on the day that you’re going to be trying them!
Word to the wise: Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours a day. During peak daylight hours (10:00-7:00) there is a very large line. Try going later at night, so that you won’t have to wait in line to try them!
4. Catfish Po Boy from NOLA Po Boy
NOLA Po Boy has a delicious Catfish Po Boy that you know is the real deal. The foundation of a true po boy is the French bread, and NOLA Po Boy has the best! The catfish is fresh and high quality. Make sure to get your sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was the best!
Fun Fact about Po Boys: Po Boys were invented in the 1930s. At that time, the streetcars in New Orleans were a popular form of transportation. Two brothers, the Martin brothers, operated streetcars until they quit to open up a restaurant.
Shortly after they opened their restaurant, the Great Depression hit, and many of the streetcar drivers were striking for better pay. The Martin Brothers wanted to help the street car drivers in any way they could, so they offered to give sandwiches to any streetcar drivers that came to their shop.
The men looking for free sandwiches were instructed to come in to the restaurant at any time through the kitchen. When they did, the restaurant staff would say “Here comes a poor boy; Get him a poor boy sandwich”, which eventually turned into “po boy”.
5. The Meril Burger from Meril
Emeril Lagasse has a cluster of restaurants in New Orleans and they are not to be missed! We had dinner at Meril one night as it was close to our Airbnb, and we loved it. There was nothing particularly New Orleans-esque on the menu, but we thought that the Meril Burger was delicious! It comes with caramelized onion and tomato jam and gruyere cheese.
If you have room in your belly, also try the Lemon Icebox Pie!
6. Muffuletta from Central Grocery and Deli
If you’ve ever wanted to taste a muffuletta sandwich from the store where it was invented, you’ve come to the right place. In the early 20th century, Central Grocery Store sold classic Italian antipasto platters. People would order them frequently, but the store was so crowded that they would often get spilled all over the floor.
The deli came up with an idea for a sandwich that included everything on the antipasto platter in one handheld meal.
A muffuletta includes every deli meat and cheese that you can imagine. They spread the top with a beautiful olive oil. Muffulettas are now famous across the country, but you won’t taste a better one than from Central Grocery
7. Shrimp and Grits and Gumbo from American Sector
American Sector is the restaurant connected to the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Normally, I would never advocate for museum food, as I don’t think it’s typically a meal very indicative of the city you’re exploring.
I must admit, I don’t know if the Shrimp and Grits or Gumbo from American Sector are traditional, but I do know that they are INCREDIBLE. While I was eating, I just kept saying “oh my god. It’s just so good. It’s just so good.”
While you’re at American Sector, make sure to check out the World War II Museum. It is amazing!
8. “Dark and Stormy” Pork Belly Po Boy from Killer Po Boys at Erin Rose
Oh boy, this Pork Belly Po Boy from Erin Rose was INCREDIBLE. Vietnamese food is very popular in New Orleans, as there is a very large Vietnamese subculture.
This po boy that you eat in the back of a dark, small bar is the perfect representation of New Orleans meets Vietnamese. They coat the pork belly in a sweet and tangy sauce, and, of course, the bread tastes just delicious. I really recommend trying this sandwich for a fusion meal you might not be able to find anywhere else. ‘
There you go! Eat these around the city and let me know what you think. What did you try and love? What did I miss?! Tell me your thoughts about the Best Food in New Orleans in the comments below!
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