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Indulge in the Top Foodie Experiences in New Orleans

Updated: Mar 25

Boiled Crawfish, a New Orleans Springtime Favorite

When I first came to New Orleans in 1979, my foodie journey was in its infancy. I fell in love with the city, its people and the food! Now in my 60th decade on this planet, I traveled the world and lived in 9 different states, however I have lived the longest in Louisiana. Since 1989, I have lived either full or part time in south Louisiana, continuously.

What do I love most about New Orleans? I love that food is an integral part of culture. It is common to hear locals talk about what restaurants they have recently tried or ones where they would like to try, as well as where to get the freshest fish or ripest strawberries. In New Orleans food is celebrated, there even is a rush hour, local radio talk show dedicated to restaurants and recipes.

The cuisine of New Orleans is an intersecting mix of global flavors including Cajun, Creole, French, native American, Italian, West African, German, and Vietnamese. Each nationality brought their traditional dishes and shared them with in this melting pot of cooking techniques an ingredients. The melding of these flavors brought us culinary delights like crawfish Étouffée, jambalya, gumbo, blackened Redfish and BBQ shrimp.

New Orleans is a Bucket List destination for many foodies There are dozens of food experiences to choice from and more than 800 restaurants beckoning you to dine at their tables. While everyone's tastes are different, my intent is to steer you to the places, experiences and foods that bring to life the food culture in New Orleans. Your personal palette can determine how deep you dive in.

Eat Your Way Through the New Orleans Jazz

and Heritage Fest

New Orlens Jazz and Heritage Festival is a food lovers must do
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is the perfect outing for locals and tourists to enjoy live music, food, and experience the culture of this great city. Held in the infield of the New Orleans fairground, I like to go early and stay late so that I have maximum time to try all the deliciousness. There are a multitude of food vendors lining the fairgrounds in dozens of tents. This is not the typical food you get at a carnival or fair. It’s actually one of the rules when it comes to vendor applications. They are looking for vendors who can provide food of all different cultures for people to try here at Jazz Fest.

While some of the food is from local restaurants that have brick & mortar spaces, a lot of it is also from local catering companies. One thing you will notice if you attend Jazz Fest every year is that the majority of the vendors and offerings are the same year after year. These food vendors are highly acclaimed and loved by the community. Here are a few dishes that are always on the top of my eat list: crawfish Monica, New Orleans Sno-Ball, Pheasant, Quail & Andouille gumbo, Cochon de Lait Po-Boy, crawfish Bread, white chocolate bread pudding. What to drink you ask? Other than alcohol: strawberry lemonade (the best), Café au Lait (hot, iced or frozen), and Rosemint herbal iced tea. For foodies, Jazz Fest is a smorgasbord of culinary delights.

Suck the Heads and Pinch the Tails of Crawfish in New Orleans

Backyard Crawfish Boil, South Louisiana

"One of the first things you'll notice about the culture here in South Louisiana is our appreciation of family, friends and good food. Meals aren't just a way to satisfy our hunger. They're a way for us to bond and share the Cajun way of life with others. Few gatherings satisfy this desire better than a good old fashioned crawfish boil." said The Cajun Grocer, an online New Orleans Food Purveyor. Crawfish are a traditional New Orleans seafood that is served boiled in the Spring and sautéed , baked or fried in different varieties and dishes. throughout the year.

What are Crawfish?

Crawfish are a freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster, they live under rocks and along the water’s floor. They are found locally in Louisiana streams, ponds and rivers. Crawfish season is in the spring months, they can be found fresh beginning in January until May. They are served boiled with herbs, spices and vegetables, usually potatoes and corn. Sometimes whole heads of garlic, mushrooms, and sausage is added to the pot.

How do you eat Crawfish?

A traditional boil is when they’re served to you with the shell on, you peel them the meat in the tails The Acadian Crawfish Company gives these instructions "Pick out the biggest one you can find. Grab the head firmly with one hand and the tail with your other. Twist and pull the tail from the head. This is easiest when you’re grabbing the very middle of the tail (the thickest part). Peel off the first two or three rings of the shell around the tail meat. Pinch the end of the tail and slowly pull the meat from the remaining shell. Suck the head for a little extra Cajun flavor, for only the heartiest of crawfish eaters."

Where is the best place to get boiled Crawfish in New Orleans?

Crawfish can be found on menus boiled, fried as well as in crawfish bread, crawfish étouffée, and crawfish pasta. For traditional boiled crawfish in the Spring, check out these place: Fiery Crab, Seafood Sally's, Bevi Seafood and Bayou Beer Garden.

Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans

The Southern Food & Beverage Museum is a living history museum dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Southern Food & Beverage Museum also hosts special exhibits, demonstrations, lectures and tastings that showcase the food and drink of the South.

The Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) was founded in 2004 by Elizabeth Williams, who wanted a place where culture and food could be studied. The museum began with popups around the city of New Orleans. It's first official exhibit was the history and influences of beverages in New Orleans, created with borrowed artifacts. After the first exhibit, individuals began donating family artifacts to the museum. The first small museum has located in the Riverwalk, in downtown New Orleans.

In September 2014, SoFAB relocated to a larger space in its current location on O. C. Haley Boulevard. This location features an exhibit for each of the Southern states, a demonstration kitchen offering weekly Creole and Cajun cooking classes, and the Museum of the American Cocktail. SoFAB is open Thursday through Monday from 11:00am-5pm. Admission is $12.00 for adults with discounts for seniors, children and veterans.

Essential Online Links For Booking Your Trip to New Orleans

Logistics: Uber is available in New Orleans as are Taxis although the waits can be very long. Here are two airport transfer options that will considerably reduce your wait times, New Orleans Transportation Service or Private Transfer New Orleans to New Orleans MSY.

Top-rated New Orleans tours and experiences:

The Premier New Orleans Food Tour (perfect for foodies)

New Orleans City Tour: Katrina, Garden District, French Quarter & Cemetery (great people who are visiting with limited time)

Top places to stay in New Orleans: Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury *** Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy*** Royal Sonesta, French Quarter - Best Location Luxury***Place d'Armes - Best Location Budget Friendly***Check out for the lowest prices on Accommodations

My favorite Guidebook for New Orleans: DK Press New Orleans

My favorite New Orleans Foodie Book: Hungry Town


Looking for More Information on Visiting New Orleans, check out these Blog Posts

Sip a Sazerac at the Sazerac House

In 2008, the Louisiana Legislature declared the Sazerac is the Official Cocktail of New Orleans. The drink is a potent blend of rye whiskey, bitters, with a touch of Absinthe, garnished with a twist of lemon peel. It was first created in the mid-1800s at the Sazerac Coffeehouse in New Orleans and spiked with Sazerac de Forge et Fils Cognac. The Sazerac House on the corner of Canal Street and Magazine Street honors the Sazerac Cocktail, its history, its traditions and its ingredients.

You will wander through 3 stories of interactive, multimedia displays that describe all things Sazerac, from its beginnings in France to the Bitters developed in New Orleans that flavor the libation. Free samples are included and you can purchase all the ingredients to make Sazeracs at home, in their extensive gift shop on the first floor. This Museum offers free tours beginning every 20 minutes. Tuesday through Sunday 11:00am - 6:00pm. The last tour begins at 4:20pm.

Visit the French Market in New Orleans

South Louisiana farmers and artisan market
French Market, New Orleans Louisiana

The French Market in New Orleans is a historic and vibrant marketplace that showcases the city's rich culinary heritage. Located in the French Quarter, it is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Established in 1791, the French Market is one of the United State's oldest continuously operated open-air markets. It has a storied history, originally as a Native American trading post and later became a hub for French and Spanish merchants during the colonial era. Today, it remains a bustling center of commerce.

The market spans several blocks along the Mississippi River and is divided into different sections. The main market area, known as the Flea Market, features a wide variety of vendors selling an eclectic mix of goods. Visitors can find everything from antiques and vintage clothing to art, jewelry, and local crafts. The Farmers Market section offers fresh produce, seafood, and spices, allowing visitors taste and take home flavors of Louisiana.

Additionally, there are numerous food stalls and restaurants offering traditional New Orleans dishes like beignets, poboys, gumbo, and jambalaya. The market is a paradise for food enthusiasts eager to indulge in the city's renowned Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Beyond the shopping and dining experiences, the French Market also hosts various events and performances. Live music, street performers, and cultural festivals add to the lively atmosphere, creating a sense of celebration and entertainment. The market's unique ambiance, with its colorful buildings and lively atmosphere, captures the essence of New Orleans' vibrant spirit.

Eat at a Chef's Table or try a Tasting Menu

Uptown, New Orleans
Commandet's Palace Restaurant

When it comes to experiencing exceptional dining in New Orleans, one of the most sought-after culinary experiences is dining at the chef's table. Situated in some of the city's finest restaurants, the chef's table offers an intimate and immersive dining experience where guests can witness the culinary artistry up close. When space does not allow, Chef's create seasonal tasting menus so guests can experience an elevated dining options within space on their main dinning room.

One of the most memorable dining experiences of my life was a celebratory dinner at the Chef's Table, in the middle of the kitchen at Commander's Palace. Chef Jamie Shannon was leading the kitchen at that time. I commented about the beautiful tomatoes in the kitchen. He created a special one-off dish with those tomatoes for me.

Which Restaurants Have Chef’s Tables Or Tasting Menus

Here are some notable establishments where you can enjoy dining at the chef's table or tasting menus in New Orleans. These reservations are difficult to obtain, make a reservation as far in advance as possible:

  1. Commander's Palace: A legendary, Brennan family, restaurant in the Garden District, Commander's Palace offers a chef's table experience called the "Kitchen Table." Guests can indulge in a customized tasting menu while observing the culinary magic unfold. Call the reservations number on their website to inquire about this experience.

  2. Restaurant August: Located in the Central Business District, August is a celebrated fine dining establishment by renowned Chef John Besh. The restaurant offers a chef's table experience for up to eight guests, providing an up-close view of the restaurant's open kitchen. Dinners could enjoy such deliciousness at duck 3 ways or redfish Pontchartrain.

  3. Emeril's New Orleans: Created by world-famous celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's New Orleans offers a chef's tasting menu experience designed to allow the guest to experience South Louisiana food at its best. This is truly a splurge experience with two options of tasting menus, classic and seasonal each seven courses featuring contemporary classic like lobster gumbo, crawfish pie, oyster stew, Quail and Waygu beef.

  4. Dakar NOLA: Housed in Uptown, Dakar is a modern Senegalese restaurant. Like the cuisines of the two coastal cities combined to for the restaurant's name, Dakar NOLA highlights local seafood and produce sourced from farmers here in South Louisiana. The fixed price, tasting menu is inspired by Chef Serigne Mbaye’s childhood memories in Senegal, where he learned to cook at his mother’s side. Dinners at Dakar NOLA feature multiple courses, capturing the essence of west African cuisine.

  5. Lengua Madre: Offers a 5 course tasting menu featuring Mexican cuisine with a dash of southern American goodness. The menu changes seasonally and is not published. When you dine at Lengua Madre, you're enjoying recipes and traditions from the Mexico City kitchen of Chef Ana Castro's grandmother, Castro's adolescent apartment in Denmark, and her adult home in New Orleans. It's eclectic, unique, and so delicious.

  6. Saint-Germain: Features a reservation only, ten course, tasting menu experience, created with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The goal is for you to feel like you are to eating at the chef’s home. Located on the colorful St. Claude Avenue, this restaurant and wine bar showcases an innovative approach to French cuisine with a New Orleans twist, as a testament to the city’s rich culinary fusion.

  7. Mosquito Supper Club: Creates an immersive dining experience that brings to life the rich culinary traditions of the Louisiana Bayou. Founded by Chef Melissa Martin, the establishment is known for its authentic Cajun cuisine. Guests at the Mosquito Supper Club can indulge in a meticulously curated multi-course meal, featuring seasonal ingredients sourced directly from local fishermen and farmers. Here, dining is about savoring great food but also about honoring the stories and communal ties in South Louisiana cuisine.

  8. Yo Nashi: Provides an Asian flavored dining adventure, merging the artful traditions of Japanese omakase with the vibrant local flavors of Louisiana. Roughly translated, omakase means chef's choice. At Yo Nashi, omakase is a fixed price, multi coursed sushi based meal with an emphasis on seasonality, balance, and exquisite presentation, with a distinct New Orleans flair.

Take a Food Tour in New Orleans

French Quarter, New Orleans
Food Tour Outside Brennan's Restaurant

New Orleans is a culinary paradise knowned for its vibrant food scene, and embarking on a food tour or cooking class is a tasty and fascinating way to dive into the city's rich gastronomic culture. In this lively city, food tours offer can an exploration of Creole and Cajun flavors, showcasing a melting pot of influences from French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean cuisines. From savory jambalaya and gumbo to beignets dusted with powdered sugar, every bite tells a story of New Orleans' history and heritage.

Depending upon the tour or class, you will wander through bustling markets, cozy cafes, and historic eateries as knowledgeable guides regale you with tales of local traditions and culinary secrets. Whether savoring freshly shucked Gulf oysters or indulging in a piping hot muffuletta sandwich, a food tour in New Orleans promises a mouthwatering adventure that immerses visitors in the soul stirring essence of this iconic culinary destination. Here are a few of my favorite food centric tours in New Orleans:

Visit Dooky Chase's Restaurant in New Orleans

New Orkeans, Louisiana
Dooky Chase Restaurant

Walking into Dooky Chase's Restaurant for a legendary bowl of gumbo means not only epic flavors, but a loving dose of history to go with it. Starting in 1941, the Chase family's simple sandwich shop and bar quickly became a popular meeting spot for musicians, civil rights activists and cultural happenings in New Orleans. Leah Chase transformed the shop into a sit-down restaurant in the mid-40s making it the location for African American art and Creole cooking in the city. From there the restaurant only became more popular and she became known as a legendary Creole chef, Leah Chase was serving her signature food until she passed away on June 1, 2019 at 96 years old.

The restaurant continues her legacy serving her down-home Creole staples in a vibrant, art-filled space that has since become a spot on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail. Dooky Chase's is located just over Rampart Street from the French Quarter in the historic neighborhood of Treme. Leah Chase led a very storied life while also running this wonderful kitchen. Her legacy continues today at this Treme mainstay, a place that’s fed Civil Rights icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. and others while providing a safe haven for those working for human rights.

Dooky Chase's is open for lunch Tuesday to Friday offers a broad range of Creole favorites, salads and poboys. Guests can sample everything the city has to offer by way of staples like red beans and rice and fried chicken alongside Creole favorites like gumbo and stuffed shrimp. For dessert, the praline bread pudding is a must. They are open for dinner on Friday and Saturday night with a larger menu that includes such deliciousness as Louisiana redfish and braised duck. Each bite at Dooky Chase is a bite of Louisana’s culinary history.

Eat an Oyster Po Boy

New Orleans
Oyster PoBoy

Eating a New Orleans oyster poboy is rite of passage. There are so few moments in life when you tastebuds thank you. When you bite into the crispy, deep-fried deliciousness that is resting in a crusty piece of French bread and dressed up with lettuce, tomato, mayo, hot sauce and pickles., you know you have tasted something extraordinary. I had my first Oyster Po Boy in 1979 and I still remember that first mouthwatering bite.

Po boys are woven into the fabric of life in New Orleans. The po boy was created during a 1929 streetcar strike, in New Orleans. With drivers and motormen manning the picket lines, Martin Brothers Restaurant promised to serve the workers for free. They asked local baker John Gendusa to invent a hearty, inexpensive sandwich. When strikers came to the backdoor of the restaurant to get their free sandwich, someone in the kitchen took their order yelling, “Here comes another poor boy!”

The name stuck to this delicious combination of seafood or roast beef, vegetables and french bread. The components of a quality poboy include, a portion of Leidenheimer ( a local New Orleans bakery) french bread overflowing with fried seafood or meat and dressed with shredded lettuce, tomato, and mayo. You can taste this New Orleans staple at, R&O’s, Liuzza's by the Track, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Johnny's Po-Boys.

Sip a Hurricane on Pat O'Briens Patio

St. Peter's St., New Oleans
Pat O'Brien's Iconic Cocktail Bar

Pat O'Brien's is a famous bar in French Quarter of New Orleans known for its iconic Hurricane cocktail. The Hurricane is a sweet and fruity rum-based drink that has become synonymous with the city's party culture. Pat O'Brien's itself is a historic establishment, dating back to the 1940s, and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists looking to enjoy a lively atmosphere and signature drinks. The bar's courtyard with a flaming fountain and dueling piano lounge adds to its charm, making it a must visit destination for any foodies and cocktail lovers exploring the vibrant nightlife of New Orleans.

During Prohibition, Pat O’Brien ran a speakeasy in the 600 block of St. Peter Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. He officially opened the bar on December 3, 1933, after Prohibition had ended. He developed a friendship with Charlie Cantrell and after many years of friendship, they purchased the building now home to Pat O’Brien’s Bar at 718 St Peter Street. This historical building was built in 1791 as a private home and later became the first Spanish Theatre in the United States. It was converted back to a private residence until 1942, when O’Brien and Cantrell purchased the spacious place to become home to one of the most iconic nightclubs in the United States.

In the 1940’s many US distilleries were used to manufacture necessities for war time, domestic liquor was scarce. However, Rum coming up the Mississippi river from the Caribbean islands was plentiful. After some experimentation, the passion fruit based Hurricane cocktail was born. A glass shaped like a hurricane lamp was the perfect vessel and the Hurricane became New Orleans' favorite libation. Hurricane glasses with a Pat O'Brien;s logo are a beloved souvenir of New Orleans.

Eat Red Beans on Rice on Monday in New Orleans

In New Olrenas you eat red beans and rice on Monday
Red Beans and Rice, A New Orleans Tradition

New Orleanians continue their ritualistic habit of eating red beans and rice on Mondays. Spicy Caribbean recipes for beans and rice were brought to the city in the late 1700s by French speaking Caribbeanians. In the early 1800s, as sugar plantations developed in southern Louisiana, many slaves were imported from other sugar-producing areas in the Caribbean, in spite of the fact that it was illegal. They brought with them their rice and beans dishes, which, in New Orleans, became known as "Red Beans and Rice."

Red beans and rice, traditionally simmered all day Monday while the housewives did laundry, is still a Monday tradition today. Any cut of pork, from ham hock to sausage to pickled pork, is placed in the pot along with red beans and spices like bay leaves, thyme, cayenne pepper and sage. The pot simmered on the stove for hours, while attention was given to the laundry. Cooks from New Orleans insist that the only way to get the recipe right is to use Camellia Brand dried red kidney beans. Some of the best places to try the tradition of Red Beans and Rice on Monday: Camilla Grill, Mandina's, Willie Mae Scotch House, Dooky Chase, Coops Place.

Fine Dining

French Quarter, New Orleans
Arnaud's Restaurant

Fine dining establishments in New Orleans feature intimate atmospheres, attentive service, and a focus on high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Renowned chefs create exquisite dishes that pay homage to the city's rich gastronomic heritage, serving up specialties like turtle soup, crawfish etouffee, and bananas Foster. The city’s fine dining restaurants come with historic charm and a spirit of elegance, making them perfect for a memorable evening of sophisticated indulgence. From the legendary Antoine's to the Mediterranean twists found at Saba, each restaurant offers a unique journey through the flavors and traditions that make New Orleans a world-class culinary destination. All of the restaurants listed in the Chef's Table and Jazz Brunch sections, should be considered fine dining recommendations as well as more of my favorites list below:

  1. Antoine’s: The oldest family run restaurant, in the United States. Since 1840 they’ve been serving up some of the finest culinary delights New Orleans has to offer. Antoine’s invented oysters Rockefeller in 1889, a spinach and cheese based recipe made especially for the famous Rockefeller family.. The oyster trio starter is the perfect way to try the best baked oyster options at Antoine's. Alongside the Rockefellers, there are oysters Bienville with a cheesy dressing and a more traditional oysters Themador, on the trio plate.

  2. La Petite Grocery: People think of Southern food as a simple or homestyle kind of cooking, Chef Justin Devillier provides a pizazz that a new dimension to southern classic. It's a upscale taste of the Gulf Coast: fried oysters with summer squash, tomatoes, crème fraiche, sweet corn, and horseradish; blue crab beignets served with a malt vinegar aioli. This is the contemporary take on traditional Southern cuisine that makes La Petite Grocery shine.

  3. Bayona: Situated in the French Quarter, Bayona offers a menu that combines global influences with traditional New Orleans ingredients. Over the last 30 years, Chef Susan Spicer has crafted a global menu that brings New Orleans favorites to a new level. Chef’s menu is inspired by dishes from Spain, Italy and France balanced with the flavors of the Mediterranean, India, and the Orient. Their menu changes daily. They continuously pull from local and regional farms to bring the best flavors and varieties to your plate.

  4. Clancy's Restaurant: Tucked away in an Uptown neighborhood sits Clancy's, a fine dining establishment that has been serving local fare since the 1980s. It wrestles with the same ideas that most New Orleans restaurants take on: the division between old and new. A restaurant that appreciates old-school Creole food, Clancy's is a lot more relaxed about the debate. Seafood is king, so don't miss the crabmeat salad, the softshell crab, or the baby drum.

  5. Galatoire's: Put on a coat or a dress and head to this restaurant right on Bourbon Street. It's as though you're walking through time when you're being seated at your table and the waiters zip by you in pressed tuxedos. Reservations are now available in advance, however reservations in the main dining room for lunch on Fridays are very difficult to get. Don't miss the soufflé potatoes, shrimp Remoulade, crabmeat Maison, chicken Clemenceau, or any of the fresh seafood.

  6. The Four Seasons on Canal Street has two fine dining restaurants onsite, Miss River and Chemin à la Mer. Miss River offers elevated versions of classic New Orleans dishes, like fried chicken and red beans and rice, using local ingredients. Chemin a la Mer features panoramic views of the Mississippi River and a curated menu of Louisiana fare prepared with French technique.

  7. Saba: Great Israeli cooking is nothing new in New Orleans. Alon Shaya, who co-owns Saba, introduced it a decade ago at his first Middle Eastern restaurant, Shaya, which he is no longer involved with. Try the salatim (tabbouleh tossed with toasted pecans, field-pea tzatziki) and hummus bowls (get the one with blue crab), or plates of peach fattoush, harissa-rubbed roast chickens, turmeric-scented Louisiana shrimp sitting atop beds of labneh. And, of course, order the fresh from the oven pita.

  8. Compère Lapin: Drawn to New Orlean's historic yet groundbreaking nature, Chef Nina Compton felt it was the perfect home for her brainchild restaurant Compere Lapin. It is a playful yet sophisticated approach to cuisine, merging traditional Caribbean spices of her youth in St. Lucia with the fresh, local ingredients of Louisiana. It's a restaurant that serves coconut French toast with a pecan rum sauce, curried goat with gnocchi, and coconut curry alongside locally-sourced shrimp. Compère Lapin stands as a culinary destination that captures the vibrant and diverse spirit of New Orleans dining.

  9. Brigtsen's: Frank Brigtsen spent his early, professional years learning that Cajun food was worth his attention from of his mentor Paul Prudhomme, in the kitchen's of Commander's Palace. The result is a Cajun/Creole fusion cuisine has been on display at Brigtsen's since 1986. It is a white-tablecloth restaurant in the literal sense, but inhabiting an unpretentious Uptown cottage, near a bend of the Mississippi River. Dishes like butternut shrimp bisque, broiled gulf fish with crab crust & lemon crab sauce and roast duck in pecan gravy merge Cajun cuisine and Creole cooking in a style that is all New Orleans

  10. Bywater American Bistro: New Orleans is as much the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean as it is a city of the Deep South. Nina Compton has proved that adage for nearly a decade, by simply cooking what she knows, Caribbean cuisine with the freshness of Louisiana produce and seafood. At Compère Lapin, the chef’s youth takes center stage. While there is a Caribbean flavor at Bywater American Bistro, Caribbean flavor is part of a larger chorus of influences. Meals here flow from a tête de moine tart to a spicy seafood stew, or from cantaloupe-coconut gazpacho to chicken fra diavolo to sweet-potato churros. The menu changes regularly to allow the freshest seasonal ingredients to shine.

Enjoy Beignets at Cafe du Monde

Cafe du Monde in New Orleans is as iconic as the powdered sugar that generously dusts its famous beignets. Established in 1862 in the French Market, the café stands as a treasured landmark for serving up delectable deep-fried pastry. These warm, pillow like beignets are traditionally served in orders of three, blanketed with confectioners' sugar. The experience is truly immersive, the breeze carries a blend of sweet sugar and robust coffee aromas, the sounds of lively chatter and the serenade of Mississippi River jazz, while your mouth tastes the richness coffee and beignets.

Enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, these treats are best savored alongside a steaming café au lait, made with a blend of coffee and chicory, in true New Orleans fashion. The simple, yet satisfying combination has solidified Cafe du Monde as an enduring symbol of the city's rich culinary tradition, rendering the humble beignet much more than just a snack, but rather, a delicious bite of New Orleans culture. Now, just as they have for more than a century, hungry patrons can feed their cravings at Cafe du Monde, morning, noon, or night, 364 days a year.

The French Quarter cafe, sitting directly across from Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, attracts lines that could easily last more than an hour, depending on the time of day. The wait is well worth it, but if you’d rather cut your time short, head over to the satellite outpost in City Park a few miles away. Wherever you enjoy, Chicory Coffee or Cafe Au Lait is the must try accompaniment for your powdered sugar dusted, fried dough.

Learn to make Gumbo

New Orleans Food
Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

Taking a gumbo cooking class in New Orleans offers you a hands on dive into the soulful heart of Cajun cuisine. Under the guidance of seasoned local chefs, you will be introduced to the foundational elements that make gumbo a Louisiana staple: the perfect roux, the "Holy Trinity" of bell peppers, onions, and celery, and the harmonious blend of herbs and spices that give this stew its distinctive flavor. In the aromatic kitchens, you will learn about the cultural significance of gumbo, spanning from its West African roots to its evolution into a New Orleans classic.

The class becomes a bubbling pot of shared stories and culinary secrets, as chefs demonstrate how to build layers of flavor and participants eagerly stir their own pots, tasting and seasoning as they go. With each stir, a deeper understanding of New Orleans' rich culinary history is imparted, and the class culminates in the communal joy of sitting down together to enjoy the fruits of their labors, bowlfuls of savory gumbo, just as much a feast for the spirit as it is for the palate. List below are a few of my favorite cooking classes:

Experience a Jazz Brunch

In New Orleans, jazz brunch is a delightful symphony of taste and sound, where the strains of live jazz intermingle with the clinking of fine china and the murmur of satisfied diners. The city's legendary eateries serve up hearty Creole favorites, from shrimp and grits to pain perdu, all accentuated by the soulful melodies of local musicians providing a toe tapping soundtrack. This tradition captures the city's joie de vivre, offering a leisurely gastronomic experience that's as much about the ambiance and music as it is about the locally-inspired cuisine. List below are two of my favorite places to go for jazz brunch.


Brennan's in New Orleans is not just a restaurant; it's an institution, renowned for its brunch, where the refined flavors of Louisiana meet live jazz. In the heart of the French Quarter, Brennan's Jazz Brunch is an experience that awakens all senses. As you step into the pink hued, chandelier lit space, you are greeted by the smooth melodies of a live jazz band, setting the tone for a leisurely morning. The brunch menu itself is a masterful celebration of Creole cuisine, featuring classics like eggs Sardou and bananas Foster, flambeed tableside and invented by Brennan's itself. You can savor the rich pair with Brennan's signature eye-opening cocktails, like the brandy milk punch or their renowned New Orleans bloody mary, all while basking in the slightly decadent atmosphere that makes Brennan's jazz brunch a quintessential New Orleans tradition.

Commander's Palace

Commander's Palace, a jewel in the crown of New Orleans' culinary scene, offers a jazz brunch experience that is as opulent as it is steeped in tradition. Within the walls of the teal and white Victorian marvel in the Garden District, diners are serenaded by the smooth, spirited melodies of live jazz, amplifying the atmosphere of Southern sophistication. Underneath the wafting notes, guests indulge in a sumptuous array of Creole dishes, from turtle soup splashed with sherry to the pecan-crusted Gulf fish, each a reflection of the high culinary standards and local flavors for which Commander's Palace is legendary. This grand institution, established in 1893, doesn’t just offer a meal but a cultural experience, marrying the refined pleasures of gourmet cuisine with the warm, soulful embrace of New Orleans jazz.

New Orleans stands as an undisputed bastion of culinary delight, a city where the food alone is worth the journey. From the aromatic gumbo pots simmering in the heart of Creole kitchens to the powdery beignets that turn corner cafes into sweet havens, every bite is a paragraph in the storied narrative of her culture. The city's epicurean landscape traps visitors in a delicious limbo between French sophistication, African vitality, Spanish flair, and down-home Southern comfort. To partake in New Orleans' foodie experiences is to utter a silent thank you to the generations of chefs and everyday cooks who've knitted their heritage into recipes passed down like precious heirlooms. As the evening jazz serenades you in the French Quarter, and the spices from a crawfish boil tickle your nose, it's resoundingly clear, there's nowhere else in the world where the spirit of place is so tastefully tangible on the tongue.

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