To that end, we break down the best New Orleans eats for you. Here's where to go, broken down by whether its your first visit or a repeat stay—plus spots everyone should hit up, no matter how many times they've been.
The long-operating Brennan’s family restaurant welcomes every diner with Old World elegance, fanciful decor and pampering service, proving that fine dining remains proudly relevant in New Orleans. As you’re devouring your Brennan’s-original bananas Foster or eggs Hussarde, enjoy every bite from what Southern Living lists as one of the South’s Top 10 Best Restaurants in 2017.
Inspired by the heat of a New Orleans summer during the Great Depression, master machinist Ernest Hansen invented the Sno-Bliz machine to cleanly and safely shave ice. His wife created her own line of syrups, and a new family business—and New Orleans tradition—was born. Try the honey lavender or cream of wedding cake flavors mixed with a scoop of ice cream.
In 1840, a young Antoine Alciatore founded what would become one of the country’s oldest family-run restaurants. When his son Jules took over the reins of the fine-dining establishment in 1887, he invented the famous oysters Rockefeller, solidifying Antoine’s as a world-renowned French-Creole restaurant for all eternity.
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant
Decades after immigrating to New Orleans from Croatia, Drago Cvitanovich opened this restaurant in 1969, where one day the legendary charbroiled oyster would be invented. It’s so delicious that, on a busy day, the grills here churn out more than 900 dozen of them.
What makes Dat Dog so unique is its choice of unusual ingredients and flavors that blend surprisingly well together. A cult following has helped the locale grow from a food cart in 2011 to having multiple locations throughout the city today. Try the Crawfish Dog or Alligator Dog and enjoy 30 unconventional toppings.
Located on the revitalized Oak Street in Uptown, this eccentric restaurant serves true New Orleans plates. That includes everything from red beans and rice to daily fish specials, including a shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake appetizer. Odd as it sounds, the app is one of the best things you’ll ever put in your mouth.
Dick and Jenny’s
This neighborhood spot features funky, eclectic and Southern-inspired foods that bring together two boots: Louisiana and Italy. Between unforgettable bites of the bouillabaisse or blackened drum fish, ask your waiter for the story behind all the plates that line the walls.
Pêche Seafood Grill
Serving rustic, contemporary dishes cooked over an open hearth, Pêche exhibits how tasty simplicity can be. Its dedication to working with local fishermen and farmers to harvest sustainably—plus standout dishes like baked drum with coconut, lime and sticky rice—earned Pêche the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America in 2014.
The Rum House Caribbean Taqueria
While you can absolutely expect a fine and wide selection of rums here, the true gems of are the tacos. Make your belly happy and order a bunch: the jerk chicken, calypso beef and Creole rib are all standouts.
What do you get when two renowned chefs team up to offer modern reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine in the heart of the French Quarter; add in a world-class selection of 10,000 bottles of wine; and serve it up in seven unique dining spaces, each depicting a different room within a Creole mansion? A delicious R’evolution. Try the Tale of Three Fishes dish while sipping a Belle Epoque.
Morning Call Coffee Stand
In New Orleans, the best way to start your day is with an order of beignets. So wake up your insides with these traditional French doughnuts covered in powdered sugar and a cup of cafe au lait made with rich chicory root to give it intensity and body.
Parkway Bakery and Tavern
Though everybody in the city swears by a favorite po’boy place, the name you’ll hear most often is Parkway. The kitchen there has been making the classic sandwiches for more than 100 years. The golden fried shrimp po’boy and roast beef po’boys are fantastic, but combine those flavors in a surf-and-turf po’boy—and wash it down with a Barq’s root beer in a bottle—and you’ll taste heaven.