New Orleans is a vibrant city with an iconic and diverse food culture. The culinary influences here include French, Spanish, African, German, and of course -the outstanding Cajun fare. The Crescent City has so much to offer with fabulous cuisine. The biggest challenge foodie travelers have is managing to sample it all. Read on to plan that fabulous gastronomy trip with this foodie’s guide to New Orleans.
A Foodie’s Guide to New Orleans
Food Staples in the Big Easy
Jambalaya is a dish that is synonymous with New Orleans. It has been a part of New Orleans culture since the Colonial Spanish settlers tried to replicate their own dish paella from local ingredients. Jambalaya contains chicken, seafood, sausage, peppers, onions, spices, and rice combined into a variety of ways.
A traditional Monday dish is Red Beans and Rice. The dish is a local favorite. The residents cook the dish all day Monday at home while they catch up on laundry. Visitors can find red beans and rice on the menu at many of the city’s best restaurants. Joey K’s serves this dish all week long and has a $10 plate that is very satisfying.
Gumbo is known locally as its own food group. The dish was inspired by New Orleans’ French and African roots. This thick, filling stew is served over rice, and has a variety of ingredients including vegetables and meats including chicken, sausage, and seafood. At Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, gumbo is always a menu constant, including the restaurant’s famous specialty, gumbo z’herbes.
Po-Boys are sandwiches served on flaky French bread. They sandwich contains lettuce, tomato, pickles, sauce, and whatever meat desired including shrimp, roast beef, and even oysters. R&O’s serves up the best roast beef Po-Boy, and for a tasty garlic oyster Po-Boy, stop by Liuzza’s.
More NOLA Favorites
A favorite seafood specialty in New Orleans is Crawfish. This food is served in numerous forms including fried, boiled, sauteed, or baked, and unique seasoning is added for that special flavor. Bevi Seafood Company specializes in boiled crawfish along with tasty frozen drinks.
In spite of its name, Barbeque Shrimp is not barbecued, nor does it contain barbeque sauce. The shrimp has its heads and tails intact and grilled in Worchester sauce and butter. Pascal’s Manale has been serving this iconic dish for over 100 years, and it still the best in the city.
New Orleans Pralines are popular with locals and visitors. The sweet treat comes in many varieties and can be found all over the city in places like Loretta’s Authentic Pralines and Southern Candymakers.
The Food Neighborhoods of New Orleans
The French Quarter is the epicenter of New Orleans culture and is the most famous sector of the city. Visitors have an extraordinary dining experience here. Dining highlights include po’boys at Verti Marte, jambalaya at Coop’s Place, or a 21 day aged steak at Doris Metropolitan, plus many more.
The Garden District is a charming area with lovely homes and oak lined streets. Casamento’s Restaurant is a beautiful 1920s oyster bar and serves the best New Orleans style seafood. Coquette offers great collard greens and pork milanesa torta, plus much more.
Treme is the oldest African-American neighborhood in the country, and that culture influenced the local food. Stop in the Candlelight Lounge for jazz music and a cocktail or dine on superb Cajun food at Gabrielle Restaurant.
More Foodie Hot Spots in New Orleans
The Bywater neighborhood became a hot spot for dining in the last decade. Try the roasted octopus or bresaolo tuna roasts at the elegant Bywater American Bistro. If you are looking for a wonderful bistro, you can enjoy French pop music and steak au poivre at N7.
The Uptown district has some of the hottest restaurants in New Orleans. The Mosquito Supper Club offers a communal multi-course tasting menu of bayou cuisine. Clancy’s is a class act that serves fine dining fare such as lamb chops webster, smoked duck with dirty rice, and risotto with lobster and mushrooms.
Foodie Walking Tours in New Orleans
New Orleans Culinary History Tours is the city’s original culinary tour and is a great cultural experience. Highlights include Classic New Orleans Drinks Tour, and French Quarter Culinary History and Tasting Tour,plus many more.
Sidewalk Food Tours of New Orleans showcases New Orleans’ best including French Quarter Food Tour and Lower Garden District Food Tour.
Destination Kitchen has tours for every palate. They offer small intimate group tours like French Quarter Cocktail and Foodie Crawl, plus much more.
Tastebud Food Tours of New Orleans has awesome food history tours including New Orleans’ Sunset Food and History Tour and Taste of New Orleans du Jour, plus many more.
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