Greatest New Orleans Meals: 10 Should-Strive Dishes (+The place)

There are many superior cities in the USA, every providing one thing distinctive to guests. It’s exhausting to choose a favourite, but when I’ve to then I’m going with New Orleans.

Whereas the Crescent Metropolis is most well-known for its huge Mardi Gras celebrations and different epic New Orleans festivals, that is additionally a foodie’s paradise. New Orleans meals is extremely numerous and is a few of the finest within the nation.

You may actually plan your whole journey to New Orleans round the place and what you’re consuming.

There are such a lot of mouth-watering dishes to attempt to an abundance of wonderful eating places to go to. You may make a number of journeys to town and check out one thing new each time, and also you’ll nonetheless solely barely scratch the floor.

I’ve traveled throughout my house nation and I can say with no shadow of a doubt that New Orleans is my favourite metropolis for meals.

I really like slice of New York pizza and I’m all the time joyful to crush a Chicago scorching canine, however you simply can’t beat the range in New Orleans. American meals could also be accused of being considerably bland, however that’s undoubtedly not the case right here!

For those who’re planning a trip to New Orleans and are questioning what to eat, this information is for you.

Learn on for a take a look at the very best meals in New Orleans, that includes suggestions for a few of the high locations to attempt every dish. 

Able to get into the very best New Orleans dishes? Click here to leap down the web page. 

What’s New Orleans Meals?

So, what precisely is New Orleans meals? The delicacies of the Massive Straightforward is an actual melting pot. It’s influenced by each Cajun and Creole delicacies in addition to soul meals. You might be questioning what the distinction between Cajun and Creole is. Time for somewhat historical past lesson!

Creole Delicacies

Earlier than Louisiana was a part of the USA, it was a colony of France after which Spain. Creole refers back to the American-born descendants of these European settlers.

French settlers used this phrase to differentiate between those that have been born in Louisiana and people born again in France. This time period was additionally used to explain the descendants of African slaves and Native People that have been born within the space.

Very like the individuals, Creole delicacies is a fusion of French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences. Through the years, it was additionally influenced by German and Italian immigrants in addition to the delicacies present in different components of the southern US.

Cajun Delicacies

Now onto the Cajuns, who’re often known as Acadians.

They’re the descendants of French colonists who have been expelled from the realm in Canada generally known as Acadia when the British took over.

Lots of them moved to Louisiana, because it was a French colony on the time. They intermarried with different teams, so many Cajuns as we speak have ancestors from locations like Eire and Germany.

As you would possibly guess, Cajun delicacies has a robust French affect. It’s thought-about a “rustic” delicacies, which means it depends closely on native components and is comparatively easy to organize.

It’s not essentially spicy, but it surely does make use of all kinds of seasonings. We’ll check out a few of the finest Cajun meals in New Orleans in only a minute.

Questioning the place to remain in New Orleans throughout your journey? Try our in-depth information to the best hotels on Bourbon street, together with a great deal of details about the French Quarter.

Soul Meals and Seafood

Lastly, soul meals refers back to the delicacies created by African-American descendants of slaves.

With restricted rations and lengthy, demanding workdays, they got here up with hearty, filling dishes utilizing what little they’d. Soul meals staples like cornbread, fried catfish, and collard greens with pork happened in consequence and are nonetheless very talked-about as we speak.

Due to its location, seafood options very prominently within the Massive Straightforward.

It’s right here that the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, so individuals have quick access to each contemporary and saltwater fish and shellfish. Shrimp, crawfish, oysters, and crab are all frequent components in New Orleans meals.

Now that you already know in regards to the varied types of meals, let’s check out some New Orleans well-known meals and must-try dishes within the metropolis.

Greatest New Orleans Meals: 10 Should-Strive Dishes

On account of the combination of individuals and cultures in New Orleans, there are quite a few tasty, must-try meals.

Among the dishes are extra well-known than others, and whereas there are far more than 10 meals it is best to attempt, listed here are some well-known New Orleans dishes you don’t wish to miss


Relating to New Orleans meals, one dish that all the time involves thoughts is jambalaya. This can be a spicy one-pot dish with rice and a combination of andouille sausage, hen, and shrimp.

As is usually the case with New Orleans meals, there’s an fascinating backstory behind this dish.

Again when the Spanish settled right here, they’d a tough time recreating their beloved paella because of excessive taxes on saffron. As a substitute, they turned to native components resembling juicy tomatoes.

There’s each a Cajun and a Creole-style of jambalaya, which is dependant on the usage of tomatoes.

jambalaya new orleans food

You’ll usually discover Creole jambalaya in New Orleans, which makes use of tomatoes. However if you happen to have been to journey to different areas in Louisiana, you’ll discover Cajun-style jambalaya — which doesn’t incorporate tomatoes within the recipe. 

Each types use the “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell peppers (usually inexperienced). Garlic can also be utilized in jambalaya, as are a variety of seasonings resembling cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, and extra.

The most effective factor about jambalaya is that there are such a lot of other ways to cook dinner it. You may attempt it on daily basis of your journey and never have the identical expertise twice!

This simply is likely to be the quintessential New Orleans dish because it’s discovered all around the metropolis. Among the finest locations to eat jambalaya within the metropolis embrace Mother’s and the New Orleans Creole Cookery.

Po’ Boys

Po’ Boys are a New Orleans traditional. For those who’re questioning the place the fascinating identify of those tasty sandwiches comes from, there’s one other historic lesson behind it. 

Again in1929, the streetcar staff in New Orleans have been on strike. A pair of restaurant homeowners, former streetcar conductors themselves, got here up with an inexpensive sandwich to feed the hungry, unpaid staff.

They referred to the putting staff as “poor boys,” and the identify caught for the type of sandwich.

The French affect on New Orleans meals is evident as soon as once more, as po’ boys are served on a baguette-style loaf of bread. Roast beef has all the time been a well-liked filling, together with a “sloppy” type that’s lined in gravy.

Today, fried seafood choices like shrimp and oysters are additionally all the trend.

po boy best food in new orloeans

Whichever filling you select, prepare for a scrumptious sandwich and a first-rate instance of New Orleans well-known meals. When ordering a po’ boy, ask for it “dressed” if need lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and mayo.

Among the finest locations for a po’ boy embrace Domilise’s, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, and Liuzza’s by the Track.

Seeking to wash your po’boy down with a drink?! Don’t miss our checklist of the highest 10 best New Orleans Bars.


Crawfish – or “mud bugs” as they’re identified in Louisiana – are freshwater crustaceans that type of appear like small lobsters. They’re type of a giant deal right here, a lot in order that there’s even a complete pageant devoted to them! 

Spring is crawfish season within the Massive Straightforward. Going to a crawfish boil is a must-do if you happen to’re visiting this time of 12 months. The boiled crawfish are usually served alongside corn and potatoes, making for a really filling and satisfying meal.

There are numerous choices for boiled crawfish in New Orleans. Some locations cook dinner it up on daily basis, whereas others do boils simply as soon as every week.

A couple of locations that come really helpful embrace Bevi Seafood Co., Cajun Seafood, and Frankie & Johnny’s.

crawfish boil in new orleans

One dish that all the time comes up on lists of the very best meals in New Orleans is crawfish étouffée, which comes from the French phrase which means “to smother.” The mudbugs are certainly smothered in a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) together with spices.

As with many different in style NOLA dishes, crawfish étouffée is available in each Cajun and Creole types. Bon Ton Cafe (Replace 2021: this restaurant is briefly closed, examine again), Felix’s, and Chartres House (Replace 2021: this restaurant is briefly closed, examine again), are all good spots to do this in style New Orleans meals.

Don’t miss a visit out to the New Orleans swamp! Try this list of the highest 7 swamp excursions and head out on a visit after you’re executed consuming your means via town.


We’ve already lined a few of the finest meals in New Orleans for a hearty, filling meal. Let’s take a fast break from all of the seafood and spice to fulfill your candy tooth with a traditional NOLA deal with — beignets.

These delectable pastries have been launched by the French lots of of years in the past, and so they’re undoubtedly excessive atop the checklist of New Orleans well-known meals. Sq.-shaped pastries product of fried dough, beignets are generally known as a doughnut with out the outlet.

As soon as they’re scorching and prepared, beignets are dusted with powdered sugar. They’re finest eaten scorching and contemporary, particularly paired with a cup of cafe au lait. 

Probably the most well-known place to get your beignet repair is certainly Cafe du Monde (if you happen to’ve seen the film Chef, that is the place they sampled beignets!).

There’s all the time a line right here, but it surely strikes rapidly and it’s value it to cross this NOLA staple off your checklist. One other nice selection is the 24-hour Morning Call positioned inside Metropolis Park.

beignets are top new orleans food

Crimson Beans & Rice

No checklist of New Orleans meals could be full with out pink beans & rice.

Easy, filling, and scrumptious, it is a native favourite. It’s principally the bacon & eggs of the Massive Straightforward. Legendary musician Louis Armstrong beloved it a lot that he would signal letters “Crimson Beans & Ricely Yours.”

Crimson beans & rice was historically made on Mondays utilizing leftover pork bones from dinner the evening earlier than. This made for a simple dinner to organize whereas tending to family duties like cleansing and laundry.

Today, you possibly can take pleasure in pink beans & rice any day of the week.

It’s cooked slowly in a pot together with the holy trinity and a combination of spices, then served over rice. 

As with many traditional New Orleans dishes, most locals will inform you that the very best model comes from their mother’s kitchen. For those who’re simply touring right here, some in style locations to munch on pink beans & rice embrace Joey K’s, Mother’s, and Coop’s (which is 21 and over solely).

red beans and rice meal in new orleans


Probably the most traditional Creole dishes being cooked up in NOLA is gumbo. It’s so in style down right here that it’s truly the state dish of Louisiana! After all, there’s additionally a Cajun spin on this New Orleans well-known meals.

No two pots of gumbo are alike, because the choices are infinite in relation to making this hearty stew. Nearly any sort of meat or shellfish can be utilized in gumbo.

A thickener resembling roux, okra or filé powder can also be used together with the holy trinity of greens and a wide range of seasonings. 

As soon as once more, New Orleans meals showcases a melting pot of influences with gumbo. You’ve bought roux from France, okra from West Africa, sassafras from Native People, and sausage from Germany.

Many outsiders confuse gumbo and jambalaya, because the dishes are a bit related.

The principle distinction is that gumbo is served on rice, whereas the rice is definitely cooked in with jambalaya. Each of them have so many various selections for components that the choices actually are infinite.

Gumbo is on the menu all around the Massive Straightforward, however a few of the finest locations to attempt it are the Gumbo Shop, Mr. B’s Bistro, and Dooky Chase’s.

gumbo is new orleans famous food

Bananas Foster

When it is advisable to fulfill your candy tooth in New Orleans, you’ll want to give Bananas Foster a attempt.

This traditional dessert was created proper right here in NOLA within the Fifties at Brennan’s Restaurant — which can also be one of the in style locations to attempt well-known cocktails in New Orleans.

At the moment, New Orleans was a significant hub for bananas that entered the US from Central and South America.

Chef Paul Blange created a dish consisting of bananas with a sauce product of butter, rum, and brown sugar. He named it after Richard Foster, an area enterprise chief and buddy of the proprietor. 

As soon as they’re soaked within the sauce, the bananas are set aflame in a method generally known as flambé. The hearth truly burns off the alcohol however leaves the smokey style of the rum. It’s usually ready at your desk and served with vanilla ice cream.

After all, Brennan’s stays the go-to place to do this well-known New Orleans meals. Over at Hansen’s, you possibly can attempt one other traditional New Orleans dessert referred to as a sno-ball and get it with a Bananas Foster topping.

bananas foster is a top food in new orleans


There’s been lots of French and Spanish influences thus far on this put up, however we’ve Italians to thank for this subsequent one. The muffuletta is a big sandwich made on a sesame seed roll. It’s full of a number of completely different deli meats, cheese, and olive dressing.

Typical fillings for a muffuletta embrace ham, salami, mortadella (a kind of Italian sausage), and both Swiss or provolone cheese (or each!).

The olive dressing consists of chopped inexperienced and black olives together with onions in olive oil and spices. A muffuletta is usually served chilly, however many locations will toast it for you if you’d like the cheese melted.

The identify for the sandwich comes from the bread, which originates from Sicily. Central Grocery was the primary place to serve muffulettas within the metropolis, and so they stay the very best spot to do this New Orleans well-known meals.

Because the story goes, the proprietor observed individuals would cease in his retailer to purchase bread, meat, cheese, and olives, and attempt to eat all of them collectively on the road.

After all, this made for fairly a messy eating expertise. He determined to make their lives simpler by assembling all of the components in a single sandwich!

Different in style spots for this filling sandwich embrace Cochon Butcher and R&O’s. An entire muffuletta is fairly huge, so it’s possible you’ll wish to simply seize a half or break up it with a buddy.

muffuletta best new orleans food


The following merchandise on our checklist of New Orleans meals is likely one of the metropolis’s most iconic sweets — pralines. These candies are historically made with almonds and caramelized sugar and have been delivered to Louisiana by the French settlers. 

Because of their abundance within the area, pecans got here to switch almonds within the recipe for pralines. Cooks added milk or cream to thicken the confection. The result’s a tender and creamy candy that’s principally a nutty model of fudge.

You will discover pralines all around the Massive Straightforward, as they’re one of the well-known sweets within the metropolis.

One place that comes extremely really helpful is Tee-Eva’s. This family-run bakery whips up creamy pralines and pies from recipes which have been handed down from technology to technology. 

Southern Candymakers is one other great place to do this well-known New Orleans meals. They make the unique in addition to a number of different styles of pralines, together with rum, chocolate, peanut butter, or coconut. 

pralines in new orleans


When speaking about the very best meals in New Orleans, oysters are all the time concerned within the dialogue. Due to the nice and cozy waters within the Gulf, oysters could be harvested year-round right here. 

Individuals in NOLA take pleasure in oysters in many various methods — uncooked, fried, chargrilled, broiled, or simply stuffed right into a po’ boy.

For uncooked oysters, a few of the finest locations to go embrace Pascal’s Manale and Bourbon House. The latter even has $1 oysters throughout their Comfortable Hour from 4-6 Monday-Friday!

Probably the most iconic cooked model is Oysters Rockefeller, which was invented proper right here in New Orleans at Antoine’s again in 1899.

For those who’re questioning the place the identify comes from, these oysters have been named after John D. Rockefeller – who was the richest man within the nation on the time – for his or her excessive richness.

It consists of oysters on the half shell topped with a inexperienced sauce and bread crumbs. They’re then both baked or broiled and served with lemon wedges for a garnish. Their actual recipe stays a secret to at the present time!

One other traditional dish is Oysters Bienville, which is made by topping baked oysters with a mixture of shrimp, mushrooms, bell peppers, breadcrumbs, parsley, and cheese. The most effective place to go for this mouth-watering oyster dish is Arnaud’s the place it was created.

oysters rockefeller in New Orleans

King Cake

Final however not least on our checklist of the very best New Orleans meals is the well-known King Cake. The identify refers back to the three kings within the Bible, who got here bearing presents for child Jesus on the twelfth evening. 

King Cake is usually served between King’s Day (January sixth) and Ash Wednesday. It’s a staple of Carnival season in NOLA and could be discovered all around the metropolis. 

This well-known cake is usually made with brioche dough and a wide selection of fillings, resembling cinnamon, fruit, chocolate, and cream cheese. The icing on the cake is all the time gold, purple, and inexperienced – the royal colours of Mardi Gras. 

Probably the most fascinating issues about King Cake is that there’s all the time a tiny plastic child hidden within the cake. Whoever finds the infant within the cake has to throw the following get together or purchase the following cake.

This continues the enjoyable all through the entire Mardi Gras season when lots of of hundreds of King Truffles are consumed in New Orleans. 

Manny Randazzo’s is likely one of the high locations to choose up a King Cake, and you’ll look forward to finding a line across the block right here. For those who’re not in New Orleans in the course of the Carnival season, you possibly can nonetheless get a King Cake from Adrian’s Bakery as they make them year-round.

kings cake famous food in new orleans

Now You Know The Greatest New Orleans Delicacies

I’m positive by now your tummy is rumbling and your mouth is watering, and also you’re able to e book that flight to the Massive Straightforward to start out sampling a few of the finest New Orleans meals. These 10 must-try dishes will definitely get you began on exploring the culinary scene of NOLA.

After all, there are many different superb issues to eat in New Orleans. Another dishes you’ll wish to add to your checklist embrace blackened redfish, soiled rice, yaka mein soup, bread pudding, sno-balls, and a lot extra. 

Whether or not grabbing a fast po’ boy from a hole-in-the-wall deli or sitting right down to a 3-course meal in a flowery restaurant, you’re going to like consuming your means throughout New Orleans.

Have you ever been to the Massive Straightforward and have some nice suggestions on what and the place to eat? Go away a remark beneath and tell us.

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