Perhaps more than anywhere else, New Orleans is a city full of iconic dishes. Po' boys, jambalaya, gumbo and beignets: these dishes define the city's cuisine and culture for the outside world. Here's a list of all the restaurants and traditional New Orleans food you don't want to miss, whether you're going to the Big Easy to enjoy traditional Mardi Gras traditions on February 16th or simply bookmark them as favorites for later, leave the pearls at home and whet your appetite. While the crowd and the line of tourists go to Café Du Monde, locals know how to go to Café Beignet to enjoy this exclusive New Orleans treat.
With three locations across the city, it significantly reduces waiting time for this hybrid of pastry doughnuts sprinkled with powdered sugar. The French and Acadians brought beignets to the region in the 18th century, but New Orleans helped give this dusty treat the recognition it receives today. Parkway has existed for more than a century, since 1911 to be exact. Legend has it that the name Poor Boy, also known as Po' Boy, comes from the time of the Great Depression, when a sandwich was created to be given free of charge to traffic strikers.
People have been clamoring for the poor Parkway kids ever since. A muffuletta is a round sesame bread from Sicily. Italian immigrants from New Orleans turned it into a popular sandwich with marinated olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, provolone and mortadella into the round muffuletta bread of the same name. Central Grocery is an Italian grocery store that dates back to 1906 and owner Salvatore Lupo is credited with creating the New Orleans favorite, which has since spread across the country.
In the case of Lupo, having the best ingredients at your fingertips certainly helps. They use locally baked bread, homemade sliced meats, and an Italian olive salad, which is a family recipe. This is where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, so people have easy access to fresh and saltwater fish and seafood. Shrimp, crab, oysters, and crab are common ingredients in New Orleans food.
When it comes to New Orleans food, one dish that always comes to mind is jambalaya. . There is both a Cajun and Creole style of jambalaya, which depends on the use of tomatoes. You'll usually find Creole jambalaya in New Orleans, which uses tomatoes.
But if you were to travel to other areas of Louisiana, you'll find Cajun-style jambalaya, which doesn't incorporate tomatoes in the recipe. Both styles use the “holy trinity” of onions, celery and peppers (usually green). Garlic is also used in jambalaya, as is a wide range of condiments such as cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, and more. This could be the quintessential New Orleans dish, since it's found all over the city.
Some of the best places to eat jambalaya in town include Mother's and New Orleans Creole Cookery. Spring is crab season in the Big Easy. Going to boil crabs is a must if you visit this time of year. Boiled crabs are usually served together with corn and potatoes, making it a very filling and satisfying meal.
There are countless options for boiled crabs in New Orleans. Some places cook it every day, while others cook it with furuncles just once a week. One dish that always appears on the lists of the best food in New Orleans is the crab étouffée, which comes from the French word for “suffocate”. In fact, bed bugs are covered with a roux (a mixture of butter and flour) along with spices.
We've already talked about some of the best foods in New Orleans for a hearty and filling meal. These delicious pastries were introduced by the French hundreds of years ago and are definitely high on New Orleans' famous food list. Square-shaped pastries made from fried dough, beignets are known as donuts without a hole. Once they are hot and ready, the beignets are sprinkled with powdered sugar.
They are best eaten hot and fresh, especially combined with a cup of coffee with milk. No New Orleans food list would be complete without red beans (26% rice). Simple, hearty and delicious, this is a local favorite. They're basically 26% Big Easy bacon eggs.
Legendary musician Louis Armstrong loved it so much that he signed the lyrics “Red Beans & Ricely Yours”. Rice with red beans (26%) was traditionally prepared on Mondays with pork bones left over from dinner the night before. This made dinner easy to prepare while they took care of household chores, such as cleaning and laundry. These days, you can enjoy 26% rice red beans any day of the week.
As with many classic New Orleans dishes, most locals will tell you that the best version comes from their mother's kitchen. If you're only going to travel here, some popular places to eat 26% rice red beans are Joey K's, Mother's, and Coop's (who's only 21 or older). No two gumbo pots are the same, as the options are endless when it comes to preparing this hearty stew. Almost any type of meat or seafood can be used in gumbo.
You have roux from France, okra from West Africa, sassafras from Native Americans and sausages from Germany. Many outsiders confuse gumbo and jambalaya, as the dishes are a bit similar. The main difference is that gumbo is served with rice, while rice is cooked with jambalaya. Both have so many different ingredient options that the options are truly endless.
Gumbo is on the menu all over the Big Easy, but some of the best places to try it are Gumbo Shop, Sr. When you need to satisfy your sweet tooth in New Orleans, be sure to try Bananas Foster. Of course, Brennan's is still the ideal place to sample this famous New Orleans food. At Hansen's, you can try another classic New Orleans dessert called Snowball and get it with a Bananas Foster topping.
So far there have been a lot of French and Spanish influences in this post, but we have to thank the Italians for the next one. The muffuletta is a giant sandwich made on a sesame seed roll. It is filled with several different sausages, cheese and olive dressing. Olive dressing consists of chopped green and black olives together with onions in olive oil and spices.
A cupcake is usually served cold, but many places will toast it if you want the cheese to melt. The name of the sandwich comes from bread, originally from Sicily. Central Grocery was the first place in town to serve muffulettas, and it's still the best place to try this famous New Orleans food. Other popular places for this delicious sandwich include Cochon Butcher and R&O's.
A whole cupcake is quite large, so you might want to take half or share it with a friend. Last but not least, on our list of the best food in New Orleans is the famous King Cake. The name refers to the three kings of the Bible, who arrived with gifts for the baby Jesus on the 12th night. I'm sure your belly is booming and your mouth is watering, and you're ready to book that flight to the Big Easy to start tasting the best food in New Orleans.
These 10 must-try dishes will definitely help you start exploring NOLA's culinary scene. The Creoles, most of whom originally spoke a dialect of French, created a sophisticated and cosmopolitan society in colonial New Orleans. Whatever filling you choose, get ready for a delicious sandwich and a great example of famous New Orleans food. I love a good slice of New York pizza and I always like to snack on a Chicago sausage, but there's no better variety in New Orleans.
The dish is named after Richard Foster, former president of the New Orleans Crime Commission and friend of Owen Brennan. Cindy Brennan, co-owner and managing partner, comes from a family with deep roots in the New Orleans restaurant industry. Local newspapers warned that when the last Creole chefs left New Orleans, the secrets of Louisiana cuisine would be lost. From the traditional gumbo steeped in Cajun influences and an imposing cupcake to the new Vietnamese-Creole fusion dishes that reflect the current diversity of the Nawlins, there is plenty to choose from in this gastronomic paradise.
Chef Michael Gulotta, a native of New Orleans, was inspired by his education in Louisiana and combined it with the Vietnamese influences that have emerged in the city over the years. In this iconic dish, bananas are flamed next to the table with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and rum and served with New Orleans Ice Cream Co. Whether it's to grab a quick bite at a deli store with a hole in the wall or sit down to a 3-course meal at a fancy restaurant, you'll love exploring New Orleans. While Crescent City is best known for its massive Mardi Gras celebrations and other epic New Orleans festivals, it's also a paradise for food lovers.