A Visitor’s Guide to New Orleans: Where to Eat!

As a former resident and now frequent visitor of the great city of New Orleans, there are certain places on my “must” list every time I am in town. This is the food that I crave and can only find in New Orleans. Traveling to New Orleans is almost always about the food – so little time, so much good food. There are plenty of contemporary restaurants that I am sure offer up wonderful fare, but there are great restaurants of their ilk all over the country. These are the spots that are to me, one hundred percent New Orleans:


Cafe’ du Monde
Located on Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, you can’t visit New Orleans without a stop at Cafe’ du Monde for their world famous beignets. Piping hot, they come in groups of three. Beignets are best eaten leaning forwarded to avoid leaving covered in the powdery sugar goodness that accompanies them. If the weather isn’t too warm, cafe’ au lait (chicory coffee with hot milk) is the perfect pairing – you can ordered it iced if you aren’t up for a hot beverage. This is a popular place and you may have to wait for a table, so hone you eagle eye and watch for someone getting ready to leave (no waiting list and pagers here!).

You will want to plan on skipping lunch if you go to Brennan’s for breakfast. Opt for their prix fixe three course breakfast – an absolute one of a kind indulgence. My personal favorite choices are the New Orleans Turtle Soup, Eggs Hussarde (Brennan’s original twist on Eggs Benedict) and of course, of course, Banana Foster. Banana Foster was created at Brennan’s and it is still prepared tableside. Not to be missed. Have a Brandy Milk Punch with your breakfast; after all, you are in New Orleans!


Central Grocery
Central Grocery is THE place to go for a muffuletta (round sandwich loaded with Italian meats, cheese and olive salad). Don’t even think about getting a whole muffuletta for yourself – you will be doing well if you can manage to finish a half! These sandwiches are meant for sharing, or saving the rest for a late night snack (so good you’ll find yourself wishing you still had some left for breakfast!).

Located in the Central Business District, you can walk here from the French Quarter, and you’ll be up for the exercise you get walking back after eating lunch at Mother’s. Their Ferdi and Debris po’ boys are the best – literally dripping with flavor. After waiting in line, you order at the counter and then find a seat. Don’t even think about having a member of your group try to snag a table before you order – a waitress will not so kindly let you know this is not how it is done (all part of the experience that is Mother’s).

Acme Oyster House
Hard to imagine what you might eat here, hmmm . . . Oysters? No doubt! Start off with a dozen raw oysters (with horseradish and a litte cocktail sauce), slurp! Then it is on to a fried oyster po’ boy, crunchy and delicious. Watch ‘em shuck ‘em while you eat!


Commander’s Palace
This turquoise Victorian in the heart of The Garden District has been around since the early 1880’s. The distinguished characters that have passed through its doorways, both the dining room and the kitchen, are too numerous to begin naming. Dinner at Commander’s is always special, the food, both Creole and American, as well as the service and ambience, are unmatched. If you have only one special night out, Commander’s Palace is an excellent choice.

Gumbo Shop
I can’t say I’ve been going to the Gumbo Shop for years (I actually discovered it on our most recent visit), nor can I tell you it has a long colorful history. However if you want to try a great sampling of traditional, well done, New Orleans Creole food, this is a great place to eat. Not only do they have a variety of tasty gumbo, they also boast top notch red beans and rice, jambalaya and crawfish etouffee. You can order a combination platter and try three of these wonderful dishes in one meal!

Note: Middendorf’s is NOT in New Orleans. It is, in fact, about a 45 minute scenic through the bayou until you find yourself at what you may think is the middle of nowhere. However this nowhere is the place you will find, hands down, the most wonderful thin-fried catfish ever. Paired with golden hush puppies and creamy cole slaw it is nothing short of food heaven. If you have a car, and are up for a drive, Middendorf’s is not to be missed.

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