The 10 Best Restaurants in New Orleans

New Orleans is a vibrant mix of cultures and cuisines, providing a range of memorable dining experiences that highlight its rich food traditions. From classic Creole meals to creative Cajun dishes, each restaurant on this list offers a unique flavor of the city’s varied culinary scene.

Here are the top ten must-visit restaurants in New Orleans, perfect for both serious food lovers and those who just want to enjoy a taste of the Big Easy.

Commander’s Palace

Commander’s Palace, nestled in the Garden District, is more than a restaurant; it’s a landmark. Housed in a striking turquoise and white Victorian building, it has been offering high-end Creole cuisine since 1893. The menu features classic dishes like turtle soup and Creole Bread Pudding Souffle, each a tribute to New Orleans’ rich culinary heritage.

Beyond its exquisite dishes, Commander’s Palace is celebrated for its exceptional service and warm Southern hospitality. The atmosphere, characterized by the soft clinking of glasses and the murmur of well-dressed guests, enhances the luxurious dining experience. With a steadfast dedication to culinary excellence, Commander’s Palace stands as a pillar of New Orleans’ fine dining scene, making it an essential stop for anyone who values the artistry of cuisine.

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in Treme is more than just a dining spot; it has been a key meeting place for jazz musicians and civil rights activists. Led by Chef Leah Chase, the restaurant offers a menu rich with perfected classics like gumbo and fried chicken. The walls are adorned with African American art, enriching the dining experience with cultural depth and making every meal a journey through history.

A visit to Dooky Chase’s feels like joining a warm, lively family gathering. The lunch buffet is especially renowned, featuring a variety of local favorites from red beans and rice to Creole chicken. Each dish captures the essence of New Orleans, presented by a restaurant that remains true to its roots and celebrates the community’s vibrant culture.

Brennan’s Restaurant

Brennan’s Restaurant in the French Quarter, known as the birthplace of Bananas Foster, offers a luxurious dining experience. Situated in a striking pink building on Royal Street, Brennan’s charms diners with its elegant courtyard and tableside flaming desserts that dazzle as much as they delight. Here, guests can savor classic Creole dishes under the cool shade of an ancient oak, adding a touch of grandeur to each meal.

Starting the day at Brennan’s features opulent breakfasts that include specialties like Eggs Hussarde and their famous Bananas Foster. The restaurant’s rich history and dedication to culinary excellence combine to create a dining experience that captures the essence of New Orleans. This blend of traditional charm and contemporary flair ensures that a meal at Brennan’s is both a celebration of the past and a toast to the present.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Willie Mae’s Scotch House in Treme turns fried chicken into a masterpiece. Celebrated as America’s best fried chicken by numerous critics, the restaurant boasts a long-standing recipe that delivers irresistibly crispy skin and succulent meat. It’s a culinary experience that’s unmatched in the Deep South.

Despite challenges like Hurricane Katrina, Willie Mae’s has remained a beloved culinary icon. The restaurant’s atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly, focused entirely on serving comforting, satisfying meals. For anyone seeking authentic, well-crafted Southern cuisine, a visit to Willie Mae’s is a must when in New Orleans.

Galatoire’s

Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street offers a nostalgic dining experience, echoing the days when dining out was a grand affair. Adhering to a dress code that complements its classic ambiance, the restaurant serves French-Creole specialties such as Trout Meuniere and Crabmeat Yvonne, each dish paying homage to New Orleans’ European culinary influences.

The restaurant is especially famous for its Friday lunches, which are lively gatherings that often extend into the evening. Galatoire’s is more than just a place to eat; it’s where people come to celebrate significant occasions, close business deals, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere that epitomizes New Orleans. Dining here offers a taste of tradition and a slice of the city’s spirited life.

Cafe du Monde

No visit to New Orleans is complete without stopping by Cafe du Monde in the French  Market. Known globally for its beignets and café au lait, this iconic coffee stand has been serving up sweet delights since 1862. The bustling atmosphere and the powdered sugar that seems to dust everything in sight create a playful vibe that contrasts with the historical seriousness of its surroundings.

Cafe du Monde is a 24-hour gateway to the essence of New Orleans’ café culture, offering a simple yet utterly perfect menu that has stood the test of time. Whether it’s 3 PM or 3 AM, the promise of warm, sugary beignets and robust coffee draws both locals and tourists to indulge in one of the city’s simplest pleasures.

Coop’s Place

Coop’s Place in the French Quarter has evolved from a local dive bar into a top destination for food lovers. Famous for its bold dishes like rabbit jambalaya and spicy Cajun gumbo, the restaurant’s simple decor and straightforward service enhance its authentic vibe. The hearty flavors perfectly capture the essence of a classic dive-bar experience.

Despite its popularity and the crowds that come with it, Coop’s Place continues to offer a genuine taste of New Orleans. The food provides comforting, hearty flavors that resonate like a warm hug. It’s a place that embodies the city’s lively spirit through its menu, making it a must-visit for those seeking the true, rustic flavors of New Orleans.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Parkway Bakery & Tavern embodies New Orleans’ deep affection for the po’boy sandwich. Established in 1911 in Mid-City, this beloved eatery serves up some of the city’s finest sandwiches in a timeless setting. Here, classics like the shrimp po’boy not only taste fantastic but also connect diners to the city’s rich history.

The tavern portion of Parkway brims with local beers and a vibrant, friendly atmosphere that captures the essence of New Orleans. It’s a welcoming spot where everyone from visiting dignitaries to neighborhood regulars can gather. Enjoying a sandwich here becomes more than just a meal—it’s a festive expression of local culture and community.

Antoine’s

Antoine’s holds the title of the oldest family-run restaurant in the United States and stands as a key preserver of New Orleans’ dining traditions. Located in the vibrant French Quarter, it’s renowned for creating Oysters Rockefeller and for a menu that showcases the best of Creole fine dining. Its extensive series of dining rooms, each filled with its unique tales, provides an intimate and celebratory dining environment.

Dining at Antoine’s is like watching a finely tuned theatrical performance, where tuxedo-clad waiters gracefully present dish after dish of sumptuous cuisine. This dining experience takes guests on a grand tour of New Orleans’ rich culinary heritage, offering a sophisticated service that pays homage to the restaurant’s historic legacy.

Mother’s Restaurant

Mother’s Restaurant, located in the Central Business District, offers a genuine taste of New Orleans’ home-style cooking in a straightforward setting. It’s famous for having the “World’s Best Baked Ham” and serves delicious po’boys packed with roast beef and debris—those savory bits left from roasting meat stewed into a hearty gravy.

Stepping into Mother’s feels like joining a lively family gathering where everyone is welcome. It’s a place to mingle with the locals, savor a fulfilling meal, and see for yourself why this eatery has been a cherished staple in New Orleans’ culinary world since 1938.

Each of these ten restaurants offers a unique slice of New Orleans’ culinary soul, serving up experiences that are as memorable as the city itself. Whether you’re seeking the refined, the historic, or the simply delicious, New Orleans’ best restaurants promise a gastronomic journey that’s deeply entwined with the rhythms and flavors of the city.