Dig Into New Orleans' Diverse Cuisine
A Local Food Lover’s Guide to the Big Easy
by Amy Mutscher
In addition to being a popular bachelor party destination, New Orleans hosts several major events throughout the year, such as Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, drawing thousands of revelers from around the world. But the big star of this southern city is its food, and they take it very seriously here. You can dine at the finest tables with white-glove service, or you can hit up a crawfish boil and eat with your hands. The people of Louisiana love food – it’s their favorite topic of conversation, other than politics and LSU football. To prepare you for your trip to the Big Easy, Vacation has a few tips on ordering all the right food in all the best places during your visit. Bon appétite!
Go Upscale in Uptown
The city New Orleans follows the undulating Mississippi River and divides itself into Uptown and Downtown – where you’ll find the French Quarter. Uptown is home to Tulane University and a parade of stately Southern homes along St. Charles Avenue. The Queen Mother of uptown dining is Commander’s Palace, and it does Jazz Brunch better than any other restaurant on earth. Book your table and come ready to indulge in Turtle Soup and Bread Pudding Soufflé accompanied by a Bloody Mary while listening to Dixieland Jazz. It’s customary to dress up for your visit to Commander’s – men will feel more comfortable wearing a sport coat and tie.
... indulge in the turtle soup and bread pudding soufflé accompanied by a Bloody Mary while listening to Dixieland Jazz.
Get Your Po-Boy Dressed
The Po-Boy sandwich was invented during the Depression when hungry young men, known as “poor boys” were on strike against the streetcar transit system. Local bakeries sympathetic to the cause would feed strikers hearty sandwiches made of French bread filled with roast beef. Today’s Po-Boy menus usually offer fried shrimp or fried oysters in addition to the traditional roast beef with gravy. When ordering at a local joint like Domilise’s, you’ll specify if you want it “dressed” – which means you want it topped with lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. The best po-boys in New Orleans have one thing in common - Leidenheimer bread, baked locally since 1896.
Book at Besh or Brennan
The New Orleans restaurant landscape is filled with talented chefs, but homage must be paid to the efforts of the ever-expanding Brennan family and chef John Besh – a local legend in the culinary arts. The John Besh Foundation gets down in the trenches doing charitable work on behalf of the city and the residents love him in return. His portfolio of restaurants includes August for fine-dining, Willa Jean for casual brunch, and all the food offerings at the newly-renovated Pontchartrain Hotel. The Brennan family is the backbone of New Orleans cuisine. Ralph, Dickie, Ella and their kin have given us The Palace Café, NOLA, Brennan’s and Mr. B’s Bistro – in addition to Commander’s Palace discussed above! Treat yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner in a Besh's or Brennan’s establishment, where you will experience to savor taste of a distinctive New Orleans meal.
Treat yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner in a Besh's or Brennan's establishment, where you will experience the savory taste of a distinctive New Orleans meal.
Try These Classic Cocktails
Perhaps the most famous cocktail in New Orleans is the Hurricane, invented at the renowned Pat O’Brien’s bar in the French Quarter. The sweet fruity rum drink can be sampled in many other bars across town, but ordering the original version at Pat O’s while seated in the open-air courtyard is a must-do. But just order one, or you’ll regret it. The other classic New Orleans cocktail is the Brandy or Bourbon Milk Punch. Typically served with brunch, the milk punch is a spiked milkshake that can start your day off right!
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an amazing trip to experience the deliciously diverse cuisine in New Orleans? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your next vacay.