New Orleans and Southern Louisiana are known for their fantastic food.
There are so many unique dishes and desserts to eat in New Orleans invented or perfected down here that you could spend a whole trip just eating and barely scratch the surface of all these delicious foods.
New Orleans Cuisine is a blend of Creole classics, Cajun cuisines, and French influences with many different seafood dishes, meats, and southern delicacies that will make your mouth water.
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If you had to pick one place in the United States to live out your final food wishes- New Orleans is the perfect place.
Not only do New Orleanians have an extensive list of cuisines to fill your brunch, lunch, and dinner slots, but there is a wide range of New Orleans Cocktails that will make you come back to this city time and time again to taste everything.
The best way to enjoy the Big Easy is to try all the delicious foods on this list.
Feel free to bookmark to pin this blog post if this is your first visit to New Orleans.
Start scratching off some of the famous dishes from this list and plan when your next culinary trip to Crescent City.
The ABCs of New Orleans Food Bucket List
The ultimate New Orleans Food Bucket list has to be written by a New Orleans native (that’s me) and will tell you the best spots to grab a bite to eat in New Orleans.
A self-proclaimed New Orleans Foodie, I am so glad you found this list! We will go over the ABCs of New Orleans Food and Desserts.
Now let’s see some places to eat in New Orleans.
Even though Andouille is thought to have originated in France or Germany, it is a mainstay in many New Orleans and Louisiana Cajun dishes.
I’m not going to ruin this treat by discussing how the Sausage is made, but Andouille is smoked pork sausage.
Andouille is typically found in Gumbo and Jambalaya, but you can also pick some up at the grocery store to cook your dishes at home.
My family likes to use Veron Andouille smoked Sausage in dishes.
Where to get Andouille: Andouille is usually found in Gumbo and Jambalaya. If you want to go on a road trip, go to LaPlace to get Andouille from Jacob’s World Famous Andouille or Bailey’s Andouille.
2. Barbeque Shrimp
Bbq shrimp in the 1950s, Pascal’s Manale invented barbecue shrimp after a patron told him about a delicious dish from a business trip in Chicago that used shrimp butter and pepper.
Oh – you thought BBQ shrimp was cooked like regular barbeque. You are mistaken.
Barbeque Shrimp is traditionally Gulf Shrimp, sauteed with butter, cream, creole seasoning, black pepper, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, white wine, garlic, and hot sauce.
It is served with French Bread for dipping. Don’t be freaked out when you order Barbeque shrimp; the heads are still on.
Where to get BBQ Shrimp: You can always try BarBeque Shirmp from the restaurant that invented it – Pascale Manale’s or you can try it from Mr. B’s Bistro.
3. Bananas Foster
Bananas Foster should be on the list if there is room for dessert.
This delicious dish is made with bananas, vanilla ice cream, and sauce (made of brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liquor).
The sauce is cooked with bananas, and once the dish is ready, alcohol is added.
Boom, the dessert is set on fire!
The best thing about this dessert is that it is simple to make, is delicious, and always is a show stopper at a restaurant.
Restaurants to try Bananas Foster: Brennan’s invented Banana Foster in 1951, so if you are having brunch or dinner in the French Quarter – you must get the original Bananas, Foster.
4. Baked Alaska
Baked Alaska has a confusing history. Some say it was invented in New York City, but others will say it was developed at Antoine’s right here in New Orleans! Either way, this dessert is delicious.
Baked Alaska is a sponge cake topped with ice cream encased in meringue and baked until browned.
Due to the insulation of the meringue, the ice cream inside does not melt!
Restaurants to try Baked Alaska: You have to get Baked Alaska at Antoine’s! Make sure as soon as you sit down. You put your order in for it because it sells out very quickly!
A Beignet is a deep-fried square donut covered with powdered sugar. It is similar to some styles of Sufganiyot.
Traditional Beignets are light and fluffy with no filling, but I’ve recently had stuffed beignets, savory beignets (like crab beignets), and even glazed ones.
Beignets are best paired with a cafe au lait. Did you know that New Orleans has a Beignet Fest?
You can try some of the city’s best beignets without traveling too far!
Restaurants to try Beignets: People are so picky about their beignets. My favorite places to eat beignets are Cafe du Monde (Also located in City Park!) or Cafe Beignet – one of the cutest instgrammable places in New Orleans.
If you are looking for the glazed beignet, you must head to Metairie or the Westbank and get one from Antoine’s – a local favorite.
6. Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce
Even though bread pudding was not invented in New Orleans, it does have a delicious past.
Bread pudding is historically a poor person’s dish because it is a tasty way to eat leftover slices of bread.
The dessert uses layers of bread, eggs, sugar, milk, and spices.
Restaurants to try Bread Pudding: Bread Pudding can be found at many traditional New Orleans Restaurants.
If you want to eat Bread Pudding for breakfast, look no further than the White Chocolate Bread Pudding at The Ruby Slipper.
7. Berry Chantilly Cake
Berry Chantilly cake is a New Orleans staple for birthdays and other celebrations.
Chaya Conrad, the owner of Bywater Bakery, invited the cake when she was a baker at the Arabella Station Whole Foods.
Once she left Whole Foods, she brought the recipe to Rouses, renaming it a Berry Gentilly Lace Cake.
Finally, when she opened her bakery in the Bywater in 2017, she brought the Berry Chantilly Cake and a season Chantilly King Cake.
Restaurants to try Berry Chantilly: Whole Foods, Rouses, or Bywater Bakery are the best places to eat a slice (or whole cake) of Berry Chantilly!
8. Chargrilled Oysters
Chargrilled, also known as Charbroiled, Oysters are a delicacy in New Orleans.
From the finest establishments to your casual eateries, you can find this delicious garlic butter and Parmesan treat in many of the best restaurants in New Orleans.
Make sure you order a dozen or so because it is hard to stop after one!
Where to get Chargrilled Oysters – Everyone will tell you to get oysters (fresh, Chargrilled, etc.) at Acme Oyster House or Felix’s. Right off of Bourbon Street.
But if you want to try Chargrilled Oysters somewhere else, head over to Dragos in Metairie or Katie’s in Mid-City for the delicious buttery treat. While eating Chargrilled Oysters, try the Raw Oysters for comparison.
9. Cochon De Lait
Cochon De Lait means suckling pig, and even though it is not reserved for just New Orleans, Cochon De Lait is something that you need to get.
Typically served as a Poboy, Cochon De Lait is so well loved that there is an entire festival – Hogs for the Cause where you can eat all the pork and Cochon De Lait to your heart’s desire.
Where to get Cochon De Lait: The best place to get Cochon de Lait is at a small New Orleans Jazz Fest booth.
If you are not in town during Jazz Fest, you can take a short trip to New Orleans East to visit walker’s Southern Style BBQ to try the original Cochon De Lait, poor boy.
If a short road trip is not in your future, make sure you head over to Cochon Butcher in the Warehouse District, where you can get a delicious Cochon Muffaletta.
Boiled Crawfish, Crawfish pasta, Crawfishbread. When Crawfish are in season, New Orleans and Louisiana go crazy over this little mudbug!
For those who do not know what a crawfish is… they are a freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster but is way smaller.
Crawfish are usually boiled, but my favorite way to eat them is in a pasta dish.
Where to get boiled Crawfish: I honestly think boiled Crawfish is best eaten at home – with a group of friends and family at crawfish boils!
But if you want to get Crawfish while you are out and about, stopping by one of the breweries or bars for Crawfish is your best bet.
Ok, yes, this is technically a cocktail, but Daiquiris are a right of passage, there are many other classic cocktails to try while in New Orleans, but the ability to go through a drive-through Daquiri shop is the best.
Daquiris are typically frozen and are the perfect way to cool down on a warm summer day.
Where to get a Daquiri in New Orleans: If you haven’t experienced a drive-through daiquiri, you must! I typically go to New Orleans Original Daquiris and get a 190 Octane.
Yes, it will knock you on your butt.
Once you get over the initial shock of being able to drive through and pick up a cocktail – my classier suggestion is to go to Bourre for one of their daiquiris. During the Mardi Gras season, they even have a King Cake Flavor!
12. Doberge Cake
Doberge (DOH-bash) cake is a layered cake with deep New Orleans roots. It is made up of multiple thin layers of cake alternating with pudding.
Traditionally, a cake is made up of half chocolate and half lemon. The icing – one of my favorite parts – is a thin layer of buttercream and fondant shell.
The whole cake has at least six layers alternating between cake and pudding.
I also love getting a real chocolate Doberge from Maurcies French Pastry in Metairie. You can also get a Chocolate Doberege petite four from Maurices.
Crawfish étouffée is one of my favorite ways to eat Crawfish. It reminds me of growing up in the 90s when my mom would make it for Sunday dinner.
The dish is similar to a stew with roux, Holy Trinity (onion, celery, bell pepper), garlic, and hot sauce. Etouffee could be made with shrimp or Crawfish, but I prefer Crawfish.
That stew is poured over white rice, but it is typically eaten with a fork because it is thicker than gumbo.
Have you seen this episode of the Simpsons?
14. Fried Chicken
Fried chicken is a staple in New Orleans.
One of my favorite Mardi Gras memories was when my friends pulled up to the parade route with 100 pieces of Fried Chicken.
We love Fried Chicken so much that there is the annual Fried Chicken Festival each fall.
You can get fried chicken in many ways: on a salad, on chicken wings, on a sandwich, or just plain old fried chicken.
Where to eat fried chicken: Popeyeys aside (and yes, it tastes better in New Orleans), there are so many restaurants where you can grab the best-fried chicken.
My favorite places to eat fried chicken would be Willie Mae’s Scotch House or Jacques-Imos. Both of these restaurants serve up some of the best-fried chicken.
Gumbo is a Louisiana local cuisine that could be considered a soup or a stew, but it is much more.
Cooked separately from the rice or potato salad base, gumbo traditionally comes in two different varieties chicken and andouille or seafood gumbo.
At the first sign of the winter season, it is easy to hear locals get excited about gumbo season.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to skip a big meal and have my mom’s delicious gumbo.
Where to get a cup of Gumbo: Nothing is better than homemade gumbo, but if you are out and about, check a bowl of gumbo from High Hat Cafe on Freret Street.
16. Gumbo z’Herbes
Gumbo z’Herbes is a meatless dish traditionally eaten the Thursday before Easter.
Gumbo z’Herbes is a spin-off of gumbo but without meat. It is a delicious soup with herbs that you can only get once a year.
Where to get Gumbo z’Herbes: The best and possibly only place to get this dish is from Dooky Chase. You are in good company if you can get a spot at Dooky Chase to taste the Gumbo z’Herbes.
Hushpuppies are a delicious guilty pleasure of mine. No lies.
Hushpuppies got their name during the war because the Confederate soldiers were preparing food and heard Union soldiers nearby.
They quickly died cornmeal cakes and threw them to the puppies to hush them up. The golf ball-sized delicacy is perfectly paired with fried fish.
The small balls of cornmeal cakes are a perfect accompaniment to fried catfish.
Where to get Hushpuppies: My favorite place is Middendorf’s Restaurant out in Manchac or Slidell, but the Hushpuppies from High Hat Cafe are deep-fried balls of goodness.
Jambalaya is different than gumbo because it is not in a soup form but an actual rice dish.
Jambalaya is the best dish my mom makes. We do a chicken and andouille jambalaya, and y’all should come over and try some.
My Favorite way to eat Jambalaya is at home, with a heaping side of broccoli.
Where to get Jambalaya: If you can find a local who is dishing up Jambalaya, good for you! I usually skip the mixes you can find in stores or the people serving it up at a festival because the Jambalaya is generally not good.
There are a few places where you can get Jambalaya, but I would try to get it from Coops Place – even though they have untraditional Rabbit in their recipe.
19. King Cake
One of my favorite seasonal Mardi Gras treats a delicious purple, green, and gold king cake!
Even with traditional king cakes, you have your variants of white icing, only sugar icing, brioche king cakes, and king cakes with more cinnamon in them.
Restaurants to try king cake: I have an entire list of all the delicious King Cakes I’ve tried over the years.
But if you are looking for Traditional King Cakes, my top two recommendations are Haydel’s Bakery in Harahan and Antoine’s Bakery in Metairie and the Westbank.
20. Mile High Pie
Mile-high Pie is one of the desserts on this list; you do not have much choice on where to get it.
It would help if you went to the Ponchatrain Hotel for this delicious ice cream treat.
This dessert has been a part of the New Orleans landscape since the Caribbean room in the 1970s.
This instagrammable dessert comes with a little show of the server pouring chocolate sauce on top of the slice, so make sure to get your cameras out to take a video!
Restaurants to try Mile High Pie: You can get the Mile High Pie at The Pontchartrain Hotel and serve it at the Bayou Bar and Jack Rose.
A Muffuletta is made from Sicilian sesame bread that became famous by the Italian immigrants in New Orleans.
A muffuletta is made with cured meats (ham and salami), Provolone cheese, olive salad, and delicious Bread. Luckily one whole sandwich is big enough to split with 2-3 people.
Muffulettas are another one of my guilty pleasures that you must add to your New Orleans food Bucket list.
Where to get Muffulattas: Everyone will tell you to try a Muffuletta at Central Grocery – even though theirs are delicious – take a ride out to Metairie and grab a Muffuletta from Nor Joe’s.
If you are local or staying somewhere with an oven – ask for the Muffuletta cold and toast it in the oven for a real treat.
22. Oysters Rockefeller
Oysters Rockefeller consists of half-shell oysters, topped with a puree of green vegetables – that may include spinach-bread crumbs and baked or broiled. It is similar to Chargrilled Oysters but is different.
Oysters Rockefeller is coincidently named after John D. Rockefeller – one of the wealthiest men in America at the time.
Oysters Rockefeller, after fried oysters, is my favorite way to eat oysters.
Where to get Oysters Rockefeller – My favorite place to get Oysters Rockefeller is Antoine’s in the French Quarter. They claimed to make the Rockefeller sauce in 1899, but they are pretty tasting.
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It is a traditional sandwich made of delicious crisp French Bread and filled with fabulous fillings.
My favorite fillings are Roast Beef and gravy or Fried shrimp po boy. You have the best of both worlds if you can get a surf and turf (roast beef and fried shrimp).
You cannot leave New Orleans without trying a po’ boy. Po boys are one of my favorite meals to cook at home and to get while I am out and about.
Where to get Poboys – PoBoys can be found almost everywhere in New Orleans, but you should make the trip to
Parkway Bakery in Mid City or Killer PoBoys in the French Quarter. Both are delicious places to eat a poboy, fries, and a drink.
Pralines are a delicious treat made of straightforward ingredients, but for some good reason, we fail every time we try to make them at home.
Luckily we live in the praline capital of the world and can easily buy a few for any occasion.
Pralines are made with sugar, corn syrup, milk, butter, and pecan halves. Once you taste one, you will never be able to go back.
Where to get Pralines: My Favorite place to get pralines is Laura’s Candies. They have a few different flavors, including traditional, chocolate, and creamy.
My second favorite is Aunt Sally’s Pralines. A fun, cheap activity is to grab a bunch of pralines and try the different flavors and textures.
25. Red Beans and Rice
Red Beans and rice is a traditional Monday dish made by reusing the hambone left over from Sunday dinner.
The dish has Andouille sausage or pork sausage, lots of seasoning, and, of course, rice.
Red beans and rice is another staple in New Orleans, but you should only eat them on Monday.
Monday is typically the day for everyone to do their laundry – so they would be able to cook the red beans and simmer for a long time.
Where to get Red beans and rice – Again – Red Beans and Rice is a simple dish I would traditionally eat at home, but a few restaurants serve it.
You can go to Mother’s Restaurant or Cafe Reconcile if you want Monday only Red Beans and Rice.
If you want to go a non-traditional route, Joey K’s, on Magazine Street, offers daily red beans and rice.
26. Roman Candy
Roman Candy is taffy that you can get from a guy on the side of the road. Seriously!
He is usually found around the St Charles area – but has been seen downtown and even in the suburbs!
My favorite thing about grabbing a stick is being able to see the adorable mule.
Romany Candy comes in three flavors: Strawberry, Chocolate, and vanilla.
Where to get Roman Candy Of course, where to get Roman Candy: From the Romany Candy Man!
27. Shrimp Remoulade
Shrimp Remoulade is a delicious delicacy eaten typically as a salad or dipping shrimp into a sauce.
The remoulade sauce is similar to the tarter sauce and brings together mayonnaise, herb, pickles, and capers.
You can also get Shrimp Remoulade on a poboy with fried green tomatoes – one of my favorite ways to eat it!
Restaurants to try Shrimp remoulade – Shrimp Remoulade from Commander’s palace is my favorite when it is on the menu.
You can also find it on the menu at Brigtsen’s Restaurant or Clancys – two delicious local favorites.
Probably the simplest dessert on the whole list is a snowball! Available from March – October, snowballs are one of the best and cheapest ways to cool down in the city.
Snowballs are compromised of super soft shaved ice, sugar water, and flavoring.
There are also cream flavors and toppings to make your snowball even more decadent! If you are on the fence about what flavors to get, Strawberry, Chocolate, and Cream Ice cream flavors are always safe bets.
If you are traveling to New Orleans with kids, get a rainbow flavor with Strawberry, Ice Cream, and bubble gum!
Where to get snowballs: Hansen’s, Pandora’s, and Caseys’ Snowballs are some of my favorite places. A Snowball during the summer is bound to be delicious.
My favorites from this list include beignets, chocolate doberge cake, and king cake!
29. Softshell Crab
Softshell crab is when a blue crab gets too big for its crab, and its shell has become soft. The season is relatively short and coincides with early May’s Jazz Fest.
The best way to eat SoftShell Crab is on a fried platter or fried in a poboy.
Restaurants to try Softshell crab The best place to get a Softshell Crab is Jazz Fest, which comes in a poboy.
If you are not here during Jazz Fest, head to the border of Metairie and New Orleans and grab yourself a delicious Softshell crab dish from Station 6.
30. Thin Fried Catfish
Fried catfish can come in one of two ways, thin or thick. Many people in New Orleans like their catfish fried thin because, well, it is delicious.
Fried catfish is one of the few fish I eat, and I always get it thinly fried. I typically go on a road trip to get some of the best-Fried Catfish around.
Restaurants to try Thin fried catfish The best place for thin-fried catfish is Mindendorfs which is outside New Orleans. They are famous for their thin fried catfish!
But if a road trip is not in your future, Barrow’s Catfish or Mandina’s Restaurant are the perfect places to eat a platter of Fried Catfish.
Yakamein is typically found at festivals, corner grocery stores, and events – Yakamein is a salty dish in a beef broth with large noodles and an egg.
If you ever have a hangover in New Orleans – find yourself some Yakamein. Yakamein, also known as Old Sober – is the only New Orleans hangover cure.
Restaurants to try Yakamein – the only good place to get Yakamein is wherever Mrs. Linda serves her Yakaemin. I’ve only been able to get her delicious Yakaemin at Festivals, but you can find her at French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest yearly.
New Orleans Foods you should try- I just don’t like them
Yes, there are some foods in New Orleans I do not care for. This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the cuisine or the restaurant – it is just my personal preference not to eat these foods.
That being said, if you are in New Orleans or Louisiana for the first time, you must try at least to taste some of the foods below – you might have more of an adventurous palate than me!
Something about eating Alligator turns me off. The only time I ate Alligator was pretty good, but I was tipsy at a festival. If you want to try Alligator, I suggest starting with an Alligator sausage at Dat Dog and then working your way to more exotic dishes.
Everyone goes crazy over Boudin, and our friends out west will tell you that good Boudin only comes from Lafayette. Either way, Boudin is sausages stuffed with pork and rice, but you can add other fillers like shrimp, Crawfish, or Alligator. I do prefer Boudin balls over just straight-up Boudin, and you can get those at Elizabeths in the Bywater or Jacques-Imo’s
34. Frog legs
Yup, this is another good thing that I refuse to eat. I will try to say I’m being noble, and I refuse to eat the only New Orleans Princess, Tiana, from the Princess and the Frog, but in reality, Frog legs are just something I cannot get behind.
35. Turtle soup
Turtle Soup is a New Orleans classic, but I cannot wrap my head around it to taste it. Turtle Soup is made with Snapping turtles and is in many high-end restaurants like Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace.
New Orleans Cuisine
After this extensively long list of New Orleans cuisine, you now need to make your foodie New Orleans bucket list and figure you what you want to try on your next trip.
If you are looking for my perfect place to eat for each meal, it would be.
Start the day with Brunch at Brennan’s, Where I would get the seafood gumbo, Eggs Sardou, A Brandy Milk Punch, and the World Famous Bananas Foter.
Head to Parkway Bakery to get a Hot Roast Beef With Gravy Poor Boy and Gravy Cheese Fries.
For Dinner, Go to Jack Rose and get the Fried Green Tomato and Crab plus the Pork Belly Shareables, The fried chicken Parmesean, an old-fashioned, and the Mile High Pie.
For a snack, I want to get a Snowball from Hansen’s snowbliz or beignets from the Four Seasons.
I would not be able to eat that all in one day, but you get the point.
New Orleans is known as a city that loves to eat. No matter what you plan to do in New Orleans, you are bound to dine in a few of New Orleans’s finest restaurants and finish off those delicious meals with distinctive historical flavors of New Orleans.