This post is solely dedicated to classic New Orleans restaurant recommendations, but if you’re looking for something that’s more all-encompassing, check out my Winter Weekend in New Orleans Travel Guide post.
When people think of New Orleans, their mind usually goes one of two ways. They envision revelers wearing beads, wandering down Bourbon Street, hurricane in hand, or they think of genteel old Southerners dressed in their Saturday evening finest, sitting down to a formal dinner at a white tablecloth establishment. Two polar opposites of the same coin.
And, while there are, of course, more hip and trendy establishments popping up, that doesn’t mean you should count out the old school traditions. As an East Coaster who married into a family that loves New Orleans and goes at least once a year, I’ve begun to understand the appeal and, after a few trips, it’s time to share a few of my favorite classic New Orleans restaurants.
I’ve also written before on Iconic Southern Restaurants for StyleBlueprint, so check that out if you’re interested in old school experiences!
Classic New Orleans Restaurant Recommendations
Bayona | 430 Dauphine St.
For over 35 years, this classic restaurant may serve dishes drawing inspiration from across the world, but my favorite item on the menu is a simple soup. Their creamy garlic soup is something I still dream about.
Order the garlic soup, duh.
Brennan’s | 417 Royal St.
A pink building with flash green and white awnings, Brennan’s is as colorfully vibrant inside as out. This is where you put on your fanciest hat and brunch on a Tuesday with the ladies who lunch.
Order the milk punch and the bananas foster.
Commander’s Palace | 1403 Washington Avenue
Go for the Jazz Brunch. You’ll encounter just as many regulars as tourists in this light filled, bright spot in the Garden District that prides itself on Haute Creole Cuisine.
Order the turtle soup and the creole gumbo.
Emeril’s | 800 Tchoupitoulas St.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for a celebrity-chef owned restaurant, but this blew me away. We sat at the chef’s table overlooking the counter and every dish was rich, indulgent, and delicious.
Order the chocolate soufflé.
Galatoire’s Restaurant | 209 Bourbon Street
Enter through the doors of Galatoire’s and it’s as if you’ve left the wild world of Bourbon Street for a refined, sophisticated dining experience. Decadent, creamy seafood is what they do best.
Order the shrimp remoulade and crab au gratin.
Mr. B’s Bistro | 201 Royal Street
Mr. B’s is a lively, unassuming restaurant that draws a hungry brunch crowd with a more casual vibe. The cocktails go down easy, so it’s a good thing the food is good.
Order the barbecued shrimp, gumbo, and an orange julius.
A New Orleans Mini Photo Dump
And, because I don’t have photos of many of my New Orleans meals from this trip — a casualty of traveling with family purely for pleasure, not for blogging — here are a few favorite iPhone photos that I snapped on my trip.