New Orleans is a Travel Foodie’s Heaven!
Recently, I took a Caribbean Cruise that was scheduled to sail from New Orleans, Louisiana. Candidly, I was as excited about New Orleans as I was the Caribbean Cruise! I scheduled my arrival a few days early so I could spend some time in the French Quarter. Being a dedicated Travel Foodie I simply could not wait to visit my favorite local restaurants.
For most of you, the mere mention of New Orleans is likely to conjure up images of rowdy Mardi Gras festivities. Travel foodies like myself however, envision all the mouth watering dining experiences that await. The town of New Orleans offers culinary experiences unlike any other due to a confluence of events through history leading to its unique blend of flavors and style. Most notably, classic French dishes are fused together with ingredients and techniques that are popular in the South and together they form that Cajun / Creole cuisine we all love. This collision of cultures, influences and history creates distinct menu options that are incredible. From savory Cajun entrees and sweet French pastries to spicy seafood and refreshing cocktails, New Orleans is truly a paradise for taste buds. With this seemingly endless array of extraordinary dishes, the most difficult part of visiting New Orleans as a food lover proves to be simply deciding which historic café, pub or traditional eatery to visit first. Here is a list in no particular order of a few of my favorite restaurants and watering holes in New Orleans:
Café Du Monde
Whether I’m in search of a sweet Beignet, New Orleans’s signature pastry, or a delectable pick-me-up in the form of chicory coffee, Café Du Monde is my go-to café. If you visit New Orleans, you must stop by Café Du Monde. The traditional coffee shop has been in the same location since 1862, making it an excellent place to take in some of the town’s history while I’m enjoying the best cup of joe and pastries in town.
Brennan’s is an upscale restaurant that has been prominent in New Orleans since 1946. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with scrumptious mixed drinks. When I want to fully embrace the diverse cuisine of New Orleans, I opt for the turtle soup for breakfast or a seafood file gumbo for lunch. For dinner, I find that I cannot go wrong with the octopus or BBQ lobster dishes. Along with my main entrée, I am always sure to include a traditional French 417 cocktail. The lemon juice, pomegranate liqueur and sparkling wine serve in the cocktail serve as a wonderful palate cleanser after I indulge in my favorite, spicy, creole dishes.
Acme Oyster House
Another historic eatery in New Orleans’s, Acme Oyster House has been a staple in the French Quarter since 1910. Best known for their fresh hand-shucked and chargrilled oysters, the restaurant also offers a huge selection of New Orleans’s Cajun style dishes. From jambalaya to po-boy sandwiches, I am always delighted that Acme Oyster House delivers much more than delicious seafood.
Fritzel’s European Jazz Club
The oldest operating Jazz Club in New Orleans, Fritzel’s European Jazz Club provides live entertainment and alcoholic drinks. From traditional beers to one-of-a-kind sweet New Orleans’s style cocktails, I always have an unforgettable time at Fritzel’s. With the club’s rich history, it almost feels as if I am traveling back in time to the 1940s as I sip my specialty old fashioned cocktail and take in the hypnotic jazz melodies.
Galatoire’s is a historic establishment as a continuously running restaurant since 1905. It is located right in the heart of the French Quarter on Bourbon Street . Offering traditional Creole cuisine The Stuffed Peppers and Grilled Lemon Fish are legendary. Also visit the sister restaurant next door Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steakhouse
For 176 years, Antoine’s Restaurant has remained one of the greatest and most celebrated restaurants in New Orleans. Located in the French Quarter, Antoine’s has hosted VIP guests that hail from across the globe. With 14 different dining rooms, I am pleasantly surprised by the unique décor each time I visit. The five-star quality of the French Creole cuisine, however, is always the same. Classic Louisiana Gulf oysters, Escargots a la Bordelaise and the original Rockefeller sauce are some of my favorite New Orleans-style dishes offered at Antoine’s Restaurant, though I have discovered that there is simply no wrong choice when dining at this fine establishment.
The Steak Pit
A list of New Orleans venues would not be complete without The Steak Pit. The restaurant and bar is famous for its Bourbon Street hawkers waving large signs “Huge Ass Beers” with an arrow pointing to the front door. The venue offers an assortment of your favorite cocktails and beers plus a few New Orleans style pub grub including steaks, burgers, sweet potato fries and crawdads.
The Jazz Playhouse located in the lobby of the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street is home to some of the best Live Jazz in New Orleans. This incredible venue offers a great atmosphere to sip your favorite cocktails and nibble on incredible appetizers.
The Spotted Cat
The Spotted Cat Jazz Club is located on Frenchman Street a block east of the end of Bourbon Street. The club is known for schedule multiple jazz bands per day. While not really an eating establishment, patrons will enjoy true New Orleans atmosphere and ambiance.
If you have a favorite New Orleans restaurant or establishment, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.