Best new restaurant

»1. Meril

424 Girod St., (504) 526-3745; www.emerilsrestaurants.com/meril

The newest addition to Emeril Lagasse's group of restaurants, Meril has served contemporary American cuisine in the Warehouse District since September. Despite the eatery's cavernous interior, warm lighting, exposed brick walls and parquet flooring make the space inviting, and the diverse small-plates menu is reminiscent of an indoor food truck fair. There are boudin-stuffed tamales, a fresh burrata salad and roasted lamb and pappardelle pasta flavored with saffron — just a few of the genre-bending menu items to tempt the taste buds. A daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. is an after-work treat for the CBD crowd and those on their way to or from New Orleans Saints home games at the Superdome.

2. Poke Loa

3341 Magazine St., (504) 309-9993; www.eatpokeloa.com

TIE: 3. DTB

8201 Oak St., Suite 1, (504) 518-6889; www.dtbnola.com

TIE: 3. Maypop

611 O'Keefe Ave., (504) 518-6345; www.maypoprestaurant.com

 

Best Kenner restaurant

»1. Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar

3201 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (504) 443-6454; www.fishermanscoveseafood.com

2. Kenner Seafood

3140 Loyola Drive, Kenner, (504) 466-4701; www.kennerseafood.net

3. Mr. Ed's Seafood & Italian Restaurant

910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, (504) 463-3030; www.mredsrestaurants.com

 

Best Metairie restaurant

»1. Drago's Seafood Restaurant

3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, (504) 888-9254; www.dragosrestaurant.com

2. Cafe B

2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, (504) 934-4700; www.cafeb.com

3. Austin's Seafood & Steakhouse

5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, (504) 888-5533; www.mredsrestaurants.com

 

Best New Orleans restaurant

»1. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave., (504) 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com

2. Shaya

4213 Magazine St., (504) 891-4213; www.shayarestaurant.com

3. Peche

800 Magazine St., (504) 522-1744; www.pecherestaurant.com

 

Best Northshore restaurant

»1. La Provence

25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, (985) 626-7662; www.laprovencerestaurant.com

2. The Chimes

19130 W. Front St., Covington, (985) 892-5396; www.thechimes.com/restaurants/3

3. Del Porto Ristorante

501 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 875-1006; www.delportoristorante.com

 

Best West Bank restaurant

»1. Hoa Hong Nine Roses

1100 Stephens St., Gretna, (504) 366-7665; www.nine- rosesrestaurant.com

2. Tan Dinh Restaurant

1705 Lafayette St., Gretna, (504) 361-8008

3. Mosca's Restaurant

4137 Highway 90, Westwego, (504) 436-8950; www.moscasrestaurant.com

 

Best burger restaurant

»1. The Company Burger

611 O'Keefe Ave., Suite C7, (504) 309-9422; 4600 Freret St., (504) 267-0320; www.thecompanyburger.com

2. Port of Call

838 Esplanade Ave., (504) 523-0120; www.portofcallnola.com

3. Cowbell

8801 Oak St., (504) 866-4222; www.cowbellnola.com

 

Best Chinese restaurant

»1. Five Happiness

3605 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 482-3935; www.fivehappiness.com

2. Red's Chinese

3048 St. Claude Ave., (504) 304-6030; www.redschinese.com

3. Ming Garden

1151 N. Broad St., (504) 482-2400

 

Best Italian restaurant

»1. Vincent's Italian Cuisine

4411 Chastant St., Metairie, (504) 885-2984; 7839 St. Charles Ave., (504) 866-9313; www.vincentsitaliancuisine.com

Dining at Vincent's is like pulling up a chair to the table in your Sicilian grandmother's kitchen. Don't have a Sicilian grandmother? No worries. With an extensive menu featuring seasonal produce and fresh Louisiana seafood, large portions of everything from tomato bruschetta with reduced balsamic vinegar to espresso-dusted tiramisu, more than 100 wines by the bottle and another 20 by the glass and the ambient sounds of Dino and Frank crooning 1960s love songs, you'll feel like a part of the famiglia by dessert.

2. Venezia Restaurant

134 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 488-7991; www.venezianeworleans.net

3. Italian Barrel

1240 Decatur St., (504) 569-0198; www.italianbarrel.com

 

Best Indian restaurant

»1. Nirvana

4308 Magazine St., (504) 894-9797; www.insidenirvana.com

It's possible to have a very formal meal at Nirvana, with deferential black-clad waiters whisking heavy dishes of saag paneer and tandoori chicken across the jewel-toned dining room where you sit in a sturdy gold-flecked chair. But it's much more fun to stop in for a casual weekday lunch, where the $11.50 buffet is still one of the better dining deals on Magazine Street. On the buffet, there's generally a nice mix of meat-centric and vegetarian options, with rotating offerings such as crowd-pleasing butter chicken, aloo palak (potatoes and spinach), pillowy naan and those crispy little Indian fried vegetables, and there's almost always rice pudding or mango custard for dessert. For the die-hard Indian food enthusiast, the restaurant also caters banquets and events in its Shalimar Room upstairs.

2. Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine

923 Metairie Road, Metairie, (504) 836-6859; www.tajnola.com

3. Saffron NOLA

4128 Magazine St., (504) 323-2626; www.saffronnola.com

 

Best Japanese restaurant

»1. Sake Cafe Uptown

2830 Magazine St., (504) 894-0033; www.sakecafeonmagazine.com

2. Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi

823 Fulton St., (504) 581-7253; 2913 Metairie Road, Metairie, (504) 267-9761; www.rocknsake.com

3. Shogun Japanese Restaurant

2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 833-7477; www.shogunneworleans.com

 

Best Latin American restaurant

»1. Mais Arepas

1200 Carondelet St., (504) 523-6247; www.facebook.com/maisarepas

2. Baru Bistro & Tapas

3700 Magazine St., (504) 895-2225; www.barutapas.com

3. Maya's Restaurant

2027 Magazine St., (504) 309-3401; www.mayasrestaurantnola.com

 

Best Middle Eastern restaurant

»1. Shaya

4213 Magazine St., New Orleans, (504) 891-4213; www.shayarestaurant.com

Two and a half years is enough time for people to get over the fact that one of New Orleans' best new restaurants of the last decade isn't dedicated to classic Creole or modern Louisiana food — it serves hummus, baba ganoush and pita, staples of nearly any neighborhood Middle Eastern joint. But Shaya is so much more: Persian rice studded with cherries; hummus topped with curried cauliflower bits and caramelized onions; and tabbouleh so mouthwateringly fresh it redefines what a dish of parsley can taste like. Combine all that with puffy pillows of hot pita bread straight out of the oven to your table, and by the time you're done, you'll have dozens of empty small plates in front of you. Last year, Shaya won the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America; this year, the restaurant's Zachary Engel won the Beard for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

2. Lebanon's Cafe

1500 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, (504) 862-6200; www.lebanonscafe.com

3. Mona's Cafe

504 Frenchmen St., (504) 949-4115; 3901 Banks St., (504) 482-7743; 4126 Magazine St., (504) 894-9800; www.monascafeanddeli.com

 

Best Mexican restaurant

»1. El Gato Negro

81 French Market Place, (504) 525-9752; 300 Harrison Ave., (504) 488-0107; 800 S. Peters St., (504) 309-8864; www.elgatonegronola.com

2. Juan's Flying Burrito

515 Baronne St., (504) 529-5825; 2018 Magazine St., (504) 569-0000; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 486-9950; 5538 Magazine St. (504) 897-4800; www.juansflyingburrito.com

3. Velvet Cactus

6300 Argonne Blvd., (504) 301-2083; www.thevelvetcactus.com

 

Best locally owned coffee house

»1. PJ's Coffee

Citywide; www.pjscoffee.com

2. French Truck Coffee

217 Chartres St., (504) 605-2899; 1200 Magazine St., (504) 298-1115; 4536 Dryades St., (504) 702-1900; www.frenchtruckcoffee.com

3. CC's Coffee House

Citywide; www.ccscoffee.com

 

Best place to get a sandwich

»1. Stein's Market & Deli

2207 Magazine St., (504) 527-0771; www.steinsdeli.net

As the surly, sleepy mayor of Magazine Street's deli domain, Dan Stein's titular shop has reigned as one of the best places to get a sandwich and one of the best delis for several years in the Best of New Orleans. Stein's sandwich selection is brimming with meats — in overstuffed Italian hoagies and Reubens and on its own specialty lineup with new classics like The Mumbler (prosciutto, Taleggio and arugula on ciabatta) — as well as daily specials and breakfast sandwiches. Inside Stein's you'll find cans of Cheez Whiz, shelves stocked with deli standards, several beer fridges that aren't playing around, and, if you're lucky, a piece of candy waiting for you at the register.

2. St. James Cheese Company

5004 Prytania St., (504) 899-4737; 641 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 304-1485; www.stjamescheese.com

3. Cochon Butcher

930 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 588-7675; www.cochonbutcher.com

 

Best restaurant for vegetarians/ vegans

»1. Seed

1330 Prytania St., (504) 302-2599; www.seedyourhealth.com

2. Carmo

527 Julia St., (504) 875-4132; www.cafecarmo.com

3. Sneaky Pickle

4017 St. Claude Ave., (504) 218-5651; www.yousneakypickle.com

 

Best steakhouse

»1. Ruth's Chris Steak House

Harrah's Hotel, 525 Fulton St., (504) 587-7099; 3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 888-3600; www.ruthschris.com

2. Mr. John's Steakhouse

2111 St. Charles Ave., (504) 679-7697; www.mrjohnssteakhouse.com

3. Crescent City Steakhouse

1001 N. Broad St., (504) 821-3271; www.crescentcitysteaks.com

 

Best seafood restaurant

»1. Peche

800 Magazine St., (504) 522-1744; www.pecherestaurant.com

2. GW Fins

808 Bienville St., (504) 581-3467; www.gwfins.com

3. Deanie's Seafood

841 Iberville St., (504) 581-1316; 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, (504) 831-4141; www.deanies.com

 

Best snowball stand

»1. Hansen's Sno-Bliz

4801 Tchoupitoulas St., (504) 891-9788; www.snobliz.com

2. Williams Plum Street Snowballs

1300 Burdette St., (504) 866-7996; www.plumstreetsnoball.com

3. Sal's Sno-Balls

1823 Metairie Ave., Metairie, (504) 666-1823

 

Best soul food restaurant

»1. Dooky Chase's Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave., (504) 821-0600; www.dookychaserestaurant.com

The lunch buffet at Dooky Chase may change a bit day to day, but diners usually can count on gold-standard red beans and rice, fried chicken, gumbo, lima or butter beans and whatever greens Leah Chase and her staff choose that morning — along with hot peach cobbler. There's also a more formal Friday dinner, but lunch is the time to go get filled up for about $20. And Chase's annual "green gumbo" lunch every Holy Thursday is one of the hardest tickets in town to get — but worth it. Call the restaurant to see when it'll be taking reservations for 2018.

2. Willie Mae's Scotch House

2401 St. Ann St., New Orleans, (504) 822-9503; www.williemaesnola.com

3. Neyow's Creole Cafe

3332 Bienville St., New Orleans, (504) 827-5474; www.neyows.com

 

Best Vietnamese restaurant

»1. Lilly's Cafe

1813 Magazine St., (504) 599-9999; www.facebook.com/lillyscafe

Pho real? Yes, pho real. This year, readers gave the cozy Lower Garden District cafe its first No. 1 spot on the BONO list. Meals at Lilly's often begin with plump and fresh spring rolls, followed with steaming bowls of restorative pho, grilled meats starring in banh mi and alongside bun bowls and rice plates with colorful vegetables — all washed down with strong and sweet Vietnamese iced coffee.

2. Pho Tau Bay

1565 Tulane Ave., (504) 368-9846; www.photaubayrestaurant.com

3. Pho Orchid

1401 Airline Drive, (504) 301-3368; 3117 Houma Blvd., (504) 457-4188; www.pho-orchid.com

 

Best Thai restaurant

»1. La Thai Uptown

4938 Prytania St., (504) 899-8886; www.lathaiuptown.com

2. Sukho Thai

2200 Royal St., (504) 948-9309; 4519 Magazine St., (504) 373-6471; www.sukhothai-nola.com

3. Cafe Equator

2920 Severn Ave., Metairie, (504) 888-4772; www.cafeequator.com

 

Best traditional Louisiana restaurant

»1. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave., (504) 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com

2. Mandina's

3800 Canal St. (504) 482-9179; Azalea Shopping Center, 4240 Highway 22, Mandeville, (985) 674-9883; www.mandinasrestaurant.com

TIE 3. Galatoire's

209 Bourbon St., (504) 525-2021; www.galatoires.com

TIE 3. Jacques-Imo's

8324 Oak St., (504) 861-0886; www.jacques-imos.com

 

Best buffet

»1. Harrah's New Orleans Casino

8 Canal St. (800) 427-7247; www.caesars.com/harrahs-new-orleans

2. Court of Two Sisters

613 Royal St., (504) 522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com

3. Nirvana Indian Cuisine

4308 Magazine St., (504) 894-9797; www.insidenirvana.com

 

Best food delivery app

»1. UberEATS

www.ubereats.com/new_orleans

2. Waitr

www.waitrapp.com/cities/la/new-orleans/food-delivery

3. Postmates

www.postmates.com

 

Best food truck

»1. Taceaux Loceaux

(504) 307-4747; @TLNola

2. La Cocinita

(504) 309-5344; www.lacocinitafoodtruck.com; @LaCocinita

3. Rollin' Fatties

(504) 452-8124; www.roaminghunger.com/rollin-fatties; @RollinfattiesNO

 

Best gumbo

»1. Gumbo Shop

630 St. Peter St., (504) 525-1486; www.gumboshop.com

A New Orleans restaurant that names itself for one of the city's most beloved (and critiqued) foods darn well better make good gumbo, and Gambit readers say Gumbo Shop delivers consistently. The restaurant has been a perennial presence in this category for more than a decade. It has a full menu of Creole dishes from red beans and rice, shrimp Creole and po-boys to fish florentine, crawfish etouffee and bread pudding in whiskey sauce. It offers two gumbos: the dark roux-based seafood okra gumbo with shrimp, crab, onion, bell pepper, celery and tomato; and the chicken and andouille gumbo made with okra and chicken stock. The French Quarter location offers New Orleans charm and courtyard seating.

2. Chef Ron's Gumbo Stop

2309 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, (504) 835-2022; www.gumbostop.com

3. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave., (504) 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com

 

Best late-night dining

»1. Camellia Grill

626 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 309-2679

2. Waffle House

Citywide; www.wafflehouse.com

3. Hoshun Restaurant

1601 St. Charles Ave., (504) 302-9716; www.hoshunrestaurant.com

 

Best pizza restaurant

»1. Theo's Neighborhood Pizza

1212 S. Clearview Parkway, Metairie, (504) 733-3803; 2125 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 510-4282; 4024 Canal St., (504) 302-1133; 4218 Magazine St., (504) 894-8554; www.theospizza.com

Theo's Neighborhood Pizza serves thin-crust pies, sandwiches, salads and wings to families in Uptown, Mid-City, Metairie and Elmwood. The counter-service dining room is low-stress for weeknight dinners, and pizzas come in winning combinations, with a new featured pie each month. (One Gambit staffer's order: "The Expert" with spinach, garlic, and bacon, add pepperoni.) There also are several drinks-on-the-cheap specials, including $1 draft beers during New Orleans Saints games, $1.50 domestic longnecks on Monday and half-off bottles of wine on Wednesday.

2. Pizza Delicious

617 Piety St., (504) 676-8482; www.pizzadelicious.com

3. Pizza Domenica

4933 Magazine St., (504) 301-4978; www.pizzadomenica.com

 

Best king cake

»1. Manny Randazzo King Cakes

3515 N. Hullen St., Metairie, (504) 456-1476; www.randazzokingcake.com

2. Haydel's Bakery

4037 Jefferson Highway, (504) 837-0190; www.haydelbakery.com

3. Dong Phuong Restaurant

14207 Chef Menteur Highway, (504) 254-0296; www.dpbanhmi.com/dp_bakery/restaurant.html

 

Best chef

»1. John Besh

www.chefjohnbesh.com

2. Alon Shaya

TIE 3. Donald Link

www.linkrestaurantgroup.com

TIE 3. Susan Spicer

 

Best barbecue restaurant

»1. Blue Oak BBQ

900 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 822-2583; www.blueoakbbq.com

Blue Oak BBQ had been open for about four months when our readers chose it as their second favorite barbecue spot and second favorite new restaurant in last year's Best of New Orleans readers' poll. This year, it climbs to the No. 1 barbecue spot. Owners and pit masters Ronnie Evans and Philip Moseley honed their skills and menu at pop-ups and then at the kitchen nook at Chickie Wah Wah before opening their restaurant in Mid-City. Now fans line up at the counter to order meats cooked with low heat for as long as 14 hours in combo plates featuring sliced or chopped brisket, pulled pork, sausages, chicken and St. Louis-style spare ribs. Popular dishes include sandwiches and nachos topped with a choice of meats and barbecue sauce. The restaurant is comfortable and casual, with rolls of paper towels and plastic squeeze bottles of sauces on the tables. There are regional beers on tap at the bar, and the patio is dog-friendly.

2. The Joint

701 Mazant St., (504) 949-3232; www.alwayssmokin.com

3. Central City BBQ

1201 S. Rampart St., (504) 558-4276; www.centralcitybbq.com

 

Best outdoor dining

»1. Bacchanal

600 Poland Ave., (504) 948-9111; www.bacchanalwine.com

2. The Velvet Cactus

6300 Argonne Blvd., (504) 301-2083; www.thevelvetcactus.com

3. Cafe Amelie

912 Royal St., (504) 412-8965; www.cafeamelie.com

 

Best place for desserts

»1. Sucre

622 Conti St., (504) 267-7098; 3025 Magazine St., (504) 520-8311; Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, (504) 834-2277; www.shopsucre.com

2. Angelo Brocato

214 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 486-0078; www.angelobrocatoicecream.com

3. The Creole Creamery

4924 Prytania St., (504) 894-8680; 6260 Vicksburg St., (504) 482-2924; www.creolecreamery.com

 

Best place to get boiled seafood

»1. Bevi Seafood Co.

236 N. Carrollton Ave., (504) 488-7503; 4701 Airline Drive, Metairie, (504) 885-5003; www.beviseafoodco.com

2. Deanie's Seafood

841 Iberville St., (504) 581-1316; 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, (504) 834-1225; www.deanies.com

3. Salvo's Seafood

7742 Highway 23, Belle Chasse, (504) 393-7303; www.salvosseafood.com

 

Best place to get breakfast/brunch

»1. The Ruby Slipper Cafe

139 S. Cortez St., (504) 525-9355; 200 Magazine St., (504) 525-9355; 1005 Canal St., (504) 525-9355; 2001 Burgundy St., (504) 525-9355; 2802 Magazine St.; www.therubyslippercafe.net

2. Toast

1845 Gentilly Blvd., (504) 351-3664; 5433 Laurel St., (504) 267-3260; www.toastneworleans.com

3. Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar

1418 Magazine St., (504) 524-3828; 4807 Magazine St., (504) 895-5757; www.surreysnola.com

 

Best place to get a po-boy

»1. Parkway Bakery & Tavern

538 Hagan Ave., (504) 482-3047; www.parkwaypoorboys.com

Surf and turf. Caprese. Hot sausage. Roast beef (you'll need a whole pack of napkins). Everyone has his or her favorite po-boy at this rambling shack off Bayou St. John, where New Orleanians (and more and more tourists) stand in line to get amazingly delicious butcher-paper-wrapped sandwiches. Jay Nix and Justin Kennedy's sandwich shrine also is a testament to post-Hurricane Katrina resilience; its reopening was a cause for celebration. (If he's not in the kitchen working the line, you often can spot Justin walking around the neighborhood with his bulldog.) Don't sleep on the annual "Thanksgiving po-boy" (served only in November), or the Reuben sandwich and fried dill pickles any time of the year.

2. Domilise's Po-Boy and Bar

5240 Annunciation St., New Orleans, (504) 899-9126; www.domilisespoboys.com

3. Guy's Po Boys

5259 Magazine St., New Orleans, (504) 891-5025

 

Best wine list

»1. Bacchanal Wine

600 Poland Ave., (504) 948-9111; www.bacchanalwine.com

2. The Delachaise

3442 St. Charles Ave., (504) 895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com

3. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave., (504) 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com


• Best of New Orleans 2017: food

• Best of New Orleans 2017: bars and entertainment

• Best of New Orleans 2017: politics

• Best of New Orleans 2017: local life

• Best of New Orleans 2017: media

• Best of New Orleans 2017: good and services