Each year, our Essential 100 dining guides takes the measure of New Orleans restaurants, showcasing the homegrown flavors, new influences, rejuvenation and continuity that makes dining out in this city so fulfilling.
New Orleans restaurants will always get people talking, and the topic is a pretty sure way to get people arguing too.
Lists like the one below break down the 100 picks in the overall guide to more specific recommendations I often field.
You can find more here, and the complete Essential 100 here.
The character of New Orleans comes through in its restaurants. This dining guide pulls together a story of that character and puts 100 recomme…
This is not your standard Top 10 restaurant list.
Best bang for the buck (everyday bargains)
Why: Dazzlingly fresh Mediterranean food on a budget
Say this restaurant’s name and I don’t think about figs. I think about falafel, and immediately, I crave the fresh and pickled garnishes and palette of garlicky sauces, smooth dips, crusty bread and earthy spice that accompanies a platter of it here. This tiny, adorable, utterly modern eatery carries a fresh, small-batch aesthetic across its menu of kebabs, sandwiches, fries and salads. See also its related hummus stand and deli in the CBD’s Pythian Market. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. $
Why: Flavorful, creative, cheap and fast
Picture the moxie to mix a roast beef po-boy with banh mi using Vietnamese ko bho stew as the bridge and you have the spirit of this deeply delicious sandwich shop. From a walk-up counter next to his parent’s Texaco station, Peter Nguyen slings banh mi filled with Korean bulgogi beef, Japanese chicken katsu and Chinese char siu barbecue pork, along with conventional po-boys and exuberant cheese fries topped with oyster Rockefeller sauce or sizzling Vietnamese style steak and eggs. Lunch and early dinner (till 8 p.m.) Mon.-Sat. $
Why: Bargain breakfasts and full-meal specials under $10
Like Barrow’s just up the road, Dunbar’s is the return of a beloved restaurant of pre-Katrina vintage. At its new spot, opened in 2017, Celestine Dunbar and her family serve up a connection not just to a piece of the city’s past but their own particular take on Creole flavor, one with roots in black family cooking of the River Parishes transported to the city. You can taste it in the gumbo, its thin roux teeming with many meats and essence of seafood, and in the generous platters of smothered okra with catfish, smothered cabbage and greens with turkey necks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. $
Why: Vegan lunches on the go, fulfilling and affordable
Think small and some good things can happen, especially in the French Quarter, desperately in need of more owner-operator spots aimed at the locals. This take-out deli is a vital pit stop for quick, inexpensive street food, with a menu of mostly vegan dishes, daily curries and crispy pakoras packed into crusty po-boy loaves or smothered in chutney. The shop isn’t fully vegan. Its bagel bar is as close to the New York standard as New Orleans gets (lox is the only meat). Coffee is always just a dollar, and there’s local kombucha on tap. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. $