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.
Dining with a Group
Why: Long tables for indoor/outdoor barbecue picnics
What started as a pop-up has since established itself as a barbecue destination in a city long calling out for more. Ribs, brisket and pulled pork that are by turns tender and crusty, and always smoky, lay the foundation for a playground of meat. Fun vibes run through the covered patio (great for game days), the bar with its generous food happy hour (and killer daiquiris) and the menu, home to cool ranch cracklin’ and the best smoked wings in town. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun. $$
Why: The second floor is custom cut for group steak outings
The truth is, Charlie’s wouldn’t make the list of fine steakhouses in many other cities. It’s too casual, the steaks not high enough on the pedigree ladder. But add the context of Charlie’s itself, with its history, its quirks and character, the good feelings so well practiced by regulars and staff, and in New Orleans, it is golden. It’s the exuberance and indulgence of steak, with the overlay of every-man-a-king access that we appreciate in this town. Thank goodness enough still do. Dinner Tue.-Sat. $$$$
Why: Get a round table and explore the traditional Szechaun menu together
If what you really want is a bargain order of General Tso’s chicken and fried rice, China Rose has your back. Ask for the “Chinese” menu, however, and you can take a much deeper dive into traditional Szechuan flavors in all its hearty, often spicy glory. Tables fill with platters of garlic-strewn greens, hunks of glistening pork belly, pot stickers bursting with juice and multi-pepper hot pots of beef or fish and shredded duck. Lunch and dinner daily. $
Why: The Vietnamese cuisine invites sharing, and this dining room makes combining tables easy
Chef Maria Vu’s kitchen marries the staples of a dedicated pho parlor to a deep, intricate roster of specialty dishes that always gives something new. Southeast Asian curried goat or stir-fried rabbit with cashews and herbs duel for space on my table with Korean-style short ribs, shrimp paste grilled on sugar cane skewers and garlic-crusted wings. The dining room is casual as a dining hall, which may help explain why so many different people feel at home here. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, Wed.-Mon. $$
Why: Fill a table with Viet-Cajun boiled seafood and get cracking
This is a Louisiana-Vietnamese cultural crossover, a place to eat with a spoon, chopsticks and lots and lots of paper towels. The pho is deeply flavorful and the banh mi are quick and well-made. Then come the trays of boiled seafood, the crawfish, shrimp and crabs all glistening with garlic butter, Viet-Cajun style. Try the salt and pepper crabs, with a savory crust and a tangle of herbs and peppers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. $