New Orleans locals don't eat to live, they live to eat—and they want you to know it. The Big Easy's traditional fare (which is actually a melting pot of cuisines from all over the world) is a huge part of the city's vibrant culture, and it's not something to miss when visiting. We've compiled a bucket list of some of the most famous and tried-and-true dishes that contribute to New Orleans' identity, and we recommend trying them all!
You probably could have guessed this one, but it's not a trip to New Orleans without a visit to Café Du Monde for their world-famous beignets. These fluffy, yet decadent, fried donuts are coated in generous amounts of powdered sugar, so double up on the napkins.
800 Decatur Street, New Orleans
Of all New Orleans' signature dishes, gumbo might just be the most illustrious—it is the entire city in a bowl. Nothing warms the stomach and soul more than some of this hearty stew consisting of sausage, seafood, and okra (although, exact ingredients differ from chef to chef) served over rice. One of the best places to sample a steaming bowl of gumbo is Galatoire's, where a bowl will only set you back $8.50.
209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans
French for "smothered," Étouffée is literally just that—crawfish (or another shellfish, such as shrimp) smothered in a creamy and flavorful sauce creating a dish that is beloved by locals and tourists alike. This invariably rich rice and seafood dish is a staple in both Cajun and Creole cuisine, albeit with small variations of their own. Head over to Uptown and give it a try at longtime New Orleans staple, Jacques-Imo's.
8324 Oak Street, New Orleans
A classic New Orleans po'boy is something you simply can't miss. This take on a hoagie (or submarine sandwich) features local staple Leidenheimer french bread, usually stuffed with fat and juicy fried shrimp. Once a factory and dockworker's typical lunch, this savory sandwich is an indulgence for everyone. Visit ParkwayBakery and Tavern for their famous version and be sure to order it “fully dressed” with lettuce, tomato, pickle, and mayonnaise.
538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans
Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice is a humble dish served on Monday, made using Sunday supper's leftover hambone. One spoonful and you'll be swooning as the smoky and spicy flavors tantalize your taste buds. For the most comforting bowl of this home-cooked classic, visit Mother’s downtown—but be warned, people line up around the block for a chance at a taste.
401 Poydras Street, New Orleans
If you're going to try a Muffuletta sandwich, you should definitely do so at Central Grocery in the French Quarter where it was invented in 1906. The creation of Sicilian immigrants, the Muffuletta sandwish is made with stacks of genoa salami, ham, mortadella, provolone and Swiss cheeses on sesame bread, with an iconic layer of olive salad. Central Grocery has been using the same recipe for more than a century, so we recommend making a stop at this historic joint.
923 Decatur Street, New Orleans