Take a seat at the table of one of these NOLA restaurants and you'll get a taste of the Big Easy that you won't soon forget.
Beloved by locals, Clancy’s is a neighborhood institution with white cloth laden tables, tuxedoed waiters, and a menu that consistently surprises. Chef Brian Larson’s traditional New Orleans dishes may be tried and true, but there is something in the flawless execution that strikes a new flavor note with each bite. Start with the shrimp rémoulade before diving into the crawfish étouffée—it’s classic NOLA.
The pig is king at this shrine to Cajun cooking in the Warehouse District. At the helm: two James Beard Award winners, Executive Chef Donald Link and Chef Stephen Stryjewski. The duo dream up rustic Cajun dishes featuring locally sourced and sustainably raised animals in their renovated warehouse-turned-restaurant. What’s on the menu? Don’t miss the cooked-to-order pork cracklin’s or the wood-fired oysters with chili-garlic butter.
With a history spanning 130-plus years, don’t worry about this NOLA institution being stuck in the past. Trite and trendy need not apply, but interesting and relevant—Chef Tory McPhail has your number. This James Beard Best Chef: South winner dazzles patrons with oysters in a puff pastry dome served with a rich absinthe sauce. And don’t pass on the bread pudding soufflé. Midday meal revelers beware: Martinis are served for 25 cents each.
This Garden District gem features a daily-changing menu of locally sourced product that has put Executive Chef Michael Stoltzfus on the culinary map. Michael’s inventive flavor pairings hit the mark. Try the fried oysters with pickled andouille, sweet potato, and basil or the vegetables salad with cashew puree, satsumas, and olive praline.
Simple food, complex flavors—Chef Alon Shaya has been giving the people what they want since Domenica opened its doors in 2009. Not to be confused with a pizza parlor, the dining room is anchored by a glittering chandelier that serves as a shimmering counterpoint to the salumi case where guests can take a peek at the imported and house-cured meats. While Alon’s dreamy pizzas are a must, his roasted cauliflower with sea salt and whipped goat feta has developed a cult following. Early birds, check out the daily pizza and cocktail hour. $10 for a pie and a drink—
With a grocery list of culinary honors under her belt, Chef Sue Zemanick has made a name for herself among the food-loving masses for her relentlessly precise technique and pitch-perfect flavors. In this jewel box of a restaurant in Uptown, she turns out dishes such as delicate spinach-and-ricotta gnudi and snapper in a fragrant basil broth. But we’re suckers for her perfectly roasted chicken—for our money, that’s the mark of a chef who’s honed her craft.
La Petite Grocery
Chef Justin Devillier is cooking his way to super chef status at this Crescent City mainstay. Justin has been churning out creative riffs on traditional Louisiana cuisine since taking over ownership in 2010. Blue crab beignets with malt vinegar aioli; turtle bolognaise with bucatini, sherry, and soft-boiled egg; and Gulf shrimp and grits with roasted mushrooms and smoked bacon dazzle the palate. lapetitegocery.com
The newest member of Donald Link’s culinary empire lures diners hook, line, and sinker. Inspired by a trip to Uruguay, Donald and Chef Ryan Prewitt developed a tasty concept that marries the open fire cooking tradition of the South American country with bayou-hailing flavor. The whole grilled fish is a must.
White tablecloths and glittering chandeliers set the scene, but take a seat at Chef Scott Boswell’s table and the international menu will steal the show. French, Italian, Asian, and Creole accents pepper the Louisiana native’s
menu offerings. A substantial wine list offers many choices, but opt for the
wine pairings for the perfect match.
Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. Chef Isaac Toups subscribes to the latter—much to the benefit of restaurant-goers his side of the bayou. With a nod to old school butchery techniques evident with each meat board that rolls out of his kitchen, the Louisiana native has created an eatery that proves to be a haven for discerning carnivores. Dishes such as duck served with collards, sweet potato puree, and sage pecan gremolata round out the smart and satisfying menu.