The Best Food and Drink in Louisiana from The Best Food and Drink in Louisiana for 2018 Gallery
The Best Food and Drink in Louisiana for 2018 Gallery
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The Best Food and Drink in Louisiana
From Slidell to Shreveport, Louisiana is home to stunning natural beauty, world-class attractions, and, of course, some amazing things to eat. And to celebrate all the great food and drink that this wholly unique has to offer, we’ve rounded up 23 of the Pelican State’s claims to culinary fame as part of our first annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
Photo by Lisa I. via Yelp
Best Bar: Sazerac Bar, New Orleans
This landmark hotel bar is named after the Sazerac, a cocktail that many consider to be the world’s first mixed drink. The Sazerac Bar’s décor evokes old New Orleans with some elegant fixtures like Paul Ninas’ murals that flank the African walnut bar. The bar itself, including its stools and banquettes, has been fully restored to its original splendor. A small collection of white and red wines by the glass and beers support the main drink menu focus: the cocktails. Classic cocktails like the Sazerac (Sazerac 6-year rye, Peychaud’s bitters, and sugar in an Herbsaint-rinsed glass); the 1840 Sazerac (Pierre Ferrand “1840” Cognac, Peychaud’s bitters, and Herbsaint Legendre); and the Pink Squirrel (crème de almond, light crème de cacao, and cream) are given equal weight as new classics like the Thibodeaux Tickle (Oryza gin, rhubarb bitters, cranberry bitters, sugar, and soda); Prickly Pear (pear vodka, Chambord, fresh citrus, and ginger beer); and Bywater Detour (Sorel hibiscus liqueur, pimento bitters, and Gosling’s ginger beer).
Courtesy of Parish Brewing Co.
Best Beer: Parish Brewing Co., Ghost in the Machine
Parish’s Ghost in the Machine pours a hazy yellow-orange hue, and while it’s full of juicy, big hop flavors, it still goes down with ease. Lightly sweet with notes of mango, tangerine, and peach, this beer is perfect for the hop lover in your life.
Best Burger: Company Burger, New Orleans
Company Burger chef and owner Adam Biderman set out to create the perfect double cheeseburger, and one bite will tell you that he hit the nail right on the head. He starts with two 3.25-ounce patties, which are given a light crust on the flat-top before being loaded with red onion and high-quality American-style cheese and then stacked. A couple of pickle chips and a toasted white bread bun complete it. You’re left to your own devices at the expansive condiment bar, which includes Creole honey mustard, basil mayo, and pickled jalapeños. Before getting creative, though, make sure you try the burger as-is — you might be compelled not to mess with perfection.
Photo by Cesar R. via Yelp
Best Chinese Restaurant: Red’s, New Orleans
New Orleans is one of America’s great culinary capitals, and the city’s dedication to serving really, really good food extends even to the Chinese restaurants — especially Red’s. There’s a sense of whimsy to the menu at Red’s, which has become a cult hit among the locals.
Even though every dish is very Chinese in terms of influence and preparation, you definitely know you’re in New Orleans when you’re dining there. Traditional Chinese fare like housemade Chinese pickles, egg rolls, pork belly buns, and Chinese broccoli with preserved lemon and fermented black beans is joined by crowd-pleasers like craw rangoons (filled with cream cheese, spicy honey, and crawfish); kung pao pastrami, and General’s Chicken with deep-fried chicken, bourbon soy, peanuts, and cilantro. A meal at Red’s is an adventure.
Best Cupcakes: Buttercups Cupcakes, Shreveport and Bossier City
Buttercups Cupcakes has been sifting, stirring, baking, and dolloping its made-from-scratch cupcakes for over 10 years using high-quality, pure ingredients — and it even offers vegan and gluten-free options! Choose from options such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry all the way down to salted caramel, wedding cake, banana pudding, and whatever happens to be the flavor of the month. One thing that’s not a flavor of the month? Buttercups itself, which has been delighting customers for more than a decade. They even made the news back in 2007, when actress Katie Holmes ordered eight dozen cupcakes on her way out of town after filming Mad Money.
Best Dive Bar: Ms. Mae’s, New Orleans
Ms. Mae's in New Orleans never closes. Literally. It’s open 24/7, 365. Get away from the touristy parts of Bourbon Street and head to Magazine Street, and you just may find Win Butler of Arcade Fire sipping unpretentiously on a $1.50 bottle of Miller High Life or a $4 (stiff) mixed drink.
Photo by Dana K. via Yelp
Best Doughnuts: District, New Orleans
In addition to offering the classic chocolate glazed and cinnamon sugar doughnuts, District doesn’t hesitate to experiment with other flavors. Seven flavors are on offer every day, and it’s likely you’ll find yourself deliberating among candied thyme, sriracha-maple, or even a “croquenut,” a crazy hybrid of a croque-madame and a doughnut.
Best Farmers Market: Crescent City Farmers Market, New Orleans
On their website, Crescent City Farmers Market lists 20 reasons they’re more than a market — No. 1 being, “We handpick local farmers and fishers for shoppers and chefs.” CCFM also pioneered SNAP acceptance at farmers markets in the South, they have implemented programs to inspire healthy eating, and their farmers share NOLA culture with their ingredients, tips, and stories— namely, you can buy alligator meat from one of CCFM’s many vendors and learn how to cook it! CCFM offers cultural enrichment while also providing the community with fresh eats.
Facebook/ La Cocinita
Best Food Truck: La Cocinita, New Orleans
Rachel Billow and her business partner, Venezuelan chef Benoit Angulo, started their business in the Big Easy, where running a food truck actually doesn’t always jibe with the city’s nickname (among other restrictions, trucks are required to change locations every 45 minutes). But Billow and Angulo have not just been making it work, but making it work really well. Ordering at La Cocinita is definitely easy: First, choose your vessel (arepa, taco, burrito, or bowl), then pick your protein (braised chicken, braised pork, roasted sweet potatoes and black beans, or black beans and queso fresco), add a sauce (we suggest guasacaca, which is Venezuelan guacamole, or the “Stupid Hot” sauce), and enjoy — which is without a doubt the easiest part!
Best Fried Chicken: Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans
Willie Mae Seaton began serving mind-blowing fried chicken from a shack attached to her Tremé home more than 30 years ago. The low-key operation remained a local treasure until 2005, when the James Beard Foundation honored it with its "American Classic" award and let the rest of the nation in on the secret. A few weeks after winning the award, Willie Mae’s Scotch House was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but members of the Southern Foodways Alliance pulled together to rebuild the cherished chicken establishment. We — and many other diners the world over — are so happy and grateful that they did. Mae’s great-granddaughter runs the Scotch House now, and a few Seaton family members populate the small staff, upholding the same dedication to unadulterated Southern cuisine that the restaurant is so well known for.
Photo by Frank T. via Yelp
Best Grocery Store: Rouses
The good people at Bon Appétit rated Rouses one of the eight best regional supermarket chains in the county, citing one very important reason: Rouses is dedicated to local food culture as exemplified in its sponsorship of the World Championship Crawfish Eating Contest.
A local reviewer also said of the store: “Helpful and pleasant employees. Never a long wait in line. Great meat department and seafood department. The bakery is one of the best in the city.”
Best Hot Dog: Dat Dog, New Orleans
This hot dog joint with three New Orleans locations (and another inside Metairie’s Lakeside Mall) is quickly becoming a Crescent City institution, thanks to owner Constantine Georges' commitment to serving the highest-quality hot dogs and sausages possible — with a killer sense of humor. Menu standouts include a brilliant pairing of duck sausage with blackberry preserves as well as crawfish sausage, alligator sausage, and bratwurst, but make sure you save room to try their hot sausage, custom-ground by a local butcher and tucked into a bun that’s steamed then toasted, to make it both soft and crispy. The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings, but you can’t go wrong with their addictive beef stock-based andouille sauce.
Best Italian Restaurant: Domenica, New Orleans
In the casual and elegant high-ceilinged Domenica, located in New Orleans’ Roosevelt Hotel (home of the original Sazerac) and a part of Besh Restaurant Group, they’re serving eight pizzas, including the Calabrese (tomato, spicy salami, mozzarella, capers, olives), Smoked Pork (smoked pork shoulder, mozzarella, red onion, Anaheim peppers, salsa verde), and Tutto Carne (salami, bacon, fennel sausage, pork shoulder, yard egg). There’s also a wide variety of house-cured meats, pastas including stracci with oxtail and fried chicken livers, and entrées that include a whole roasted Gulf fish with tomatoes, olives, chile, and garlic. Make sure you save room for desserts like banana zuppa inglese with bananas, crema cotta mousse, and peanut brittle.
Best Macaroni and Cheese: Cochon Butcher, New Orleans
The next-door offshoot of chef Donald Link’s renowned Cochon, this hybrid butcher and sandwich shop serves some stunning macaroni and cheese. Sharp white Cheddar, cream cheese, and tomato paste serves as the foundation for their version, which is mixed with elbow macaroni and diced house-cured pancetta before being topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and bread crumbs.
Best Mexican Restaurant: Johnny Sanchez, New Orleans
When chefs with the pedigree of John Besh and Aarón Sánchez team up to open an authentic Mexican restaurant, you can bet good money on the end result being spectacular. And by all accounts, Johnny Sanchez is, even though Besh is no longer involved. To get a good idea of the amount of skill (and the quality of the ingredients) on display here, start your meal with an order of carne asada tacos, made with perfectly cooked grilled skirt steak and topped with a one-two punch of pickled jalapeño guacamole and fresh pico de gallo; and then move on to duck carnitas enchiladas, topped with salsa verde, queso fresco, and duck cracklings.
Most Expensive Restaurant: Square Root, New Orleans
This upscale restaurant is getting New Orleans in on the high-end tasting counter trend that’s been sweeping the nation, and menus change on a daily basis but always include 12 to 15 courses. Guests pay $150 for the privilege of dining there, not including drinks, tax, and gratuity.
Best Pasta Dish: Potato Gnocchi at Restaurant August, New Orleans
The Besh Restaurant Group’s flagship restaurant, August, is one of New Orleans’ top fine-dining institutions. Executive chef Todd Pulsinelli’s French-inspired menu is heavily influenced by Creole cuisine, but his gnocchi transcends all categorization. It’s ethereally light and soft, and it’s served in a small bowl with a creamy Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce, chunks of fresh Gulf blue crab, and shavings of fresh black truffle. It’s an absolute must-order, a quintessential New Orleans dish.
Photo by Matthew P. via Yelp
Best Pizza: Pizza Domenica, New Orleans
There’s pizza on the menu at both Pizza Domenica and Domenica, which is Italian for Sunday (the former is in Uptown, the latter in the renovated and historic Roosevelt Hotel . The slightly imperfect circles are ringed with light, puffy, and black-blistered crusts, the centers of the pies sauce-speckled and beautifully topped with stellar (and fun) ingredients like bacon and eggs, peach and pecans, roasted carrots, smoked pork, and salsa verde — you’ll have a hard time choosing between the pizzas made in the Pavesi pecan-wood-fired oven.
Best Restaurant: Commander's Palace, New Orleans
A slice of New Orleans dining history — it opened in 1880 — this culinary landmark has long been collecting accolades for everything from its service to its wine list and of course its "haute Creole" cuisine. Two of its alumni, it might be noted, are Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse — but with chef Tory McPhail at the ovens for over a decade, Commander’s Palace is still going strong. Come hungry and ready for such dishes as the legendary turtle soup; pecan-crusted Gulf fish with crushed corn cream, spiced pecans, petite herbs, and prosecco-poached Louisiana blue crab; and the 14-ounce center cut veal chop Tchoupitoulas over goat cheese grits and local vegetables.
Photo by Amanda L. via Yelp
Best Sandwich: Oyster Po’Boy at Domilise’s Restaurant, New Orleans
Going strong since 1924, this neighborhood joint is the best place in the Crescent City to sample its beloved hometown sandwich, the po’boy. As all good po’boys do, this beauty starts with a long and crusty French-style roll from bakery Leidenheimer’s, and it’s topped with a mound of crispy cornmeal-fried Gulf oysters. Order it “dressed” and it’ll come topped with lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
Big John’s Seafood Patio
Best Seafood Shack: Big John’s Seafood Patio, Erath
Yelp/ Cynthia N.
Best Soup: Gumbo at Dooky Chase, New Orleans
Dooky Chase is one of New Orleans’ most legendary restaurants, largely thanks to its legendary chef and proprietor, 94-year-old Leah Chase. Her gumbo is the platonic ideal of this Creole classic, made with a dark roux and loaded with shrimp, Creole sausage, smoked sausage, beef, ham, oysters, and chicken wings. It’s thickened with file powder instead of okra, and even the most serious of the city’s gumbo connoisseurs will tell you that hers is the best around.
Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse / Facebook
Best Steakhouse: Dickie Brennan’s, New Orleans
This French Quarter power broker staple, which is located in a clubby, basement-level space, is a regular hangout for the city’s wheelers and dealers and high-rollers. With a swanky bar and six private dining rooms, Dickie Brennan’s serves USDA Prime steaks with a creative New Orleans twist; the 6-ounce house filet is topped with fried oysters and béarnaise sauce, the barbecue rib-eye is topped with Abita beer barbecue shrimp; and any steak can be topped with jumbo lump crabmeat or Danish blue cheese. That’s not to say that you should avoid unadorned steaks; the 16-ounce strip is seared in a cast-iron skillet and just might be New Orleans’ finest steak. For more states, check out our ultimate guide to the best food and drink in every state for 2018.