There are only a few cities in the United States where multiple century-old restaurants compete to be the best, and even fewer cities were the modern-day cuisine is just as prominent. At the top of the list is New Orleans. The Big Easy restaurant scene leans heavily on its Creole and seafood roots, and we’re not complaining. Here are our top picks for a night out. We’ve got classic Creole cuisine, modern seafood, and your favorite restaurant.
Nestled in a 200-year-old French Quarter cottage, chef Susan Spicer’s Bayona melds flavors from around the world with local ingredients to create elevated, classic cuisine. Sip on one of the house cocktails in the spacious courtyard and listen to the sounds of the city.
Celebrated chef Frank Brigtsen prepares Creole fare out of this Victorian-style cottage in the Uptown/Riverbend area. Brigtsen’s is known for its consistently well-prepared dishes and its hospitable service, which is led by Marna, Frank’s wife.
Clancy’s is touted as one of New Orleans’ first Creole bistros, which paved the way for many of the most renowned restaurants in the city today. Additionally, Clancy’s wine cellar is one of the finest in the city, making it the perfect location for a night of wining and dining.
Commander’s Palace has been a New Orleans staple since its bright blue doors opened in 1880. The establishment’s refined Creole fare combined with impeccable service creates an atmosphere of Southern hospitality at its finest. Don’t miss the Sunday Jazz Brunch, which is a must for both locals and visitors alike.
Coquette offers inventive American cuisine with a focus on locally sourced products on its constantly changing menu. Each dish is plated with precision and resembles a work of art brought to fruition by the chef and owner, Michael Stoltzfus. The five-course tasting menu is a magnificent selection of seasonal dishes customized for each table.
Galatoire’s has been the epitome of New Orleans tradition and class since opening on Bourbon Street in 1905. The restaurant prides itself on its consistency of culinary expertise and preservation of tradition throughout more than a century of service. One of those traditions? Men are required to wear jackets while dining.
Situated in Uptown New Orleans, Gautreau’s is truly a hidden gem. Chef Suzan Zemanick, who has been nominated for several James Beard Awards and also appeared on two seasons of Top Chef Masters, beautifully marries French and American cuisine on the bistro’s impressive menu.
GW Fins specializes in preparing fresh, local seafood in a fine-dining atmosphere. Chef Tenney Flynn works with seasonal ingredients and only purchases whole fish for in-house fileting. GW Fins has become known as the premier location for seafood dining throughout the New Orleans area.
La Petite Grocery may be named after of the grocery store that once occupied its building, but these days, the restaurant is creating its own legacy. Chef Justin Devillier, who took home a James Beard Award this year for Best Chef: South, serves up Louisianan fare marked with his own personal touch. Check out the Magazine Street location for lunch, dinner, or Sunday brunch.
Since opening in the spring of 2013, Peche has garnered high praise as one of New Orleans’ top seafood restaurants. Led by chefs Donald Link and Ryan Prewitt, Peche offers a unique array of coastal seafood that is prepared with an exceptionally modern twist. Don’t leave without ordering the grilled whole Gulf fish, served tip to tail.
As the flagship restaurant of chef John Besh’s culinary empire, Restaurant August executes stunning French cuisine that somehow feels both home-cooked and wildly inventive. Restaurant August is one of only three restaurants to ever receive a five-bean rating from New Orleans food critic Brett Anderson and the only one still in business today.
Located in The Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter, this joint venture of acclaimed chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto fuses their very different culinary backgrounds to create contemporary Creole cuisine. Check out the wine room where you can dine next to the restaurant’s 10,000-bottle wine cellar.
Rue 127, situated in a New Orleans shotgun-style house in Mid-City, serves elevated New American cuisine in an intimate setting. Chef Ray Gruiezke obtains much of the kitchen’s produce directly from his family’s farm in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The menu evolves based on what is in season and available locally.
At Shaya, experience modern Israeli cuisine created by James Beard Award-winning chef Alon Shaya. Shaya’s diverse offerings — featuring colorful, fresh ingredients — will make you feel like you are in Israel, and the warm, pillowy pita bread will keep you coming back for more.
Influenced by family traditions and his Cajun roots, chef Isaac Toups opened Toups’ Meatery with his wife, Amanda, in the spring of 2012. As one might guess, the menu features a wide array of prepared meats and one of the most diverse charcuterie boards in the city. Since the restaurant’s opening, Isaac completed a successful stint on Bravo’s Top Chef where he made it to the final four and was voted Fan Favorite.