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New Orleans: local food and drink guide

Get stuck into the Big Easy by seeking out killer cocktails and iconic French Creole and Cajun dishes, from crawfish beignets to shrimp po’boys

Check out the best restaurants in New Orleans Louisiana. This vibrant city in Southern America boasts lively bars, buzzy cafes and plenty of gumbo and Southern soul food in New Orleans restaurants. Check out our local food and drink guide… 




Breakfast at Brennan’s has been a draw since 1946. This grande dame of New Orleans restaurants serves up dozens of egg dishes accompanied by brandy milk punches. Save room for the bananas Foster, a boozy banana and ice-cream dessert.

Brennan's - The Roost Bar


New Orleans School of Cooking

At the New Orleans School of Cooking, chef Kevin Belton teaches Creole and Cajun cuisine to students of all skill levels. Learn to make local favourites like étouffée, red beans and rice, bread pudding, and pralines.


Dooky Chase’s Restaurant

New Orleans icon Leah Chase has run the kitchen at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant since the 1950s. Barack Obama stopped in for the gumbo, shrimp Creole and fried chicken. 


Killer Poboys

Cam Boudreaux and April Bellow reinvent New Orleans’ most famous sandwich at Killer Poboys. Look out for their skull and crossed baguette log. Once you find them, choose a black beer beef debris, with pickled peppers, green beans and horseradish sauce, or a seared gulf shrimp, with coriander-lime spice, sriracha, aïoli, herbs, daikon, carrot and cucumber. Both are served on a Vietnamese bánh mì baguette.

Vietnamese bánh mì baguette - Killer Poboys



Allow yourself to splurge at Lucullus, a French Quarter store specialising in culinary antiques from the 17th to 19th centuries that has been drawing crowds for almost 30 years. It’s worth a poke around even if you’re not in the market for Belle Époque silver vodka thimbles or an 18th-century chocolate cutter.


Carousel Bar & Lounge

Go early to grab a seat at the Hotel Monteleone’s Carousel Bar & Lounge. The bar rotates by a full revolution every 15 minutes – enough time to grab a vieux carré cocktail (rye, cognac, vermouth, Bénédictine and bitters) and a plate of blue crab and crawfish beignets.


Central Grocery

Sicilian immigrant Salvatore Lupo invented the muffuletta sandwich more than a century ago. His descendants still operate Central Grocery, where the dense sesame-seeded loaves come packed with four types of cured meats, two cheeses and crunchy, pickled olive salad.


Compère Lapin

Chef Nina Compton has been racking up awards for her work at Compère Lapin, where Caribbean meets Creole. Pair conch croquettes and seafood pepper pot with the handiwork of Abigail Gullo, one of the city’s most exciting mixologists.


Arnaud’s French 75

The city’s most lauded bartender, Chris Hannah, quietly mixes drinks at Arnaud’s French 75 bar. Order a locally invented cocktail, like a sazerac or brandy crusta, and don’t miss the surreal Mardi Gras museum in the attic.

Arnaud's French 75 - cocktail with cinnamon and citrus fruit stips



Just outside the French Quarter, the backyard party held each night at Bacchanal makes for one of the city’s great romantic spots. Enjoy wines from small producers and bowls of ceviche while listening to jazz under the night sky.

How to do it

Direct return flights from London to New Orleans start from £695 ( Double rooms at the Melrose Mansion cost from around $155, b&b (

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Rien Fertel is a food writer based in New Orleans. His latest book is The One True Barbecue (£19.47, Simon & Schuster).

Words | Rien Fertel


Photographs | Arnaud’s, Brennan’s, Getty Images, New Orleans Tourism