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What are 5 top New Orleans restaurants?

By February 11, 2014September 9th, 2022culture, new orleans

I have a friend who owns a couple of New Orleans restaurants and who has been in the restaurant business since he was fourteen.

His restaurant is one of the best in the city, and he knows who his best competition is.

So, I posed this hypothetical: say you had a close friend coming to town who’d never been here, and wanted to know where to go eat.

What are 5 top New Orleans restaurants (other than yours) that you’d recommend?

He immediately rattled off this list, along with pithy comments:

  1. Gautreau’s  “Small & intimate: many years of outstanding quality”
  2. Clancy’s  “If Galatoire’s had great food and was Uptown”
  3. La Petite Grocery “New owner made an amazing place even better”
  4. Lilette “Owner is kind of a jerk, but the food is absolutely stunning”
  5. GW Fins “Hidden gem (in the French Quarter?) with fresh, wonderful seafood”

I was surprised by the GW Fins recommendation, but after asking several locals who care about quality seafood and disdain tourist traps, they all raved about GW Fins as well.

I’ve never eaten there, but it looks like I’ll have to check it out.

(Postscript: I did and it’s AMAZING!).

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  • esvenson says:

    For what it’s worth, I asked a friend of mine who is a chef at a well regarded NOLA restaurant for his list of 5 places he likes and thinks folks should check out. Here’s his list:

    Moscas: Italian food – hard to get to, but worth the drive.
    R&O’s: (try the stuffed crab parmesan Po-Boy, he says)
    Tan dinh: amazing Vietnamese food
    Casamento: Seafood in a classic New Orleans setting.
    Willies Maes: The fried chicken is the best in the world

  • Rachel Dangermond says:

    One of the best restaurants in the city just closed – Meauxbar – I think that owners Matthew and Jim were able to achieve consistency and excellence for so long it was time for them to say goodbye to the grueling and demand work that a restaurant of this caliber calls for. I will miss them and Meauxbar greatly.

  • Andrea Williams says:

    The comment about LPG was spot on. My friend and I visited there for the first time about 2 weeks ago and it was succulent. The food was awesome, the service was great and the atmosphere was amazing. I have loved GW Fins for years and it is consistently good. Clancy’s was just ok. I also love Kingfish, Borgne, and Amici Ristorante. All 3 have excellent, food and drink. At Kingfish have a she loves it or Pimm’s Cup with blue crab chop, corn and crab soup and every man a king. Borgne has the best French 75 in the city; start with the empanadas and shrimp croquette. The blue crab risotto is great and ask for Lance’s section. Amici has a very nice bellini/Rossini and everything I have had there was good as well. Save room for the fried oreo with caramel gelato. If you would like to eat on the cheap, go to High Hat on Feret for brunch on Saturday or Sunday (kid friendly). They have a fried chicken and waffle, however I usually opt out of the waffle and get the pimento mac and cheese. I also enjoy Mandina’s; one of the only places I will eat gumbo. Last place, Deanie’s on Iberville. Both places are kid friendly. Enjoy

  • Shannon Phillips says:

    Where are the best places to eat without breaking the bank (i.e. where’s the best places to get a taste of New Orleans with kids)?

    • JettBlack says:

      R&O is great, reasonable, has seafood, pizza, other Italian items. Long ago, when my first son was teething or otherwise super-grumpy, we’d go to R&O (it’s former, smaller, even noisier location)–it was so noisy, noone cared if he was wailing at the top of his lungs and pretty soon he’d just knock out, because the restaurant noise was like “white noise”. The new location (meaning new in the last @20 years) is larger and though still noisy, not as overwhelming, for better or worse, as it was before. Very casual. Food is as it always has been–among the best, freshest, most consistent seafood and Italian in the region. All seafood is great. All Italian dishes are at least very good-great. Po-boys are served on Italian bread, so a nice, subtle variation on tradition. Italian roast beef poboy is a favorite.

      Mandina’s is also really a family place. Also lots of great, traditional NOLA food, pretty much something for everyone, very consistent, reasonable–e.g., if you’ve got a diner who doesn’t like tomato sauce, try chicken parmesan without sauce, just a little butter on the spaghetti.

      There are lots and lots more. This is a food town and a family town–it’s more about what you like and how formal/pricey you want to go than anything else.

  • Ramesh Reddy says:

    Boucherie! My favorite intimate joint. Owners James and Nathaniel make everyone feel at home. Their hand picked, small production wine list is by far the best in the city for the price – their philosophy is that they want people to enjoy their night out with great wine and food and not worry about an empty wallet. Their signature dish is a house smoked brisket (all meats and vegetables are smoked and pickled in house, respectively). Tell them Ramesh sent you.

    The next would be Irene’s in the Vieux Carre. If you can get a table expect impeccable service, deep wine selection, lively ambiance and low turnover. The filet is hands down my favorite piece of meat in town. Ask to be waited on by Dan Brown – he is the best waiter I’ve ever had.

    You have to give us a clue about his restaurant – I have no idea.

  • MVH1 says:

    GW Fins is great, consistent and been there for awhile. Always recommend it. Add Sylvain’s on Chartres, open midday only Friday, Sat., Sunday. Reservations. New place for lunch, Toups Meatery on Carrolton near City Park. Great martinis. And Peche is great. Also a hidden gem, Meme’s for lobster on Friday night, 103 Schlief, Belle Chasse, reservations. They have an award-winning crab dish that will make you want to move in and live in the restaurant. And it’s not expensive. You’ll never regret the field trip it takes to get there.

  • Natalie K. Mitchell says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the GW Fin’s recommendation. My favorites these days, which change daily, and are heavily influenced by a low budget and a move to Mid-City last year, in no particular order: Rue 127, Dante’s Kitchen, Peche, Borgne, and you can’t beat Domenica happy hour pizzas (wild mushroom) or August three course lunch for $20.

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