With its distinct food culture influenced by Cajun, Creole and African roots, New Orleans offers unique regional specialties that capture the hearts of its visitors. Whether you're visiting for Mardi Gras or planning a future trip, don't miss these seven must-eat destinations in the Crescent City.
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Roman Candy Company
Ron Kottemann’s grandfather Sam Cortese designed the mule-driven wagon that operates as a kitchen and storefront for Roman Candy Company since 1915. Small batches of the Italian-style taffy are made from simple ingredients and pulled by hand. The cart makes trips uptown, downtown and even in the suburbs of New Orleans every day. If you hear the wagon’s bell ring, say hello to Ron and his chauffeur Vidalia and try a few taffy sticks!
From its iconic Victorian-style exterior to its history of impeccable food and service (boasting alumni like Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse), Commander’s Palace is an institution in the New Orleans restaurant scene. Expect to dine on wonderfully prepared regional specialties, including the famous turtle soup. The stew-like dish gets its kick from dry sherry and Tabasco sauce and deserves a place on your bucket list.
Named after the round, sesame seed-flecked bread that holds it together, the muffuletta is an Italian sandwich that consists of cured meats, cheese and a marinated olive salad. You can find the original at Central Grocery in the French Quarter, where the store’s owner invented the sandwich in the early 1900s to feed the local Sicilian farmers.
The city is famous for its fresh Gulf Coast seafood, and for some of the best charbroiled oysters you’ve got to try Drago’s in the Central Business District. Drago’s own fishermen select the freshest oysters, which are then directly transported from the dock to the restaurant. There, the oysters cook over a hot grill in a bath of garlic-butter sauce and with a dusting of Parmesan and Romano cheese for an unforgettable meal.
Located in the French Quarter in New Orleans, this world-famous coffee shop serves some of the best café au lait, made with dark roasted coffee and chicory, and French-style fritters called beignets. Square pieces of dough are fried in cottonseed oil to crispy, puffy perfection and generously topped with powdered sugar. You’re sure to leave with powdered sugar all over your face, but that’s part of the fun!
This family-owned restaurant has been in business for over a century serving its unique melting pot cuisine of Creole Italian dishes, but it’s the BBQ shrimp that put it on the map in the 1950s. When a restaurant patron raved about a dish he had tried in Chicago, Pascal’s brother Jake went to work in the kitchen and invented the BBQ shrimp. The shrimp is not actually barbecued, but it's called so for its color after being cooked in a peppery butter sauce.
When the temperature starts to rise, “sno-ball season” starts. New Orleans residents love to cool off with this ice cold treat made with finely shaved ice and flavored syrup. Local favorite Plum Street Snoball serves popular flavors like nectar cream and orchid cream vanilla, both made with homemade condensed milk, at two stands in the city. The popular Uptown location re-opens in mid-March.
With its distinct food culture influenced by Cajun, Creole and African roots, New Orleans offers unique regional specialties that capture the hearts of its visitors. The city is known as a world-famous dining destination and is home to both renowned restaurants and favorite local haunts.
It's nearly impossible to narrow down a list of the top foodie hotspots in New Orleans, but you can't go wrong with any of the picks on our list. Whether you're visiting for Mardi Gras or planning a future trip, don't miss these seven must-eat destinations in the Crescent City.
Check out the slideshow above to discover seven places you must try in New Orleans.