To help take the stress out of your trip to New Orleans, here are our top tourist travel tips. Through first hand visits to New Orleans we have learned a a few things that you just need to know a head of time. You can thank us later.
Also Read: Top 10 New Orleans Signature Cocktails
1. Beignets (Cafe de Monde): Any time you go to New Orleans one of the first questions your friends will ask is, “Did you get a beignet at Cafe De Monde?” Beignets are square French-style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar and they are delicious. Cafe Du Monde, established in 1826, is also known for its strong coffee served both Black and Au Lait. Au Lait coffee means that it is mixed half and half with hot milk. If the line is too long consider popping over to the nearby Café Beignet with locations at 334 Royal Street and 311 Bourbon Street. Cafe Hours: Daily, 24 Hours. Cafe Address: 800 Decatur Street. Cafe Website: (HERE).
2. Gumbo (The Gumbo Shop): Located just a half block from Jackson Square in the French Quarter, this The Gumbo Shop will help you get your fill of Creole cooking with its mouth-watering Gumbo. Our personal favorite is the chicken and sausage gumbo, truly amazing. Restaurant Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-10:30pm; Closed Sundays. Restaurant Address: 800 Decatur Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
3. Crawfish (Daisy Dukes): Known as Crawdads and Crawlers, Crawfish (cray-fish) are one of the coolest things to eat in New Orleans. They are only in season from February-June otherwise they would be higher on our list. These mini-lobsters are delicious and you can literately buy them by the bucket full. Our favorite place to go is Daisy Dukes near the French Quarter is serves crawfish in all sorts of forms including Crawdad Bloody Marys with a chill one peaking over the rim of your glass. Just remember to pinch the tail, suck the head and don’t call them Crayfish.
Another great place to go is the Big Fisherman just West of the Garden District which is known for its fresh takeout seafood. KJean’s Restaurant just south of City Park is also a favorite among locals for its take out sea food. Hours: Sunday-Thursday 10am-6pm; Friday 10am-6:30pm; Closed on Saturdays. Restaurant Address: 121 Chartres Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
4. Po’boy Sandwich (Mothers Restaurant): As you’ll come to find, almost everything in New Orleans has its own twist, even sub sandwiches. In the Big Easy they are called Po’Boys which are served on French bread and heavy on the meat. The best place to get one is Mothers Restaurant at the corner of Poydras Street and Tchoupitoulas Street (Chop-a-TOO-lis). It is one of the best recognized landmarks in New Orleans and only two blocks from the French Quarter. Their top selling sandwich is the Debris po’boy, which is covered in tons of shreds and left over meat. Mothers is also well known for its gumbo and homemade biscuits. Restaurant Hours: Monday-Saturday 630am-10pm; Sunday 7am-10pm. Restaurant Address: 401 Poydras Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
5. Etouffee (Galatoire’s): Often made with shrimp or crawfish over rice, Etouffee (eh-TOO-fay) is a hit with both Cajun and Creole homes. While Bon Ton Cafe is one of the places servicing the dish the longest we like to order it at Galatoire’s. It may be a little fancy but this is a great place to eat and THE place to be for lunch on Friday. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11:30am-10pm; Sunday Noon-10pm; Closed Mondays. Restaurant Address: 209 Bourbon Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
6. Muffaletta (Central Grocery & Deli): Our next must eat food is truly at a historic location in the French Market. The 6 block long strip was step up as a Native American trading post before European arrived and was turned into a full on market in 1791. Later, in 1906, the Central Grocery & Deli opened and introduced the Muffaletta to New Orleans. It is a huge sandwich with layers of cold cuts and cheese piled on Sicilian bread, and topped with an olive salad. It is probably the most filling sandwich in the French Quarter. Restaurant Address: 923 Decatur Street. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5pm; Mondays Closed.
7. Jambalaya (Old Coffeepot Restaurant): Just the word Jambalaya brings up images of New Orleans to us. Jambalaya is a spicy Creole stew made with chicken, sausage, shrimp, vegetables and rice. It is our favorite New Orleans dish. Restaurant Address: 714 Saint Peter Street. Hours: Thursday-Monday 8am-10pm; Tuesday & Wednesday 8am-2:30pm. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
8. Oysters (Acme Oyster House): Opened in 1910, the Acme Oyster House is the place for shucking oysters in New Orleans. Everything is fresh and eating here is fun as oysters are all they do. Felix’s Oyster House gives Acme a run for it’s money and Drago’s is a good back up spot on really busy days. Hours: Daily 11am-10pm; open until 11pm on Friday & Saturday. Restaurant Address: 724 Iberville Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
9. Pralines (Southern Candymakers): New Orleans isn’t known for many sweets, but we love Pralines (praw-leens). These pecan filled caramels are melted down and worked over until they almost look like chocolates. They are a refreshing twisting on the standard chocolate pecans found elsewhere in the United States. In the French Quarter there are tons of places to buy Pralines, but we like Southern Candymakers and Laures Candies the best. Hours: Daily 10am-7pm. Restaurant Address: 334 Decatur St. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
10. BBQ Shrimp (Pascal Manale): Pascal’s Manale s known for its amazing take out BBQ since 1913 and is home to New Orleans’ original BBQ Shrimp. With Cajun spices and fresh shrimp you’ll truly feel like you are in the South. Hours: Monday-Saturday 11:30am-10pm. Restaurant Address: 1838 Napoleon Ave. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
Honorable Mention Must Eat Foods:
11. Bananas Foster (Palace Cafe): Ever have fried ice cream tableside? Try Bananas Foster which is ice cream and sliced bananas turned into a flambe right in front of your eyes. Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-10pm; Saturday & Sunday 10:30am-10pm. Restaurant Address: 605 Canal Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
12. Fried Chicken (Dooky Chase): Since 1941 Dooky Chase has been serving up some of New Orleans’ best gumbo, however, they may be best known for their fried chicken lunch buffet. While more of a statewide thing than just New Orleans, fried chicken is truly Louisianan. There is a reason the fast food chains like Popeye’s push their Louisiana roots. Dooky Chase is more of a classy place but there next door is a more casual place called Willie Mae’s Scotch House which also has great food. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-3pm; Friday also 5pm-9pm. Restaurant Address: 401 Poydras Street. Restaurant Website: (HERE).
Also Read: Top 10 New Orleans Signature Cocktails