New Orleans restaurants
New Orleans's storied restaurant scene will make you forget the traditional three-meal system. You'll need to eat way more than that in order to even scratch the surface of everything the Big Easy's restaurants have to offer. So go ahead, indulge in a plate of sugar-dusted fried beignets with mid-morning coffee and a dozen raw oysters before dinner. It's all part of eating your way around the city.
New Orleans remains a staunch restaurant town, and you won't have to go too far to find a solid recommendation for a transcendent meal, whether you're looking to spend three bucks a plate or three-hundred. From the humblest po'boy (an overstuffed French bread sandwich) at Parkway Bakery and Tavern to cutting-edge interpretations of local cuisine at restaurants like MiLA, you're likely to have at least one life-changing meal.
Seafood lovers should familiarize themselves with the bounty of the nearby Gulf of Mexico meal by meal. Delicate, flaky fish like pompano, black drum, and red snapper swim in nearby waters and form the core of a centuries-old Creole culinary tradition. Plump shrimp pulled from local waters and tasty crawfish from swampy southwest Louisiana find their way to the table boiled or cooked into spicy gumbos and butter-rich étouffée. Pristine lump meat from the local blue crab makes its way into every course but dessert.
Since New Orleans is a global destination for foodie types, it always helps to make dining reservations in advance, especially during big events like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. Hot tickets like Cochon might require a little "wait at the bar" time, but that's not always a bad thing, is it? Peak hours for evening dining are in the range of 7 to 8 pm, so swing by early or late if you've got your heart set on a particular restaurant. And contrary to what you'd expect, most of the city's kitchens don't keep cooking into the wee hours, so it's good practice to dine before 10 pm and hit the clubs afterward.