NEW ORLEANS WILL Be Thankful for its Restaurant Scene

Happy Thanksgiving! Of all the things we’re grateful for this year, one of them is incredible, award-winning cuisine at our fingertips. On a holiday dedicated in part to food, we felt today was a great one to recognize one of our biggest big city assets: dining.

This year alone, New Orleans restaurants and bars have earned incredible awards like James Beard awards for chef Alon Shaya, who won Best Chef: South (he also received Esquire Magazine’s distinction for the Best New Restaurant in America). As New Orleans residents, we cherish our reputation as a foodie mecca, and we love heading to restaurants all over the city. Currently, the city boasts more than 1,400 restaurants, which is nearly double the restaurant count pre-Katrina. Without the flow of tourists, we likely would not have access to so many amazing eateries.


Find authentically New Orleans dishes like shrimp po’boys and Oysters Bienville at restaurants across the city. (Photo courtesy Ryan Joy on Flickr)

Beyond just enjoying the food, we also benefit from restaurant-related jobs. Chefs, waiters, managers, and restaurateurs, and the not-so-obvious linen providers, cleaners and local farmers, create a unique economic system within New Orleans born of our craving for great food and a great dining experience.

The history of New Orleans cuisine is as diverse as the city itself. International flavors from Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the Canary Islands reflect our status as a port city, rich French cuisine highlights our start as a city with Francophile roots, and Vietnamese flavors lend an exotic taste to the city’s dining scene.

Of course, New Orleans-specific dishes please the palates of locals and tourists alike. Any meal of the day can be eaten New Orleans style if you know where to look: start with beignets and a chicory root iced coffee for breakfast; choose from yakamein, turtle soup, red beans and rice, or gumbo for lunch. Dinner time gives you your pick of seafood-centric dishes like Oysters Bienville (named for the city’s founder, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville) or crawfish etouffee paired with a side of macque choux. Dessert? Yeah, you right. Dig into a king cake, bananas foster, or even a beignet.