Chicken bonne femme

Tujague's

Address and Info

French Quarter

Many go to the second-oldest restaurant in the city for the brisket, and others for the historic stand-up bar downstairs for a grasshopper or a Sazerac. But those in the know know to order the outstanding chicken bonne femme, one of the best “fried” chicken dishes in the entire 504. This beast is a half fried (but not battered) chicken smothered with garlic and parsley and served with thick-cut potatoes. Nope, it’s not on the menu, so you’ll have to make a special request. You’ll be happy you did, for sure.

Scott Gold/Thrillist

The "flying oyster"

Casamento’s

Address and Info

Uptown

When headed down Magazine to this iconic Uptown spot (founded in 1919), you know what you’re after are the oysters. After all, they’re not just premium Louisiana specimens -- you know that they’ll be icy-cold, but never watery, thanks to the restaurant’s special stainless steel oyster cooler. You also know that there's gonna be a line. If you happen to tip shucker extraordinaire Mike Rogers while you’re waiting, be sure to ask him for a “flying oyster,” and the man will expertly shuck a cold one right into your mouth from about 10ft away. All you have to do is catch it.

Cafe Pierre

Commander's Palace

Address and Info

Garden District

There are a number of Grand Dame creole restaurants in the French Quarter that can offer you cafe brûlot (upon request), that inimitable concoction of coffee, booze, citrus, and spices deftly set on fire at your table. But pros know that if you want the ultimate flaming coffee-and-alcohol concoction, you need to go to Commander's Palace for the cafe Pierre, where it is deliberately left off the menu. There’s a reason for the discretion: while it isn’t more potent than a brûlot, this tricky pony is so impressive to behold that it takes some serious skill and time to pull off. Request it, and you’ll be the envy of the entire dining room.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

The "James Brown"

Parkway

Address and Info

Mid-City

Even the POTUS himself couldn’t keep away from Parkway Bakery and Tavern on one visit to the Big Easy (Mr. Obama chose the always-classic shrimp po-boy). But if you really want to take it to the next level, ask for the “James Brown.” We’re sure that the Godfather of Soul (RIP) would approve of traditional deep-fried golden shrimp topped with barbecue sauce, cheese, and roast beef gravy.

Garlic "knot-chos"

Pizza Delicious

Address and Info

Bywater

It took a while for a genuinely authentic New York-style pizza to make it to the Crescent City, and truth be told, Pizza Delicious was the first joint to do the slice justice. The pizza is fantastic (and foldable!), as are the handmade pastas and specials. On a good day, though, you’ll find their special “garlic knot-chos,” which are exactly what they sound like: the house-made buttery garlic knots dressed with pasta sauce, pickled jalapeños, and plenty of shredded Parm. Each knot is a mouthful of gooey, secret deliciousness.

N7

Canned seafood

N7

Address and Info

Bywater

Wait... how can a whole restaurant be a secret in a town like New Orleans? Well, it might not be the best-kept secret, but N7 debuted with zero official publicity and relied mostly on word-of-mouth marketing (which is good, because if someone told you about this place, you’d want to go there and then thank them for it). Maybe it’s because having a restaurant in NOLA that specializes in canned seafood is kind of an odd duck, but believe you me, those tins offer rarities not often seen in this town -- think fancy sardines, mussels, and calamari. All are imported, and crazy-delicious.

“Pimento” Burger

The Company Burger

Address and Info

Uptown and the CBD

You’ll find no lack of creative sandwich specials at CoBu and CoBu2 -- fried chicken Tuesdays will always have a place in our hearts -- but there’s one ace up chef/owner Adam Biderman’s sleeve you need to know about that’s not in writing. “We have a pimento cheeseburger,” he says. “It’s not on the menu, you just have to ask -- and let us know if you still want the pickles on there.”

Mopho Mid-City

Secret Saturday pork

MoPho

Address and Info

Mid-City

There’s so much to love about Michael Gulotta’s “Mekong Delta-meets-Mississippi Delta” fusion spot near City Park, and it’s almost hard to decide what to order (though we recommend the chicken wings, razor clams, and the fried oysters with nước chấm mayo). If you’re lucky enough to get there on a Saturday night, chef Gulotta roasts a whole pig to serve that day until it runs out. The sizzling platter of cochon de lait arrives with ample meat, house-made roti, fish sauce, house herbs, and pickled veggies, all for only $23.

“Chef's Go Go Juice”

Rebellion Bar & Urban Kitchen

Address and Info

Warehouse District

Chef Chris DeBarr -- everyone’s favorite mad hatter of the kitchen -- recently returned to cook in NOLA with all of his worldly appetites (for which we can’t be sufficiently thankful). Few know that he also likes to dabble in mixology, and now has a particular concoction behind the bar at Rebellion that doesn’t appear on any cocktail menu. “We have an after-dinner coffee cocktail I made up called Ferdinand the Bull -- cuz it's so much better tasting than Red Bull,” he writes, “that employs cold brew coffee, ginger syrup, and tequila. It's other aliases are Chef's Go Go Juice or crack juice.” If you’re looking for a pick-me-up with a special kick, look no further.

Brian Landry

The lost BLT sandwich

Borgne

Address and Info

CBD

Seafood is king at Borgne, and Brian Landry’s creative takes on the fruits of the Gulf (and other local waters) are always welcome. Sadly, the phenomenal oyster BLT “ain’t dere no more,” as we say in New Orleans. However, if you’re bold enough to politely make a request, there’s a good chance they’ll still make it for you. OK, you can tell your friends about this secret, because if we all keep ordering it, maybe the BLT will find its way back onto the permanent menu.

Secret seafood

Drago's

Address and Info

Metairie

The current fantastic state of New Orleans seafood wouldn’t be what it is without Drago's ingenious invention of the charbroiled oyster. Once solely available at Drago’s original Metairie restaurant, these buttery, garlicky bivalves are now on menus everywhere it seems. However, if you’re willing to venture out to Fat City, you can not only find the originals (and still the best), but also one secret seafood item available only on request: seafood-stuffed soft shell crab topped with crab sauce. It’s seafood within seafood, with seafood on top, so, basically... seafood-ception.

Congreso Cubano

The best Cuban sandwich in NOLA

Congreso Cubano

Address and Info

Various

The Crescent City is known for its global tastes, but sadly there seems to be a dearth of real-deal Cuban food in town. If you’re looking for the city’s finest Cubano sandwich, you won’t find it in any restaurant, but at the hands of the Congreso Cubano pop-up. Check out the Facebook page for locations, which vary from bars to block parties and festivals. Trust us, it’s worth cyber-stalking for that buttery bread filled with pork, pickles, melty cheese, and mustard.

NOLA Restaurant

The "dessert storm"

NOLA Restaurant

Address and Info

French Quarter

What’s better than the desserts at Emeril’s NOLA? How about all the desserts! If you order what’s called the “dessert storm” (pun intended), that’s exactly what you’ll get. According to a former head pastry chef, “It is basically a sampler of all the restaurants desserts available in smaller portions on a large plate or platter, playfully garnished with chef Emeril's signature touches, such as drizzles of chocolate, raspberry and/or caramel sauces, fresh seasonal berries, and a dusting of powdered sugar, always!” When that’s placed before your table, you’ll have no choice but to say, “BAM!”

Steamed buns

Lost Love Lounge

Address and Info

Bywater

Sure, there's no lack of Vietnamese options in NOLA -- it seems another pho or banh mi joint opens up daily -- and if you happen to be drinking at the Lost Love Lounge, you’ll surely notice the great little Vietnamese counter in the back. The presented options are all satisfying, but if you inquire, you might just score some off-the-menu and out-of-this-world steamed buns stuffed with barbecue pork to go with your rice noodles and spring rolls.

Twelve Mile Limit

“Family meal”

Twelve Mile Limit

Address and Info

Mid-City

In a city blessed with amazing neighborhood bars, it’s saying a lot that Twelve Mile Limit is one of the best neighborhood bars in town -- but it’s the truth. The excellent vibe, friendly regulars, and stellar cocktail program all add up to a place many Mid-City locals call their second home. That homey feeling is compounded by the fact that, every Monday, the bar’s kitchen serves up a complimentary “family meal” for guests, with one serving at 7pm and another at 8pm What they cook up varies, depending on the week and the cook’s mood, but past offerings have included enchiladas, pastas, casseroles, and other homestyle dishes guaranteed to fill you up as you sample the many excellent tipples at the bar or play a couple rounds of darts.

FREE BLTs

Banks Street Bar

Address and Info

Mid-City

Wait... what? Yeah, you heard that right: FREE BLTs at Banks St. Bar on Wednesdays at 10pm. Courtesy of house blues/rock outfit “Major Bacon,” you’ll not only be treated to a fun and rocking live show (we expect nothing less from an outfit with that handle), but also a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich that costs all of zero dollars.

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1. Tujague's 823 Decatur St, New Orleans, 70116 (French Quarter)

Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Tujague's is the second oldest restaurant in NOLA, a fact evidenced by a timeless, extensive old-school menu that focuses around traditional Creole fare. The place also houses one of the most iconic bars in the country, and invented the minty post-dinner Grasshopper cocktail, which is delicious, and contains no actual grasshoppers.

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2. Casamento's 4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

A New Orleans landmark since 1919, Casamento's is the grandaddy of all oyster bars, serving up fried oyster po' boys and equally delicious raw oysters, shucked right in front of you. The space is small and completely tiled, because the owners know oyster juice spillage is inevitable when you're marathon-slurping your meal.

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3. Commander's Palace 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

This notable New Orleans spot offers refined Creole fare in a historic setting. The Garden District landmark has been around since 1893 and has since won six James Beard Foundation awards, in part due to its seamless execution of its "dirt to plate within 100 miles" policy, which strives for 90% of ingredients to come from within 100 miles of the back door. Come in for inspired (and environmentally-friendly!) offerings like cypress smoked Muscovy duck and shrimp and pork belly carbonara.

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4. Parkway Bakery & Tavern 538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

No one does po’boys like Parkway, and it’s no surprise: the Mid-City spot has been open since 1911, and the po’boy has been a staple of the menu since 1929. Regardless of whether you’re a local, a passerby, or even President Obama (who makes a point to snag a golden fried shrimp po’boy here when business brings him to the Big Easy), you really can’t go wrong with any of these delicious bad boys, all of which are served on fresh, house-made bread. Pro tip: if you can’t handle the spice level, a booze-loving mint julep will help.

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5. Pizza Delicious 617 Piety St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Located on Bywater's Piety Street, this New York-style slice shop was started by two Long Island guys who, surprisingly, had never made pizza before. The menu incorporates local produce and features daily pizza specials like an Italian sausage pie with caramelized onions and peppers.

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6. N7 1117 Montegut St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Look for the vintage Citroen car parked on the curb of Montegut Street; find the wooden fence, discreetly marked with a red stencil, and voila: you’ve successfully located N7. Named for the highway Parisians take when flocking south on vacation, N7 is authentically French, both in ambience (think Jane Birkin records crooning softly throughout the cottage-like environs, salvaged bistro tables in the backyard, lit by strings of light) and in the concentrated simplicity of its menu (in addition to quintessentially European canned seafood, notable offerings include the steak au poivre and cheese for dessert).

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7. CoBu2 611 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113

Located inside the Paramount Building, The Company Burger's second location includes all the favorites of the original: the lamb burger, pork rinds, fresh-cut fries, and milkshakes. The space is dimly lit, and casually furnished with high chairs, so you won't feel undignified or misplaced biting into tall, fried chicken slides sure to cause a greasy spray.

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8. MoPho 514 City Park Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

This Mid-City eatery is run by former chef from John Besh's August, and the quality is apparent. It combines the flavors of the Gulf with the flavors of Vietnam making for a fresh exploration into classic Vietnamese dishes. The drink program is just as eclectic as the eats, with house cocktails and spiked boba teas. The space feels modern and trendy for a strip mall spot, with a blue and orange color palette and wooden accents. On Saturdays, they roast a full pig, meaning you should probably cancel your other weekend plans.

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9. Rebellion Bar & Urban Kitchen 748 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Reflecting the mixed heritage of part owner Seung Hong, this Warehouse District restaurant offers a fusion menu of classics like pho, springs, and kimchi stew, as well as southern specialties like shrimp and grits. As with the innovative food, the space is also trendy yet casually elevated with hanging lights, exposed brick walls, and stark black chairs both inside, and outside on the patio.

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10. Drago's Seafood Restaurant 3232 N Arnoult Rd, Metairie, LA 70002

Home to locally renowned charbroiled oysters, this 400-seat restaurant offers an extensive seafood menu that includes classics like Drago's Original Charbroiled Oysters and Mama Ruth's Gumbo. Pro tip: Once you're done ravaging your herbed garlic butter-smothered oysters, wipe up every last oily drop with the restaurant's French bread.

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11. NOLA Restaurant 534 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This funkily clad restaurant remixes southern cuisine with traditional Creole and Acadian tastes, plating dishes like scallop court buillon and garlic-crusted drum. The space is spread out over three levels of a cool exposed brick interior, which, juxtaposed against white tablecloth tables, vintage photographs, and colored walls, seems to evoke contemporary New Orleans in one lively go.

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12. Lost Love Lounge 2529 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Slip inside the Lost Love Lounge, and the red walls seem to glow in welcome -- why arrive fancy when everyone looks good in a shade of rouge? Tibetan prayer flags hang above the bar, joined by a variety of signs: a beer list and daily specials scrawled on boards, advertisements for TV and comedy nights. Everything about the place invites you to linger, even the sorta ratty vinyl bar stools. The front room rounds out with video poker machines, a pool table, a couple of high cocktail tables, and a stocked bookshelf. Head to the back to grab a quick meal from the Vietnamese kitchen.

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13. Twelve Mile Limit 500 S Telemachus St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

Twelve Mile has all the little things that make a bar feel homey. You’ve got food if you need it, places to sit and stare at the curios that catch your eye -- like the stuffed shark and squid hanging near the Hyperbole and a Half print on the wall -- a solid jukebox, pool, and personalized matchbooks to light your smokes or pass a number to someone. It’s the neighborhood bar worth leaving your actual neighborhood to adopt as your own.

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14. Banks Street Bar & Grill 4401 Banks St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

This all-inclusive music venue offers indoor and outdoor seating, pool tables, and pizza by the slice. The stage is constantly filled with eclectic bands throughout the week, from blues to bluegrass, rockabilly, Cajun and more. And the best part? It's always for free with no cover charge.

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