Food & Drink

10 iconic New Orleans dishes and where to find them

Published On 09/27/2013 Published On 09/27/2013
Crawfish
Credit: Scott Gold
Credit: Scott Gold
Credit: Scott Gold
Credit: Scott Gold
Credit: Southern Candymakers
Credit: Palace Cafe
Credit: Flickr / cherrylet
Credit: Yelp / Alain D.
Credit: Scott Gold
Credit: Flickr / pointnshoot
Credit: Flickr / y6y6y6
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1. Jacques-Imo's Cafe 8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

Jacques-Imo's Cafe in Uptown is home to authentic NOLA cooking, offering a menu loaded with Louisiana favorites like Creole jambalaya, shrimp & alligator sausage cheesecake, blackened redfish with crab-chili hollandaise, and its famous Godzilla Meets Fried Green Tomatoes (fried soft shell crab over fried green tomatoes with remoulade and a side of slaw). You can either grab a table inside the mural-lined space, on the sidewalk, or even on the bed of Jacques-Imo's colorfully painted truck parked at the curb. All three options are steeped in the friendly, community feel that defines this neighborhood spot.

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2. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen 416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Located in the French Quarter, K-Paul's is a legendary establishment from the late renowned chef Paul Prudhomme, and is considered the birthplace of the NOLA delicacy blackened redfish, which is served alongside a host of other traditional, elevated Cajun dishes. Prudhomme's Cajun jambalaya (culturally different from French Creole) features tasso sausage, chicken, and a jalapeño kick, and is a must-try when dining at this iconic restaurant with exposed brick and white tablecloths.

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3. Pascal's Manale Restaurant 1838 Napoleon Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Look for the brightly glowing neon cursive on Napoleon Avenue, follow the tantalizing scent of Cajun spices, and voilà: you’ve arrived at Pascal’s Manale, a cozy Uptown joint where shellfish reign. Blending bold Creole flavors with Italian influences, the kitchen serves heavy-hitting favorites like frutta del mare drenched in homemade marinara sauce and the house specialty: Pascal’s Barbecue Shrimp, a local legend for its hefty portion and spice-obsessed butter sauce.

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4. Mother's Restaurant 401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Famous for their po-boys and jambalaya, Mother's has been specializing in authentic New Orleans-style cooking since it opened its doors in 1938.

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5. Southern Candymakers 334 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Nestled into Decatur with a bright-yellow facade, the family-owned Southern Candymakers specializes in handmade pralines that don't have the gritty texture that many fall victim to (thanks to their overwhelming amount of sugar). The silky-smooth pralines here have consistently been dubbed the nation's best by fans and publications alike. Be sure to try the sweet potato version for a perfect combination of sweet and savory.

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6. Palace Café 605 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

The Palace Cafe plates contemporary Creole cuisine, and even though you'll be plenty full after your meal, save room for their acclaimed bread pudding for dessert.

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7. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 621 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

This popular fried chicken chain originated in New Orleans, but now has more than 2000 locations around the world, serving up delicious Southern food to the masses.

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8. Willie Mae's Scotch House 2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

The fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House is the best in the United States. No joke: it was dubbed such by the Travel Channel and Food Network, and also won the James Beard Award for “America’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region.” Tucked away the Treme neighborhood, the cozy spot features all the accoutrements of a beloved local haunt -- memorabilia mounted throughout, news clippings chronicling the success of the family-owned business (which has been open since 1957), homey environs -- and it’s worth noting that there’s always a line out the door, regardless of weather. It’s a walk-ins only spot, so be prepared to wait -- but the soul food here is so satisfying, and it’s entirely worth it.

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9. Bon Ton Cafe 401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Established in 1953, BTC offers a number of Cajun/Creole favorites, but they're most well known for their etouffees, which can be made with shrimp or crawfish.

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10. Prejean's 3480 NE Evangeline Trwy, Lafayette, LA 70507

Here you'll find delicious Cajun/Creole favorites, like BBQ shrimp, fried catfish, and their signature duck & andouille gumbo.

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11. Joey K's 3001 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Located at the heart of Magazine St, Joey K's is a local favorite for homestyle NOLA specialties like jambalaya, po-boys, catfish, and red beans & rice.