Here’s a list of favorite restaurants put together by some locals. They’re listed in alphabetical order by neighborhood and category using the following definitions:

  • Grand: Good Food, An Expensive Dining Experience (business suits would have been required in the olden days)
  • Nice: Good Food, Upscale, Informal, Moderately Expensive
  • Informal: Good Food, Casual, Less Expensive

REQUIRED: Cafe! du Monde: must have cafe! au lait and beignets; a true New Orleans experience (800 Decatur Street; 504 525 4544)
Lunch on most days will require convenience and speed; check out the Food Court at Place St. Charles (201 St. Charles Avenue); there are also food courts at One Canal Place (at the foot of Canal Street) and Riverwalk (along the river).
Antoine’s: the oldest restaurant under continuous family management in the country; as much a museum as a restaurant; key to a great meal here are the appetizers (starting with souffle! potatoes) but surprisingly the filets are among the best in town (be sure to get the sauces); Baked Alaska for dessert is without equal (713 Saint Louis; antoines.com; 504 581 4422)

Arnauds: another grand restaurant in the French tradition founded by the supposedly Count Arnaud; fish dishes are good; the shrimp remolaude is a must (813 Bienville; www.arnauds.com; 504 523 5433)

Bayona: the flagship restaurant of Chef Susan Spicer, one of the premiere (female) chefs in the country. Her take on Louisiana cuisine always keeps a watchful eye on the cuisines of the world; everything’s good, it’s a matter of personal taste; service can be slow; dishes not to be missed sweetbreads, grilled shrimp with bean cake, garlic soup, salmon in Gerwurztraminer sauce, veal tenderloins. Patio seating in nice weather (430 Dauphine; www.bayona.com; 504 525 4455)

Broussards: no personal experience, but we’ve heard good things (819 Conti; www.broussards.com; 504 581 3866) Galatoires: a true French bistro and a local favorite; shrimp remolaude a must; local favorites include Crabmeat Yvonne and Godchaux salad; jackets are required for gentlemen during dinner and all day Sunday (209 Bourbon Street; www.galatoires.com; 504 525 2021)

Iris: 2007 Food and Wine Best New Chef Ian Schnobelen moved from a quaint cottage in the Riverbend to the Bienville House Hotel; delicious, fresh seasonal approach to cooking with an emphasis on Classic French technique and California/Asian influences. By far the best spot in the city for specialty cocktails (321 N. Peters Street; www.irisneworleans.com; 504 299 3944)
Muriel’s: on Jackson Square; good food, good ambiance; friendly to all comers (801 Chartres Street; www.muriels.com; 504 568 1885) Stella’s: expensive but on everybody’s Top Five list (1032 Chartres Street; www.restaurantstella.com; 504 587 0091)
Bacco’s: popular Italian fare (310 Chartres Street; www.bacco.com; 504 522 2426) The Green Goddess: newly opened in 2009 by Chef Chris DeBarr (formerly of The Delachaise and before that, Christians) and Paul Artigues of Surrey’s. This spot features wide ranging cuisines. Not to be missed are the duck fat fried potatoes, the crawfish boil salad, and the strawberry cre”me brulee (307 ExchangeAlley; www.greengoddessnola.com; 504 301 3347)

GW Fins: in the style of the steakhouse, except it’s fish; great biscuits (808 Bienville Street; www.gwfins.com; 504 581 3467)
K Paul’s: heavy fried spicy and delicious; authentic Cajun cooking by the chef who created blackened red fish; also good for an informal lunch; big portions; big price (416 Chartres Street; www.kpauls.com; 504 524 7394)
Mr. B’s: all around good with especially good grilled fish and gumbo ya ya (201 Royal Street; www.mrbsbistro.com;(504.523 2078) Nola’s: Emeril’s outpost in the French Quarter; very popular 534 Saint Louis St. (504 522 6652)

Pelican Club: good location on Exchange Alley with a wide variety of selections (312 Exchange Place; www.pelicanclub.com; 504 523 1504)

Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans: good ambiance; very nice setting; prime rib is excellent but nothing wrong with the seafood and fish; some of the best gumbo in town; check for availability of complimentary pralines at the end (621 St. Louis Street; 504 529 7045 )

Wolfes: Tom Wolfe, the chef not the writer, spent years as Emeril’’s right hand man. He further honed his craft at the old Peristyle on Rampart. Great spot for small plates (appetizer size). House cured meats and fish. Crabmeat beet salad may seem lurid in color, but has a delicious blend of tastes and textures. Lovely spot for a group dinner (1041 Dumaine Street; 504 593 9535)
Acme Oyster House: always good oysters, informal setting with all around good food (724 Iberville St; www.acmeoyster.com;504 522 5973 )

Chartres House Cafe!: good hamburgers and salads; a relatively inexpensive place to get a bite to eat in an open air atmosphere (601 Chartres St.; http://www.chartreshousecafe.com/; 504 655 1806)

Deanie’s: good fried seafood; good gumbo; nice 1930s atmosphere (841 Iberville St; http://www.deanies.com/restaurants/french quarter/; 504 581 1316)
Gumbo Shop: an old stand by favorite; all the gumbos are better than average (630 St. Peter St; www.gumboshop.com/; 504 525 1486)

Hermes Bar at Antoine’s: newly opened; good place to stop by for a drink, lunch, and/or supper; separate menu but everything from the restaurant is also available in a casual but elegant atmosphere (713 Saint Louis St; www.antoines.com; 504 581 4422)
Johnny’s Po Boys: just good New Orleans Po Boys. Roast beef, oyster, shrimp. (511 St. Louis St; www.johnnyspoboy.com; 504 524 8129)
Mother’s: almost entirely tourists but delicious; get the debris (401 Poydras; www.mothersrestaurant.net; 504 523 9656) Napoleon House: historic, fun, funky; get the muffuletta; food is good but go for the atmosphere (500 Chartres St; www.napoleonhouse.com; 504 524 9752)

Port of Call: great hamburgers; located at the back of the French Quarter (838 Esplanade Ave; www.portofcallnola.com; 504 523 0120) Praline Connection: technically in the Marigny and not the French Quarter; fun New Orleans soul food (542 Frenchmen Street; www.pralineconnection.com; 504 943 3934)

Red Fish Grill: popular fish place; probably a step below GW Fins (115 Bourbon St; www.redfishgrill.com; 504 598 1200)

Royal Street Oyster House: pleasant, opens on to the street bistro with good oyster dishes (441 Royal Street; http://royalhouserestaurant.com/; 504 528 2601)

August: many consider August to be one of the best in the city; upscale flagship of John Besh’s empire. Expensive (bring several credit cards!!) but very well worth it. The 5 course tasting menu is a good way to experience the breadth and depth of John Besh’s palate (301 Tchoupitoulas St; www.restaurantaugust.com; 504 299 9777)
Emeril’s: flagship restaurant of the renowned chef (BAM!); can also be noisy (800 Tchoupitoulas St; http://www.emerils.com/restaurant/1/Emerils New Orleans/; 504 528 9393)

Bon Ton: an old favorite of New Orleans business people (if you happen to be in that neighborhood) (401 Magazine St; www.thebontoncafe.com; 504 524 3386)

Cuvee: good cooking in a very comfortable setting (322 Magazine St; www.restaurantcuvee.com; (504 587 9001)

Herbsaint: try the housemade spaghetti with guanciale (pork jowl bacon) and a fried poached egg, simply indulgent (701 St. Charles; www.herbsaint.com; 504 524 4114)

Luke’s at the Hilton: John Besh’s Alsatian brasserie; relatively new; becoming increasingly popular; great raw oysters and cold seafood selections, pates, rillettes, a mammoth burger (333. St. Charles; www.lukeneworleans.com; 504 378 2840)

MiLa’s at the Renaissance Pere Marquette: local chefs who went off to New York and came back stars; serving way above average fare (817 Common St; www.milaneworleans.com; 504 412 2580)
Cochon and Cochon Butcher:
the former is an opus to southwest Louisiana cooking the latter is a wonderful butcher shop/small plates/wine bar. Just go by. (903 Tchoupitoulas St; www.cochonrestaurant.com; 504 588 2123)

Mulates: fun, casual, Cajun restaurant; live Cajun music and dancing nightly (201 Julia St; www.mulates.com; 504 522 1492)
Sun Ray Grill: good local fun place (1051 Annunciation Street; www.sunraygrill.com; 504 566 0021)
Commander’s Palace
: the Uptown grand restaurant; Ella Brennan as the matriarch; the mothership for many of the fine chefs in the city and still holds its own with all of them; order the turtle soup and bread pudding souffle;! jackets preferred at dinner (1403 Washington Ave; 504 899 8221)
Emeril’s Delmonico: Emeril’s on the Avenue is his fanciest restaurant with equally as good food; go for a romantic evening (1300 St. Charles; http://www.emerils.com/restaurant/3/Emerils Delmonico/; 504 525 4937)
Gautreau’s: a local favorite (1728 Soniat St.) (www.gautreausrestaurant.com; 504 899 7397)
: one of the best in the Creole cooking tradition; restaurant a converted old home; picturesque (723 Dante St; www.brigtsens.com; 504 861 7610)

Jacques Imo’s: Fantastic big portions, real Louisiana food, cooked really well in an exceptionally fun atmosphere. Food and price are “nice,” but the atmosphere is extremely informal; the chef likes to stand on the bar. There can be a long line to get in, but with 5 or more (we think) you can make a reservation. Mix of locals and tourists (8324 Oak St; www.jacquesimoscafe.com; 504 861 0886)

Lilette: favorite for people looking for a restaurant on Magazine Street, a popular strip running through the Uptown/Garden District; delicious food, attentive service, and an impressive wine list. Plush banquettes surround a smartly designed dining room. The chef’s reach is rarely overreaching. Anything with the Brabant potatoes should be ordered (3637 Magazine St; www.liletterestaurant.com; 504 895 1636)

Vizards: small, quaint bistro; you will feel like an insider here. Classic French and New Orleans food only slightly modernized. The veal bordelaise is amazing, the roast chicken perfect, and the cassoulet salad (if on menu) is sheer genius (5015 Magazine St; 504 895 2246)

: if you are here during the non summer months go to Casamentos. Get there early, stand in line. Your first stop will be the bar, then the oyster bar. Get a dozen or so raw while you wait for your table. Then sit where they tell you to. Order the gumbo, an oyster loaf (fried to order), softshells if they got it, enjoy fresh, simple Louisiana seafood (4330 Magazine St; www.casamentosrestaurant.com; 504 895 9761)
Domilise’s: a hole in the wall in Uptown New Orleans; specializes in fried shrimp and oyster po boys; you’ll feel like you found the real New Orleans (5240 Annunciation St; 504 899 9126)
Ignatius: can be inconsistent, but very simple New Orleans cuisine. Red beans and rice, boudin stuffed meatloaf, and etouffe omelets Good spot for brunch/lunch (on days you don’t have to be in sessions) (4200 Magazine St; 504 896 2225)
St. James Cheese Shop: The proprietor, Richard Sutton, was previously the
cheesemonger to the queen of England. A gem of a store with a great selection of cheeses from around the world. Great sandwiches, charcuterie plates, and salads. Good lunch or mid afternoon snack spot. (5004 Prytaniahttp://www.labocasteaks.com/index.html; 504 899 4737)
Dickie Brennan’s on Iberville
: in the same tradition as Ruth’s Chris but French Quarter location (716 Iberville Street; http://www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com/; 504 522 2467)
La Boca: classic steakhouse, best beef in the city. Start with a Pisco Sour, move onto an order of the Provoleta and the sweetbreads, the hanger, skirt, or flank, and an order of fries. Wash down with large selection of Argentinian reds. Also, this is a great spot for a group. If you have 8 or more people they offer a special group menu which has just about everything on the menu for $50 a head. This is not one of those meat on a dagger, faux Brazilian steakhouses (857 Fulton St; 504 525 8204)
Morton’s at One Canal Place: in the same tradition as Ruth’s Chris but doesn’t have the local connection (365 Canal St # 220; http://www.mortons.com/neworleans/; 504 566 0221)
Ruth’s Chris at Harrah’s Hotel: a New Orleans original; expensive but large portions and high quality (525 Fulton Street; http://www.ruthschris.com/Steak House/21349/New Orleans; 504 587 7099)