Skip to content

11 New Orleans Food and Drink Experiences You Can’t Miss

  • USA

Some posts on this site contain affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). Take a look at my privacy policy for more information.

close up of 4 shrimps on a white square plate topped with melted butter and greens. new orleans food and drink

Bring your appetite and get ready to enjoy the very best food and drink experiences in New Orleans!

My friend Pam and I are very, very good at eating. An Alabama native, Pam visits New Orleans regularly and knows all the ins and outs of the city. So when I visited the Big Easy with her after my awesome overnight train from New York, I knew I was in for a delicious couple of days!

We spend a few nights eating and drinking our way around the Big Easy in search of the very best food experiences. From partying in the French Quarter to scoffing down all the beignets we could get our hands on… we really made the most of our short time in the city.

After some in-depth research – and a LOT of eating – I’ve put together this guide to the best New Orleans food and drink experiences. Don’t miss a single one…

Iconic New Orleans French Quarter Restaurants

Looking for the very best French Quarter restaurants in New Orleans? If you want to try all the classic Louisiana cuisine, these are the best places to eat in NOLA.

Beignets – Cafe du Monde vs Cafe Beignet

close up of small round balls of dough being dusted with white powder with a grey background

You can’t visit New Orleans and not eat a beignet. A cross between a doughnut and a fritter, a beignet is simply deep-fried choux pastry coated in powdered sugar.

You can find them all over New Orleans, but the two best places to eat beignets are Cafe du Monde and Cafe Beignet.

Personally, I liked the Cafe du Monde beignets a touch better. The cafe was chocka with locals at about 2am, with everyone eating beignets on their way home from the bars. The atmosphere was great and the beignets were delicious!

Po’ Boys at Coop’s Place

NOLA-speak for “Poor Boy”, a Po’ Boy is another New Orleans classic. Quite simply, it’s a huge sandwich made from soft French bread stuffed with various fillings.

There are a LOT of places to eat Po’ Boys in the French Quarter, and I’m sure they’re all incredible. But according to my favourite foodie Pam, the best Po’ Boys in New Orleans are found at Coop’s Place. This is a cosy, dimly-lit bar with a fab atmosphere and walls coated in funny signs and memorabilia. Their cajun shrimp Po’ Boy was amazing!

Acme Oyster House

Close up shot of fresh raw Louisiana oysters on a bowl of ice with three small silver tubs of sauce at a restaurant in New Orleans

Acme Oyster House is one of the most famous restaurants in the French Quarter. It’s not unusual to queue for a table there – but it’s well worth the wait!

Known for their super-fresh, hand-shucked Louisiana oysters, this lively restaurant has been a New Orleans staple since 1910 and has branches across the city.

Not into oysters? Don’t worry  – there’s plenty more on the menu. This is one of the best places to try traditional Cajun cuisine and great seafood. Don’t miss the jambalaya or the seafood gumbo – two true-blue NOLA classics.

Creole Pralines at Aunt Sally’s and Laura’s Candies

close up of a white plate filled with pale brown pecan pralines

Ok – this one isn’t a restaurant. But if you have a sweet tooth like me you need to hit some of the many French Quarter candy stores in search of another true New Orleans classic – pralines.

These are very different to the chocolatey praline we have in Europe. Creole pralines are a creamy, sugary concoction filled with pecans and they’re absolutely delicious.

Although you can buy pralines all over New Orleans, I think I found the two best places. At Aunt Sally’s in the French Market, you can see (and smell!) the pralines being made. There’s also Laura’s Candies, which is the oldest candy store in New Orleans.

Other Amazing Restaurants in New Orleans


Pouring red wine into the glass against wooden background

This was easily one of my favourite discoveries in New Orleans – recommended to us by a few different locals. Bacchanal began life as a small wine shop on the outskirts of the city. Somehow, the boutique escalated into one of the Big Easy’s coolest venues.

Out back, there’s a large and leafy outdoor area bedecked with fairy lights. In the shop, you can pick up a bottle of wine and put together a cheese and ham platter at the deli counter – then take both outside.

Sit back with wine and cheese and watch the nightly live music. If you’re in need of something more filling there’s a fab Mediterranean-themed menu available. It’s such a cool New Orleans experience – and both the food and wine are amazing. Whatever you do, don’t miss Bacchanal!

The Grill Room at Windsor Court

flatlay of several square white plates of food at a new orleans restaurant - top left has an open taco with pulled pork, greens and red cabbage. top right has a piece of meat with greens and a thin brown sauce. bottom left has 4 shrimps with greens and bottom right has fried cabbage with a butter sauce/
A few dishes from our lunchtime feast at the Grill Room restaurant

In a city of excess and reverie, the Grill Room at Windsor Court Hotel is the ideal contrast. Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly eat to excess here – especially on their famous Sunday Jazz Brunches – but in a more sophisticated, fancy setting that combines Southern hospitality with fine dining.

Blending iconic Louisiana comfort food with more contemporary flavours and exceptional presentation, the lunch or dinner at The Grill Room is an amazing experience and was easily my favourite meal in New Orleans.

The $19.84 plate lunch is a steal for what you get and shouldn’t be missed. You can choose a main dish with three sides, from classics like collard greens, gumbo and corn maque choux to more original dishes like the crispy chicken in praline sauce. Don’t miss the crawfish pasta!

READ MORE: My Review of the Windsor Court Hotel New Orleans

Bars in New Orleans you Can’t Miss

Loa Bar

close up of a hand holding an orange cocktail in a tall glass with ice and a sprig of mint on a white table against a dark red background
There are so many dreamy cocktails to choose from at Loa

Looking for the best cocktails in New Orleans? Head to the small but beautiful Loa Bar at the International House Hotel. Loa are the divine spirits of the Voodoo religion, and it’s the spirit of New Orleans that you’ll find in the totally unique cocktail list.

There’s a big focus on local ingredients, and on the flavours of cultures that have been influencing New Orleans for hundreds of years; like Haiti, Havana, and Senegal. Ask the super talented bar staff for recommendations, and give something new a try.

New Orleans is full of amazing bars – but one of the most unique is the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone. Decked up like an old fairground carousel, the circular, gold-gilded bar really spins, and it’s one of the most historic bars in the city.

Fat Catz Music Club

A lively bar with a fun atmosphere and a great house band, Fat Catz on the corner of Bourbon Street and St Louis Street is the kind of bar you picture when you think of New Orleans. Always packed, with great live music, well-priced drinks and no cover charge, Fat Catz is a local favourite and definitely worth a visit.

Bourbon Street

a busy street at night with several bars in a line and lots of lit up signs. new orleans food

Running through the centre of the French Quarter, Bourbon Street is one of the most iconic nightlife spots in the city. Excessive, riotous, and bordering on trashy, it’s an unmissable experience. Think themed bars, bad karaoke, and luminous cocktails… it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Bourbon Street can be great fun and you should definitely give it a whirl.

For the full NOLA experience, you have to try a Hand Grenade, a worryingly lime green cocktail that’s served in a bottle shaped like a grenade and tastes like it’s doing irrevocable damage to your insides. I’m not going to say it’s good – but my buddy Pam insists you can’t visit New Orleans without trying one.

Frenchmen Street

silhouette of a jazz musician playing trumpet in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, with smoke and neon lights in the background.

For a slightly classier night out in New Orleans head to Frenchmen Street. This is another bar-lined strip, where the parties spill into the street. But the buzz here is pretty different.

You’ll find jazz music aplenty, amazing street food vendors serving up barbecued jerk chicken that smells too good to resist, and some very cool bars. Plus the nighttime outdoor market at The Art Garage is a fantastic experience.

Do you have any other top tips for New Orleans food and drink experiences? Share them in the comments! 

Pin this post…

New Orleans Food Guide

2 thoughts on “11 New Orleans Food and Drink Experiences You Can’t Miss”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.