OK, I only went to a couple of places in Louisiana – I didn’t even make it to the State Capital of Baton Rouge – so this Louisiana food guide is by no means extensive, but I ate so many incredible meals in the two places that I did go to in Louisiana – Lafayette and New Orleans – that I wanted to write a post about the food anyway.
The food scene in this delicious state blew my mind. Every single meal I had during my week in Louisiana was above average, some were so good that I’m sure I will still be dreaming and drooling about them for years to come.
It was honestly the best eating week of my life – even beating Thailand and Vietnam which I didn’t think would be possible.
Really, the Louisiana food scene is that incredible.
The distinctive Cajun style of cooking is a big part of why the food here is so damn good. There are so many punchy flavors, it’s very seafood-heavy – great for a non-red meat eater like me.
It is influenced by a variety of cuisines, including French, Spanish, African and Native American – but incorporating local ingredients like okra, sassafras, alligator and catfish. It’s a mashup made in heaven.
The Cajuns are descended from the displaced Acadians, French Settlers who were driven out of the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick region of Canada when it came under British rule in 18th century.
Just like in Atlantic Canada where they adapted traditional French cuisine to accommodate local ingredients and cooking traditions, so they did again in their new home of Louisiana.
Creole food is similar to Cajun food but it is more refined, it’s known more as city people food rather than the rustic country style of Cajun food.
So here we go, the best Louisiana food that we ate during our time there.
The Best Food in Lafayette
There are so many exciting places to eat in Lafayette! We only had one night in the city but we loved the Lafayette restaurants that we did get to try.
Lafayette is the heart of Cajun country and we got to experience some outstanding Cajun food at the Bon Temps Grill, then had some stellar southern comfort food at the hole in the wall Creole Lunch House.
Bon Temps Grill
Located on a commercial street on the outskirts of Lafayette, Bon Temps Grill may look unassuming from the outside, but it is cosy and welcoming inside, and offers some of the best Cajun food in Lafayette.
We shared the seafood stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer and they were incredible, packed with crawfish and shrimp. My entree was the Crawfish Pot Pie – Crawfish Étouffée topped with a puff pastry crust – accompanied by a sage sweet potato mash, and I really enjoyed that too.
The crab cakes are one of their specialties so I would definitely want to try those if I am lucky enough to go back one day.
Address: 1312 Verot School Rd, Lafayette, LA 70508
Cost: Apps and Entrees range from $9 – $26
Creole Lunch House
Another unassuming local spot, Creole Lunch House may not look like much and the food may be simple, but it is cooked to perfection and full of flavor.
They offer soul food plate lunches, with a couple of meat choices each day and a few sides, you can pick one meat and two sides and also get a side of cornbread.
I had the baked chicken, yams, mac and cheese and cornbread and I was hooked from the first bite. This place far exceeded my expectations – the food truly is cooked with love.
Creole Lunch House is one of the most popular local food places in Lafayette and we could definitely see why.
Address: 713 12th St, Lafayette, LA 70501
Cost: Around $10 for a giant plate
If you are visiting the recreated Acadian village of Vermilionville during your time in Lafayette – and you should, it’s fabulous – Cafe Vermilionville is meant to be a great choice for lunch or dinner. It offers a range of – you guessed it – Cajun dishes, and is known for doing them very well. They offer a lunch special daily as well as menu items.
The Best Food in New Orleans
Ah, New Orleans. One of the best cities in the world for eating as well as being one of the coolest cities in the US, if not the world!
One of the best reasons to visit New Orleans is the food scene, and we definitely made the most of our five days there, eating all the beignets and sampling local dishes like heavenly charbroiled oysters and New Orleans style crab cakes.
There are so many incredible places to eat in New Orleans and although we only scratched the surface, I feel like we got a nice overview of foodie New Orleans, but we still have a whole lot of delicious reasons to return.
Cafe Du Monde
Possibly the most famous place to eat in New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde is known for its beignets – pillowy fried dough squares coated in powdered sugar – and New Orleans style Chicory coffee, in fact, there isn’t much else on the menu.
If you go to one place for beignets make it Cafe Du Monde, and if you arrive before 9.30 am you shouldn’t have to wait for a table. The beignets are delightful, the coffee is surprisingly good and the atmosphere can’t be beaten.
Address: 800 Decatur Street 70116 New Orleans
Cost: Less than $3 for an order of three beignets
You should combine your trip to New Orleans with a trip to Charleston too – it’s another beautiful, historic city with incredible dining.
Charbroiled oysters are the name of the game at Drago’s – they invented them after all. We went to the New Orlean’s riverside location and the place was packed.
The charbroiled oysters were just incredible, packed with cheese, garlic, butter, and herbs then grilled in their shells. We didn’t even think we liked oysters before trying these and Toby has been going on about them to everyone that will listen.
I guess we do love oysters if they are charbroiled. In my opinion, Charbroiled oysters are the number one food to try in New Orleans.
Address: New Orleans and Metairie locations
Cost: $13 Half dozen charbroiled oysters
Mr Ed’s Oyster Bar and Fish House
Mr Ed’s is another top seafood restaurant in New Orleans and we loved every dish we tried there, including their charbroiled oysters, BBQ shrimp served New Orleans style – smothered in a special butter sauce and served in french bread, and fried green tomatoes topped with seafood au gratin.
Mr Ed’s offers solid seafood dishes at a reasonable price. I would definitely recommend Mr Ed’s – it is one of the must-eat places in New Orleans if you love seafood.
Address: Multiple locations in New Orleans
Cost: Entrees ranging from $11 – $27
My second stop for beignets was at the cute Royal Street location of Cafe Beignet in the French Quarter. I thought the beignets were just as good as Cafe du Monde’s but the coffee was not as nice.
A good thing about the menu at Cafe Beignet is that there are quite a few items on it so if you want a more substantial meal along with your beignets, you can also order an omelette, a sandwich or a Cajun specialty dish.
Get there early to avoid long lines and grab a seat on their tropical terrace if it’s a beautiful day.
Address: Multiple locations in New Orleans
Cost: $4 for an order of three beignets
You can’t visit New Orleans and not try pralines, and there are so many different places to get them from. I went with Laura’s Candies because they are the oldest Candy Store in New Orleans and they had free samples so I could try before I bought.
Pralines are made with pecans, sugar, cream and butter, and they just melt in your mouth. As well as the original pralines, they also have coconut pralines and chocolate pralines. I just have to warn you – they are highly addictive.
Address: 331 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Cost: Around $15 for a half dozen
Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop
We stopped for dinner at Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, on the way back from the River Road Plantations.
There are a range of Cajun and Creole dishes on the menu, as well as a number of different gumbos.
I tried the Shrimp Creole, a delicious shrimp dish cooked in a tomato-based sauce, and the seafood gumbo – both were very good. Chef Ron’s Gumbo Stop is a great choice for gumbo or Cajun and Creole dishes.
Address: 2309 N Causeway Blvd, Metairie, LA 70001
Cost: Entrees from $10. Gumbo from $6.
Elysian Seafood in St Roch Market
I love a good food hall and St Roch Market is exactly that. Originally built in 1875, this beautifully restored building is now home to 11 vendors serving a variety of cuisines including southern dishes, Mexican, seafood, and Asian Street Food, along with a craft cocktail bar.
I went for the New Orleans-style crab cakes with a charred corn scallion cream and potato hash from Elysian Seafood, and they were so good that I ended up having them twice.
Elysian Seafood also offers an oyster bar, shrimp po boys, and ceviche, and it is one of my favorite seafood restaurants in New Orleans.
Address: 2381 St. Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
Cost: Small Crab Cakes $12.
Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant
If authentic Cajun food and music is what you are after, then Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant delivers – it is one of the best Cajun restaurants in New Orleans.
We just went there for dessert – the pecan pie is phenomenal – but they offer all the Cajun classics here like blackened catfish, fried oysters, and gumbo.
There is live Cajun music every night and it rounds out the full Cajun experience.
Address: 201 Julia Street, New Orleans LA 70130
Cost: Entrees starting at $16.50
Featured on the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Joey K’s is a popular Creole Restaurant in the Garden District of New Orleans.
We tried the Fried Green Tomatoes topped with grilled shrimp and remoulade, and the grilled chicken with vegetables and potatoes – both of which were delicious.
They also do a different take on the usually sweet beignets – crab and corn beignets that I would love to try next time.
Joey K’s is a great choice if you are exploring the historic homes and Lafayette Cemetery in the Garden District.
Address: 3001 Magazine Street, New Orleans LA 70115
Cost: Entrees starting at $10
Other restaurants in New Orleans that I heard great things about were Brennan’s for brunch, with delicious menu items on offer like the incredible sounding Eggs Cardinal, which includes shrimp boudin, lobster and black truffle hollandaise (YUM!).
Also the refined Commander’s Palace in the Garden District, which is well-known for its upmarket Creole cuisine, and is consistently rated as having the best brunch in New Orleans.
I hope this Louisiana Food Guide helps you plan your own eating adventures in Lafayette and New Orleans.
Let me know what incredible New Orleans and Lafayette dining spots that I missed – I’ll put in on my list for next time.
How to Plan Your Louisiana Food Trip
Where to Stay in Lafayette and New Orleans
In Lafayette, stay at Mouton Plantation which offers private rooms, a full Cajun breakfast, and an evening social hour in a historic plantation.
New Orleans has even more options, and if you are looking for budget accommodation, then try the funky and colorful HI New Orleans, which was awarded 2020 Best New Hostel in the World and offers dorms and private rooms.
For hotel choices in New Orleans, it’s hard to go past the regal Hotel Monteleone. This historic hotel is located a block from Bourbon Street and has a heated rooftop swimming pool, a full-service Spa, Criollo restaurant, and the Carousel Bar onsite.
If you are interested in going full into the spooky ghosty stuff that New Orleans is known for, stay at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, a beautiful historic hotel in the French Quarter where apparitions have been sighted. When you aren’t busy ghost hunting, swim in the stunning courtyard saltwater pool, or grab a cocktail at the craft cocktail bar.
There are also a large number of Airbnb options – from historic cottages through to tiny homes.
The Best Travel Insurance for Your Louisiana Trip
If you are traveling from outside the United States, make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip, just to be on the safe side. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with.
Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.
If you liked this post, check out my other food-related posts:
- The Best Cheap Eats in Auckland
- The Best Cheap Eats Hong Kong Guide
- The Best Markets in London
- World Dishes: New Zealand Corn Fritters Recipe
- World Dishes: Italian Gnocchi Recipe
- Eating Anchorage and Other Tales from the City