How to Eat Like a Local When You Move to New Orleans

Down in the Big Easy, there is never a shortage of good food. The warm climate, easy access to waterways and Cajun and Creole influences all combine to create a truly delicious array of flavors and dishes. One of the best ways to explore the city is through the amazing food and flavors that make New Orleans unique. Food can be categorized by season, neighborhood and cultural influences.

Festivals All Year Round

While New Orleans is known for Jazz Fest and mostly recently French Quarter Fest, there are tons of other festivals happening throughout the year that feature truly unique and delicious dishes. The Oak Street Po Boy Festival, Bayou Boogaloo, Crescent City Blues and BBQ Fest and and Satchmo Summer Fest are just a few of the tasty places you can get New Orleans staples with modern twists.

Newer festivals like the Sushi Fest, Beignet Festival and Fried Chicken Festival offer fun and tasty creations like fried chicken pralines and sushi burritos. The crawfish sausage poboy, cochon de lait and dreamy Krispy Kreme bread pudding are some the most popular festival dishes. The best part about festivals? Most of them are FREE. That’s right, most festivals in New Orleans offer free admission. The city literally gets a newer and more eclectic festival every year.

Food Trucks, Food Trucks Everywhere!

In the last few years, food trucks have completely taken over the city offering everything from vegan burgers, to King Cake burgers, and gourmet hot dogs. These trucks can be found all around the city or through a quick internet search. Frencheeze, Bonafried, Rollin Fatties and Diva Dawg are some of the most popular trucks and often make appearances at festivals.

The Deja Vieux Food Truck Park also recently opened and features a rotating schedule of food trucks on a weekly basis. Some of the staple food trucks at the park are Crepes A La Cart, Soulsation Kitchen and Johnny’s Jamaican Grill. Food Trucks are also very heavily concentrated around the Central Business District and Uptown New Orleans. The most popular food trucks often sell out very quickly so try to get there as early as possible!

Boil Dat!

Seafood is a staple in New Orleans, especially during the summer months. If you are trying to eat like a local you have to take advantage of the delicious boiled delights from seafood markets around the city. Crawfish, shrimp and crabs are boiled to perfection with spices, lemons, onions, celery, garlic and sometimes even oranges.

A quick trip to the grocery store or a local seafood restaurant will help you get your fix of hot steamy goodness. Try Bevi Seafood, Cajun Seafood and any of the local Rouses Supermarkets. Cajun’s has some of the spiciest crawfish in the city, so if you like an extreme kick, you will LOVE their boiled seafood and fixins.

Neighborhood Restaurants

Every neighborhood in New Orleans has its own distinctive flavors and restaurants that you absolutely cannot miss. In the Marigny and Bywater area, Elizabeth’s serves up home cooked and unique New Orleans staples and are known for their praline bacon.

The French Quarter offers an expansive list of restaurants, but you should definitely try out Redfish Grill, Restaurant R’evelution and Palace Cafe.

Mid City offers cozy comfort food including Katie’s known for their amazing poboys and brunch and Liuzza’s that offers some pretty amazing fried seafood dishes and Italian food. The Central Business District of New Orleans has Cochon, which features modern twists on Cajun recipes and Drago’s which has amazing chargrilled oysters.

The Garden District features contemporary and unique restaurants like Joey K’s, Stein’s Market and Deli and Cafe Atchafalaya.

Lastly, Uptown New Orleans offers famous landmarks like Pascal’s Manale, the inventors of Barbecued Shrimp, Gautreau’s offering modern classics, and Casamento’s offering incredible fried oysters.

Corner Stores

 Corner Store, or mini-marts, are usually located in residential neighborhoods and feature grocery items and amazing food. Verti Marte in the French Quarter features fast and inexpensive poboys, breakfast and classic dishes like red beans and jambalaya. Triangle Deli is a convenience store located in Gentilly and Uptown New Orleans and features amazing seafood platters and huge poboys. Hank’s Meat Market is staple in the St. Claude area and features super cheap fried delights and poboys.

Beignets and Brunch

Beignets are a New Orleans staple, eaten at all times of the day but especially for brunch. Cafe Du Monde makes incredible beignets, or fried donuts covered in powdered sugar. The city also features many other amazing places to get brunch that cannot be missed. Surrey’s Cafe features healthy and inventive brunch items and freshly squeezed juices and is located in Uptown New Orleans.

Coffee shops also feature delicious brews and brunch options, like the Crawfish Quiche at Backatown Coffee Parlour. There are so many amazing options to explore, so get lost for a day and let your stomach lead the way!

Bon Appétit!

Jessica Johnson