New Orleans exemplifies some of the best of Southern foodie culture. From casual home-style eateries to elegant restaurants, New Orleans has it all.

Check out the list of the top 5 must-try restaurants for your next visit to the Big Easy.

Clancy’s

crawfish etouffee

crawfish etouffee

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Looking for a seemingly never ending winelist, upscale atmosphere, and incredible food? Clancy’s has it all. Try their delectable crawfish etouffee, a New Orleans classic, or get a little adventurous with the veal liver lyonnaise. Serving dinner and lunch, the menu is full of twists on classic Creole dishes and soul food, sure to please any diner. Both seafood and meat are featured on the menu. For seafood lovers, the oyster appetizer with melted brie is a visitor favorite, or nosh on sweetbreads while perusing the extensive wine and spirit list. Waiters are happy to help make recommendations based on your food choice.

Located in a residential area, Clancy’s is a beautifully maintained one story building that can be easy to miss. Handwritten menus make the eclectic dining experience one of a kind. Make sure you make reservations in advance for lunch or dinner – it gets busy quickly. There is no dress code, but you won’t be out of place in a sports jacket or dress for dinner. Half portions are available for those looking for a lighter fare.

Coquette

fried chicken sandwich at Coquette

fried chicken sandwich at Coquette

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With an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and a flair for reimagined Southern staples, Coquette’s is a one-of-a-kind New Orleans favorite. Begin with a red snapper crudo or Gulf fried oysters complemented by smoked catfish and pickled garlic. Move on to a Southern favorite – fried chicken, mustard greens, white beans, and malt vinegar, or a beef hangar steak with horseradish, pickled beets, and potatoes. Desserts include delectables like chocolate cremeux and king cake. The menu changes daily, so it’s worth it to call ahead to see what the specials are.

Besides dinner, Coquette also serves up a mean lunch or brunch, which is three courses for only $25. A huge wine and spirit list will keep your spirits high as you experience some of the best food NOLA has to offer. You may want to make reservations ahead of time – Coquette isn’t exactly a well-kept secret.

Peche Seafood Grill

Fresh seafood lover? Peche’s is as good as it gets. Owned by Ryan Prewitt, Donald Link, and Stephen Stryjewski, Peche has received a lot of attention in NOLA’s food community – it’s received the coveted Best New Restaurant and Best Chef: South awards from the James Beard Foundation. With a menu covering everything from a raw bar to dessert, come with an empty stomach. Begin your meal with a steak tartare with oyster aioli or smoked tuna dip, or indulge in one of the small plates, like smoked fish with jalapeno capellini. Curried shrimp soup makes an excellent complement to any of the entrees, like the smothered catfish or Louisiana shrimp roll.

In addition to an excellent food menu, Peche offers a variety of wine, beer, and spirit options, and desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth. Dress is casual, but you may want to make a reservation to make sure you get a seat.

Crabby Jack’s

Located off the highway on a dirt road, Crabby Jack’s is a sassy, out of the way eatery ideal for those who want to try some truly local flavor. Their Po’boys are the stuff of legend – overstuffed with all kinds of meats, from catfish to calamari, and served on piping hot French bread. For those who are looking to avoid meat, but not the calories, check out the French fry Po’boy with gravy. Their fried chicken is some of the best you can get, and you’ll definitely want to give it a try. They also serve up delicious Creole favorites, like deeply spiced gumbo and shrimp etouffee.

Prices at Crabby Jack’s are extremely reasonable, with most meals costing under $20. Dress is casual, and no reservations are required, but be prepared – the lunch rush can create quite the wait. The staff is famously friendly, and the restaurant eccentrically decorated. Crabby Jack’s is a one of a kind experience worth the drive. Make sure to bring a designated driver along – Crabby Jack’s has all the beer, wine, and liquor you could want.

Cowbell

Cowbell New Orleans

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Cowbell NOLA restaurant is based out of a former gas station, but don’t let that fool you – this farm-to-table restaurant is one of the best newcomers to the NOLA food scene. Indulge in one of their natural, grass-fed beef burgers, piled high with inventive toppings like home made pickle preserves and zinfandel, bacon & onion compote. Their pork tacos al pastor are delicious, along with their organic lime grilled chicken and grilled gulf fish tacos. They also have a kid’s menu and are one of the more kid-friendly restaurants on the list, so bring the little ones along to experience some new wave NOLA cooking. One of the favorites on the menu is the signature Cowbell mac and cheese – for under $10.00, it’s a must-try.

Cowbell also serves liquor, beer, and wine. Bring along your own bottle if you like – you’re more than welcome to enjoy it at the restaurant. Make sure to check out their dessert menu – the apple pie is as delicious as it gets, and there are always seasonal favorites to keep you coming back time and time again.

While there’s lots more to New Orleans than food, food is a pretty big draw for many of the areas thousands of tourists. It’s easy to find cheap hotels in New Orleans, which gives you more money for all the restaurants you’re definitely going to want to try. New Orleans has a flavor of its own – be adventurous, and you won’t be disappointed.

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