Travel Spotlight

NOLA Dining Now: The Big Easy’s Big Moment

Between decades-old establishments, like lunch-only institution Li’l Dizzy’s Café, and newer, diverse offerings like Ethiopian restaurant Addis NOLA and Plume Algiers, a restaurant devoted to regional Indian cuisine, the New Orleans food scene is utterly unique and delicious.

Part of what makes it so special is that it’s constantly evolving, says Archie Casbarian, co-owner of Arnaud’s, one of the city’s Creole cuisine stalwarts, operating since 1918. “Creole cooking has always been America’s original melting pot with its African, French and Spanish roots, but we are now seeing the influences of Central American, Indian and Vietnamese cuisines moving our cuisine forward,” he says.

“In the last five years, more minorities have dared to go out on their own and celebrate the food of their heritage,” says Melissa Araujo, the chef and co-owner of Alma Café. Her 75-seat Honduran restaurant started out serving breakfast and lunch (the baleadas, a traditional dish of eggs, refried beans, homemade crema, queso duro and avocado served on a flour tortilla, are so good she’s fielded 300 orders in a single day) and recently added dinner to complement its ambitious cocktail program.

At Dakar NOLA, a 30-seat tasting-menu restaurant on Magazine Street, chef Serigne Mbaye has earned accolades for his inventive West African–Creole fusion dishes like Akara fritters with Gulf shrimp, Kaluga caviar, parsley oil and tomato sauce.

Seafood has always played a starring role in Cajun and Creole dishes, be they gumbo or po’boys, and Porgy’s, a new sustainable-seafood market from four NOLA restaurant veterans, aims to connect consumers directly to the region’s multigenerational fishing and shrimping families and puts an emphasis on bycatch (lesser known, less coveted species).

yellow-ish cocktail served in wine-like glass with ice in it and a cherry, orange ring and mint on top for garnish, all on a dark wood table with wallpaper behind showing green leaves and oranges

And America’s cocktail capital isn’t resting on its laurels. Jewel of the South, a reimagined New Orleans tavern that crafts bespoke drinks and classics like the Brandy Crusta, recently earned a spot on the World’s 50 Best Bars list.

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Discover Indagare’s curated list of the best restaurants in New Orleans.

Published onMay 14, 2024

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