*Best All-Around Dining Experience You Can Have in New Orleans: No surprises here, they’re world-famous for good reason: Commander’s Palace, hands down. At the other end of the spectrum, Café du Monde. Somewhere in the middle: Brigtsen’s and Meauxbar.
*Best Classic New Orleans Restaurant: Of the three old-line, fine-dining mainstays that have been enjoyed for generations, Arnaud’s is our choice for food; Galatoire’s for the overall experience; Antoine’s for room after amazing room full of history.
*Best Contemporary Creole: Our long-standing, well-deserved favorites are still the lovely Coquette and Herbsaint.
*Best Contemporary Cajun: Popular vote goes to pork-centric Cochon, where you won’t find yo mama’s Cajun, but we’re keen on newcomer Sac-A-Lait’s refined rustic fare. K-Paul’s, the one that started it all, is still a standard-bearer despite Paul Prudhomme’s 2015 passing.
*Best Italian: Irene’s Cuisine and Marcello’s represent New Orleans’s traditional Creole Italian; Domenica carries the contemporary banner; and we fell hard for sexy Uptown newcomer Avo’s nuovo take.
*Best Neighborhood Restaurants: New Orleans tucks away some shockingly good restaurants on unassuming residential streets. Clancy’s, Elizabeth’s , Gautreau’s , and Liuzza’s by the Track show the range.
*Best Neighbahood Restaurants: In contrast to those above, these are old-school joints, where locals still ask, “Hey, dahwlin’, wheah y’at?” We’ve gotta go wit da Creole Italian oldies at Mandina’s and Liuzza’s.
*Most Innovative Restaurants: The showy, gastronomic trickery at Square Root isn’t just sleight of hand. Compere Lapin is up there for blending heretofore uncommon Carribean flavors and ingredients with local traditions; Killer Poboys pushes the sammie boundaries.
*Best Expense- or Savings-Account Blowouts: Restaurant R’evolution, Emeril’s, August and $150 prix-fixe Square Root.
*Best Bistro: Tough choice given the richness of this category, but La Petite Grocery, Meauxbar, and Sylvain figure highly.
*Best Outdoor Dining: Start with the pretty courtyards at Bayona, and Café Amelie on starry nights or balmy afternoons; Balise’s sexy veranda and Avo’s romantic patio; or the scenic views from Tableau, bar Alto atop the Ace Hotel, and Dat Dog on Frenchmen.
*Best for Kids: The no-brainers are Café du Monde, for powdered sugar mess and mania; the counter at Camellia Grill; and a snoball outing. Antoine’s offers a good fine-dining introduction.
*Best Slightly Offbeat but Utterly New Orleanean Restaurants: Definitely Jacque-Imo’s and Bacchanal. The fancier Upperline and decidedly unfancy deli Cochon Butcher fit the category.
*Best Seafood: Upscale GW Fins sets a high bar; Peche and Borgne are strong contenders; Mid-City newbie Bevi covers the low-key, boiled-seafood angle.
*Best Desserts: A meal at Emeril’s is incomplete without its banana cream pie; ditto Commander’s Palace’s bread pudding soufflé or bananas Foster. The pastry chefs at Lilette, La Petite Grocery, and Coquette excel. Bakery Bar’s doberge cake with a nightcap is genius or head to a specialist at Sucré , Willa Jean, or Angelo Brocato’s.
*Best Brunch: Yay! Brennan’s is back. Ralph’s on the Park or Dante’s Kitchen can’t miss, while the jazz brunch at Antoine’s, Arnaud’s, and Commander’s Palace are great fun. Long lines at the casual Biscuits & Buns and Elizabeth’s are full of those in the know.
*Restaurants with the Best Cocktail Programs: From a looong list, we’ll go with Latitude 29, Vessel, SoBou, High Hat, Compere Lapin, and Root,
*Best Wine Lists: The extensive collections at Emeril’s, Arnaud’s, Commander’s Palace, and Antoine’s cover every base. The lists at Bayona and Gautreau’s are smaller but well-curated.
*Best for Late-Night Eats: Get 24-hour satisfaction at Clover Grill, Buffa’s, and Verti Marte, and beignets from Café du Monde or Morning Call. For heartier, sit-down fare, try La Boca, St. Lawrence (219 N. Peters St.; Camellia Grill, and Yuki.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.