21 Best New Orleans Foods to try on your visit

New Orleans is a city with a rich history and culture, and its cuisine reflects that. 

Food is a huge part of the culture in New Orleans and the city is a food lovers’ paradise.

From classic Cajun and Creole cuisine to mouthwatering beignets, you’ll find plenty of tasty treats and best New Orleans foods to try.

If you’re looking for some amazing culinary experiences, then you need to check out the best foods to try in New Orleans.

Are you vegan? Read our guide to the best vegan restaurants in the French Quarter to find dishes such as sweet potato fries and beans muffuletta or vegan gumbo!

Best Famous New Orleans Food List to try
Best and Famous New Orleans Foods List to try on your visit

What food is New Orleans famous for?

If there is one thing that New Orleans is famous for, it’s the Cajun and Creole food.

From beignets and po boys to gumbo and crawfish etouffee,

and from classics like jambalaya to newer creations like alligator sausage….

…there is something on every menu that will make your taste buds tingle!

Best New Orleans Food to try now

With so many amazing New Orleans restaurants and dishes to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start your foodie trip to the city.

In this New Orleans food list, we have covered classics as well as newer trends.

Here are some of the best foods to sample while in New Orleans.


Po’boy is a traditional sandwich is made with New Orleans style French bread and filled with either fried seafood or roast beef.

The Po’boy bread is crispy and has a hard crust with a super soft exterior.

Visitors have their choice of po boys from shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab, catfish, even baked ham, or the traditional roast beef gravy.

The fried shrimp Po boy at Mahony’s on Magazine Street is our personal favorite – definitely top of our things to eat in NOLA!

The name Po’boy originally means the poor boy’s sandwich.

The history of this sandwich is interesting – it was created to serve as a meal for striking streetcar workers in the 1920s who were looking for a cheap, filling meal.

Today, you can find this sandwich all over the city and it’s definitely worth trying.

Po boy is one of the best New Orleans foods
Po boy is one of the best New Orleans foods

Beignets at Café Du Monde

#1 amongst famous foods of New Orleans!

Beignets are a New Orleans classic and Cafe du Monde is the place to go for the best ones.

These delicious pastries are made from dough that’s deep-fried and covered in powdered sugar.

They’re definitely not diet food, but they’re definitely worth trying at least once!

Sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar, these Creole doughnuts have been around since the 18th century.

Beignets with frozen Cafe Au Lait is perfect for the summer
Beignets with frozen Cafe Au Lait is perfect for the summer

A plate of 3 beignets is best accompanied by cafe au lait – a delicious coffee and chicory drink.

Cafe du Monde often has incredibly long wait times – but is worth the trip!

Fortunately, Cafe du Monde is open 24/7 – so visit after a night of partying on Bourbon Street to skip the crowds.

Visiting New Orleans with family? Check our guide to best things to do in New Orleans with teenagers!

Beignets with steaming hot Cafe Au Lait
Beignets with steaming hot Cafe Au Lait


Oysters, caught fresh from the Gulf coast, are a staple of Louisiana cuisine and you’ll find them served all over the city.

One of the best ways to enjoy oysters is char-grilled, and you can find this dish at several restaurants in New Orleans.

The oysters are grilled with butter, garlic, and herbs, then served with a variety of sauces including hot sauce, cocktail sauce, and Parmesan cheese.

While chargrilled oysters are our favorites; oysters rockefeller and oyster bienville is what New Orleans is traditionally famous for.

Char broiled Oysters in New Orleans
Char broiled Oysters in New Orleans

Just a simple platter of fried oysters also tastes delicious – or go for the raw oysters served on the half shell.

These are all must-try dish for any oyster lover and one of New Orleans best foods!

New Orleans institutions famous for their oysters include Acme Oyster House, The French Market, Blue Crab, and Felixe’s.

Also Read: Chicago to New Orleans Road Trip


No list of best New Orleans foods to try can be complete without this iconic dish.

Gumbo is a classic Louisiana dish that’s made with a variety of meats – chicken, sausage, or ham – and seafood, as well as vegetables including okra, onions, celery, green peppers, and tomatoes.

This hearty stew is often served over rice and is considered the unofficial dish of the state.

If you want to try some truly unique Louisiana cuisine, then be sure to order a bowl of gumbo while in New Orleans.

Traditional Seafood Gumbo served with Rice
Traditional Seafood Gumbo served with Rice


Whether you’re in the mood for something spicy or savory, there’s a jambalaya in New Orleans that will fit the bill.

This traditional New Orleans food is a delicious mix of rice, vegetables, and meat or seafood, all cooked in one pot.

Served steaming hot, Jambalaya is the perfect winter meal.

So if you’re looking for a dish that will satisfy both your stomach and your taste buds, look no further than this Cajun classic.

Gumbo vs Jambalaya: Which is top New Orleans Foods?

Gumbo and jambalaya are two classic Cajun dishes that are often confused with each other.

While they have similarities, there are also some big differences between these two dishes.

Both dishes are made with rice and protein, but they have different flavors and textures.

Gumbo is made with a roux, while jambalaya is made with tomatoes.

Seafood gumbo in the French Market New Orleans
Seafood gumbo in the French Market New Orleans

Jambalaya is also usually cooked with chicken and sausage, while gumbo is made with seafood.

Jambalaya is typically spicier since it includes Andouille sausage in addition to the usual chicken or shrimp.

So, if you’re looking for a flavorful dish with a bit of heat, jambalaya is the way to go!

But both dishes are absolutely delicious! So which one is your favorite?

Traditional Seafood Gumbo served with bread
Traditional Seafood Gumbo served with bread

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is a Southern classic and you’ll find some of the best versions in New Orleans.

There are countless restaurants that serve this dish, but Willie Mae’s Scotch House is often considered to have the best.

This restaurant has been serving up its famous fried chicken for over 60 years and it’s one of must eat foods in New Orleans.

Also Read: Best Restaurants on the San Antonio Riverwalk, Texas

Turtle Soup

Another New Orleans specialty!

Turtle soup is a classic Louisiana dish and you can find it at a number of restaurants in New Orleans.

This soup is made with turtle meat, which gives it a unique flavor and texture.

It’s often served with sherry, which adds a bit of sweetness to the dish.

If you’re looking for something a little different, then be sure to give turtle soup a try at either Commander’s Palace in the Garden District or Muriel’s in the French Quarter.

Crawfish Boil

For several visitors, New Orleans famous food list starts with the boiled crawfish.

These little critters are a staple in Louisiana cuisine and can be found boiled, fried, or in etouffee.

Crawfish Boil is another iconic Louisiana dish and you’ll find it on menus all over New Orleans.

The crustacean is usually boiled with Cajun seasonings and served with melted butter or sauce along with onions, corn, and potatoes.

Boil Seafood House on Magazine Street is famous for its crawfish and other seafood boils.

Also Read: Perfect Boiled Crawfish recipe

Crawfish Etouffee

If you’re looking for a truly decadent Cajun dish, then look no further than crawfish etouffee.

Etouffee means smothered – the name literally means crawfish smothered in cheese!

This rich and creamy stew is made with chunky and tender crawfish pieces, Andouille sausage, and a variety of vegetables, all simmered in a sauce made from roux and crawfish stock.

Just delicious!

BBQ Shrimp

If you’re looking for a seafood dish that’s both flavorful and decadent, then be sure to order barbecue shrimp while in New Orleans.

Unlike most bbq shrimp dishes – the New Orleans style is not served dry but dripping in juices!

It’s made with large shrimp that are cooked in a buttery, garlic-infused sauce.

The dish is often spicy, so it’s perfect for those who like a little bit of heat in their food.

New Orleans version of barbecue shrimp
New Orleans version of barbecue shrimp

Soft shell crab

Another must on Creole food guide New Orleans.

This type of crab is usually only found in the Gulf region and is in season from May to September.

It’s often fried and served with a variety of sauces.

You can find soft shell crab on menus all over New Orleans, but it’s especially popular during the summer months.

Soft Shell Crab Po boy in New Orleans
Soft Shell Crab Po boy in New Orleans

Alligator meat

That’s right – alligators from the swamps of Louisiana are n integral part of the local cuisine.

You will find a variety of dishes from from the alligator meat on New Orleans restaurant menus including alligator bisques, alligator sausage, fried alligator sandwiches and crispy alligator tail bites.

Try some alligator while visiting New Orleans
Try some alligator while visiting New Orleans

Boudin sausage

This Cajun cuisine classic is a type of sausage that’s made with pork, rice, and spices.

It can be eaten as is or used as an ingredient in other dishes.

You can also get boudin balls in the city.

You’ll find boudin served all over New Orleans, but if you want to try the best, then head to Cochon in the Warehouse District.


On Decatur street in the French Quarter, you will find the famous Central Grocery and Deli.

This non-descript eatery is ‘Home to the original Muffuletta’!

It’s made with a variety of meats, cheeses, and marinated olive salad, all served on a round loaf of bread.

This sandwich is hearty and filling, making it the perfect meal for a day of sightseeing.

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is another classic Louisiana dish.

This simple dish is made with red kidney beans, rice, and a variety of seasonings, including ham hock or bacon.

It’s usually served with a side of cornbread or crackers.

Bananas Foster

One of our favorite and best New Orleans foods!

This dessert is a New Orleans classic and was created in the city in the 1950s.

It’s made with bananas, brown sugar, butter, rum, and cinnamon and is often served flaming.

The sweet and decadent treat is the perfect end to your meal.

Bannas Foster in New Orleans
Bananas Foster in New Orleans


This sweet and nutty candy is a New Orleans staple and can be found in many of the city’s candy stores.

New Orleans Praline is made with caramelized sugar, butter, and pecans.

It has a texture that’s somewhere between fudge and toffee.

You can buy different flavored pralines including pecan praline, almond praline, coconut praline, and chocolate praline.

Variety of New Orleans pralines
Variety of New Orleans Pralines

Bread Pudding

Bread pudding is another Crescent City dessert classic.

It’s made with stale bread, eggs, sugar, milk, and spices and can be served either warm or cold.

The dish is often topped with a sauce made from rum, brandy, or whisky.

King Cake

During the Mardi Gras season, you can’t go anywhere in New Orleans without seeing King Cake.

The King Cake is made with cinnamon, sugar, and icing.

It is decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar to represent the colors of Mardi Gras.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide to Mardi Gras in New Orleans

King Cake is a must during Mardi Gras in New Orleans
King Cake is a must during Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Sno Cones

A snow cone is a type of shaved ice. It is usually served with flavored syrup.

You can find sno cones all over New Orleans.

But they’re especially popular in the French Market where there are a number of stands.

Snow cones are perfect to cool down on hot summer day in NOLA
Snow cones are perfect to cool down on hot summer day in NOLA

There is no shortage of amazing food to try in New Orleans.

From classic Cajun and Creole cuisine to international fare, there’s something for all taste buds.

You can even take a Creole cooking class to learn the New Orleans version of traditional recipe as well as enjoy a food tour to mix history with dining.

So why not plan a trip to New Orleans soon to enjoy all the best New Orleans foods and deliciousness this city has to offer?

Did you like our list of famous foods in New Orleans? Let us know in the comments!

Did we miss anything on our list of things to eat in New Orleans? Tell us below.