The following is the introduction to a New Orleans restaurant guide compiled and annotated by AAA member David Beriss. AAA thanks David for taking the time to compile the list for us. The full list is available on the AAA website.
Five years after Katrina’s floods shut down every restaurant in New Orleans, the dining scene is bigger, more diverse and better than ever. Consequently, this guide is far from comprehensive. It should give you a useful starting point for dining in the vicinity of the conference hotel, along with some options further afield. There are many places that are not listed…they might worth trying too!
Knowing a few terms may help you navigate the city’s restaurants. Creole often refers to the urban haute cuisine of New Orleans, while Cajun is the more rustic cooking of rural south Louisiana, but New Orleans cuisine mixes both today. A po’boy sandwich is usually made with local French bread and roast beef, sausage or some kind of fried seafood. A dressed po’boy they will add lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. You will find some very creative new kinds of po’boys out there these days, including Vietnamese Banh Mi, known locally as Vietnamese po’boys. A muffuletta is a big round sandwich made from cold cuts, cheese and olive dressing and is often large enough for 2-4 people. Gumbo is somewhere between a soup and a stew, usually based on a dark roux. Barbecue shrimp are not barbecued, but are usually delicious. Boudin is a rice and pork sausage (not blood sausage!) and andouille is a spicy smoked pork sausage. Bread pudding is the classic local dessert and you should have one. Beignets are oblong deep fried dough with powdered sugar, best eaten with the local coffee, which is strong and flavored with chicory. Local cocktails include the Sazerac (the city’s official cocktail!), the Hurricane and the Ramos Gin Fizz. Abita, NOLA, Bayou Teche and a few others make wonderful local beers you should try. You can get a “go-cup” to carry your drink out in most bars in the French Quarter.
If you hear people discussing “sucking heads and squeezing tails,” it has to do with boiled crawfish (the season starts in mid-November, but don’t expect to find much this time of year). There should be plenty of crab, shrimp and oysters to keep you happy, along with great fresh Gulf fish. If a restaurant puts Gulf seafood on the menu, you can rest assured that it is safe to eat. Particular fish to look for are pompano, red fish, black drum, sheepshead (also known as sea bream), red snapper, flounder and catfish.
Finally, if someone offers to bet they know where you got them shoes on your feet…don’t.
For the full list of restaurants, please visit the AAA website.