Delicious Destinations: New Orleans, Louisiana

street view of New Orleans for story about what to eat in New Orleans
(Photo: @martaszajek via Twenty20)

Some people plan their vacation with no thought of where they are going to eat, while others plan their entire trip around food. No matter which camp you’re in, FamilyVacationist’s Delicious Destinations has you covered! Each month, this food column covers local favorites including the best family dining spots, the best places for solo travelers, and irresistible snacks in cities around the U.S. Up this month: the best places to eat in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Let’s Eat: New Orleans

I’m Megan duBois. I’m a full-time food and drink writer, and when I don’t have a fork in my hand, there’s likely an ice cream cone there instead. In this Delicious Destinations column, you can come with me to a different city each month and we’ll explore great restaurants, bars, bakeries, and other eateries. I’ll offer recommendations for families, adults, and solo travelers in each city. I’ll also give you tips on finding great themed restaurants, mid-day snacks, and breweries.

This month we’re traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana. While you might know the city as the home of the NFL’s Saints football team, the Crescent City, or Mardi Gras, there’s more to the city than hurricane drinks and beads. Throughout New Orleans, you can find hidden gold mines of culinary excellence. Here are some of the best places to eat in New Orleans.

Best Restaurant For Families: Brennan’s

Brennan’s has been around since 1946 and features some of the best classic Cajun and Creole meals in the city. If your kiddos are into adventurous eating, love learning something new about a city through food that isn’t chicken nuggets and fries, and enjoys ordering off the adult menu, this is the spot. It’s worth making a reservation for Brennan’s because the restaurant is located right on Royal Street, where locals and tourists alike tend to hang out.

Brennan’s Must-Have: Seafood Gumbo

Best Restaurant For Adults: Piece of Meat

Part butcher shop and part restaurant, Piece of Meat is a must-try for adults in New Orleans. The menu is creative but still approachable for the average food fan. I love that the people behind the counter are making their own sausages, cutting each piece of meat for sandwiches, and even making their own charcuterie. At Piece of Meat, you can pick your steak to cook at your AirBnB rental, and munch on things like boudin sausage egg rolls as you head back to feast.

Piece of Meat Must-Have: Boudin Egg Rolls

Best Restaurant For Solo Travelers: Parkway Bakery and Tavern

New Orleans is known for many staple food items, but none is as popular as the po’boy sandwich. Since 1911, Parkway Bakery and Tavern has had locals and tourists lining up to get their hands on a fresh sandwich to enjoy. Here you can get everything from alligator sausage to oysters and roast beef on a po’boy. At Parkway, you can even combine shrimp and roast beef into a surf and turf sandwich fit for the Mardi Gras king.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern Must-Have: Half and Half Shrimp and Oyster

Best Themed Restaurant: Emeril’s New Orleans

While it might not be a themed bar or Mardi Gras float, Emeril’s is a New Orleans must! The restaurant is the original location for famed chef Emeril Lagasse, who used to grace TV screens on the Food Network in the 90s. At Emeril’s, you can savor favorites like barbecue shrimp and Emeril’s famous banana cream pie. The restaurant is perfect for a date night out, fancy family dinner, or just to enjoy a meal by an iconic chef.

Emeril’s New Orleans Must-Have: Emeril’s New Orleans BBQ Shrimp

Best Mid-Day Snack: Sal’s Sno-Balls

New Orleans is hot and humid for many months, and a great way to cool off during the dog days of summer is with a snoball. Not to be confused with a snow cone, a snoball is light and fluffy shaved iced with flavorings and sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top. The best spot in the city is Sal’s Sno-Balls, where the line gets long in the afternoon, but it’s worth the wait. Note that Sal’s is only open from Spring to late Fall, so be sure to go if you’re in the city during those times.

Sal’s Sno-Balls Must-Have: Whatever flavor your heart desires

Best New Orleans Brewery: Second Line Brewing

Located in Mid-City, Second Line Brewing has become the hot spot for happy hour drinks and weekend hangouts. The beer list here is long and there’s something for everyone’s taste. I also love Second Line Brewing‘s outdoor beer garden to sit, soak in the southern sunshine and chat with friends.

Second Line Brewing Must-Have: Vacation Juice Hazy IPA

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Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a freelance writer who covers theme parks, cruising, food and drink, and family travel. Her work has appeared on Buzzfeed, Popsugar, Insider, Orbitz, FamilyVacationist, The Daily Meal, Family Vacation Critic, TravelPulse, and more. Megan has been quoted as an expert and thought leader on theme parks for Forbes and other outlets.