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The 19 best restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter

Enjoy flavors from Creole to Cameroonian at the best restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
Contributor
Jenny Peters
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The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, and one of the most beautiful (though who can choose, really). It’s certainly the most popular, offering a wealth of local experiences in a compact, walkable area: music, architecture, lively bars, art, history, and food. The best restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter range from classic to cozy, all serving iconic dishes and other foods that define the city’s robust restaurant scene.

Some of the French Quarter’s classic restaurants — like Antoine’s and Arnaud’s — have been serving elegant Creole fare for more than one hundred years. Relative newbies like Palm&Pine have struck a chord with modern, vibrant takes on regional cuisine. Not all French Quarter restaurants are high-end; there are hole-in-the-wall favorites serving gumbo, poboys, and other cuisines at very reasonable prices.

Dining out is one of the best things to do in the New Orleans, and the French Quarter is a great place to try some of the city's most essential flavors — from fresh seafood to steaming hot beignets and amazing cocktails, you can't go wrong. Here’s our ultimate list of the best restaurants in the French Quarter.

Note: Current city regulations require proof of vaccination or a negative test for indoor dining. See guidelines here.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in New Orleans

Best restaurants in the New Orleans French Quarter

GW Fins on Iberville has been serving some of the best and freshest seafood in New Orleans for more than 20 years — quite the statement in a city that adores its seafood. The daily menu depends on what seafood the staff was able to find that same morning. If you're lucky, the lobster dumplings will be there, as well as the "scalibut," the venue’s signature dish featuring halibut, sea scallops, and risotto.

Follow the scent of garlic to this Creole Italian haven on Bienville. Chef and owner Irene DiPietro, who immigrated from Sicily to NOLA, opened her beloved eatery in 1992 — it's still a family-run place that dishes out classics like house-made pasta topped with soft-shell crab in cream sauce, duck St. Philip, and lasagne Bolognese. While reservations are now accepted, go early and grab a drink at the piano bar before your meal.

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If there's one thing that everyone in town agrees on, it's that Mr. B's Bistro has the greatest barbecued Gulf shrimp in the city (and probably on the planet). It takes a bit of work — you'll need to pick off the shells first before you can dip them into the pepper butter sauce. Carnivores love the truffle butter filet, the gumbo ya ya makes people swoon, and everyone saves room for the Creole bread pudding.

Since 1905, this high-end French-Creole restaurant on Bourbon Street has been the destination of choice of locals and visitors craving a world-class meal. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and the menu has virtually remained unchanged since its inception. Try the redfish meuniere and the crabmeat au gratin, or opt for the andouille gumbo, a city staple. Chef Phillip Lopez has a penchant for winning awards, and if you visit even just once, you'll understand why. 

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This elegant, seasonally sourced, farm-to-table restaurant located on Bienville in the famed Royal Sonesta Hotel keeps bringing locals back for more. Classic Creole and Cajun dishes sparkle here, with Death by Gumbo (roasted quail, andouille sausage, and oysters) leading the pack. Indulge in a Creole cioppino with charred okra or just stuff yourself with black caviar and call it a day.

If you’re already swinging by to see the St. Louis Cathedral and the Andrew Jackson statue, consider stopping by Muriel's Jackson Square — here, great food has been served since 2001 in a building that dates back to 1718. No matter when you visit, expect classics done perfectly (think stuffed mirliton, crawfish etouffee, and turtle soup) as well as creative takes on old favorites like crawfish and goat cheese crepes, or duck and chaurice sausage hash.

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This French Quarter beauty is notable for numerous reasons, not the least of which is its designation as the oldest continually-operating restaurant in the USA. The grand rooms, including the mirrored Rex Room, are visually stunning. The food? Even more so: this is where oysters Rockefeller and eggs Sardou were created, and other delights such as soufflé potatoes are revered. Be sure to finish with Baked Alaska and the flaming café brûlot.

For a filling meal at a reasonable price in the Quarter, Coop's is ideal. A Decatur Street staple since 1983, this casual spot appeals to visitors and locals alike (locals tend to hit it up late at night). Try a big bowl of top-notch seafood gumbo, a platter of duck quesadillas, or the signature rabbit jambalaya. A solid range of NOLA favorites are also on the menu like shrimp etouffee, fried shrimp, oysters and catfish, and a whole selection of po'boys. Go for the red beans and rice — with two pork chops — and you won't leave hungry.

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Opened by chef Susan Spicer in 1990, Bayona is a bonafide institution alongside the city’s other grande dames. Her first—and best—restaurant features a changing menu of Mediterranean-influenced Southern dishes. Regularly appearing on the menu are signatures like veal sweetbreads, oyster gratin, sautéed redfish, and peppered lamb. The creamy garlic soup, while perhaps not the best choice on date night, is also a must-try.

This steakhouse standout, no doubt a splurge, is a top spot for a special night out. All the meats are USDA Prime and dry aged in house. Don’t miss the "falls off the bone" entrée, cooked for 24 hours and served with smoked tomato au jus for a heady culinary experience. The most surprising part? There are plenty of delicious non-meat options, too, like artichoke flower salad, ten green salad, and a smoky charred eggplant dish.

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You’ve heard of a muffuletta, and here’s where to get the original. Central Grocery, founded in 1906, was the first to create the massive sandwich, a 9-inch Sicilian sesame loaf stuffed with stacks of meats, cheeses, and olive salad. Go east by ordering a half sandwich (or a whole if you’ve got friends with you) and take it to the riverfront for a picnic. You’ll want to save some for later — the muffuletta is even better after it sits a while, allowing the olive salad oil to soak into the bread.

Palm and Pine on Rampart Street, at the top edge of the Quarter, is the brainchild of Jordan and Amarys Herndon, former sous chefs at two of NOLA's best restaurants (Ralph's on the Park and Bayona). With Palm and Pine, which opened the summer of 2019, they bring an eclectic menu of Southern dishes to the table that includes food from the US as well as Mexico and Central America. Dive into a crab and conch gratin or their hugely popular goat curry and follow it up with Texas BBQ shrimp or the duck Oxacan mole.

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Located just off Bourbon Street, Arnaud’s has been a go-to destination for classic Creole cuisine since 1918. The historic restaurant brings formal service to the table, and its assortment of elegant dining rooms draws locals and visitors alike for special occasion dining. Start with a pre-dinner cocktail at the award-winning French 75 Bar, then dive into classics like soufflé potatoes and shrimp remoulade. Afterwards, pay a visit upstairs to the free Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum, featuring lavish Mardi Gras costumes, vintage photographs, Carnival masks, and more.

This steadfast, stately French Quarter eatery has been an integral part of the neighborhood's high-end restaurant scene since 1946. Although its famous breakfast steals the show, the restaurant is a worthy stop for lunch and dinner. Dine in Brennan's leafy courtyard for a quintessential French Quarter setting, and don’t skip menu favorites like turtle soup, smoked scallops, and garlic shrimp. Everyone needs at least one bite of bananas Foster for dessert: the dish was invented here, and it’s made tableside with a fiery show.

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Café Amelie is one of the best spots to dine outside in the French Quarter. Dine on classic French fare with seasonal Creole ingredients in the flower-filled, French style courtyard. You’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to France, or at least you’ll be reminded of the city’s French influences. If you’re looking for romance and memorable fare, Café Amelie is your spot.

This colorful, funky spot has been a top option for both vegetarians and meat-eaters for decades. Showcasing the cuisine of Cameroon and Gambia, you’ll find authentic dishes speckled with West African flavors — needless to say, the menu stands out among the many traditional Creole offerings in the Quarter. Try specialties ranging from black eyed pea fritters to beef and peanut stew, plus a range of excellent seafood dishes. Don’t miss the fish pie or the Banana Tropicana dessert.

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Napoleon House has been a staple of the French Quarter food scene since 1914. It's known for its version of the muffuletta — served warm, it’s made with layers of ham, Genoa salami, Swiss, provolone cheeses, and a house-made olive salad. Pair it with the famous Pimm's Cup cocktail and you don't need anything else. Already had your fill of muffuletta? Try the jambalaya or the grilled alligator sausage po'boy for a truly authentic French Quarter culinary experience. Sit in the courtyard if you can, or in the main dining room to watch the crowds go by on Chartres Street.

Opened by Chris Hannah, one of the city’s most esteemed bartenders, this modern cocktail and dining destination is tucked into a Creole cottage that dates back to the 1830s. While the cocktails are a big draw, dining here is an equally impressive experience. Enjoy modern American plates in the cozy interior or pick a spot in the lush courtyard outside.

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When an Italian restaurant has been in the same spot for over 30 years, you know there's something great coming out of the kitchen. That's the story of Mona Lisa on Royal Street, where reasonably priced classics make your mouth water just by the smell alone. The lasagna is legendary (made with meat or a vegetarian version with spinach and artichokes), the pizzas are perfect for sharing, and the shrimp scampi is perfectly prepared.

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