8 Culinary Experiences in New Orleans
New Orleans' culinary scene is a mix of tradition and innovation.
New Orleans' culinary scene is a mix of tradition — found in the numerous Creole restaurants of the French Quarter — and innovation, with flavors of Southeast Asia, the Middle East and beyond complementing the city’s already multicultural palate. With dozens of food experiences, from culinary tours and cooking classes to farmers’ markets and one-of-a-kind dining experiences, New Orleans will have your taste buds singing.
Check out our list of can’t-miss gastro adventures in New Orleans.
1. Southern Food & Beverage Museum
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum, known as SoFAB, is a living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the South’s culinary culture. While based in New Orleans, the museum examines and honors the South’s unique gastronomic heritage, formed by centuries of cultures and their traditions. SoFAB also hosts rotating exhibits, Creole and Cajun lunchtime demonstrations and special events.
2. New Orleans School of Cooking
Since 1980, the New Orleans School of Cooking (NOSC) has introduced countless visitors to the rich food and culture of Louisiana. Classes are held seven days a week and highlight traditional Cajun and Creole dishes, including gumbo, pralines, étouffée, crab bisque and crawfish pie. Sign up for a live demonstration class where you can watch, learn and eat a classic Cajun or Creole meal. Or, book a hands-on class, where you’ll cut, season and prepare an authentic Louisiana meal yourself.
3. Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone
Opened in 1949 inside the Hotel Monteleone, the Carousel Bar is a one-of-a-kind culinary experience you won’t soon forget. Not only does this bar rotate beneath you, it’s also an iconic New Orleans spot with a view overlooking Royal Street. Enjoy the view as you nom on fresh beignets and handcrafted cocktails — we recommend the Vieux Carré. Crafted in 1937 by head bartender Walter Bergeron, this house specialty features sweet vermouth, cognac, Benedictine, rye whiskey and bitters. With only 25 seats, you may need to wait for a drink, but it’s well worth it.
The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is packed with culinary curiosities.
Experience another side of the French Market at Creole Tomato Festival.
Spin and sip at the Carousel Bar.
Learn to cook authentic Creole and Cajun fare at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
4. French Market
As America’s oldest continuously operated open-air market, the French Market is truly a hip and historic culinary landmark. This vibrant market has full-service eateries serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with a variety of fresh produce and seafood, regional specialty foods, cheese and wine, sandwiches and salads, and sweets. The French Market is also home to two weekly fresh food farmers markets full of local produce, art and crafts, as well as daily market vendors. In the summer, stop by for the market’s Creole Tomato Festival, which honors the crimson red fruit.
5. Confederacy of Cruisers
Get your Louisiana eats off the crowd-worn path with Confederacy of Cruisers, one of New Orleans' favorite culinary tours. Eat or drink your way through the city’s diverse neighborhoods stopping at foodie havens known mostly to locals. These tours take the form of a good ol’ fashion bike ride to eateries that make ridiculously delicious food. There’ll also be opportunities along the way to embrace the area’s history and meet interesting people
6. The Mardi Gras School of Cooking
Get ready to don your apron and learn the secrets of Louisiana seasoning at The Mardi Gras School of Cooking. Classes are available every day with five daily menu options spanning brunch, lunch and dinner. Whether you’re craving savory meats or indulgent sweets, there’s a class for everyone — there’s even a Cajun vegetarian class with a plant-based gumbo.
Grab a po-boy at Rocky & Carlos's.
Find international cuisine across the city.
Savor life-changing cuisine on the Creole Crescent Culinary Trail
After visiting the French Market, stop by Cafe Du Monde for beignets.
7. Creole Crescent Culinary Trail
Though the Creole Crescent Culinary Trail wanders outside New Orleans, it’s still a worthy inclusion for your dining explorations, as it highlights some of the city’s most delicious restaurants. From upscale eateries with acclaimed chefs to smaller hidden gems with mouthwatering dishes prepared by local cooks, there’s something to satisfy every craving
8. Four Seasons
The Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans on Canal Street has two fine dining restaurants onsite — Miss River and Chemin à la Mer, plus an unforgettable experience on the top floor. Miss River offers elevated versions of classic New Orleans dishes, like duck-and-sausage gumbo and fried chicken, using local ingredients. While there, check out the Food Stage, where you can watch chefs plate the extravagant signature dishes.
Chemin a la Mer features panoramic views of the Mississippi River and a curated menu of Louisiana fare prepared with French techniques.
At the top of the hotel is Vue Orleans which features interactive exhibits depicting the story of New Orleans — like The Story Café, where visitors can explore the history of local cuisine in a fascinating atmosphere.
Bonus: Right outside of New Orleans, in St. Bernard Parish, you’ll find these two popular spots:
Rocky & Carlo’s Restaurant & Bar
If you’ve never been to Rocky & Carlo’s Restaurant & Bar in Chalmette, you’ll be surprised at the fabulous and laughably-oversized portions. Known for its remarkable Sicilian dishes and New Orleans classics, this local institution should be on any foodie bucket list. We recommend sampling the macaroni and cheese. With just one bite of this creamy baked pasta, you’ll enter a food paradise you won't want to leave.
Arabi Food Store
Once a local grocery store, Arabi Food Store transformed after owner Elliot Gaspard began serving hot po'boys to his hard-working neighbors. Now, the store offers everything from hearty breakfast plates to homemade burgers and meaty entrees — though the po’boys still reign supreme. With a large selection, including cotto salami, catfish, potato gravy and chicken cordon bleu, customers travel from all over the world to chow down on these iconic Louisiana sandwiches.