Louisiana’s Diverse Cuisines
Louisiana is known for its amazing, traditional dishes. But it’s also worth trying the diverse cuisines that make up the state’s culinary scene and culture.
Louisiana is a true melting pot. An influx of immigrants to the state over centuries has led to farmers, grocers and merchants and talented chefs spread throughout Louisiana, bringing their cooking skills with them and often passing the expertise on to younger generations. Once you’ve gotten your fill of traditional Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya and étouffée, save some space in your belly and get a taste of these diverse cuisines.
The best Chinese in the state can be found at Trey Yuen Cuisine of China in Mandeville. Recognized as one of the top Chinese restaurants in America, The Wong brothers even received the honor of cooking for the President at the White House in 1999. In addition to a wide menu of delicious Chinese dishes, the exterior koi ponds and interior décor truly transport you to another world.
Sushi fanatics love Tsunami, which has locations in Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans – all serving up the freshest sushi in an upscale atmosphere. Visit the Baton Rouge location for prime balcony views of the Mississippi River. And for the best ramen in the state, check out Boru in Baton Rouge, where chefs trained in Tokyo prepare homemade and traditional bowls of noodles.
When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, New Orleans is where it’s at. With a large Vietnamese population in the city, you’ll have no trouble finding tasty family-run spots. Lilly’s Cafe is a favorite spot for all traditional Vietnamese dishes like pho, spring rolls and banh mi. And Dong Phuong is a popular Vietnamese bakery offering signature breads that also serve as a foundation for their banh mi, plus other sweet and savory treats.
Thai restaurants are also abundant in New Orleans, serving up curries and stir-fries packed with flavors and spices like lemongrass, basil and Thai chilies. Sukho Thai is considered one of the best, with two locations in the Big Easy, and even has a Vegan menu.
Korean cuisine has taken the world by storm as of late. Check out Little Korea BBQ in New Orleans for delicacies like Korean Fried Chicken, Kimchi Fried Rice, rice bowls, noodles, soups and more. And lovers of Indian food will want to visit Nirvana Indian Cuisine in New Orleans – a top spot for traditional Indian fare since 1982.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern
Louisiana’s Lebanese population has added flavor to the state’s rich culinary heritage for more than a century. In New Orleans, Saba pays homage to the culinary landscape of Israel with additional influences from the Middle East, Europe and North Africa. Kebab has a focus on Mediterranean and Dutch cooking – with bread baked in-house, falafel, hand-cut Belgian fries and of course Döner Kebabs. And Mona’s Café & Deli is a full-service Lebanese café and international market. Stop by for a tasty meal and leave with some goodies to take home.
Albasha Greek & Lebanese Restaurant has locations all over the state, including Baton Rouge, Covington, Metairie and Gonzales. Zeus Café also has several locations including Lake Charles, Lafayette, Breaux Bridge, Eunice and Crowley.
There’s no shortage of great Italian dining options in Louisiana. Gino's Italian Restaurant is an award-winning Baton Rouge staple, established in 1966 by a family from Sicily. To relay how good this place is - in honor of the restaurant’s former owner and chef, The Baton Rouge Epicurean created its annual Grace “Mama” Marino Lifetime Achievement Award to honor “local food industry professionals for advancing culinary culture.” Gino’s continues to be a family-owned and operated spot featuring the best Italian grub and a wine cellar stocked with over 300 wines. For a more casual joint, grab an Italian sandwich and a delicious dessert from Anthony's Italian Deli.
Other top-rated Italian eateries include Vincent’s Italian Cuisine in New Orleans, Antoni’s Italian Cafe in Lafayette, Verona Italian Restaurante in Alexandria, Chianti Restaurant in Shreveport and Genusa's Italian Restaurant & Wine Cellar in Monroe.
Much of Louisiana’s cuisine has French influence intertwined. Experience true French cuisine at La Crepe Nanou in New Orleans and enjoy savory and sweet crepes plus classic entrées like Boeuf Bourguignon, Escargots de Bourgogne and their famous steamed mussels. Café Degas is another great option - a popular and cozy French bistro, in business since 1986 and appropriately named after 19th century French Impressionist Edgar Degas.
Mexican, Latin, Spanish and Caribbean
Louisiana’s proximity to Central America has provided an easy opportunity for the cuisine to flourish in the state. El Gato Negro in the French Quarter features a menu inspired by family recipes from the Mexican western state of Michoacán. Also in the French Quarter, Country Flame serves a variety of dishes with Mexican, Cuban, Spanish and Latin American cuisine. Run for decades by a San Salvadoran native, Taqueria Corona mixes Mexican and El Salvadoran flare into its food. And Mayas Latin American Kitchen brings traditional Latin dishes with bold flavors to the table.
Looking for even more good eats? Check out Velvet Cactus’ locations in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Superior Grill has locations in Baton Rouge, New Orleans in Shreveport. Don Juanz Baja Beach Tacos has locations in Shreveport and Bossier City. El Jarrito Mexican Grill has locations in Ruston and West Monroe. And La Carreta has multiple locations around southern Louisiana. And dive into sultry Spanish tastes and aromas at Solera in Baton Rouge for amazing tapas, paellas and a long list of Spanish wines.
Bonus: The Rum House Caribbean Taqueria in New Orleans offers an eclectic fusion menu of Mexican, Cuban and Caribbean-inspired menu items plus margaritas and Island-style drinks. Baru Bistro & Tapas, also in New Orleans, fuses Colombian heritage with Caribbean flavors and local ingredients.
Come hungry! Browse more restaurants at ExploreLouisiana.com/Culinary.