Where to Eat With Only Three Days in New Orleans
One of the best food and travel experience you can do for yourself is visit New Orleans. It should be in your bucket list. It’s even better if you can visit around Mardi Gras because there’s great partying everywhere and it’s just as fun traveling solo. Read the Top Questions Answered about Traveling Solo.
Here are the places I recommend to you from my visit to New Orleans, guided by a friend and a local New Orleans:
- The Gumbo Shop 630 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Located at the touristy French Quarter area, the Gumbo Shop gives wonderful service and serve dishes that would make anyone water. I waited 40 minutes but I promise you IT IS WORTH THE WAIT. Even folks coming out of the restaurant after their meals were telling us the same! The hostess made sure we were seated comfortably and explained that there might be some delay before our server can get to us because of the number of customers ahead of us. We didn’t mind at all. Once our server came, she was very attentive and helpful in explaining their menu.
I ordered alligator sausage for starters and proved to be rewarding – the sausage tasted like a good ol’ smokey pork sausage and crispy from the grill marks. It’s not as scary as I thought. I was actually glad I tried it.
With a name Gumbo Shop, I’m obviously expecting quite a bit from their seafood gumbo and boy… it was the bomb!! I took a small sip of the soup and alas, the vision of a grandma cooking hours in the kitchen simmering to thicken the soup and making the flavors all come together.
2. Borgne Restaurant 601 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
Inside the restaurant, the ambiance is relaxing with large New Orleans themed wall arts adorning the place wall to wall. A few large pillars were wired and filled with dried shells which I found fascinating.
We ordered a variety of dishes but my favorite was the Crawfish & Dumplings. This bold flavored crawfish soup dish includes morsels of rich tender dumplings made from ricotta, spinach and Parmigiano-
They don’t take reservations during Mardi Gras, so do yourself a favor and arrive early. 🙂
3. Willie Mae Grocery & Deli 7457 St. Charles Ave. New Orleans, LA 70118
Food Network and the Travel Channel named this place as “America’s Best Fried Chicken“. That’s HUGE. So no matter how tight your schedule is, make sure you visit Willie Mae’s. This branch is located in a nice neighborhood called the Garden District.
Willie Mae’s fried chicken are the lightest and crispiest fried chicken I’ve ever had. They’re not greasy and the chicken meat is kept tender. It seasoned lightly and lives up to the reputation although many locals insist that the original branch makes even better fried chicken.
I also enjoyed their fried okra, sweet potato fries and green beans but fried chicken is most definitely the star of the show. It was so good that I added another order of it!
Lines are unusually long during Mardi Gras, so be prepared to stand in line for at least 40 minutes if you are visiting during that time. We visited this day after the Mardi Gras, so there wasn’t a line.
4. Jacques Imos 8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118
Ask a local where to eat to experience New Orleans, chances are this place will be mentioned in the top 10 list. It’s located in a nice campus neighborhood. I took a nice leisurely stroll down the street during the afternoon.
I read some blogs that it’s either a love it or hate it type of place but mostly it’s because there’s always a long wait (a clear indication of the quality of the food!), it’s loud and one has to pass through their tiny chaotic kitchen to get to the dining hall. I think that’s actually quite funky! I am amazed at how such a small kitchen brings out big flavors.
We ordered the famous Alligator and shrimp cheesecake which actually isn’t the same type you’d see from the Cheesecake factory. The texture reminded me of quiche and the alligator meat was chopped alligator sauce. This savory “cheesecake” was smothered with creamy cheese sauce that similar to what’s served on pasta dishes. It was definitely RICH. It was an ok dish for me but I probably wouldn’t order it again but it was definitely worth trying once for the experience.
I ordered Barbecued Shrimps which were sitting nicely on a bed of rice and very well-seasoned soup or sauce with generous sprinkles herbs. The dish was so worth every penny and came with about 10 large meaty shrimps! I was so happy sipping the soup
Arrive at least within 20 minutes before they start serving dinner and you won’t have to worry about long lines. Jacques-Imos don’t take reservation during Mardi Gras week since there’s so many customers. If you can, try to get a side inside the dining hall because the vibe is so much more inviting.
5. Sucre 3025 Magazine St. New Orleans LA
Another food you must try is Sucre’s King Cake. Take note, you want the ones from Sucre. What’s special about Sucre’s King Cake is that they drizzle colored edible dust over top of the glazing instead using colored sugar. This make it less sweet and color is lustrous! Sucre is a popular New Orleans store that sells chocolates and other sweets. They only sell King Cake during 58 days of the carnival season. They literally stop selling them after Fat Tuesdays. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t bring one back. I’m planning to make my own King Cake soon.
6. Cafe Du Monde 800 Decatur St. New Orleans 70116
Last but not the least is the world famous beignets from Cafe Du Monde. I’m glad that I finally got to taste them. They have a such a unique dense and chewy texture, and the taste of yeast is quite distinct. They’re always served in powdered sugar which enhanced the doughnuts taste.
New Orleans’ Mardi Gras is one of those places that every American should experience at least ones in their life. The culture experience is rich and it’s everywhere from architecture, food and people. I can’t wait to go back to discover more of its amazing food culture.