Most Popular in New Orleans

Local spots you love
July 21, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

Just because a place has mass appeal doesn't mean it's a tourist trap. From beignets to charbroiled oysters, the dishes at Zagat users' favorite restaurants in New Orleans give the city its character.

Commander's Palace
Creole · Garden District · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

The "nostalgic" , "old-world" ambiance will "make you feel like a king or queen" at this "genteel" Garden District Creole icon – as will the "first-class" staff that treats "everyone the same: spectacularly" ; "rich" , "leisurely" dinners are an "experience to savor" , and made even more "epic" by a "phenomenal wine list" , so it's a "splurge" that's "worth every penny" , though some "prefer" the "fabulous" lunch (could it be the "25-cent martinis" ?); P.S. no shorts or T-shirts; jackets suggested for men.
Acme Oyster House
Seafood · French Quarter · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

The "wait" outside this French Quarter "classic" is "legendary" , but so are the "oysters and beer" inside (reportedly "identical to those served in heaven" ), which are bolstered by a “broad menu” of “New Orleans comfort food” ; "tourists and locals" agree that this "vibrant" , "bustling" spot is one of the "best places to slurp" , especially at the raw bar, where watching the shuckers at work is "a show in itself."
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe · French Quarter · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.8 · Service 3.9

"Scrumptious" , "piping hot" beignets sprinkled with "magic fairy dust" (aka confectionery sugar) and "out-of-this-world" coffee, including a "wonderful" chicory version, make this "legendary" French Quarter cafe one of "the best ways to start your day in the Big Easy" – or end it (it's open 24 hours); the huge, mostly open-air space is often "crowded" and service is "all function, no frills" , but "tourists and locals alike" are "greatly entertained" by the "people-watching" ; P.S. "don't wear black" – you're almost "guaranteed" to leave covered in powdered sugar.
Zea Rotisserie & Bar
Eclectic · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

This "family-friendly" "local chain" is a "consistent bet" for its "savory interpretations of local cuisine" (including "addicting" roasted corn grits, "flavorful" rotisserie chicken and "fall-off-the-bone" ribs) plus Asian-inspired dishes, not to mention house-label beer and "fabulous specialty cocktails" ; a "courteous" , "attentive" staff and "fair prices" ensure a meal in the "attractive, upscale" setting is "always a pleasure."
Galatoires
French · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.7

This century-old "bucket-list" French Quarter "institution" offers "a true New Orleans dining experience" thanks to "decadent" , "utterly superb" (albeit "not cheap" ) French-Creole standards and truth-serum cocktails served by "waiters in dinner jackets" who "have been there for years" ( "take their recommendations seriously" insiders advise); "a place to see old New Orleans society" , the main dining room is "complete with black-and-white tiled floors" , "white tablecloths" and "loud, raucous" "laughter in the air" ; P.S. jackets required after 5 PM and all day Sunday; reservations only accepted upstairs.
Drago's Seafood Restaurant
Seafood · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Get the charbroiled oysters" rave fans of this Metairie–Warehouse District seafood shrine, then "sop up the buttery sauce with your French bread" for a "sinful and heavenly" delight – just leave room to try the entrees, which include "ample" lobsters, gumbo and fried seafood platters "crowded" with fresh catch; a "well-organized" staff maintains an even keel in the "loud" , "bustling" setting, making a meal here "a lot of fun."
Drago's
Seafood · Warehouse District · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Get the charbroiled oysters" rave fans of this Metairie–Warehouse District seafood shrine, then "sop up the buttery sauce with your French bread" for a "sinful and heavenly" delight – just leave "room to try the entrees" , which include "ample" lobsters, gumbo and fried seafood platters "crowded" with fresh catch; a "well-organized" staff maintains an even keel in the "loud" , "bustling" setting, making a meal here "a lot of fun."
August
French · CBD · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

John Besh's "rarified" CBD flagship is a "masterpiece" whose "beautiful" , "Gone With the Wind" –style interior and "invisible but omnipresent" staff set the scene for a "genuine dining experience" focused around a "wonderfully creative" French menu with a "NOLA twist" (it also boasts "sublime" wine pairings); the "cost is high" for the "memorable experience" , but fans say it's "worth the splurge" ; P.S. Friday lunch is a "great deal."
Antoine's Restaurant
French · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

"No New Orleans trip is complete" without a "sumptuous" French-Creole meal at this "classic of all classics" (established 1840) "in the heart of the French Quarter" , where "oysters Rockefeller was invented" ; the "elegant" setting is "composed of many rooms" that boast "museum-quality artifacts" ( "ask for a guided tour" ), so even if prices are thoroughly modern, everything else is a "throwback to a more gracious time" ; P.S. Sunday is brunch only.
Deanie's Seafood Restaurant
Seafood · French Quarter · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.8 · Service 4.1

“Bring your appetite” ( “or a few people with you” ) when dining at these “big, casual, noisy seafood houses” where you can “get the giant seafood platter” : a “hot, fresh and yummy” heap of “deep-fried heaven” that includes oysters, shrimp, catfish, soft-shell crabs and crawfish croquettes at “a very good value” ; a “sassy" staff makes a trip to the “always-busy” “family” setting feel “like coming home, baby!”
Deanie's Seafood Restaurant
Seafood · Bucktown · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.8 · Service 4.1

“Bring your appetite” ( “or a few people with you” ) when dining at these “big, casual, noisy seafood houses” where you can “get the giant seafood platter” : a “hot, fresh and yummy” heap of “deep-fried heaven” that includes oysters, shrimp, catfish, soft-shell crabs and crawfish croquettes at “a very good value” ; a “sassy" staff makes a trip to the “always-busy” “family” setting feel “like coming home, baby!”
Mr. B's Bistro
Creole · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

"Pure joy" rave fans about the "wonderful" Contemporary Louisiana fare at this French Quarter "masterpiece" by the Brennan family, which stars "famous" BBQ shrimp that's "worth" getting "sauce up to your elbows" (bibs are provided) and gumbo ya ya that's truly "ya, ya, ya!" ; add in an "extensive" wine list, "class-act" waiters and a "sophisticated" yet "lively" vibe, and no wonder many consider it a "go-to for family entertaining" as well as a "gold standard" for business dining.
Bayona
American · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

Chef Susan Spicer "never disappoints" at this "long-standing sparkler" in the French Quarter, where "sublime" Contemporary Louisiana fare is prepared with "innovative tweaks" and paired with an "amazing" wine list whose "sole purpose" is to complement the food; "thoughtful, personalized" service is part of the "high-end" package, helping to ensure that whether diners opt for the cottage's "intimate" interior or the "charming courtyard" , "every aspect of the experience is memorable."
NOLA
Contemporary Louisiana · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Another "bam good" Emeril Lagasse "gem" , this brassy French Quarter destination offers "wonderful" , "inspired" Contemporary Louisiana dishes in a "cool" warehouse setting that's "slightly more casual" than the chef's flagship spot; completing the "pleasurable" experience are "outstanding" servers who treat guests "as celebrities" , leading fans to advise "if you're ready to lay down some money, you can't go wrong here."
GW Fins
Seafood · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

"Creative" presentations of fish resemble "fine art" at this "high-end" French Quarter restaurant helmed by the "outstanding" Tenney Flynn, who can "make a seafood lover out of anyone" (the biscuits are "addictive" too); adding to the "all-around excellent" experience, the "beautiful" , airy space is "extremely well managed" by a "polished" crew that cultivates regulars, including "hard-core foodies" , who return "time and time again."
Irene's Cuisine
Italian · French Quarter · $$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

Garlic lovers are "unable to pass" by the "delicious" scent "wafting" from this "very special" French Quarter spot without stopping in for some truly "terrific" , "authentic" Italian fare complemented by "world-class" wines; "everyone becomes friends after a few cocktails" in the piano bar, which is an "enjoyable" place to wait for a table (a common occurrence, even with reservations) in the "charming" , "romantic" dining room patrolled by a "wonderful" staff.