In this second part of our festival food article, we’ll explore more exciting places of interest to fill your belly for Madri Gras. You might be interested to know that some of the best places to eat in New Orleans are just on the national or world-famous list, but offer eating experiences you can only get from New Orleans-style cuisine.
A brief history of New Orleans French food culture
It’s hard to imagine that ther1s so many people who don’t know that Louisiana and especially New Orleans is deeply connected to traditional French culture which includes the architecture, language, and of course, food. But what is more interesting is that much of the French cuisine often includes specialty that most people often turn their nose up when they hear about frog legs or snails.
There is also a large percentage of French cuisine that began hundreds (if not) centuries ago all across provincial areas of France where shellfish and seafood were simply a large part of the French diet. Go figure that when the French began to set up colonies around the world, the places they settled also included locations that closely matched what they like to eat. Shrimp, crawfish, oysters, shellfish, crab, and obviously lobster played a major part.
Perhaps this is another reason why Vietnam, the Caribbean, Polynesia, and many more had direct access to the ocean. It would be unfair to say that whatever walks, crawls, slithers, swims, or can fly will end up in French cuisine at some point. Yet, the unmistakable flavor of New Orleans cooking is a direct result of turning a never-ending abundance of shellfish and seafood into a delicacy is certainly Creole and Cajun-style food.
More great New Orleans local seafood eateries
One of the most popular hotspots that serve everyone on the corner of Bourbon and Conti Street, you’ll find lots of local festival comfort and soul food to feed your hungry belly. This is right at the center of the French Quarter and has food that appeals to adults, kids, and even those who like Gluten-free food (who knew?). They carry an assortment of crab cakes and barbecued shrimp, but are best known for their gator bites made from white gator meat!
They also offer a generous amount of oysters that are cooked, grilled, and served fresh on the half shell. Don’t forget to check out their chef specials that really make Creole cooking a tasty reminder of why you should enjoy New Orleans festival food more often. If you like their food, you might also just bump into famous celebs who like this joint as well. Big names such as Mark Wahlberg, Shaquille O’Neal, John Goodman, and piano legend Fats Domino!
The only rooftop bar in all of Bourbon Street has to include Mambo’s on this list but that’s not all! They center on Cajun and Creole dishes that will make your head spin clean off if the spice doesn’t get to you first. They offer three floors within their restaurant and have a great menu that includes shrimp, oysters, Po-boys, and local platters that will tempt your taste buds. Be sure to make a reservation if you have more than 9 buddies in your group.
If you’re a fan of oysters they’ll shuck-em fresh and serve them three different ways as grilled, baked, or fresh on the half shell. Pricewise they’re hard to beat but the real spirit of New Orleans is what you’ll find inside. Each floor has something different that makes them so different. They also feature two oversize metal alligator sculptures that spy on you from the ceiling on the ground floor.
Not to be confused with Felix the Cat, they actually have 5 locations all over New Orleans including one in the heart of the French Quarter. They are certainly one of the few places that you’ll want to enjoy oysters and have 7 different types that are prepared to make them the ultimate oyster bar experience. They also serve a fine selection of local treats including their signature USDA certified Wagyu Beef used for Po-boys, hamburgers, and roast beef.
If you prefer, they’ll even slice a preferred cut that you like most and grill it up for you in their kitchen. If you want to try something different they have turtle soup, fried pickles, and even Jambalaya. It’s not the most extensive menu, but the experience of getting fresh local flavors served with a very distinct Louisiana seafood style, Felix’s is your best bet.
Olde New Orleans Cookery
As locals call this classic Bourbon Street location, the NOLA Cookery and it’s fitting to the type of local flavors you’ll encounter here. Their menu is also extremely simple with Po-boys, platters, Cajun pasta, and New Orleans festival classics. Their chef specials include redfish and blackened Bayou duck, chicken, and catfish. They also feature 10oz Ribeye steaks and half-rack BBQ ribs.
It’s no surprise they offer oysters on the half shell as an appetizer, but will certainly leave you breathless with their selection of fried platters including crab, catfish, shrimp, oysters, or a combination of all four! If you want to enjoy all the classic Mardi Gras drinks, they aim to please with a generous drink menu including a wine menu that will go great with your meal or flavor of King cake.