New Orleans’ Vibrant Food Scene

Irene's interior with our group 3648x2736

At Irene’s in the Quarter

Recently my husband and I were lucky enough to visit New Orleans for several days. No strangers to the Crescent City, we both spent our childhood visiting Louisiana’s most celebrated town and graduated from Tulane. However, we had not been back to NOLA since hurricane Katrina, and wondered how we would find the city after such devastation. We were thrilled to discover that New Orleans was thriving and vibrant once again. And nowhere was this more evident than in the city’s restaurant scene.

From the time our plane touched down at Louis Armstrong Airport, we began our food

Crispy soft shell crabs at Irene's

Crispy soft shell crabs at Irene’s

odyssey. Friends met us and whisked us to Irene’s, an Italian restaurant in the French Quarter favored by locals. My spouse raved about oysters baked in their shells with Parmesan and pimentons, and adored soft shell crabs with toasted almonds and lemon.

For lunch one day we went to Commander’s Palace in the gorgeous Garden District, and feasted on more fish. Lightly sautéed Black Drum (a moist, white fish) garnished with fried leeks and crème brûlées creatively topped with fleurs de lys (the city’s official logo) fashioned with powdered sugar were memorable.

Pêche's rustic interior

Pêche’s rustic interior

Our best meal though was at Pêche Seafood Grill, a bustling new restaurant in the city’s warehouse district. Owned by the same group that founded Cochon Restaurant near by, the eatery won two Beard awards this year (Best chef South and Best New Restaurant) and it’s easy to see why. The food prepared with local ingredients was incredibly inventive. My husband declared his rich, dark seafood gumbo one of the best he’s ever tasted. Sashimi-style yellow fin tuna, thinly sliced and nestled on a smear of ramp (wild garlic)

Yellow fin tuna with butter beans and wild garlic aïoli at Pêche

Yellow fin tuna with butter beans and wild garlic aïoli at Pêche

mayo, was sprinkled with fresh butter beans and was also sublime. We shared a bowl of fried catfish fillets served with pickled greens in a chili broth and devoured Brabant potatoes—golden puffs set upon creamy aïoli. Key Lime pie accompanied by buttermilk-scented whipped cream and chocolate banana peanut butter pie with crumbled butterfingers and caramel garnishes were both addictive.

Key Lime pie with buttermilk whipped cream at Peche

Key Lime pie/ buttermilk whipped cream at Peche

 We also delighted in sipping bowls of pho at one of the many Vietnamese eateries popping up all over the city, and downed platters of crawfish at a party held on Tulane’s campus another night.

When you are looking for a place to visit that boasts an exciting, new food scene, put NOLA on your list. New Orleans is back and it’s better than ever!

 

Pêche Seafood Grill
800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522-1744

Irene’s
539 St Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 529-8811

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 899-8221

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “New Orleans’ Vibrant Food Scene

    • Our last visit was about 4 years ago and we stayed at the Ponchatrain Hotel on St Charles. I had stayed there before and was disaapointe din the way it looked this time. However, I’ve read that it’s been completely redone and the photos look great. (Location is fabulous in the Garden District). I also like the Windsor Court downtown. Hope this helps.

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