New Orleans is a city known just as much for its home-grown cuisine as for its famous restaurants. Nearly every restaurant in town offers a taste of one of the Big Easy's classic dishes, making it hard to recall one that is truly memorable. Here are a few places thinking outside the box, bringing you creative twists on cherished classics.
Restaurant R'evolution (Death by Gumbo)
Located directly in the heart of the French Quarter in the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Restaurant R'evolution boasts modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic New Orleans-inspired Cajun and Creole dishes made from ingredients that Chef John Folse accurately dubs "the swamp floor pantry of Louisiana." Restaurant R'evolution showcases innovative seafood dishes for which Louisiana is famous, including Death by Gumbo, which offers a new, delicious take on an old Louisiana classic, made with roasted quail, andouille and oysters. 777 Bienville St.
Cochon (Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo)
Chef Donald Link grew up eating Cajun food and hoped to channel those comforting flavors into Cochon's dishes when he opened the restaurant post-Katrina. The menu at Cochon takes Cajun and Southern cooking to a more upscale level while maintaining the integrity of those down-home, just plain good Southern flavors. Cochon's Pork and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo adds a Southern twist to this Cajun favorite — it's not to be missed. 930 Tchoupitoulas St.
Shrimp and Grits:
Atchafalaya has gone through a series of owners in its lifetime, but since Tony Tocco took over in 2008, it has found its niche. The cozy neighborhood restaurant features a host of classic New Orleans-, Cajun- and Creole-inspired dishes. Their classic shrimp and grits is a true standout, made with head-on Gulf shrimp, andouille, smoked tomatoes and cream cheese grits. 901 Louisiana Ave.
La Petite Grocery
La Petite Grocery, housed in what was once a 1900s-era store that sold "fancy groceries," gives the classic New Orleans shrimp and grits a French-inspired twist. Chef Justin Devillier pairs the dish with roasted shiitake mushrooms, smoked bacon and thyme—a subtle nod to the restaurant's bistro-like atmosphere. 4238 Magazine St.
Pascal's Manale (Original BBQ Shrimp)
A mainstay on the New Orleans restaurant scene for the past 100 years, Pascal's Manale has been serving up its most famous dish—the classic BBQ shrimp—since the 1950s. The dish was created when a friend of the owner came into the restaurant raving about a similar dish he had tasted in Chicago. The chef recreated the dish with a New Orleans spin, and the rest is BBQ shrimp history. Pascal's Manale continues to offer a delightful combination of seafood and traditional Italian dishes on Napoleon Avenue. 1838 Napoleon Ave.
You wouldn't necessarily think that a pizza restaurant would serve one of the most unique and delicious BBQ shrimp dishes in New Orleans, a city known for the world-famous seafood dish, but Slice Pizzeria is doing just that. Slice offers its BBQ shrimp with a signature herb sauce as both an appetizer and in po-boy form, prepared with Louisiana hot sauce, lemon, fresh herbs and a Worcestershire sauce reduction. 5538 Magazine St., 1513 St. Charles Ave.
Cochon Butcher (Jambalaya-Stuffed Chicken)
Cochon Butcher, the next-door neighbor and sister restaurant to Donald Link's Cochon, showcases house-cured sausages and specialty meats. Everything at Cochon Butcher is available for takeout, including their spectacular Jambalaya-Stuffed Chicken. Think of it as a Cajun's answer to the Turducken. Don't miss out on this delicious crowd-pleaser. 930 Tchoupitoulas St.
Jaques Imo's Café (Creole Jambalaya)
Jacque Imo's Café is a quirky New Orleans favorite that gives tribute to Cajun/Creole favorites and Southern-inspired dishes. The wait for a table at the Oak Street restaurant usually winds down the street, and for good reason—Jacques Leonardi's restaurant is just plain good. Don't miss the quintessential Creole Jambalaya—it's as delicious as any you'll find in New Orleans. 8324 Oak St.
Muriel's Jackson Square
Housed in a glorious historic home, Muriel's will make you feel as if you've taken a step back in time to old New Orleans. The charming restaurant offers a fantastic shrimp remoulade, made with boiled Gulf shrimp with house-made remoulade sauce, served on a celery root mirliton and red onion slaw, tossed in an herb vinaigrette with chopped egg and grape tomatoes. 801 Chartres St.
Commander's Palace (Jerk Shrimp Remoulade Salad)
Commander's Palace has been a New Orleans landmark since the late 1800s and it still reigns today. Priding itself on offering a culinary reflection of New Orleans' unique heritage, Commander's Palace serves traditional New Orleans favorites with a constantly changing, innovative twist. Try the Jerk Shrimp Remoulade Salad for a modified version of the classic Louisiana dish. 1403 Washington Ave.
Casamento's (Oyster Loaf)
Eating oysters at Casamento's has been a New Orleans tradition since Italian immigrant Joe Casamento opened the restaurant's Magazine St. location in 1919. Unlike traditional po-boys, Casamento's Oyster Loaf features fried oysters stuffed between two slices of their signature "pan bread" instead of a French loaf. The Oyster Loaf comes in a (rather large) half-size, or for those with a big appetite, a monstrous whole-size. 4330 Magazine St.
Superior Seafood (Oysters Superior)
With its gorgeous decor and location on the streetcar line, it's not surprising that Superior Seafood has become one of the most notable oyster joints in New Orleans for both locals and tourists. Superior Seafood's oyster bar serves not only raw oysters, but also the fantastic Oysters Superior, which is a platter of oysters prepared in three styles: Bienville, Chargrilled and Rockefeller. 4338 St. Charles Ave.
Parran's (Seafood Muffuletta with Shrimp)
If you're looking for Italian-Creole food, Parran's is a tasty and reasonably priced choice. The Metairie restaurant has been serving up its famous Seafood Muffuletta for years. Their take on the muffuletta features fried shrimp, catfish and oysters with a Cajun mayonnaise instead of the olive salad typically featured on the muffuletta. 3939 Veterans Blvd.
Opened in 1947, Liuzza's has been a Mid-City favorite for over half a century. Liuzza's is a casual, welcoming neighborhood restaurant with its own delicious claim to food fame. Stuffed with Italian meat, Liuzza's Frenchuletta is a delightful mashup of two New Orleans sandwich staples—the muffuletta and the po-boy—and simply can't be overlooked. 3636 Bienville St.
Basin (Crab and Crawfish Beignets)
When you think of beignets, sweet, sugary pastries are generally the first things that come to mind. However, many restaurants around New Orleans feature savory beignets on their menus. Basin offers a dish of tasty Crab and Crawfish Beignets—try them on the patio and enjoy the people-watching on Magazine Street as you dine. 3222 Magazine St.
SoBou (Sweet Potato Beignets)
SoBou might just be the only "Creole saloon" in New Orleans, and if you've visited the quirky drink-centric restaurant, you'll agree that the description fits. Looking for a savory beignet with a twist? Don't miss SoBou's Sweet Potato Beignets. Made with foie gras fondue, duck debris and a chicory coffee ganache, SoBou's take on the traditionally sweet treat boasts a delightful flavor combination. 310 Chartres St.
Ralph's on the Park (Bananas Foster Bread Pudding)
Right across the street from City Park sits Ralph's on the Park, owned by Ralph Brennan. The restaurant is high end yet still hospitable, and offers traditional Southern food made with fresh local ingredients. Give Ralph's Bananas Foster Bread Pudding a taste—it is the perfect combination of two favorite local desserts. 900 City Park Ave.
Creole Creamery (Bananas Foster Ice Cream)
Traditional ice cream parlor or flavor lab? With Creole Creamery's innovative, ever-changing list of flavors, it's hard to tell. The ice cream shop takes pride in its unusual flavors, but you'll have to get lucky if you want to catch your favorite, given their constantly rotating menu. If you happen to see the Bananas Foster Ice Cream, get it while you can! 4924 Prytania St.
Del Fuego Taqueria (Capirotada—Mexican bread pudding)
Del Fuego Taqueria is a new addition to the New Orleans food scene, but it's quickly becoming one of the more popular Latin-inspired restaurants in the city. Del Fuego's Capirotada is a traditional Mexican bread pudding that offers a unique spin on the favorite dessert, introducing cinnamon, nuts and dried fruit into the mix. Give it a try after a few tacos for a perfect south-of-the-border meal. 4518 Magazine St.
Boucherie (Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding)
Four words: Krispy. Kreme. Bread. Pudding. What more could a dessert-lover want? A fascinating mix of two sweet treats, Boucherie's famous dessert is a sight to behold. It's tough to save room for dessert given Boucherie's tasty menu, but be sure to taste this innovative bread pudding. 8115 Jeannette St.