Great spots to go outside of New Orleans for good food!
New Orleans locals certainly are spoiled by all of the restaurants offering top-notch flavors and generous portions to their customers. Certainly, the competition is high, and these purveyors of flavors don't last long if they don't meet our high standards. However, some local restaurants have held down positions in the Greater New Orleans culinary landscape for generations. Take a short trip outside of New Orleans and check out some of these mainstays in the local food scene.
First opened in 1994 in Old Metairie, Byblos has expanded to several locations, including Byblos Market on Veterans Boulevard and locations in Lakeside Mall and Elmwood Shopping Center. Byblos has consistently pleased generations of customers in its 25 years of business with all the staples of Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Dustin Brien joined the team on Metairie Road in 2018, elevating the location to a fine dining experience.
Tower of Pizza
Tower of Pizza has held down its corner of Veterans Boulevard since 1971. Customers today are treated to the same experience and the same utilitarian approach to running a family-oriented pizzeria 50 years ago. With tables topped with checkered oil cloth, pitchers of cheap beer, and a menu consisting of pizzas, three basic salads, and "spaghetti," with or without meat. Tower of Pizza keeps things simple—and delicious.
Giorlando's is another family-run Italian restaurant that has served generations of locals. Located on Bonnabel Boulevard near Veterans Boulevard, the establishment first opened as a po-boy shop in 1972, and their loyal customers contend that Giorlando's has the best roast beef po-boy in town. Since expanding to a full-service restaurant in 2008, they have gained a solid reputation as one of the area's best Italian-Creole restaurants.
Shogun Japanese Restaurant and Steakhouse
Shogun Japanese Restaurant and Steakhouse is located on Veterans Boulevard and has been in operation since at least the 1990s. They have one of the most extensive and impressive menus around town as well as a variety of lunch specials and even a typical Japanese Teishoku-style dinner menu. Sushi, hibachi, udon and ramen, poke salad—the list of offerings goes on for pages. Shogun is perfect for any casual or formal occasion.
Middendorf's first opened their "café" in 1934, in the swamps of Manchac, Louisiana, just north of Laplace off I-55. Recently, a second location opened in Slidell, on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain. The business has changed hands over the years, but the recipes remain the same. Folks flock to the restaurant for their famous thin-fried catfish, and their turtle soup is as good as any you'll find in a fine-dining establishment.
Perino's has been in the seafood business for 50 years. After opening at their first location in Harvey, on the Westbank, in 1972, they have repeatedly moved to accommodate their ever-growing popularity. Perino's now has two locations—
Perino's Seafood and Deli
featuring a shortened menu of po-boys and fried seafood platters, and
Perino's Boiling Pot
Perino's is adding fresh and boiled seafood to the menu. Be sure to try the gumbo.
Café 615, Home of Da Wabbit
Café 615, Home of Da Wabbit is another legacy restaurant on the Westbank, in historic downtown Gretna. Since opening in 1948, the restaurant has gained a number of accolades, including Best Fried Chicken—and deservingly so. Their menu is extensive, including homestyle Southern classics on their daily lunch special, Italian Creole appetizers, gumbos and turtle soup, huge dinner salads, muffulettas, filets, and eggplant casserole.
Empress of China
Empress of China has been in the same location on Wall Boulevard in Gretna for over 40 years. Known for their consistent quality and ample portions, they offer 27 different combination lunch and dinner specials. Beyond these specials, their menu features all of the Chinese American classics you might expect, from egg foo yong to moo shu, plus others found in no other restaurant around town, including Cantonese catfish.
Phở Bằng Restaurant
Phở Bằng has gathered such a large following in their 30 years of operation that they have expanded to five different locations, including Gretna and Harvey on the Westbank as well as Kenner and Metairie in Jefferson Parish. Each location has a different menu, so a visit to each is in order. At every location, expect authentic Vietnamese dishes—not just pho (noodle soup), but bun (rice vermicelli bowls) and com dia (rice dishes).
Tag's Meat Market and Deli
Tag's Meat Market and Deli, located on Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette, is one more of our locals' best-kept secrets, one that has kept customers happy since 1948. Watch them griddle a fresh patty of beef for your Butcher Boy Burger or order a po-boy made with their house-made hot sausage. Or try one of their daily specials, including ribeyes on Thursdays. While you're there, pick up some hogshead cheese and a loaf of Leidenheimer bread.
Of course, this is a small offering of the many restaurants on the outskirts of New Orleans that have kept locals coming back for more, for generations, with their fantastic flavor, welcoming service, large servings, and affordable prices, so don't hesitate to leave Orleans for your next food adventure.