Hidden Restaurant Gems in New Orleans

Boiled crawfish with corn, potatoes and hot dogs - Copyright: Ken Durden

Mention New Orleans and people immediately think of jazz, Mardi Gras, heat, and of course food. People in New Orleans are spoiled by the vast array of dining options. From hole-in-the-wall joints to internationally renowned restaurants, natives have an entire lifetime to sample them all.

Frech Quarter New Orleans - Copyright Xzelenz Media

A travel book will give you the usual culprits, but outside the confines of the French Quarter lives a vibrant and unique food culture with something for everyone. Here are four places for the tourist who wants to experience the whole city:

Liuzza’s Bar & Restaurant

Liuzza's By The Track restaurant, New Orleans - Photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans

Located in Mid-City’s Bayou St. John neighborhood, Liuzza’s by the Track may be the ultimate New Orleans neighborhood restaurant. A small bar is inhabited by locals enjoying an Abita and watching the local news and Jeopardy. The seating is cozy and the menu is pure Louisianan.

Liuzza’s by the Track is home to one of New Orleans most famous recipes – barbecue shrimp. This isn’t your typical barbecue. The shrimp is smothered in butter and seasoning and stuffed in French bread. This decadent treat is one of the most filling meals in the city. And the Track?

Liuzza’s is conveniently located next to the horse racing track and the home of Jazz fest for after lunch fun.

Frankie and Johnny’s Restaurant

Beer taps - Frankie and Johnny's - New Orleans

This Uptown joint is classic Louisiana. Every staple you can imagine is offered here, from craw-fish when in-season to the seafood platter. Frankie and Johnny’s has been serving the bounties of the Gulf since 1942 when the neighborhood was inhabited with dock workers and sailors.

Today, this part of Uptown is a bit quainter but don’t be surprised to find several generations of patrons enjoying a weekly meal together.


Adolfo's - Photo by Adolfo's

Adolfo’s is an anchor of the Marigny’s famous Frenchmen street. The popular drag has undergone rapid change recently, going from a strip of jazz and blues clubs to a lively destination with a more local touch than Bourbon. Adolfo’s has remained in its unassuming location above the Apple Barrel bar serving some of the best seafood in the city.

The restaurant’s “Ocean Sauce” is an often imitated but never duplicated favorite. Adolfo’s does not take reservations and is cash only, so be sure to get there with time to spare and money in hand.

Kukhnya / Siberia Lounge

Siberia Lounge

This list would not be complete without venturing into the Bywater. The neighborhood has rebuilt itself after Hurricane Katrina into a melting pot of artists and young professionals. Exemplifying this change is Kukhnya, generally referred to as “the Kitchen” by locals.

Kukhnya is located in the back of Siberia, a music venue and bar that always has eclectic musicians onstage. It is counter-service only and offers imaginative versions of Polish and Russian food. For example, the beet Reuben may be the best non-poboy sandwich in the city.

Kukhnya is a bit off the beaten path, but worth the trip to fully round out a culinary tour of New Orleans.

Siberia Lounge, New Orleans

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