Travel 2023: Feed Your Appetite in New Orleans

Feed Your Appetite

Home to some of the longest-operating restaurants on the continent, New Orleans has a progressive food scene that can only be described as post-Emeril Lagasse. Photo: sandoclr/Getty Images

Escape and find a purpose! In our February/March 2023 issue of Zoomer magazine, we featured “23 Reasons to Travel in 2023”. In this edition, we look at the progressive food scene in New Orleans. Click on the link at the bottom of the story for more ideas and inspiration for your next trip.

There is no place like New Orleans. There is certainly nothing else like it in the States: French and Spanish and Cajun and Catholic and nearly tropical and maxed out on music. It’s a lusty place that openly wears its wounds. Its biggest natural resource? Its “soul.” But a pretty close second? Food!

Home to some of the longest-operating restaurants on the continent, with a progressive food scene that can only be described as post-Emeril Lagasse, there are certainly no shortage of options. The cornbread of your dreams, for instance, is made at Marjie’s Grill in the Tulane-Gravier area, courtesy of a chef who nimbly melds Southern and Southeast Asian food. The signature dish at Compère Lapin – the spot in the Warehouse Arts district run by Top Chef fave Nina Compton – is curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi and cashews. Three blocks away, everything good – including the crawfish capellini – comes your way at Pêche Seafood Grill, a sprawling, bustling restaurant that has come to define the new NOLA.


New Orleans
Chef Nina Compton’s curried goat, sweet plantain gnocchi with roasted tomatoes, cashews and cilantro. Photo: StarChefs/compere lapin


Meanwhile, over in the Tremé neighbourhood, Leah Chase may be gone (the godmother of Creole cuisine died in 2019), but her resto, Dooky Chase’s, still serves up classics like gumbo and po’ boy sandwiches with a side of nostalgia. Beignets, of course, are the name of the game at the world-famous Café du Monde Riverwalk, where people line up daily for the sugary white deep-fried balls like it is launch day for a new iPhone.


Photo: A po’ boy sandwich (Lisa Romerein/Getty Images) Inset top right: Gumbo from Dooky Chase’s. (Photo: Justen Williams, New Orleans & Co.); Inset bottom left: Cornbread (Ronda Kimbrow Photography/Getty Images)


At Galatoire’s on Bourbon Street, a lunch-time favourite for many – including, back in the day, playwright Tennessee Williams – the waiters don bowties, the long bright room rings with gossip, the whole place comes to a standstill to sing “Happy Birthday” to a celebrant and the turtle soup arrives with a small pitcher of sherry on the side. The white tablecloths. The ceiling fans. The black-and-white tile. The eavesdropping. It is a whole vibe, like the town itself.  

A version this article appeared in the Feb/Mar 2023 issue with the headline ‘Feed Your Appetite’, p. 77.