New Orleans Restaurants Offering Gluten-Free Menus and Recommendations
By Kristopher Neild
Palm Beach / West Palm Beach Local Expert
New Orleans food culture is one that embraces gluten, from the po-boys to the muffalettas to the etouffee. Being cognizant of their prowess as a tourist destination, the restaurant industry has amped up their efforts to cater to the gluten-free crowd while not having to completely overhaul their style.
In the following list, a good amount of the places actually offer separate gluten-free menus. These menus still offer appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc that you would expect from a New Orleans eatery, just without the gluten.
Other places offer recommendation menus. These menus will guide you through how to order off the regular menu to make sure your food comes out exactly the way you want. This includes instructions on what to tell your server, including the appropriate substitutions to make.
The establishments that don't offer one of the two menus above are known around town for catering to the gluten-free crowd. The servers and chefs expect and want diners with gluten inhibitions to come to their restaurants. They have perfected how to adjust their offerings accordingly.
Just because you are trying to, or have to eat gluten-free foods doesn't mean you can't enjoy all the wonderful food New Orleans has to offer. Heck, all of Casamento's fried seafood is gluten free!
9 Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
Gordon Biersch is a large restaurant/sports bar on Poydras Street in the heart of New Orleans. The venue has outdoor seating allowing you to view the bustle of the downtown. Inside, their are a handful of plasma television screens as well as direct views of the brewery where actual beer making goes down. You can really make a day out of Biersch's by planning a brewery tour for before or after the sporting event you plan to watch. If lucky, you'll be in attendance during one of the sporadic times the staff chooses to give out free beer samples! ((504) 552-2739)
Ninja Sushi on Oak could be the best sushi joint in the city. Located in the Uptown/Riverbend neighborhood of New Orleans, Ninja serves lunch and dinner. Their creative, thickly wrapped rolls bring in guests in droves for dinner, and the affordable lunch specials are a great grab midday. The establishment has an upstairs and downstairs bar, and is very kid friendly. Take-out is very efficient and can be great to take back to your hotel or to one of the city's parks for a picnic. The sushi list is packed with copious choices complete with full descriptions of the ingredients. The service staff is always ready to help and make suggestions. (504-866-1119)
7 Casamento's Restaurant
Casamento's is the famous Italian seafood blend restaurant on Magazine Street. Around since 1919, the interior and exterior are completely tiled, often having patrons feeling like they're in a swimming pool. Casamento's has many specialties including oyster loaves (using their homemade pan bread), soft shell crab, authentic Italian spaghetti & meatballs and one of New Orleans' top seafood gumbos. The original owners were always OCD about the place being stunningly clean (hence the tile), and the current owners stay true to that theme. Casamento's is old school, vintage, nostalgic and completely at home on Magazine Street. (504-895-9761)
6 Deanies Seafood
Deanie's Seafood is a New Orleans powerhouse when it comes to from-the-Gulf seafood offerings. Most famous for their seafood platters, Deanie's has made a name for themselves by being the best at boiling, broiling and frying various ocean critters. Shrimp, oyster, crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, crab and fresh fish are always to be found here. Deanie's has a location in the French Quarter with a great courtyard eating area. If you are coming to the city for a business outing or something involving a large group, consider Deanie's. They have large private dining areas, and their platters were basically created for group dining. (504-834-1225)
5 Oceana Grill
Oceana Grill is an authentic Creole/Cajun seafood restaurant located just a hop, skip and a jump away from Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. The serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with chefs cooking off the dinner menu 'til 1 am. Their traditional courtyard is the perfect place to start the day off with a Bloody Mary while recapping the previous night's shenanigans. Oysters, shrimp, po-boys and fried seafood dominate the menu, and will no doubt fill you up. Oceana delivers as well, so if you are staying in a French Quarter hotel, and don't have the energy to get out of bed, call up Oceana! (504-525-6002)
4 Juan's Flying Burrito
Juan's Flying Burrito touts itself as the worlds first Creole "taqueria". Their two locations on Magazine and S. Carrollton (Mid-City) serve up delicious tacos and burritos made to order. Serving sizes are large and meals come value priced relative to other city offerings. The joints are hip, with a younger waitstaff slinging drinks, nachos and an early riser favorite, the "Texican" (PBR and shot of well tequila complete with lime). Happy hour is 2-7 pm Monday through Friday and all day Sunday ($1 PBR, $2 Tecate and $5 Margaritas). Juan's offers take-out, and does great "family sized" meals for 4+ people. (504-486-9950)
3 Muriel's Jackson Square
Strolling down Decatur, passing by Jackson Square, you will see a lot of familiar chain type restaurants like Bubba Gump and Hard Rock Cafe. Muriel's is one of a few spots in the area that is local, has historical significance and can cook up some savory Creole food. Muriel's offers four different experiences with a courtyard bar, balcony seating, bistro seating and a lounge area known as "the Seance". The BBQ Shrimp and Seafood Bayoubaisse are big hits, as is the Sunday Jazz Brunch. They even have one of the city's only exclusive gluten-free menus to accommodate guests who require such food items. (5045681885)
Mother's has been a New Orleans tradition since the 1940's and it is still creating happy customers today. If you are looking for a hearty breakfast or a "meat and three" for supper and don't mind standing in line, this cafeteria-style eatery is sure to please. And do not miss the po' boys -- natives claim Mother's sells the definitive version of the popular sandwich. Also a winner: the New Orleans style, chicory-flavored coffee. Mother's is located on Poydras in the Central Business District, and is known for attracting heaping amounts of visitors during weekends. Try sneaking your Mother's trip in mid-week to avoid a potential fiasco. (504-523-9656)
1 GW Fins
While most New Orleans seafood restaurants take an acute approach in choosing what meals to prepare, GW Fins goes global in filling out its menu. Located on Bienville St. in the French Quarter, visitors can order crab from Alaska and bass from New Zealand all in the same meal. The philosophy is simple at this upscale establishment; let the seafood's natural flavors shine and enhance lightly with house concocted seasonings. Lobster Dumplings and Cashew- and Peppercorn-Crusted Swordfish are highlights on a menu full of appetizing selections. Like any quality seafood place, the wine list is deep and filled with choices that pare easily with all GW Fins' plates. (504-581-3467)
About Kristopher Neild
Kris is a South Florida resident, living close to the coast in West Palm Beach. The area lets him delve into his vices - beaching, bar-hopping and baseball. Besides writing about travel & leisure, he is a CFA candidate, hoping to pen an investment newsletter sometime in the future.
Read more about Kristopher Neild here.