10Best New Orleans restaurants for Cajun eats

New Orleans isn't a hotbed of Cajun cuisine - you need to head out of the city into the towns of Southwestern Louisiana for that, places like Lafayette, New Iberia, Lake Charles and Thibodeaux. But there are some really good chefs with Cajun roots here in town, as well as fried food emporiums where you can find boudin balls and alligator sausage.  

If you're confused about the difference between Cajun and Creole cuisine, for which New Orleans is world famous, think country, rustic fare vs. citified French-inspired gastronomy. "Cajun cuisine is rustic French country cooking, while Creole food boasts an air of sophistication, ever evolving and heavily influenced by European cultures,” explained Tommy DiGiovanni, executive chef at Arnaud’s Restaurant, a bastion of Creole tradition. Chef Emeril Lagasse put it this way,: "Cajuns use ingredients from the land, including fish, shellfish, ducks, frogs and nutria. But of course there's crossover, mostly seen in dishes with rice such as gumbo and jambalaya."

At the restaurants on this list, you can savor modern Cajun fare as well as housemade sausages and pickles, fried rabbit and chicken and dishes like chicken and andouille gumbo, Cajun jambalaya, crawfish etouffe, blackened Louisiana drum and frogs legs treated to a Buffalo-style basting. 

Bon Ton Cafe


Located in a historic 19th century building, this restaurant's interior " exposed brick walls, checkered tablecloths, wrought iron fixtures " is the epitome of old New Orleans. Feeding New Orleanians for more than a century, the Bon Ton...  Read More

K - Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
Photo courtesy of K-Paul's


Before there was Emeril, there was Paul Prudhomme, who is credited with introducing the world to Louisiana's Cajun flavors in the 1980s. His 200-seat restaurant (named for his wife, K) has three kitchens and a bakery that serves as testament to...  Read More



Nestled in the Warehouse District, chef/owners Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski pay homage to all things swine at this inspired and authentic Cajun restaurant. Link mines his German-Acadian roots with dishes such as fried boudin with pickled...  Read More



Located close to the Outlet Collection at Riverwalk and the Convention Center along the Mississippi river, Mulate's is the New Orleans version of the original restaurant (now closed) in Breaux Bridge not far from Lafayette. A stage, dance floor,...  Read More

French Quarter


Compact and crowded, Coop's probably isn't on most travelers' agendas which is a crying shame. Located right on Decatur not far from the French Market, Coop's remains a locals' haunt, with its well-worn surfaces and gritty elan. Unpolished,...  Read More



Restaurant R'evolution, situated in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street, channels the creative powers of two chefs, James Beard-winner Rick Tramonto from Chicago, and John Folse, a local chef-personality from Donaldsonville. With competent...  Read More



This is Cajun meets Creole cooking at its best. Brigtsen's chef/owner Frank Brigtsen is legendary in the region and his culinary prowess superb. Trained with chef Paul Prudhomme. for seven years, chef Brigtsen sources many of his ingredients...  Read More



Jacques-Imo's is a Cajun/Creole mecca notable for its truck-turned table for two beckoning the Oak Street pedestrian crowd. The Shrimp Etouffee and Smothered Chicken highlight a menu of favorites that deliver huge portions at reasonable prices...  Read More

French Quarter
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono


Chef Jason Klutts channels his south Louisiana roots in the kitchen at Kingfish, a culinary gem named for the infamous politico Huey Long. There's an expansive bar out front - great beer selection and craft cocktail list - but you want to get a...  Read More



Toups', as the name implies, isn't geared to vegetarians. But if you're a serious meat eater and housemade charcuterie gets your pulse racing, then run don't walk to this Mid-City eatery, where reservations are a must. Owned by chef Isaac Toups...  Read More


Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth