Looking for the best Cajun cuisine restaurants in NOLA that are in the moderate price or lower. I'm talking things like gumbo, red beans & rice, etc. Any suggestions. Thanks.
"The Best" is subjective. Everyone has a different opinion. Gumbo is on almost every menu in New Orleans and for miles around. We mostly have Chicken and Andouille Sausage and Seafood Gumbos, with and without Okra. It comes at all different prices, depending on the style of restaurant. Looks like you are looking for cozy, down home type places to try these local specialties. Coop's is a forum favorite. It is a rough and tumble bar with sassy bartenders, the food is top notch and very authentic.
Red Beans and Rice is on alot of menus, especially on Mondays, when it was traditionally made on Laundry Day. But in the French Quarter it is served daily, because everyone wants to try it when they come to town.Edited: 10 October 2021, 11:03
When are you coming? Where are you staying?
There really are not that many truly Cajun restaurants in the city of New Orleans. New Orleans’ traditional cuisine is Creole. To find really good, traditional Cajun cuisine you need to go to Cajun country (Arcadiana). The two cuisines share similarities, but can use different ingredients and techniques. Think of Creole Cuisine as city food vs. Cajun as country food. In reality, a lot of restaurants here draw on both cuisines (except some of the traditional high end restaurants) and they have dishes in common like gumbo (but use different spice and ingredients). If you are really interested in the differences-just Google. There are a lot of articles on this. It sounds to me like you are looking for local cuisine and not particularly authentic Cajun. At the inexpensive, casual end, two really good places are Coop’s Place (FQ) and Neyow’s Creole cafe (Mid-City, about 10 minutes from the French Quarter). Lil Dizzy’s in Treme is also very popular- but I haven’t eaten there. Brigsten’s and Clancy’s, both uptown are middle range. Galatoire’s and Arnaud’s are two pricier, fancier options (both in the FQ). If you really are interested in Cajun food, both Cochon and the Mosquito Supper Club have well known and regarded Cajun chefs and serve modern Cajun food. Neither of these are inexpensive.
I feel that there is a lot if misconception about New Orleans Cuisine. And a lot of cross over between City( Creole) and Country ( Cajun). But Gumbo, Jambalaya, Red Beans And Rice, are all Classic New Orleans food.
Fresh Seafood is a signature of both, too.
Another good spot is on Magazine Street, Joey K's. They have a good locals menu.
More about specific Cajun Foods. Alot of menus are doing things with alligator these days, Boudin, a rice and meat sausage is a popular distinctly Cajun Food, a lot of people roll it in balls, fry them and serve with a sauce. Andouille Sausage is Cajun. There is an area between New Orleans and Baton Rouge where most the sausage makers ate, it's called the German Coast. Alot of Germans settled there and brought their sausage making skills with them. One place that has a Cajun Foods and is very reasonable is Daisy Duke's, there are several. Good New Orleans style foods, not too expensive .
Vacherie Restaurant in the Hotel St. Marie has a very good looking menu, with a lot of Cajun/ Creole specialties. It's on my list. So is Hobnobbers, a diner/bar in the CBD( Central Business District). Very good prices. Got a great write up in the paper last year.
Fried Catfish and Fried Shrimp are all over, they come from the Bayous, which is Cajun Country. Lots of time they are offered with the red beans and rice.
Mr. Ed's Oyster Bar and Fish House is a small local chain. There are 2 in the French Quarter. Their menu is very "local" and you can find all Cajun specialties there. Jambalaya, Gumbo, Red Beans and Rice and more. Fried Green Tomatoes is delicious and often topped with fresh Louisiana Shrimp.
Jambalaya, gumbo, and red beans and rice are both Creole and Cajun dishes. As above, there are differences in preparation and ingredients. E.g., creole cuisine uses tomatoes and butter, traditional Cajun cuisine usually does not. Mr. Ed’s is not a Cajun restaurant but rather reflective of a lot of modern places which use creole preparations for some dishes and Cajun preparations for others ( and sometimes a mixture of both). Fried seafood and fried green tomatoes are found everywhere, particularly in the south. I grew up in northern Ohio eating fried fish (perch instead of catfish). Again preparation and seasoning varies by region. I am sorry to belabor this point but it is a common misunderstanding that the traditional food of New Orleans is Cajun. While related, and intermarried over the years- these are two different cultures and cuisines evolved from different living situations and cultural influences. There are also a lot of other popular New Orleans dishes which are neither Creole nor Cajun -such as muffulettas which rely on Italian meats and cheeses. What is for certain is that the modern day food originating in New Orleans is delicious-whatever it’s origins.
Adrienne, on 3 new menus, I noticed the comeback of old fashioned oyster dishes updated. St. John has a 3 oyster preparation, Miss River has an Oyster Pattie( puff pastry) and a special at Tableau with poached oysters in cream topped with Fried Oysters, Bacon and Brie. The Chef's in town are raring to go. Now if they could just staff their kitchens fully!Edited: 12 October 2021, 06:49