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A Celebrated New Orleans Executive Chef Shares His Absolute Favorite Food Spots In Town

New Orleans, Louisiana is widely recognized for its vibrant community, distinctive music scene, classic French-creole (and really just NOLA) cuisine, and of course, its slew of annual parties and festivals. Last weekend, the city’s iconic Jackson Square hosted the famed French Quarter Festival — the largest free festival and showcase of Louisiana music, food, and culture. The festival featured over 270 performances from a variety of musical genres across 20 stages featuring local stars like Irma Thomas, Tank & The Bangas, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rickie Lee Jones, The Soul Rebels, and many more.

One local chef who made his French Quarter Festival debut is Marcus Woodham, the Executive Chef at The Bower. At the festival, he served festival attendees a Cochon de Lait Po-boy, Crawfish Bread Pudding with Etouffee Sauce, and Smoked Fish Dip. Born and raised in Louisiana, Woodham knows his way around NOLA’s legendary culinary scene. So we asked him to share his top restaurant recommendations (besides his own) in The Big Easy.

Patois

New Orleans Restaurants
Patois

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Patios is a cozy uptown restaurant where Chefs Aaron Burgau and Jonathan Lomonaco put out a very locally-sourced menu cooked from the soul. Burgau can flat-out cook and changes the menu fairly often. There is always something new to try along with staples that have been on the menu for years.

Kingpin

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Kingpin is a great dive bar uptown that has food trucks pop up almost nightly. Chances are you will run into a chef, server, or bartender that served you earlier that evening. During football season, catch a Saints game here and you won’t be disappointed.

Blue Oak BBQ

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Blue Oak BBQ has huge outdoor seating, and it’s a great place for the family to sit outside. The brisket is amazing, and don’t sleep on the green onion sausage. My kids love the BBQ beans, mac-n-cheese, and the smoked chicken.

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Don’t let the line at Hansen’s Sno-Bliz scare you, as you will get a chance to meet new friends while waiting. I think I’ve only ever had the satsuma snowball here, it’s too damn good to try anything else. We like to pop the tailgate on the truck and enjoy.

Maypop

New Orleans Restaurants
Maypop

Maypop is an amazing mix of South Louisiana and Asian-style cuisine. Chef Mike’s ever-changing bone marrow with seasonal fruit or citrus is a must, and his ability to use local and Asian ingredients in his noodle dishes is incredible. Get all of them.

Jack Rose

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For me, Jack Rose is the funniest dining atmosphere in the city. Very lively dining rooms, great decor, and Chambongs. This place exudes Chef Brian Landry’s personality — fun, outgoing, and attention to detail. I always get the veal chop. Order a mile-high pie for dessert…Lie and say it’s your birthday and watch the sparks fly.

R&O’s in BuckTown

New Orleans Restaurants
R&O

Veal Parmesan PoBoy — just get it. After R&O, swing by Captain Sid’s to get your boiled crab, shrimp, or crawfish fix. Take some of their seasoning blends home as well.

Southern’s Food Truck

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Southern’s Food Truck serves amazing hot fried chicken sandwiches. Pick your spice levels. During crawfish season, they do traditional crawfish and Vietnamese style as well, get 5 lbs of both and life is good.

Look out for Southern’s Food Truck at French Quarter Festival. It’s also a festival food vendor!

Creole Creamery

Creole Creamery is a throwback-style ice cream shop. It gives me the feeling of being one of the actors in The Sandlot. I always get an old-school style malt and my kids go for a waffle cone and “rainbow,” which is however many colorful scoops they can fit into one cone.

Fat Harry’s

Fat Harry’s is a St. Charles Avenue staple. It’s great for watching any sporting event. Any questions you have about the city, ask the staff here. Most of them have been working here for at least a decade. Chef Juicy’s chicken wings are amazing. Bring the fellas, get 40 wings with all the sauces, and drink a couple of local beers.

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