Dec 19, 2023 - Food and Drink

The 10 best meals we ate in New Orleans in 2023

Two hands pull apart a deli sandwich on seeded bread.

The Gandolfini from Francolini's offers a stack of hot sopressata, fresh mozzarella, spicy olive salad, arugula and a Calabrian chili vinaigrette. Image: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

It's nice living in a foodie's paradise, amiright?! In New Orleans, we have something delicious in every neighborhood.

Driving the news: We've been eating around the city all year, and several meals stood out. Here are 10 of our favorites from 2023, in no particular order.

Worth noting: Many factors make a meal memorable β€” the food, the people you share it with and how the experience made you feel.

🦐 BBQ shrimp poboy

Photo shows a BBQ shrimp poboy covered in savory butter sauce
The BBQ shrimp poboy overstuffed with shrimp and savory butter sauce at Liuzza's by the Track. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Where: Liuzza's by the Track.

What made it great: The signature shrimp dish has been my go-to for years when I want a good, casual meal with friends. This family-friendly neighborhood bar also makes great gumbo.

β€” Carlie

πŸ¦€ Celeriac remoulade with blue crab claw on pain perdu

Where: MaMou.

What made it great: It's been six months, and I'm still thinking about this dish, with its mustardy bite and the unexpected, savory way to serve pain perdu.

Worth noting: The restaurant has topped annual lists for Bon AppΓ©tit and the New York Times.

β€” Chelsea

β˜• Fresh bread, lentil soup and Iraqi tea

Photo shows the lentil soup, hummus and tea at Almasgoof
The lentil soup and black Iraqi tea are delicious. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Where: Almasgoof.

What made it great: This restaurant introduced me to Iraqi food and the style of cooking fish in a metal basket next to an open fire.

  • The food was delicious, and the owners in this strip-mall Metairie restaurant made me feel like an old friend. (Go deeper)

β€” Carlie

πŸ₯£ Gumbo with grilled cheese and potato salad

Photo shows a bowl of gumbo, potato salad and grilled cheese sandwich.
Heard Dat Kitchen's gumbo combo includes a grilled cheese sandwich and a side of potato salad. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

Where: Heard Dat Kitchen.

What made it great: I went down a gumbo rabbit hole for a weekly series this year, and Megan Braden-Perry's recommendation for this gumbo will live rent-free in my brain forever. It's that good.

β€” Chelsea

πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ Filipino monggo salad

Photo shows a plate of salad and a glass of beer in a courtyard
Monggo salad has cabbage, mung beans, tomatoes, red onions, bean sprouts, peanuts and a fish sauce vinaigrette. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Where: Kusina Filipino pop-up.

What made it great: Some descriptions on the menu gave me pause β€” fish sauce cashew brittle for dessert? β€” but I trusted the chef, ordered one of everything and was rewarded with a meal I still think about months later. (Go deeper)

β€” Carlie

πŸ’œπŸ’šπŸ’› Babka king cake

Photo shows a slice of king cake on a white plate
Ayu Bakehouse makes babka king cake swirled with cinnamon and chocolate. Photo: James Collier for Paprika Studios

Where: Ayu Bakehouse.

What made it great: There's only so much time and so many new options during Mardi Gras, so it takes a lot for any king cake to earn a spot in my regular rotation. But this croissant-like, cinnamon and chocolate confection was an instant addition.

Worth noting: Ayu's non-king cake babka is available more frequently.

β€” Chelsea

πŸ‡ΉπŸ‡Ή Doubles, a Trinidadian street food

Photo shows Queen Trini outsider her Mid-City restaurant
Lisa Nelson, owner of Queen Trini Lisa, serves Trinbagonian island soul food at her Mid-City restaurant. Photo: Courtesy of Queen Trini Lisa

Where: Queen Trini Lisa.

What made it great: Queen Trini's nailed everything my party ordered, but the doubles appetizer β€” curry chickpeas in turmeric flatbread β€” is what we were talking about the next week. (Go deeper)

β€” Carlie

πŸ… Stuffed shells with the New York Times' Classic Marinara Sauce

Where: From a friend.

What made it great: I had my first baby this year, and for about two months, all my husband and I ate were dropped-off meals from friends and family. Among them was our dear friend Clare's homemade vegetarian stuffed shells. They were perfect, thanks in large part to this marinara sauce.

β€” Chelsea

🍀 Bang bang shrimp banh mi

Photo shows a banh mi stuffed with fried shrimp and crunchy veggies
The bang bang shrimp banh mi is a specialty at Banh Mi Boys. Photo: Carlie Kollath Wells/Axios

Where: Banh Mi Boys (original Metairie location).

What made it great: This Vietnamese deli is attached to a gas station and is a solid option for quick, good food on the patio or for takeout.

  • Iced Vietnamese coffee and a banh mi = perfect picnic food, IMO.

Worth noting: There's a location Uptown on Magazine Street, too.

β€” Carlie

πŸ₯ͺ The Gandolfini sandwich

Photo shows sandwiches and chips on brown butcher paper
A lunch spread at Francolini's, with the Gandolfini on the right. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

Where: Francolini's.

What made it great: One of the things I missed most during pregnancy was sandwiches with cold deli meat.

  • Enter Francolini's, which taunted me with Instagram posts for months until I finally got my postpartum hands on this sandwich, which was just spicy enough and oh-so good. (Go deeper)

β€” Chelsea

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