On the Road Eats: New Orleans City Guide

Take a bite out of the Big Easy with restaurant picks from Guy, Giada, Rachael and more Food Network chefs.

Boasting a plentiful mix of fine dining and casual cafes, New Orleans is home to distinctive Creole and Cajun dishes, like po-boys, gumbo and muffulettas, that bring food lovers back to the bayou year after year. Let the good times -- and the good eats -- roll.

1. Johnny's Po-Boys
The oldest family-owned po-boy restaurant in New Orleans, Johnny's Po' Boys has been serving the French Quarter crowd since 1950. For Scott Conant, their Muffaletta sandwich, made with ham, salami, mozzarella and an olive mix, is a must-try.

2. Mother's Restaurant
Locals and tourists alike flock to Mother's Restaurant for top-notch comfort food, classic po' boys and tasty breakfast favorites served all day. While there's often a line out the door at this Big Easy landmark, the bread pudding alone is worth the wait, according to Sunny Anderson.

3. Cochon
A lively, rustic eatery serving authentic Cajun cuisine, Cochon specializes in what Giada calls "real comfort food." For an unforgettable NOLA-style feast, try the Crawfish Pie, Fried Alligator and Rabbit Stew. Finish the meal with Lemon Buttermilk Pie -- "a slice of Southern tradition," says Giada.

4. Cafe Beignet
When in New Orleans, Alton wakes up and strolls over to Café Beignet for its — you guessed it — beignets. Café Beignet prepares the classic New Orleans dessert to perfection. Be sure to grab a cup of the bitter chicory coffee. Then, dunk beignet in coffee, savor and repeat.

5. Casamento's Restaurant
At Casamento's Restaurant, the raw oysters are "a tradition," says Guy Fieri. Family-owned since 1919, the classic NOLA establishment is also known for irresistible fried-oyster sandwiches, fried shrimp and soft-shell crab.

6. The Rivershack Tavern
The Rivershack Tavern draws a loyal local crowd. While their classically trained chef Mike Baskind does all the basics, like burgers and po' boys, he is known for daily specials including Turtle Soup, Rabbit With Spaetzle and more deliciously creative dishes you wouldn't expect in the average bar.

7. Joey K's Restaurant & Bar
A family-owned eatery located in a charming century-old building, Joey K's is the place to go for "a real taste of Louisiana soul food." Many items on the menu, like the popular Shrimp Magazine, are named after local streets. Also try the classic Red Beans and Rice, Fried Oysters and Jambalaya.

8. Big Fisherman Seafood
During a visit to Big Fisherman Seafood, Alton and crew couldn't resist a family-style feast of boiled crawfish, corn, potatoes, sausage and shrimp. The seafood market is a bit off the beaten path and does not offer seating, so plan to take your bag of top-notch crawfish to go.

9. Blue Dot Donuts
Located along the Canal streetcar line in New Orleans, Blue Dot Donuts was opened by a trio of cops. Try the sweet and savory Maple Glazed Bacon Long John, Peanut Butter and Jelly or Red Velvet with Cream Cheese.

10. Commander's Palace
A charming, ante-bellum restaurant with aqua-blue Victorian architecture located in the Garden District, Commander's Palace is known for award-winning Creole cuisine and a top-notch wine list. The bread pudding is a fave of Claire Robinson, who has been enjoying the decadent treat since childhood.

11. Deanie's Seafood Restaurant & Market
Chef Barbara Chifici's New Orleans seafood has been a local favorite, but for Sunny Anderson, Deanie's changed her life. One bite of the catfish swayed her to move to New Orleans where, if she wanted, she could feast on the Giant Seafood Platter with shrimp, catfish, soft-shell crabs and crawfish.

12. Katie's Restaurant
Located in New Orleans Mid-City neighborhood, Katie's Restaurant is known for serving top-notch local cuisine, including a seafood sandwich so large it's known as The Barge. When Guy Fieri swung by on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he couldn't help but praise the handmade pizza topped with Cajun pork.

13. Crawfish Concierge at The Ritz-Carlton Courtyard
For a crash course in crawfish, Giada visits the Ritz-Carlton's Crawfish Concierge. Every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m., the hotel hosts an authentic crawfish boil, open to the public, where the chef goes from table to table giving every attendee a quick tutorial on how to eat the tasty crustaceans.

14. Brigtsen's Restaurant
The pecan pie at Brigten's is a "sit back, relax and luxuriate in the moment kind of pie," according to food writer John T. Edge, who brought us there on The Best Thing I ever ate. He says they have the secret to Southern food: simple honest cooking done exceedingly well.

15. Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar
The outside isn't much but locals gladly line up to feast on arguably the best-tasting po'boys in New Orleans. On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Alex dived into her shrimp po'boy with fresh Louisiana French bread and a special ketchup they mix themselves. She says it's nothing short of a true original.

16. Dooky Chase's Restaurant
New Orleans natives know that for making friends, you have to eat Gumbo Z'Herbes on Holy Thursday (the more greens used, the more friends). On The Best Thing I Ever Ate, John Besh nearly licks his bowl clean, just like others do with the fried chicken, hot sausage and red beans and rice.