Sue Zemanick became a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2008 for her invigorating role at the 30-year-old New Orleans restaurant Gautreau’s, where she imbues the menu with a modern European cooking style. Here, her expert guide underscores NOLA’s diversity and offers alternatives to muffuletta and beignets at Cafe du Monde.

August 13, 2012

Go-To: Tan Dinh

New Orleans has a huge Vietnamese population and this is my first pick. It’s in the Westbank area and has a nice vibe. One of my favorite things to get is actually Korean-style barbecue short ribs with kimchi and sticky rice patties.

Steak Fix: La Boca

A great Argentine steakhouse in the Central Business District (CBD) area, La Boca has a big selection of wines from Mendoza and I love their Provoleta, a grilled Provolone cheese with olive oil and oregano. La Divina GelateriaPhoto courtesy of La Divina Gelateria.

Best Snack: La Divina Gelateria

La Divina has the best gelato in town and a really good Abita beer sorbet made with the local brewery’s Turbodog, an English-style brown ale.

Seafood Specialist: Banana Blossom

This is a mod little Thai restaurant in a strip mall that serves the most delicious spicy clams in a broth with coconut milk and Thai chili paste.  Mimi’s in the MarignyPhoto © Steve Spehar.

Favorite Bar: Mimi’s in the Marigny

There’s music every night and I love their tapas. They do a really good patatas bravas and mushroom toast with Manchego cheese.

Boutique Hotel Pick: Soniat House

A really cool, old school New Orleans hotel is the Soniat House. They have all antique furniture, a beautiful courtyard and it’s in the heart of the French Quarter.