New Orleans Insider Guide: Beyond Beignets with a Local Star Chef
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.
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.Photo 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. Photo © 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.