Oysters, crawfish, gumbo, po'boys... the list goes on and on the Louisiana shoreline, fed by bayou and Gulf, and rich with remarkable culture and history. Add the great culinary city of New Orleans in to the mix, and you've got a veritable seafood dive mecca.
Wisecracking oyster shuckers keep things rollicking at this French Quarter institution. The food is the real deal—oysters as well as po'boys, gumbo, and fried seafood; acmeoyster.com, 504-522-5973
Lines form around the corner by the 11 a.m. opening, in a comfortable old house that harks back to the little neighborhood restaurants that once filled New Orleans. With extra-fresh ingredients and imaginative combinations, it updates the classic working-class po' boy sandwich on crusty-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside New Orleans French bread; mahonyspoboys.com, 504-899-3374
New Orleans, Louisiana
Keep calm and eat po' boys, suggests the sign above the pickup window. Great advice, especially at this classic neighborhood joint. The true culinary heart of New Orleans is that simple submarine sandwich on crusty-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside French bread, typically dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo. Parkway's fresh fried-shrimp po' boys are always fabulous, but try to visit on Mondays or Wednesdays, when the fried-oyster version is on the menu; parkwaypoorboys.com.
Hurricane Katrina demolished many of the seafood restaurants in the Bucktown area on Lake Pontchartrain. Fortunately, R & O survives and thrives, serving great po'boys, fried seafood, gumbo, pizza, and other delectables in an ultracasual, ultrafriendly atmosphere; 504-831-1248
The former staff and menu of famed sandwich spot Parasol’s have moved around the corner and now purvey the same great fried shrimp, oyster, catfish, and soft-shell crab po’boys here. The second story deck has a view of the Uptown streetcars as they roll by; traceysnola.com, 504-897-5413
It's a long haul from almost anywhere to this original (Manchac) location of this landmark, nestled between Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas north of New Orleans. But for more than 75 years, patrons have made the trek for crispy fried catfish, plus spicy gumbo, fried shrimp, and fried oysters; middendorfsrestaurant.com, 985-386-6666
The good news: This 1919-vintage favorite still serves wonderful oysters and other great seafood from its original, tiled-inside-and-out Uptown storefront. The bad news: Casamento's follows the old oyster-house practice of closing during the warmest months (June through August). Cash only; casamentosrestaurant.com, 504-895-9761
Dark, heavenly roux makes this gumbo one of our favorites in the whole USA, and it's worth an hour's drive from New Orleans.