Gumbo is a mix of cultures—a bit like New Orleans itself—which inherently makes it a must-try while you’re in town. There’s no one recipe for gumbo. It all depends on the roux used by the restaurant and what they fancy to add to it. For example, seafood gumbo features shrimp and fish and authentic crab (with its shell to add flavor), but it can also contain chicken and sausage. Why not. Where can you find the best gumbo in New Orleans? Let’s find out, shall we?
Where Can You Find the Best Gumbo in New Orleans?
Lil Dizzy’s Cafe
One place we love to recommend to our guests for gumbo is Lil Dizzy’s. Not only is this classic neighborhood spot close to La Belle Esplanade, but it also serves one of the best Creole gumbos in town. Indeed, their iconic “Filé Gumbo” has been a local favorite since 1940.
The Half Shelf On the Bayou
Location: Bayou Road
If you find yourself around Bayou Road, stop by The Half Shelf. This local oyster restaurant has magnificent gumbo. It’s nice, creamy, and rich, with many seafood flavors and a soupy consistency.
Location: Orleans Avenue
We can never get enough of Gabrielle. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans. It’s only a 10-minute walk from La Belle Esplanade and provides a great atmosphere for a dinner date. For a celebratory treat, their roasted quail gumbo is ideal. Take our word for it—it’s like eating a bowl of gravy. Their recipe includes quail and duck sausage on top of the regular ingredients. It’s all cooked in a big pan to which the chef keeps adding as the orders come. We recommend getting a cup instead of a bowl to save room for what’s coming next on the menu.
The Gumbo Shop
Location: French Quarter
The Gumbo Shop in the Quarter is also worth a visit. They offer various types of gumbo on the menu, but the best, in our opinion, is the Z’herbes. It includes 12 varieties of greens (no meat) and is super flavorful. It’s an absolute must-try, especially during lent!
Last but not least, another one of our favorite restaurants is Pascal’s Manale. Did you know that this place has been open for more than 100 years? It’s where shrimp BBQ was invented, but they also serve a tremendous gumbo. The restaurant has an enchanting old-school vibe that you will love. Check out all the celebrity photographs from the past century leading to the bar room.
Give Your Trip a Dose of Authenticity at La Belle Esplanade
Get yourself into a real New Orleans state of mind at La Belle Esplanade. You don’t have to settle for the blandishments of chain hotels where they’ll feed you a cliché version of the city—no, you deserve better, and you know it. At La Belle, we want you to experience New Orleans like a local. We’re not in the business of selling you a room: we sell you an authentic adventure. Take a look at our suites and pick the one that speaks to you the most. They all boast unique and charming themes filled with New Orleans references. After you’ve slept like a baby all night, join us downstairs, where a delicious breakfast awaits you. It’s our favorite part of the day, and we have a feeling it will soon be yours, too.
[Editor’s Note: When Timmy Johnson rang our doorbell and handed me the draft of this blog post that he’d written in pencil, I thanked him. He lives a few blocks away on Ursulines Avenue between Dorgenois and Rocheblave Streets, near The Pink House. For a young man of the age of 16, he is very serious about pursuing a career in investigative journalism. He knows his gumbo. He came up with the idea of this blog post himself. It was an unsolicited submission, which we occasionally print—-Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!]