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Best restaurants outside New Orleans

Looking for excellent cajun/creole cuisine or must not miss restaurant (any type of food) outside downtown New Orleans. It can be dirt cheap or filthy expensive. Willing to drive an hour and a half in any direction (Baton Rouge, Moss Point, even Hattiesburg, MS). A bigger plus if it's close to or on the way to a sight-seeing spot (Lafitte, for example). Thank you!

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  1. Everyone loves Mosca's out highway 90. Cash only.

    1. I would recommend Juban's and/or Mansur's in Baton Rouge.

      1. Don't miss Mosca's. About 20 minutes from downtown NO going west. It is the most unique food (Italian-New Orleans) and restaurant in the whole NO area. But if you go, be sure to ask this forum what to order. I'm essentially a NO native and this is my favorite restaurant.

        1. In the down-n-dirty category, both south-southwest of NOLA:
          --Leeville Restaurant, LA 1, Leeville, LA. Closer to a two-hour drive, through sugarcane country, along scenic bayou Lafourche, and then south through some of the country's fastest eroding wetlands. Uber-fresh seafood & friendly people. Beaucoup local color. Tune your radio to 100.3 FM during the drive to experience the full effects.
          --Spahr's, on US 90 in Des Allemands, LA (catfish capital of the universe). Wild (not pond-raised, dog-food-eating catish) fried catfish in a newly rebuilt restaurant that's a local institution. Order the "child's chips" plate and you'll get enough tender, fried belly-meat catfish (aka "chips") for two. Wash it down with a bloody mary.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            Celeste, Is Spahr's still on Highway 90. I've been doing some searches and have found some different addresses. One is 3682 Highway 90 E., but is this the old location? I've also seen some news about a fire there a few years ago, then a move.

            1. re: JFToday03

              I have no idea what the address is! There was a fire, it did temporarily relocate, other locations were opened (still open in Thibodaux downtown, inside the Ramada Inn in Houma), but the original place is back in business in the same spot. Eastbound/south side of US 90 in Des Allemands (the Lafourche Parish side of D.A.), just a couple of miles west of the Bayou Des Allemands overpass.

              Menu has changed a little, greatest hits (catfish, catfish chips, catfish sauce piquante) all still there. Expanded to include steak, a few grilled dishes, a burger, etc. Environment is vastly improved (clean, big picture windows overlooking the pond/surrounding marsh), though bar/dining room layout is about the same. Bloody Marys in the souvenir plastic cup still have quite a kick.

          2. Hymel's in Convent, for seafood. Where my cajun relatives head for great food.

            La Provence in Lacombe on the North Shore. Like stepping into an inn in the French countryside. Beautiful food in a beautiful setting.

            10 Replies
            1. re: MakingSense

              Can you give a little more feedback on Hymels. Whats the restaurant like - upscale or formica tabletop? Whats the crowd like, etc.

              Is it like the places that were out on the Lake near Metairie? Or would we need reservations?

              1. re: TJ47

                Very casual, formica tables. Out in the country, on River Road near Convent (upriver from the Sunshine bridge on the eastbank side of the river). My dad used to sell seafood to Mr. Hymel; I know that he personally oversees everything going on in the place. Also known for an old-fashioned creole boiled dinner; brisket, potatoes, cabbage with horseradish sauce. No reservations. Not really reminescent of the old West End joints, more of a small-town, everybody-goes-there place.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Sounds good. Im down in NOLA for a four-day weekend this weekend coming, and was looking for a reason to go for a drive. I used to go to a place called Whitey's closer to New Orleans that basically only did boiled crawfish, but I dont think its there anymore.

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    I've mapped out a eating binge trip to several of the restaurants above. First I'll stop by Hymel's for lunch then head south to Des Allemands for the child's chips plate at Spahr's then head back up the 90 for Mosca's. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations on what to order at Hymel's or Mosca's or if there are any sight-seeing spots or shops I should stop by off the 3127 and US 90 (I don't mind driving a little off-route either). Thanks again!

                    1. re: jackkirby

                      How many people will you be going with to Mosca's as (since they serve family style) you need at least 4 people and 6 is best?

                      1. re: Panama Hat

                        Unfortunately, there will be only 2 of us but we can eat alot. We'll most likely skip the salads, soups and desserts and order two of their staple dishes to share. Throughout the day, we'll be visiting plantations and running around alot, burning off our lunch and breakfast before dinner at Mosca's. However, if you think it's best to experience Mosco's as a group then we'll do dinner at another place.

                      2. re: jackkirby

                        3127 is eminently NOT SCENIC. Unless you count scrubby, second-growth wet woods (mostly willow, hackberry, and scrub), petrochemical plants, and a nuclear power station as scenic. It's a good, fast way to get from point A to point B, though, with very little traffic.

                        Ditto for US 90 from Des Allemands back to Avondale. Basic exurban sprawl interspersed with rural patches, one closed sanitary landfill, one active sanitary landfill, and one very active construction debris dump.

                        The restaurants are all worthy of a visit, but I wouldn't combine them quite in the way you've suggested. It is a long haul from Hymel's to Spahr's and the windshield tourism isn't so great along the way. And Mosca's is best experienced with a large appetite.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          Thank you. That's very useful information. In that case, we might just do Hymel's since it's close to several plantations. And as we're only 2 people, I don't think we'll be able to fully appreciate Mosca's.

                          1. re: jackkirby

                            Check restaurant days and hours of operation before you head out. Hymel's is closed on Mondays, for example. Wish I were going. I'll be there in a few weeks...

                  2. re: MakingSense

                    Amazing!!! I worked at La Provence in 1975 before graduating from high school - it was fabulous back then and I've been back since and still fabulous. I cannot get anyone to make a Steak Au Prouve (sp?) brandy and peppercorn sauce like La Provence. Beautiful settling by the fireplace.

                  3. Another great place, I thinks it's also in LaCombe on the North Shore is "Sal and Judy's" - fabulous, highly recommend. Excellent Italian.


                    1. Middendorf's in Manchac, right on I-55. Best catfish in the area. The soft shell crabs are divine as well.

                      1. definitely mosca's near avondale, but call for a reservation. sal and judy's in lacombe, also call first. dont care for la provence, doesnt compare to real french food. also on the northshore, dakota and longbranch. mary mahoney's in biloxi is popular.

                        1. Do go to Mosca's and order the chicken mosca--this is an amazingly delicious preparation with lots of garlic and very moist well-seasoned chicken that just falls off the bones. Food is served family style there. Interestingly, in John Folse's beautiful book, the Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cooking (this book is a must read for anyone interested in Louisiana history and cooking), he includes Mosca's recipe for this chicken dish. Its lucious.

                          Then, speaking of John Folse, there is LaFitte's Landing in Donaldsonville. Defiitely worth the drive.

                          Also, does anyone know about a place called Pat's, located, I think half way between NO and BR off I-10? Its a place that sits up on pilings in the bayou, where you can sit out on the deck and sometimes see the gators peeking up out of the swamp. I remember going there years ago on my way back from BR and fully enjoying the authentic cajun feast we were served. If anyone remembers this place and can provide the details, I think it would be a good suggestion for jackkirby. I may be confusing this place with something else. It has been a long time and my agina brain often misfires information....


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: liveforfood

                            You're referring to Pat's in Henderson. Food quality has gone up & down over the years. I haven't been in quite some time, so I can't give a recent report.

                          2. Folse's restaurant burned about 10 years ago. He rebuilt it as Lafitte's Landing at Bittersweet Plantation which he operates as a B & B, serving only private dinners for parties of six or more with a minimum food and beverage total of $500. They also do private parties.
                            Folse also operates a dairy/cheesemaking operation in Gonzales. He tried to open a new restaurant in Baton Rouge but never gor it going.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: MakingSense

                              Thanks for the info on LaFitte's Landing. I am so sorry his place in BR didn't get off the ground. If I visit again and can gather a little crowd, I may try to reserve a spot at Bittersweet.

                            2. On the North Shore check out The Long Branch, Trey Yuen (the one in Mandeville
                              just off the Causeway - not the one in Hammond), and Dakota. Cafe Reni is good
                              for lunch - located in Mandeville and Covington.

                              If you're willing to travel to Hattiesburg, check out The Purple Parrot. Robert St. John
                              is the chef/owner and has published several cookbooks and has a syndicated food

                              I understand that a spectacular new restaurant recently opened in the Beau Rivage.

                              For general dining info in New Orleans - i.e. what's open - go to www.Nola.com, and
                              for the Mississippi Gulf Coast there's www.SunHerald.com.