You can’t visit New Orleans without having tried at least one bowl of gumbo at the throng of restaurants you’ll find around the city. If you get the chance, taking a gumbo tour of the city is even better, as every single restaurant prepares their gumbo at least a little differently, with various combinations of ingredients and the darkness and thickness of the roux. Here are four of the best places to find this beloved tradition: Gumbo.
Gumbo Shop – French Quarter (630 St. Peter St)
Where else might you find some of the best gumbo in the city than a restaurant with the dish right in its name? The Gumbo Shop’s fare has been such a local and visitor favorite that it’s been ranked No. 1 in Gambit’s Best of New Orleans readers’ poll for 15 consecutive years as of 2013. A few notable features of its gumbo are the mixture of fresh parsley in the rice and its topping of delicate slices of green onions.
Mandina’s – Mid-City (3800 Canal St)
Also famous for their turtle soup, Mandina’s knows how to make an incredible gumbo as well. This Creole-Italian spot serves up both food traditions both side by side and skillfully combined, particularly in their thick, delightfully fishy gumbo that harks back to the classic French bouillabaisse. It may be a tough call between the turtle soup and gumbo, but it all depends on the food mood you’re in.
Mr. B’s Bistro – French Quarter (201 Royal St)
Gumbo Ya-Ya is Mr. B’s Bistro’s quintessential gumbo dish, a traditional Cajun-style chicken and sausage gumbo with a heavy helping of the Cajun trinity (onion, bell pepper and celery) plus a ton of classic Creole seasonings. Each ingredient can both stand alone and meld within a deliciously dark roux.
Dooky Chase’s Restaurant – Mid-City (2301 Orleans Ave)
At Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, Chef Leah Chase knows how to make a loaded up gumbo packed with proteins, including crab, shrimp, chicken, two types of sausage, ham and veal brisket – just about any of the traditional ones you can think of— served with a rich, hearty roux. According to a Nola.com reviewer, her gumbo “can provoke contented sighs” from patrons looking for a steamy bowl of the good stuff.