If you asked a local where their favorite New Orleans gumbo is served, they’d probably follow up with another question, like, ”do you prefer Cajun or Creole gumbo?” or “do you like a darker roux?” just so they can point you in the right direction. Otherwise, they’ll just say a family member’s kitchen that you’d have a hard time finding on Yelp.
The true origins of technique and recipe of Louisiana’s official state cuisine is as muddy as swamp water after a storm. One can point their wooden spoon at a number of influences including West African, French, and Native American cuisines.
Unlike the cronut, gumbo has survived over 200 years and is embraced as a staple menu item by local chefs who cook with their own flair at restaurants all over the city.
This past week, folks were able to dip their toe…what am I saying? They dove into a world of delicious New Orleans gumbos presented by local chefs at the United Way of Southeast Louisiana Got Gumbo Cook-Off!
In its 18th year, Got Gumbo Cook-Off is an annual fundraiser for United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) at the Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Their mission is to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana, and funds from this event help to benefit their “gumbo” of services.
While the gumbos were simmering, the amuse-bouche of the evening was the announcement of Hospitality Cares, a partnership between UWSELA and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Hospitality Cares is a crisis grant program offering emergency financial assistance to individuals working in the hospitality industry – one of the region’s largest employment sectors.
Though you may have missed out on slurping gumbo for goodwill, strap on your bib, because we’re sharing their curated list of 17 restaurants that dished out their best versions of gumbo, and even some decadent desserts!
1718 Events at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans
601 Loyola Ave New Orleans, LA 70113
“I brought my nursing students to brunch. We asked to sit together and were placed in the beautiful private dining room facing the foods. Everything was delicious. Crab soup, BBQ beef, homemade pizza, salads, grilled vegetable and dessert bar. Tiffany was our server and even with a group of 10 no needs were unmet.”
-Yelper Ashley W.
Charlie’s Restaurant & Catering
6129 E Saint Bernard Hwy Violet, LA 70092
“This is our favorite restaurant in the parish. The staff is always friendly and the food is always amazing. The menu is so big, you will never run out of options.“
-Yelper Amanda B.
Corporation Bar & Grill
931 S Peters St New Orleans, LA 70130
“I visited this establishment on my visit to NO and I must say… the service was great but the gumbo was amazing. Visited twice in 3 days.”
-Yelper Letty B.
Desire Oyster Bar
300 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
**Judges’ Choice** – First Place Best Exotic Gumbo and First Place Best Seafood Gumbo
“It’s delicious! The gumbo is super flavorful! Love the red beans and rice! And tonight I had some greens with chicken fried steak… so good! I would highly recommend this place!”
-Yelper Lindsey D.
600 Decatur St New Orleans, LA 70130
**Judges’ Choice** – Second Place Best Traditional Gumbo
“I ordered the Gumbo Yaya (gulf shrimp, blue crab, andouille sausage, chicken and okra), my sister got the Seafood & Okra and my mom got Gumbo Z’herbs. You ever try something so good it makes you break into a dance (popularly the Nae Nae or the back breaker)? I damn near started doing the percolator at the table. It was that good.”
-Yelp Elite Kici C.
M Bistro at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
921 Canal St New Orleans, LA 70112
“I went to 5 NOLA classics while in town and think this restaurant wins them all. Hands down the best gumbo I had in NOLA or anywhere else recently.”
-Yelper Lane W.
Morton’s The Steakhouse
365 Canal St Ste 220 New Orleans, LA 70130
“Anytime I go, there’s a Manhattan involved. The bar here is lovely, everything they make is made well & there’s atmosphere to boot. The low lighting & back-lit bar really give an impression. And the service is amazing!”
-Yelper Jay K.
New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal St New Orleans, LA 70130
**Judges’ Choice** – Second Place Best Seafood Gumbo
**People’s Choice** – Best Gumbo, Best Dessert, & Best Decorations
“This is the second time my family has stayed at this Marriott and we will continue to stay here!… The staff has been great on both occasions and the hotel is kept very clean. We ate at the restaurant located right in the lobby two nights we were there, and the food and drinks were delicious!”
-Yelper Alexandra J.
New Orleans School of Cooking
524 Saint Louis St New Orleans, LA 70130
“After getting such a detailed lesson on the many various influences that were all fused together to create the dish known as gumbo, I felt like my perception of the dish had so many more layers and depth of understanding as we finally consumed the gumbo that was made on stage.”
-Yelp Elite Michael P.
New Orleans Steamboat Company
New Orleans, LA 70130
“The music was great, but the dinner was amazing. Me and my husband absolutely enjoyed eating everything… What a great time, so glad we went. But don’t let me forget the customer service. Everyone had a smile and was eager to ensure you were having a good time.”
-Yelper Sonja W.
NOPSI Hotel, Public Service Restaurant
311 Baronne St New Orleans, LA 70112
“Great new restaurant in NOLA . Let’s get straight to the food. Warm yummy cornbread to start off, with some delicious hush puppies and chicken and andouille gumbo… The decor and ambiance is gorgeous. From the details to the salt and pepper shaker to the silverware. This restaurant definitely a win.”
777 Bienville St New Orleans, LA 70130
“Located inside the beautiful Royal Sonesta R’evolution is serving one of the most traditional yet progressive brunch menus anywhere in this brunch mad city… My Sunday fun day started with Death by Gumbo, a beautifully stuffed quail bathed in a light yet flavorful roux which satisfies to the last spoonful.”
-Yelp Elite Cesar R.
Royal Sonesta New Orleans
300 Bourbon St New Orleans, LA 70130
“The Royal Sonesta has it all. A welcoming and helpful staff, a beautiful lobby, a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, and a business center. The best pool deck in the city is also found here. It even has Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse located in the lobby. “
-Yelp Elite Steve I.
2483 Royal St New Orleans, LA 70117
**Judges’ Choice** – Second Place Best Exotic Gumbo
“I got the chicken gumbo and it was also totally killer, and I’m also a gumbo freak. So this speaks volumes to have a solid gumbo with a little twist.”
-Yelper Al N.
Other local businesses who provided delectable tastings are Catering d’Orleans (**Judges’ Choice** – First Place Best Traditional Gumbo), Food 448, Inc., Sodexo at Tulane University, and NOPSI Hotel Catering. We’ve compiled a handy-dandy collection here so you can go on your own gumbo tour around the city. Make sure to keep an eye out for Got Gumbo Cook-Off 2019, and other great events with UWSELA here!