If you’ve been in New Orleans long enough to get past MSY’s Wow Cafe, you know that the food scene here is insanely good. Creole cuisine is uniquely special, but it’s not the only talent of NOLA’s chefs. Something I have loved trying all over the city is noodles; they truly transcend all cultures and all price points, so there is something for everyone. Here is my guide to the best noodles in New Orleans!
Ramen from Kin
I’ll start with my personal favorite: Kin. It’s is a small, family owned restaurant with five different ramen soup choices and a rotating daily selection of dumplings, chicken wing flavors, and desserts. The small menu works in their favor, because each of Kin’s ramen is delicious in its own different way. If you go at a peak meal time, expect to wait as seating is limited. But it will all be worth it when you have a big bowl of flavorful soup and noodles in front of you, with additions including tender meat, poached eggs, and corn. They even have a vegan option!
My recommendation: meow meow bowl
Vermicelli from Pho Bistreaux
Every Tulanian has their favorite Vietnamese spot. There’s Mint, Jazmine, Ba Chi Canteen — the options are overwhelming. One of the lesser-known, but still a worthy competitor, is Pho Bistreaux on South Carrollton Avenue. Everything on their menu is great, but their vermicelli is exceptional. Out of all the fancy fine dining restaurants my parents take me to when they’re in town, the one they talk about the most is the $12.95 combination vermicelli bowl from this quiet hole in the wall. You get a giant bowl of thin clear noodles covered in toppings like chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, carrots, bean sprouts, cabbage, and optional fried eggs or egg rolls. It’s topped off with a pour-over light dressing, and voila! Dig into that perfect bowl of noods.
My recommendation: Combination vermicelli add one egg roll
Cacio e pepe from Josephine Estelle
Chances are you’ve seen countless pictures on social media of this next stellar dish. The cacio e pepe from Josephine Estelle is a special occasion must-have. It’s cheesy, well seasoned, and wonderfully indulgent. James Beard Award-nominated chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman don’t mess with this classic and simple dish. Their only diversion from tradition is their use of shell-shaped pasta instead of the typical spaghetti, but it pays off. The shells create yummy little pockets of cheese and sauce. This is a dish you’ll dream about when you go too long without it.
My recommendation: Canestri (cacio e pepe)
Lasagna from Domenica
Another upscale Italian choice is Domenica, located in the beautiful and historic Roosevelt Hotel. It is the more sophisticated sister restaurant of campus favorite Pizza Domenica, with many of the same menu items plus several additional dishes. One of these Domenica exclusives is their lasagna. When you order it, you are not ordering a piece of lasagna, you’re ordering a whole lasagna. It comes in its special lasagna-baking dish and is definitely not for one person (although this is a judgement free space). What is special about this particular dish is the noodles are green, which is infinitely more fun than regularly-colored noodles. Not only that, but they are soft and layered in perfect ratio with cheese and bolognese sauce, so there is really nothing not to love.
My recommendation: Lasagna (obviously)
Mac and Cheese from Cochon Butcher
Unlike the restaurants on this list, Cochon Butcher is not dedicated to noodles. The focus here is on meat, as you may have gathered from “Butcher.” And they definitely do know their way around a sandwich, but I’m here to talk about something else. The James Beard awarded chefs know how to cook up a beloved noodle dish: macaroni and cheese (refer to cover photo…damn). I proudly call Cochon Butcher’s interpretation my favorite on earth. This is a side dish I could write love songs about. It is densely packed in a little bowl and baked like a casserole, with perfectly cheesy noodles below the browned surface. Something about this mac and cheese makes me feel happy and at peace. How many foods do you know that can do that to you? I’m telling you, do yourself a favor and go try it.
My recommendation: Get another order to go (they have plastic containers of it by the register).
If I missed any fabulous noods, let me know! And happy eating.
Cover Photo: Rachel Wine