Travel 3 minutes 13 February 2024

Michelin-Rated Restaurants Across the U.S. Bring the Spirit of Mardi Gras to Your Plate

Creole and Cajun dishes reign this time of year

As the vibrant streets of New Orleans get ready to come alive with the spirited celebration of Mardi Gras, the pulsating rhythms of jazz, and the mesmerizing swirl of colorful parades, the essence of Cajun culture permeates the air. Yet, for those unable to join the jubilant festivities in the Crescent City, there remains an enticing opportunity to embark on a culinary journey that captures the essence of Mardi Gras right in their own locale.

Cajun and Creole cuisines, rooted in the diverse culinary traditions of Louisiana, are central to the Mardi Gras experience. Cajun cuisine, originating from the Acadian settlers of rural Louisiana, is known for its hearty and rustic dishes, often featuring ingredients like Andouille sausage, crawfish, and okra. Creole cuisine, on the other hand, developed in New Orleans among French, Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, resulting in a culinary style characterized by dishes like Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Étouffée.

Across the country, a selection of distinguished Michelin-rated restaurants pays homage to the rich tapestry of Cajun-inspired cuisine, offering gastronomic experiences featuring classics like Gumbo and elevated takes on Crawfish Étouffée that transport diners to the heart of Louisiana where the fusion of flavors mirrors the vibrant diversity of its people and traditions. Join us as we traverse the culinary landscape, uncovering these culinary gems that promise to ignite the senses and evoke the spirit of Mardi Gras, no matter the miles that separate us from the festive city. (Beads & Throws not included)

Chicago, Illinois:

Big Jones: Located in Chicago, Big Jones offers a unique twist on Southern cuisine, making it a fantastic option for Mardi Gras celebrations even outside of New Orleans. Their menu features traditional dishes with modern flair, showcasing the diverse culinary heritage of NOLA. During Mardi Gras, Big Jones adds special menu items inspired by the festivities, such as indulgent King Cake-inspired desserts and classic Creole cocktails. The vibrant atmosphere and friendly service further enhance the festive experience, making Big Jones a top choice for celebrating Mardi Gras in Chicago.

Provaré:  Situated amidst the bustling culinary scene of Chicago, Provaré offers a refined fusion of Creole and Italian cuisines, presenting a distinctive choice for Mardi Gras celebrations. While departing from traditional Creole fare, Provaré sets itself apart with an ambiance of understated sophistication and impeccable service, positioning it as an ideal venue for an upscale Mardi Gras affair. Their meticulously crafted menu showcases a selection of expertly prepared dishes made from the finest seasonal ingredients, complemented by an extensive wine list and inventive cocktails. For those seeking a sophisticated Mardi Gras experience, Provaré promises an unforgettable culinary journey amidst the vibrancy of carnival festivities.

Ina Mae: Bringing the spirited essence of New Orleans to the bustling streets of Chicago, Ina Mae offers an authentic taste of Mardi Gras revelry. Amidst the fervor of the Carnival season, Ina Mae delights patrons with a festive menu featuring beloved classics such as po'boys, crawfish étouffée, and shrimp gumbo. The lively decor and energetic atmosphere create an ambiance of celebration, inviting guests to immerse themselves in the vibrant flavors of NOLA during Mardi Gras. Whether craving traditional Cajun fare or seeking to partake in the festivities, Ina Mae is the place to be.

Roux: Roux brings the flavors of Louisiana to the Windy City with its authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine, making it a top choice for Mardi Gras celebrations in Chicago. The restaurant's vibrant decor and lively atmosphere create a festive setting for indulging in classic dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and shrimp étouffée. During the festivities of Mardi Gras, Roux captivates diners with creative twists on traditional fare, ensuring an immersive culinary experience that pays homage to the spirit of New Orleans.

Paul Fehribach / chicitygrub
Paul Fehribach / chicitygrub

Washington, D.C.

Dauphine's: Dauphine's emerges as a distinguished locale for Mardi Gras festivities in the heart of Washington, D.C. With its authentic Creole and Cajun offerings, Dauphine's transports patrons to the bustling streets of the French Quarter. During the Carnival season, Dauphine's delights guests with a selection of menu favorites, including classic dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets, accompanied by an array of festive cocktails. Against a backdrop of lively ambiance and spirited decor, Dauphine's captures the essence of Mardi Gras, inviting locals and visitors alike to revel in the jubilant festivities.

Jennifer Chase / An-Phuong Ly
Jennifer Chase / An-Phuong Ly

Los Gatos, California

The Bywater: The Bywater brings a taste of New Orleans to California with its inventive takes on classic Creole and Cajun dishes. Despite being far from the Gulf Coast, The Bywater captures the spirit of Mardi Gras with its vibrant flavors and festive atmosphere. During the Carnival season, they offer special menus featuring dishes like shrimp and grits, red beans and rice, and decadent bread pudding. The cozy yet lively ambiance makes it a great spot to celebrate Mardi Gras with friends and family, even if you're miles away from New Orleans.

Alyssa Twelker
Alyssa Twelker

Pleasantville, New York

Southern Table: Less than an hour's drive from New York City, Southern Table beckons patrons with a taste of the South in the tranquil suburbs of Pleasantville, New York, offering a convenient option for Mardi Gras festivities beyond traditional hotspots. With its comforting Southern fare and genuine hospitality, Southern Table provides a welcoming haven for revelers seeking to celebrate Mardi Gras in style. During the Carnival season, Southern Table presents special menus featuring an array of classic dishes that evoke the flavors of the South, ensuring a memorable culinary experience worth the journey upstate. 

Pasquale Abbatiello
Pasquale Abbatiello

Hero Image: Alyssa Twelker


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