James Beard Winners in New Orleans

James Beard Winners in New Orleans

Written on 08/11/2021
Guide to NOLA

The James Beard Foundation is a highly-respected institution that gives annual awards to outstanding chefs and restaurants around the country. Even nomination for a James Beard is a huge deal, it is the culinary equivalent of being nominated for an Oscar or a Grammy. Here we'll list all the New Orleans restaurants which have been awarded prestigious James Beard awards. Keep in mind, there are many other New Orleans restaurants which have been nominated, and that is also a huge deal. If you're looking for a guaranteed incredible meal, this list is a fantastic starting place. Be sure to check out our Recommended Dining list for these and many others favorited by locals!

Just click any restaurant's name to go directly to our listing, which contains a sample menu, reservation information, and more!

French Quarter


This 1917 restaurant also hosts an impressive Mardi Gras museum with gorgeous costumes and memorabilia from historic Mardi Gras parades. Be sure to try out their Shrimp Arnaud, the restaurant's signature dish.


Galatoire's has been around since 1905, and received many accolades including the prestigious Outstanding Restaurant award from the James Beard Foundation in 2005. 


This restaurant opened in 1990, and quickly accumulated  numerous prestigious awards thanks to the powerhouse menus of Chef Susan Spicer. The list of awards and recommendations is truly impressive, especially in a relatively short time compared to some of the grand New Orleans institutions nearby. 


This newcomer to the French Quarter dining scene comes with a highly-decorated owner and chef, Justin Devillier. Justin received the Best Chefs in America award from the James Beard Foundation in 2016, as well as nominations for the same award four other separate times. 

CBD/Warehouse/Arts District


Chef Donald Link's flagship restaurant, Herbsaint, launched the start of the highly successful partnership between Link and Stephen Stryjewski known as the Link Group. Donald Link earned Best Chef South in 2007 here at Herbsaint. 


Also part of the Link Group of restaurants, Pêche head chef Ryan Prewitt earned his own Best Chef South award from the James Beard Foundation in 2014, and the restaurant earned a  Beard award for Best Restaurants in America also in 2014. 

Restaurant August

Chef John Besh has twelve highly acclaimed restaurants, but Restaurant August is his flagship. He earned Best Chef Southeast from the James Beard Foundation in 2006, and has been inducted into the Beard Foundation's "Who's Who in Food & Beverage." Restaurant August has been semifinalist in the Outstanding Restaurants category three different years, and is currently headed by Chef Ross Dover. 

Compère Lapin

Chef Nina Compton's flagship restaurant earned her a Best Chef: South from the James Beard Foundation in 2018. The restaurant has a unique flavor, blending Creole and Caribbean into simple foods with very complex flavors. 


Highly acclaimed Chef Alon Shaya (Best Chef: South, 2015) brought his culinary genius to play in opening Domenica. The restaurant features Italian cuisine with a heavy New Orleans Creole influence in a fine dining environment. The kitchen is currently headed by Chef Valeriano Chiella, who is a native of Southern Italy and brings his vast culinary knowledge to play here at Domenica. 

Willa Jean

Pastry chef Kelly Fields garnered a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2019 for her work at Willa Jean. Known for their outstanding buiscuits and breads, Willa Jean mixes a bakery with a sandwich shop influenced by Creole Cuisine and local ingredients. 


Another Link Group restaurant, Donald Link's business partner Chef Stephen Styjewski earned a Best Chef: South award from the James Beard Foundation for his work as chef of his restaurant Cochon. This restaurant features pork prepared according to Creole traditions with deep regional roots and flavors. 

Uptown/Garden District

Commander's Palace

Commander's Palace is the most highly-decorated restaurant in the city by the James Beard Foundation, having earned seven different awards from the foundation. They were awarded Who's Who of Food & Beverage in 1984 and again 2018, Outstanding Restaurant in 1996, Outstanding Service in 1993, Lifetime Achievement for owner Ella Brennan in 2009, and two separate Best Chef awards for head chefs Jamie Shannon and Tory McPhail in 1999 and 2013 respectively. 


Chef Alon Shaya has been awarded the highest James Beard Foundation award of Best Chefs in America in 2015, after being nominated four different years previously. His flagship restaurant Shaya features a marriage of Israeli and southern flavors, making it unique not just in New Orleans but anywhere. 


This hidden iconic New Orleans restaurant has won numerous awards, and in 2010 Chef Sue Zemanick won the Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef of the Year while heading the kitchen here. Cuisine here features local ingredients and flavors in an elegent fine dining environment. 

La Petite Grocery

Owner Chef Justin Devillier earned the prestigious Best Chef: South award while heading the kitchen here at La Petite Grocery in 2016. This restaurant features the best of New Orleans cuisine, focusing on local dishes, flavors, and ingredients. 

Hansen's Sno-Bliz

A sno-ball shop won a prestigious James Beard Foundation award? Yes! Hansen's invented the shaved-ice delicacy right here in the tiny, unassuming building that remains virtually unchanged since 1934. The James Beard Foundation awarded Hansen's their America's Classics award in 2014.


This family-run establishment relies on deep traditions of French Creole cuisine, based on many years of study and practice in the art. Chef Frank Brigtsen was awarded the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Southeast award in 1998. Here at Brigtsen's you'll find the influence of chefs like Paul Prudhomme alive and well...which is especially important now that Prudhomme's own restaurant K-Paul's closed in 2020. 


This cocktail lounge is not a typical New Orleans James Beard award, but they bring a new category to New Orleans. They were awarded the Outstanding Bar Program award by the James Beard Foundation in 2018, making them the only bar in the city with that level of swag. Their food is also held to high standards, but go to Cure for perfection if you are looking for the best cocktails in the city. 


Willie Mae's Scotch House

Willie Mae's is known for their fried chicken and beans & rice. However, they make such good fried chicken that the James Beard Foundation took notice. They were awarded the America's Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region in 2005. If you're looking for the best fried chicken, you might want to make Willie Mae's Scotch House your first stop.

Dong Phuong Bakery

It is rare for a bakery to catch the attention of national awards. It is rarer still for a bakery to receive a James Beard Foundation award. In 2018, the Dong Phuong Restaurant &  Bakery received the American Classics award. Much of this attention has been garnered due to the cultural significance of the bakery, which is located in a section of New Orleans East often referred to as Little Vietnam by locals. The neighborhood has maintained a high level of Vietnamese culture and tradition, and even architecture. 

Dooky Chase's Restaurant

Few restaurants have played a larger cultural role in the nation than Dooky Chase. Founded by Leah Chase, who was inducted into Who's Who of Food & Beverage by the James Beard Foundation in 2010, the restaurant has been around since 1941. The list of dignitaries and celebrities who have dined at and been influenced by this restaurant is massive. The late Leah Chase was immortalized as the inspiration for Tiana in Disney's Princess & the Frog, and has been awarded innumerable times by over a dozen organizations. If you're looking for traditional and authentic New Orleans food, you want to go to Dooky Chase's Restaurant.