New Orleans has long been lauded for its food culture, but Lafayette, Louisiana, is well on its way to becoming one of the top food destinations in the country.
This Cajun and Creole cultural hub boasts a lively and vibrant ambiance, and the hardest part of visiting might be deciding what to leave off your itinerary.
If you are planning a food tour or just looking to explore the best that Lafayette has to offer, here is a comprehensive guide to the city's best foodie delights.
Strictly for meat lovers, the Cajun creation known as boudin starts with pork and rice, but it can have dozens of variations.
You can try boudin all over Lafayette, but for the ultimate experience, get on the Cajun Boudin Trail, which takes you on an open-air tour of the finest boudin in and around town. The guides break down what you need to know about boudin, including the history, terms, and endless variations, from boudin balls to boudin king cakes.
You can grab your boudin to-go and enjoy it outside or in one of Lafayette's beautiful parks, making it a safe and truly pleasant way to enjoy one of the classic delicacies of Cajun cuisine.
Gumbo is one of Louisiana's signature dishes, and no foodie worth their salt should leave the state without trying this rich, flavorful dish. It all starts with a cooked-down oil and flour mixture called a roux, followed by adding everything from vegetables to seafood.
Charley G's Seafood Grill is one of the best spots in town to try gumbo, and it offers a great selection that spans classic seafood to the more experimental smoked duck and andouille. There's a comfortable outdoor seating area and live piano music seven days a week in the bar.
In Louisiana, the po'boy reigns as a Southern sandwich staple with nearly hundreds of regional restaurants, diners, and even gas stations claiming they serve the best.
Pretty much the ultimate in comfort food, this classic sandwich was named after the local dock workers who pioneered the cheap and delicious bite to eat. Whether you crave seafood, deli meats, or are looking to try something unexpected, a Lafayette po'boy is a beautiful experience.
Po'boys are casual, easygoing meals that are best eaten on the go. Grab something traditional from Olde Tyme Grocery or something more unexpected from Pops Po'boys before strolling downtown to grab a seat at a nearby parklet for one of the most authentic culinary experiences in Lafayette.
Of course, Lafayette is not just about soul food and comfort cuisine. The Cajun culinary traditions have been taken up by a range of outstanding local chefs and given a fine-dining twist. The city boasts some truly exceptional and sophisticated dining choices for those in the mood for something a little fancier.
The hottest new restaurant on the scene is Vestal, the brainchild of chef Ryan Trahan. Vestal offers an upscale dining experience in a historic building in the heart of downtown Lafayette. It features American cuisine with a Southern flare: steak, seafood, and handcrafted cocktails. The bar also incorporates the smoky, wood-fire theme with many of the drinks incorporating charred garnishes and smoked syrups. Grab a seat at the bar to watch the magic happen in the open-concept kitchen.
Cafe Vermilionville is as sophisticated as it gets, offering a matchless fine dining experience with a courtyard and live music, which creates a wonderfully romantic atmosphere.
Lafayette is a serious haven for foodies, and should be on every culinary traveler's list. You can't go wrong with the guide above, where full, satisfied bellies are guaranteed.
Find tips, recommendations, and more info to continue planning your perfect Lafayette vacation here.