2016 Best of 225: Food & Drink

Best Bar

The Chimes (18.4%)
Low-lit, laid-back atmosphere, rustic decor and a dressed, handcrafted burger at your call? The Chimes restaurant and bar combines two favorite activities among Baton Rougeans—eating and drinking—and it mixes them well. Before expanding to Coursey Boulevard and then to its Covington location, the restaurant on the corner of West Chimes Street and Highland Road was long a Baton Rouge staple, providing an all-day and late-night venue for relaxing and catching the latest games on ESPN. thechimes.com

Runners up
(15.2%) Olive or Twist
(12.9%) The Bulldog
(11.2%) The Radio Bar
(8.5%) Bin 77

Best Beer Selection

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

The Chimes (35.7%)
This Best Beer Selection win also ties right into The Chimes’ Best Bar win. The place boasts more than 200 beers from around the globe, including 81 on tap, 118 in bottles and four in cans. Guests can even enroll in “Chimes Beer University,” an online game where users can log the different beers they’ve tried and learn more about each brew the restaurant offers. thechimes.com

Runners up
(26.6%) The Bulldog
(13.2%) The Pelican House
(9%) Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar
(6.9%) The Cove

Best BBQ

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

City Pork Deli & Charcuterie (32.8%)
The original leg of the City Pork trifecta, situated in the Perkins Road overpass area, offers everything a true barbecue enthusiast needs: shady outdoor seating and a wide variety of house-cured meats. The deli uses Old World-inspired tactics, slow-roasting, smoking or braising all of its deli and grab-and-go options. cityporkdeli.com

Runners up
(14.3%) TJ Ribs
(11.2%) VooDoo BBQ & Grill
(10.3%) Pimanyoli’s Smokehouse Café
(7.8%) Jay’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant

Best Bread Pudding

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Bistro Byronz (18.1%)
One wrong move and bread pudding can turn into a mushy disaster. Thankfully, Bistro Byronz seems to have perfected its recipe. Loaded with fruit or raisins and smothered in a sweet, creamy sauce, it flaunts that sturdy but chewy texture we all want from a traditional bread pudding. And during Mardi Gras season, the bistro serves a special king cake bread pudding that uses king cake as a base—and it’s wildly popular for good reason. bistrobyronz.com

Runners up
(10.8%) Louisiana Lagniappe
(9.9%) Sammy’s Grill
(8.7%) Mansurs on the Boulevard
(8.3%) Juban’s

Best Breakfast

Courtesy Another Broken Egg Cafe
Courtesy Another Broken Egg Cafe

Another Broken Egg Café (22.9%)
Breakfast at Another Broken Egg Café is only an hour’s wait away. But braving the seemingly constant wait line at this popular breakfast joint is worth it—you’ll be rewarded with the restaurant’s hearty morning portions. Start your meal with baked brie, blackberry grits or a Monster Cinnamon Roll. Follow that up with one of the café’s zesty omelets or scrambles, classic plated breakfasts or sweet dishes like Hawaiian French Toast or buttermilk pancakes. anotherbrokenegg.com

Runners up
(20.5%) Louie’s Café
(15.4%) Frank’s Restaurant
(13.5%) Mason’s Grill
(6.3%) City Pork Deli & Charcuterie

Best Brunch

Photo by Amy Shutt

Mason’s Grill (28.7%)
Chef Willie Wallace of Mason’s Grill made it to the semi-finals of a nationwide breakfast competition in late 2015 for his Acadiana Benedict: two poached eggs served atop a biscuit with pan-fried Canadian bacon and crawfish etouffee. Combine that dish with the restaurant’s other unique choices, such as chicken and waffles, seafood au gratin benedict and the award-winning Bloody Mason cocktail, and Mason’s Grill was a no-brainer candidate for Best Brunch. masonsgrill.com

Runners up
(12.5%) Another Broken Egg Café
(12.3%) The Chimes
(12.3%) Bistro Byronz
(11.3%) Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar

Best Burger

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Burgersmith (14%)
With so many mouth-watering burger options in the Capital City, this category likely came down to the different choices offered at a single establishment. You can still get a classic beef or turkey patty, but Burgersmith also serves burgers made of lamb, bison, brisket and filet. With nearly 40 toppings to choose from, including chipotle lime mayo, fried green tomatoes and smoked Gouda, Burgersmith takes the idea of a traditional burger and elevates it into a craft. burgersmith.com

Runners up
(11.4%) Fat Cow Burgers & Salads
(11.3%) Mason’s Grill
(10.2%) Dearman’s
(7%) Your Mom’s Restaurant & Bar

Best Cajun/Creole

Louisiana Lagniappe Restaurant (24%)
This restaurant’s website proudly explains its name: “Lagniappe (lan-yap): a little something extra.” Louisiana Lagniappe goes the extra mile in ensuring its cuisine lives up to its name. A true Southerner knows a good Crevette or Cocodrie at first bite, and both of those dishes, along with others on the Louisiana Lagniappe menu, stand the test of a Cajun’s taste buds. louisianalagniapperestaurant.com

Runners up
(17.1%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(11%) The Chimes
(10.9%) Roberto’s River Road Restaurant
(10.3%) Sammy’s Grill

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Best Chargrilled Oysters

Acme Oyster House (22.3%)
Butter and garlic and salt—oh, my! Acme’s chargrilled oysters burst with the three savory flavors expected in one of these half-shells. With the constant promise of large, tender Gulf oysters, Acme is the first choice for many to get their shellfish fix. And it doesn’t hurt that a steaming cup of seafood gumbo or heaping bowl of red beans and rice is just an order away from complementing your oysters. acmeoyster.com

Runners up
(14.7%) Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
(14.1%) Mansurs on the Boulevard
(13.4%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(9%) Mike Anderson’s Seafood

Best Coffee Shop

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

CC’s Coffee House (27.2%)
A part of Baton Rouge since 1919, Community Coffee has had a long time to perfect its rich, bold flavors. The company is still owned by the founding family, the Saurages, and fourth-generation owner Matt Saurage still dedicates himself to sourcing the best Arabica coffee beans and taste-testing each new brew. The atmosphere at each of CC’s 14 Baton Rouge coffee houses is busy but somehow calming, making it the perfect study spot for students or a casual meeting place for friends or colleagues. ccscoffee.com

Runners up
(16.5%) Magpie Café
(12.3%) Coffee Call
(12%) Starbucks
(9.9%) Highland Coffees

Best Chicken Wings

Pluckers Wing Bar (27.5%)
Maybe the wide array of sauces stole this category for Pluckers, or maybe it was the giant, battered chicken tenders the restaurant calls boneless wings. The wing bar serves baskets of bone-in and boneless wings with more than 20 sauce flavors to choose from. Open until midnight or later (depending on the day and location), Pluckers is there for you when late-night cravings hit. pluckers.com

Runners up
(13.3%) Hooters
(11%) City Pork Brasserie & Bar
(10.9%) Buffalo Wild Wings
(9.6%) Chicken Shack

Best Crawfish

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Sammy’s Grill (32.3%)
Stealing Best Crawfish by about a third of total votes is quite a feat in a city that boasts countless seafood restaurants and shops—especially Baton Rouge. Sammy’s is always a local favorite, but its popularity soars during mudbug season. The restaurant regularly offers dine-in and takeout specials on crawfish and includes all the goodies you would find in a backyard crawfish boil: corn, sausage and potatoes. sammysgrill.com

Runners up
(27.3%) Tony’s Seafood
(8.9%) LA Boilers
(7.3%) Heads & Tails Seafood
(6.4%) Randy Montalbano’s Seafood & Catering

Best Doughnuts

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Mary Lee Donuts (35.1%)
Mary Lee Donuts has proved its quality with 20 successful south Louisiana locations, including nine in Baton Rouge. This means soft, piping-hot doughnuts are at the fingertips of Capital City residents no matter what corner of the city you’re in. In addition to classic doughnuts like glazed, chocolate-covered glazed and blueberry cake, Mary Lee also offers more unique flavors such as Oreo, cinnamon roll and creauxssaint doughnuts. maryleedonuts.com

Runners up
(13%) Krispy Kreme
(12.3%) Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Donuts
(12.1%) Coffee Call
(10.5%) Tiger Deaux-nuts

Best Fries at a Local Restaurant

Fat Cow (19.9%)
We can’t say for sure if it was the hand-cut fries, bacon cheese fries or Parmesan and duck-fat fries that won Fat Cow this category, but we can guess the glory of the latter helped at least a bit. Fat Cow’s duck-fat fries are—you guessed it—tossed in duck fat and grated Parmesan cheese, making for an interesting, finger-licking flavor. fatcowburgers.com

Runners up
(18.3%) Burgersmith
(11.4%) Bistro Byronz
(9.6%) Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar
(9.2%) The Chimes

Best Food Truck

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Taco de Paco (28.6%)
This locally renowned, bright-yellow food truck almost seems like a permanent establishment outside popular hangouts like The Radio Bar and rarely fails to make an appearance at food truck round-ups and festivals. Taco de Paco serves more than the usual ground-beef taco, regularly offering tacos with pulled pork, chicken, fish and slow-roasted beef. facebook.com/tacodepaco

Runners up
(13.5%) Cupcake Allie
(12.9%) Curbside
(11.3%) Chicken Shack Express
(11%) Crawfish on the Geaux

Best Gumbo

The Chimes (16.6%)
We all know that every Southerner’s own mama makes the best gumbo. But since your mama’s gumbo wasn’t nominated this year, The Chimes makes a pretty good substitute. The restaurant takes another Best Gumbo win with its seafood gumbo, packed with shrimp, crab claws and the Cajun Trinity, and duck and andouille gumbo, an alternative to the typical chicken and andouille version. Both feature dark rouxs and no shortage of flavor. thechimes.com

Runners up
(15.9%) Dempsey’s
(14.8%) Louisiana Lagniappe
(11%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(9.4%) Sammy’s Grill

Best Happy Hour

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Superior Grill (19.2%)
It was a long day at work, and you desperately need some queso and a frothy margarita. Where do you go? Happy hour at Superior Grill, where you can get both, plus a lively atmosphere to cure those workday blues. Happy Hour at Superior entails two-for-one margaritas, frozen or on the rocks, and mixed drinks every day from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The restaurant also hosts live music every night Thursday-Saturday. batonrouge.superiorgrill.com

Runners up
(14%) Kona Grill
(14%) Olive or Twist
(10.3%) The Chimes
(9.7%) Bistro Byronz

Best Italian 

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Gino’s Italian Restaurant (20.6%)
Gino’s combines true Italian dishes, imported cheeses and specialty meats with a relaxing, romantic atmosphere sure to make any native Italian proud. This 50-year-old restaurant prides itself on being the place where “Mama does the cooking,” and that character shows in the hearty, robust flavors found in a Gino’s meal. ginosrestaurant.com

Runners up
(14.7%) The Little Village
(13.1%) DiGiulio Brothers Italian Café
(11.6%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(11.3%) Monjunis Italian Grocery & Café

Best King Cake

Ambrosia Bakery (24.1%)
Ambrosia is defined as “food of the gods,” and the king cake at Ambrosia Bakery doesn’t fall short of that definition. Ambrosia’s king cake is airy and light, with just the right amount of chewiness in the bread. The icing, hand-mixed by Ambrosia employees, isn’t overwhelmingly sweet like some supermarket icings. ambrosiabakery.com

Runners up
(18.7%) Calandro’s
(14.9%) Gambino’s Bakery
(10.2%) LeBlanc’s
(9.7%) Thee Heavenly Donut

Best Mediterranean

Photo by Amy Shutt
Photo by Amy Shutt

Albasha Greek & Lebanese Restaurant (34.8%)
Is it yee-roh, guy-roh or ji-roh? Do you pronounce the “s”? Whatever the intonation, Albasha’s gyros are worth the risk of mispronouncing your order. Albasha has three locations in Baton Rouge and one in Prairieville, so you’re never far from a heaping plate of gyros, chicken shawarma or baklava. albashabr.com

Runners up
(20.8%) Serop’s Café
(11.3%) Zorba’s Greek Bistro
(7.6%) Zoe’s Kitchen
(7.5%) Roman’s Café

Best Mexican

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Superior Grill (21.4%)
With “superior” already in its name, you know this restaurant has to be good. Superior Grill’s tagline, “fabulous Mexican dining,” rings true as ever. Famous for its fresh-made fajitas and margaritas with freshly squeezed lime juice, Superior Grill prides itself on having the finest Mexican food and drinks around. The eatery has built itself into a local staple, all from scratch. batonrouge.superiorgrill.com

Runners up
(13.4%) Velvet Cactus
(10.5%) La Carreta
(9.8%) Tio Javi’s
(9.3%) Mestizo

Best New Restaurant

Photo by Amy Shutt
Photo by Amy Shutt

Roux 61 (24.8%)
Roux 61 claims on its website that it takes every plate “very seriously”—and it shows. Since opening its first Baton Rouge location late last year, Roux 61 has become a local culinary favorite. From burgers to rib-eye steaks to shrimp and alligator cheesecake, each plate is infused with passion and the Southern flavors that remind us all of home. roux61.com

Runners up
(24.6%) City Pork Kitchen & Pie
(14.9%) Your Mom’s Restaurant & Bar
(11%) Table Kitchen & Bar
(6.4%) Marty J’s

Best Overall Restaurant

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Louisiana Lagniappe (19.9%)
This Cajun-inspired restaurant is known for its fresh seafood and regional dishes. The Louisiana Lagniappe experience goes well beyond the menu, though. Customers rave about the warm, welcoming environment, too. As one recent diner noted on TripAdvisor, “Friendly service and a pleasant atmosphere make this place a special treat!”

Runners up
(10.2%) The Chimes
(10%) Bistro Byronz
(9.8%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(9.7%) Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar

Best Pizza

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Fleur de Lis Pizza (39.4%)
An Italian pizza restaurant with a French name? Take a bite out of the square-shaped pizza Fleur de Lis is known for, and you’ll forget all about that. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic pepperoni pizza or a “Round the World” special featuring anchovies, Italian sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, salami and onions, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. Fleur de Lis will even half-bake a pizza for your freezer, so you can enjoy Baton Rouge’s best at home.

Runners up
(13.8%) Red Zeppelin Pizza
(7.6%) Schlittz & Giggles
(7.4%) Mellow Mushroom
(6.8%) Rotolo’s Pizzeria

Best Po-boys

Photo by Miriam Buckner
Photo by Miriam Buckner

Po-Boy Express (13.7%)
In south Louisiana, a po-boy is much more than a sandwich—it’s a way of life. For years, Po-Boy Express has shown why the po-boy remains a statewide staple. Grab the ever-popular shrimp or roast beef po-boys, or try a seafood muffuletta. When you walk into Po-Boy Express, choosing a po-boy from the limitless combos will be your hardest decision that day. facebook.com/pbebr

Runners up
(12.8%) Sammy’s Grill
(12.6%) George’s Restaurant
(10.1%) Poor Boy Lloyd’s
(9.1%) The Chimes

Best Place for a Power Lunch

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Bistro Byronz (17.3%)
Sometimes the “lunch” in “power lunch” can be an afterthought. That’s not the case at Bistro Byronz. Whether you’re feasting on the Abita pork chop, a seafood salad or a Byronz burger, this classic bistro will make sure you’re satisfying your appetite while closing a deal, developing a new contact or brainstorming with your colleagues. A power lunch never tasted so good. bistrobyronz.com

Runners up
(15.4%) Zoe’s Kitchen
(15.3%) Ruth’s Chris Steak House
(13.5%) City Pork Deli & Charcuterie
(8.8%) Capital City Grill

Best Red Sauce

Photo by Miriam Buckner
Photo by Miriam Buckner

Monjunis Italian Café and Grocery (24.6%)
One bite of Monjunis’ homemade, thick and rich Salsa di Pomidoro Original Sauce, and you’ll believe the saying “the secret is in the sauce.” Whether enjoying a classic dish like spaghetti and meatballs or a house specialty like eggplant Parmesan, your taste buds will be mesmerized by this classically delicious original sauce. Fortunately, you can buy Monjunis’ red sauce in jars online and in its Italian store. Your taste buds will thank you. monjunis.com

Runners up
(19.1%) Gino’s Restaurant
(11.9%) The Little Village
(11.1%) Pinetta’s European Restaurant
(9.9%) Digiulio Brothers Italian Café

Best Restaurant for a Date

Tsunami (22.4%)
With spectacular views of the Mississippi River, the historic Old State Capitol and downtown Baton Rouge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more romantic setting for date night than Tsunami. The menu focuses on fresh seafood and diverse dishes with a Japanese and Eastern flair, and the chefs constantly seek out new ingredients and trends to provide a memorable dining experience. servingsushi.com

Runners up
(14.2%) The Little Village
(12.2%) Gino’s Restaurant
(11.1%) Louisiana Lagniappe
(10.2%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant

Best Restaurant Worth the Drive

Roberto’s River Road Restaurant (27.8%)
If you’re looking for genuine Louisiana cuisine in an authentic south Louisiana location, make the 30-minute drive from Baton Rouge to Roberto’s River Road Restaurant in Sunshine. Set in a converted 1850s general store facing the levee of the Mississippi, Roberto’s offers dishes—including fried alligator, barbecue shrimp and grits and crawfish etouffee—that are rivaled only by the sunsets over the river. robertosrestaurant.net

Runners up
(17.7%) Middendorf’s Restaurant in Akers
(10.4%) The Francis Southern Table & Bar in St. Francisville
(9.5%) Hot Tails in New Roads
(8.7%) Sno’s Seafood & Steak in Gonzales

Best Salads

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

The Salad Shop (18.7%)
You’ll never go back to a boring salad bar after trying a custom-built salad at The Salad Shop. Choose from four greens mixes, more than 40 fresh toppings and nearly 20 dressings, then watch as The Salad Shop staff put it all together. If you can’t decide, opt for one of the house-prepared salads. Each salad is served chopped, ensuring you taste all the ingredients in every healthy bite. thinksaladshop.com

Runners up
(18.2%) J. Alexander’s
(15.3%) Bistro Byronz
(9.9%) Jason’s Deli
(8.4%) The Chimes

Best Seafood

Louisiana Lagniappe (20.8%)
Louisiana Lagniappe’s classic seafood dishes are made from scratch and prepared with fresh ingredients straight from the Gulf. Try a traditional dish, such as almondine, fried catfish or pan-sauteed fish topped with toasted pecans. Or tuck into a Lagniappe favorite, such as the Pontchartrain, a filet of fresh fish sautéed and topped with a fried soft shell crab, hollandaise and honey-roasted pecans and almonds. louisianalagniapperestaurant.com

Runners up
(16.2%) Tony’s Seafood
(15.4%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(11.1%) Sammy’s Grill
(9.5%) Mike Anderson’s Seafood

Best Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (37.4%)
From the oak and mahogany woodwork to the lounge-room fireplace, Ruth’s Chris Steak House provides a traditional steakhouse feel from the minute you walk in the door. Finely honed broiling and seasoning techniques mean every bite of your USDA-prime beef will melt in your mouth. Choose from a variety of steaks and chops, such as the 11-ounce filet, the 16-ounce rib-eye or the 16-ounce New York strip. Smaller portions are available for some meals. ruthschris.com

Runners up
(17.8%) Doe’s Eat Place
(11%) Fleming’s
(10.5%) Sullivan’s Steakhouse
(5.8%) Stroubes

Best Sushi 

Ichiban (27.2%)
Fresh sushi dominates the menu at this Essen Lane hibachi restaurant. While catching a seared shrimp from a hibachi chef is delicious and fun, sushi is the main reason to visit Ichiban. Its sushi menu is expansive—raw, cooked and spicy sushi rolls, specialty rolls and sashimi. Tuck and Roll, LSU Roll, He Roll and the signature Ichiban roll are customer favorites. And make sure to visit during happy hour when all sushi rolls are discounted $1. ichibans.net

Runners up
(17.9%) Sushi Yama
(16.7%) Tsunami
(12%) Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi
(6.6%) Geisha

Best Whiskey Cocktails

Photo by Collin Richie
Photo by Collin Richie

Lock & Key Whiskey Bar (25.9%)
With dark, paneled walls, dim lights and jazz music—plus more than 240 whiskeys from around the world behind the bar—this Corporate Boulevard spot feels like the inside of a cool Manhattan bar. But don’t be intimidated if you don’t know the difference between Pappy Van Winkle and Rip Van Winkle; this craft cocktail bar is for both whiskey lovers and doubters. So bring your friends and let the experts at Lock & Key explain why whiskey is still America’s favorite drink. lockandkeywhiskeybar.com

Runners up
(19.3%) Olive or Twist
(8.9%) Bin 77
(8.6%) The Cove
(8%) Juban’s