2017 Best of 225: Food & Drink

Best Appetizers

Photo by Collin Richie

The Chimes  (16.1%)
Since 1983, The Chimes has been home to some tasty bites. It’s no wonder the place is always packed. If you’re looking for some good old south Louisiana appetizers, look no further. At the Chimes East and Highland locations, you can chomp down on gator—fried or blackened—crabmeat-stuffed mushrooms, hush puppies and more. Don’t miss out on the raw oysters on the half shell, either. thechimes.com

Runners up
(10.7%) Sammy’s Grill
(8.2%) Louisiana Lagniappe
(8.1%) Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar
(7.8%) Bistro Byronz

Best Bakery

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Ambrosia Bakery (36.6%)
What better way is there to enjoy the warmer months than a cool, refreshing strawberry cake? Ambrosia’s version takes the cake. It is the bakery’s specialty; it’s even trademarked. It features four layers of yellow cake with Ambrosia’s famous fresh strawberry filling between each layer, and you don’t even have to leave the house to try one. Ambrosia will gladly ship this delicious specialty to you or to your out-of-state friends. The bakery also makes tons of other goods, from king cakes to pound cakes to cake balls, and there’s even a deli section that serves sandwiches and burgers. ambrosiabakery.com

Runners up
(18.4%) Nothing Bundt Cakes
(11.2%) Baum’s Fine Pastries
(6.6%) Whole Foods Market
(6.3%) Gambino’s Bakery

Best Bar

The Chimes (22.3%)
With more beer, wine and cocktails than you could ever ask for and a great Creole menu, sit back and chill out at The Chimes bar. If sports are in season, watch those Tigers geaux on the big screens. And don’t miss out on the newer beers on tap: Urban South’s Modillion, Gnarly Barley’s Radical Rye and Founders’ Kentucky Breakfast Stout. thechimes.com

Runners up
(17.5%) Olive or Twist
(14.3%) The Bulldog
(10.9%) The Radio Bar
(8.8%) Bin 77

Best BBQ

Photo by Jordan Hefler

City Pork Deli & Charcuterie (24.3%)
City Pork barbecue sauce is the stuff of legend. Nowhere is that more evident than at its Hollydale Avenue location, which serves up a fan favorite, a mouthwatering barbecue sandwich like no other: smoked pork shoulder with Carolina-style sauce and coleslaw on brioche. It’s aptly named the Big Pig. citypork.com/deli-and-charcuterie

Runners up
(15.7%) TJ Ribs
(11.1%) VooDoo BBQ
(10.8%) Smokin Aces BBQ
(9.4%) Jay’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant

Best Breakfast

Another Broken Egg Cafe (20.6%)
Ask about breakfast around Baton Rouge, and you’ll likely get this piece of conventional wisdom: You haven’t had it until you’ve had it at Another Broken Egg. The spot is a mainstay in the city for people—and canines, who can hang on the restaurant’s pet-friendly patios at the Perkins and Citiplace locations. Another Broken Egg never met a pancake it didn’t like, from buttermilk to gluten-free to bananas foster to peach cobbler. Its three Capital Area locations are only open until 2 p.m., though, so make sure you’re an early bird.

Runners up
(15.9%) Louie’s Cafe
(14.2%) Frank’s Restaurant
(10.3%) Mason’s Grill
(7.9%) Waffle House

Best Brunch

Mason’s Grill (24.1%)
Saturdays and Sundays are all about brunch, and we all know what the best part of any brunch is: bottomless beverages. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends, you can enjoy Mason’s Grill’s bottomless Champagne for $4.50 with the purchase of an entree. Or for $10 build your own Bloody Mason, the restaurant’s famous drink that’s gotten the attention of national publications such as People and USA Today. Pair your drinks with a breakfast burger, featuring a homemade sausage patty, or spice things up with a seafood omelet: three fluffy eggs stuffed with sauteed shrimp and topped with lump crabmeat. masonsgrill.com

Runners up
(14%) Another Broken Egg Cafe
(11.7%) The Chimes
(9.8%) Bistro Byronz
(5.4%) Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar

Best Burger

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Burgersmith (16.6%)
There’s no better way to end a long day at work (or school) than a burger with fries and a Coke. Garnish Burgersmith’s classic Smith Burger with your choice of nearly 40 toppings. The restaurant has an old American diner-style feel with great taste to go along with it, serving burgers the way they were meant to be: juicy, with tons of onion, well-seasoned and cheap! And a bonus to bite into? The beef patties are just thick enough—no measly thin patties over here, thank you very much. burgersmith.com

Runners up
(10.9%) Fat Cow Burgers and Salads
(10.2%) Curbside Burgers
(10%) Five Guys
(8.3%) Your Mom’s Restaurant & Bar

Best Creole

Photo by Collin Richie

Louisiana Lagniappe (19.2%)

Creole culture is the backbone on which the spirit of Louisiana was built. Celebrate that with the elevated Creole cuisine at Louisiana Lagniappe. With each bite of the restaurant’s oysters baked in their shells, stuffed bell peppers or shrimp and andouille pasta, you get a taste of home—the food of your mawmaw and pawpaw—with a classy presentation. We get the warm fuzzies just thinking about that seafood gumbo.

Runners up
(16.5%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(11%) Roberto’s River Road Restaurant
(9.6%) Sammy’s Grill
(8.8%) Roux 61

Best Chinese

P.F. Chang’s (40%)
For some of us, and we won’t name names, “Let’s go to P.F. Chang’s” is texted so often that as soon as we type the letter “L,” our iPhone already knows how to finish the sentence. We can’t help it, though. There’s a reason this casual Chinese chain is one of the most popular restaurants in the country. Next time you go, order the spicy Hunan Dragon wings; they are an experience. pfchangs.com

Runners up
(15.1%) Hunan
(8.7%) 9 Dragon Noodle House
(7.4%) Oriental Pearl
(6.4%) China One

Best Craft Beer Selection

Photo by Collin Richie

The Chimes (30.9%)
Let’s be clear on a few things about Baton Rouge: This is a tailgating, sports-watching, beer-guzzling town. Having the best craft beer, while not only essential for Capital City life, is quite the feat. For The Chimes, it’s no sweat. If you’re into local breweries, Abita flows abundantly here, as does NOLA Brewing, Parish and basically any local or regional brewery you want to try on tap. And if you just want a cold one, take your pick from the more than 200 craft beers on the menu. thechimes.com

Runners up
(21.9%) The Bulldog
(11.9%) The Pelican House
(11.1%) Tin Roof Brewing Co.
(5.4%) The Cove

Best Coffee Shop

CC’s Coffee House (30.6%)
In this city, it’s all about CC’s. College students flock into the one inside LSU’s Middleton Library to get caffeinated and cram for finals, and professionals head to one of 16 other Capital Region locations for meetings and midday breaks. The homegrown coffee spot is a staple. CC’s also frequently showcases a featured drink, and this season, the lemonade smoothie is back just in time for hot summer days. ccscoffee.com

Runners up
(14.6%) Magpie Cafe
(12.7%) Coffee Call
(11.9%) Starbucks
(8.6%) Brew Ha-Ha!

Best Crawfish

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Tony’s Seafood (28.9%)
Is there anything better than a big boiling pot of these little mudbugs? Tony’s Seafood serves up some of the best crawfish around. You can get them boiled, live, stuffed in a pie or just the heads or tails. Buy them boiled by the pound, find a picnic table under a shady oak tree and go to town. tonyseafood.com

Runners up
(27.7%) Sammy’s Grill
(8.9%) LA Boilers
(5.2%) Capital City Crawfish & Cajun Specialties
(4.6%) Crawfish on the Geaux

Best Doughnuts

Photo by Collin Richie

Mary Lee Donuts (34.1%)
When it comes to doughnuts, Mary Lee has it covered—literally. No matter where you are in Baton Rouge, a Mary Lee’s isn’t too far; it’s everywhere. With about 20 south Louisiana locations, Mary Lee has dominated the local doughnut market for more than 40 years. In addition to doughnuts, try its new kolaches that go perfectly with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. maryleedonuts.com

Runners up
(17.2%) Krispy Kreme
(12.9% Mr. Ronnie’s Famous Hot Doughnuts
(11.1%) Tiger Deaux-nuts
(8.7%) Coffee Call

Best Fries at a Local Restaurant

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers (20.6%)
Here’s something we can all probably agree on: Cane’s is the best. So are those tasty crinkle-cut fries. If you’ve gone to Cane’s at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night to get some, don’t worry—we’ve all been there. Local entrepreneur Todd Graves’ creation may be conquering the world, but the food still tastes like Louisiana cooking. Words of advice, though—if you’re planning to visit the awesome original Cane’s near LSU’s campus, be prepared for a long drive-thru line—sometimes wrapped around the block. raisingcanes.com

Runners up
(16.3%) Fat Cow Burgers and Salads
(15.6%) Burgersmith
(8.9%) Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar
(8.8%) Bistro Byronz

Best Frozen Treats

Baskin-Robbins (18.7%)
There’s nothing quite like getting those little pink cups with those little pink spoons. No matter if you get one scoop (seriously, who gets just one scoop?) or two, you know you’re in for frozen heaven. A bonus for those who want to shake things up for birthday parties: Baskin-Robbins also has ice cream cakes. Just don’t forget to freeze them. baskinrobbins.com

Runners up
(13.3%) Cold Stone Creamery
(13.3%) Yogurtland
(12.3%) Marble Slab Creamery
(9.3%) La Divina Italian Cafe

Best Gumbo

Photo by Jordan Hefler

Dempsey’s (12.8%)
Now, this is an important one. Gumbo is truly a way of life in Louisiana—we define ourselves by what we put in ours. Lucky for all of us, Dempsey’s gets it right every time. The seafood and chicken and andouille gumbos are made in-house daily. Get it in a cup or bowl—or in the 24-ounce “jumbo,” when the other sizes just are not big enough. dempseysbr.com

Runners up
(11.7%) The Chimes
(11.3%) Mike Anderson’s Seafood
(11.2%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(8.9%) Sammy’s Grill

Best Happy Hour

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Superior Grill  (29.7%)
This Mexican restaurant definitely knows how to put the “happy” in happy hour. You can enjoy 2-for-1 margaritas and mixed drinks every day from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., but the happy hour days and times may change, so it’s best to call ahead. Go on a day when there’s also live music from local artists and bands. Margaritas and live music? A match made in heaven. batonrouge.superiorgrill.com

Runners up
(14%) Olive or Twist
(13.8%) Kona Grill
(8.9%) Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
(7.4%) Bistro Byronz

Best Italian

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Gino’s Italian Restaurant (20.1%)
Established in 1966 by the Marinos—Vincent, “Mama,” Gino, Laurence and Frances—Gino’s Italian Restaurant is a family affair both in the kitchen and at the dining tables. After all, one of the restaurant’s slogans is, “Where Mama does the cooking.” To this day, Gino’s is family-owned and -operated. Try Arancini, its signature dish. ginosrestaurant.com

Runners up
(16.1%) The Little Village
(12.1%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(11.7%) DiGiulio Brothers Italian Cafe
(10.6%) Monjunis Italian Cafe & Grocery

Best Mediterranean

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Albasha Greek & Lebanese Restaurant (37.1%)
From shawarma to gyros, Albasha has been serving Louisianans their Mediterranean fix since 1992. Go for the hefty Albasha’s Meza, a platter of feta cheese salad, hummus, baba ghanouj, kibbi, falafel, rice, grape leaves, cabbage rolls, and a combo of chicken shawarma and gyros. Seriously, what more is there to ask for? albashabr.com

Runners up
(20%) Serop’s Cafe
(8.1%) Zoës Kitchen
(7.6%) Zorba’s Greek Bistro
(7.4%) Roman’s Cafe

Best Mexican

Superior Grill (25.8%)
Superior Grill may be all about having a good time, but the eatery takes its fajitas and margaritas very seriously. They’re no joke. Weekend or weekday, relax out on the patio with a cold drink and some great chimichangas, enchiladas and fajitas fresh from the kitchen. batonrouge.superiorgrill.com

Runners up
(15.1%) The Velvet Cactus
(11.9%) Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine
(11.6%) La Carreta
(8.5%) Tio Javi’s

Best New Restaurant

Photo by Collin Richie

Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant (14.9%)
In the more than half a century Phil’s restaurants have been around, quality has always been a priority. That’s no different this time around, with the recent reopening of Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant being heralded by fans as an authentic return of a local favorite. No place does a half dozen raw oysters better than Phil’s. The chargrilled oysters are just as yummy, with your choice of original garlic, butter, Diablo and Orleans-style sauces. philsoysterbar.com

Runners up
(13.2%) The Overpass Merchant
(11.1%) Lit Pizza
(11%) Curbside Burgers
(10.1%) Kalurah Street Grill

Best Pizza

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Fleur de Lis Pizza (33.3%)

That Fleur de Lis Pizza reign just won’t let up. The cocktail lounge-turned-family-owned pizza joint has been voted Best Pizza by 225 readers every single year since we launched the contest in 2006. The restaurant has been serving its famous “square” pizzas for decades, and it doesn’t look like it’ll stop anytime soon. As for toppings, you name it—Fleur de Lis has it. fleurdelispizza.com

Runners up
(14.6%) Red Zeppelin Pizza
(10.2%) Lit Pizza
(8.5%) Schlittz & Giggles
(7.8%) Rotolo’s Pizzeria

Best Po-boys

Po-Boy Express (14.4%)
This poboy spot has always been innovative: In 1992, it became the first poboy shop in the city to create a drive-thru service. Now, it continues to dish out quality poboys—more than 16 different kinds—fast and furiously. You can’t go wrong with a traditional shrimp poboy. But if you’re in the mood for something different, try the juicy steak supreme poboy. poboyexpress.com

Runners up
(9.9%) Sammy’s Grill
(9.5%) George’s Restaurant
(8.7%) Poor Boy Lloyd’s
(8.5%) Dempsey’s

Best Overall Restaurant

Photo by Collin Richie

Louisiana Lagniappe (14.3%)

We all love down-home cooking. It’s clear that Lagniappe does, too. Dishes like Pontchartrain, fresh fish sauteed and topped with a fried soft shell crab, hollandaise, honey-roasted pecans and almonds, remind us all of that. Each entree is served with a house salad and a side that couldn’t be more down-home: a twice-baked stuffed potato. Home and Lagniappe are where the heart is. louisianalagniapperestaurant.com

Runners up
(13.5%) The Chimes
(9.6%) Ruth’s Chris Steak House
(9.5%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(7.7%) Mansurs on the Boulevard

Best Oysters

Acme Oyster House (22%)
Usually, when someone says a place has been around since 1910, it’s hyperbole. Not for Acme Oyster House. Acme has been preparing its essential ice-cold raw oysters with lemon and spicy cocktail sauce in New Orleans literally since 1910. The oyster shooters, featuring freshly shucked oysters with cocktail sauce and vodka served in a shot glass, are perfection—maybe that’s why we Louisianans keep them around. acmeoyster.com

Runners up
(15.3%) Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
(10.7%) Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood Restaurant
(10.1%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(9.4%) The Chimes

Best Red Sauce

Monjunis Italian Cafe & Grocery (25.7%)
A great red sauce is the difference between a so-so meal and a great one. Monjunis really gets that, with its scrumptious salsa di pomidoro. Baton Rouge customers apparently get it, too—the slightly sweet sauce is a huge bestseller, and this is Monjunis’ second year in a row winning this category. Bring it home in 16- or 32-ounce jars. monjunis.com

Runners up
(16.1%) Gino’s Restaurant
(14.4%) The Little Village
(11.1%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(10.2%) DiGiulio Brothers Italian Cafe

Best Restaurant Design

Photo by Collin Richie

Tsunami (33.1%)
Sitting atop the Shaw Center, with modern accents, big windows overlooking the riverfront and a cool interior bamboo display, there’s no denying that Tsunami looks awesome. With ample, modern seating inside and plenty more on the rooftop terrace, you can have the best of both worlds while sipping a cocktail and reaching for that last colorful sushi roll on the plate. There’s no better way to spend a summer evening in Baton Rouge. servingsushi.com

Runners up
(13.1%) Bistro Byronz
(10%) Curbside Burgers
(9.8%) Kalurah Street Grill
(7.9%) Magpie Cafe Downtown

Best Restaurant for a Date

Photo by Collin Richie

Tsunami Sushi (18.5%)

A sushi date? We are so there. Nothing says romance like beautifully plated sashimi and nigiri in a gorgeous, cosmopolitan restaurant. Go for the California and crunchy rolls, or be bold and get the Big Easy, which includes crawfish, snow crab, shrimp, cucumber and scallion all soy-wrapped, panko-fried and topped with crunchies, cilantro, tsurai and sriracha sauces. Be sure to save room for desserts—maybe share some Vietnamese coffee ice cream—and, of course, a cocktail or two. Cheers! servingsushi.com

Runners up
(12.8%) The Little Village
(9.6%) Gino’s Restaurant
(9.3%) Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant
(8.3%) Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Best Salads

Photo by Jessi Arnold / Courtesy The Salad Shop

The Salad Shop (19.5%)
In an increasingly health-obsessed society, when a restaurant’s salad game is on point, it’s basically unstoppable. Clearly, The Salad Shop gets that. These salads, whether signatures—such as the Caesar Crunch and Avocado BLT—or build-your-own options are actually filling. The restaurant chops each component into pieces small enough that you get the flavor of each ingredient in every bite. The result: The bowls hold so much salad, you might feel healthy and full for days. That’s never a bad thing. thinksaladshop.com

Runners up
(19.2%) J. Alexander’s
(14%) Bistro Byronz
(12.1%) Newk’s Eatery
(9.2%) Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar

Best Seafood

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Tony’s Seafood (18.8%)
What started as a small retail store and wholesale produce business in Donaldsonville in 1959 has blossomed into one of Louisiana’s largest seafood markets, if not the largest. We can see why. There are almost unlimited seafood options here: fresh supplies of redfish, tuna and black drum and every kind of shellfish you’d expect to find in Louisiana waters arrive at the market daily. Whether raw or prepared, your seafood needs are covered. tonyseafood.com

Runners up
(15.7%) Louisiana Lagniappe
(15.5%) Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant
(12%) Mike Anderson’s Seafood
(11%) Sammy’s Grill

Best Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (37.8%)
Enjoy a 22-ounce marbled bone-in cut of Cowboy Ribeye or a 16-ounce USDA Prime cut New York Strip. We might be salivating a little just thinking about them. If you’re not into big steaks, you can try a petite filet—two 4-ounce medallions of tender meat topped with three large shrimp. ruthschris.com

Runners up
(15.4%) Doe’s Eat Place
(12.5%) Sullivan’s Steakhouse
(9.8%) Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
(6.4%) Stroubes Seafood and Steaks

Best Sushi

Photo by Collin Richie

Ichiban Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar (26.2%)
During peak dinner hours, it may take you almost a half hour to be seated. But we always wait, because that’s how good Ichiban’s sushi selections are. Ichiban’s crawfish roll, for one, is too delicious and relatively inexpensive. Get some clear soup and hibachi while you’re at it. The cooks are a ton of fun to watch as they work with some of the freshest seafood available and serve it up like art. ichibanbr.com

Runners up
(20.3%) Tsunami
(14.5%) Sushi Yama Japanese Restaurant
(8.7%) Geisha
(8.4%) Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi

Best Tacos at a Local Restaurant

Photo by Collin Richie

The Rum House (24.7%)
This Caribbean taqueria claims on its website that it’s “more than just tacos.” It follows that by saying, “But let’s be honest: Tacos are what we’re famous for, and for good reason.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Each taco is served on fresh 3-inch tortillas and stuffed with zesty items like calypso beef or jerk chicken and some of the most unique and flavorful toppings around. Roasted poblano and red pepper relish, anyone? therumhouse.com

Runners up
(15.9%) Superior Grill
(12.2%) The Velvet Cactus
(9.6%) Mr. Taco
(9.1%) Zippy’s Burritos, Tacos, & More

Best Vegetarian Menu Offerings

Photo by Charlene Guilliams

Zoës Kitchen (26.4%)
For all the veggie lovers out there, Zoës is paradise. It serves up fresh and nutritious food that’ll leave you feeling good, but with a bonus: It’s all Mediterranean-style. Now, you can even get neatly packaged snack boxes, which feature healthy Mediterranean offerings like hummus and veggies, while you’re on the go. When in the restaurant, try the brand-new quinoa salad that features quinoa, carrots, cabbage, green onion, red peppers, tomatoes, celery and feta with lemon vinaigrette. zoeskitchen.com

Runners up
(16.1%) Albasha Greek & Lebanese Restaurant
(13.1%) Magpie Cafe
(11.3%) The Salad Shop
(10.5%) Serop’s Cafe

See the 2017 Best Of 225 People and Entertainment winners.

See the 2017 Best Of 225 Shopping and Services winners.

This article was originally published in the July 2017 issue of 225 Magazine.