You did it, BLDG 5. You charmed Baton Rouge with your many wiles. We loved your eclectic menu and shareable dinner boards. We loved your quick-serve lunch, your full-service dinner and cocktails on your lush green terrace. Oh, and those really good prepared foods in your market? They’ve been lifesavers during a certain global event.
*Editor’s note: To be eligible for the Best New Restaurant award, restaurant openings must have occurred in the 2019 calendar year. Openings from 2020 will be eligible for the 2021 awards. Nominations open next January.
BEST OVERALL RESTAURANT
ELSIE’S PLATE & PIE — 13.9%
Cozy meets funky at this lively Mid City eatery known for its easy vibe, pie prowess and something-for-everyone menu.
Runners up: Louisiana Lagniappe — 12.3%
The Chimes — 9.6%
Ruth’s Chris Steak House — 8.5%
Mansurs on the Boulevard — 7.7%
MID CITY BEER GARDEN — 15.7%
Ah, the fun you can have with adult beverages at this open-air, hipster watering hole. The drinks menu includes offbeat craft beer and mainstream standbys, sustainably produced vegan wines and signature craft cocktails. Balancing out the beverage fest is a modern pub-grub menu with plenty of vegetarian options.
Runners up: Superior Grill — 11.5%
Bin 77 — 9.9%
The Chimes — 9.9%
Olive or Twist — 9.5%
BEST BAR TO DRINK CRAFT BEER
MID CITY BEER GARDEN — 30.8%
The craft beer list changes regularly, (follow the Untappd app to keep up). But you can cover a lot of territory by ordering a three-beer flight. Then another, and another.
Runners up: The Chimes — 20.7%
The Bulldog — 17.5%
Tin Roof Brewing Co. — 11.8%
Olive or Twist — 4.8%
BEST CRAFT COCKTAILS
OLIVER OR TWIST — 26.8%
Homemade bitters and syrups, boutique spirits and endless creativity—strap in, your craft cocktail ride is about to begin.
Runners up: Hayride Scandal — 14.1%
Bin 77 — 11.4%
Superior Grill – Highland — 10.8%
Soji: Modern Asian — 9.2%
BEST HAPPY HOUR
SUPERIOR GRILL — 35.2%
Superior’s nicely priced top-shelf margaritas and mojitos make a long day a whole lot better.
Runners up: Olive or Twist — 15.1%
The Rum House —14.4%
Bistro Byronz — 8%
La Carreta — 5.9%
BURGERSMITH | CURBSIDE — 14.9%
In this burger-worshipping town, fans couldn’t decide between two kings, both of which build creativity into their casually artisan menus. At Lafayette-born Burgersmith, choose between a filet, bison, brisket or beef patty fancied up with specialty toppings and buttery buns. At Curbside, a playful lineup of curated options include the Curbside Classic and the praline bacon and fried egg-topped KGB. New menu items here keep blowing our minds.
The long shadow of chicken perfection at Raising Cane’s extends to a new Best Of category, the fried chicken sandwich, which the fast food mecca masters with a trio of chicken fingers tucked in a Cane’s sauce-slathered kaiser roll.
Runners up: The Overpass Merchant — 15.4% Chicken Shack — 11.3% Curbside — 8.8% District Donuts Sliders Brew — 7.9%
*Editor’s note: If The Blue Store had a chicken sandwich, it would have won this category by 19.6%. While it did joke on social media last summer that it might launch its own spicy chicken sandwich to compete with Popeyes and Chick-fil-A, it does not sell a chicken sandwich. 225’s staff was not aware of this when we originally published our reader-nominated ballot.
FLEUR DE LIS PIZZA — 24.6%
This is where you come for Roman-style thin crust pizza that hasn’t changed in decades, still served in a pale pink cocktail lounge.
The sizzling arrival and melt-in-your-mouth texture of a seared USDA prime filet is what celebrations are made of.
Runners up: Doe’s Eat Place — 18.4% Sullivan’s Steakhouse — 9.3% Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar — 7.7% Ruffino’s Restaurant — 5.5%
MASON’S GRILL — 18.3%
By setting a high bar years ago, Mason’s helped brunch in Baton Rouge ascend from meal to movement. Patrons queue up on weekends in anticipation of heaping breakfast burgers, a multitude of Benedicts, chicken and waffles, stuffed French toast, omelets and more, washed down with a fiery Bloody Mason, a mimosa or nitro cold brew. Clear your schedule, and loosen your belt.
Runners up: Elsie’s Plate & Pie — 11.5%
The Chimes — 9.6%
The Ruby Slipper Café — 8.4%
Bistro Byronz — 7.6%
FRANK’S RESTAURANT — 16.3%
Fluffy signature biscuits anchor a down-home breakfast menu rounded out with omelets, pancakes and lots of nap-inducing goodness.
Leapfrogging beyond your usual Southern oyster bar, Jolie Pearl sources tasty bivalves from the East, West and Gulf coasts, giving oyster lovers the full range of sampling experiences. Savor the light minerality of a PEI oyster cold on the half shell, or enjoy fat Gulf oysters draped in bacon and brie or crawfish au gratin. Order a specialty cocktail, wine or beer to complement your particular oyster mood.
Runners up: Phil’s Oyster Bar — 12.7%
Acme Oyster House — 12.3%
Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant — 10.7%
The Chimes— 9 .8%
PARRAIN’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT — 23%
Deep-fried seafood splendor and earthy Cajun flavors are served up in a casual, fish camp atmosphere that also features an oyster bar.
Runners up: Louisiana Lagniappe — 20.1%
Roberto’s River Road Restaurant — 16.7%
The Chimes — 11.3%
Elsie’s Plate & Pie — 11%
BEST RESTAURANT FOR BOILED CRAWFISH
TONY’S SEAFOOD — 36%
Find thousands upon thousands of pounds of deftly seasoned boiled seafood and crab here, but it’s perhaps the most famous for its crawfish. The bugs are sold seasonally at this iconic north Baton Rouge seafood market, which has drawn faithful patrons for generations.
Runners up: Willie’s Restaurant & Bar — 12.7%
LA Boilers Seafood — 9.2%
Lakeside Bar & Daiquiris — 8.8%
Heads & Tails Seafood — 8.5%
THE CHIMES — 17%
Spoon up tender chunks of shrimp, crab and oysters in deeply flavored seafood gumbo, or opt for a rich and smoky version made with duck and sausage. Either way, you can’t lose.
The nothing-fancy exterior belies a deadly serious po-boy operation that prides itself on fresh ingredients and 16 different meat or seafood options.
Runners up: Poor Boy Lloyd’s — 12.3%
George’s Restaurant — 11.5%
Jed’s Local Louisiana Po’boys — 11%
The Chimes — 11%
BEST RESTAURANT FOR VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN OPTIONS
MJ’S CAFE — 17.5%
MJ’s move to a larger location in 2019 tracked with Baton Rouge’s growing interest in plant-based cuisine. Serving breakfast, lunch and soon-to-be dinner and brunch, MJ’s casual fare can be made vegetarian or vegan, depending on diners’ preferences. Walls bedecked in hanging plants and local art make you want to eat well and breathe deeply.
Sometimes, you just need to park yourself in front of a big bowl of cool, crisp greens blinged with goodies and dressed with something magical, and not look up until that bowl is empty.
Runners up: The Salad Station — 20.3%
Bistro Byronz — 14.9%
Jason’s Deli — 10.1%
BLDG 5 — 6.3%
BEST SEAFOOD DISHES
LOUISIANA LAGNIAPPE — 26.7%
For decades, this dinner-only eatery has perfected the art of Creole-style dishes passionately prepared with fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
Runners up: Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant 18.2%
Mike Anderson’s Seafood 0%
Mansurs on the Boulevard .6%
The Chimes .5%
ICHIBAN JAPANESE GRILL & SUSHI BAR — 23.6%
A voluminous sushi menu, a hibachi grill and a sleek vibe make this spot No. 1 in sushi, which just happens to be what “ichiban” means.
Runners up: Tsunami — 15.6%
Sushi Yama Japanese Restaurant — 15.5%
Geisha — 11.4%
Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi — 8.2%
BEST TACOS AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT
GOV’T TACO — 21%
The vegetarian-friendly Magna Carrot and coffee-rubbed beef Bovine Democracy are just two of the tacos dreamed up by owner Jay Ducote. Though it shuttered its doors when White Star Market permanently closed this spring, expect its new brick-and-mortar taqueria in Mid City later this summer.
Runners up: The Rum House* — 18.8%
Superior Grill — 14%
The Velvet Cactus — 10.5%
Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine — 8.7%
Editor’s note: The Rum House also permanently closed its Baton Rouge location after voting had concluded.
BEST RESTAURANT PATIO/OUTDOOR SEATING
MID CITY BEER GARDEN — 18.9%
Here’s a beer garden that actually feels like a garden, thanks to a clever architectural design that brings the outside in. Moveable panels (and rain alerts on the management’s phones!) allow you to sip in open air in nearly any kind of weather. Charming and filled with greenery, it’s like a brewski wonderland.
Runners up: Tsunami — 14.8%
The Velvet Cactus — 11.9%
Superior Grill – Highland — 10.8%
The Rum House — 10.2%
BEST DOWNTOWN LUNCH SPOT
CAPITAL CITY GRILL — 15.7%
This full-service lunch spot adjacent to the Shaw Center for the Arts delivers efficient daily specials, all sorts of chargrilled fare and finger-lickin’ shoestring fries you can’t stop eating.
Runners up: Poor Boy Lloyd’s — 15.1%
The Little Village — 14%
Cocha — 9.5%
Tsunami — 8.4%
BEST RESTAURANT AMBIANCE
TSUNAMI — 14.8
Sport that new ‘fit and get those captions ready as you take the elevator six floors up to this funky-fancy eatery with a rooftop terrace and patio with views of the river.
Runners up: BLDG 5 — 13.2%
Gino’s Italian Restaurant — 10.2%
Soji: Modern Asian — 9.8%
Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant — 8.2%
SOJI: MODERN ASIAN — 17.8%
The color wheel and flavor spectrum are fully represented in Soji’s inventive dishes, which pick and choose from Asian cuisine’s wide swath. Insanely fresh sushi is carved expertly behind the raw bar, while street food, shareables, noodles and more round out the hot side of the menu. Do you go pork banh mi this time, or maybe Malaysian coconut curry ramen?
Runners up: Ichiban Japanese Grill & Sushi Bar — 17%
P.F. Chang’s — 9.3%
Tsunami — 8.6%
Sushi Yama — 8.4%
GINO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT — 24.2%
Sassy waiters, retro red gravy and an old-school atmosphere help date night at Gino’s feel like falling into a Dean Martin song or an episode of The Sopranos.
Runners up: The Little Village — 16.2%
Digiulio Brothers Italian Cafe — 14.2%
Monjunis — 9.8%
Ruffino’s Restaurant — 9%
ALBASHA GREEK & LEBANESE RESTAURANT — 40.7%
In a town with an insatiable appetite for Lebanese fare, Albasha is the standard bearer for hummus, shawarma and all those other garlicky delights.
OK, this place is just FUN. But if you need proof, gaze around at the lively crowd as you nosh on sinfully crisp chips and tangy salsa before the arrival of your sizzling fajita platter.
Runners up: Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine — 13.2%
The Velvet Cactus — 12.8%
Tio Javi’s – 9%
La Carreta — 8.4%
BEST DESSERTS AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT
ELSIE’S PLATE & PIE — 37.7%
Belly up to your table and fork up mouthfuls of pie, reimagined. From Pie Shop Apple to chocolate-drizzled S’mores to fried dough “nachos” with fruit puree, each creation blends architectural beauty with lip-smacking satisfaction. Pie, oh my.
Runners up: Cheesecake Bistro by Copeland’s 12.1%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 9.5%
Bistro Byronz 8.2%
BRQ Seafood & Barbeque 8%
THE AMBROSIA BAKERY — 36.5%
You had us at Fresh Strawberry Cake, Ambrosia. But this year, you went next level with the Toilet Paper Roll, a panic-shopping remembrance in cake form. Ambrosia’s large and reliable menu of artfully decorated sumptuous sweets makes life feel special, no matter the event.