2021 Best of 225 Awards: Food & Drink winners

2021 Best New Restaurant winner Gov’t Taco

Best New Restaurant*

Gov’t Taco — 18%

Years of mining the perfect street taco combos led to the November 2020 opening of Jay Ducote’s freestanding Mid City restaurant and bar. Choose from a lengthy list of well-balanced tacos, and creative sides like beet hummus and mole baked beans.govttaco.com

Runners Up:
Drago’s Seafood Restaurant 17.4%
Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine 16.8%
Torchy’s Tacos 13.6%
Pizza Byronz 6.4%

*Editor’s Note: Nominees for this category were limited to 2020 openings. Restaurants that opened during 2021 will be eligible to be nominated for next year’s award.


Best Overall Restaurant

Elsie’s Plate & Pie — 15.7%

A vanguard of the new Mid City, Elsie’s is hip, yet unpretentious—qualities Baton Rouge diners embrace. Sweet and savory pies in many forms are joined by comfort food classics like pork chops with pepper jelly sauce and crawfish bisque.elsiepies.com

Runners Up:
Louisiana Lagniappe 14.3%
Ruth’s Chris Steak House 12.9%
BLDG 5 10.5%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 10%


Best Restaurant Patio/Outdoor Seating

Mid City Beer Garden — 22.3%

Mid City Beer Garden not only offers a patio, it is a patio, thanks to an innovative design scheme and a variety of indoor/outdoor seating options. midcitybeergarden.com

Runners Up:
The Velvet Cactus 16.9%
BLDG 5 16%
The Chimes – Highland 12.19%
Superior Grill – Highland 12.17%
2021 Best Bubble Teas winner Teatery – Tea & Tapioca

Best Bubble Teas

Teatery – Tea & Tapioca — 24.9%

We feel your feels for bubble tea. This new category reflects the local rise of Taiwanese boba, tea shaken with milk, sugar and ice and served with tapioca pearls. Teatery’s menu is a frolic through the myriad ways you can customize this buzziest of beverages. Don’t miss the delimanjoo, custard-filled sponge cakes. teaterybr.com

Runners Up:
Boba ParTea 13.4%
Sweet Society 12.9%
Kung Fu Tea 10.3%
Bubble Waffle & Tea 9%

Best Bakery

The Ambrosia Bakery — 37.3%

In both reliable deliciousness—and ability to snag first place in Best of 225—Ambrosia is, in a word, consistent. The trademarked Fresh Strawberry Cake is only part of this spot’s lures, which include decorators who can mimic any interest or hobby. Yes, that humidor and bourbon bottle are actually a groom’s cake. ambrosiabakery.com

Runners Up:
Nothing Bundt Cakes 20%
Baum’s Fine Pastries 11.6%
Counterspace BR 8.5%
Les Amis Bake Shoppe 7.7%


Best Desserts at a Local Restaurant

Elsie’s Plate & Pie — 39.5%

There it is in the name itself, an upfront commitment to the possibilities of pastry. No other local eatery has built its identity around the many faces of pie, including silky chocolate cream and playful Almond Joy. elsiespies.com

Runners Up:
Cheesecake Bistro by Copeland’s 13.3%
Bistro Byronz 6.7%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 6.6%
Stab’s Prime Steak & Seafood 6%

2021 Best Bar winner Mid City Beer Garden

Best Bar*

Mid City Beer Garden — 27.5%

Mid City Beer Garden has raised the bar, so to speak, on the drinks scene. A full range of craft beers, wines and stylish cocktails, a growing food menu and moveable walls that open to the night sky round out the many charms of this neighborhood haunt. midcitybeergarden.com

Runners Up:
Bin 77 Bistro & Sidebar 17.4%
The Bulldog 11.1%
Mid Tap 9.4%
Hayride Scandal 7.9%

*Editor’s note: Nominees for this category were limited to businesses with a Class AG (not AR) bar permit as of spring 2021. (Nominees with an AR permit were permitted in the Best Bar at a Local Restaurant category.)

2021 Best Bar at a Local Restaurant winner The Chimes

Best Bar at a Local Restaurant

The Chimes — 20.6%

The Chimes’ bar wins out for being that satisfying first stop before dinner, or the place you remain for a burger or bowl of gumbo. This always lively restaurant continues to engage us with its global craft beer list, Louisiana cuisine and new rooftop terrace overlooking LSU at the Highland location.thechimes.com

Runners Up:
Superior Grill  20.5%
Olive or Twist 16.2%
BLDG 5 13%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 7.2%

Best Happy Hour

Superior Grill — 31.9%

The perfect setting to blow off work stress, Superior’s cheerful happy hour offers large, top-shelf margaritas and cocktails for the price of a small. Drop by daily between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., and stay for the fajitas. superiorgrill.com

Runners Up:
Olive or Twist 15.2%
Mid Tap 8.9%
Bistro Byronz 8.3%
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar 7%

Best Brunch

Mason’s Grill — 19.8%

Brunch celebrates togetherness and the possibilities of a day yet to unfold, and Mason’s takes this concept to a tasty, comforting level. Consistent service keeps diners returning for never-fail benedicts, doozied-up breakfast burgers, bloody marys and nitro coffee. masonsgrill.com

Runners Up:
Elsie’s Plate & Pie 13.7%
Another Broken Egg Café 9.21%
The Overpass Merchant 9.16%
The Chimes 9%


Best Coffee Shop Ambiance

CC’s Coffee House — 14.6%

Updated colors and a rustic, cozy interior design bring new warmth and sophistication to CC’s, the homegrown coffee shop that sprang from Baton Rouge’s own Community Coffee. Multiple locations provide spots to catch up on work or sip a classic or flavored frozen Mochasippi. ccscoffee.com

Runners Up:
Coffee Call 11.7%
Brew Ha-Ha 10.9%
French Truck Coffee 10.4%
City Roots Coffee Bar 8%

2021 Best Breakfast winner Frank’s Restaurant

Best Breakfast

Frank’s Restaurant — 16.5%

Frank’s lumberjack lineup is piled with big flavors and portions, including multiple types of sausage, and made-to-order pancakes, benedicts, omelets and combo platters. The buttermilk biscuits come swathed in country gravy, shrimp and hollandaise or other toppings. franksrestaurantla.com

Runners Up:
Louie’s Café 13.8%
Another Broken Egg Café 11.3%
The Ruby Slipper Café 10.5%
Mason’s Grill 9.9%

2021 Best Local Sandwiches Anthony’s Italian Deli

Best Local Sandwiches

Anthony’s Italian Deli — 16%

Anthony’s Italian sandwiches are the stuff of legend. The warm, pressed muffaletta is just one option amid a lineup that pairs thinly sliced Italian meats with cheeses, veggies and sauces. Or, opt for a finger-lickin’ meatball po-boy with gooey melted provolone. bestmuffaletta.com

Runners Up:
Po-Boy Express 13.4%
Maxwell’s Market 11.5%
City Pork Brasserie & Bar 11%
Brew-Bacher’s Grill 10.9%


Best Salads

J. Alexander’s — 18.4%

Multi-textured and drizzled with dressings that span the flavor spectrum, J. Alexander’s entrée salads are a favorite diversion for shoppers and business types. jalexandersholdings.com/jalexanders

Runners Up:
The Salad Station 16.6%
Bistro Byronz 10.8%
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux 10%
BLDG 5 9.4%


Best Sushi

Ichiban — 20.7%

At the top of the heap again, Ichiban is sushi Baton Rouge-style, in a spot that’s spacious and unassuming, welcoming to groups and seemingly infinite in its choices of multi-ingredient rolls. Boisterous teppan tables round out the options at this something-for-everyone family-friendly restaurant. ichibanbr.com

Runners Up:
Tsunami 17.4%
Sushi Yama Japanese Restaurant 14.9%
Geisha, Sushi with a Flair 12.5%
Sushi Masa 8.8%


Best Restaurant for Vegetarian and Vegan Options

BLDG 5 — 17.6%

Vegetarian fare is expressed through a creative, often global, lens at BLDG 5, where dishes include rustic shakshuka and grilled veggie boards served with piri piri sauce, tzatziki and roasted red pepper hummus. bldg5.com

Runners Up:
MJ’s Café 16.5%
Zoë’s Kitchen 16.3%
Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine 9.8%
Magpie Café 9.5%

2021 Best Gymbo Winner Dempsey’s. Photo by Jordan Hefler.

Best Gumbo

Dempsey’s 14.1%

Dark roux is made from scratch daily at Dempsey’s, the first step in the restaurant’s sold-by-the-truckload chicken and sausage or seafood gumbos. A cup or bowl is just right with the also excellent po-boys. Find it on Facebook

Runners Up:
The Chimes 13.4%
Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant 12.1%
Mike Anderson’s Seafood 9.2%
Louisiana Lagniappe 8.7%


Best Crawfish

Tony’s Seafood 32.8%

The sheer volume of crawfish boiled and sold at this iconic seafood market in north Baton Rouge tells you something about its enduring popularity. During the annual Easter weekend peak, fans buy more than 100,000 pounds over two days. tonyseafood.com

Runners Up:
Sammy’s Grill 14%
Willie’s Restaurant & Bar 12%
Crawfish on the Geaux 10.5%
LA Boilers Seafood 8.9%


Best Oysters

Drago’s Seafood Restaurant 18.2%

Drago’s forged new culinary territory decades ago when it first introduced charbroiled oysters at its Metairie flagship. The menu at the new Baton Rouge location bears witness to south Louisiana’s enduring love for seafood prepared indulgently, like the fried Oysters Voisin topped with creamed spinach, bacon and Bordelaise sauce. dragosrestaurant.com

Runners Up:
Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar 12.8%
Acme Oyster House 11.6%
Phil’s Oyster Bar & Seafood 10.7%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 10.5%


Best Seafood Dishes

Louisiana Lagniappe 26.1%

Fresh seafood is the trendline that runs through nearly every dish on the menu here, a spot that pledged loyalty to locally caught fish before local was cool. The fresh fish baked en papillote with lump crabmeat and shrimp stuffing fuses classic French cooking with Creole oomph. louisianalagniapperestaurant.com

Runners Up:
Parrain’s Seafood Restaurant 20.9%
Mike Anderson’s Seafood 14%
Mansurs on the Boulevard 10.1%
Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine 7.4%

2021 Best BBQ winner BRQ Seafood and Barbeque

Best BBQ

BRQ Seafood and Barbeque — 20.8%

The smack-talking pit mastery taking top honors in national barbecue competitions is what Chef Justin Ferguson is going for at BRQ, where the meats are brined, then smoked low-and-slow over pecan and hickory wood to create just the right texture and bark. brqrestaurant.com

Runners Up:
City Pork Brasserie & Bar 17.2%
Hannah Q Smokehouse 15.5%
Cou-Yon’s Cajun Bar-B-Q 13.9%
Sonny’s BBQ 8.5%


Best Tacos at a Local Restaurant

Gov’t Taco — 27.4%

Flavorful proteins (and veggies) are matched with perfect-fit accompaniments in modern street tacos with a south Louisiana flair. govttaco.com

Runners Up:
Superior Grill 14.6%
The Velvet Cactus 10.9%
Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine 10.4%
La Carreta 8.1%


Best Pizza

Fleur de Lis Pizza — 22.7%

With so much upheaval in the world, there’s something comforting about a place that never changes. And we mean never. Fleur de Lis’ thin, simply topped pies haven’t been altered in decades, nor has its absolute rejection of credit cards. fleurdelispizza.com

Runners Up:
Lit Pizza 15.9%
Red Zeppelin Pizza 13%
Rocca Pizzeria 12.7%
Schlittz & Giggles 6%


Best Downtown Lunch Spot

Capital City Grill — 17.2%

Downtown lunch-goers flock to this full-service eatery for grilled fare, shoestring fries and daily lunch specials. The vibe is right for colleagues or clients. capitalcitygrill.net

Runners Up:
Poor Boy Lloyd’s 13.1%
Pastime Restaurant 13%
The Little Village 12.8%
Tsunami 11.1%

2021 Best Burger winner Curbside Burgers

Best Burger

Curbside — 17.2%

The food truck-turned-restaurant keeps wowing us not just with its precisely prepared burgers, tots and fries, but also with its sense of place. Soak up the soda shop vibe indoors, or head to the porch and grounds, which feel like your best pal’s backyard. curbside-burgers.com

Runners Up:
Burgersmith 15.6%
Dearman’s 10.5%
Our Mom’s Restaurant & Bar 9.5%
Five Guys 8%


Best Fries at a Local Restaurant

Burgersmith — 17.9%

Ketchup is so last century. Here, hand-cut fries are gilded with butter and garlic; cheese, bacon and jalapenos; or salty, spicy house seasoning. Plain is real good, too. burgersmith.com

Runners Up:
Fat Cow Burgers & Salads 12.1%
Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers 10.7%
Curbside 9.9%
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux 9%


Best Place for a Date Night

Tsunami — 14.9%

Take the elevator to the sixth floor of the Shaw Center, and stroll past the lively bar to enter a dining room awash in fly ‘fits. Is it watching the sun set over the Mississippi that makes this place so romantic, or the chance to share such gorgeous nibbles? servingsushi.com

Runners Up:
Gino’s Italian Restaurant 12.6%
Ruth’s Chris Steak House 9.6%
BLDG 5 9%
Stab’s Prime Steak & Seafood 8.7%


Best Bread at a Local Restaurant

The Little Village — 45.7%

“Don’t hate me because I’m popular,” said the Village Bread to the rest of the menu. Other dishes shouldn’t have to follow such tender, cheese-topped perfection. But life’s not fair. littlevillagebr.com

Runners Up:
Gino’s Italian Restaurant 12.8%
Raising Cane’s 10.8%
Ruffino’s Restaurant 4.53%
Rocca Pizzeria 4.45%

2021 Best Craft Cocktail Menu winner Olive or Twist

Best Craft Cocktail Menu

Olive or Twist — 22%

It’s time you had a Spring Affair—with gin, lemon, honey and lavender. Or raise a red-hued, shimmering Hurr-Rye-Cane—with rye whiskey, pineapple rum, passion fruit liqueur, dry curaçao and tropical fruits and bitters. The suspendered barkeep is ready to fill your craft cocktail heart’s desire. oliveortwistbr.com

Runners Up:
BLDG 5 12.2%
Hayride Scandal 11.2%
Bin 77 Bistro & Sidebar 10.8%
Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine 8.9%


Best Craft Beer Menu

Mid City Beer Garden — 31%

Hoppy? Wheaty? Dark and roasty? This beer lovers’ promised land prides itself on a rotating fleet of offbeat beers that give even the snootiest of connoisseurs something to post about. Experience new selections through a beer flight, accompanied by upmarket pub grub. midcitybeergarden.com

Runners Up:
The Chimes 23.7%
The Bulldog 15%
Mid Tap 10.9%
Olive or Twist 4.2%


Best Local Brewery

Tin Roof Brewing Co. — 53.3%

Baton Rouge’s first local brewery produces award-winning beer at its rustic-chic Wyoming Street facility, where patrons enjoy regular happy hours, yoga on the lawn and culinary pop-up events. tinroofbeer.com

Runners Up:
Le Chien Brewing Company 13.8%
Istrouma Brewing 12.1%
Cypress Coast Brewing Co. 7.3%
Rally Cap Brewing Co. 6.8%

2021 Best Vietnamese winner Chow Yum Phat

Best Vietnamese

Chow Yum Phat — 18.3%

CYP specializes in Asian-inspired street food that refuses to conform to geographic boundaries or culinary traditions. Bao, ramen, dumplings and shareables are reimagined with unexpected ingredients—and we’re already looking forward to the return of the restaurant’s Viet-Cajun crawfish next spring. chowyumphat.com

Runners Up:
Ava Street Café 15.4%
Bao Vietnamese Kitchen 13.4%
Pho Café 13.3%
Drunken Fish 10.3%


Best Italian

Gino’s Italian Restaurant — 22.7%

More than a half century in business hasn’t dulled the luster of this white-tableclothed throwback, the site of countless pre-game dinners, prom nights and political deals. Don’t miss the Laurence bread or the crawfish arancini. ginosrestaurant.com

Runners Up:
The Little Village 15.2%
DiGiulio Brothers Italian Café 14.8%
Monjunis 10.5%
Ruffino’s Restaurant 8.5%


Best Mediterranean

Albasha Greek & Lebanese Restaurant — 41.7%

Baton Rouge’s taste for Mediterranean fare seems insatiable, with more restaurants opening every year. And yet, Albasha remains a consistent favorite, thanks to dishes like roast lamb, shawarma and impossibly creamy hummus. albashabr.com

Runners Up:
Serop’s Café 18.6%
Zorba’s Greek Bistro 13%
Café Phoenicia 8.1%
Roman’s Cafe 7.5%


Best Mexican

Superior Grill — 24.5%

All your cravings for Tex-Mex are satisfied at this local institution famous for fajitas, sizzling shrimp and hardy combo platters. Regular live music at both locations adds another dimension to the fun. superiorgrill.com

Runners Up:
Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine 15.8%
The Velvet Cactus 12%
La Carreta 9.23%
Tio Javi’s Mexican Grill 9.21%


Best Thai

Thai Kitchen — 32.4%

Pad thai, larb, spring rolls and creamy curries are among the must-trys at this Baton Rouge institution. thaikitchenla.com

Runners Up:
Chow Yum Phat 20.9%
Soji: Modern Asian 16.6%
Thai Pepper 9.9%
Thaihey Thaifood 7.5%

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This article was originally published in the July 2021 issue of 225 magazine.