In New Orleans the classic sandwich is the Po-Boy. Made with crisp, fresh French Bread and anything you want in the middle. The favorites are fried shrimp, fried oysters, fried catfish, roast beef with lots of gravy, and ham and cheese. If you want lettuce and tomatoes on your po-boy, asked for it "dressed." If you want extra gravy on your roast beef, ask for a "sloppy." In many parts of New Orleans Mayo is "myneze." Learn more of New Orleans "Speak" before you go.
Except for the most upscale restaurants, you can get a Po-Boy most anywhere. But there are restaurants where the humble Po-Boy is the main item on the menu. Here's a list of the best of those restaurants.
If you're looking for a great po-boy and a Barq's Root Beer, try Domilise's Sandwich Shop and Bar at 5240 Annuciation Street, Uptown. Dot still presides over Domilise's like she has done for decades to make sure everything is right and everyone is happy. If you enjoy a fried seafood po-boy, the official favorite food of New Orleans, try the one and a half, with shrimp and oysters.
Located Uptown at 3454 Magazine Street, Mahony's is the gourmet of Po-Boy restaurants. Mahony's can boast about two winning Po-Boys in the annual New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival. In 2009 this restaurant won the Best Specialty Po-Boy, Non-Seafood with its Chicken Liver Po-Boy with Creole Slaw Po-Boy. In 2008 they took the Best Classic Fried Po-boy with the "Peacemaker" (fried oysters, bacon & cheddar cheese). My personal favorite is the Jumbo Grilled Shrimp, Fried Green Tomatoes & Remoulade Po-Boy.
Franky and Johnny's is the quintessential New Orleans neighborhood restaurant. It's a casual as it gets with a bar in the front and a restaurant in the back. It has great fried and boiled seafood and, of course, po-boys. This is the place to get a fried seafood po-boy. They come either in the 9 inch or the 12 inch size. Franky and Johnny's is Uptown at 321 Arabella Street.
Parkway Bakery and Tavern
This Mid-City icon is where President Obama brought his family for lunch on his visit to New Orleans. Parkway is a favorite of locals for po-boys, especially the sloppy roast beef. Parkway cooks the roasts fresh for this delight and it's worth the drive to Mid-City just for the gravy.
Another great Mid-City restaurant for great po-boys is Mandina's on Canal Street. It's been around forever and it also a good place for Italian food. Here you can get a great oyster loaf, which is a giant fried oyster po-boy, or a regular sized meatball or Italian sausage po-boy. My favorite here is the breaded veal cutlet po-boy.
One of the best things about Johnny's is not only the good po-boys, but the fact that is located in the French Quarter at 511 St. Louis Street. That makes it easy for visitors to get a great po-boy without going too far. Johnny's menu includes the usual po-boy fare, with one special you won't find too many places. That's the alligator po-boy.
Casamento's is the place for oysters. You can get a great oyster loaf, raw oysters, oyster stew, and gumbo. Located at 4330 Magazine Street, Casamento's is a great place to stop for lunch when you're shopping. Because the mainstay of Casamento's is oysters and it's a small family-owned restaurant, it often closes for the entire month of August.
Tracy's in the Irish Channel on the corner of Third and Magazine, is run by the former proprietors of Parasol's. When they lost their lease, they moved around the corner and opened Tracy's. The po-boys are the same as they were at Parasol's. This is my husbands favorite place for a sloppy roast beef. Tracy's also has a nice bar and outside seating.
Liuzza's By The Track
There are two Liuzza's in New Orleans and I recommend both. The better known Liuzza's is located in Mid-City: 3636 Bienville Street. Liuzza's by the Track is in Esplanade Ridge at 1518 N. Lopez. (504 943-8667) right outside of the Fairgrounds Race Track. This is the Liuzza's you want if you're looking for a po-boy. But, if you're not used to New Orleans neighborhood restaurants where you can get great food at great prices is what looks like a shack, you might be a little put off by Liuzza' by the Track.
Mother's Restaurant on Poydras Street is probably the most famous po-boy restaurant in New Orleans, and so it's usually crowded with a line out front. But, it's worth the wait. At Mother's all meats are freshly cooked in the restaurant and the speciality is the baked ham. Try the Ferdi Special, a po-boy with baked ham, roast beef, debris (the small pieces of roast left in the bottom of the pan after the roast is sliced), and gravy.