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A Nominee's Guide to the Best NOLA Bites

Outstanding Chef Contender Donald Link's Top Spots

Elena North-Kelly

April 26, 2018

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Photo credit: Link Restaurant Group

Between magazines, websites, and your friend of a friend who knows everything about the latest restaurant you just have try, it can be hard to distinguish a first-rate recommendation from the bottom of the barrel. That’s why we went straight to the source: this year’s nominees for the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, a group of celebrated tastemakers you know you can trust. Read on to hear from Donald Link, of NOLA's Herbsaint, for his favorite local haunts for the best duck confit, po' boy, brunch spot, and beyond.

Date Night

I'd have to go with Lilette restaurant. Order the Wagyu beef, duck confit, Italian wedding soup, and whatever the fish is of the night. I can always count on a great meal here and the place has a romantic, classic bistro feel. 

Cheap Eats

My favorite is Guy's Po' Boys, especially for the catfish and shrimp. Great local vibe. 

Breakfast

My house! I cook breakfast everymorning. For brunch, however, I'll go to Commander's Palace or Brennan's. They are definitely keeping the New Orleans tradition alive and well. 

Drinks

My favorites are Bouligny Tavern and Cure. Or for something more casual, I'll go to the Kingpin

Bonus Round: Favorite U.S. Food City to Visit

My favorite food city is New Orleans, but other than that, it's a toss up between New York and Chicago. In New York, Blue Ribbon and Gramercy Tavern are my go-tos. In Chicago, it's anything by Paul Kahan (Avec and Nico Osteria are my favorites) and Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill

Learn more about the 2018 James Beard Awards or subscribe to our Awards newsletter for breaking news. 

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Elena North-Kelly is managing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.