Can’t-Miss Sweet Eats in Ascension Parish, Louisiana’s Sweet Spot
Nestled between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Ascension Parish, Louisiana is known for its rich history spanning more than five centuries and diverse cultural tapestry woven from Native American, Spanish, French, German, Italian, English, African and Acadian ways of life.
At the heart of these beautifully blended cultures is the delicious foods that have shaped the local essence of Louisiana’s Sweet Spot and made it into the true American gem it is today.
From authentic Louisiana cuisine and succulent seafood fresh from the Bayou, to lip-smackingly good BBQ, local coffee and sweet shops, breweries and more, whatever you’re craving, you’ll find it in Ascension Parish.
Cajun and Louisiana Cuisine
A visit to our Southern Louisiana locale would be amiss without tasting the piquant Cajun and Louisiana flavors that have colored the Ascension Parish scene for generations.
A meat market and restaurant-in-one, Bergeron’s Boudin & Cajun Meats in Gonzales dishes up the full spectrum of Cajun specialties and bayou favorites for you to enjoy there or take home to share. Their menu is wide-ranging, with everything from savory boudin, freshly smoked meats, crawfish pies, cracklins, quintessential Southern sides, and just about any Cajun creation you can imagine. Their melt-in-your-mouth Seafood Boudin is especially popular.
Rightfully located in the Jambalaya Capitol of the World, Pot & Paddle Jambalaya Kitchen serves up hearty portions of freshly prepared, authentic Cajun cuisine—including a fiery bowl of Jambalaya, mouth-watering gumbo, rich red beans and rice, and more. In the words of one TripAdvisor reviewer: “Some of the best Jambalaya and Red Beans I have ever had… served by some of the nicest people I have ever met. It is like going to a friend’s house for dinner.”
Located in a beautifully restored 1920s building, Grapevine Cafe and Gallery is known not only for its award-winning-cuisine—a unique blend of Cajun, Creole, and African traditions—but also its rotating gallery of eclectic works from local artists and musicians. Indulge in faves like their Crawfish Cornbread, crab cakes, Turtle Soup, and White Chocolate Bread Pudding, to name a few, while listening to live music and taking in the local arts.
Ascension Parish’s one and only fine dining eatery, Latil’s Landing Restaurant—located in Houmas House, one of the South’s oldest and most beautiful historic estates—offers visitors a unique, elevated dining experience. Chef Jeremy Langlois calls on his master culinary skills to create farm-to-table Louisiana dishes using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The menu changes seasonally based on the availability of locally grown produce and meats. Reservations are required.
Also based out of Houmas House, The Carriage House Restaurant offers guests a more casual dining experience in the elegant late-1700s manor. The Carriage House features breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, all composed of fresh, local ingredients to create some of their popular dishes, like Bananas Foster Waffles, Eggplant Napoleon, and Bisque of Curried Pumpkin Soup. Start the day with a hearty Louisiana breakfast or enjoy a leisurely afternoon with lunch or a delicious dinner until 8pm.
Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, co-owned by football pro Drew Brees, recently opened its second location in Gonzales in early January 2021, giving visitors twice the opportunity to enjoy their signature Louisiana-inspired menu in a sporty atmosphere. Every dish is made from scratch, and their diverse menu features game-day faves and traditional Louisiana dishes with a unique twist, such as Crawfish Etouffee, Duck & Andouille Gumbo, and Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding.
Ascension Parish’s central location to local bayous and close proximity to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico mean you can find fresh seafood at virtually every corner.
Though new to the area, The Camp Seafood Market & Patio is making waves in Ascension Parish. The new seafood eatery just opened in September 2020 by a local nurse with a love for Louisiana seafood. Fresh is the name of the game at The Camp, whether you order the eatery’s daily specials or other seafood selections. Savor the bayou flavors in-house or get your meal to-go in the drive-thru.
For more than 80 years, Don’s Seafood Hut has been dishing up high-quality Cajun cuisine and local seafood that’s kept locals and visitors coming back for generations. Enjoy the family-style atmosphere and get your fill of favorites like their Seafood Platter, seafood gumbo, Jacked Up Shrimp, and charbroiled oysters. Don’t leave without indulging in their Cajun dishes, like the Boudin Balls, fried alligator, grilled stuffed shrimp, and more.
Don’t let the name fool you—Galvez Seafood Company doesn’t just serve delicious seafood and the “best po’boys in Prairieville.” This favored restaurant is also known for down-home cooking, with menu items like chicken fried pork, juicy burgers and steaks, and classic Southern sides, like mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, and more.
Another seafood staple of the area, Mike Anderson’s has been serving fresh South Louisiana seafood for more than 45 years and is one of Gonzales’s top-rated restaurants. Guests’ most-loved dishes include the classic chargrilled oysters, the Guitreau fish and shrimp dish, Mike’s Special jumbo shrimp, stuffed crab, and the jumbo shrimp po-boy. The restaurant’s prime location also makes it convenient for enjoying a scrumptious seafood meal before making your way down River Road for touring the Houmas House and Gardens.
A seafood hot spot for more than 20 years, On The Half Shell is a family-friendly restaurant specializing in fresh Louisiana seafood and chargrilled oysters. The much-loved eatery’s half seafood po-boy and gumbo special is many diners’ go-to. If you’re after oysters, their Guidry’s Dozen features a delicious combo of chargrilled, Rockefeller, Bienville, Picante di Fromaggio, and NOLA-style oysters. Add some flavor to your meal with live music on Tuesday and Saturday nights, and explore their menu further at their Sunday brunch.
Philay’s Catfish N’ More has been around a little over a decade and is well known for its excellent food and service. Whether you’re a party of four or 30+, Philay’s team can accommodate. You can’t go wrong with any dish at this highly recommended eatery, but their most popular items include the Bayou Dippers, Blackened Chicken, Cajun Clusters, and of course, the catfish with a side of hushpuppies.
Last—but certainly not least—on the list of seafood must-eats in Louisiana’s Sweet Spot is Sno’s Seafood & Steak House. Like many of the area’s seafood restaurants, Sno’s has been a generational go-to since the 1950s. While they’ve updated their kitchen and dining room over the years and expanded their services to offer catering and take-out, their amazing menu remains the same after all these years. Top dishes include fried alligator, crab cakes, Shrimp Hilda, Fish Cecile, fried shrimp, and pan-fried catfish.
Burgers, BBQ, and More
Our vibrant tri-city area is home to some amazing authentic Louisiana cuisine and fresh, succulent seafood no doubt, but sometimes you’re craving a juicy burger or finger-licking good BBQ—or something in between. Our cities have something for every palate.
Brew-Bacher’s Grill first made its debut in Baton Rouge in 1983 but has since expanded to other parts of Louisiana, including Gonzales. The burger restaurant’s menu is wide-ranging and even includes tasty salads, pizza, seafood entrees, and daily specials. Customer favorites include the Mushroom Burger, Shrimp Sensation Salad, French Dip with Au Jus, Chicken Croissant, and Cheeeese Fries.
Franks Restaurant Grill & Bar has been a family-owned favorite for multiple generations. Though the eatery is known for serving “the best homemade biscuits in the world,” their menu offers much more, with top picks like Chicken Fried Steak, French Toast, Hamburger Steak, and Eggs Benedict. Their diverse menu can be enjoyed any time of day—including all-day breakfast dishes.
With New Orleans-native Pitmaster Paul Reeson at the helm, you know you’re in for a treat at Hannah Q Smokehouse. This newer eatery’s humble beginnings tell the tale of how good its BBQ is: the popular smokehouse started as a food tent on Friday nights in the parking lot of sister restaurant, Jasmines on the Bayou, and grew to be a South Louisiana favorite. Head over to get elbow deep in their mouth-watering BBQ and brisket, delicious house-ground steak burger, and homemade buttermilk fried chicken.
Creative cuisine and comfort foods are Sweet & Savory Company’s specialty. Their menu features an array of wholesome entrees and decadent desserts, from traditional Southern favorites with a twist, to one-of-a-kind seafood dishes. Their most popular menu items are the Sweet & Savory’s Brown Sugar Wings and Shrimp ‘n Grits.
Coffee Shops, Sweet Treats, and Craft Brews
When you’re craving an afternoon pick-me-up, locally crafted beer/liquor, or a treat to satiate your sweet tooth, Ascension Parish delivers.
Got to have something refreshing and frozen? Stop in Popaletas Plus in Gonzales is for homemade ice cream, fresh fruit popsicles, and a range of Mexican snacks.
Another great option you can’t go wrong with is an ice cream cone or snowball from Snocreams Cafe in Prairieville. If you want a more filling snack or mid-day meal, they also serve burgers, chicken salad, and other light lunch options.
For a hot cup of freshly roasted coffee and a quick, tasty bite, head over to Starlite Espresso Cafe in Gonzales, inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night masterpiece.
Don’t let your visit to Louisiana’s Sweet Spot end without getting by The Cajun Village to browse the unique shops and boutiques—housed in a timeless collection of authentic, restored Acadian buildings—and indulge in the on-site Coffee House’s famous beignets and cafe au lait.
Keep the good times rolling on your visit to Ascension Parish with an afternoon exploring the area’s only brewery and distillery. Ascension Parish’s first brewery, Gilla Brewing Company offers a wide selection of fruited sours, New England IPAs, and coffee stouts. They’re always churning out new and exciting brews. For handcrafted cocktails brimming with local Louisiana flavors—including locally produced raw cane sugar—stop in Sugarfield Spirits, the capital region’s newest distillery.
Ready to start planning your visit to Louisiana’s Sweet Spot? Download our Visitors Guide today to map out a trip you’ll be reminiscing about for years to come.