Lafayette Area Restaurant Bucket List

Here in Acadiana, I would say that eating and eating out is definitely a favorite past time. Or at least it is for me! I love the variety of foods and different atmospheres you can find in our city; however, with kids, I always like a heads up so I can know what to expect before entering a new restaurant. So I’ve made a “bucket list” of a dozen great places to check out this year and tips to go with them! It includes fine dining, lunch spots, brunch favorites and a few hole in the wall surprises suggestions for every budget and palate.

Lafayette Area Restaurant Bucket List

The Lafayette, Louisiana Restaurant Bucket List 

Antoni’s Italian Cafe

I will scream it from the rooftops, but if you want delicious food, a quaint atmosphere, and superb service, don’t miss this local spot in the Oil Center. It is a long time favorite and I could die and go to heaven with their basil chicken salad. Their pizza is also one of my favorites in town – try the Shrimp Sophia for something different or the Ave Antoni! You won’t regret it!

Cafe Josephine

Located in the small town of Sunset, this fine dining cafe is unlike any other. They serve fresh Louisiana seafood, fish and prime beef in a laid back atmosphere. They offer simple yet innovative dishes and rumor has it the chef is even known to wander out into the dining room and chat with the guests.

Cafe Vermillionville

A Lafayette landmark teeming with as much history as tradition – the food at Cafe Vermillionville is classic, southern Cajun fare and every bit as good as your waistline can muster. With first class hospitality and service at it’s core, the beautiful old inn is inviting and warm. In the spring and fall, you can enjoy their Courtyard Concert series. A must try for fine dining to bring you down to your roots but elevating your palate at the same time.

Creole Lunch House

Nestled at the quiet corner of 12th and St. Charles Street, you’ll find a small neighborhood house bursting with classic southern food. People from all over talk about the stuffed breads, red beans and rice, and plate lunches that bring in the lunch crowd from all over the city. Some say the food is like eating at your grandma’s kitchen! They boast of casual indoor and outdoor seating along with a pick up window.

Hot Food Express

Ahhhh! I’ve just newly discovered this place and I’m serious when I say I was blown away by my first meal here. This counter-serve Asian-fusion joint with patio seating has been all the talk and now I know why! The bang bang shrimp fried rice was delicious and the meal was easily enough to share. If you’re looking for a great spot for something new and cool, I’d highly recommend them.

La Pagua Mexican Restaurant

This unassuming from the outside restaurant has never really interested me if we’re being honest, but La Pagua is the closest thing to authentic Tex-Mex food you’ll find in Acadiana. The enchiladas suiza is my go-to dish along with a big bowl of their fresh made salsa. Quick service, delicious food and great prices make this my first choice for Mexican food.

Marcello’s Wine Market Cafe
I was told that Marcello’s is hands down the best Italian food in Lafayette. According to our own Anne Elise, it’s lovely for an intimate date night. Their wine selection is by far the best in town, and their eggplant parmesan is to die for. Italian food is my comfort food so Marcello’s is being moved to the top of my list to try soon.

Mercy Kitchen

Lawd Hammercy – or so they say! A brand new Americana restaurant on Verot School Road, the decor in and of itself will help you retreat from your daily woes. Throw in some hand muddled cocktails and modern American bites that appease every pallet and you are are in for a real metamorphosis.

Pamplona’s Tapas Bar
Tucked away in downtown Lafayette, this restaurant is like stepping into an old Spanish bistro-style restaurant. With a complete bar specializing in pre-prohibition drinks and a wide collection of Spanish wine, this is a serious date night out. The waitstaff is highly knowledgable and can help you choose a meal that will wow your palate.

Pete’s Family Sports Grill

A Lafayette classic that has recently been remodeled, Pete’s is a hidden gem when you’re looking for a fun, easy night out with the kids. They serve top notch burgers, creative milkshakes and have a full arcade to entertain the kids. What more could you want?

Pop’s Poboys
Another fun concept located in downtown Lafayette, this “poboy” shop is known for its classic interpretations and exciting twists on this Louisiana staple. Perfect for a quick lunch or a casual night out, we don’t feel you’ll be disappointed with your stop here.

Rusted Rooster
The name says it all. When you walk in, you automatically know it’s going to be southern and good. This eclectic, down-home, little brunch hot spot is only open for breakfast and lunch. The fried chicken biscuit with homemade praline pecan glaze are what brunch dreams are made of.

Spoonbill Watering Hole & Restaurant

A popular spot on the corner of Jefferson, spoonbill gives me the best vibe of Downtown Lafayette while enjoying a patio dining experience! May I dare to say their burger is one of the best in Lafayette? There I said it! Don’t skimp on the apps either – Awesome Rolls were really fantastic!

Social Southern Table and Bar
This farm to table restaurant is know for its fresh ingredients and family atmosphere. They are also known as one of America’s best Bourbon bars according to The Bourbon Review. This restaurant is one of my personal favorites. The staff is always amazing and the food on point, including my favorite salad in town, the Social Wedge.

The Little Big Cup
If you’re looking for a little more quaint and relaxing brunch, make the drive out to Arnaudville where you’ll find an entire experience that is described as one part bar and one part Cajun eatery. Their Sunday Boucherie Brunch holds a special place in local brunch folklore. It is said to the perfect spot for a lazy Sunday afternoon where you can enjoy endless good food on beautiful deck overlooking the Bayou Teche. Sounds about perfect to me!


A staple on the Downtown scene for many years now, their sushi is both memorable and delicious every time. I have a special place in my heart for the lava and sea bass roll (both cooked options) and on the raw list sign me up for a Father Calais and Dynamite roll. Don’t forget some eggplant miso and if you are in the mood for dessert, how about a chocolate martini – they make them like no one else!


This summer’s hot spot for date night, girl’s night out, anniversaries, birthdays and more – reservations were weeks out to try this new addition in downtown Lafayette. Perhaps known as an upscale steakhouse on paper, but the seafood dishes are a close rival to its steak counterparts. I have yet to venture out here, but according to The Vintage Fork, a local food blogger and #recipedeveloper, the best bite of the night was the tuna crudo.

Zorba’s Gyros, Burgers and More
A mix of Greek and American fare served with a smile and friendly conversation sets this eatery apart from other places in town. The owner is usually on hand to chat with you and the food is exceptional. Easy and fast we’d highly recommend this for a quick lunch or dinner with the kids.

Any other restaurants you think we should have added? Is there a local restaurant that you think we should try out? Let us know! 

Carlie is a divorced mom of five. She moved to Lafayette 22 years ago from a small town in-between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She has four young adult children from her first marriage that ended after 19 years, Christopher, Cara, Clay and Cade. She has a one year old daughter, Poppy Mae with her significant other, Joey. She is a work-at-home mother who is a freelance writer and photographer/owner of Carlie Anne Collective. Organized chaos and tons of lists are her style. Carlie loves to workout, travel, visit with her friends, bike with Poppy Mae in their neighborhood, attend outdoor concerts, eat out at local restaurants, walk aimlessly through stores looking for good deals and swing in her hammock while chatting about her BST addiction with her online friends. She keeps an active Instagram account as a photo journal of her days.


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