While cruising through the bayou and some of the area’s historic buildings and villages, be sure to stop off for some authentic Cajun cooking. Though Cajun food can be found across the country, nobody can quite hit the mark as the original Cajun state. Whether you want Southern classics, fresh seafood, or Italian, Lafayette has several restaurant options to choose from. There are many great things to do in Lafayette. Grab your sweetie, and head down for a foot-stomping good time.

1. Antoni’s Italian Cafe

Antoni’s Italian Cafe
© Antoni’s Italian Café

This eatery is locally-owned but has become a popular destination for those visiting Lafayette. Antoni’s Italian Café serves up Italian comfort food for people on any budget. Along with some fine wines, consider trying out one of the freshly made Italian coffees or cocktails at the bar. If you’re feeling more like some appetizers, try out the white bean hummus. If you’re craving pizza, check out the eight specialty pizzas or a calzone. Best of all, many pasta dishes are available or you can create your own pasta by selecting the pasta, the sauce, and the toppings.

1118-A Coolidge Street, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-232-8384

2. Social Southern Table & Bar

Social Southern Table & Bar
© Social Southern Table & Bar

Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (with Sunday Brunch), Social Southern Table & Bar is the place to be for good food, excellent drinks, and socializing. Over the last five years, Social has been named one of the best Bourbon bars in America. Social is the place in Lafayette to get your whiskey fix. Whether you’re looking for Scotch, Irish Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, or any of the other kinds, you’ll likely find in their 5-page whiskey menu. Of course, several other cocktails are offered besides the whiskey, and the kitchen cooks up great Southern classics, like shrimp & grits, fried green tomatoes, and the wild boar & shitake mushroom burger.

3901 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-456-3274

3. Cafe Bella

Cafe Bella
© Café Bella

Another popular Italian restaurant in Lafayette is Café Bella. After traveling through Italy, the owners of Café Bella created a menu with some of their favorites. Along with a lunch and dinner menu, there is a wine list, a happy hour menu, and a catering menu for larger events. Since there was so much traveling around the Italian provinces, diners will notice a grand variety of food, from Middle Eastern-inspired Mediterranean, roasted eggplant dip to Roman favorites, like Bolognese. Be sure to pair your dish with an appetizer and a drink to round out the experience. Many wines are used in the dishes, such as the dark herb cherry port in the Duck all Griglia.

301 Heymann Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-265-2515

4. Café Vermilionville

Café Vermilionville
© Café Vermilionville

Open all week, except Sundays, Caffe Vermilionville has been around since about 1835 in some reincarnation. Today, the building is on the National Register for Historic Places and can be used for weddings and events. During the warmer months, the café holds a Courtyard Concert Series on Wednesdays. Here, diners can eat, get a drink, and enjoy some music in the lush courtyard. When you’re ready to order, be sure to check out some Creole-inspired favorites, like crawfish beignets, fried alligator tenderloin, seafood gumbo, and turtle soup. Be sure to indulge with one of the tasty desserts, like Godiva white chocolate bread pudding, pecan pie, or macho macadamia cheesecake.

1304 West Pinhook Road, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-237-0100

5. Charley G’s Seafood Grill

Charley G’s Seafood Grill
© Charley G’s Seafood Grill

When you’re feeling like a warm evening out, consider checking out Charley G’s Seafood Grill. For an extra special, romantic experience, consider splurging on the Burgundy Wine Dinner. This 6-course dinner and wine pairing are only offered certain times, so be sure to plan ahead if this is your desire. For those stopping in on a whim, your taste buds will be delighted with several course options, including roasted garlic & brie for an appetizer, smoked duck & andouille gumbo for a second course, and a delicious steak or seasonal seafood entrée. Maybe try the house special, which boasts the Charley G’s name: Charley G’s Bechamel Crag Cakes.

3809 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-981-0108

6. Marcello’s Wine Market Cafe, Lafayette

Marcello’s Wine Market Cafe, Lafayette
© Marcello’s Wine Market Café

While New Orleans is known for its French-inspired cuisine, Lafayette has plenty of Italian-inspired restaurants, just like Marcello’s Wine Market Café. Here, diners are treated to authentic Sicilian style dishes that are touched with Northern Italian influences. While fresh Mussels and Calamari fritti remind you of the Mediterranean, you’ll feel like you just stepped into Sicily when you try Marcello’s Bresaola, house-marinated olives and focaccia, or the long-stemmed artichokes in a lemon basil aioli. Of course, no Italian meal would be complete without diving into some of the area’s and Italy’s best wines. This location is also open for lunch.

340 Kaliste Saloom, Suite C., Lafauette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-235-1002

7. Masala Indian Kitchen

Masala Indian Kitchen
© Masala Indian Kitchen

If you’re just stopping by for lunch, dine-in or carry-out is available at Masala Indian Kitchen. However, when taking a special someone out for dinner, be sure to reserve a table to avoid the busy hours. Along with a full-service bar, Masala was founded on the principle of sharing Northern Indian cuisine with the Lafayette area. As an Indian restaurant, the menu is heavy in vegetarian and vegan dishes, with many meat and seafood recipes also available. Consider trying the vegetable pakoras, veggie fritters served with mint and tamarind chutneys, to start and end with Gulab Jamun, a delicious Indian donut in warm syrup.

2208 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-981-6373

8. Mazen Grill

Mazen Grill
© Mazen Grill

When you’re craving authentic Louisiana food, you should check out Mazen Grill. Here, you’ll find plenty of seafood dishes and surf and turf dishes on the menu. Influences of Mediterranian food can also be found, like with the kibbie, the falafel, or the fish Aladdin. Check out the avocado crawfish salad or oyster Bienville as an appetizer and work your way through a full entrée like the grilled quail, the roasted duck breast, the rack of lamb, or the filet with crab meat. The lunch menu offers lighter and faster dishes, like the seafood crepes, fried asparagus, or the oyster po'boy.

5818 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-769-4440

9. Pamplona Tapas Bar & Grill

Pamplona Tapas Bar & Grill
© Pamplona Tapas Bar & Grill

When you feel like some bistro-style Spanish food, considering swinging by Pamplona Tapas Bar & Grill. Their Spanish wines are serves through the Tixa system, which guarantees the perfect glass of wine each time. Pulling inspiration from Hemingway, diners can imbibe with the Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon or one of the other many cocktails the bar creates. Move over to the food menu when you're ready to try Spanish dishes like paella or cochinillo asado. For the truly adventurous, consider a flight of absinthe, either American-made or French-made. If a flight isn’t your fancy, try the absinthe cocktail, Ether.

631 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501, Phone: 337-232-0070

10. Romacelli Bistro e Vino

Romacelli Bistro e Vino
© Romacelli Bistro e Vino

Romacelli Bistro e Vino has several locations around Louisiana. This Mediterranian restaurant serves up unique flatbreads and starters to get your date night kicked off just right. Start the night with the feta cheese rolls (rolled in filo dough) and fried or the stuffed Italian meatballs (which need no further description to make these sound delicious). When you're ready for dinner, check out a full entrée (like Cajun seafood pasta or Cajun redfish) or one of the ten pizza flavors. Be sure to check out the Premium Carne, which includes Louisiana shrimp, crawfish, sausage, salami, and prosciutto.

115 Stonemont Road, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-988-9790

11. Ruffino’s on the River

Ruffino’s on the River
© Ruffino’s on the River

Head on down to Ruffino’s on the River for seasonal delights. The menu is built around the freshest ingredients that are in season. Using the farmer’s market and Louisiana waters’ ingredients keep the food fresh and delicious. Along with thick-cut steaks and chops, diners can consider one of the wood-fired pizzas or pasta. If you’re hungry for seafood, check out fish Katie, BBQ shrimp pasta, shrimp alfredo, cedar plank redfish, corn & crabmeat bisque, or the gluten-free tuna shitake option (served on mashed potatoes). Ruffino’s also offers private dining options and a Sunday brunch.

921 Camellia Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-706-7333

12. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Lafayette

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Lafayette
© Ruth’s Chris Steak House

When you’re craving a steak, why settle for anything less than the perfect steak? At Ruth’s Chris Steak House, they use the top 2% aged beef available, sear it, top it with butter and fresh parsley, and then bring it out to your table on a 500-degree plate. Steak isn’t the only thing they excel at making. Check out their seafood options (Chilean sea bass, blue crab cakes, lobster tail), lamb chops, stuffed chicken breast, osso buco, or even the vegetarian plate. When you’re ready for dessert, cheesecake, crème brulee, white chocolate bread pudding, and a variety of seasonal berries with sweet cream are waiting for you.

620 West Pinhook Road, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-237-6123

13. Tsunami Sushi

Tsunami Sushi
© Tsunami Sushi

Whether you plan ahead and book reservations or go off the cuff, Tsunami Sushi is the place for you to find fresh sushi at affordable prices. While dinner is the time to go for a romantic evening out, Tsunami also has lunch specials for a shorter lunch date, like a Bento Box, which includes jasmine rice, sunomono salad, an entrée choice, a sushi roll choice, and miso soup. Whether dining here for lunch or dinner, be sure to complete your meal with one of the fabulous dessert options, like the Vietnamese coffee ice cream or the award-winning pancific bread pudding (mango and Hawaii bread topped with a praline glaze).

412 Jefferson Street, Lafayette, LA 70501, Phone: 337-234-3474

14. Tokyo Japanese Steak House, Lafayette

Tokyo Japanese Steak House, Lafayette
© Tokyo Japanese Steak House

When you want an exotic night out, check out the Lafayette location of Tokyo Japanese Steak House. With plenty of fresh sushi and seafood recipes, you’ll be swimming with heart-healthy, delicious food. Start out your meal with some freshly boiled edamame, garnished with just a touch of salt. If tempura is more your style, plenty of options are also available: shrimp, fried veggies, mushrooms, and soft-shell crab. Along with sushi, nigiri, and sashimi options (nearly 100 options), Tokyo Japanese Steak House also serves up dinner entrée options, such as wood-grilled Chilean Sea Bass, Ramen bowls, or rice and noodle bowls.

3511 Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-989-8588

15. Zea Rotisserie & Bar

Zea Rotisserie & Bar
© Yakov/stock.adobe.com

When you’re craving some chicken, Zea Rotisserie & Bar is the place to go. Along with delicious starters like roasted garlic hummus and duck empanada, the rotisserie is where Zea really shines. The signature dish is half a rotisserie chicken served with two sides. The rotisserie is a French open flame rotisserie, which crisps the outside perfectly while searing the juices into the meat. Diners can choose from five different rubs for their chicken. For those not interested in chicken, the rotisserie also cooks up some delicious pork, beef, and lamb. Those interested in some fresh fish can try the freshly caught trout, tuna, or catfish.

235 Doucet Road, Lafayette, LA 70503, Phone: 337-406-0013

16. La Creperie Bistro

La Creperie Bistro
© La Creperie Bistro

Now that you’ve indulged in the Cajun side of Lafayette, take a turn to the French-inspired restaurants, like La Creperie Bistro. Featuring crepes as the main ingredient, diners can select from sweet or savory dishes. Even though crepes are the star of La Creperie Bistro, there are plenty of other delicious treats to try. Based on international foods, diners can jump into The Cajun panini, featuring pork skins and Steen’s syrup, or the Singaporean lettuce wraps. When you’re ready for dessert, the sweet crepes really can’t be beaten, with options like red velvety, Biscoff, Parisian (goat cheese and fig jam), dulce de leche, and several others, you’ll surely find something to tickle your palate.

1921 Kaliste Saloom Road, Suite 116, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-484-1010

17. Half Shell Oyster House

Half Shell Oyster House
© Half Shell Oyster House

As the first Half Shell Oyster House location in Louisiana, the Lafayette location is located right in the shopping district. Half Shell Oyster House has been named one of the best seafood restaurants in Mississippi and Louisiana, offering seafood with a Creole flair. Oysters are one of the specialties at Hal Shell, offering both raw and charbroiled oysters, as well as Oysters Orleans, Bienville, and Rockefeller. For those looking for something a little outside the half-shell, be sure to check out all the other seafood delights, including Canjun-boiled deep water shrimp, seafood pot pie, or a Po'Boy.

109 Old Camp Road, Suite 114, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-484-1120

18. Bonefish Grill

Bonefish Grill
© Bonefish Grill

For a romantic evening out, this national chain can provide you with comfortable favorites you may even find in your hometown. Though signature dishes are found at every location, the Lafayette location serves up some local specialties. Based on the location, the “Neighborhood Catch” will be different, such as Mahi Mahi in Lafayette (Norwegian Salmon in Northern states). Be sure to try the Bone Fish Grille specialty fish sandwich for the area: the BFG Mahi Sandwich with their signature Bang Bang sauce, tomato, and coleslaw. Lobster rolls are a favorite at any Bone Fish Grill, so try one out.

1912 Kaliste Saloom, Lafayette, LA 70508, Phone: 337-981-0714

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