One of my favorite things to do is eat. Not kidding. I think heading out to a fun restaurant could even be considered a hobby of mine. When Matthew and I travel, we make it a point to only eat at restaurants that we don’t have at home, with the emphasis being placed on places local to the area. Since we’re so focused on the culinary experience, I thought I’d share some of our local favorites here in Monroe-West Monroe. These are the places that we’d recommend to friends from out of town and we hope you’ll give them a shot too! Be sure to tell them that I sent ya.
- Catfish Charlie’s. Let’s face it. Louisiana is all about that seafood. While you’ll get some different flavors here in North Louisiana than what you’ll find down south, seafood is still a necessity. Catfish Charlie’s is by far my favorite fish joint. The flavors are superb, and you won’t find anything else like it in town. Matthew and I would recommend the thin and crispy catfish (Ask for just one filet if you’re not a big eater.) and the fish tacos. Although, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
- Avocados. This is one of my favorite Mexican joints. The food seems to be a bit fresher and the service there is great. My favorites there are the fajitas and the super nachos. Matthew loves the carne asada and I’d highly recommend the strawberry mojito.
- Cotton. If you’re looking for a bit of a nicer dinner, Cotton is a good spot to go. It’s owned by Chef Cory Bahr and gets a lot of traction because of his fame in the culinary industry. Definitely get the duck wraps. I’d also suggest the Mississippi Mule if you’re searching for a cocktail. Definitely don’t forget the duck wraps though.
- Genusa’s. Another nicer restaurant option is Genuasa’s. With primarily an Italian flair, they offer more upscale dishes and a large wine selection. You really can’t go wrong on the menu there, and usually the chicken dishes are my favorite.
- The Fieldhouse. This local joint is near the college and offers your typical sports grill vibe. There are multiple tv’s showing a plethora of athletic events and even individual tv’s at some of the booths. For the menu, I definitely suggest the tossed chicken tenders (go with the BBQ) and the homemade potato chips. The sweet potato tots are also a fav. This is a great casual, fun option for lunch or dinner.
- Trapps. This is one of our newer restaurant options and it’s a favorite because it’s right on the Ouachita River. If there’s a patio to sit on (especially one with a view), I’m always game. At Trapps, I definitely prefer sitting outside to look over the water. Here, I’d recommend the seafood nachos which is enough for a sizable group of folks.
- River & Rail. I’d recommend this restaurant primarily for the atmosphere…it’s one of the best in town. With a large patio area, nice landscaping, and rustic vibe, River & Rail offers probably the best outdoor dining option in town. It also gives a great view of the river and I could sit out there for hours.
- Waterfront Grill. You guessed it…another waterfront option. This one lives on the bayou near the ULM campus. If you’re lucky, you can get a window seat to see the beautiful bayou and the turtles and birds that live there. Sometimes you can even catch a glimpse of the ULM ski team practicing. My favorites at Waterfront are the crawfish cheese dip and grilled pork chops…it’s literally what I get every time. Matthew loves the Catfish Desaird, which is another local fav. Again though, you really can’t go wrong on their menu.
- Johnny’s Pizza. I wouldn’t be a good local if didn’t suggest Johnny’s. This local pizza joint started here in 1967 and has since spread all over the south. When people move away from North Louisiana, they always want Johnny’s as soon as they come back home. I can’t really explain the distinction without saying, “It’s just not like other pizza.” I usually opt for the classic pepperoni and cheese sticks. However, they’re pretty famous for the Sweep the Kitchen, which includes a bit of everything. Whether you pop in to a restaurant or get it to go, a trip to Monroe-West Monroe isn’t complete without a Johnny’s Pizza.
- Iron Cactus. This one is a little further out of town in Calhoun. However, it’s worth the drive. It’s a quaint little place offering delicious Tex Mex. (As you can tell, I eat a lot of chips and salsa.) I love the flavors here and the menu offers some variation from typical Mexican restaurant fare. I usually keep it simple with the fajita tacos, and I’ve heard great things about the cactus roll and margaritas.
These are my local favorites! If none of the above strike your fancy, you might consider RawZ, BBQ West, or Trios. Monroe-West Monroe is known for its large selection of local restaurants, so you really can’t go wrong with any choice. I must admit, it was quite difficult to come up with a list of favorites because so many are good! If you hit up any of these favorites, be sure to let me know what you think! If I’m in town, there’s a large chance that you’ll see me at one of these.
Also, if you’re interested in a full list of options, check the restaurant page of the Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau. You can also find a list of things to do and a calendar of events there!