Saomple of menu options at JACs Smokehouse in Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana.

Top 15 Must-Try Restaurants in Monroe – West Monroe, Louisiana

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Welcome to Monroe-West Monroe, where Southern cuisine meets riverside charm. We know choosing where to eat in Monroe – West Monroe might be tough. Well, for us, we always seem to ride the struggle bus of where to eat when we are in a new city. The biggest problem? There are usually so many choices and so little time to try the flavors of the region.

If you suffer from the same vacation debate of “where should we eat” or even you’re just looking for some great recommendations we’re here to help. The local dining scene in Monroe-West Monroe does not disappoint with places to dine and the region offers up everything from casual bites by the water to upscale downtown delights, Monroe-West Monroe has a plate for every palate.

You’ll want to make sure you bookmark or pin this article for reference during your Monroe-West Monroe getaway. Here’s our picks for eating and drinking in Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana.

"West Monroe, Louisiana" on the side of a building.
(c)Discover Monroe-West Monroe

Our Picks For Best Monroe – West Monroe Louisiana Restaurants

3 River View Restaurants

Dining with waterfront views is an added treat and several local restaurants have views of the Ouachita River, along with some spots on scenic Bayou DeSiard.

A local favorite, Trapp’s, is on the Ouachita in West Monroe. This casual spot overlooks the river and has views of downtown Monroe. Cajun favorites abound on this menu. Two great ways to start any meal here are Mom Bourque’s Seafood Nachos, with fresh-made chips piled high and covered in creamy goodness and the amazing Fried Ravioli, stuffed with cheese and covered in Crawfish Marlee.

(c)Discover Monroe-West Monroe

With a river view from Monroe, there’s Restaurant Cotton, which prides itself on showcasing Delta cuisine. The menu items capture the diversity of this region. Favorites are the Pond & Gulf, which features catfish and shrimp, Deer Camp Meatloaf, a delicious mixture of venison, beef and andouille. And a side of Duck Fat Fries is always recommended.

Upstairs, the inventive menu at Planter’s Gastropub  includes duck pizza, gas station fried chicken and more. And it always keeps flavor at the forefront.

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2 Downtown Monroe Restaurants

In downtown Monroe, award-winning Chef Cory Bahr brings his skills, creativity and love of the region to the plates at Parish Restaurant & Bar. The Monroe native features local ingredients and a variety of techniques to create an eclectic menu, which changes daily and includes his creative preparations of food ranging from local beef, crawfish and produce, to Hawaiian tuna and cold-water scallops, in dishes from Bolognese to kimchi to Southern-fried. 

You know we love a good coffee shop and were thrilled to find that Chef Cory is also the force behind Standard Coffee Co. The shop not only has cool vibes and tasty brews, but also an impressive lunch menu selection including ramen worth raving about.

The Only Craft Smokehouse

Not only is JAC’s Craft Smokehouse the area’s only craft smokehouse it’s also Louisiana’s first smokehouse restaurant. JAC’s menu items range from delicious handheld sandwiches to large meat plates to even fried brussels sprouts. If you’re craving BBQ this is the place to go!

3 Catfish Restaurants That Are A Must

In Michigan we have Fish Fry Fridays, but in Monroe-West Monroe everyday is catfish day and the region does not disappoint with these three restaurants and we’re talking our recommendations a step further by sharing what you should order.

Located on the riverfront, at Warehouse No. 1 you’ll want to order the Catfish Sierra. This is a Warehouse signature, this filet of broiled catfish is topped with shrimp, a rich & creamy herbed sauce, and parmesan cheese. Yes please! Try it with their famous jalapeno cheese grits & fresh vegetables for the full Catfish Sierra experience.

Waterfront Grill, featured in Southern Living and located on the banks of Bayou DeSiard, it is known for its Catfish DeSiard, named for the bayou that flows beneath the deck. The grilled catfish filet is topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, mushrooms, green onions, and a crispy layer of parmesan cheese. To kick it up a notch, all of this comes on top of a bed of boiled shrimp. Try it with their delicious stuffed potato and you will not be disappointed. So good!

For a little more casual and laid back vibe don’t miss Catfish Charlie’s. Their signature thin & crispy catfish is a fan-favorite with homemade jambalaya, seasoned fries, & hush puppies.

Don’t Forget Dessert

For those looking for something on the sweet side, Butter: A Louisiana Bakery  is just the spot. And it is a delight for anyone looking for gluten-free options. That’s the specialty of this vibrant bakery and coffee shop. From cookies and brownies to quiche and breads, Butter’s goal is to make gluten-free options “100% delicious.”

Be sure to try the pound cake and peach cobbler at the homey Big Momma’s Fine Foods.

(c)Discover Monroe-West Monroe

4 Places TO Quench Your Thirst

Landry Vineyards produces 20 different wines and also hosts an outdoor concert series and two harvest festivals each year. 

Thirsty Farmer is only open on Saturdays and features a limited menu and live music along with its slate of wines which ranges from bubbly to bourbon-barreled. 

Flying Tiger Brewery is a locally themed brewery with an impressive list of craft beers, fun atmosphere and gourmet pies from Victory Pizza.

Flying Heart Brewing & Pub has six carefully crafted beers served year-round and a variety of seasonal brews. They also serve craft pizza, German pretzels, wings and more.

RELATED: You’re soooo close you absolutely MUST swing by historic Natchitoches and check out the Steel Magnolias film trail.

Beyond Food & Drink- 5 Things Not To Miss

Now that you’re fueled up and well hydrated take some time to explore the area. Here are a few of our favorite things to do:

  • Antique Alley: Stroll through historic downtown West Monroe, where charming antique shops line the streets. From intage finds, to unique gifts, and local crafts, there is something for everyone here.
  • Downtown Gallery Crawls: If the timing is right don’t miss the monthly gallery crawls. Meet local artists, admire their works, and explore the eclectic boutiques and galleries.
  • Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge: You know one of our favorite things to do is get outside and this national wildlife refuge is a great place to do that. This 5,300-acre refuge is ideal for hiking, paddling, fishing, or birding, it’s a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for visitors.
  • Museum Complex: Discover the diverse cultural heritage of the area, from intriguing Coca Cola® memorabilia to captivating Bible collections. This complex offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s history and traditions.
  • Live Music Events: Experience the soulful sounds of Monroe-West Monroe at various live music venues and events. From jazz and blues to country and rock, the local music scene is vibrant and offers something for every taste.

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