Best Places to Live

Lafayette, LA

Population: 134,286
Photo: Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission

LaFayette is one of the best food cities in America. Cajun cooking defines Lafayette's culinary identity, where a new generation of chefs remain devoted to preserving the past while creating their own tasty traditions. Locals celebrate the Acadiana region's favorite foods at numerous festivals and events paying homage to the crawfish, Creole cooking, boudin and Zydeco music. Markets provide key ingredients for gumbo and other Cajun recipes like smoked sausage, beef tongue, rabbit and homemade hot sauce.

The best restaurants in Lafayette use locally produced meats, vegetables and seafood trucked in daily from the Gulf of Mexico to create dishes full of regional flavor. Chefs across Lafayette continue the tradition of experimental cooking and creative adaptation.

Chef Justin Girouard, owner of The French Press, has twice earned nominations for the James Beard Foundation's “Best Chef South” award. Girourad's breakfast, lunch and dinner menus add a sophistication to bayou staples. Two popular restaurants, Prejean's and Randol's get things heated up with Zydeco music in their dance halls and spicy Cajun cooking in the kitchens.

Plate lunch restaurants like Creole Lunch House, Dwyer's Cafe, T-Coon's and grocery store Breaux's Mart offer a true taste of local comfort food. Diners sing the praises of chefs at Blue Dog Café for their unique twists such as smoked duck quesadilla, crawfish tasso alfredo and chicken bayou teche.


See where Lafayette ranked on the Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Families 2012 list.