Food is one of the best parts of any holiday, and Mardi Gras is no exception. From spicy seafood to decadent desserts, there’s no shortage of traditional dishes associated with this festival. These Northern Virginia spots offer classic New Orleans food favorites through Mardi Gras and beyond.
This French pastry turned Creole classic has been a Mardi Gras tradition for generations. They also happen to be Bilstad Beignets’ specialty. If you’re looking to sink your teeth into a beloved beignet this year, you’re in luck. Those looking to celebrate the season the right way can stop by and stock up on anywhere from three to 52 of these scratch-made goodies. Bilstad’s special touch? Its beignets have a touch of ginger in the glaze for a unique twist. 20937 Ashburn Rd., Ashburn
As an Arlington bakery with a kitchen run by a Louisiana native, it’s no surprise that Bayou Bakery is the self-proclaimed Mardi Gras headquarters of Northern Virginia. There are plenty of opportunities to taste your way through New Orleans, like the bakery’s “Mardi Pardi” on February 21, where guests can enjoy traditional dishes, including gumbo, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. For those who can’t make it, the shop has curated “Mardi Gras in a Box,” which includes a full-sized king cake suitable for a crowd. 1515 N. Courthouse Rd., Arlington
This Manassas eatery serves traditional Louisiana dishes all year round. Shrimp po’ boys, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée are all on the menu, offering soulful, Southern cuisine any day of the week. If you’re hunting for a hometown favorite or looking to try something new, Louisiana Café is ready and willing to lift your spirits and get you in the Mardi Gras mood. 6316 Hoadly Rd., Manassas
From fried catfish to authentic shrimp and grits, Orleans Bistro is basically a Louisiana food tour right here in Northern Virginia. This venue offers celebratory events almost every day of the week, like karaoke Thursdays and smooth jazz Sunday brunches. So, whether you need a place to ring in Mardi Gras or simply want to get in the spirit, a day or night spent dining at NoVA’s own little piece of New Orleans might just do the trick. 5442 Southpoint Plaza Wy., Fredericksburg
Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish
Crawfish are a longtime element of New Orleans cuisine, so if you’re incorporating it into your celebrations this year, Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish has you covered. Pick up crawfish, king crab legs, shrimp, and more by the pound. Or, go for a seafood combo that also packs in corn on the cob, andouille sausage, and roasted potatoes. It’s like the carryout version of a low country boil. 116 W Broad St., Falls Church
Feature image courtesy Bilstad’s Beignets
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