Baton Rouge, Louisiana

If there’s one thing you'll notice everywhere you go in Louisiana, it's the fact that people here love their food! And that holds especially true for Louisiana's capital, Baton Rouge. I discovered a wide range of restaurants and dining choices here, from down-to-earth cafés to elegant dining, including traditional Cajun cuisine and tasty variations of it. Follow my day of delicious meals in Baton Rouge: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast: Heavenly Pastries at Strands Café

Is there any better way to start your day than with a good cup of coffee and the perfect croissant at a stylish café? At Strands Café, only the finest ingredients find their way into their tempting pastries and chocolates, which are produced on location throughout the day. I enjoyed an excellent cappuccino and a croissant filled with peach cream while flipping through the local newspaper and enjoying the friendly atmosphere of this family-run café. If it had been lunch time, I would have liked to order the crab cake sandwich with praline dijon dressing – definitely a reason to come back!

Lunch: Fresh Fish at Tony's Seafood Market

If you like seafood, you'll be in paradise at Tony's Seafood Market. When I arrived, a giant bucket of fresh crawfish had just been emptied into the display – and it was gone in minutes! Locals buy their fresh crawfish from Tony’s several pounds at a time. As a matter of fact, Tony's is known for once selling more than 48,000 pounds of crawfish in a single day! Offering both raw and boiled seafood, Tony's Seafood Market is the largest of its kind in the southern Gulf region. If you want your fish already prepared Cajun-style, try the delicious over-the-counter lunch plates such as seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffée or stuffed crabs. Be sure to also browse the deli section, where you can find beverages and original Louisiana sauces and spices to take home with you.

Dinner: Elegance, Cocktails and Tapas at Zolia Bistro

The highlight of my visit to the capital was when I got to enjoy stunning views of the Mississippi River from the observation deck of Louisiana’s State Capitol building and then head to nearby Zolia for tapas and drinks. Zolia is where Baton Rouge's downtown scene meets to enjoy tasty nouveau cuisine dishes such as Abita rosemary shrimp and salmon basilica accompanied by a selection from Zolia's sophisticated wine list. Also very popular are the antipasto boards to share featuring a variety of fine olives, cured meats and gourmet cheeses. On most nights, you'll also find local artists performing at Zolia, complementing the stylish setting with soft tunes.

All in all, I was very taken by the wide array of excellent restaurant choices in Baton Rouge and by the warmth of its people, which is expressed in Louisiana’s unparalleled hospitality.