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Last updated on December 15, 2022 by Wandering our World

We love the historically charming Lake Charles, which comes alive many times a year with its festivals as tons of people come here to witness the colorful events and party them out.

And luckily if you ever find yourself in this city with a stomach growling with hunger, Lake Charles has dozens of amazing restaurants to fuel you up.

To help you out we’ve listed some of our favorite places to eat here, where you can experience everything from French fine dining and Southern comfort food to Cajun, Greek, and many more cuisines!

Bon appetit!

Chef cooking in kitchen
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+

The Top Eight Restaurants In Lake Charles: Food Worth Waiting For!

1. Ember Grille and Wine Bar 

Upmarket steakhouse with an elegant and romantic atmosphere enhanced by the occasional live piano 

Special occasion dinners in Lake Charles call for a visit to the grand L’Auberge Casino Resort which houses Ember Grille and Wine Bar – one of the finest steakhouses in the city with over 240 different wines to enjoy.

It’s a spacious and elegant venue, where there are stone fireplaces, dimmed lighting, and white linen tablecloths. You’ll love coming here for dinner dates, as the atmosphere is quiet and intimate, with occasional live piano to make things even more romantic.

They also have a separate bar and lounge area, with comfy couches, beautiful light fixtures, and expert mixologists to treat your taste buds with the finest drinks.

As for the food, it’s exactly what you’d expect from a high-end steakhouse – juicy, tender steaks, premium, classy sides, and exquisite wines to pair the meals with.

Start with a round of their shared appetizers, such as the bacon-wrapped Thai shrimp or the raw oysters with cocktail and mignonette sauce.

Move on to the expertly-grilled steaks, which include an intensely-rich Japanese A5 wagyu as well. Throw in some of their lump crab or foie gras as a ‘steak enhancer’, and a side of their black truffle potatoes, and you’ve got yourself a meal fit for a king!

They’ve also got an extensive list of whiskeys and bourbons, in case you want some top-grade pre-meal drinks. Of course, all of this comes with eye-watering price tags, so expect to shell out hundreds of bucks for this extravagant experience.

Getting a reservation is definitely recommended, and dress to impress – this place is as upscale as it gets in Lake Charles! They’re open every day from 5 pm onwards. 

Address: 777 Ave L’Auberge, Lake Charles, LA

beef steak display
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/lisovskaya

2. Darrell’s

Long-standing restaurant serving sizable Po-boys and beers in a cheery atmosphere with a full bar

Ask a local about their favorite sandwich spot in Lake Charles, and they’ll hit you with ‘Darrell’s’ every time.

Opened by Darrell DeRouen and his wife, this family-owned place has been a neighborhood staple since 1985, and has seen unwavering success for over three decades now. Enormous Po-boys and an even bigger list of beers are served in a typical sports bar-type room here, with TV screens on every wall and a full bar to have drinks and watch a game or two.

With a family-friendly atmosphere and well-trained staff, the place is humming with activity and jam-packed throughout the day – that’s just how good they are! 

The rush and wait is totally worth it though, and you’ll realize that once you bite into these delightful sandwiches. The secret behind the unbeatable taste? Their freshly-baked buns, homemade sauces, and fresh produce.

Everything is scratch-made on a daily basis, so naturally, these sandwiches taste incredibly good. They’re also probably right when they say ‘unless you use at least 10 napkins, you’re doing it wrong’ because boy, are these sandwiches sloppy and absolutely stuffed with toppings!

Try the shrimp sandwich that’s loaded with sautéed shrimp and cheese, or the Darrell’s special stuffed with ham, turkey, roast beef, and gravy. The Surf & Turf sandwich is pretty popular too, and all of them are gigantic enough to have leftovers. That’s pretty much all they serve, so all the energy and focus goes into making the best possible sammies.

Wash it all down with the numerous cold beers they’ve got, and you’ll leave full, happy, and licking your fingers. Sounds like a pretty good time to us! 

So drop by any day between Monday-Saturday, from 11 am onwards. You’ll probably find a good deal on their beers, especially if you come between the happy hours from 4-7 pm. 

Address: 119 W College St, Lake Charles, LA 

3. Toga Grill

Lebanese and Greek cuisines served in a relaxed atmosphere and homey surrounds

Although many restaurants serve Mediterranean dishes in Lake Charles, Toga Grill tops the list with its flavorful food and unfussy atmosphere.

Serving a whole lot of Lebanese and Greek eats, this small eatery is located south of the town, where people come for relaxed meals that are satisfying yet packed with Mideast and Mediterranean flavors.

The venue itself feels really warm and inviting, with quaint decor and soft lighting, along with a nice little marble-top bar area. Service is attentive and friendly too, so you’ll be in good hands here! 

Their menu has a good variety of dishes, all of which are served in hearty portions and in an unpretentious style.

Appetizers include many Lebanese specialties, such as the Moussaka stew of eggplant and chickpeas, and the Kawarma which is essentially a tender Lebanese-style brisket. Over a dozen sandwiches grace the menu too, including gyros, shawarmas, and a falafel burger.

Speaking of falafels, you’ll definitely need some hummus with it, so they’ve got a whole list of different types of smooth and creamy hummus, including a spicy variety. As for the entrees, they range from juicy and well-seasoned chicken/beef/lamb kabobs, lamb chops, Lebanese sujuk, and more served with rice, salad, hummus, and pita. It’s all very filling and lip-smacking good! 

Their wines are pretty good to sip on too, after which you can try their freshly-baked baklava to end your meal on a high and sweet note. Open Monday-Saturday from 11 am onwards, this is one of the top restaurants in Lake Charles among locals for easy going and satisfying meals. 

Address: 4439 Nelson Rd, Lake Charles, LA

Mediterranean dishes
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/los_angela

4. La Truffe Sauvage 

Upscale eatery serving French-inspired cuisine in a quiet and romantic atmosphere 

As one of the city’s hautest fine dining establishments, La Truffe Sauvage serves up intricately composed French-inspired cuisine in a rustic-romantic setting.

So if you’re looking for an intimate dining experience, head towards this cozy restaurant housed inside a quaint cottage-like building, where you’ll be treated to top-class service and swoon-worthy food.

Brick walls with paintings act as a backdrop here, while floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the greenery surrounding the building. The atmosphere is hushed and very calm, so it’s the perfect date spot to bond over good food and wine.

Chef Arthur and Chef Mohamed – the powerhouse of the kitchen force and the masterminds behind the restaurant’s elegant entrees – change the menu seasonally, featuring a handful of well-thought-out dishes.

Appetizers feature things like raw beef tenderloin carpaccio and some Moulard duck foie gras – a specialty they’re well-known for. The main courses involve meat and seafood enhanced with refreshing flavors, such as the wild Gulf red snapper in a lemon butter sauce and served with asparagus, artichoke, capers, and lump crab.

Every ingredient of the dishes, including the sauces and stocks, is made in-house, resulting in vibrant-looking and exquisite-tasting food. Oh and, don’t miss out on the homemade desserts – their souffle and white chocolate creme brulee can take you straight to heaven and back!

The wine list is spectacular too, and the knowledgeable servers always help you pick out something good to go with your chosen entrees.

We recommend getting a reservation a few days in advance, although walk-ins are possible on some days. They’re only open between Thursday-Saturday from 5 to 9.30 pm, so put on your best dress and finest suit – they’re worth waiting all week for! 

Address: 815 W Bayou Pines Dr, Lake Charles, LA 

Chef adding drizzle to fine dining plate
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Kuzmin

5. Southern Spice 

Long-running restaurant serving Southern classics and Cajun favorites for breakfast and lunch in a friendly atmosphere 

There’s nothing like Southern food that’s soul-warming and comforting, and no one does it better than Southern Spice.

This Lake Charles staple has been dishing out downhome classics for over 25 years, with many regular patrons hooked on their hearty breakfast and lunch platters.

Settle down inside their quaint dining room, with homey decor on the walls, a cute fireplace, and a small bar area for solo diners. The atmosphere is very much like that of a small neighborhood cafe, where you’re greeted by smiles and treated like family – a prime example of Southern hospitality! There’s also a spacious and covered front patio that allows for alfresco dining.

With breakfast picks like biscuits topped with country gravy and buttery beignets, this place can convince any chronic snooze button-hitter to get out of bed and head here for an early breakfast. Fluffy pancakes, a rich steak and egg platter, and cheesy omelets are also up for grabs.

Lunch has pretty much everything one could want, alongside some Cajun favorites like gumbo, Po-boys, and crawfish Étouffée. Hearty chicken and gravy, fried shrimp and fish, juicy steaks, and refreshing salads can also be devoured. Everything is prepared homestyle so that biting into these savory goodies reminds you of your Grandma’s home cooking. 

Having won several awards for their amazing breakfast and warm hospitality, this is the place to go to when craving comfort food. Find them open at the crack of dawn from 6.30 am to 3 pm, Monday-Saturday. 

Address: 3901 Ryan St, Lake Charles, LA 

Pancakes with banana, walnut and caramel.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Lilechka75

6. Steamboat Bills

Popular seafood spot serving cajun cuisine and beers in a casual and buzzy atmosphere 

It’s not Lake Charles if there isn’t some fresh cajun-style seafood readily available, and there’s no better place for that than Steamboat Bill’s.

Owner Kathi’s experience in the shrimping industry and her passion to become a successful entrepreneur paid off in the form of Steamboat Bill’s, which now has two very successful locations in Lake Charles and two more outside the city. The place is almost always jam-packed with hungry patrons, and the atmosphere is exactly what you’d expect from a busy seafood restaurant – lively, casual, and family-friendly.

Colorful lights and fun fish sculptures hang from the ceiling as servers busily weave their way through the room. And even though the place remains super busy throughout the day as it’s one of the most popular restaurants in Lake Charles, it’s well managed and the staff are always attentive and friendly with quick service.

As for the food, the locals couldn’t speak more highly of it, and once you bite into that crispy shrimp and taste the flavorful gumbos, you’ll understand what all the hype is about.

Must-orders from the appetizers include the Boudin Balls – they’ve got the best kind of this Louisiana specialty here – and some fried alligator to satisfy a Southerner’s heart. Fried jumbo Gulf shrimp, succulent flash-fried oysters, and cajun chicken strips are some of the most popular finger foods here.

There’s also a rich shrimp Étouffée in a butter roux served over rice, along with a seafood gumbo worth drooling over. Oh and the seasonal crawfish and crab – they’re absolutely divine and worth a trip alone! 

Everything is fried to golden perfection, light and non-greasy, and served in hearty portions. What else could you ask for? Drop by any day from 10.30 am onwards, and don’t let any long lines scare you – they’re usually pretty quick in getting you seated. 

Address: 1004 N Lakeshore Dr, Lake Charles, LA

Homemade Southern Crawfish Boil with Potatoes Sausage and Corn
Photo for illustrative purposes only. iStock.com/bhofack2

7. 121 Artisan Bistro 

Elegant yet relaxed fine dining restaurant serving traditional Italian favorites in a quiet atmosphere

If your idea of the perfect date is having Italian classics and good wine in a nice ambiance, then run – don’t walk – towards 121 Artisan Bistro!

This long-running eatery has been around for decades, with Chef Larry now as the executive chef, dishing out consistently good quality traditional Italian eats. The venue itself is elegant but still comfortable enough, with delicate faux plants and trees, a view of the open kitchen, and soft Italian music in the background. It’s unfussy yet still fancy enough to dress in a business-casual attire and have a quiet and intimate dinner.

You can also settle at the cozy brick-walled bar, separate from the dining room, and enjoy one of their creative cocktails.

Featuring a concise yet inclusive menu of well-composed dishes, you get carefully prepared, flavor-packed, and generously portioned meals here. Munch on the freshly-baked bread served upon seating, then start with their grilled beef brochettes as appetizers – a popular pick featuring beef tenderloin tips, veggies, pesto, and feta – or the parmesan crusted shrimps with creole honey mustard.

Only a few entrees grace the menu, but there’s not a weak link among them – everything is meticulously-prepared and infused with rustic flavors that can take you to the lanes of Tuscany. Whether it’s the pistachio-crusted juicy salmon, the rich meatloaf, or the melt-in-the-mouth ribeye, you’ll be left feeling warm, full, and utterly delighted with the flavors.

They’ve also got pasta and burgers positively teeming with cheese, alongside some of the best brick-oven pizzas anywhere in town (with cauliflower crusts available). 

Choose from one of their excellent wines, and you’re all set for a memorable Italian fine dining experience minus all the fuss. Drop by any day between Monday-Saturday from 11 am onwards, but do remember to get reservations for the weekend as this is one of the most popular restaurants in Lake Charles. 

Address: 121 Dr Michael Debakey Dr, Lake Charles, LA 

wood fired pizza on table
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/JulyProkopiv

8. Cotten’s Famous Hamburgers

Long-standing burger joint serving affordable, old-fashioned burgers in a humble setting 

Every town has a hidden gem of a restaurant that only the locals know about, and for Lake Charles folks, that place is Cotten’s Famous Hamburgers.

Not only does it serve the most scrumptious and juicy burgers possible, but it’s also housed inside an old, unassuming building with no signboard, so it’s very easy to drive past it if you don’t know about it. So when we tell you this place is a hidden gem, we mean it – literally!

The restaurant is owned by a sweet and humble family of hardworking folks, who have run this business successfully since 1988. Expect a down-to-earth, no-frills dining room, with a cheery and friendly atmosphere like that of a neighborhood diner. 

There’s usually always a waiting line here, and once you taste their food, you’ll know what everyone’s so eager about. Although these burgers are old-fashioned and nothing over the top special, they’re totally worth drooling over. You just have to try it to believe it!

The secret lies in their patties that are freshly ground in-house every day, so the burgers turn out ultra juicy. They’re all made to order too, so expect a bit of a wait.

Their bacon cheeseburger is probably the most popular item, drenched in all its sloppy goodness (ask for extra napkins!). Catfish sandwiches, shrimp burgers, and BLTs are also some handhelds you can get, alongside gigantic onion rings and a mountain of homemade french fries. Oh, and they also do fried shrimp, catfish platters, and old-fashioned steaks, so you won’t be limited to burgers. 

And did we mention it’s all very affordable and generously portioned? So drop by any day between Monday-Saturday, 10.30 am to 2.30 pm, although these timings tend to change, so call them up before you come here. Note: they also have a downtown location now, run by the owner’s daughter! 

Address: 2001 Oak Park Boulevard, Lake Charles, LA

Top view of home made tasty burgers on wooden table.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: iStock.com/Kesu01

The Best Restaurants In Lake Charles: Our Final Thoughts

This town never fails to amaze us with its culinary delights.

So whether it’s fine dining or a laid-back meal, head towards our favorite restaurants in Lake Charles for an experience that will make you come back for more – guaranteed! 


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.