Top 5-04: Exploring the restaurant scene in Gretna

From Thai to Mediterranean restaurants and lots in between, there are hidden gems on the West Bank waiting to be explored.

by Marielle Songy
November 8, 2021

Although it seems that the Westbank is forgotten when it comes to where to grab a good lunch or dinner, it’s slowly finding its way onto people’s radar. For this Top 5-04, I wanted to highlight some restaurants in Gretna that are worth a visit. There are certain Gretna spots that I know people are familiar with, so I picked a few that are a little off the beaten path. This Top 5-04 is sure to have something that will satisfy your cravings the next time you’re in Gretna.

Chicken’s Kitchen

629 Derbigny St.
Monday- Friday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (or until sold out)
www.chickenskitchencatering.com

Marlon “Chicken” Williams is serving up soul food at this restaurant in Gretna. Chicken’s Kitchen has only been open since the summer, but the spot has already built a reputation for itself, and long lines are a regular occurrence here. Daily specials include red beans and rice, fried chicken, stuffed catfish, smothered okra, mac and cheese, and much more. All of the food is homemade and fresh, and this lunch spot serves until they sell out, so get in line early, to make sure you get some of the good stuff.

Price Points:
Entrees: $8.49 and up. Individual portions are available.

Island Paradise

635 Kepler St.
Wednesday, Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
www.islandparadisenola.com

I would call Island Paradise one of the Westbank’s best-kept secrets, but this spot that serves up Caribbean food has been on many people’s radar for a long time. Chef Nadine Balbosa cooks all of her food fresh to order with selections such as Traditional Trini Doubles, Stewed Oxtail and Curried Chicken. My favorite is the Paradise Jerk Chicken, served spicy with cabbage and one of Island Paradise’s homemade sides. If you like your Caribbean food with a New Orleans twist, be sure to try a Jerk Chicken Po’Boy.

Price Points: 
Appetizers: $4.00- $11.99
Entrees: $12.25- $20.99

Sahara Café 

401 Realty Dr.
Sunday- Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
www.facebook.com/Sahara-cafe-Lebanese-food-297611880414625

Sahara Café might be one of the best-kept lunch secrets on the Westbank. Not only is all of the food delicious, but they have an extensive menu of Mediterranean offerings. A few of my favorites here are the hummus, veggie grape leaves, and beef shawarma. The menu also has a selection of salads and sandwiches, and I like that they have vegetarian options.

Price points:
Appetizers: $4.99- $16.99
Salads and Sandwiches: $6.99- $10.99
Entrees: $13.99- $15.99

Taco Daddy’s

1601 Franklin St.
Monday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057210229610

Sierra Schaff and Erick Perez have opened a tasty little taco spot right in the heart of Gretna. Here you will not only find tacos, but fajitas, burritos, flautas, enchiladas, quesadillas, and even Mexican pizza. What I love most about Taco Daddy’s is their selection of tender meats, including carnitas. On my visit, I had the Burrito Supreme with carnitas, and it was incredible. The meat was flavorful, and the burrito itself was perfect, stuffed with beans and topped with red sauce, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. 

Price Points:
Appetizers: $3- $11
Entrees: $8- $14.50

Thai D-Jing

93 5th St. 
Tuesday- Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 5 p.m. to 9: p.m., Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
www.thaidjing.com

Jeerasak Boonlert and his wife, chef Suda Ounin always dreamed of owning a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It all started with a popular food truck that served up tasty Thai food, and now Thai D-Jing is one of the latest additions to the Gretna food scene. Here you will find favorites such as Tom Yum Soup- Cream base soup with chili paste, lemongrass, galangal, tomato, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, palm sugar, tamarind, and lime sauce served with steamed rice; Khao Soi- Coconut base soup with your choice of meat/protein with red curry, plain noodles, crispy egg noodles, pickled onions, shallots and lime; and Pad Thai- Rice noodle, egg, red onion, green onion with D-Jing Pad Thai Sauce. With a choice of different proteins or making the dish with just veggies, Thai D-Jing can satisfy any craving.

Price Points:
Appetizer: $6- $8
Soups: $7- $10
Entrees: $12- $16

Marielle was born and raised in New Orleans. She thinks it's hard to grow up there and not let the culture and history of the city become part of you. Whether it be the jazz, food, of fabulous architecture, she thinks most would agree that things are a little spicer down here. You can reach her via email at [email protected]

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