500BestSquareBennachin (Jambalaya) @ Bennachin

For twenty-five years, the restaurant Bennachin has served the food of central Africa–one of the major ancient homelands of Creole cooking. The restaurant is named for its signature dish–a rice-based plateful that passes for jambalaya. In fact, bennachin is the forerunner of jambalaya. It’s different from any other version you’ve had–but then, isn’t that the story of all jambalayas? They’ll make it with almost anything you ask to have included, and you can specify the heat level. Tomatoes, onions, and peppers come standard.

Bennachin. French Quarter: 1212 Royal. 504-522-1230.

This is among the 500 best dishes in New Orleans area restaurants. Click here for a list of the other 499.

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