It's a pretty well-documented fact that we in south Louisiana love food. We have an amazing number of restaurants and shops throughout the Acadiana region devoted to Cajun cuisine, as well as Cajun takes on other regional foods.

I have spent a fair amount of time in several places in Lafayette, but over time my family and I have settled into a routine and just picked out our "regular" places over and over - as most people do.

And while we have an active restaurant scene, some businesses tend to come and go, so there are times when we really want to try something new, only to find out it's become something else before we can get a taste.

With a lot of restaurant openings in 2022, however, there are a number of places on the list of potential date nights and family dinners, and with the coming of the new year comes opportunities for all that and more. Here are the restaurants we've just got to try in 2023.

Mercy Kitchen

I sent several friends a text asking for their opinions on the question of new places to try and "Mercy Kitchen" was the first response from a few of them. It's not hard to see why, either. With a big emphasis on sharable foods - from charcuterie and whipped cheese boards - and burgers and sandwiches, there are a lot of interesting takes that look just stellar to try.

And, honestly, you had me at all the cheeses.

Sunday's Soda Fountain

Credit: Sunday's Soda Fountain/Facebook
Credit: Sunday's Soda Fountain/Facebook
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A classic soda shop is always a hit, and it seems that Sunday's has a hit on its hands with this shop that has opened up downtown. There are some diner staples on the menu like burgers, sandwiches, and some pasta, and the kid's menu has classics like chicken bites and grilled cheese. But it's the other half of the menu that is sure to catch your eye (and your sweet tooth). Unfortunately, my sweet tooth is pretty tough to overcome, so all of those sundaes or shakes look appealing.

Spicy House

Credit: Spicy House Lafayette
Credit: Spicy House Lafayette
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I was completely unaware of this one until I saw someone talk about it on social media, and I had to look it up. My only regret in looking it up is how hungry it made me. Focusing on spicy, Sichuan-influenced foods, Spicy House has a stellar-looking menu. Clearly, they know their audience, because their logo and featured menu item is crawfish. But with a lot of Sichuan-inspired foods to try, you may be going back. Preferably with antacids.

Park Bistro

Credit: Park Bistro/Facebook
Credit: Park Bistro/Facebook
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With a menu that screams "upscale favorites reimagined," it's hard to see an appetizer like "risotto balls" and not want to go to Park Bistro immediately. Along with some very interesting and delicious-looking menu items, the drink menu proves pretty enticing, too. It's rare that I've passed by and not seen it busy, so clearly they are doing something right. This one definitely makes the list for 2023.

Whiskey & Vine

 

Credit: Whiskey & Vine/Website
Credit: Whiskey & Vine/Website
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Since it first opened up, I've only heard two things about Whiskey & Vine on Pinhook from people.

  1. I should definitely go there.
  2. They definitely want to go there.

First of all, if you have "Whiskey" in your name, I'm interested. I'm a bourbon guy, but any whiskey is good by me. An Old Fashioned and the smoked duck and eggs for brunch sounds like the best way to brunch, to be quite honest. Mark this one down as a place to go on a date, because while whiskey is a great way to draw me in, not sure that's where I need to be taking my five year old.

Shakebacks

While this place seems to be transitioning away from lunch hours, its evening hours and its menu make Shakebacks a place we'll have to try in the future. Whether it's building a sandwich or quesadilla, or its biscuit menu, there are a lot of things that make it just look fun. And all the loaded fries options look extremely promising, too.

What Did I Miss?

Look, I'm sure there are a lot of places I should be trying. The restaurant scene in Lafayette is huge, and there are still some already-established places I still haven't tried. But the newer offerings are extremely appealing. Where would you go right now if you had the chance to try something new?

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