You can call yourself a real Louisiana know-it-all if you know about the Grapevine Restaurant in Donaldsonville. It's a smug, insider type of recommendation that I make to those native-born and they come back with chagrined looks on their faces...they should have known about this restaurant and it's unique Louisiana food styling years ago. No matter, despite the historic setting, the Grapevine is a recent edition to the You Gotta' Go in Louisiana listings.
The restaurant is across the street from a bar called Ham Bonz in the tiny town of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, off the I-10 Sunshine Bridge exit. (Named after "You are My Sunshine", the song by a the renowned Louisiana Governor Jimmy Davis, ... but I digress).
Turn on the GPS and spend 45 minutes driving to the Grapevine. You can order anything off the menu, really, absolutely anything, and I promise your tastebuds will do many happy dances....The gumbo is real Louisiana gumbo, right down to the mashed potatoes in the center. The bread freshly baked in the kitchen on site. The food is prepared by a James Beard award-winning Chef who was once associated with Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge . Her husband is an artist, with a studio next door to the restaurant. Local artists display work through the restaurant, and on days much cooler than the night we attended, you can sit outside under the sweetly hung mosquito netting lit with tiny white lights and listen to local talent. Which in Louisiana, as you know, is world-class.
Here's the website for the Grapevine. John Folse's Bittersweet Plantation Restaurant is also across the street, shuttered to regular dinner business a while ago while the Grapevine still bustles with music, friends, food.... good food never fails to deliver.