The Big Easy is famous for its hospitality, party atmosphere and flavorful food. On the West Bank, the city of Gretna offers a more laid-back environment than its neighbor across the river. The town carries on the centuries-old tradition of seasoned cuisine with Creole gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, muffulettas, and even king cake during Carnival season. Gretna's rich culture, however, extends far beyond the stereotypical French, Creole, and Cajun influences, with Italian and Caribbean-themed restaurants, lending their flavors to Gretna's melting pot as well. Since New Orleans is so close to the water, its seafood is a staple. Boiled crawfish and Gulf oysters on the half shell are regional must-haves. You can also order red beans and rice at many local restaurants, even if your visit doesn't fall on a Monday.