New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras. It has some of the most amazing food in the country. With is French, Spanish, Creole, and American influences, New Orleans restaurants are offering diners unique culinary experiences. Dishes like classic Beignets and chicory coffee to Charbroiled Oysters, prove that New Orleans knows how to make your taste buds sing and let the good times roll.
In December a few friends and I headed to New Orleans early for an event. We wanted to taste our way around New Orleans and explore New Orleans restaurants along the Riverside, Warehouse District, and French Quarter. When in New Orleans, Beignet There and Done That Twice!! So our tour of New Orleans food starts with beignets at not one but TWO New Orleans restaurants.
Cafe DuMonde is an institution in New Orleans that has been around since 1862. This coffee and beignets shop is in the New Orleans French Market across from Jackson Square. It is open 24 hours a day. Beignets are doughy pockets of fried dough caked in powdered sugar. They are little heavily pillows.
Cafe Beignet is another New Orleans restaurant serving up beignets and Cajun specialties like gumbo and muffulettas. They have two locations; one on Bourbon Street and another on Royal in the French Quarter. I loved the outdoor courtyard on Royal Street. Great place to sip your coffee and watch the people go by. If you want to enjoy your beignets with a side of jazz, stop by the Bourbon Street location and listen to Steamboat Willie in the Music Legends Park.
Crepe Cart in the French Market is a great stop when you are in the French Market area. This cart is serving up savory and sweet crepe every day. This cart focuses on provided affordable food options for diners. You can order any of their crepe with a gluten free, vegan crepe or the traditional batter.
The Works (shown above) includes all the savory ingredients the cart offers; spinach, toato, bacon, broccoli, pecan pesto, and cheddar. It’s a huge delicious monster of a thing. Be sure to bring your appetite.
Court of Two Sisters’ Jazz Brunch in the French Quarter is a “MUST TRY” when in New Orleans. It’s an all you care to eat brunch accompanied by a live Jazz trio that provides an authentic atmosphere. As part of our visit to New Orleans, the restaurant provided us with a complimentary meal so we could taste the unique flavors they were cooking up.
The historic building has a rich history and has been an operating restaurant for over 50 years. If the weather is nice, sit in the courtyard and enjoy your coffee and brunch.
The buffet serves up classic New Orleans dishes like Turtle Soup, Shrimp Creole Omelettes, Veal Grillades and Stone Ground Grits, Étouffée, Jambalaya, Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, and King Cake. If you aren’t sure what to have, ask your server and they will recommend some fabulous items.
Meril’s is Emeil Lagasse’s newest contemporary restaurant in the Warehouse District. Reserve a table for lunch/dinner or fill in around the bar for happy hour. We arrived at the tail end of happy hour to enjoy $5 flatbreads, wine, and well drinks. The Mortadella and Green Chile Flatbread was superb.
The snacks/appetizers stole the evening for us. Each bite was better than the next.
and this one…..
Central Grocery is the home of the Muffulleta sandwich; a combination of pork, cheese, and Italian olive salad on house made bread. This 3rd generation family grocery and deli is located on Decatur Street across from the French Market. It closes at 5pm each day, so be sure to grab your food before they close shop for the day.
Draco’s at the Hilton Riverside is known for their Charbroiled Oysters. This hotel restaurant on the Riverfront has been part of New Orleans food scene since 1969. They are serving up great seafood but you really must go for the oysters. You can’t get them like this anywhere else.
Cochon Butcher is a butcher shop, sandwich shop, and wine bar all rolled into one. I think I saved the best for last. Located in the Warehouse District, you’ll find house made meats and sausages, small plates, and of courses sandwiches here. Be sure to go with a group of people so you can order as much on the menu as possible. We did and everything was better than the last. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Buckboard Bacon Melt because you simply can NEVER go wrong with bacon.
This is my food tour of New Orleans restaurants. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the best places to eat in NOLA. To do that I will have to return again and again and again! There really are some great places to eat. Just ask a local and they will direct you to more great restaurants you won’t want to miss.
Note: Whenever I go to a new city, I like to check with the convention and visitors bureau for information and recommendations. New Orleans CVB was great to work with and directed us to almost all of the restaurants we tried. A huge thank you going to them for helping me plan my trip and to Court of Two Sisters for a complimentary Jazz Brunch. I will return to enjoy that Grillades with grits, coffee, and eggs benedict (to name a few).