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Favorite New Orleans Restaurants
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Uptown/Garden District

Lilette– Fantastic Nouvelle French cuisine. This James Beard finalist on Magazine Street is one of our “top five” favorite restaurants in the entire city. Lovely atmosphere for both indoor and outdoor dining. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday, and lunch Tuesday through Saturday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended

La Petite Grocery– Excellent, James Beard winner restaurant serving contemporary Creole/contemporary American cuisine. This beautiful, period-feeling eatery is open every night, but also a great option for lunch Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday brunch. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Shaya– This James Beard Award winning, gourmet Israeli restaurant is equal parts delicious and unique. The outdoor patio also provides a very nice space when weather permits. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Attire is casual to dressy casual. This is a popular spot, so reservations are recommended.

Gautreau’s– A true “locals’ spot,” this contemporary Creole/French gem is hidden away on a predominantly residential street in Uptown. The chef is especially well known for her treatment of local seafood, but the menu at Gautreau’s is always wide-ranging. James Beard Award winner in 2014. Open for dinner Monday through Saturday. Business casual attire. Reservations required.

Coquette– Yet another James Beard finalist in our neighborhood, Coquette serves superb contemporary Creole/American cuisine. The long bar dominates the downstairs space, so if you prefer a more elegant and quiet space in which to dine, request to be seated on the second floor. Open for dinner every night except Tuesday, lunch served Wednesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended

Patois– This enchanting little restaurant serves some of the best French Creole food in town. Not only was it featured as the restaurant “Desautel’s” in the HBO series Treme, it is actually a real-life, James Beard finalist with an exceptional bar. Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, lunch is served on Friday and Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended

Atchafalaya– This fun and funky establishment serves gourmet Southern/Creole fusion cuisine, and we think they make the best shrimp and grits in town. The kitchen is small, so if you are dining in locals’ “prime time,” (8:00 to 8:30ish), the service can be a little slow. The food is definitely still worth the wait, and we don’t do anything fast around here anyway. Dinner served nightly, and brunch every day except Tuesday and Wednesday (don’t miss the “do-it-yourself” Bloody Mary Bar during brunch!)

Commander’s Palace– Truly an institution in New Orleans, but still a perennial favorite for residents and visitors alike. You won’t find better service in town, and the elegance of the restaurant itself is also unmatched, but all that being said, you should dine here to get authentic, “Old School” Creole cuisine with contemporary flair. Winner of numerous James Beard awards, most recently in 2013, Commander’s is tough to beat for a special occasion. Open for dinner nightly, lunch served Monday through Friday, and jazz brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Dressy, jacket recommended for gentlemen. Reservations highly recommended.

Upperline– Eclectic and charming atmosphere and great contemporary Creole food. Home of our favorite gumbo and favorite bread pudding in New Orleans. Enough said? Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations required.

Boucherie– Think upscale, “deconstructed” comfort food at an unbeatable price. This tiny spot is a must for the Krispy Kreme Donut bread pudding alone. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Dressy casual. Boucherie is both tiny and popular, so reservations are almost a “must.”

Jacques-Imo’s– Outstanding, gourmet Cajun and Creole Soul food served up in a wild and often raucous setting. This is definitely an “only in New Orleans” kind of place, serving our favorite fried chicken in town, but don’t forget to try the alligator cheesecake! Dinner only, Monday through Saturday. Casual attire. Reservations for parties of five or more only, so expect a pretty long wait on Friday and Saturday nights.

Crepe Nanou– Bewitching and romantic French Creperie that is open late, and won’t break the bank. Dinner served nightly, brunch on Sunday. Fairly casual. Reservations recommended.

Brigtsen’s– James Beard Award winner located in a quaint Creole cottage. A real locals’ spot that serves fantastic contemporary Creole cuisine. Frank Brigtsen, his wife Marna, and her sisters staff the restaurant, and they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. It also helps that food and ambiance are great! Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Clancy’s– You are truly “in the know” if you are familiar with this Uptown stalwart. A real “locals’ destination” serving exceptional contemporary Creole cuisine. To some the atmosphere is a little lacking, but Clancy’s has loads of character and great food too. Dinner Monday through Saturday and lunch on Thursdays and Fridays. Dressier attire, but not formal. Reservations recommended.

Bistro Daisy– Housed in a converted New Orleans “shotgun” cottage, this charming restaurant serves gourmet American cuisine and proves a “lighter” option for diners. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Dressy Casual. Reservations recommended.

Delmonico– This Emeril Lagasse establishment serves excellent contemporary Creole cuisine and house-aged steaks, and is in our opinion his best restaurant in New Orleans. Request to be seated in the gorgeous upstairs dining room. Dinner served nightly, lunch on Fridays. Dressy, but not formal. Reservations recommended.

Carrollton Market– Lovely, intimate restaurant, serving imaginative and delicious Gourmet Southern/Contemporary Creole cuisine. Dinner served Tuesday through Saturday, lunch on Thursday and Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Dressy casual. Resrvations recommended, as this a small and popular spot.

Saffron NOLA– Upscale, hip Indian fusion restaurant that incorporates some Louisiana flourishes. James Beard-nominated, and very popular, but dining at the long bar is an option if you are unable to procure a table. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and lunch on Friday and Saturday. Dressy casual. Reservations highly recommended.

Saba– Meaning “Grandfather” in Hebrew, this is the new flagship for James Beard winning chef, Alon Shaya. The restaurant is bright and comfortable, and the menu is inventive. Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday, lunch Wednesday through Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations definitely recommended, but dining at the bar is also a good option.

DTB (Down the Bayou)– Innovative local cuisine in a gorgeous, yet casual setting is hard to beat. DTB consistently serves up outstanding, modern Cajun cuisine, and is a great place to go with a larger group. There are lots of small plate options on the menu for “tapas style” dining. Open Monday through Saturday for dinner, lunch served on Fridays, and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

St. James Cheese Company, Wayfare, Pizza Dominica, High Hat, Magasin, Sucré (gourmet sweets and gelatos), Theo’s Pizzeria, Sake Café, Baru, Mahoney’s Po’ Boys, Casamento’s (locals’ preferred oyster house, the “real” deal, closed in the off-season), Domilise’s Po’ Boys, Franky & Johnny’s (great for crawfish, when in season), Tartine, Pascal’s Manale (New Orleans BBQ shrimp, and great oyster bar are the main reasons to dine here), New York Pizza, Seed (vegan), Hansen’s Sno-Bliz (James Beard Award winning snow balls! Open seasonally), Superior Seafood, New Orleans Coffee & Beignets, Cowbell, Vincent’s, Cavan, Parran’s Po’ Boys, Picnic Provisions & Whiskey, Gris Gris, Turkey and the Wolf, Nomiya Ramen, Ancora, Bar Francis, Piccola Gelateria, Joey K’s, Stokehold at Port Orleans Brewery, Stein’s Deli, District Donuts, Luvi, Martin Wine Cellar & Deli, Bourrée at Boucherie, Surrey’s, Luvi, Dat Dog, Company Burger, The Vintage, Bearcat Café. 

Warehouse/Central Business District

August– Regarded by many (us included) to be the best restaurant in the city, every dish at this stunning, Contemporary French restaurant speaks “New Orleans.” After all, James Beard Award winning chef John Besh is a Louisiana boy, and August is the crown jewel of his various restaurants in town. Open nightly, lunch served on Fridays. Dressy. Reservations are a must (make these as early as possible).

Peche– Winner of two James Beard awards in 2014– including best new restaurant in the United States– Peche serves gourmet “Coastal” Louisiana cuisine, and specializes in whole fish presentations. A really attractive, yet informal space in which to dine. Nice big bar, if you don’t have a reservation. Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Herbsaint– Really lovely Nouvelle French restaurant just off of the streetcar line. If possible, avoid being seated in the back dining room. As with many restaurants in New Orleans, Herbsaint is small and can get loud. Serving dinner Monday through Saturday, lunch Monday through Friday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Borgne– A larger restaurant specializing in Coastal Louisiana cuisine. Features an excellent oyster bar, and serves our second favorite fried chicken in town. Very convenient if you plan on attending events in either the Super Dome or the New Orleans Arena. Open for dinner and lunch daily. Casual. Reservations recommended on the weekends, and on Saints’ game-days.

Cochon– The warm, yet contemporary atmosphere of this double James Beard winner perfectly complements the modern Cajun cuisine that they serve. Lots of small plate options for those that want to try a little of everything. Open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Saturday. Casual. Reservations highly recommended.

Tommy’s Cuisine– Think Northern Italian meets Louisiana Creole. Now that is a successful marriage! Tommy’s offers great oyster appetizers, some of the best turtle soup in town, and lots of fish, fowl and veal dishes. A nice “change of pace” option, but still a real New Orleans spot. Dinner served nightly. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Bon Ton Café– Historic restaurant serving authentic Cajun cuisine. Sadly there are very few great Cajun restaurants in town, but the Bon Ton is one of those few. Open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

La Boca– Argentinian steakhouse, and a true meat-lovers paradise. Open for dinner only, Monday through Saturday. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations typically recommended.

Emeril’s– Although we feel you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere, there is no denying that the Creole/Cajun fusion developed by Chef Lagasse and served here is hard to beat. Dinner served nightly, lunch Monday through Friday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Sac-a-Lait– Modern, Contemporary Cajun cuisine served in a lofted, stylish dining environment. Great for small or large groups of diners, but the warehouse building acoustics tend to make things a little loud in the restaurant; unfortunately, this is the norm in many New Orleans’ eateries, so don’t let that scare you away. The food is outstanding, fresh, and surprising, especially for adventurous diners that are unfamiliar with the finer side of Cajun cooking. They offer a very nice “raw bar,” but don’t miss their jalapeno-butter, char-grilled oysters– the best grilled oysters in the city, as far as we are concerned. Dinner served Tuesday through Saturday, and lunch on Fridays. Dressy casual. Reservations are a good idea.

Maypop— A real rising star, this upscale eatery serves Modern, Southeast Asian/American cuisine.  There is nothing else quite like it in the city, and for those seeking a nice change or pace, Maypop will prove a perfect choice.  Open for lunch and dinner every day.  Dressy casual.  Reservations recommended.

Compère Lapin— James Beard winning Caribbean Creole jewel in the CBD.  Strongly consider putting this one the “to do list,” even though it can get a little loud.  Open for dinner every night, lunch Monday through Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  Casual to dressy casual.  Reservations recommended.

Meril— A solid, lively Emeril Lagasse restaurant.  There is something for everyone on this menu, which ranges from Cajun to Creole to Italian, and beyond.  The chef may be trying to do a bit too much here, but impressive and tasty for the most part.  Open for lunch and dinner daily.  Fairly casual.  Reservations recommended.

Bon Ton Café— A CBD favorite amongst locals, serving excellent Cajun cuisine on red-checked table cloths in an upscale setting.  Open Monday through Friday only for lunch and dinner.  Dressy casual.  Reservations recommended.

Willa Jean– A John Besh’ partner restaurant offering iconic southern cuisine. This food will definitely stick to your ribs, but the menu offers a number of small plates and lighter-fare options. Incorporated into this warm, 80-seat restaurant is a fine bakery and pastry/coffee shop. A great stop for anyone heading to, or from a Saints’ game. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served daily. Casual to dressy casual. Reservations accepted.

Cochon Butcher, Auction House Market (upscale food court), The Daily Beet (vegetarian), Company Burger, Johnny Sanchez, Pythian Market (upscale food court).


French Quarter

R’evolution– Our current favorite in the Quarter, renowned local chef, John Folse, serves up incomparable Creole fusion cuisine at R’evolution. Request to be seated in the central dining area with the open kitchen. Dinner served nightly, lunch Wednesday through Friday, and jazz brunch on Sundays. Business casual. Reservations highly recommended (usually well in advance).

Pelican Club– Handsome, contemporary Creole restaurant tucked away off of an historic, cobblestone street. The walls are adorned with the paintings of prominent New Orleans’ artists, and the separate, long bar is a great place to dine if you don’t have a table. Serving dinner nightly. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Sylvain– The atmosphere in this unbelievably inexpensive eatery will transport you back in time. The affordable contemporary American cuisine is outstanding, plus the bartenders are very creative. Dinner nightly, lunch Fridays and Saturdays, brunch on Sundays. Casual attire. Sylvain is very small, so reservations during prime-time on Friday and Saturday nights are a good idea.

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen– Paul Prudhomme is, simply put, the granddaddy of gourmet Cajun food. The restaurant is beautiful, but no need to get too dressed up to dine with Chef Paul. Huge portions, so don’t fill up on the delicious home-made breads that precede the meal. The bar serves our favorite French Quarter cocktail, “The Back Porch.” Dinner served Monday through Saturday, limited lunch service served Thursday through Saturday. Casual to dressy casual (no hats). Reservations highly recommended.

Tableau– Sophisticated, French Creole cuisine with a twist. Located in the storied Le Petit Theatre, this restaurant serves as a living testament to the hey-day of New Orleans past. Dinner nightly and brunch on Sundays. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Mr. B’s Bistro– Serving the best New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp in town, this Creole fixture in the Quarter is always a great call for lunch, brunch or dinner. Mr. B’s will never let you down. Dinner nightly, lunch Monday through Saturday, and jazz brunch on Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Palace Café– A winsome relic of a bygone time, the Palace Café oozes New Orleans character. As with the atmosphere and décor, the French Creole food served here gives diners a taste of New Orleans’ rich past. Dinner nightly, lunch served Monday through Saturday, brunch on Sundays. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Kingfish– Offering the ambience and flavor that one would hope for in a French Quarter restaurant, the Kingfish serves lauded, contemporary Creole cuisine and creative cocktails. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Doris Metropolitan– This restaurant may feel as though it is better suited to the sophisticated streets of New York City, but boy are we glad that it is in New Orleans instead. Serving delicious, dry-aged beef cuts, along with unique and surprising dishes from exotic locales, Doris is not like any restaurant you have ever experienced. Dinner served nightly, lunch on Friday through Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Galatoire’s– Our absolute favorite for “Old School” French Creole food in the Quarter. What’s not to like here? At Galatoire’s, the word “tradition” means everything. Just make sure you have an empty stomach and three hours to spare before dining here. Locals’ preferred dining takes place on the first floor. Serving lunch and dinner every day except Monday. Business casual at lunch, jacket required for gentlemen for dinner. Reservations now accepted (and recommended).

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse– If there is such a thing as a New Orleans Steakhouse, Dickie Brennan’s is the epitome of it. This gorgeous restaurant serves traditional steaks, but does not skimp on New Orleans’ flair. Dinner nightly, lunch Monday through Friday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Eat– This is another one of those places for those “in the know.” Eat specializes in gourmet Southern cuisine, particularly Southern Louisiana cuisine. This is a “real” New Orleans restaurant that is just as popular with the residents as it is with the visitors, and there aren’t too many of those in the Quarter. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, lunch Tuesday through Friday, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Casual. Reservations accepted for dinner only.

Italian Barrel– Tiny, traditional Italian restaurant on the edge of the Quarter. The food here is truly exceptional, and when dining, you tend to forget that you are in New Orleans. Serving lunch and dinner 7-days a week. Casual attire, but no sleeveless shirts or “flip-flops.” Reservations a must for dinner.

Muriel’s– Fine Creole dining in a beautiful setting right on Jackson Square. Not only is Muriel’s a great old New Orleans restaurant, it is also haunted! So whatever you do, don’t sit at the table set nightly for the resident spirit. Dinner nightly, lunch Monday through Saturday, jazz brunch on Sundays. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

G.W. Fins– An attractive, large restaurant, serving seafood-focused, contemporary American food. Fins proves a nice change of pace from heavier counterparts, and it is one of the only places in town calling itself a “Seafood” restaurant that you can trust. Open for dinner nightly. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended.

Irene’s Cuisine– Worth considering if in the FQ, but we find her ex’s restaurant in the warehouse district to offer a bit better food, if not better atmosphere. Irene’s is still a fine choice for Italian cuisine with some local flourishes. Open for dinner every night except Sunday. Dressy casual. Reservations recommended, but even with a reservation you expect a wait on Fridays and Saturdays.

Brennan’s— After a number of jumps and starts, this elegant restaurant has finally regained its footing as one of the best.  Especially well known for breakfasts and brunches, but also great for an opulent, Classic Creole dinner.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.  Dressy casual (more formal for dinner).  Reservations highly recommended.

Green Goddess, Cane & Table, Coop’s Place (really just a bar that serves good Cajun food), Central Grocery (home of the Muffaletta sandwich), Stanley!, El Gato Negro (fresh Mexican food), Port of Call, Café du Monde, Café Amelie, Napoleon House, Killer Po’ Boys, Effervescence, Meauxbar Bistro.

Mid-City, Central City, Marigny & Bywater

Ralph’s on the Park– Perhaps one of the most romantic and magical places to dine in the city, Ralph’s serves exquisite French Creole food with quiet aplomb. The large bar is also a great option for informal dining in a beautiful setting. Located just across the street from the Pizatti Gate of City Park, Ralph’s offers picture-perfect views of its surroundings (and sunsets) for diners and bar-goers alike. Dinner nightly, lunch Tuesday through Friday, and brunch on Sunday. Dressy, but no jacket required. Reservations recommended.

The Franklin– Tucked into the funky Bywater, The Franklin is quintessential “cool.” The food is exceptional, and the menu offers contemporary Creole/fusion options, as well as some fresh and modern French dishes. This is a “farm to table” restaurant, and their menu does change frequently. Open for dinner nightly. The Franklin is fairly casual, but small, so reservations are a good idea.

Mondo– Whereas Susan Spicer’s Bayona in the Quarter is somewhat of a faded rose, Mondo shines bright. James Beard Award winning chef Spicer creates casual, “global” cuisine, but with the ever-present influence and flavor of New Orleans on the plate. Dinner Monday through Saturday, lunch Monday through Friday, brunch on Sunday. Casual. Reservations for dinner or brunch recommended.

Bacchanal– Despite the self-described “Mediterranean Minimalist” cuisine served here, this restaurant is definitely one of those “only in New Orleans” places. It has a fiercely loyal, local clientele, but will prove a truly unique and memorable experience for visitors as well. This is one the only places around that offers live music at night, but also serves great food. Walk through their excellent wine shop, grab a bottle, seek out a table in the lovely outdoor courtyard, then settle in for the evening. Casual. Open nightly, seven days a week. Be advised that they have a “21 and over only” policy and that seating is “first come, first served,” as they do not accept reservations.

Gabrielle— The beloved Gabrielle is back and better than ever!  This is our current favorite Contemporary Creole restaurant in the city.  What it lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for ten-fold with its food.  Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner only.  Dressy casual.  Reservations recommended.

Parkway Bakery & Tavern (po’ boys), Crabby Jack’s (excellent roast duck & cochon du’ lait po-boys), Katie’s, The Ruby Slipper, Liuzza’s by the Track, Toup’s Meatery (all in the name), Mariza, The Joint (BBQ), Elizabeth’s, Bacchanal (especially unique, locals’ spot), Angelo Brocato’s (Italian gelateria with the best, house-made cannoli in the in the South), Satsuma (two locations), Willie Mae’s Scotch House, Café Degas, Feelings, Three Muses, Dooky Chase, Kin, Brown Butter, Rosedale, Bywater American Bistro, Bao & Noodle, Red’s Chinese, St. Roch Market (local food court), Morning Call in City Park (beignets).