In a food-rich city like New Orleans, you’re as likely to have a memorable meal at a white-linen restaurant as the neighborhood po-boy joint (and these days, your nearest gastropub as well). With an eye on what’s new – and a few classics in the mix – here’s where we’re eating.
Tartine. This Uptown cottage has redefined breakfast for locals, who now consider the soft set egg in a cozy round of buttery brioche the only way to wake up. For lunch, the bistro serves up its namesake open-faced sandwich on house-baked bread and loaded with thick slices of pâté or pork rillette, each brightened with either softly tangy mustard or onion marmalade. Chef Cara Benson rotates the rustic specials, usually anchored with pastry, like carrot-raisin scones, puffy quiche studded with shrimp and Cajun sausage, and a custard-bottomed apple tart.
7217 Perrier Street, 504.866.4860, www.tartineneworleans.com
Bar Tonique. With owner Ed Diaz’s affinity for vintage cocktails, as well as a wide variety of original recipes, this is where drinks enthusiasts meet. Bar Tonique also makes good use of many revived spirits, like the spicy, centuries-old Batavia Arrack rum, as well as Pierre Ferrand’s re-launch of its 1840-era Cognac, the base of the East India Cocktail.
820 North Rampart Street, 504.324.6045, http://bartonique.com
Ruby Slipper. Two locations serve up creative breakfasts through the lunch hour, including blackberry pancakes with lemon-honey whipped cream (in Mid-City) or a Benedict built from rosemary focaccia, corned beef hash, poached eggs and a tomato Hollandaise (in the CBD). If you’re craving lunch, try the grilled Swiss and tomato on brioche, and ask for a side of sweet potato fries, which come with housemade Creole tomato dip.
200 Magazine Street, 504.525.9355
139 South Cortez Street, 504.309.5531
Ralph’s on the Park. A seat on the balcony, or even by a window, will get you one of the city’s prettiest views: the grand oak trees lining City Park. Inside, Chef Chip Flanagan has a way with delicate dishes, like the appetizer that presents tuna tartare, plus pepper-seared tuna with crème fraîche; another plate features a beautifully assembled Napoleon of Israeli couscous, fresh corn and lump crabmeat tossed in ravigote sauce. Eating a light dinner will pay off later, when you order the indulgent peanut butter semifreddo, fashioned after a Snicker’s bar.
900 City Park Avenue, 504.488.1000, www.ralphsonthepark.com
Bouligny Tavern. This chic wine bar has a simple, fine menu of small plates that include puffy cheese Gougères, Kobe beef sausages wrapped in puff pastry, caviar with potato chips, and bruschetta topped with your choice of luxurious beef marrow, burrata cheese, or white bean pesto. Make your dessert a cocktail – the “Dragon Milk Punch” is based on bracing Indonesian rum, and coconut milk makes it frothy.
3641 Magazine Street, 504.891.1810, www.boulignytavern.com
Shake Sugary. Pastry chef Dawn Snead has made a splash in the Marigny with her artisan cupcakes, pastries and sweet breads. She adds signature touches to her treats: fresh tarragon makes its way into chocolate shortbread cookies; jasmine green tea is paired with citrus in a quick bread; and the Hummingbird cake is composed of spiced banana, pineapple and pecan cakes, held together with ginger cream cheese frosting. An ever-expanding vegan menu includes muffins, sweet rolls and cookies.
3600 St. Claude Avenue, 504.355.9345, http://shakesugary.com
The Bombay Club. One of the Quarter’s swellest clubs, with romantic private booths, free nightly jazz, and an eye toward everything cocktail (the chilled shrimp is served with gin-spiked cocktail sauce, and in a martini glass.) To that end, Bombay Club boasts a sweeping original cocktail list, thanks to bar manager Cheryl Charming, who writes recipes with plenty of sex appeal and takes on the standards with style. If you’re truly hungry, order the 22-ounce ribeye, glistening with foiegras butter.
830 Conti Street, 504.586.0972, www.thebombayclub.com
Emeril’s New Orleans. The restaurant that launched Chef Emeril’s culinary empire is still turning out locally-sourced dishes (Gulf seafood, especially, makes it onto many dishes here). A standout dish is the pork chop, glazed with tamarind and served with sweet potatoes crackle-topped with baked brown sugar. Thoughtful extras, like the sweet corn muffins and free valet parking, make dining here a special experience, and the lush banana cream pie is legendary.
800 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504.528.9393, www.emerils.com
Company Burger. Your childhood favorite, American cheese, tops exquisite burgers crafted by Chef Adam Biderman, who’s created a cozy joint (now with free Wi-Fi, which attracts worker bees all afternoon). The bread & butter pickles are housemade, as are the tomato jam and green goddess dressing cradling an impossibly moist turkey burger. The pork belly corndog is another must-try; pair it with the wispy battered onion rings and one of the joint’s cocktails, like the Company Buck (grapefruit juice, lime and Old New Orleans rum).
4600 Freret Street, 504.267.0320, www.thecompanyburger.com
Coquette. The ever-changing menu tweaks modern European dishes: cucumber is the base of its gazpacho, fried squash blossoms are stuffed with boudin, and the Tunisian spice harissa flavors not a traditional goat or lamb, but rather cavatelli pasta (paired with sea scallops). Your best bargain is the tasting menu (at dinner, four courses runs $45). Pair that with wine, or choose a cocktail from an imaginative list of originals (one to try: the lovely, honey-touched Birds and the Bees).
2800 Magazine Street, 504.265.0421, www.coquette-nola.com
Cochon. The most exotic dishes are the often most rustic, as delighted diners find in this renovated warehouse. Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski (both James Beard Award winners) draw on Cajun cuisine to serve up rich rabbit livers (sparked with pepper jelly), fried alligator with garlic-whipped aioli, and shaved hogs head cheese, refined with a tarragon vinaigrette. At the bar you’ll find a broad selection of moonshine.
930 Tchoupitoulas Street, 504.588.2123, www.cochonrestaurant.com
Blue Dot Donuts. All your fried-dough fantasies come true at this happy little joint on Canal Street. Launched by three NOPD cops (for real), Blue Dot has sunrise hours – needed to batter up, fry, and frost more than 50 kinds of doughnuts. Fan favorites include the maple-bacon Long John (peppered with bacon bits) and the red velvet; the dreamy peanut butter and jelly doughnut is fresh enough to double as lunch.
4301 Canal Street, 504.218.4866,www.bluedotdonuts.com
J’anitas on Rendon. In 2010, Craig and KimmieGiesecke brought their chicken-fried steak, comforting soups (herbed split pea is a favorite) and clever sandwiches (try the Duck With No Name, with wine-sautéed duck, horseradish aioli and cheddar) to the Broadmoor neighborhood. Next up is a seat at Grit’s Bar, where the J’anitas menu will offer new items like hash-brown potato nachos, topped with meat or black beans. We hope this new location continues to offer Nutellataquitos, a true guilty pleasure.
J’anitas at the Rendon Inn, 4501 Eve Street, 504.826.5605
J’anitas at Grit’s Bar, 530 Lyons Street, 504.899.9211
Parkway Bakery. This legendary Mid-City shop is where you fall in love with a po-boy and can expect to have it the same way every time you return. The fillings are almost endless, and include fried catfish, grilled alligator sausage, French fries, marinara-drenched meatballs, as well as a fresh take on a Caprese salad, with thick slices of tomato and mozzarella. Whatever you get, it’s on some of the city’s best French bread. And when the Lafitte bike trail is finished, Parkway will be only steps away – the perfect break for a hungry cyclist.
538 Hagan Avenue, 504.482.3047, www.parkwaybakeryandtavernnola.com
Lüke. Come hungry to Chef John Besh’sbrasserie, where the sandwiches are built thick and stuffed with ham and cheese (the fried egg is optional), and the choucroute plate is stacked high with smoked pork, bratwurst and tangled, housemade sauerkraut. For a lighter meal, pull up to the raw bar (come at happy hour for bargain prices on local oysters), or ask for a simple jar of pork rillette, which comes with spiced marmalade and grilled bread. Pair any meal with one of Lüke’s custom-brewed beers.
333 St. Charles Avenue, 504.378.2840, www.lukeneworleans.com
Avenue Pub. You’ll find your favorite beer from an infinite list of draft and bottled brews (local, and from all over the globe). The food is a cut above, too, like the chicken, cucumber and kiwi sandwich (the bread is slathered with cucumber cream cheese), as well asfried wontons filled with either red beans and rice, or jalapeño, cream cheese and bacon. Avenue Pub also carries an impressive offering of bourbons and whiskeys.
1732 St. Charles Avenue, 504.586.9243, http://avenuepub.com
High Hat Café. Part of Freret Street’s comeback, this stylish Southern diner is also one of Chef Adolfo Garcia’s latest ventures. With Chef Jeremy Wolgamott at the helm, the kitchen reliably turns out authentic pimiento cheese (cheekily paired with raw veggies), boudin, fried catfish, and tamales sourced from a Mississippi artisan. Check in for daily pie specials, all scratch-made and luscious. Also worth trying are hot grilled doughnuts with melting, local-made ice cream.
4500 Freret Street, 504.754.1336, http://highhatcafe.com
Sylvain. A nod to old-world New Orleans and one of the coolest places in the French Quarter, Sylvain offers a steady menu of upscale bar food. This high-low concept makes up the appetizer of VeuveClicquot and hand-cut fries, as well as the rustic antipasti (with a pickled farm egg), rugged sheets of housemade pasta with Bolognese sauce, and braised beef cheeks with whipped potatoes. The cocktail list changes often and is always worth sampling.
625 Chartres Street, 504.265.8123, www.sylvainnola.com
Ste. Marie. This chic French restaurant, on the revitalized lakeside of Poydras Street, stocks a broad list of bubbly that often makes it into their fresh, herb-filled cocktails, especially during brunch (think: Bellinis with seasonal juices). On weekends, get the luxuriousFrench toastcrafted from bioche and mascarpone; come Monday, you’ll want to try the rabbit ragu over housemade pasta, or crisp-seared gnocchi tossed with chopped cauliflower.
930 Poydras Street, 504.304.6988, www.stemarienola.com
Cure. This innovative cocktail bar also led the way to the Freret Street resurgence, and continues to craft seasonal, unique drinks and the small plates that go with them. An iron-packed plate of goat cheese dates with pancetta, bourbon-roasted nuts and creamy blue cheese makes a hearty snack, and Cure conjures Caribbean flavors with the chicken coconut curry meat pie, and sweet banana and black rice.
4905 Freret Street, 504.302.2357, http://curenola.com