When it comes to food, we are straight up spoiled. Chicago has hundreds upon hundreds of truly great restaurants and we take advantage of that every chance we get. Lucky for us, New Orleans had no shortage of fantastic restaurants in every shape, color, and size and it was nearly impossible to narrow down our choices for our 4 day visit. Thanks to the one-two punch of a sinus infection and stomach bug, I wasn’t feeling my best for most of the trip; although it may have slowed me down, it definitely didn’t stop me from getting my eat (and drink) on in NOLA!
I wasn’t feeling well and we had to cancel our Friday lunch reservation at August, but their prix fixe lunch special is too great of a secret not to mention. For $20.15 you get three courses at chef John Besh’s highly acclaimed flagship restaurant and that just can’t be beat.
Once you starting seeing powdered sugar lining the sidewalk, you’ll know you’re close to Café du Monde. Crowded and definitely a place some may consider a tourist trap, but their warm, sugary beignets are famous for a reason.
Just down the street from Café du Monde is Central Grocery, the spot where you can find their famed Muffuletta sandwich. I don’t even like olives, but I loved this sandwich. If the line is long at Café du Monde, send your traveling partner to Central Grocery to grab a sandwich for later while you wait.
A New Orleans institution. We stopped in for lunch and it was easily the most memorable meal of the trip. Along with their 25¢ martinis, we started with the Shrimp & Tasso Henican and the soup trio – both fantastic choices. Mike went with the Creole Cochon de Lait Cassoulet and it was delicious, but I think the NOLA BBQ Gulf Shrimp with goat cheese grits that I ordered was the best dish of the trip. Finishing off with their Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé, it was the perfect introduction to NOLA.
Reservations at Cochon are not easy to come by, so make sure you plan as far in advance as possible. If you do manage to snag a table, get ready for some amazing Cajun cooking! Donald Link does Southern right at this laid-back restaurant focusing on locally sourced pork, fresh produce and seafood with BIG flavors. The Wood-Fired Oysters with Chili Garlic Butter are a MUST-order, they are seriously amazing. The Fried Alligator and Fried Boudin were just ok for me but the Ham Hock with its deep, smokey flavor was fantastic. The Butterscotch Pudding was the perfect end to this wonderful meal.
The name says it all – Donuts, Sliders, and Brew (coffee) are what District is all about. We came here twice and if we would’ve stayed longer we would have been back again and again. If you’re feeling indulgent go for a Croquenut – District’s take on the Croque Monsieur with ham, Havarti, dijon, and béchamel packed inside a griddled donut!
La Petite Grocery is a charming neighborhood restaurant and it was the perfect spot for a quiet, special dinner on our last night in New Orleans. First of all – Crab Beignets. Oh yes, and they were every bit as rich an indulgent as you could imagine. We also loved the Steak Tartare and Gulf Shrimp special and the Bittersweet Chocolate Torte was a very satisfying choice for dessert.
You’ll see Poor Boys (or Po’ Boys) everywhere in New Orleans and Parkway supposedly has the best so we had to give them a try. This spot is definitely out of the way if you’re staying in or around the French Quarter but I will admit, their shrimp po’ boy was overflowing with crispy fried shrimp and pretty damn good. I’m no po’ boy expert, so I can’t say if you’d be able to find something similar a little closer to downtown, but if you’re up for a field trip then Parkway is worth a visit.
Another cancelled reservation that I was super bummed about, but I heard so many great things about Pêche that I had to mention it. This Seafood Grill by Donald Link will definitely be at the top of my list the next time we visit New Orleans.
Sunday Jazz Brunch is a big thing in New Orleans and R’evolution does it right in the French Quarter. Yet another reservation we missed, but from the looks of their Death by Gumbo, I’m sure this would be a great spot to spend a Sunday afternoon.
A last minute decision thanks to a Thrillist article, The Company Burger’s namesake burger was definitely worth a little detour. Simple in all its juicy, cheesy glory – this burger and those onion rings are a match made in heaven.
Located in the Hotel Modern, Tivoli & Lee is a great restaurant and the perfect place to grab brunch on the weekends. Not only do they have a killer Bloody Mary bar complete with cheese, bacon, sausage, and 3 varieties of homemade mixers, they also have Avocado Fries, a Fried Chicken Biscuit, Elvis French Toast, and a Sloppy General Benedict that will rock your world.
Definitely no-frills, but this pub is open 24-7-365 and they have an impressive line-up of craft beers.
Fantastic cocktail bar right next door to the Hotel Modern – their mystery punch in the large crystal bowl was surprisingly tasty!
Great selection of craft beers, cool patio, and dog-friendly.
Another fantastic cocktail bar – try the I’m Your Huckleberry or the Everybody Daylight.
This classy bar in the Hotel Monteleone actually rotates around the center like a carousel! Perfect spot to grab a Sazerac any time of the day.
If you can handle the craziness of Bourbon Street, The Funky Pirate is a great place to enjoy a little blues and a brightly colored frozen drink, if that’s your thing.
Supposedly the oldest structure used as a bar in the US and also supposedly haunted, it’s definitely worth a stop if you’re out on Bourbon Street.
Hurricanes and people watching on the Pat O’Brien’s patio is where it’s at! Usually crowded and always lively, you can’t help but have fun at this spot right off Bourbon Street.
If it isn’t already, Frenchmen Street should definitely be on your New Orleans radar. It’s the more mature version of Bourbon Street with live music in every bar and The Spotted Cat Music Club is a great place to start.