A good friend and I meet in New Orleans every year for a few days. We love a lot of things about the city: the music, the architecture, the people, the weather, and – of course – the food.
Oh my gosh, the food.
The first time we went to New Orleans, we spent hours researching which restaurants to try. We wanted to sample a mix of hidden hole-in-the wall gems, off-the-beaten-path local spots, and can’t-miss big name sensations. We planned breakfast, lunch, and dinner for four days.
If you’ve ever been to New Orleans, I’m sure you are shaking your head at our rookie mistake. Eating a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this town is a feat not for the faint of heart. After just one day of our over-the-top eating; we quickly realized that two meals a day, New Orleans-style, was more than enough for us. However, narrowing down our choices was a challenge; there are so many incredible options that it is tough to choose.
With that in mind, here is a starter list of places that are not to be missed…just to whet your appetite
Elizabeth’s. Praline bacon is the star attraction here, but the rest of the menu definitely deserves some love as well. Try the redneck eggs (fried green tomatoes topped with poached eggs and hollandaise), or the bananas foster stuffed french toast. If you’re a fan of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, you may already be familiar with Elizabeth’s, as it was recently featured on the show.
Ruby Slipper Cafe in the Marigny. The eggs cochon (a pair of poached eggs over apple-braised pork “debris” and on an open-faced buttermilk biscuit, finished with Hollandaise) is possibly one of the best breakfasts I have ever had.
Po’Boy Sandwiches at the Parkway Bakery. ‘Nuff said: this place is famous for a reason. Standouts here include the roast beef, fried shrimp, and fried catfish.
Lil Dizzy’s for fried chicken and gumbo. This neighborhood joint features seriously mouthwatering creole/soul food. The fried chicken here is arguably the best in the world. They’ve got a secret recipe and also a multi-step preparation process…if you ask nicely, they might tell you about both. However, be forewarned: this food is so good that you might not be able to speak or think.
Meauxbar Bistro. Off the beaten track, frequented by foodies, locals, and those “in the know,” Meauxbar is an interesting and delicious blend of French, Italian, Lousiana and Asian cuisines. We tried the ginger crawfish dumplings, beet ricotta ravioli, spaghetti bolognese, and poisson en papillote “Cantonese”: all were outstanding.
Mr. B’s. Once we found this spot, there was no going back. Now we must eat here each time we’re in town, and we dream about it once we leave. The BBQ shrimp is that good. The menu describes it as “gulf shrimp barbequed New Orleans style, served in the shells with peppery butter sauce and French bread for dipping.” We describe it as delicious, and can’t get enough.
Bar Tonique. The phrase “craft cocktail” does not even begin to describe the magic these people work behind the bar. The menu is divided into sections based on ingredients and taste: True Cocktails, Sours, Slings, Punches, Succulents, Coolers, Ensembles, and Possets. The bartender can also create a personal cocktail for you based on your preferences; if you know what you like, this can be a knock-your-socks-off move.
Bar R’evolution. Want amazing bar snacks along with a vintage cocktail? This is a great place to savor a delicious drink and some seriously gourmet food. Case in point: their version of pork and beans involves braised pork shank, macque choux crepes, baked beans, and root beer barbeque.
Meltdown. If you’re in New Orleans in the summer, you need to know about this French Quarter oasis. It’s a family-run popsicle shop featuring flavors such as salted caramel, lavender blueberry, coconut basil, and avocado. Just the thing for a hot, sticky day in the city.
Angelo Brocato. Um, yum. Gelato and cannoli that are so good, you will involuntarily close your eyes when you taste them.
I know that there are dozens and dozens of other amazing, incredible, can’t-miss places that I’ve left off the list. These are just a few of my favorites. If you’re headed to New Orleans, I hope that you enjoy them as well. And please tell Brian at Mr. B’s that I said hello.
Kendra Collins is a luxury bargain hunter and an avid points and miles collector with a lot of stories to tell. She chronicles her adventures and details her finds on her blog, Points and Pixie Dust.