Christy's Guide to New Orleans

Dine like a local

If your budget or expense account doesn't include Commander's Palace or Galatoire's, or you can't get a reservation for Emeril's, kick back in one of these neighborhood restaurants (but if it does then by all means go to these places!). To really sound like a local, be sure to order a regional beer, like Abita or NOLA. When you order a po'boy sandwich, you'll be asked "Do you want that dressed?" This means with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo.

One note... there are now MORE restaurants (not including chains) in operation in New Orleans than before Katrina. People here love their food and live to eat. There has also been an explosion of gelato and dessert places. I list them and other sweet places here.

French Quarter

  • ACME Oyster House, 724 Iberville Street, French Quarter. Serves up great oysters and yummy New Orleans favorites at a value price. If the line is too long and you just want to slurp down some raw oysters, go across the street to....

  • Felix's Oyster House, 739 Iberville Street, French Quarter. Belly up to the raw bar, tell the man how many you want and order a beer. While you wait, grab the catchup, horseradish and hot sauce and mix up your our cocktail sauce.

  • Coop's Place, 1009 Decatur Street, French Quarter. All the New Orleans favorites (gumbo, jambalaya, etc.) in a funky neighborhood joint.

  • Clover Grill, 900 Bourbon Street, French Quarter. For a burger or breakfast at 3:00 a.m. or at any hour.

  • Central Grocery, 923 Decatur Street, French Quarter. Home of the muffuletta sandwich: soft round loaf of bread stuffed with ham, salami and mozzarella, topped with a chopped olive salad. Split one with a friend or two, grab a handful of napkins and a beer, and have a picnic in Jackson Square.

  • Port of Call - 838 Esplanade Ave. They serve amazing burgers almost as big as your head. It's a funky neighborhood joint and burgers come with a baked potato, no fries. Burgers tend to be under cooked so I usually order mine medium to get medium rare. Another hint, I order my burger and potato toppings on the side because you get more that way. The Monsoon is their signature drink. Be careful, they pack a whollop!

CBD (Central Business District/Arts District/Warehouse District)

  • Grand Isle Restaurant - 575 Convention Center Blvd. Located in the Fulton Avenue entertainment complex of Harrah's Casino this is one of my new favorite seafood restaurants. Great cocktails and raw bar too. A casual, relaxed atmosphere.

  • Peche Seafood Grill- 800 Magazine Street. A newer restaurant that has been winning awards and has become very popular. Dressy casual atmosphere in a renovated warehouse.

  • Cochon Restaurant & Butcher - 930 Tchoupitoulas St. A fantastic Cajun and Southern cuisine. It's gotten very popular and reservations fill up quickly. If you can't get in, you can go around the corner to their "butcher shop" for sandwiches and other yummy fare.

Uptown

  • Atchafalaya, 901 Louisiana Avenue, Garden District. Contemporary Creole cuisine. Check out their weekend brunch (Sat. - Mon.) with live music and Bloody Mary bar. Be sure to make reservations because this place always is packed. With good reason. (Magazine Street bus stop: Louisiana.)

  • Casamento's Restaurant - 4330 Magazine Street. (504) 895-9761 - Oysters all ways and only open during oyster season. Cash only. (Magazine Street bus stop: Napoleon)

  • Mahony's Po-Boy Shop, 3454 Magazine Street. This place has really gotten popular, with a line out the door at lunch. But all they do is po-Boys and they do them very well.

  • Ignatius Eatery. 3121 Magazine Street. (504) 896-2225. Named after the character in John Kennedy Toole novel A Confederacy of Dunces, this casual restaurant does all the New Orleans staples - red beans, gumbo, etc. - really well.
  • Joey K's - 3001 Magazine St. (504) 891-0997 -Typical neighborhood place with typical New Orleans fare. Very casual. Great daily specials and fried stuff. To really sound like a local, order the Trout Tchoupitoulas (chop-itoolis), trout pan friend and topped with crab. Avoid the salads.

  • Tracey's Irish Channel Bar - 2604 Magazine St. A great neighborhood bar that serve excellent food: po-boys, sandwiches and daily specials. If there's a sports game on you want to see, they will probably have it on one of their 18 TVs.
  • Jaques-Imo's Café, 8324 Oak Street, Carrollton. A bit more expensive than the others listed here. It has become very popular with both locals and tourist (reservations accepted only for parties over 5). The atmosphere is casual and fun and the food is to die for (and might kill you if you ate it every day). It is a decadent, culinary delight of Creole and Southern delicacies. Home of the battered, deep-fried, roast beef po'boy and the shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake. Excellent New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp as well. (St Charles streetcar stop: Oak Street)
    The lunch-only sister to Jaques-Imo's is Crabby Jack's, 428 Jefferson Hwy. Just across the Parish line in Jefferson Parish, the most amazing po-boy's and killer fried chicken. Nothing fancy looking but very good.

  • Cafe Reconcile, 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Central City (Lunch only). A cafe with a conscious. They take at-risk youth and train them how to work in a restaurant and make a better life for themselves. Located in Central City, a neighborhood struggling to come back, the food is wonderful and the prices easy on the wallet. Southern/Soul/New Orleans cuisine. Locals call the street OC Haley and it's starting to have a renaissance!
  • High-Hat Cafe - 4500 Freret Street. A casual neighborhood place, serving "food from the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana. " Catfish is their specialty and is served with house-made pickles.

  • The Company Burger - 4600 Freret St. Freret Street has gone through a renaissance and now has a ton of great restaurants. There's also been an explosion of burger places. This burger is tied with Port of Call as my favorite burger. Their burger is very different than Port of Call. Cooked to perfection and well season. Make sure to check out the mayo bar. Yummy sides too, like tots, onion rings and sweet potato fries. Good selection of beers and wine too. They also have a lamb burger and a turkey burger.

  • Frankie & Johnny's - 321 Arabella St. Also a casual neighborhood joint that serves great seafood and other local delicacies. They have boiled crawfish, shrimp and excellent raw oysters when in season.

  • Superior Seafood - 4338 St. Charles Avenue. Seafood prepared a wide variety of ways, not just fried, and a raw bar.

  • Pascal's Manale- 1838 Napoleon Ave. If you just want to slurp down a few raw oysters, then just belly up to raw bar after you grab a beer. If you want to try Barbecue Shrimp (shrimp cooked in butter, garlic and herbs - so good) this is the place to go.

Mid-City

  • Mandina's, 3800 Canal Street. Italian and Creole-style cuisine. Try the turtle soup, trout meuniere or any other the other seafood dishes. Cash only. (Canal Streetcar).

  • Parkway Bakery & Tavern, 538 Hagan Avenue. Po boys all ways. Order at the window. If the weather is nice you can sit outdoors at a picnic table or carry your po-boy and sit by Bayou St. John. (Canal Streetcar)

  • Milkfish- 125 N Carrollton Ave. OK not New Orleans cuisine, but Philipine ("East Asian Soul Food") and oh so good. When I travel I like to try other countries' cuisines that I can't get at home so there you go.

  • Toups Meatery - 845 N Carrollton Ave. A meatery is just what you would think it is. Even better is a Cajun meatery. Even their Manhattan cocktail has a meat garnish. Order the Deveiled eggs and cracklins. You'll thank me.

Other cuisine:

  • Taquaria Corona - cheap, fresh and deeelicious. Uptown - 5932 Magazine St (near State St)

  • Juan's Flying Burrito - also cheap and delicious. Funky atmosphere, great margaritas. 2018 Magazine St. (lower Garden District)and 4724 S Carrollton Ave (Mid-city at Canal).

  • Middle Eastern - Mona's Cafe- once again, cheap and delicious. BYOB. 3 locations:
    4126 Magazine St (near Napoleon Ave)
    Mid-city - 3901 Banks Street
    French Quarter - 504 Frenchman St. (across Esplanade St from the French Quarter)

  • Indian - Nirvana - 4308 Magazine Street (one block east of Napoleon Ave.) Excellent all you can eat lunch buffet.

  • Irish - The Irish House Pub and Restaurant - 1432 St. Charles Ave. A recent addition to the Avenue. An Irish gastropub with both fine dining as well as a pub menu with fish n chips, mangers and mash, etc. Live music at times and a very delicious breakfast. This isn't some Irish themed chain, this is a real pub run by a real Irishman, Chef Matt Murphy, who has cooked at some of the finest restaurants in the world.

  • Hotdogs - Dat Dog - 5030 Freret Street ; 3336 Magazine St.; 601 Frenchmen St. Dat Dog opened up about a year ago on Freret Street and was an instant hit. There was always a line out the door (granted the place was tiny). They have since moved across the street into a much larger location, in a renovated gas station and now a2 more locations. They have great outdoor seating, good beer selection and dogs including, brats, alligator and crawfish sausage and lots of other good stuff.

  • Sushi
    Kyoto - 4920 Prytania (cross street - Robert, off of St. Charles) My favorite. Try their "Who Dat?!" roll or Poke Salad. They are surprisingly kid friendly.
    Sake Cafe - 4126 Magazine Street - (504) 897-0054 - very swanky and hip

  • Pizza places
    Louisiana Pizza Kitchen - 615 Carrollton (at St.Charles-Riverbend)and 95 French Market Place (French Quarter)
    Reginelli's Pizzeria
    - 741 State St. 899-1414 (Uptown); 3244 Magazine St. 895-7272 (Garden District)
    Slice - 1513 St. Charles Ave. 525-7437 & 5538 Magazine St. - great wine selection for a casual place.
    Theo's Pizza - 4218 Magazine St. 894-8554 (near Napoleon Ave.-Uptown); 4024 Canal St. (Mid-City)
    Ancora - 4508 Freret Street - Uber gourmet pizza topped with their house-made salumi. One time I was there they had buffalo mozzarella that had been flown in from Italy earlier that day. Pizza oven was hand made for them in Naples, Italy and it's a work of art. Exceptional wine selections, all Italian. Not cheap but oh so good.
    Midway Pizza - 4725 Freret Street. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza in New Orleans. 'Nuff said.

  • Barbque
    Saucy's BBQ - 4200 Magazine St. BBQ places have been popping up all over lately. This is one of my favs. I highly recommend their ribs, beans and baked macaroni. BYOB
    McClure's - 4800 Magazine St. Just down the street from Saucy's. I recommend the pulled pork or brisket plate or sandwich, 4-cheese macaroni and greens. They excel in BBQ sauces with 6 to choose from. They have also opened up a smaller operation with a limited menu in the NOLA Brewing Tap Room at 3001 Tchoupitoulas St.

  • Inexpensive French
    La Madeleine Cafe - Riverbend - 601 Carrollton (at St. Charles)

  • Expensive French
    Cafe Degas - 3127 Esplanade Av (Mid-City)- reservations (504) 945-5635 Almost like eating al fresco. The dining room is practically a huge deck with a tin roof. When the weather's nice it totally open. But even when the weather's not nice they keep it comfortable and it's very romantic when it's raining.
    Lilette Restaurant - 3637 Magazine St. (Uptown) (504) 895-1636 Tres cher
    La Crepe Nanou - 1410 Robert Street @ Prytania Street (Uptown)- (504) 899-2670 - French Bistro. Be prepared to wait, they don't take reservations. But it's worth it and you can stand outside with a glass of wine while you wait. Very cozy and charming with great food.

  • Italian
    Vincent's Italian Cuisine - 7839 Saint Charles Ave - 504-866-9313 Great service, food and atmosphere. Italian food in New Orleans is infused with a Creole twist and plenty of seafood. Now that's amore! Call for reservations.

  • Tapas
    RioMar -
    800 S. Peters (Warehouse/Arts District). 525-3474. Spanish. Amazing food and awesome tapas and incredible seafood.
    Mimi's In the Marigny - 2601 Royal St. The Marigny is in the part of town east of the French Quarter on the other side of Esplanade Avenue. Upstairs are amazing (and affordable) tapas and great wines. They also have live music and DJs and is quiet the scene after dinner.

  • Breakfast
    Slim Goody's 3322 block Magazine (Uptown) - Breakfast and lunch only. Diner. Cash only.
    Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar, 1418 Magazine St. 504-524-3828 (Uptown) - breakfast, fresh juices
    Gott Gourmet 4409 Magazine Street - weekends only. Lunch and Dinner weekdays.
    Coulis - 3625 Prytania St. A great breakfast and brunch spot. It's also a vegetarian & vegan restaurant but they do serve meat.
  • If you are craving some really good, artisan cheese, St. James Cheese Company - 5004 Prytania (Uptown) 899-4737 - is the place to go. Grab a bottle of wine at the shop next door to wash the cheese and bread down.

This list is my no means exhaustive, and are mostly the places I eat at with some frequency. Food critic Tom Fitzmorris has a web site devoted to food and restaurants. He's been cataloging and rating restaurants that have (re)opened after Katrina. He also has The Food Show 3-6pm weekdays on 1350AM and Noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on WWL 870 AM/WWL-FM 105.3 where he talks about food and only food.

Christy's Guide to New Orleans

Overview, weather, getting around, etc. | City regions defined | Fun stuff | Art and culture | The dark side | Kids and kids at heart | Dine like a local | Bars and clubs | Live music | For java heads | For the sweet tooth | For dogs and their owners

Updated: July 4, 2015