Taking a bite (
hah, see what I did there?) out of the local culture is all part of traveling. And when I say take a bite, I’m talking about language, customs, social norms, and more! But the BIGGEST bite you should take is out of the food, of course. With different flavors, aromas, spices, and main ingredients – food is at the heart of any culture. It says a lot about the climate of an area, comfort food for others, and the origins of recipes. New Orleans, a mix of European cultures, hints of finger licking goodness, and birthplace of jazz, packs the flavor in all of their food. It’s delicious, it’s filling, and it’s hearty. If you’re headed to New Orleans, here are a few places to feed your stomach and your soul!
Food for the social
Happy hour, y’all. I’m talking about happy your, cheap eats and great drinks, with even better people. Besides happy hour, for the cheap eats, good food in general will bring together a group of people. And in my family, we always say that if the table is quiet while you’re eating, it must mean the food is really good. Or, we’re all very hungry! If you’re looking for more social spots to enjoy with your friends in the Big Easy, these restaurants are great for the social atmosphere:
Located at: 1628 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
If you love oysters, head to the Blind Pelican. It is located near the Garden District, so closer to the city center. The place gets packed during happy hour and for good reason! Can you beat 25 cent raw oysters, with the purchase of a drink?! Each of us ordered a dozen for ourselves and a local brew. Even if you DON’T like oysters, this is a pretty great deal! If you want to try something a bit different, the Blind Pelican also offers chargrilled oysters which were delicious! I’ve never had them before and was a bit wary, but the sauce and spices they used made each bite packed with flavor. The chargrilled oysters are a bit more expensive, but definitely worth it to try.
The Camellia Grill (aka The Grill)
Located at: 540 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Camellia Grill serves up lots of chilli, an open atmosphere, and that good comfort food. This place is great to head to for brunch or an early lunch. When walking in, the grill is all pink, with an open kitchen, and a friendly diner feel. There aren’t any tables, just a curvy bar that separates you from the kitchen and servers. You could be seated next to your friends or strangers, but the great thing about the setting is that it invites conversation. I tried their chilli hotdog and it was delicious! I would definitely recommend their chilli cheese fries, the perfect comfort food. It leaves you feeling full and ready to take on the day!
Cafe Du Monde
Located at: 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
One of the most iconic places in New Orleans. If you didn’t eat a beignet while in New Orleans, were you really even there?! But in all seriousness, Cafe Du Monde has been running since 1862. They’re known for serving cafe au laits, warm and delicate beignets, and chicory coffee. I’m not sure why their coffee is so famous (
to be honest), but I do know that Vietnamese people love the coffee from Cafe Du Monde (at least my family). I remember seeing their cans of coffee in my house since I was a little girl. Head to the cafe for a quick afternoon snack before you continue all the sight seeing. It’s a great place to sit at small tables, cramped with your friends, and sharing in beignets dusted with powdered sugar. Chat, relax, and enjoy the powdered sugar that ends up all over yourselves!
Food for the romantics
Looking for the cuter places for something a bit more romantic? I gotchu! Although New Orleans is great for groups of friends, bachelorette and bachelor parties, or a girls getaway, it’s also great for the couple. And what better way to travel with your significant other than sharing the good food together! If you’re looking for restaurants to spend some quality time with your boo, these spots are fun and offer a great atmosphere:
Located at: 441 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
I’m not sure how we stumbled on this restaurant. Our group read lots of reviews and although Royal House always popped up as somewhere that we should eat at, we couldn’t decide. Thank tha lawd that we headed here to have dinner. It is an adorable restaurant, with two levels. I think the second level is much cuter, with balcony seating, and much quieter for those romantic moments. The food here is amazing and the service was even better! The windows were left open during the entire dinner service, which allowed us to listen to the street performers the entire time. If you’re headed here, try these dishes: shrimp & grits, snow crab legs (the SAUCE WAS AMAZING), seafood pescatore (with recommendations from our waiter to switch the marinara sauce to white scampi sauce). Royal House has some great food and the southern hospitality we’re all looking for.
Located at: 1235 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116
The French Market holds restaurants, stores, and a little market all in one. If you’re looking to buy hot sauce, you can buy it here! Want to grab something to drink? They’ve got you covered! Looking for something unique? The French Market has that, also! Take your time roaming through the different market and food stalls, taking in all of the trinkets and smells. You can pick a few different places to take a seat at and grab something to eat here, for a bit more casual dining. Afterwards, you can pick up where you left off and continue to peruse the market’s stands for jewelry, souvenirs, and more.
Mr. B’s Bistro
Located at: 201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Can it get more romantic than a jazz brunch? Mr. B’s offers a jazz brunch every Sunday! My recommendation is to make reservations, because the restaurant gets pretty crowded! Indulge in their bloody marys (which are made with their signature recipe) and pick one of their delicious appetizers to share. Each of their entrees infuse the smokey flavors of good southern style cooking. We ordered the: shrimp & grits, wagyu beef brisket & grits, and Mr. B’s barbecued shrimp. Each other their entrees are pretty filling, so if you can, try to save some room for dessert! Mr. B’s is a bit pricier than other restaurants we ate at, but for a great menu, hearty meal, and jazz brunch, it is worth it.
Food for the hungover
Of course y’all knew I had to include food for the party animals out there who end up drinking a bit more than expected. It’s alright, it’s New Orleans – I won’t tell! After a busy night on Bourbon Street and staying up into the wee hours of the morning, I’m sure we’re all looking for the greasy goodness. The stuff that fills our soul with warmth and leaves us satisfied and happy. These places are great for the hungover and maybe the
still drunk! It’s your call, but I won’t judge you for what happened on Bourbon Street (hehe).
Located at: 1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
I’d say Verti Marte is a hidden gem. The market and deli is open 24/7 and located right on the corner of Royal Street. If you want that finger licking good po’boy, skip every other recommendation you have and head straight to Verti Marte. Although we did order this after a few drinks, I wouldn’t be surprised that their po’boys are just as good sober as they are drunk. The great thing is that they deliver! They were the best po’boys I’d eaten the entire trip. Order yourself: fried shrimp, fried oyster and all that jazz. Each of these flavors are something special. Trust me, that hangover you thought you’d have in the morning? I’m pretty sure Verti Marte is the secret cure for that.
The Commander’s Palace
Located at: 1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to try the Commander’s Palace. But, from everything that I’ve read, this is one of the famous spots in the Garden District to have a Sunday Jazz Brunch. So maybe less for the hungover, but more for the people who got their
shit together! The Commander’s Palace is a bit nicer, so it is recommended to wear your Sunday’s best. The restaurant has been open since 1880!
Port of Call
Located at: 838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
If you’re hungover, a bit grumpy, and just need some greasy food, Port of Call is your place. Inside the restaurant, it is a bit small, but definitely a darker ambiance. They serve up some amazing burgers (that can actually be shared) with a side of baked potato. This dive has been here for about 50 years, so a local favorite! Their burgers are large, they offer a variety of specialty drinks, and their side of baked potato comes fully loaded if you want it to. That headache you’ve got? I’m sure this burger can cure it.
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It doesn’t matter what type of food you’re looking for, what your mood is, or who you’re with. The Big Easy has plenty of places to choose from! The creole, cajun, southern flavors all come together to give your tastebuds something to drool over. From social settings, date nights, or the lowly hungover mornings/afternoons, New Orleans has any type of food fare that will ease your hungry soul into contentment. Like I said before, follow the music, the pulse of New Orleans awakens you and the music is the sweet melody that guides you to your next food adventure.
What are some of your favorite restaurants to eat at in New Orleans?
What to wear in New Orleans:
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