My Favorite New Orleans Bars and Restaurants
Going to New Orleans? You’re gonna need a plan.
Here’s a list of my favorite bars and restaurants to help you eat and drink your way throughout. Which is the only way to do New Orleans.
This list is not exhaustive. There are obviously more restaurants in New Orleans. But my stomach only has enough room for so much food [and bottomless cocktail] so I can’t review everything. This also isn’t a complete list of every New Orleans restaurant I’ve been to. Some didn’t make the cut. In lieu of trash talking them here, I’ve elected to only highlight those that are worth a visit.
Want to see ALL the locations on one Big map?
*I have not been to a few of these, but they came so highly recommended that I’ve added them for your benefit. These are denoted with an asterisk.
**Special thanks for my cousin Vinnie [not kidding] for originally sending me almost all of these recommendations.
My Perfect New Orleans Afternoon
The Sazerac Bar
Grab a drink or three here, the earlier the better as it can and will get crowded. It opens at 11am but won’t get crowded until 4 or 5, so you’ll have plenty of time to sleep in from whatever you got into the night prior. Or, if you were out really late, then come here to tie one on. When you’re done at Sazerac, take a lap around the inside of The Roosevelt Hotel. It’s beautiful, especially around Christmastime. Then head next door to…
For pizza, pasta, and a great wine menu. If you make it in time for happy hour—daily from 2pm to 6pm—you’ll be treated to half off their amazing pizzas. It’s worth it even if you miss happy hour though. The pizzas are some of the best I’ve ever had. And get the cauliflower. You need more veggies. Once you’ve had your fill here, head towards the river to…
Cafe du Monde
For beignets and coffee. Don’t wait for a table. No one will seat you. It’s seat yourself! Cash only [my nightmare] but worth it.
The Full List
Wiff and I go here several times whenever we’re in town. It’s one of our favorites. Italianish with a bit of mediterranean / Israeli influence. Pizza is awesome, cauliflower is incredible. Pastas are also fantastic. Wine list is great. HH is half-off pizzas.
Cafe du Monde
The later in the day you go, the better. Tourists think that beignets are like donuts, and thus only eat them for breakfast. So the lines can get pretty long during the day. Go later in the evening. Make it your last stop before turning in for the night. Do whatever you have to do to avoid long lines here. Beignets are good, but not wait-in-a-line good.
This is another one we visit every time we’re in town [we’re creatures of habit]. I ordered the hanger steak and a rum old fashioned the first time I dined at Herbsaint and it was so perfect I dragged Wiff here for dinner that night. We usually split several small plates for variety, but their mains are delicious. The restauranteur behind Herbsaint is Donald Link, one of apparently only two restauranteurs in town.
Donald Link. Seafood focused. Very good.
Donald Link. 🐖-focused. Very good.
Donald Link. Italian focused. Pretty good. We went to here two weeks after they opened. The service was great. The food was okay. Don’t get the homemade mozzarella balls. They’re tiny and tasteless. The cheese bread was great, as were all the pastas we tasted.
Donald Link. Like Cochon, but it’s a walk up counter for take away service. I haven’t been, but have heard great things.
Southern-Asian fusion. One of the two or three New Orleans restaurants that isn’t a Donald Link joint. Wiff went here for a work lunch and raved about it. I definitely wasn’t not jealous that she went before me. Fried oysters are 👍.
Semi-trendy, good cocktails and everything from fried chicken (amazing) to gnocchi to a bolognese. Smaller spot with cool patio in back.
I haven’t been, but here’s a note from my cousin Vinnie [still not kidding], a Nola resident:
“Best new restaurant in America." Maybe overhyping a tad but the pita is so good it will ruin all other pita for u. A lot of small plates so fun to go with other people and order everything. Lamb entree is fantastic. Shaya is Alon Shaya's place, chef at Domenica. It's another Besh place.
Central Business District
This is a joint venture between John Besh (the “Johnny” half) and Aaron Sánchez (the Mexican half). Fantastic Mexican food. The best goat tacos I’ve ever had. [Also the only goat tacos I’ve ever had.]