Here's my comprehensive list of recommendations for all y'all coming down to the Big Easy!
To see the year in a life of a dietetic intern in New Orleans, check lavieliNOLAda.
NOLA foods to try:
- Red beans and rice - best comfort food ever, served everywhere on Mondays
- Jambalaya - chicken and sausage sauced up rice
- Gumbo - okra based seafood or chicken/andouille sausage stew with rice
- Char grilled oysters - grilled oysters topped with parmesan and butter
- Po-boys - french bread stuffed with fried seafood
- Beignets - fried dough topped with dusted sugar
- Shrimp Creole - shrimp in a tomato based sauce over rice
- BBQ shrimp - whole shrimp in a dark flavorful roux (best served w/ a rosemary biscuit!)
- Crawfish etouffee - a creamy crawfish stew over rice
- Boiled/fried seafood - shrimp/ crawfish/ crab/ oyster depending on season
- Blackened redfish - local gulf fish grilled with lots of peppery seasoning
- Muffaletta- a glorified Italian sub, note to New Yorkers: the bread to meat ratio is very high, so do not expect a deli style sandwich
NOLA cocktails to try:
Sazerac - absinthe
Ginger mint julep - whiskey
French 75 - champagne
Hurricane - rum
Bloody Mary - vodka
Pimm's cup - my favorite! spiced fruit liqueur
Local breweries/beers to try:
Abita - Amber, Purple Haze, strawberry (seasonal), Andygator
NOLA Brewing - Blonde, Hopitoulas (IPA)
Great Raft - Southern Drawl (blonde), Reasonably Corrupt (dark)
Covington - Pilsner
Explore the French Quarter!
- start at St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street and visit Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau’s grave
- go into all the antique shops on Royal Street
- get a drink at the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street
- try all the different praline companies (especially Southern Candymakers or Loretta’s)
- enjoy and support at local art and artists around Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral
- visit Faulkner’s house/bookstore in Pirate’s Alley
- get beignets and cafe au laits at Cafe du Monde
- walk along the Mississippi River
- listen to live jazz on Royal Street or in Jackson Square
- get a muffaletta sandwich from Central Grocery
- buy souvenirs at the French Market
- get a fresh fruit rum smoothie at Organic Banana or a frozen Irish coffee at Molly's
- make your way down the river to Crescent Park to catch the sunset
- Stanley’s - right by Jackson Square, one of my fave brunch places
- Court of Two Sisters - Bill’s favorite restaurant. They have a beautiful courtyard with live jazz (on weekends) and a buffet brunch
- Brennan’s - recently renovated old school restaurant famous for their eggs benedict and for inventing the banana foster’s
- Cafe Amelie - beautiful courtyard with modern New Orleans cuisine
- Green Goddess - outdoor seating in a charming alleyway, great sweet potato biscuits and vegetarian friendly
- Cafe Fleur de Lis - casual breakfast spot serving all the essentials with morning cocktails
- Camellia Grill - all counter seating serving eggs, thin waffles, giant pancakes and omelets, hashbrowns, pecan pie, and old school grill classics
- Acme Oyster House - I bring visitors here for the chargrilled oysters and the Peacemaker po-boy. Warning: there's always a long line.
- Royal House Oyster Bar - great for classic New Orleans seafood dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, oysters, and fried gator.
- Napoleon House - if you want a sit down place for a muffaletta, this is a great spot and it has some NOLA classics like red beans, and jambalaya.
- Mr. B’s Bistro - a nicer sit down restaurant with lots of great flavorful Creole food
- Central Grocery- the most famous muffaletta in town. Buy it here, enjoy it along the river or in Jackson Square
- Killer Po-boys - not your standard fried everything po-boy. The roasted sweet potato is vegetarian friendly and my top pick
- Coop's Place - also gets very crowded, but perfect for fried chicken + red beans.
- NOLA - Emeril's restaurant in the quarter. Modern menu with some of his classics
- Irene’s - for a classier, intimate, sit down Italian inspired dining experience
- GW Fins - one of the best modern fresh seafood restaurants in town
- Verti Marte - hot food display case and hot sandwiches, cash only. My favorite spot for shrimp creole and dirty rice in the city
- Clover Grill - 24 hr burger and breakfast joint. Hashbrowns well done, please!
- Buffa's - live jazz, serving everything from grits to gator balls
- Camellia Grill - pecan pie, old school grill classics
- St. Lawrence - gouda mac and cheese, frozen Pimm’s cups
Bourbon Street: public drinking is legal in New Orleans. Don't be shy to ask for a to-go cup!
- Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop - oldest building in the United States to be used as a bar
- Tropical Isle - hand grenades
- Daquiris, fish bowls
- Art Market (Thursday-Sunday nights from 7pm - 1am)
- Cafe Negril, Blue Nile, Maison, Vaso - my favorite live jazz bars
- American Aquatic Gardens - sitting right on the edge of Marigny, this garden store will blow your mind
Eating beyond the French Quarter:
- Willie Mae’s - yes, go for the unforgettable fried chicken.
- Luke - great oyster bar that you should definitely stop by if you like raw oysters. $0.75 oyster happy hour is between 3-6pm.
- Compere Lapin - if you appreciate good food, then you'll thoroughly enjoy Chef Nina Compton's Caribbean Creole cuisine
- Apolline - my favorite chargrilled oysters in town, classy intimate uptown restaurant
- Willa Jean’s - great place for breakfast/brunch with a bakery and buttery biscuits
- Bacchanal - Bywater wine garden with amazing cheese plates, live music
- Capdeville - truffle mac and cheese.
- Balise - great and easy escape from the French Quarter and traditional New Orleans / Louisiana food for brunch
- The Country Club - boozy brunch options in a beautiful Bywater house. Actual country club with optional day pool passes, drag brunches on some Saturdays.
- Emeril’s - get a taste of what Emeril’s all about with his bbq shrimp and truffle fried chicken
- Crabby Jack’s - my favorite spot for classic po-boys (fried shrimp + oysters)
- Blue Crab - lakefront seafood restaurant with boiled seafood, outdoor seating, and live band
- Mopho - Vietnamese fusion by City Park, get the wings and a snoball next door
- Elizabeth’s - Bywater brunch spot serving many eggs benedict variations, praline bacon, and sweet potato waffles
- St Roch's Market - Bywater food court with vendors serving everything ranging from tacos to raw oysters to Korean wings
|Can't go wrong with the fried chicken and red beans at Willie Mae's|
- Go on a swamp tour in the bayou to see the alligators
- Take the green street car up St. Charles Avenue to visit the lovely oaks at Audubon Park
- Go shopping/explore boutiques, antique shops, local bars and restaurants on Magazine Street
- Leave the city to visit Oak Alley and Laura Plantations
- Explore Jean Lafitte National Park by foot at the Barataria Preserve
- Take the red Cemeteries street car to City Park for canoeing, the botanical garden, Morning Call beignets, mini golf, and the sculpture garden
- If you like history, take the Creole Queen river cruise down the Mississippi to the Chalmette Battle Field
- Rent a bike and head towards Crescent Park for a perfect view of downtown New Orleans and the sunset