The Best Restaurants in New Orleans, From a Local
Updated: Mar 2
In New Orleans we LOVE food, talking about it, seeking out the best ingredients and especially dining out. Here are my best recommendations for where to eat from someone who has lived in or around New Orleans for over 40 years. While I was not born in New Orleans, I am definitely a local. When someone says, restaurants in New Orleans, my mind immediately goes to Commander’s Palace and Drago’s. My favorite restaurant in the world is Commander’s Palace. My favorite restaurant dish is Chargrilled Oysters from Drago’s.
A friend asked for some restaurant recommendations in New Orleans. I spent several hours culling through internet sites to develop a list of potential restaurants where I have never eaten, but I want to go. I have since spent some time eating my way through New Orleans in the post lockdown world. I have found some new favorites and I have continued my love affair with many of them. I have added three to my list. I did eat at one that was not on my list and I loved it!
My original list had 60 restaurants I wanted to try. Since writing this post, I have eaten at four of those, plus the one that was not on my list. All five were exceptional. I have revised the Never Eaten At List and added pictures of the ones where I did dine. Please leave me comments on your favorites and other recommendations on where to go.
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Ritz Carlton, New Orleans - Splurge Worthy
Roosevelt Hotel - Historic Luxury
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As I said, Commander’s Palace is my favorite restraint in the world. I first went there in 1979 when Paul Prudhomme was executive chef. We went for dinner before a dance when I was in college. While I do not remember the name of my date, I have never forgotten Commander’s Palace.
Our family has celebrated graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and even a baby shower there. We have lots of pictures of family members in the birthday chef 's hat. Above is our daughter celebrating her 35th Birthday in 2020. Below is a photograph of her celebrating her 16th Birthday in 2001.
Mother’s Day Brunch at Commander's Palace has been our tradition since 1989, when our daughter was three and Emeril Lagasse was executive chef. We had over 20 plus Mother’s Days, until Katrina struck. After the storm, the restaurant came back stronger and more beautiful than ever and we have enjoyed multiple Mother's Days in this beautiful restaurant.
One of my best memories of Commander’s Palace is celebrating a job promotion at the Chef’s table, in the kitchen. This was when Jamie Shannon was executive chef. What fun it was to watch the action in the kitchen, while enjoying all that delicious food. I am proud to have enjoyed a meal prepared by the brand new executive chef, Meg Bickford. I always recommend a splurge dinner at Commander’s Palace to any visitor to New Orleans. www.commanderspalace.com
The Mosquito Supper Club
The one restaurant I tried that was not on the list was The Mosquito Supper Club. I was absolutely blown away. The restaurant is in a small Creole cottage uptown. Tables for two and four tucked into corners of the porches, patios and small rooms of the cottage. The staff was attentive and charming, and owner/chef Melissa Martin stopped by each table.
This is a fixed menu restaurant that offers a seasonally based meal from the seafood and produce that is fresh at the moment. Melissa Martin shares many of her recipes in her beautifully written and photographed cookbook for which the restaurant is named, The Mosquito Supper. For visitors to New Orleans, a meal at The Mosquito Supper Club is an indulgent taste of life from the Louisiana waterways. To purchase her cookbook on Amazon, click here, The Mosquito Supper Club.
Vessel was on my top10 restaurants to try for lunch or dinner. I gathered my "Beach Girls" and headed to Mid City for brunch on the back patio. From the bottle service mimosas to the extensive craft cocktail list, from the Boudin Stuffed PorkTenderloin on the Eggs Benedict to the Vegetable Frittata topped with Goat Cheese, there was something for everyone. The main dining room is a renovated church with a long communal table down the middle. www.vesselnola.com
Top 10 Recommendations
Listed below are the revised top 10 restaurants I want to try for lunch or dinner in New Orleans. I noted the type of food, location and website so you could check out their menu. The ones with an asterisk only serve dinner.
Barrow Catfish www.barrowscatfish.com
Cajun West Bank
Compere Lapin www.comprelapin.com
Caribbean Warehouse District*
Modern Southern Garden District*
Modern French French Quarter
Eclectic Warehouse District
Paladar 511 www.paladar511.com
New Orleans Classics
New Orleans Uptown
GW Fins www.gwfins.com
Seafood French Quarter
La Petite Grocery www.lapetitegrocery.com
Modern French Uptown
My very most favorite place to get breakfast/brunch in New Orleans is The Ruby Slipper. There is nothing better than a Bloody Mary and eggs covered in hollandaise sauce on the morning after an evening in the French Quarter. I get the Peacemaker which allows me to choose two of their creative Benedicts. Another favorite is the Costa Rican. It is their version of Huevos Rancheros and one of the best I have ever eaten. www.therubyslippercafe.net
Saturday Brunch with the "Beach Girls" has become one my favorite activities. We marked Atchafalaya off my Never Eaten at List. The uniquely flavored Mimosas were a hit, especially the fall flavored cinnamon and clove. The free form Blue Crab Ravioli, swimming in a citrus beurre blanc sauce received high marks from everyone. We all shared bites of Crabcake Benedict, Duck and Fig Sweet Potato Hash and Pan Seared Rainbow Trout. We all agreed, it was a place we would like to return. www.atchafalayarestaurant.com
Top 10 Recommendations
Listed below are the revised top 10 restaurants I want to try for Brunch/Breakfast in New Orleans. I noted their location and website so you could check out their menu. Full disclosure, I have enjoyed Saba for dinner and loved it. The brunch menu looks so interesting, I put it on my list. In the post COVID world, some of these establishments have stopped serving Brunch. I have kept them on the list, because I would still like to try them. I think you will have an outstanding meal anytime of day at these restaurants.
Bywater American Grill www.bywateramericanbistro.com
Hippie Kitchen www.hknola.com
Jack Rose www.jackroserestaurant.com
Lil Dizzy’s Cafe www.lildizzyscafe.net
(lunch only) Treme
(dinner only) Mid City
Miss River www.missriver.com
Molly’s Rise & Shine www.mollysriseandshine.com
Satsuma Cafe www.satsumcafe.com
Willie Mae www.williemaesnola.com
(lunch only) Treme
Cocktails and Bites
I love oysters, raw, fried, grilled. I love oysters anyway I can get them. My very most favorite oyster dish is Chargrilled Oysters from Drago’s in Metairie. A dozen of those oysters and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and I am in heaven. www.dragosrestaurant.com
I am also a huge fan of sparkling wine from any country in the world. When I found Effervesce, a delightful Champagne Bar on Rampart St., I stopped looking for new places to sip. Shame on me. www.nolabubbles.com
Hot Tin and Cure were both on my Bars and Bites list. i am happy to report, I was wowed by Hot Tin and Cure. I look forward returning. Pictured to the left, a Miss Camille for me, AaCock n Bull for CaptK. Enjoyed on the patio at Cure. www.curenola.com
Sipping on a Ruby Slipper while enjoying the view at Hot Tin. www.hottinbar.com
Listed below are the revised top10 establishments I want to try for Cocktails and Bites in New Orleans. I noted their website so you could check out their menu. A cautionary note, my tastes run towards craft cocktails. I am not a beer drinker. All of these places have extensive craft cocktail menus.
Above The Grid - NOPSI Hotel www.nopsihotel.com
Alto - Ace Hotel www.acehotel.com
Bacchanal Wine & Spirits www.bacchanalwine.com
Bar Marilou www.barmarilou.com
Belle Epoque www.ruebourbon.com
Empire Bar - Broussards Restaurant www.broussards.com
Jewel of the South www.jewelofthesouth.com
Palm and Pine www.palmandpinenola.com
St. Germain www.saintgermainnola.com
New Orleans Classics
Pat O'Brien's www.patobriens.com
Bar Tonique www.bartonique.com
Chandelier Bar - World Trade Center www.fourseasons.com
Carousal Bar - Monteleone Hotel www.monteleone.com
The Davenport Lounge - Ritz Carlton www.ritzcarlton.com
French 75 - Arnaud's www.arnaudsrestaurant.com
The Sazerac Bar - Roosevelt Hotel www.hilton.com
So, that is the list of the top 30 best places in New Orleans where I have not eaten ... yet. If you have been to one, please leave a comment so the rest of us can gain from your knowledge. It you have a favorite that is not on my list, please leave it in the comments. Most of all, have fun sipping and tasting your way through my favorite city in the United States.
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