Way down yonder in New Orleans, you'll find the roots of jazz and a blossoming culture that is unlike anything else on Earth. Here, the laid-back atmosphere of the riverfront South has mixed with French sophistication, Spanish style, and African-American energy to create something greater than the sum of its parts. Though hit hard by Katrina, "Nawlins" remains the largest city in Louisiana and one of the top tourist destinations in the United States.
"Laissez les bons temps rouler" is what they say here in the Big Easy, and you too can "let the good times roll" with a cool stroll down Bourbon Street, a hot Dixieland band, and even hotter Creole cuisine. Mardi Gras may be the city's calling card, but that's just one day out of the hot and muggy year in New Orleans.
Go ahead, take a riverboat down the Mississippi, munch on some beignets, and watch the Saints go marchin' in. But when it's time to leave, you, too, will know what it means to miss New Orleans.
Places to Eat
Here are some of the areas with interesting places to eat.
- Morning Call - One of the most picturesque spots in the city, Morning Call is nestled in City Park under the shade of oaks as it overlooks the bayous in the park. It's a spot for cafe au lait, beignets, jambalaya, and gumbo, but its most famous for its giant Hamburgers. Plus, it's open 24 hours.
- Galatoires - This jackets-required grand dame of Bourbon Street is renowned for its festive Friday lunch (prepare to stand in line and have a ball), but the 112-year-old restaurant also serves its incredible shrimp remoulade and pompano with crab meat for those in search of dinner that's as old school Nola as it comes. Don't bother looking at the menu. Just ask your waiter what to order.
- Commander's Palace- Home of the famous $0.25 (Yes, you read that right, 25 cent) martinis for weekday lunch (limit 3).The family behind this six-time James Beard Award-winning restaurant opened the joint in 1893. The convivial Garden District grand dame, where each table is topped with balloons and the hospitality sets the bar for every restaurant everywhere. The kitchen has made its mark as well, incubating hallmark chefs like Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme. Executive Chef Tory McPhail's "haute Creole cuisine" is impressive, but the hospitality and the atmosphere is where the charm and whimsy resides. Commander's invented the jazz brunch, and the bright blue restaurant sits in a Victorian-era mansion across from a typical raised-tomb, New Orleans graveyard, demonstrating the New Orleans attitude of decadence and fun in spite of it all.
- The Delachaise - Though it’s primarily a wine bar, The Delachaise has small plates and snacks that are filling enough to have for dinner, and perfect for snacking on with friends, inside or on the front patio overlooking St. Charles Avenue. Whatever you do, get an order of duck fat fries with malt vinegar aioli for the table.
- Coquette - Known for special dinners, excellent brunch, and whisky, the kitchen churns out everything from fancy-pants fried chicken and dry aged duck cabbage with lemon and puffed farro to okra done in a Mexican street corn style in two-story restaurant filled with warm wood and exposed brick on a corner of bustling Magazine Street. Be on the lookout for special dinners, like Fried Chicken and Champagne.
- La Petite Grocery - No surpise that Justin Devillier’s Uptown gem also has a spot on Eater National's Best Restaurants in America, with critic Bill Addison noting " an impeccable Sazerac" and "flawless dishes like crab beignets and turtle Bolognese." It's a charmer that doesn't disappoint for a business lunch or a grand dinner occasion.
- Clancy's - Tucked inside the charming Uptown neighborhood known for charming Creole cottages and air perfumed with sweet olive and night-blooming jasmine , you'll find preppy, Perlis-clad Uptowners dining on Clancy’s decadent, fried, cold-smoked, crab-topped soft-shells over white tablecloth topped tables as waiters who still wear tuxedos keep the bourbon flowing. Reservations are a must.
- Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar - It’s impossible to say any shop has the best po-boys, but those at Domilise’s is one of them. Founded in 1918, Domilise's doesn't look like much from the outside. The exterior is adorned only with a handprinted sign. Inside, the counter service only corner spot that originally opened as a neighborhood bar slings giant po-boys to locals, politicians, visiting celebrities, and anyone with good taste. They’re expensive for po- boys, but they’re large and worth every penny.
- Willie Mae's Scotch House - Amazing fried chicken, often called the best in town (or even the best in the country). The food and atmosphere are quintessential New Orleans, among the best you’ll find in town. Even Obama stopped here to check it out on his last visit to NOLA.
- Dooky Chase - Leah Chase’s venerable restaurant known for its collection of African American art, Creole cooking, and role in the civil rights movement. A particular favorite with celebrities, including Beyonce and Jay-Z.
- Parkway Bakery & Tavern - Some call them the best po’ boys in town. And the line to the order window tends to wrap throughout the entire dining room towards the door, but trust me, it's worth the wait. If you can only stop for one po'boy in NOLA, this is the place to go.
- Bevi Seafood Co. - Owner Justin Leblanc (a Southern Yacht Club alum) does exceptional boiled seafood, po-boys, and plate specials that are worth a visit to Mid-City. Some of the best crawfish in NOLA when its the season.