Despite having a few must-try iconic New Orleans dishes on my to do list, I didn’t really have a list of particular cafes, bars or restaurants I wanted to try. Instead, I spent a few days eating and drinking at places we found by chance or circumstance, and most of the time this worked out pretty well.
We definitely had our fair share of dud meals in New Orleans, so here are a few spots that are worth a try.
Cafe Amelie, French Quarter
On our last day in New Orleans, we escaped the harsh midday sun in the lush, leafy Princess of Monaco courtyard at Cafe Amelie. It was one of the prettiest settings I saw in New Orleans, and on my next visit I’ll definitely return for lunch in the courtyard.
The Bombay Club at Prince Conti Hotel
The Bombay Club is an escape from the chaos of Bourbon Street, in the heart of the French Quarter. The bar specialises in martinis, but the talented bartenders and lengthy cocktail list will ensure there’s something for everyone – as long as you’re not after a hurricane or a slushy cocktail in a to-go cup.
The Bombay Club also serves food, so next time I’m in town I’ll definitely be in for brunch or dinner.
Cafe Rose Nicaud, Faubourg Marigny
Only a stone’s throw away from the touristy French Quarter, Cafe Rose Nicaud on Frenchmen Street was bustling with locals. The service was warm and friendly, and the they pride themselves on a menu filled with healthy, sustainable food made fresh. Traditional southern cuisine is delicious, but it’s not always healthy and it was a relief to find a menu brimming with delicious vegetable-based dishes – sprinkled with traditional Southern ingredients like cheese grits and alligator sausage, of course.
Cafe Conti, French Quarter
Cafe Conti specialises in French and Creole cuisine, paying special attention to sweet and savoury crepes. It’s a cute spot for breakfast in the heart of the French Quarter.
The Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt
New Orleans is the birthplace of the cocktail, and the first cocktail in New Orleans was the Sazerac. The Sazerac Bar prides itself on being the bar that made history, with the creation of the Sazerac and another classic cocktail, the Ramos Gin Fizz. This old-world bar channels New Orleans in its glory days of yesteryear
Jax Brewery Bar, French Quarter
The Jax Brewery Bar is hard to miss, in a towering heritage-listed French Quarter building on the Mississippi River. Housed in the former Jackson Brewery, the Jax Brewery Bar has a wide range of craft beers and casual bistro-style food. While I wouldn’t go specifically for the food (or the beer!), it was nice sitting out on the deck overlooking the Mississippi River on a sunny day.
Jackson Brewery operated from 1890-1974, and at it’s height was the biggest brewery in the Southern United States. Like Jackson Square in the heart of New Orleans, the brewery was named after Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the United States who become a national hero after winning against the British in the Battle of New Orleans in 1812.
I almost didn’t include Bourbon Street on this list because my overall impression of the famous party strip was of desperation and chaos. It’s a testament to entertainment over enjoyment and cheap thrills over pleasure. But then I remembered the infectious delight of the marching bands and street parades and how much fun I had dancing with my boyfriend to a live band in a dimly-lit dance hall and decided to include it. There’s a lot not to love about Bourbon Street, but there’s also enough to like.
On my list for my next visit: Galatoire’s, Commander’s Palace, Old Absinthe House, Arnaud’s, Bacchanal Wine, Sylvain, Angeline, Cochon.
Have you been to New Orleans? Where are your favourite places to go? Let me know in the comments