New Orleans's Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre's recent resurgence means that you may now get the opportunity to work in this extraordinary town. When you do, partying too hard may be the only downside. This is the city that truly never sleeps, and spending time here will be like a shot of adrenaline for mind, body, and stomach. Get ready to be decadent, but it's so worth it.
When you are in New Orleans, BBQ shrimp falls under the must-do category. This Creole masterpiece is so extraordinary, I dare you not to wish for another serving as soon as you've finished your first. And Mr. B's Bistro is consistently recommended as some of the best BBQ Shrimp in town. In a fairly upscale establishment, feel free to order this decadent pleasure at the bar, and, surprise surprise, it pairs beautifully with perfect local cocktails.
201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: 11:30AM- 9PM DAILY mrbsbistro.com
Located on trendy Magazine Street in the Garden District, Coquette is a high-quality restaurant serving up tremendous dishes in a bright, casual setting. Their menu features "contemporary southern cuisine" with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients, and their home is in a building from the 1880's. Coquette occupies two floors for dining, as well as an intimate 12-seat bar. Come here for rabbit pâté, liver mousse, rillettes, rye bread as well as fried pork chops with romaine, bocquerones, and roasted garlic. (And look forward to this spot getting a mention in the desserts section below...)
2800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5:30PM- 10PM Fri- Sat 11:30AM- 2:30PM, 5:30PM- 10PM Sun 10:30AM- 2PM, 5:30PM- 10PM coquettenola.com
Cafe Du Monde
There is no way to visit New Orleans and not get beignets at Cafe Du Monde. This spot is as buzzing with tourists as one might expect, but that has done no disservice to the quality of these little mounds of goodness. Pair with a cup of perfect cafe au lait and have yourself a decadent morning or two while working here.
800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HOURS: OPEN 24 HOURS cafedumonde.com
Sylvain is a tremendous restaurant. Featuring a menu of recognizable dishes cooked to perfection using only the best ingredients and the upmost care. Enjoy an incredible fried chicken sandwich here or a perfect pork milanese. This gorgeous setting, featuring indoor or outdoor seating, will make you breath deep and stay long with many o' many a cocktail.
625 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5:30PM- 11PM Fri- Sat 10:30AM- 2:30PM, 5:30PM- 12AM Sun 10:30AM- 2:30PM, 5:30PM- 10PM sylvainnola.com
Cochon Restaurant will come up again and again on recommendation lists on where to eat in New Orleans, and with good reason. Chef Stephen Stryjewski ( 2011 James Beard award for "Best Chef South") and Chef Donald Link (a Louisiana native) came together to found a restaurant devoted to locally sourced traditional cajun southern cooking done absolutely right. This warmly lit, buzzing dining room in a converted warehouse space is a loud, crowded wonderland of happy locals and incredible food. Their Catfish Courtbouillon and their Rabbit and Dumplings entree are both standouts, but everyone must try their signature dish Louisiana Cochon with Cabbage, Cracklins & Pickled Turnips. And right next door is Cochon Butcher which is a tribute to old world butcher shops, specializing in housemade meats, terrines, and sausages that you can enjoy in a sandwich or a charcuterie platter that will rock your world. Cochon Restaurant 930 Tchoupitoulas St SUITE A, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 11AM- 10PM Fri- Sat 11AM- 11PM cochonrestaurant.com
Cochon Butcher 930 Tchoupitoulas St suite b, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 10AM- 10PM Fri- Sat 10AM- 11PM Sun 10AM- 4PM cochonbutcher.com
Tableau's stunning setting may make it seem like the food will be secondary, but, believe me, it's not. Located in Jackson Square in the French Quarter, this stunning restaurant features an open kitchen in the main dining room, as well as upstairs private dining rooms and event halls. They even share their lobby with La Petit Theatre, so, while working there, you will get to know this restaurant particularly well. They specialize in French Creole dishes here done up to perfection. (And look forward to their mention below in the desserts section as well...) 616 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HAPPY HOUR: 2PM- 6PM HOURS: 11AM- 10PM tableaufrenchquarter.com
Verdi Marte is a completely unassuming bodega in the French Quarter, but this is where you want to come for sandwiches. Everything is good here (and cheap!) and the menu is extensive but particular standouts include their Muffuletta (which is a requirement when you're working in New Orleans), their Grilled Reuben, their French Fry Poboy (oyster and shrimp), and their Hot Sausage Sandwich. The fact that they're open 24 hours means whenever the booze needs to be soaked up, this is your stop.
1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HOURS: OPEN 24 HOURS couchster.com
Bayona is an elegant restaurant, located in a beautiful 200-year-old cottage off the beaten track in the French Quarter where Chef Susan Spicer has been serving up spectacular cuisine for the last 27 years. Spend an evening here, either in their intimate dining room or their lovely little courtyard out back, and take full advantage of this menu built on so much love and care. Begin with an order of Sweet Potato Brioche with with Steen's Cane Syrup Butter and then dive into a Crispy Smoked Quail Sala, a Chinese Five-Spice Braised Duck, Veal Sweetbreads with with lemon-casper or sherry-mustard butter and on and on and on. I also have to recommend their "Saturday Light Lunch" where you can choose 3 plates for $28 and experience this gorgeous restaurant without breaking the bank.
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112 HOURS: Mon- Tues 5:30PM- 9:30PM Wed- Sat 11:30AM- 1:30PM, 5:30PM- 9:30PM Sun CLOSED bayona.com
Willie Mae's Scotch House
Willie Mae's Scotch House is the unparalleled home of great fried chicken in the city of New Orleans and maybe in America. Established in 1957 in the historic neighborhood of Treme, Willie Mae's was a favorite with locals from the beginning, but it took the chef and owner, Ms. Willie Mae Seaton, being honored with the prestigious James Beard Award for “America’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region" in 2005 to make this restaurant a nationwide foodie destination. In this no-frilled dining room, though, it is still all about the food, as it should be.
2401 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119 HOURS: Mon- Sat 10AM- 5PM Sun CLOSED williemaesnola.com
Bacchanal is a completely unique experience. Part wine store, part restaurant, part concert venue, part outdoor picnic area. Bacchanal is a seriously fun time. You have to walk through the wine store to get to their expansive backyard picnic area, and, because they don't allow outside bottles, this will be your first stop for a wine to pair with your food. Next step, order your food from one of the windows and take your number to the table. I highly recommend their Sardines with grilled bread, their Confit Chicken Leg, and their Pecan Panna Cotta.
600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 HOURS: Sat- Tues 11AM- 12AM Wed, Fri 11AM- 1AM Thurs 11AM- 12AM bacchanalwine.com
There are many many places to choose from when crawfish are in season and low country boils begin happening all over the city of New Orleans, but Casimo's in the French Quarter gets my vote. Serving up boiled crawfish on Tuesday nights during the season, it's only $7 for two pounds with corn and potatoes. So come ready to get your hands dirty and order some beer and cocktails to go along with the ride.
1201 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HOURS: Mon- Tues 4PM- 2AM Wed- Thurs 4PM- 5AM Fri- Sat 2PM- 5AM Sun 2PM- 2AM
ACME Oyster House
ACME Oyster House is your go-to in the French Quarter for affordable, painfully fresh oysters plucked straight from the water. Pair with a local cocktail and these suckers will go down easy.
724 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 10:30AM- 10PM acmeoyster.comFri- Sat 10:30AM- 11PM
SWEETS AND A SIP...
With so many completely incredible spots to eat and drink in New Orleans, sometimes your best option is to divide your appetite. Appetizer at one place, entree at another, and dessert to finish it off. The following places make exceptional desserts. Matched with a perfect cocktail, it will be your palate's perfect end to the evening.
Tableau is a bright, gorgeous restaurant in the French Quarter mentioned above for food and now again for a something sweet. Sidle up the bar area and enjoy a rustic Cajun Sweet Dough baked with a vanilla custard and old new orleans spiced rum caramel sauce or a Local Chicory Coffee Custard with chantilly cream, white chocolate pecan biscotti, and a financier, and pair any dessert here with a house-made original cocktail or a French classic. And, if you can make their Happy Hour on your day off, a couple of cocktails at $5 each would be worth the stay.
Coquette is a deservedly lauded restaurant which got a blurb above for food, but now gets one for dessert as well. A traditional French brasserie, these desserts are exquisitely made and well worth the trip. Pair with a Canton Sidecar or a Earl Grey Martini in the ambient lighting and sexy atmosphere and enjoy.
2800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5:30PM- 10PM Fri- Sat 11:30AM- 2:30PM, 5:30PM- 10PM Sun 10:30AM- 2PM, 5:30PM- 10PM coquettenola.com
Cafe Amelie calls itself a "courtyard restaurant" and when you're here you'll understand why. Located back off the street, this golden oasis is wonderful for dinner, but if that price tag is too high, soak up their ambiance at the bar with something sweet paired with a seasonal cocktail like the "Unhinged Monk" with Papa Pilar's blonde rum, yellow chartreuse, fresh pineapple, and angostura bitters.
912 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HOURS: Mon- Tues CLOSED Wed- Sun 11AM- 9PM cafeamelie.com
Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar
A New Orlean institution, LaFitte's Blacksmith Bar was built somewhere between 1722 and 1732 and is considered to be the oldest structure housing an operational bar in the United States. Full of legends that are based in truth but exaggerated over time, this fun establishment is said to be haunted. But, hell, the pours here are healthy, the drinks are affordable, and the locals still like this spot, tourists and all, so swing by for one or a few some evening. It's a special piece of New Orleans history, and ideal place to grab a Hurricane (a signature cocktail of the city of New Orleans.)
It may seem counterintuitive to have a bar that spins, but, trust me when I say, the gimmick of this place is actually quite charming. Carousel Bar in the French Quarter is wildly popular, so come on an off-time or off-night, so you can snag one of those coveted spots at the bar which is located on a, you guessed it, rotating carousel. The rotation is very slow but definitely noticeable and the magical golden glow of the place in general will take you to a warm, happy place that will make you want to linger.
Bar R'volution was founded by cocktail legend Antoine Peychaud. In part because of him, New Orleans has had the biggest influence on cocktails in the United States. Peychaud discovered that the bitters he used with his family for medicinal purposes could be put to use adding depth and flavor to liquors, and he's the first guy who mixed tonic with brandy- a big moment in cocktail history. With his influence, Bar R'volution features seasonal cocktails that are inspired by Pre-Prohibition-er libations, so think Old Fashioneds and Sazeracs more than Side Cars, but this place is a must while sampling mixed drinks in the city of New Orleans. and the dark wood, moody ambiance doesn't hurt either.
777 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 5:30PM- 10PM Fri 11:30AM- 2:30PM, 5:30PM- 10PM Sat 5:30PM- 10PM Sun 10:30AM- 2PM, 5:30PM- 10PM revolutionnola.com
Inside the Roosevelt Hotel lives a bar of some note. The Sazerac Bar has been around for decades and has been a popular watering hole for many a great musician, writer, and individual of New Orlean's history. Named after what many folks consider to be the first cocktail and the "official cocktail of New Orleans", this is an ideal bar to taste the classics done right. So order their Sazerac, a Gin Fizz, a Dark and Stormy, a Negroni. The goal of this place is not to do anything zany, but do the difficult task of making these cocktails standbys taste better than anywhere else you've ever had them.
Cane and Table is the ideal spot to come if you like those Caribbean cocktails the way I do. The incredible care given to this cocktail menu is evident at first glance where every drink is paired with a short history about the bitters involved or the rum or its origin, like their "Barbadian Gin Punch" which is a Tom Collins variation using fresh coconut water, genever, lime, and a touch of flarum. We are also given some background about the Dutch traders who traveled extensively in the 18th and 19th century Caribbean islands who are responsible for bringing genever to the Caribbean. Or their "Improved Bombo" based on The Bombo cocktail which was served at each of George Washington’s first presidential campaign stops. The original (rum, molasses, and nutmeg) is updated here with a blend of Jamaican and Barbadian rums, curaçao, and Tiki Bitters. I really can't say enough good things about the cocktail menu here. Make it a required stop.
1113 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 HAPPY HOUR: Mon- Fri 3PM- 6PM HOURS: Mon- Fri 3PM- 12AM Sat- Sun 10:30AM- 12AM caneandtablenola.com
Frenchman Street for Music
Frenchman Street is the capitol of live music in New Orleans, and when you are here for any length of time, finding your way to this mind-blowing epi-center of contemporary jazz is essential. Wander Frenchman (it's just next to the French Quarter) and duck in to whatever venue suits your fancy. All the venues leave their front doors and windows open, so that the mass music is allowed to bleed out onto the street and invite you inside. This was made to the kind of great music you stumble upon, so do just that.
St. James Cheese Shop
For New Yorkers, the simplest way to sum up St. James Cheese Shop is to say that it's the Murray's Cheese of New Orleans, and in a city as obsessed with food as this city is, that's really saying something. This cheese shop's extensive and thoughtful collection of cheeses is exquisite, and they are of course staffed by friendly, wildly knowledgable fromagers who are thrilled to lead you to the perfect cheese or cheeses for your needs. With amazing classes offered as well like "Spain's Most Iconic" and "Milk Cheese Appreciation", check out their website for a class or two to up your cheese knowledge game- they're a great time, and perfect for connoisseurs and newbies.
Uptown Location 5004 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115 HOURS: Mon- Wed 11AM- 6PM Thurs- Sat 11AM- 8PM Sun 11AM- 4PM
Downtown Location 641 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: Mon- Wed 11AM- 6PM Thurs- Fri 11AM- 8PM Sat 9AM- 8PM Sun CLOSED stjamescheese.com
A walking Ghost Tour while working in New Orleans is an absolute must. My best recommendation is actually to head to Groupon and check out what they have available and go with whatever option is most affordable and highly rated. The truth is, this city is so packed with history of gruesome murderers and consistent apparitions that any tour will be impressive, interesting, and fun, no matter what.
St. Roch Market
St. Roch Market is an award-winning food hall with a collection of local purveyors, offering a plethora of stalls for all things food and beverage, with vendors including Bittersweet Confections, Coast Roast Coffee, Elysian Seafood and Oyster Bar, La Mezcla Mexicana, The Mayhaw Bar, T2 Streetfood, and Good Bird just to name a few. This is an ultimate lunch destination that will take more than one trip if you want to sample everything they have to offer.
2381 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 7AM- 10PM Fri- Sat 7AM- 11PM strochmarket.com
So here's my Hand Granades shout out because, with all the expensive and classy cocktail bars that I've listed above, I felt compelled to put forth the suggestion that one night you do Bourbon Street. Yes, it's loud and the drunk people can be awful and it's a bit of what Times Square is to New York City, but it is also a unique place in our country and can be fun for one evening if you give in to the madness. And, along the lines of giving in to that madness, get one of these sugary sweet, mystery cocktails served exclusively in their own neon green, evil smiley-faced plastic containers so that you can safely walk around town with it and slowly feel your brain melt. That being said, one is enough, I promise.
Maybe this should have gone under the Sweets section, but District Donuts is a great spot to visit for some fresh baked, solidly prepared bits of yeast-raised doughnut perfection when you have a sweet tooth. Located on popular Magazine Street, you can pick one up as part of a stroll or make it a destination on a day off. It's worthy of either. And this place also specializes in sliders and beer, making it worthy of a lunch time visit as well!
2209 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 HOURS: 7AM- 9PM DAILY