City Guide

Classic Crescent City Eats

These old-school NOLA restaurants are so good they’ve become rite of passage

photo: Christopher Testani

Brennan’s

The New Orleans Viex Carre landmark returned after a refresh in 2015. The iconic pink facade and the coq are still there, but there are windows facing the street now, a bigger courtyard and bar, and a stunning wine cellar that houses close to ten thousand bottles. The restaurant has long flambéed its signature bananas Foster (invented here in 1951) on a cart in the dining room. These days, steak Diane is also on offer, but the beef is “cooked” first via sous vide so the waiters can sauté it faster. 417 Royal St.; brennansneworleans.com

photo: Sara Essex Bradley

The vibrant dining room at Brennan’s in full swing.

Café du Monde

The powdered-sugar-dusted beignets, hot from the fryer, with chicory coffee and OJ, are by far the best breakfast in the city—anytime. 1039 Decatur St.; cafedumonde.com

Caribbean Room

At this revamped favorite inside the Pontchartrain Hotel dishes like Mile High Pie (vanilla, chocolate, and peppermint ice creams topped with meringue and chocolate sauce) and Shrimp Saki (Louisiana shrimp, herb butter, and fresh noodles) remain on the menu, but chef John Besh and company have added contemporary plates, such as Pepper Roast Rack of Lamb with fava beans and curry carrots. 2031 St Charles Ave.; thepontchartrainhotel.com/food-drink/caribbean-room

 

Domilise’s Po-Boy and Bar

From the outside, Dot Domilise’s neighborhood joint looks like your great aunt’s rumpus room. Looks like that from the inside, too, where a tiny kitchen serves po’boys for a dozen tables and an informal bar. Regulars arrive well before noon to avoid the inevitable line and snag an impromptu audience with the always-charming Ms. Dot. 5240 Annunciation St.; 504-899-9126

 

French 75 Bar

Tucked into Arnaud’s restaurant, this is a seriously beautiful bar with serious cocktails, including its namesake. Order it with a dozen raw oysters and a plate of the restaurant’s soufflé potatoes for a perfect lunch. 813 Rue Bienville St.; arnauds.com

photo: Cedric Angeles

Arnaud’s French 75 bartender Chris Hannah at work.

Galatoire’s

One of the key holy rites of ancient-régime Creole cooking in New Orleans is a Friday lunch at Galatoire’s. On any given Friday, hundreds of people will try to wedge, cram, cajole, buy, cheat, sneak, or beg their way into the 150 seats in Galatoire’s main, delightful, ground-floor Victorian dining room. The downstairs room has been on a first-come-first-served basis for 108 years. Reservations are accepted for the quieter second floor, but that’s for people who don’t know or don’t want the fight. 209 Bourbon St.; galatoires.com

Christopher Testani

Ralph Moore holds an armful of Galatoire’s favorites.

 

Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Cups of made-to-order shaved ice come doused in flavored syrups that range from classics like blueberry, orangeade, and root beer to more sophisticated syrups such as ginger and satsuma. 4801 Tchoupitoulas St; snobliz.com

 

Napoleon House

Once a house offered to Napoleon as safe haven, this bar is known for its operatic sound tracks, the aged patina of its walls, and the popularization of the Pimm’s Cup in New Orleans. On Friday and Saturday nights, there is nowhere darker or cooler in the city. 500 Chartres St; napoleonhouse.com

 

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

This twice-revived landmark in the Mid-City neighborhood plays strong across the menu, from overstuffed seafood to classics such as griddle-cooked ham and house-corned beef. Many folks combine two genres by ordering the seafood/meat combination—shrimp ladled with a hit of beefy gravy. Why choose when you can have both? 538 Hagan Ave.; parkwaybakeryandtavernnola.com

 

Willie Mae’s Restaurant

“The fried chicken is my guilty pleasure. This is the best spot for a greasy spoon meal,” says chef John Besh, and he’s not alone in that opinion. Since Willie Mae Seaton opened Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans more than sixty years ago, the beauty shop-turned-whiskey bar has evolved into a restaurant and gone on to appear on a number of national bucket lists. Although Seaton passed away in 2015, she lived to see her great-granddaughter take over the restaurant and tend to the hundreds of locals and tourists who fill a dining room that once held maybe a dozen at lunchtime.  2401 St Ann St; williemaesnola.com


And don’t miss these NOLA mainstays… 

The Carousel Bar
214 Royal St; hotelmonteleone.com/entertainment/carousel-bar

 

Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave; commanderspalace.com


Dooky Chase Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave; dookychaserestaurant.com


tags: