Eat Like a Local in New Orleans

What Chef Justin Devillier craves on his days off in the Big Easy

With nearly three hundred years of history under its belt, New Orleans has had plenty of time to perfect its culinary scene. And although serving the city alongside such storied establishments as Commander’s Palace and Antoine’s might intimidate some local chefs, Justin Devillier accepts the challenge boldly. “I like working with all that history,” says the 2016 James Beard Award-winner and co-host of Garden & Gun’s One Night with NOLA Dinner and a Show in Charleston on Saturday, December 2. (Click here for tickets.) “I use it as inspiration.”

Photo: Marianna Massey

Chef Justin Devillier

Indeed, his two restaurants, La Petite Grocery, a Garden District neighborhood bistro, and Balise, an elegant, cocktail-focused downtown tavern, plus a forthcoming French Quarter brasserie, are deeply rooted in New Orleans culture, blending tradition with innovation. His favorite restaurants follow suit. Devillier has spent fifteen years surrounded by New Orleans cuisine, and although the city has nearly too many top-notch restaurants to count, he’s managed to pick a few favorites. Here’s what he recommends.

701 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans

“I just seem to find myself there whenever I’m taking someone out to dinner who I want to impress. Or even just taking myself out to dinner. It’s real, classic, simple cooking. And it’s great.”

Link Restaurant Group

Pho Tau Bay
1565 Tulane Ave., New Orleans

“This is my go-to lunch place. They have great Vietnamese soups and snacks.”

Randy Schmidt

R&O Restaurant
216 Metairie-Hammond Hwy., Metairie

“R&O’s is out in Metairie and has a wide-range of New Orleans classics from po’boys to crawfish pie. It’s very casual—kind of a ruckus spot to bring the kids to eat.”

2800 Magazine St., New Orleans

“This is on Magazine and has been a long-time favorite of mine. It’s a consistent stand-by where I know I’ll get a good meal.”

Courtesy of Coquette

723 Dante St., New Orleans

“This is a decades-old fine-dining institution uptown. Frank [Brigtsen] used to cook under Chef Paul Prudhomme and he cooks with a really high skill level. It’s food you don’t see that often anymore: flavor-oriented Creole cuisine. He has this great saying, ‘The color of flavor is brown.’”

Courtesy of Brigtesen