City Guide

Classic Crescent City Eats

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

photo: Christopher Testani


The New Orleans Vieux 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.;

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.;

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.;

photo: Cedric Angeles

Arnaud’s French 75 bartender Chris Hannah at work.


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.;

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;

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;

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.;

Willie Mae’s Restaurant

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;

And don’t miss these NOLA mainstays… 

The Carousel Bar
214 Royal St;


Commander’s Palace
1403 Washington Ave;

Dooky Chase Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave;