best of new orleans

my friend sherry is headed to florida soon with her little family and plan on making a pit stop in our sweet new orleans.  she asked for a restaurant rec that was kid-friendly, and though we visit nola sans kids, her impending trip lit a fire under me to get my 'best of nola' list in order.

chris and i try to visit nola once a year.  we've had to skip a year here and there due to little things like having babies and such.  each year we try new places and things in the never-ending quest to find our favorite spots.  and i must say, we are well on our way.

bear with me~

best of breakfast:
Stanley: we read a review from a local that said if he had only three days in new orleans, he would eat breakfast here all three days.   i had an eggs benedict po-boy, for the love of god.  there.are.no.words.
the day after we ate there the first time, we had plans to pick up some beignets for a "light" breakfast.  the line was too long, so we marched right back to stanley where i ate a "light" breakfast of corned beef hash with a bloody mary to-go.
{sherry, i saw kids there.}
Mother's: could be the most intimidating breakfast spot in town.  the no-nonsense staff doesn't have a ton of patience if you aren't 100% sure of your order.  but hell, you should be ready to order after waiting in line for thirty minutes.  order the debris (pronounced day-bree).  it's tasty, y'all.
Le Croissant d'Or: if we have a big lunch planned, i will take my time getting ready in the mornings and chris will walk to this french bakery and bring me back the most delicious almond croissants with a cafe au lait.  he makes me feel spoiled rotten.

Cafe Beignet: if you have never been to cafe du monde, go.  it's an institution.  you can't go to new orleans and never eat a bag of beignets on their patio.  however, the lines tend to wind down the block. so if you have already been there, done that, then we recommend going to cafe beignet.  same fried delicacies and coffee minus the lines.  bingo.
Luke: dang.  this place is tasty.  i love any place that serves french fries with your breakfast (which just happened to be a crab omelet).  they come wrapped in a newspaper cone placed inside a silver mint julep cup.  the presentation alone is worth the price to me.

best of lunch:
Acme Oyster Bar: this is our we-are-almost-out-of-money go-to place for a meal.  the shrimp po-boy never, never fails. 
Pascal's Manale: oh baby.  this place is known for their bbq shrimp for a reason.  and when i say bbq, i don't mean the thick tangy sauce we baste our brisket with...i mean a magical sauce made of mystery ingredients that i can only identify as a stick of butter and loads of black pepper.  they hollow out a loaf of french bread and dump a dozen or so shrimp in it with extra sauce and bread on the side for sopping.
Coop's: this place is a dive.  and for us, the divier a bar, the better.  we would belly up to the bar for a few abitas and watch giant plates of fried chicken pass us by on the way to table after table.  we finally got with the picture, ordered food there and were not disappointed.  the kitchen is out back (as in on the back patio) so you can drink a beer, watch the chefs stir giant pots of gumbo and shoot the shit with the crusty bartender all at the same time.
Mona's: i know that eating middle eastern food in new orleans might seem a little random, but this plate of falafel, hummus and all the fixins was one of the best "snacks" we had during our last trip.  there are a couple locations: on magazine and in the marigny.
Central Grocery: go here, order half of a muffaletta, buy a coke from the machine and enjoy this tasty lunch in the back of the store or even better, down by the river.  if you have a fridge in your hotel room, order the large and save some for later.
Praline Connection: smothered chicken, greens, mac and cheese.  you get the idea.  go here, eat, unbutton your jeans and order sweet potato pie for dessert.  you are welcome.

best of dinner:
MiMi's in the Marigny: when people ask questions like, 'what is the best thing you ever ate'?, my mind goes blank and i can't seem to remember any meal i have ever eaten.  except for the fried goat cheese croquettes drizzled with honey that we ate at mimi's.  i can't seem to get those out of my head.  ever.  mimi's is a bar that serves tapas.  it came highly recommended by a local and once there we were seated at the table right next to stifler's mom.
Adolfo's: this place is tiny, the wait is ridiculously long and the waitstaff is unapologetic.  so much so that you are convinced that your night might be ruined, that is until you take a bite of the catch of the day smothered in their 'ocean sauce'.  then all of a sudden you are planning your next visit.  

Cochon: if you love pork (ahem, chris), you will love it here.  hands down the best meal we had on our last trip.  and the choclately-salted-caramel-bourbon-ice-cream-dessert-thingy was to. die. for.
Louisiana Bistro: if you are feeling adventurous, make a reservation for dinner at this tiny restaurant and order the chef's tasting menu.  he will come to your table to serve the courses personally.  it sounds fancy but the food is delicious, the restaurant is unpretentious and the experience is exciting.
Irene's: if italian food strikes your fancy, this is the place to go in the quarter.  
Clancy's: this place is charming and delicious and a smidge fancy.  the shrimp remoulade salad was my favorite.

best bars:
Lafitte's: if you can, snag a table by the window because this bar was made for people-watching.  make sure you have some extra cash for the jukebox.  

Coop's: my new favorite place.  here you can order an abita strawberry with a side of soft-shell crab pasta.
The Spotted Cat: i promise, promise, promise that you will love ANY band playing at the spotted cat.  the music is amazing, the beer is cold, there is a piano in the ladies room, and the dancing is infectious.  cash only.
Vaughn's: kermit ruffins plays at this hole-in-the-wall every thursday night.  and it is a sweaty-dancy-good-time.  get there early if you want a good spot.

The Carousel Bar: generations of my family have stayed at the hotel monteleone for years.  it can be pricy, but you can manage to find a good deal on a room there depending on when you travel.  if you are ever feeling fancy, stop by their newly remodeled bar and order yourself a 'grown-up' cocktail you wouldn't normally order elsewhere.

Port of Call: there burgers are tasty, but let's be honest, they aren't known for their burgers.  their drink, the monsoon, is a game-changer and can either make your day much better or much worse.  the drink is potent.  share one with a friend.
Napolean House: it's like stepping back in time.  order a pimm's cup on a hot day and you won't be disappointed.

best bloody mary:
{all bloody marys are different.  my father-in-law prefers his all vodka with a splash of tomato juice.  i prefer mine like a salad.  a snack and a cocktail in one???  sign me up.  these are my recs for bloody marys done my way} 
The Superdome: chris and i took our first trip to nola together when we were dating.  we went to a saints game where i ordered a bloody on the recommendation of a friend.  best ever.

Stanley: they will make you one to-go, fyi.
The Golden Lantern: we walked by this place a million times on the way to and from our room.  chris checked yelp to see if the sign in the window boasting of the best bloody mary in the city was legit.  it was.  and they are tasty.  once again, to-go.

travel guides we have used:


  1. awesome! Good job! I drooled, and laughed and craved shrimp and beer. ;) I will for sure come back to this when i go back to ole NOLA.

  2. Oh my word!!! Just saw this. So excited!! How am I ever going to pick just one??? We need to go for a weekend sans kids for sure. You are the best for doing this! Thank you!

  3. Love it! We are going to be sweating our you know whats off in July but I cant to go back... I am going to have to try Le Croissant d'Or!