Food & Drink

The Very Best Brunch Spots in New Orleans Right Now

Published On 02/07/2018
Ruby Slipper Cafe - CBD, New Orleans

Ruby Slipper


There will probably a line, but it'll be worth it
With nine locations nationwide (and counting), this chain is kind of the behemoth of brunch spots -- but that doesn’t make its Southern-meets-Cajun breakfast fare any less satisfying. If you haven't been, try one of the signatures like their BBQ shrimp & grits or the Chicken St. Charles, which is served with two poached eggs and pork tasso cream sauce. Plus, since it was born in New Orleans, you know that each Ruby Slipper location has to have a full bar. Open from 7am to 2pm weekdays; 7am to 3pm weekends.

The Country Club

The Country Club


LGBT-friendly space with a great poolside bar
The drag brunch at The Country Club (weekends 10am to 3pm) isn’t just a meal. Complete with a Bloody Mary bar, bottomless mimosas, and performances by the ladies of Tthe Southern Barbitchuates, it’s a boozy, brash, and often bachelorette party–filled experience. You might need to recuperate in the saltwater pool out back afterward. (Pro tip: Even during non-brunch hours, The Country Club is still one of our best bars.)


Bywater, Uptown

Heaping sandwiches with local ingredients served at the counter
The line at this counter-serve spot spools out the door and onto the street during weekend mornings, but tattooed employees dish up plates from the chalkboard menu with admirable speed. Yes, Satsuma deploys almost every cafe stereotype, but its careful food preparation and locally sourced ingredients are the reason avocado toast and fresh-pressed beet juice became hipster clichés in the first place. Open daily from 7am to 5pm.



French Quarter

The ideal Jackson Square spot for a great jazz brunch
New Orleans didn’t invent brunch, but it did invent jazz, so that means it invented the jazz brunch, right? And Muriel’s perfected it, thanks to a balcony overlooking Jackson Square and menu items ranging from shrimp and goat cheese crepes to grits and grillades. Sip a Ramos gin fizz and take in the jazz brunch from 10:30am to 2pm Sundays; regular Saturday brunch is also 10:30am to 2pm.

Sneaky Pickle


Super-affordable, health-conscious food with changing specials all the time
Gluten-free, vegan, or emphatically carnivore brunchers collide at this Ninth Ward spot for farm-to-table fare that’s refreshingly cheap (most meals cost less than $10) and quirky (all the tables, lamps and paintings are thrift-store chic finds). Vegan biscuits and gravy and breakfast flatbread with eggs or tofu star on the rotating menu and are available from 11am to 9pm daily. There’s beer and wine on the menu, but you’ll have to get your cocktail fix elsewhere.



Irish Channel

Pricier, delicious fare served in a little Creole cottage
Louisiana-accented haute cuisine forms an elegant counterpoint to the rustic cottage setting at this Uptown establishment, which is tucked away on a leafy, residential street. Crawfish, house-made tasso, bell peppers, and Parmesan cheese mingle in the etouffee omelet, and everything from the boudin to the breakfast sausage is made in-house. Brunch happens from 10am to 2:30 pm Thursday through Monday.

Biscuits & Buns on Banks


Boffo biscuits and a BYOB brunch
Maybe the best part of this alliterative neighborhood hangout is the tiny biscuits with maple butter that arrive gratis, prior to your meal. Chicken and waffles are the next-best thing. Sit inside among riotous, NOLA-themed murals or outside on the oak-shaded sidewalk. No booze, but they don’t mind if you bring in a cocktail from the neighboring bar. Open 8am to 3pm Wednesday through Monday.

Randy Schmidt

Willa Jean


A glorious mecca of gorgeous baked goods
It’s a bakery. It’s a restaurant. It’s a coffee shop. It’s a bar. It's a decent date spot. It’s all of these things -- which makes Willa Jean’s weekend brunch game (7am to 4pm) extremely strong. Set in an airy, light-filled space and helmed by chef Kelly Fields, Willa Jean is a place where you can while away a morning: start off with a snack of cornbread, ease into a smoked salmon tartine, and wind up with a cocktail.



French Quarter

High-end entrees paired with a world-class burlesque show
Come for the three-course brunch with offerings including Bloody Marys, buttermilk biscuit donuts, and cochon de lait topped waffles. Stay for the performance by burlesque dancer Bella Blue, a local legend with a captivating presence and formal ballet training. Brunch goes down from 10:30am to 3pm Sundays, and the show takes place from 11:30am to 1:30pm.

Surrey’s Café & Juice Bar

Uptown, Lower Garden District

An award-winning BYOB spot known for its juices
Surrey’s brought the fresh organic juice game to New Orleans when it opened. Hearty fare like pain perdu, bananas Foster pancakes, and tofu breakfast platters are perfect pairs to the virtuous beverage. There’s no booze, but you can bring a bottle of Champagne (or other libation), order a carafe of fresh-squeezed orange juice, and have yourself a grand old time. It's open 8am to 3pm daily.

Commander's Palace

Commander's Palace

Garden District

125-year-old mainstay that, yes, has a jazz brunch
Brunch at an 1893 landmark with haute cuisine and the white-glove service to match? You can’t not when you’re in New Orleans. Despite its venerable history, dress code and elevated menu (e.g., truffled mushroom and dirty rice gnocchi, turtle soup), the atmosphere at Commander’s Palace is anything but stuffy -- the happier New Orleanians are, the louder they are. Catch jazz brunch from 11am to 1pm Saturday and 10am to 1:30pm Sundays.

Katie's Restaurant


A neighborhood spot with a crazy hot sauce heritage
Brunch takes over at this family-owned corner restaurant from 9am to 3pm Sundays, when there’s everything from oysters Benedict to crawfish beignets on the menu. Order a brandy milk punch and douse your meal with hot sauce before digging in. The owners are direct descendants of Edmund McIlhenny, creator of Tabasco (yes, that Tabasco), and you’ll find every flavor of the vinegar-based hot sauce on your table.

Elizabeth's Restaurant



Reliable mainstay making everything from scratch
Look for the peeling two-story house perched by the levee and hung with hand-painted signs for Regal Beer and praline bacon. If there’s a hungry crowd outside, you’re probably in time for brunch (8am to 2:30pm weekends). From fried chicken livers with pepper jelly to bananas Foster French toast, Elizabeth’s made-from-scratch menu hits the country-meets-Creole sweet spot.

Cake Café & Bakery


Come for brunch, come again and again for $1 cupcakes
Why limit dessert to dinner? At Cake Café, a bakery-cum-breakfast-and-brunch-destination, $1 gets you a cupcake when you buy a meal. And if a red velvet cupcake following a crab omelet or boudin and eggs sounds unbearably decadent -- just remember, that’s the whole point. Plus, there’s no bar here, so how else are you going to overindulge? Open from 7am to 3pm Wednesday through Monday.




Updated Cajun and Creole classics worthy of their legacy
DTB (Down the Bayou) has the feel of an old-school seafood joint, the craft cocktails of a trendy gastropub, and the brunch of the gods. From 10:30am to 2pm Friday through Sunday, you'll find all the classic brunch cocktails (and bottomless mimosas) there, as well as meals like crawfish Benedict pie and shrimp grits carbonara.

Salon Restaurant by Sucré

Salon by Sucré

French Quarter

One of the fanciest brunches in town, with ice cream served downstairs
It started as a mint-green jewel box of an artisanal candy store in 2007, and now Sucré has broadened its sugary palate to include haute cuisine and daily brunch. With a balcony overlooking Conti Street, bottomless mimosas, and sweet and savory menu items (Belgian waffle sundaes and mushroom fondue frittatas, respectively), Salon and its brunch are the dream of chef Tariq Hanna. When you're done, you can still snag ice cream and chocolate bars in the shop downstairs.

Up Next
Courtesy of Port Orleans Brewing
Food & Drink

New Orleans' Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T he food scene in New Orleans took a decidedly global turn this year. While Creole and Cajun flavors are as much a part of the ever-evolving cuisine as they have been for 300 years, flavors from around the world asserted themselves in a big way in 2017. The Indian food from Saffron NOLA is nothing short of remarkable, the flavors of Southeast Asia boldly distinguished themselves in several of the year's best restaurants, and Mangú's mangú has created new Dominican food fans by the legions. Here are the best new restaurants of 2017, and may they carry you from the Delta to Germany, Vietnam, and beyond. There may even be a detour to Texas in there, if you like barbecue.


Warehouse District

A refined collision of Southeast Asia and Southeast Louisiana
Food & Wine's 2016 chef of the year, Michael Gulotta, parlayed the success of Mopho, his Vietnamese-Louisiana eatery focused on pho and banh mi, into a higher-end restaurant where his vision encompasses Vietnamese, Italian, and Gulf South flavor profiles. Maypop's menu is daring and beautifully executed. Noodles are made in-house and take their influences from both Italy and Southeast Asia; the chickpea capellini pasta with royal red shrimp in saffron curry is exceptional. If you like seafood, go for the fried Gulf oysters, which are served with an aioli made with tar-black soy mash aged in bourbon barrels. And if you don’t get the Maypop pie for dessert, you’re a fool.



Go no farther if you want authentic Dominican food
The West Bank, on the other side of the Mississippi River from New Orleans and Metairie, is home to some of the best under-the-radar international cuisine in the area. One such restaurant is Mangú, serving authentic Dominican fare to a wide variety of people who are now suddenly ravenous for mangú -- mashed green plantains (think mashed potatoes but with more flavor) served with meat or fish. The small but cheerfully decorated restaurant also serves other Dominican street foods like quipes (beef croquettes), and yaroa -- the Dominican equivalent of poutine that's stacked with fries or fried sweet plantains, pork, and melted cheese. In addition, the friendly service, great fruit-based drink menu (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and traditional desserts make this a great excursion across the bridge.

Denny Culbert

Marjie's Grill


Southern cooking meets Asian street food
It’s not unusual to sit in this cozy spot decorated with bright island colors and smell (and sometimes see) smoke -- a lot of it. Don’t panic. It’s just chef Marcus Jacobs grilling seafood and meats over high temperatures in a tiny kitchen. Just relax and order an old-school cocktail while perusing the menu. Jacobs worked for the Link Group’s Herbsaint before traveling to Southeast Asia, then came back to New Orleans to open Marjie’s Grill. Local ingredients meet the flavors of the street food of Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, so you get dishes like fried Des Allemandes catfish topped with crispy pig ears and a coriander herb salad, or fresh cracklin dusted with turmeric-chile spice. The shrimp are right off the boat, and the vegetables are prepared in creative, flavorful ways.

Bratz Y'all


Casual outdoor biergarten with a transportive all-German menu
Founded by Berlin native and New Orleans resident Sven Vorkauf, this former pop-up (though it still uses its rig for festivals and events) recreates a German biergarten with traditional dishes (bratwurst, schnitzel, spätzle, pretzels) and an all-German beer, wine, and liqueur selection. The house-made brats and other sausages are phenomenal (and the Sunday dinner special of crispy braised pork shank is drool-inducing), and yeah, you’re gonna want to save some room for apple strudel.

Courtesy of Port Orleans Brewing

Stokehold at Port Orleans Brewing

Irish Channel

High-end, approachable, perfectly paired bar food
The Stokehold is a collaboration between three chefs (Phillip Mariano, formerly of Domenica and Josephine Estelle; Jeremy Wolgamott, from High Hat Cafe; and Tim Bordes, purveyor of produce and meats for local farms) at Port Orleans, one of New Orleans’ newest breweries. The trio creates a dish that pairs with every beer available at the taproom, including combinations like a best bitter session ale and roasted bone marrow with fig vinaigrette, parsley, and toast; or Port Orleans’ flagship Storyville IPA with a crab roll made with butter-poached crab, tarragon, and Old Bay, served on a burnt rye and hop roll. With the New Orleans beer scene picking up major steam, a place like this is a no-brainer.

Central City BBQ

Central City

A rare BBQ wunderkind in the Big Easy
New Orleans doesn’t have a native BBQ tradition like other spots in the South. We sure do know how to smoke some pork, though, which is half the battle. Now the city has a nationally recognized annual BBQ festival, Hogs for the Cause, and several well-regarded BBQ joints like this one. The most recent venture is Central City BBQ, which marries co-owner Aaron Burgau’s fine dining experience with a down-home BBQ joint, which looks and tastes like it comes from a Central Texas roadhouse. (OK, maybe a little brighter and newer.) There’s a truly impressive number of enormous smokers out back, and while everything is tasty, the brisket burnt ends and corn spoonbread are the way to go.

Ryan Hodgson-Rigsbee

Saffron NOLA

East Riverside

Some of the best Indian fine dining you can get
In a city where there’s a dearth of quality Indian food, many lovers of the cuisine would cross the Mississippi River on Friday nights to eat the food put out by Saffron, a catering company on the West Bank. After several years, the much-anticipated Saffron restaurant opened in Uptown New Orleans in August to much acclaim, and right now it’s one of the toughest reservations in town. The Vilkhu family serves authentic but reimagined Indian food in a fine-dining format, with decidedly Indian flavors that are also influenced by New Orleans, France, China, Thailand, and Singapore. Saffron serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday, and each of the gorgeous and bright dishes is a delight. (Don’t overlook the cocktail menu, which successfully marries creativity and unusual ingredients like saffron, tamarind, and mango chutney.)


East Riverside

The sparest ramen menu around, and it delivers
Like most cities, New Orleans is still ramping up into the ramen trend (it’s hard for us to turn away from pho). Noodle & Pie paved the way before it closed earlier this year, and Kin picked up its torch. Now we have Nomiya, a tiny, no-frills, ramen bar that serves just two kinds of pork broth ramens: spicy (geki-kara) and not-spicy (the standard tonkotsu). Except for edamame, pork bun offerings, and anything you want to add to the ramen, that’s the whole menu. The two options are terrific, and they'll simplify most folks' decision-making, even if vegans and vegetarians have to wait for Nomiya's vegan broth to come out. (The chef and owner Hidetoshi “Elvis" Suzuki says he’s working on it, but it’s not there yet.)

Max Cusimano



An update on Cajun and Creole classics worthy of their legacy
DTB stands for Down the Bayou, and Chef Carl Schaubhut’s restaurant is probably the closest to traditional Louisiana flavors on this list. The playful twists on Cajun staples, like vegetarian mushroom boudin, andouille pâté, and frog leg confit indicate that tradition is more a loose guideline than a rule. Shaking up Cajun and Creole flavors to look at the cuisine in a whole new way is one trick, and using far-flung, global ingredients like vadouvan, pickled lemon, pipian verde, fermented pepper jelly, and chermoula is another. Both techniques yield impressive results, and the cocktail program, helmed by Lu Brow, is just as creative.

Poke Loa


Quick-serve, healthy Hawaiian cuisine
This Hawaiian-style, raw fish-inspired eatery on Magazine Street opened in February to much fanfare and quickly made plans to expand all over the city. With a second location open in Metairie and another to open soon in the Central Business District, this build-a-bowl salad concept features raw chopped seafood including yellowfin, salmon, and octopus (also tofu) with add-ins like spring onions or cucumbers, toppings like pickled ginger, edamame, macadamia nuts, several types of tobiko, and Asian-flavor-spiked aioli, and sauces and marinades like tamari, ponzu, sesame oil, or chili paste.

David Saracino/Thrillist

Tailgating at Baseball Games is Real, and It Can Be Spectacular

Published On 03/02/2018
Miss Ada | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Food & Drink

Why Modern Israeli Food Is America's New Favorite Cuisine

Published On 11/06/2017
T here is, in my neighborhood -- the Mission district of San Francisco -- a restaurant called Old Jerusalem. It’s been around seemingly forever, and its home-grown website states: “Old Jerusalem Restaurant is a flavorful adventure into the cuisines of the Middle East and Mediterranean.” It serves food not unlike the Middle Eastern food I was introduced to as a college student on the East Coast. At Mamoun’s, we swiped through pita through hummus and baba ghanoush; I didn’t know what falafel was, exactly, except that it was delicious. Mamoun’s was founded by Mamoun Chater, an immigrant from Syria, and opened in New York’s Greenwich Village 1971 -- one of the oldest “Middle Eastern restaurants” in the US. And since then, when it comes to describing what it is to eat hummus and cucumber-tomato salads and the like, categorizing yourself in blanket terms like “Middle Eastern” or “Mediterranean” has been the norm.
Cole Saladino/Thrillist