Food & Drink

NOLA's Coffee Culture Grinds on (20 Billion Cups and Counting)

Published On 01/26/2017 Published On 01/26/2017
Drip Affogato Bar
Antonie's Restaurant
Meredith Singer
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1. Café Du Monde 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential New Orleans pick-me-up in the form of a beignet and cafe au lait. The patio, marked by a striped green-and-white awning, is a landmark in itself and the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. The café gets busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but its 24-seven schedule allows for plenty of opportunities to stop by, whether it's for a late-night sugar fix or an early-morning breakfast. Take-out orders can be placed through a quick-serve window, just be sure to take extra napkins -- those sugar-coated beignets are messy.

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2. Morning Call 56 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124

As NOLA's self-dubbed "most famous coffee drinking place," Morning Call has been brewing its prized French drip coffee since 1870, which has a rich chicory taste that goes all too well with the cafe's sugar-dusted beignets. Morning Call tends to be cheaper and less tourist-packed than some of the city's other coffee shops (ahem, Cafe du Monde), which means you don't have to wait as long to get your hands on the signature pastries. A short line-up of local cuisine (jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish bread) is worth a taste, too.

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3. Dee's Coffee 401 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (Central Business District)

It’s no secret that chicken and waffles is a NOLA staple, but Dee’s Coffee takes this and other Southern comfort foods to a new, highly caffeinated level. This CBD coffee shop slings funky down-home flavored lattes (think: Chicken and Waffles, Bacon and Maple and Glazed Donut) in an unpretentious setting bedecked with local artwork on cream-colored walls. The loose-leaf tea selection is extensive for the coffee-shunners among you -- try the Earl Grey Lavender, Matcha Latte, or Lime Twist to kick off your day just right.

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4. Drip Affogato Bar 703 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Affogatos, usually tucked away at the bottom of a dessert menu -- or ignored altogether at most run-of-the-mill coffee shops -- never seem to get the love they deserve. These love children of coffee and ice cream are given their proper glory at Drip Affogato Bar in the Central Business District, where creations like the Bananas Foster with banana ice cream, bruleed bananas, and rum caramel are drenched with warm, aromatic espresso. Drip doesn’t discriminate; if you’re not a coffee fan (no, we’re not friends anymore), you can still get your sweet fix on with the Cookie Monster, whose Mexican hot chocolate ice cream, cookie crumbles, and chocolate syrup are bathed in hot chocolate, or the Matcha, Matcha, whose green tea ice cream and pocky are dowsed in matcha tea. The spot itself is quite easy on the eyes, and its all-white tables, countertops, walls, and lamps allow the desserts to speak for themselves.

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5. DISTRICT: Donuts. Sliders. Brew. 2209 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

As the name implies, DISTRICT excels at coffee, sliders, and donuts, all while making innovative changes to each. In lieu of your average breakfast sandwich, expect "croquenuts" (a hybrid of a croque madame and a donut) or bacon & egg on a miso-praline biscuit. Donuts, meanwhile, range from the simple glazed and cinnamon sugar to the more unconventional Sriracha-maple, candied thyme, and cereal & milk. While you could pair your sugary goodies with a basic brew, we suggest you opt for house staples like Vietnamese cold brew or the "Sproca-Cola," a winning combination of cola, espresso, and chocolate milk.

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6. Magasin Vietnamese Cafe 4201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Though the best Vietnamese food is usually hiding in shabby hole-in-the-walls, Magasin is an exception to the rule. The sleek space on Magazine Street prepares exceptional banh mi, buns, and spring rolls, but you're here mainly for the pho. The full-bodied broth is rich in beef and ginger notes, and can be complemented with unconventional toppings like oxtail and meatballs.

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7. Mint Modern Vietnamese Bistro 5100 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA 70115

Amplifying New Orleans’ Vietnamese cuisine scene, Mint Modern shakes things up by offering both traditional Vietnamese plates, like pho, vermicelli noodles, bahn mi, and spicy beef soup and Southern-Vietnamese mash-ups, like Sizzle Beef steak and eggs, fried chicken with green tea waffles, and a kimchee burger with sweet potato fries. The full bar includes specialty frozen cocktails, like the Peach Cobbler Chi Chi, the Watermelon Daiquiri, and the Bay Side Margarita.

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8. Lilly's Cafe 1813 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

Many New Orleanians are just a stone’s throw from delicious Vietnamese food. But Lilly’s Café in the Lower Garden District dishes out pho with some of the best broth in the city, simmered for more than eight hours and served velvety smooth in a vast bowl of rice noodles. If the steamy New Orleans heat is too overwhelming for broth, opt for lighter menu items like the summer rolls with shrimp, pork, ham, lettuce, mint, and vermicelli noodles, which are equally satisfying and a lot less scorching.

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9. PJ's Coffee 135 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Despite the sheer number of its signature purple-and-orange awnings you see while sashaying through the streets of New Orleans, you’d never know that PJ’s Coffee is a national chain, for each outpost maintains its own mom-and-pop personality while embracing NOLA traditions. This CBD location is a kaleidoscope of grape juice purple, sunset orange, and lime green with large windows and curved walls. On offer are both coffee and non-coffee hot, iced, and frozen drinks, ranging from frozen hot chocolates and mango smoothies to caramel crèmes and hot teas. Pair your beverage with scones, muffins, or cookies, and watch the historic St. Charles Streetcar glide by just outside.

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10. Antoine's Restaurant 713 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Opened in 1840, this elegant St. Louis Street spot is the oldest French-Creole fine dining restaurant in New Orleans. In its fifth generation of family ownership, Antoine’s Restaurant offers a menu nothing short of old-fashioned, with Oysters Rockefeller served with Antoine’s original Rockefeller sauce created in 1889, creamed spinach, potatoes au gratin, and gulf fish served grilled, fried, poached, and sautéed. The Baked Alaska is not to be missed, and while you’re awaiting its arrival, promenade around the 14 dining rooms, each decorated to the nines with rich oak paneling, gilded accents, and portraits of the centuries of illustrious figures who once dined in the very spot in which you’re currently stuffing your face with pound cake and flambéed egg white meringue.

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11. Arnaud's Restaurant 813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Arnaud’s is a decades-old French Quarter staple that embodies the French Creole style in architecture, décor, and, of course, food. Inside the red building lined with innumerable French windows and mint green balconies is a dining room straight out of a Southern novel with potted palm fronds, mosaic tile floors, and opulent chandeliers. Come for dinner or for the jazz brunch, where a jazz trio will serenade you while you decide between gumbo and shrimp remoulade.

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12. Galatoire's 209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Established in 1905, Galatoire’s has remained a Bourbon Street bulwark of French Creole cuisine. The restaurant blends tradition with curiosity as it juxtaposes gumbo, shrimp remoulade, and oysters Rockefeller with deep-fried zucchini sticks, (which you’re meant to plunge into a mix of Tabasco sauce and powdered sugar) and duck crepes with homemade Boursin cheese, Port-cherry reduction, and pistachios. Galatoire’s keeps things elegant with its forest green walls, lace curtains, and mirrored walls, a glimpse into a past worthy of a Faulkner novel.

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13. Broussard's Restaurant & Courtyard 819 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

Broussard’s offers a slightly different interpretation of French-Creole cuisine than other illustrious New Orleans fine dining establishments: contemporary interpretations give traditional dishes a new lease on life. Sweet potatoes are whipped with ginger, fried chicken is glazed with red chili and perched on a sweet potato biscuit, and the chicken fricassee is flavored with truffle and artichokes. Broussard’s is also home to the Empire Bar, where mixologist Paul Gustings pours up his signature Ramos Gin Fizz.

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14. French Truck Coffee 1200 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

This local micro-roaster has been supplying restaurants, local grocery stores, and coffee shops throughout New Orleans for years, but if you want the freshest, tastiest version of its joe, head to its Lower Garden District roastery and espresso bar, where you can not only buy the in-house roasted beans but also enjoy hot and iced espresso and coffee drinks, like the iced coffee which is flavored by chicory and strong as they come. The outpost is tangerine colored and impossible to miss, meaning you’re officially out of excuses to not come in for a taste.

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15. Mojo Coffee House 1500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Mojo Coffee House in Lower Garden District has become a cornerstone of the New Orleans coffee scene. The small-batch coffee is roasted in-house, and the shop's location on Magazine Street is always bustling. However, the quaint patio and the large interior provide plenty of room for customers, including students looking to work into the night (it's open until midnight). Mojo has also partnered with Gnarly Barley to experiment with coffee-beer.

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16. Patois 6078 Laurel St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

At Patois, Chef Aaron Burgau plates traditional French fare with a local twist. You'll find boudin-stuffed Mississippi rabbit, sweet tea-brined short rib with Worcestershire sauce, and a changing roster of seasonal salads and soups on the menu. The space is airy and elegant with a Parisian bistro feel, and shows off an elegant bar area lit up like a vanity.

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17. Brennan's 417 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Located in the French Quarter, Brennan's is without a doubt one of the most important eateries in New Orleans. Dubbed the “old pink lady” due to its fanciful pink and green decor, the iconic restaurant serves a menu boasting upscale Cajun classics with a modern twist. Indulge in dishes like turtle soup, redfish amandine, and slow-baked Gulf fish with butter-poached crab, oysters, and shrimp. Breakfast at Brennan's is taken just as seriously as dinner, and dishes like Eggs Cardinal (crispy lobster and shrimp boudin with Creole mustard hollandaise) are richer than any other breakfast in the area. Top off your meal here with an order of the infamous bananas Foster.

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18. Vessel 3835 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

Like much of NOLA, Vessel, (or at the least vessel it occupies) comes with a history. Once a Lutheran church, the Iberville Street landmark was nearly destroyed in Katrina. Years later, the parts were salvaged by Vessel's restauranteurs who rebuilt the space in 2016, working hard to maintain the regality of its original church structure. Tucked into the heart of Mid-City, this social hall offers a full menu of Mediterranean eats with some classic New Orleans influence -- things like parmesan flatbread topped with shrimp and collared greens, or Louisiana wild boar ragu over house pappardelle pasta. The specialty cocktail list offers an expansive roster of house-creations featuring additions like basil, cayenne, and plum, without completely discounting the classic rum-heavy, sugar saturated NOLA favorites -- by way of cocktails, cuisine and construction, Vessel is a contemporary nod to its Louisiana roots.

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19. Urban South Brewery 1645 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

Located in the Lower Garden District, Urban South is a giant warehouse space with just a handful of picnic tables and craft brews, plus a friendly, welcoming feel that's extended to kids and dogs. It tends to get loud in here, so you may need to sit close to hear your group, but your mouth should be busy sipping on beers, like the light Charming Wit (brewed with coriander and orange & grapefruit peels) and the hoppy Holy Roller (brewed with centennial, cascade, mosaic, and citra hops).

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20. Hey! Cafe 4332 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

In true coffee house fashion, this affable Uptown café and roastery hosts a year-round series of live acoustic music sets. Additionally, as the only micro-roaster in all of New Orleans, this popular coffee joint roasts all of its beans in-house, serving fresh steaming cups of the stuff to locals, and bags of the small-batch beans to local retailers and restaurants. The Hey! staff is comprised of trained espresso-aficionados, just as knowledgable on the origins of the blends they serve as they are capable of producing perfect cappuccinos, and they are happy to discuss both of these things with inquisitive customers. And when the appeal of fresh caffeine begins to dwindle, guests can trade in their ceramic mugs for cold beers, and seat themselves in the shop's narrow, unpretentious backyard, while they wait for the musical stylings to begin.

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21. Spitfire Coffee 627 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Among the first specialty coffee shops to lay roots in NOLA, this French-Quarter café serves coffee sourced from a variety of different American roasters. In the interest of maintaining an eclectic, balanced roster of flavors, the roasts are switched out seasonally, while customer favorites will remain. Known for its quality pour-overs, this espresso bar is dedicated to hand-crafted coffee drinks prepared both carefully and consciously -- and while all of the classic coffee drinks are impeccable, the spot offers a collection of creative house-creations as well (try the Hellfire mocha -- a traditional latte, blended with home-made chocolate syrup and habanero shrub). And while the space is small (a self-proclaimed "walk-in-closet"), there are fresh pastries delivered daily by Scout bakery, and the coffee drinks are well worth the trip.

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22. NOLA Brewing Tap Room 3000 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70115

At New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing Company in Irish Channel, you can either post up inside its warehouse-chic taproom or at its twinkle-lit rooftop bar, where you'll not only have 32 top-notch craft brews at your fingertips, but also a full menu of Pitmaster Neil McClure's practically sinful BBQ ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and chicken. Order yourself a malty, well-balanced NOLA Blonde Ale and some Alabama-style chicken with a tangy and peppery white sauce for a truly bracing combination. The brewery's weekly guided tours give you a chance to sample an abundance of its flagship and seasonal concoctions, too.

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23. HiVolt Coffee 1829 Sophie Wright Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Garden District)

This popular Garden District coffee shop is all about "third wave" coffee brewing techniques, from the pour over and the Oji drip, to Japanese iced and cold brewed blends. Beyond the inventive, contemporary treats, however, the classic steamed-milk espresso combos are prepared expertly, served hot, and always topped with a masterful milk-design, formed effortlessly by the barista-at-hand. The Rishi-curated tea program offers an eclectic roster of loose-leaf blends, fresh smoothies are made-to-order, and the matcha lattes are almost as tasty as the ones prepared with real shots of espresso. And when it comes to food, the menu features far more than pastries, boasting a collection of avocado and aoli-topped breakfast sandwiches, fresh quiches, and egg bowls packed with grains, sauteèd greens and colorful smatterings of local meat and produce.

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24. Revelator Coffee Company 637 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

This NOLA coffee co. serves high-quality roasts in a minimalistic white and blue-clad space, every bit as carefully-curated as the coffee drinks themselves. Stationed in the middle of the Warehouse district, the cafè is one of few outposts for Birmingham's own Revelator Roasters, where all of the beans for the shop are roasted and packaged. The espresso blend changes seasonally, as do the more creative selection of "coffee cocktails" listed on the menu (i.e. espresso topped with cream, tangerine juice, sparkling water and vanilla). In addition to the always-available top-notch coffee drinks, the espresso bar serves a number of fresh pastries delivered daily from Gracious Bakery, and various tea and kombucha options, for those willing to pass up rich, expertly-prepared local coffee.

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25. Cherry Espresso Bar 4875 Laurel St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Recognizable by its lime green front door, this espresso bar is the full-time incarnation of the coffee pop-up, once house in Stein's Deli. The Uptown cafè serves a number of brews from various microroasters -- Quills, Ruby Roasters, RoseLine, Heart Roasters, to name a few -- and a veritable selection of Lilette pastries to pair. Each morning at the Laurel street hub, espresso shots are carefully weighed to ensure that they run at precisely the right speed, milk frothers are aired out, and test shots are prepared and sampled -- Cherry cuts no corners when it comes to good coffee. With vintage hanging chandeliers, a wood paneled espresso bar, and walls of exposed red brick, the sunny space is just as appealing as the cappuccinos. Additionally, twice a month, the skilled baristas at this caffeine-mecca teach coffee lessons, focused just as much on the process of savoring quality espresso as the mechanics of the machines.

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26. Mammoth Espresso 821 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70113 (Central Business District)

The sleek, retro-modern design of Mammoth Espresso in the Warehouse District offers a hip but family-friendly atmosphere to sip high-quality coffee. Madcap Coffee supplies the superior beans and Scout Bakery supplies sweet and savory pastries like prosciutto and provolone croissants and gluten-free compost cookies. For those looking to explore the espresso-making process, sample the One & One split double espresso, which features one with steamed milk and one without. Bonus: Ample free parking can be found by this cafe, which is rare in the bustling Central Business District.

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27. Arrow Cafe 628 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70112

Located right by Louis Armstrong Park, Arrow Cafe is a French Quarter coffee shop that pours espresso drinks from Four Barrel coffee beans. Although it bills itself as a coffee shop, the space is shared with a bike shop and an antique store, meaning you can kill three birds with one caffeinated Arrow. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for reading, with wooden chairs and slatted tables appropriate for the park across the street. Make sure you leave plenty of time for finding parking because it's sparse in this area.

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28. Salon by Sucré 622 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

By the confectionary team behind Sucré', this full-service bistro serves a masterful blend of sweet and savory eats. Serving brunch, dinner and afternoon tea in an airy mid-century French dining room, the spot is a popular French Quarter mainstay. The brunch menu is built of local staples like gourmet chicken and waffles, and hollandaise-topped chive-biscuit sandwiches, while the afternoon tea menu features mainly tea sandwiches and small plates (tea-based cocktails are available as well). The dinner menu, far more luxurious than the daytime editions, boasts caramel-roasted duck, apple chutney-topped pork chops, and scallops in saffron broth, followed by a smattering of elegant desserts, served a la carte. The stand-out offering at this upscale locale, however, is the cocktail menu, replete with whimsical house-creations like the Cena, prepared with beet-infused vodka, lime and ginger.

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29. Addiction Coffeehouse 909 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

Aptly titled, this French Quarter café serves coffee worth coming back for (again and again and again). The "farm to cup" coffee house is all about locally-roasted coffee beans, paired with sweeteners, herbal teas, and dairy products, sourced exclusively from Louisiana farms. The dim, wood-paneled space is small in stature, while the coffee menu is remarkably expansive, stretching across several pages. Featuring additives like coconut milk, honey, cinnamon and cayenne pepper (all Louisiana-sourced, of course), the selection of available caffeine-heavy beverages is curated with a focus on finding creative ways to (literally) spice up classic coffee-concoctions.

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30. Rouler 601 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70113 (Warehouse District)

Laissez les bons temps rouler at Rouler, a hybrid bike repair shop and wine, beer, and coffee spot. At the Warehouse District café, you’re as likely to hear the hiss of an air compressor as you are the whizz of an espresso maker pouring out steaming French Truck coffee. Rouler’s menu is divided into “Liquids” and “Solids,” offering up Urban South brews and Squadra wines, and while you await your repair, nibble on Gracious Bakery pastries or light bites, like Greek yogurt, kale, mango, and avocado salad, and turkey and Swiss on ciabatta.



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