Food & Drink

The Best Lunch Spot in Every New Orleans Neighborhood

Published On 08/20/2015 Published On 08/20/2015
Scott Gold/thrillist (edited)

In between breakfast (the most important meal of the day, don't you know) and dinner (which, in New Orleans, is more of an event than a meal), the specialness of lunch sometimes gets overlooked. Well, not anymore. Whether you’re grabbing a sandwich and heading back to work or enjoying a three-martini affair, every ‘hood in NOLA has something great to offer you in the lunch department, and we've rounded them all up for you.

Brugh Foster/The Joint

Bywater

The Joint (address and info)
What you’re getting: Pork ribs, baked beans, slaw, cold draft beer

Places like Booty’s Street Food, Oxalis, and Maurepas Foods are always a good bet for Bywater dining (as is a slice from Pizza D), but when it comes to lunch, we’re headed straight to The Joint for some good old-fashioned American BBQ.
 

Lower Ninth Ward

Cafe Dauphine (address and info)
What you’re getting: Fried stuffed bell peppers

OK, granted: the Lower Ninth isn’t much of a foodie destination (though we hope that changes). Still, if you’re out that way between breakfast and dinner, Cafe Dauphine’s fantastic bell peppers, stuffed with plenty of crab meat and shrimp dressing, will definitely hit the spot.

Kebab

St. Roch

Kebab (address and info)
What you’re getting: Doner kebab

This was a difficult one, seeing as the beautiful new St. Roch Market has turned St. Claude Ave into the place to hit for high-end nibbles (even though “Yuppy = BAD”). But Kebab wins us over every time with its spot-on Dutch/German street food, Belgian fries, and the vintage Flash Gordon pinball machine.

Ruby Slipper Cafe

Marigny

The Ruby Slipper Cafe (address and info)
What you’re getting: The BL2T

There are some really cool dining options in the Triangle, however many of them aren’t open until evening. Thank goodness, then, for The Ruby Slipper, which is dedicated solely to breakfast, brunch and lunch. Try its version of the BLT, featuring both fresh and fried green tomatoes and served on challah.
 

Gentilly

The Munch Factory (address and info)
What you’re getting: Hot sausage patty melt

OK, so it has a decidedly silly name, but don’t let that fool you: The Munch Factory is on its game when it comes to lunch in Gentilly. It’s not health food either; we’re talking bayou nachos, Munchin’ Wings, burgers, and fries. Sometimes, you just gotta munch.

High Hat Cafe

Uptown/Carrollton

High Hat Cafe (address and info)
What you’re getting: Fried catfish, Delta Hot Tamales, Gumbo Ya-Ya

At this point, we’re nearing the give-up point trying to pick lunch places, especially when it comes to Uptown, but the show must go on. We love the sandwiches at Wayfare and the burgers at Cowbell -- and who doesn’t adore a Company Burger? -- however, the High Hat wins the blue ribbon here for its fantastic Louisiana/Delta fare in a casual, comfortable setting. The catfish is outta sight.

Katie's Restaurant

Mid-City

Katie’s Restaurant (address and info)
What you’re getting: Crawfish beignet and The Barge po-boy

Boy, this was a tough call, seeing all the cool things going on in Mid-City these days, and the temptation to list Bud’s Broiler here was exceptionally strong. Lunch at Katie’s is never a disappointment, though, so it gets our nod, especially because it features The Barge, an entire loaf of Gendusa French bread stuffed with fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish fit to serve two-four people (or one really, really hungry one).
 

West Bank

Café 615 Home of Da Wabbit (address and info)
What you’re getting: Sloppy roast beef on French

When on the “Wank,” it’s all about dat Wabbit, brah. While Cafe 615 offers great seafood platters and “Gretna’s finest muffaletta,” it’s really all about its roast beef, which is sliced thin and soaked in brown gravy goodness.

Green Goddess 

French Quarter

Green Goddess (address and info)
What you’re getting: The Cuban Luau

Dear God (or Goddess), how do you pick ONE great place for lunch in the Quarter?! Answer: it ain’t easy. That said, Green Goddess gets the edge here for its worldly offerings and outdoor seating in lovely Exchange Place. It’s version of a Cuban sandwich featuring Hawaiian black salt slow-roasted pork, and it's a serious winner. Extra points are won here for the creative cocktail program as well.

Mondo New Orleans

Lakeview

Mondo (address and info)
What you’re getting: Pizza with pear, prosciutto, teleme, goat cheese, and arugula

Susan Spicer basically owns lunch in Lakeview, thanks to Mondo, an excellent and casual departure from her famous French Quarter eatery, Bayona. It helps that she proudly calls the neighborhood home. With the killer sandwiches and outstanding pizzas at this place, you’d probably want to live there, too.
 

New Orleans East

Banh Mi Sao Mai (address and info)
What you’re getting: Meatball "po-boy"

If you’re lunching in Da East, you’re clearly headed for Vietnamese, but there are only so many times you can hit Dong Phuong Bakery (actually, this is a matter of some debate). To shake things up, try the ridiculously tasty meatball banh mi at Banh Mi Sao Mai, smothered in the shop’s famous house-made tomato sauce and the requisite pickled veggies.

Martin Wine Cellar

Garden District/Central City

Martin Wine Cellar (address and info)
What you’re getting: The Deli Deluxe (corned beef, pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing & Creole mustard served hot on an onion roll)

Want a really great deli sandwich or big salad with enough time to enjoy on your lunch break? It’s all about the newly opened (although original, confusingly enough) Martin’s on Baronne St. The Metairie location has long been a lunch hotspot, and it looks like its sparkling Uptown cousin is sharing that same fate. Seriously, the sandwiches are truly outstanding. Plus, you can pick up a bottle of booze or vino for later on your way out!

Cochon Butcher

CBD

Cochon Butcher (address and info)
What you’re getting: The house muffaletta

Another terribly tough decision here, owing to the proliferation of outstanding eateries in the Central Business District. Plenty of fine-dining restaurants offer lunch as well as an elegant dinner, and the new Willa Jean bakery is truly outstanding, but for a solid and thoroughly casual lunch experience, it’s hard to top Donald Link’s butcher/sandwich counter. The hot muffaletta with house-cured meats here is almost impossible to beat. Better still, you can pick up some meats and olive salad to go on your way out. Super bonus.
 

Seventh Ward/Treme

Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe (address and info)
What you’re getting: A cup of gumbo and the Trout Baquet

Creole soul food is the hallmark of this Seventh Ward eatery, and if that doesn’t sound like it’ll hit the spot around 1pm, who on Earth knows what will? The lunch specials are particularly noteworthy (fantastic red beans on Mondays, naturally), as is the spot-on seafood gumbo and excellent fried chicken.

Bear's Poboys

Old Metairie

Bear's Poboys (address and info)
What you’re getting: Roast beef po-boy dressed; onion rings

Newcomers to Old Metry like Blue Line Sandwich Co. are putting up some good game in the Jefferson Parish lunch department, though it’s extremely difficult to bypass Bear's when it comes to the midday meal. It’s a classic. Always has been, always will be.

Bevi Seafood Co

New Metairie

Bevi Seafood Co. (address and info)
What you’re getting: Smokey oyster po-boy with smoked gouda and pastrami bacon

It may be new to New Metry, but people are already raving about seafood market/restaurant Bevi, and they’re wholly right to do so. Not only does it have some of the best boiled crawfish in town (seasonally, of course), its prepared foods are a home run, as well, and could easily go toe to toe with just about any seafood place in the 504, even Parran’s, which is really saying something. We also can’t wait for its new Mid-City location to arrive.
 
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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. The Joint 701 Mazant St, New Orleans, LA 70117

The Joint is a New Orleans BBQ spot with a full bar that's serving up house-smoked chicken, ribs, and pulled pork until 10pm every night. As far as the editors at Thrillist are concerned, The Joint is one of the best barbecue places in America. The next time you are in New Orleans, you need to stop by The Joint.

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2. Cafe Dauphine 5229 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70117

If you happen to be in the Lower Ninth between breakfast and dinner, Cafe Dauphine’s fantastic bell peppers, stuffed with plenty of crab meat and shrimp dressing, will definitely hit the spot.

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3. Kebab 2315 Saint Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

This Bywater eatery immediately found a cult-like following after moving in and for excellent reason: its Dutch/German street food is spot on, especially the dark meat chicken doner, which has no equal in town.

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4. Ruby Slipper Cafe 2001 Burgundy St, New Orleans, LA 70116

The Ruby Slipper is one of your only mid-day options in the Triangle, and good thing too. Try its version of the BLT, featuring both fresh and fried green tomatoes and served on challah.

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5. The Munch Factory 6325 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA 70122

The name may be silly, but the Creole menu is seriously legit. We’re talking bayou nachos, Munchin’ Wings, burgers, and fries.

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6. High Hat Cafe 4510 Freret St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

High Hat Café in Freret is a casual neighborhood spot that serves southern soul food from the Mississippi Delta and Louisana. Catfish is the star of the menu, but you won’t go wrong with the restaurant’s appetizers, salads, po’ boys, sandwiches, burgers, and hot plates, particularly the cornmeal pancakes and pimento cheese plate. With an old-fashioned bar, tiled floors, and a muted color scheme, High Hat is aesthetically understated, allowing you to dedicate your attention both to the savory dishes in front of you and your selection from the bourbon-heavy cocktail program in your hand.

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7. Katie's Restaurant & Bar 3701 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

What opened as an old-school lunch corner in 1984 is now... still pretty much an old-school lunch corner, but with more modern furnishings, a standard menu of salads, sammies, burgers, various seafood items, and a brunch that straight kicks ass. Sundays from 9am-3pm, they serve $15 bottomless mimosas, sangria, and Bloody Marys alongside local dishes like Grillades and Grits, Eggs Cochon, and Katie’s special crawfish beignet.

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8. Café 615 Home of Da Wabbit 615 Kepler St, Gretna, LA 70053

There is a wonderful substance that is created when mayonnaise, tomatoes, hot sauce, and roast beef gravy combine, and it can usually be found on a po' boy at Cafe 615 in Gretna. Stop by and order one of their po's, or check out a wide variety of soups, salads, or pasta dishes they have on offer.

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9. Green Goddess 307 Exchange Pl, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

Tucked in an alley in the French Quarter, this oasis serves lunch and dinner and provides creative cuisine and cocktails. There’s even a vegan Bloody Mary variation on the list, along with watermelon sangria and two different boozy SnoBall ice cocktails.

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10. Banh Mi Sao Mai 14321 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

This Vietnamese spot serves up a mean meatball banh mi "po-boy," smothered in the shop’s famous house-made tomato sauce and the requisite pickled veggies.

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11. Martin Wine Cellar 3827 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Garden District)

While the name may not make this sound like your new favorite Uptown lunch spot, Martin Wine Cellar is the place to grab a quick lunch sammie like the Deli Deluxe (corned beef, pastrami, Swiss, Russian dressing & Creole mustard served hot on an onion roll).

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12. Mondo 900 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124

Started by locally and nationally renown chef Susan Spicier, Lakeside's Mondo might seem standard -- unassuming facade and blank warm wood interior and all. It's the menu of thoughtfully prepared and globally inspired dishes that seems to maintain its regular evening crowds: apart from the traditional wood fired pizzas and burgers, consider items like the chicken liver whipped into a paté, and a Thai grilled Hanger steak served with snap pea rice. It's the kind of restaurant that's designed for the people, but also for the chef, whose eclectic predilections also seem to benefit the former crowd.

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13. Cochon Butcher 930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Donald Link's love letter to Louisiana, Cochon, is back at it again with this meat-centric offshoot. Build your ultimate, meaty sandwich at this hybrid butcher shop, deli counter, and wine bar in the Warehouse District. Inspired by old-world meat markets, Cochon Butcher specializes in house-cured meats, terrines, and sausages. The lines can get long at lunch, making the simple pleasure of sitting at the bar with a drink and a bite feel like a luxury.

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14. Bear's Poboys 3206 Metairie Rd, Metairie, LA 70002

A classic lunch spot neighboring an overpass in Old Metairie, this unassuming restaurant specializes in po-boys and burgers, including what's considered one of the best roast beef po-boys in town. Why? The beef is roasted and chilled before it's sliced against the grain, marinated in Bear's special gravy for extra flavor and juiciness, and served on fresh, locally baked Leidenheimer French bread. It all results in a supremely succulent sandwich that, frankly, isn't complete without some crispy hand-battered onion rings on the side.

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15. Lil Dizzy's Cafe 1500 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

This is a perfect spot for a variety of NOLA cuisine. They do a killer fried chicken, but you'd be advised to also try their bread pudding, gumbo, and catfish.

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16. Bevi Seafood Co. 4701 Airline Dr, Metairie, LA 70001

Part seafood market and part restaurant, bare-bones, family-run Bevi features, well, a bevy of locally sourced seafood that focuses on four seasonal New Orleans specialties: crawfish, crab, shrimp, and oysters. In addition to these boiled Gulf Coast treats that reign supreme in NOLA, there's exceptional hot food, like from-scratch po-boys with fresh, homemade ingredients like smoked ham and slow-roasted beef (the fried shrimp with brown gravy and cheese is a favorite too), as well as platters of BBQ gulf shrimp, gumbo, and fried green tomatoes.

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