Where to Eat in New Orleans Right Now
In the first few weeks after COVID-19 began impacting New Orleans, it felt like this city’s dining scene might never be the same. But this is a restaurant community that also became an integral part of the story when the city rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. And now, even when its social distancing rules change by the day, New Orleans’ restaurants find ways to continue serving. While we don’t yet know what the long term impact of the coronavirus will be on the culture and heart of this city, we have still been able to find moments to celebrate when old favorites reopen, or to cheer on entrepreneurs opening brand new ones despite it all. As we all navigate it together, here’s where to eat in New Orleans right now.
The gist: Banana Blossom’s Jimmy Cho partners with BRG to take over the space vacated by Warbucks, which means you no longer have to go to the West Bank to taste Cho’s Thai creations.
The food: Cho looks to his native Thailand and even his own mother’s cooking, for inspiration, which finds its way to the table as crispy calamari, fried chicken with garlic and Thai chili, green curry soft shells, and Louisiana crab fried rice.
The cost: Starters are $5-15, and signature entrees $15-20.
How to order: Takeout only through ToastTab.
The gist: Kyle Payer and Mackenzie Broquet teamed up to create an omakase restaurant that was due to open just as social distancing began.
The food: Each thoughtfully crafted meal presents locally sourced ingredients in the traditional Japanese style specific to omakase, meaning each dish is an opportunity to be surprised.
The cost: $89 for an 8-10 course omakase meal, cocktails $12-15.
How to order: Make reservations through OpenTable.
The gist: The team behind Cure Co. heads down Freret Street to open Vals, a taco stand with a snazzy-looking patio, just in time for the pandemic to make everything a little more complicated. Everything, that is, except for filling taco cravings.
The food: You’ve got “not tacos” (elotes, a ceviche of the day, chips, and various salsas) and tacos (crispy beef belly, sweet potato, green mole, fried fish, and pork shoulder).
The cost: The “not tacos” are $5 -10, and all tacos are $3. Beers are $4-5, and frozen margaritas are $10. A whole frozen margarita gallon is $70.
How to order: Order and eat on the patio, or order online through UpServe.
The food: As is traditional, many of the dishes here are made for sharing. There’s a beetroot tahini, the roasted pepper dip muhammara, falafel wraps and jebna, a house-made cheese.
The cost: Small plates and cheeses are $5-9 and larger entrees and wraps are $10-14.
How to order: Make reservations through OpenTable.
The gist: Chef Michael Gottlieb is opening a two-part dining concept right on the Tchefuncte River on the North Shore, and he’s getting started with the more casual Anchor. Soon, the compound will also include Tchefuncte’s for fine dining upstairs.
The food: Most ingredients are sourced within about 25 miles, which means local fish and chips plus smoked meats and oyster and shrimp po-boys.
The cost: Dishes are $8-28.
How to order: No reservations, but there’s indoor and outdoor seating, and 26 boat slips should you float in to order. Online ordering to come.
The gist: When it opened earlier in 2020, waits of two hours or more were common at Blue Giant. Now, though, the restaurant has turned to takeout only, which means shorter waits, but still the same great menu.
The food: Look for the spicy stir-fried eggplant that’ll make your eyes water, the blue crab rangoon, and an egg roll that’s big enough to share. (You won’t want to, though.)
The cost: Appetizers are $3-14, and larger plates are $11-16.
How to order: Takeout only. Order by calling the restaurant at 504.582.9060.
The gist: The family that opened Kenner’s Little Chinatown have returned after selling the restaurant and traveling the U.S. Dian Xin -- itself another name for dim sum -- is exactly what locals have been waiting for.
The food: The menu runs the gamut of small plates like xiao long bao, and complete entrees. Not a single dish on the menu misses, be it the jianbing, the salt and pepper squid or General Tso’s chicken.
The cost: All dishes are $5-11.
How to order: Takeout only. Order online through Dian Xin’s website
The gist: James Beard award-winning chef Justin Devillier and his wife, Mia, turn the stuffy brasserie style on its head at this French Quarter spot whose neon sign is just waiting to be Instagrammed. Inside, a DJ is spinning hits in an expansive dining room flanked by stencil art.
The food: Decadent starters like bone marrow bordelaise and foie gras torchon anchor an impressive offering of steaks and brasserie classics like poisson amandine and moules frites.
The cost: Hors d’oeuvres are $8-12, and entrees are $16-25.
How to order: Dine in, or order for takeout through ToastTab and delivery through D’livery.
The gist: Chef Brian Burns and co-owner Reno De Ranieri evoke the spirit of Spanish dining with a wide-ranging menu at Costera.
The food: Think small shareables like citrus-and-vermouth-marinated olives to a show-stopping, single-batch paella. Burns blends local fare with traditional Spanish dishes, as with the gulf whiting a la plancha, but also imports standouts like the jamón Ibérico.
The cost: Plates typically range from $7-29.
How to order: Dine in or takeout. Reservations can be made through Resy.
The gist: This little taco on Tchoupitoulas recently upgraded its backyard seating, and just in time for social distancing to go into effect.
The food: Choose from the thoughtfully designed tacos and pick up a margarita poured straight out of a tap. While here, pick up tortillas by the dozen for later.
The cost: Chips and salsa from $4, and tacos are $3.25-4.50. Single margaritas start at $7.25, but are available in batched sizes.
How to order: Place your order through ChowNow.
The gist: You could just as easily stop by this sexy little spot inside the Atelier Ace’s new downtown hotel, Maison de la Luz, for a nightcap as you could a full meal, but make sure you do the latter.
The food: Get an order of the pommes marilou, which are topped with a bit of creme fraiche and a bowfin caviar, for a salty foil to whatever cocktail you have the bartender shake up. There’s also a burger, if you’re feeling more peckish.
The cost: Dishes are $10-18, and cocktails are $6 and up.
How to order: Dine in, and reservations are required and limited to parties of six or less. Make reservations through its website.
The gist: This new restaurant has only been around for a year, but it’s already been through the gauntlet. Between the catastrophic collapse of its down-the-block neighbor, the Hard Rock Hotel, and the pandemic, the plucky Palm & Pine has thankfully managed to stick it out.
The food: Caught somewhere between Texas, New Orleans, and the Caribbean, the kitchen turns out dishes like striped bass, crispy boudin, and grits and cane syrup pie. You should also check the menu for daily plate lunch specials.
The cost: Small plates are $8-14, and dinner plates are $21-26
How to order: Dine-in is reservation only through Resy. Takeout is also available.
The gist: Get farm-to-table breakfast fare in the suburbs. These days, you can order family-style, so plan to pick up some extras for later in the week. Or just eat a half-dozen of the chocolate chip cookies all in one sitting. We’re not judging.
The food: Get your fix of fresh-squeezed juice, organic chia pudding, or hummus-avocado sandwiches. This mural-painted, decidedly groovy cafe offers options that are guilt-free and delicious.
The cost: Sandwiches and pizzas $8-14, and other snacks and baked goods $1.50-10.
How to order: Order ahead for takeout or delivery through the website.
Bywater American Bistro
The gist: For now, chef Nina Compton’s first New Orleans restaurant, Compere Lapin, remains closed. You could sit around dreaming about the biscuits that start every meal there, or you could get smart and head to the Bywater.
The food: Compton’s St. Lucian roots mix with a New Orleans neighborhood restaurant in dishes like the snapper, which is served with okra and lima beans, and the curried rabbit.
The cost: Appetizers are $10-18, and entrees are $18-31.
How to order: Dine in, or takeout and delivery are available. Reserve dine-in through OpenTable and the restaurant’s COVID-19 guide before you visit.
The Station Coffee Shop & Bakery
The gist: While this petite, pastel café serving pastries, meat pies, coffee, and espresso drinks isn’t offering dine-in, the porch is open and offers well-spaced seating.
The food: The sweet and savory pastries are baked from scratch every day. Expect chocolate chip scones, cakes topped with buttercream and cream cheese frosting, and cinnamon pinwheels along with kolache, meat hand pies, and sausage rolls. The owner’s favorite is a beautiful kouign amann, which has been described as “the fattiest pastry in all of Europe.”
The cost: Sweets and sandwiches up to $8, but full cakes, quiches, and pies are also available.
How to order: Takeout only, but for catering orders, see the website.
Blue Oak BBQ
The gist: Blue Oak BBQ went from pop-up to brick-and-mortar to smoked meat champion, taking home the top prize at the Hogs for the Cause cook-off competition in 2018. These days, it’s got an expansive covered patio so you can socially distance and make a barbecue-sauced mess.
The food: Daily specials are featured on Instagram to keep things interesting, so keep an eye out for the Buffalo chicken sandwich, Key lime pies, and Philly cheesesteak egg rolls. Even if that’s not on the menu, you can’t go wrong with the excellent ribs, smoked wings, and sandwiches.
The cost: Sandwiches $12.25-15, and BBQ plates $12.25-17.
How to order: Dine inside or outside, or opt for take-out. You can order ahead through ToastTab. Catering is also available if you’ve got a group to feed.
The gist: Named for Emeril Lagasse’s daughter, Meril is a globally influenced small-plates restaurant where every dish is under $30.
The food: Enjoy fresh pasta, grilled meat and fish, and items from the wood oven like roasted Louisiana oysters and a variety of flatbreads. There’s also a menu of tasty snacks like crispy turkey neck, Louisiana Cajun caviar, and shaved Iberico ham. On your birthday, enjoy the cotton candy, complete with a sparkler show.
The cost: Snacks are $6-17 and mains are $10-25.
How to order: Dine in service and takeout available Wednesday through Sunday from 5-9pm. Make reservations through OpenTable and read COVID-19 guidelines before you visit.
Turkey and the Wolf
The gist: This inventive sandwich shop with a big reputation is finally back open. Former Coquette chef de cuisine Mason Hereford’s graffiti-adorned, punk rock sandwich joint has received national accolades for a reason.
The food: Ingredients like “Dorito dust” and fried bologna are scattered through the menu, which includes non-sandwich offerings like fried chicken pot pie and a wedge salad with everything bagel seasoning. Don’t miss the deviled eggs with chicken skin cracklins, the collard green melt, and the vanilla soft-serve with toppings like date molasses and tahini.
The cost: Sandwiches $10.50-12.50, and “not sandwiches” are $4-11.50.
How to order: Takeout only. Order ahead through UpServe.
The gist: This lovely little restaurant from Nick Lama recently got a beautiful renovation, and the Sicilian food here is as good as ever.
The food: Enjoy the homestyle touch on dishes like the octopus, a short rib lasagna, or the portobello ravioli. As always, the daily specials are still worth eyeing up, too.
The cost: Dishes are $14-29 and sides are $7-9.
How to order: Order take online through the website. Reservations are available for dine-in through Resy.
The gist: There are few things as comforting as pizza. After a short hiatus, Pizza D is back, which means you, too, can wrap yourself in a warm cocoon of floppy, New York-style slices and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist. (Oh, just me?)
The food: What started as a weekly pop-up is now a Bywater institution. Giant, foldable slices, perfectly greasy garlic knots, tangy Caesar salads, and housemade pastas round out the menu.
The cost: Pies are $16-23 and pastas are $10-28.
How to order:Takeout only, and it’s a little complicated, so make sure you read all the directions for ordering ahead through Tock.