Mardi Gras may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to have fat Tuesdays (and Wednesdays, and Thursdays... you see where this is going), thanks to the slew of awesome new openings New Orleans has seen over the last few months -- so we took the liberty of lining up the best ones right here.
For those who tend to be a little obtuse when it comes to judging a restaurant by its name, this one is pretty straight forward. District offers donuts, sliders, and
caviar brew (that being fancy coffee and sadly not beer). Incredible donut flavors like maple Sriracha with candied thyme join perfectly executed little sliders, not to mention crazy-good soft serve ice cream. It’s a 21st century malt shop, and it’s worth checking out several times.
Back from the grave! This classic NOLA institution went under in 1988 and the space has housed several restaurants since, but ol' Marti’s has been revived and is back with roast duck heart sausages, blue crab bisque, and a stunning raw bar... and that’s saying a lot in New Orleans.
The Crescent City has always had its fair share of various foreign cuisines (particularly Italian and French, naturally), but for some reason authentic Mexican fare has long escaped her. No longer. The steadily growing corridor of O.C.H. Blvd. houses Casa Borrega, now serving up traditional, handmade tortillas, dark mole sauce, and a tequilla/mezcal list that will literally make your head spin. Literally.
Another Big Easy legend reborn from its own ashes, the legendary Grande Dame restaurant sports not only a million-dollar restoration -- that’s seven figures to bring this baby back -- you’ll also find the always delightfully grumpy master mixologist Paul Gustings behind the bar. To eat? Oh, only a crab-stuffed rack of lamb, or perhaps a mushroom-dusted ostrich fillet. Pro-tip: hit the astonishing courtyard between Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest, when the weather’s good and most of the tourists are still in Cleveland or wherever.
If you don’t recognize Chef Sue Zemanick from heading up the kitchen at the ever-popular Gautreau’s, it might be from her stints on Top Chef Masters and other TV spots. But there’s no diva to this cook; it’s all about the food (crab claws in truffle butter, steak & tuna tartates, etc.). Ivy, Zemanick’s second venture, couldn’t be a more perfect little spot for wine, cocktails, and nicely executed small plates. Basically, it’s romantic as hell.
Noodle & Pie
Pho is the reigning Asian noodle soup in NOLA and has been for years, but that didn’t stop Eman Loubier and his Dante’s Kitchen crew from opening up this bastion of hand-pulled noodles, masterful shio, miso, and pork bone broths, and other traditional Japanese fare with a playful twist. Also, pies made from scratch with hog lard. Don’t ask. Just eat it.
A resoundingly popular steakhouse comes to NOLA from... Israel? That’s right. Doris started in 2003 in The Holy Land, then expanded interestingly to Santa Ana, CA, Costa Rica, and now the Crescent City. Doris may be literally all over the map, but her attention to good meat isn’t. Steaks and chops here are a cut above many other meat shops in town, particularly with their dry-aging. It’s hard to get a reservation, and it’s expensive, but it’s worth it.
Fire House Burgers
Wait a second, are you telling me that Drago’s, home of the original charbroiled oyster swimming in garlic butter and topped with glorious melted cheese, has opened a hamburger joint? What, do they put butter-garlic sauce on their patties or something? Actually... yes. Yes, they do. And you know you friggin' want it in your face, so just do it already.
1. DISTRICT: Donuts. Sliders. Brew.2209 Magazine St, New Orleans
2. Marti's1041 Dumaine St, New Orleans
3. Casa Borrega1719 Oretha C. Haley Blvd, New Orleans
4. Broussard's Restaurant & Courtyard819 Conti St, New Orleans
5. Ivy5015 Magazine St, New Orleans
6. Noodle & Pie741 State St, New Orleans
7. Doris Metropolitan620 Chartres St, New Orleans
8. Fire House Burgers3224 Edenborn Ave, Metairie
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.
This modern bistro went under in 1988 but is back from the dead to serve a menu mainly featuring flavors of southwestern Europe.
This is one of the best spots in the city for authentic Mexican fare. They serve up traditional, handmade tortillas with a dark mole sauce that can't be beat, as well as a massive tequila/mezcal list.
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.
Run by Chef Sue Zemanick (from Top Chef Masters), this Uptown haunt is a perfect spot for wine, 'tails, and small plates with a Japanese influence.
Ramen and pie is the speciality at this Asian fusion restaurant. The move at Noodle & Pie is to start with a few small plates (okonomiyaki fries, deep-fried Brussels sprouts, Korean fried chicken) before moving on to a bowl of shoyu chicken ramen and finally, a slice of pie -- like the spicy Thai peanut butter cup with chocolate crust -- for dessert.
French Quarter favorite, Doris Metropolitan, is a high-end steakhouse with deluxe offerings like USDA Prime and Japanese wagyu cuts dry-aged in-house. The traditional steakhouse is infused with Mediterranean touches, and the menu brings a variety of flavors together to its surprisingly diverse array of non-steak dishes as well. The restaurant is dedicated to quality, menu diversity, and service with an elegant and sophisticated dining room, and a charming courtyard if you prefer to dine outside.