Food & Drink

The 10 best waterfront bars & restaurants in New Orleans

Published On 11/05/2014 Published On 11/05/2014

New Orleans (and Louisiana in general) is a very aquiferous area. There are bayous, rivers, lagoons, levees, the mighty mighty Mississippi, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Pontchartrain, and scarily large puddles that develop after heavy showers. And now that the temperatures have reached a humane level, here’s a list of the best spots to enjoy looking at the water, rather than feeling it (humidity!).

The Blue Crab

The Blue Crab

West End/Lakefront
What you're getting: The Blue Crab Platter
On the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, this West End/Lakefront eatery offers fried, boiled, or grilled local seafood while you sit on the dock enjoying the day. It even has a place to tie up boats, if that’s your preferred mode of travel.

Morning Call

Morning Call

City Park
What you're getting: Cafe au lait & beignets
Morning Call offers the traditional New Orleans breakfast snack of freshly fried beignets and cafe au lait, right on the banks of one of City Park’s bayous/lagoons. It’s open 24 hours, has convenient parking, and offers tons of outdoor seating in one of the most picturesque locations in the city.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Mid-City
What you're getting: Overstuffed fried shrimp po' boy
Bayou St. John snakes through Mid-City and creates opportunities for making your own urban oasis experience. Parkway, which is situated within sight of that stretch of the bayou, is the perfect place to order a po’ boy and either relax on their back deck or take the sandwich across the street and enjoy al fresco. Don’t forget the napkins. Trust us.

Mat & Naddie's

Mat & Naddie's

Riverbend
What you're getting: Apple Smoked Duck Breast
Right across the way from where the Mississippi bends (in the aptly named Riverbend neighborhood), Mat & Naddie's is a great spot for a low-key, Uptown dinner. Their patio is perfect for blocking out the car and train traffic noise, gazing upon the levee, and listening to the freight boats honk their horns as they slowly travel the river.

Steamboat Natchez

Steamboat Natchez

Mississippi River
What you're getting: The pork loin, w/ a Creole mustard sauce
Actually located on the Mississippi River, the Steamboat Natchez takes waterfront dining to another level with water everywhere you look, food, and live jazz. The Natchez offers daily dinner cruising, weekday brunch while hanging out at the harbor, as well as a Sunday brunch 'n’ cruise.

Palmettos on the Bayou

Palmettos On The Bayou

Northshore
What you're getting: Catfish w/ jalapeño hush puppies
This fine food establishment on the Northshore (i.e., the other side of Lake Pontchartrain) is built right on Bayou Bonfouca. While sometimes water proximity can be less than ideal, as when Hurricane Isaac inflicted considerable damage in 2012, Palmettos' subsequent remodel has expanded the back deck dining and bar area, so patrons can hear the frogs croaking in the quiet night.

barleyoak

The Barley Oak

Mandeville
What you're getting: The Cajun Sausage Platter
Head across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which is the longest bridge in the world, to get to Mandeville, which was the summer playground of rich New Orleanians in the days of yellow fever. It still feels like a world away from the city, especially when sitting on the front patio of the Barley Oak. One of the best beer bars in the state, the Barley Oak also serves a killer sausage platter, burgers, and a Reuben sandwich not to be missed.

Middendorf's

Middendorf's

Manchac
What you're getting: Middendorf's Special (fried thin catfish)
A bit of a drive away, about 40 miles Northwest of New Orleans, it’s an easy stop on the way to Hammond/Ponchatoula or Baton Rouge. It’s also worth a drive on its own merits, with its justifiably famous thin fried catfish and location right on Lake Maurepas.

The Dry Dock Cafe

The Dry Dock Cafe

Algiers
What you're getting: An oyster po' boy
This West Bank bar and restaurant in Algiers Point, across the Mississippi from the French Quarter, is a neighborhood joint steps away from the ferry, so it’s easily accessible by locals and tourists alike.

Flickr/Gary J. Wood

Galvez Restaurant

French Quarter
What you're getting: Bouillabaise de Mariscos Español
This restaurant, perched above the French Market, has a stunning view of the Mississippi River, along with tapas that are influenced by the city’s Spanish, French, and Creole culinary history.

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1. The Blue Crab 7900 Lakeshore Dr, New Orleans, LA 70124

On the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, this West End/Lakefront eatery offers fried, boiled, or grilled local seafood while you sit on the dock enjoying the day. It even has a place to tie up boats, if that’s your preferred mode of travel.

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

Self-dubbed as NOLA's "most famous coffee drinking place," Morning Call has been brewing its prized French drip coffee since 1870, which has the rich chicory taste that fans go wild for as they munch on the cafe's beloved beignets. Crunchy on the outside and puffy on the inside, the beignets here are arguably as scrumptious as those at the city's more tourist-packed institutions (with a cheaper price tag to boot), plus there isn't an outrageous wait to get your hands on these powdery pastries. Though the café au lait and beignets are the reasons you're checking out this lively, old-fashioned coffee shop, the short lineup of local cuisine (jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish bread) is worth a taste, too.

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3. Parkway Bakery & Tavern 538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

No one does po’boys like Parkway, and it’s no surprise: the Mid-City spot has been open since 1911, and the po’boy has been a staple of the menu since 1929. Regardless of whether you’re a local, a passerby, or even President Obama (who makes a point to snag a golden fried shrimp po’boy here when business brings him to the Big Easy), you really can’t go wrong with any of these delicious bad boys, all of which are served on fresh, house-made bread. Pro tip: if you can’t handle the spice level, a booze-loving mint julep will help.

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4. Mat & Naddie's 937 Leonidas St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

Right across the way from where the Mississippi bends (in the aptly named Riverbend neighborhood), Mat and Naddie's is a great spot for a low-key Uptown dinner. Their patio is perfect for blocking out the car and train traffic noise, gazing upon the levee, and listening to the freight boats honk their horns as they slowly travel the river.

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5. Palmettos On The Bayou 1901 Bayou Ln, Slidell, LA 70458

This fine food establishment on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain is built right on Bayou Bonfouca. Palmettos has an expansive back deck dining and bar area, so patrons can hear the frogs croaking in the quiet night. Bring bug spray though, or you will be sad.

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6. The Barley Oak 2101 Lakeshore Dr, Mandeville, LA 70448

One of the best beer bars in the state, the Barley Oak also serves a killer sausage platter, burgers, and a Reuben sandwich that's not to be missed.

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7. Middendorf's 30160 Hwy 51, Akers, LA 70421

This homey, bayou-inspired spot is a neighborhood staple and a piece of New Orleans history. Middendorf's has been open since 1935, beloved by locals to this day for it's fresh seafood and authentic Creole flavor. Shellfish reign supreme, whether in the form of spicy crawfish poppers, crispy softshell crab, and shrimp gumbo -- but the real standout is, without a doubt, their thin-cut fried catfish, gloriously crispy and plated over a hearty bed of French fries. It's worth the trek out to Akers, but be forewarned: this popular spot doesn't take reservations, so be prepared to wait a few for a table.

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8. The Dry Dock Cafe 133 Delaronde St, New Orleans, LA 70114

If you need to escape the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, hop on the Canal St ferry (fo' free!) and order the seafood gumbo or BBQ shrimp for lunch at Dry Dock in Algiers.

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9. Galvez Restaurant 914 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

This restaurant, perched above the French Market, has a stunning view of the Mississippi River, along with tapas that are influenced by the city’s Spanish, French, and Creole culinary history.

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