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!).
Acquired Taste: Blood Rice Cakes With Timothy DeLaGhetto and Justina Valentine
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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