Food & Drink

This is Your Chance to Try NOLA’s Best Chefs Under One Roof

Take a visit to New Orleans, and it can be tough to hit all the best restaurants. In a city where the decades-old restaurants mingle with the new kids on the block of lists of suggestions that sound more like required eating, you wouldn’t be hard-pressed to spend a weekend here feeling like you’ve rarely looked up from a menu. Not that this is a bad thing. 

But hungry visitors to the city for the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship game will have one option to sample some of New Orleans’ best without having to navigate traffic or making reservations: The Eckrich Taste of the Championship sponsored by Thrillist -- so you know it's going to be damn good. (Snag your tickets here.)

Before you catch Clemson taking on the LSU Tigers, explore Mardi Gras World with its gorgeous view of the Mississippi River and historic Carnival relics. Then, tuck into tastes and treats from dozens of the city’s best chefs and bartenders the city has to offer. Here’s just a sampling of what to expect from the participating restaurants.
 

La Petite Grocery

Chef Justin Devillier is fresh off a busy 2019, which saw him launching his debut cookbook, The New Orleans Kitchen, and opening the French Quarter brasserie Justine with his wife and business partner Mia Freiberger-Devillier. Still, there’s no love lost for his Magazine Street home, La Petite Grocery, where he started as a line cook in 2004 before quickly rising to executive chef and taking ownership of the restaurant. 

Turkey and the Wolf

While Mason Hereford’s neighborhood sandwich shop seemed to surprise some for its selection as Bon Appetit’s best new restaurant in 2017 -- including, notably, Hereford himself -- it’s incredibly hard not to love the whimsical, imminently Instagrammable concoctions that come out of its kitchen. From the fried bologna sandwiches to the American cheese-draped tacos inautenticos, edible delights abound. 

Gianna

The newest edition to chef Donald Link’s New Orleans restaurant empire is this Italian gem from chef Rebecca Wilcomb. A second-generation Italian American, Wilcomb’s own cooking leans on lessons from her grandmother, Giannina. If you happen by the restaurant in downtown New Orleans, make sure to ask for extra ciabatta with your antipasti to sop up all the flavored oily bits -- you won’t want to leave anything behind. 

Marjie’s Grill

Chef Marcus Jacobs and partner Caitlin Carney make it a priority to travel often to the places that inspire their cooking, and every plate from their kitchen bears the impression of that passion. The result is a smash of flavors from meats cooked over open flames before being brightened with a handful of fresh herbs.  

Bon Ton Cafe

A family-owned restaurant for decades, this CBD favorite is the kind of place where friends getting up to greet each other across the room are as much a part of the restaurant’s internal traffic as the serving staff. While bread pudding is often served with a sweetened whiskey sauce, rarely does it have the bite you’d expect of the name -- but don’t expect that issue from the one you’ll get from Bon Ton Cafe.

 

Peche

The bright and airy restaurant on the corner of Julia Street is an anchor for anyone looking for a bite of fresh seafood. The restaurant’s consistent dedication to nabbing the best catches make it a go-to for anyone craving oysters. It’s that attention to detail that helped Peche and chef Ryan Prewitt take home James Beard Awards in 2014 for Best New Restaurant and Best Chef in the South. 

 

Galatoire’s

There are certain days of the year where getting a table at this legendary Bourbon Street establishment is so coveted, you’ll see lines forming at sunrise. Its street-level dining room is the sort of place you go to see and be seen -- and eat. Chef Phillip Lopez was brought on in 2018 and continues to serve classics like once-you-pop-you-can’t stop souffle potatoes, gumbo, eggs Benedict, and a seafood menu half comprised of the toppings you can request for your redfish. 

Cure

It takes being something special to land in New Orleans’ mental directory of iconic bars, but thanks to its role in reviving the craft cocktail scene here after Hurricane Katrina, Cure has a confirmed listing. There’s a reason this place snagged the 2018 James Beard Award for Outstanding Cocktail Program. Think classic drinks like -- Sidecars and Stingers -- given a modern, New Orleans-style twist.

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Chelsea Brasted is a freelance writer in her hometown of New Orleans, where she formerly worked for The Times-Picayune. She prefers her adult beverages in go-cups because she's rarely home and has a tendency to adopt dogs while on assignment.