Food & Drink

8 hugely underrated New Orleans restaurants

Published On 03/26/2014 Published On 03/26/2014

New Orleans has some pretty spectacular restaurants (some of the best in the country, no less), but not all of them get the credit they deserve, through underexposure, plain bad luck, or Yelpers being -- of all things -- critical. Here are the local spots whose praises are not sung nearly enough...

Yuki Izakaya

Yuki Izakaya
Marigny
Frenchman is known well for its music, less so for its food. It should be though, because Yuki is small and loud (like many Frenchman St haunts) but they also offer some of the best Japanese small plates in the city, with everything from yakitori to ramen to salmon sashimi with natto (definitely an acquired taste).

Scott Gold

Rue 127
Mid-City
It may not score as highly on the hipness counter as other Mid-City restaurants like MoPho and Toups’ Meatery, but Rue 127 offers outstanding brasserie cuisine in an intimate, highly romantic setting.  Extra points for an off-the-wall-good double-cut pork chop.

Flickr user LollyKnit

Cafe Abyssinia
Garden District
When you get a little tired of po-boys, muffalettas, gumbo, and jambalaya every now and again -- it happens sometimes -- throw yourself an exotic curveball and hit Abyssinia for excellent Ethiopian cuisine. It might not be the most celebrated of ethnic cuisines, but it's certainly one of the best. Mind the doro wat... it has an awesome kick!

Counter by Kingfish

Counter Market & Deli
French Quarter
Chef Greg Sonnier, one of New Orleans’ favorite cooks, made some waves when he was tapped to helm the new restaurant Kingfish (which is awesome). What made less news, however, was Kingfish’s addition of a sandwich counter next door... and the fact that those sandwiches are epic. Also, they have a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar with house-infused vodka that’ll definitely cure what ails you.

Flickr user robbiesaurus

Yo Mama’s Bar and Grill
French Quarter
Places like The Company Burger and Port of Call might get most of the burger love and press, but Yo Mama’s has one of the best hamburgers in the Crescent City, hands down, and does not get the lavish attention it deserves.

Scott Gold

Atchafalaya Restaurant
Irish Channel
Of all the restaurants that serve brunch in New Orleans, this one is an underlooked gem. Be on the lookout for the duck hash, not to mention the “Eggs Treme”; a Benedict variation featuring a boudin cake, poached eggs, popcorn crawfish, and hollandaise.

Jamila's Cafe

Jamila’s
Uptown
Tunisian meets Louisianan fare at Jamila’s, with dishes like crawfish bisque with zucchini and spinach. Also, the owners and staff are probably the nicest people in New Orleans.

Scott Gold

R & O's
Bucktown
Bars like Tracey’s and legends like Mother’s seem to get all the love when it comes to roast beef po-boys, but for many locals, R & O's is clearly the spot to beat. Some folks have started to catch on, but what they might also be missing is the rest of the menu, particularly the seafood. How can you go wrong with a giant plate of fried crab claws?

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1. Rue 127 127 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

This small Mid-City bistro's quaint, intimate dining room provides the perfect atmosphere for date night on Friday, but the enclosed outside patio is perfect for any day of the week. The seasonal menu uses ingredients from Chef Ray Gruezke's family farm in Bay St. Louis. The building itself used to be a shotgun house and illegal gambling house in the early 1900s, but today, the building has cleaned up its act, and the new American and Southern restaurant is so popular you often need a reservation on the weekends to get in.

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2. Yuki Izakaya 525 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Yuki may be small and loud, but they dole out some of the best Japanese small plates in the city, including yakitori, salmon sashimi w/natto, and more.

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3. Café Abyssinia 3511 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Garden District)

This family-run restaurant on Magazine St is one of the (very) few Ethiopian restaurants in New Orleans. The menu includes lamb, beef, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, which should be eaten the right way: with your hands. All spectrums of spicy are represented on the menu, so brave the wat at your own risk.

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4. Counter Market & Deli 335 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

From the folks who brought you Kingfish, this next-door sammy spot crafts excellent sandwiches, not to mention their make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

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5. Yo Mama's Bar & Grill 727 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

With a catchy name and an absolutely fantastic burger, Yo Mama's should be at the top of your list when you're craving a meat disc.

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6. Atchafalaya Restaurant 901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more exceptional brunch than that of Atchafalaya, a hidden Irish Channel gem serving up contemporary Louisiana cuisine and craft cocktails inside a homey, art-filled space. With dishes like the namesake Eggs Atchafalaya (poached eggs, fried green tomatoes, jumbo lump crab, hollandaise), duck hash, and chicken & andouille gumbo, it seems impossible to imagine a better brunch lineup -- that is, until you discover there's a fully stocked Bloody Mary bar. Dinner is more than worth your time as well, when plates like pan-seared gulf swordfish, shrimp & grits, and truffled fried chicken breast are prepared with precision.

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7. Jamila's 7808 Maple St, New Orleans, LA 70118 (Uptown)

Tunisian fare meets Louisianan fare here at Jamila's, with dishes like crawfish bisque with zucchini and spinach.

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8. R & O's 216 Metairie Hammond Hwy, Metairie, LA 70005

R & O's plates a variety of Creole/Cajun dishes, but they're best known for their po' boys and other tasty sammies.

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