Food & Drink

The Thrillist Awards: NOLA'S' Best New Food, Drink & Everything Else of 2015

Published On 12/28/2015 Published On 12/28/2015

Best new bakery

Willa Jean

Address and Info


Well, this is really a no brainer: two of the best pastry chefs in NOLA teaming up to open a bakery and cafe in the CBD just screams for attention, and it’s well-earned. Kelly Fields and Lisa Marie White are totally killing it there. You had us at your hot, buttery biscuits and warm chocolate pudding, and we’ve been hooked since.

Little Bird

Best new popup

Little Bird

Address and Info

Lower Garden District

Not content to keep things fresh at Meauxbar and a big new plan to open the long-awaited Cavan on Magazine St, Kristen Essig and her fellow chef/partner/etc Michael Stoltzfus opened a fried chicken pop-up at a bourbon bar that’s just plain fantastic. The decision to keep their fried chicken sandwich on the cool side was a masterstroke.

Graham Blackall

Best new restaurant


Address and Info


Since opening, Shaya’s modern-Israeli outpost on Magazine has been soaking up acclaim on a national level (including from our own country-wide best-of list) -- in fact, the man behind the operation, Alon Shaya, has just scored a James Beard for Best Chef South. If you haven’t been yet, you’re missing out. Keep the pita coming, try the lamb, and thank us later.


Best new ramen joint


Address and Info

Gert Town

Granted, New Orleans has been at a serious disadvantage in the ramen game for many years now, but that’s all changing, with a very small restaurant that pays a lot attention to detail, especially when it comes to the noodles on their lunch menu. Better still is the dinner menu, which is redefining Southern-American fusion, even though the space is about as big as a phone booth.

Beachbum Berry's 29 Latitude

Best new bar

Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29

Address and Info

French Quarter

For a city with such a strong drinking culture, great new bars in New Orleans are a strangely rare sight. And great new tiki dives are even rarer. So it’s a damned shame that it took this long for someone to take those reins and fly away in good, hard spirit, as did Jeff “Beachbum” Berry with Latitude 29, which is likely to become a NOLA institution very soon. If it hasn’t already. They have our vote, obviously. Mahalo!

Bevi Seafood

Best new encroachment of Metairie onto Orleans Parish

Bevi Seafood Co

Address and Info


Not content to provide the humble residents of Jefferson Parish with some of the best seafood in town (and we say that with dire conviction), Bevi just moved into Mid-City. It’s a good move for everyone involved. Well, maybe not for the oysters, but for everyone else, a really good move!

Tenbo Air: Remote Aerial Imaging
Courtesy of McClures
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1. Willa Jean Bakery 611 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113

This Central Business District bakery is run by the dream team of Kelly Fields and Lisa White, who design all the baked goods for John Besh's restaurant empire. Expect Southern-style baked goods, as well as a host of eats for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Willa Jean serves up Intelligentsia Coffee, and the varied cocktail menu will have you frequenting this sleek, sophisticated bakery for more than just its food.

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2. Little Bird 1201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Anything that comes at the hands of NOLA power-couple chefs Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus is going to be a wonderful surprise, as they’ve demonstrated in the past with their wonder-twins talent. That their newest venture is a fried chicken pop-up in a bourbon bar might be a noodle-scratcher, but don’t be fooled: the food is seriously good, particularly the cold fried chicken sandwich -- just trust us on this one.

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3. Shaya 4213 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

This Uptown spot doles out "modern Israeli cuisine," and is run by the same man behind the ever-popular Domenica and PIZZA Domenica, and there's just as much fanfare. A massive, custom, wood-fire pita oven dominates the kitchen, which cooks up modern versions of Mediterranean fare like hummus, tabouli, baba ganoush, and stuffed grape leaves, not to mention a pomegranate-lacquered, fall-off-the-bone lamb dish that will blow your mind.

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4. Kin 4600 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125

In the hands of NOLA native Chef Hieu Than (who trained in both New York under Tom Colicchio and in New Orleans under Sue Zemanick, so...pedigree) Kin brands itself as “New American,” although its menu, particularly its stellar ramen, makes it seem slightly more eclectic. There are options for everyone, from oxtail ramen to vegan versions, and there's an ever-changing list of small plates made with unique ingredients. Kin doesn't take reservations, so you may have to wait a bit: the space is no bigger than a phone booth.

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5. Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29 321 N Peters St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Latitude 29 in the French Quarter is a Tiki lover's paradise. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s shrine to all things Tiki has proven itself to be a refreshing and enlightened pillar of the NOLA drinks scene due to its large menu of deliciously concocted cocktails. Check out the bar's take on classics like Mai Tai and Zombies, and for something a bit more inventive, go for the Davy Jones' Lager, which is a mix of Antigua gold rum, Japanese beer Curacao, and spiced cane syrup.

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6. Bevi Seafood Co. 4701 Airline Dr, Metairie, LA 70001

Part seafood market and part restaurant, bare-bones, family-run Bevi features, well, a bevy of locally sourced seafood that focuses on four seasonal New Orleans specialties: crawfish, crab, shrimp, and oysters. In addition to these boiled Gulf Coast treats that reign supreme in NOLA, there's exceptional hot food, like from-scratch po-boys with fresh, homemade ingredients like smoked ham and slow-roasted beef (the fried shrimp with brown gravy and cheese is a favorite too), as well as platters of BBQ gulf shrimp, gumbo, and fried green tomatoes.

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7. Black Label Icehouse 3000 Dryades St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Central City already has its fair share of corner bars, so we weren’t worried when this one turned into a temple of smoked swine from the pop-up experts at Black Label BBQ. Possibly even better than its low-and-slow meat are its events like “Metal Monday,” a weekly show featuring local bands that satisfies (and divulges) all your headbanging needs.

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8. NOLA Brewing Tap Room 3000 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70115

At New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing Company in Irish Channel, you can either post up inside its warehouse-chic taproom or at its twinkle-lit rooftop bar, where you'll not only have 32 top-notch craft brews at your fingertips, but also a full menu of Pitmaster Neil McClure's practically sinful BBQ ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, and chicken. Order yourself a malty, well-balanced NOLA Blonde Ale and some Alabama-style chicken with a tangy and peppery white sauce for a truly bracing combination. The brewery's weekly guided tours give you a chance to sample an abundance of its flagship and seasonal concoctions, too.