Bayou St. John
Parkway Bakery & Tavern is the legendary stop -- be sure to try its Thanksgiving po-boy if you're there for the holidays.
Parasol's in the Irish Channel, renowned for its gravy, is a perfect stop for an egalitarian roast beef po-boy and beer.
In the French Quarter, you have to stop by Verti Marte. It looks like a convenience store inside, but in the back is a group of the finest sandwich craftsmen New Orleans has ever known. Their masterpiece: the shrimp and oyster po-boy.
Killer PoBoys and its second stand-alone location, Big Killer PoBoys, serve the sandwich with a New Age eye: expect to taste pork belly, smoked salmon, and sweet potato.
If you're aiming to try some boudin, or any other sausage, Toups' Meatery is your port. Run by Isaac Toups, a favorite contestant in a recent season of Top Chef, the restaurant focuses on the best of the Cajun boucherie. Boudin is well within his wheelhouse.
Lower Garden District
Cochon serves up traditional yet upscale seasonal Cajun dishes using fresh, locally sourced pork, produce, and seafood, but most importantly: the tried-and-true techniques that chef Donald Link has resurrected from his childhood.
Lower Garden District
Build your ultimate meaty sandwich at this hybrid butcher shop, deli counter, and wine bar. Inspired by Old World meat markets, Cochon Butcher specializes in house-cured meats, terrines, and sausages. The lines can get long at lunch, making the simple pleasure of sitting at the bar with a drink and a bite feel like a luxury.
Atchafalaya is a creative brunch spot with a well-stocked Bloody Mary bar. Stop in here to find andouille in the gumbo, shrimp and grits, or served on its own, cooked to perfection.
If you're willing to drive for some quality sausage, head to Gretna on the other side of the Mississippi River. Gourmet Butcher Block is a classic Cajun butcher shop that serves up sausage with respect to the old meat traditions.
Central Business District
Pho Tàu Bay, family-owned and a local favorite, recently reopened its doors in the Central Business District. Sometimes it has caramelized flan for dessert, the perfect counterbalance to a satisfyingly salty broth.
Village de l'Est
Pho Bang has several locations, two on the West Bank alone and another in New Orleans East. It also offers great bún bò huế, its bright-orange beef broth that's the spicy cousin to pho.
Central Business District
Magasin's appeal is in its pho, as well as its location and modern aesthetic that feels so far from hole-in-the-wall haunts.
Village de l'Est
Dong Phuong Bakery is worth the trip to New Orleans East for bánh mì. It supplies its trademark French loaves to many other Vietnamese restaurants throughout the city, and bakes everything fresh daily. A lot of times where good pho is found, a well-made Vietnamese sandwich accompanies.
Another fine example of soup and sandwich happily married: Pho Hoa, a pho restaurant on the West Bank, also makes a fast and delicious bánh mì.
Some of the best bánh mì can be found in an unassuming strip mall at Hong Kong Supermarket, an Asian grocery with a deli and barbecue. Every day, the market whips up crispy roasted duck and pig in-house, the makings for great bánh mì.
The best place to find this street food is really at neighborhood corner joints like Manchu Food Store and Chinese Kitchen, a small bright-purple cinderblock building under the bridge on Claiborne.
Eat-Well Food Mart, another small convenience store that serves hot lunch, also offers this warming noodle soup.
At the Old World establishment Galatoire's, crab is king. If you're lucky enough to go on a night when soft-shell crab is on the menu, it'll be one of the best damn pieces of food you'll ever put in your mouth.
Clancy's offers its famous cold-smoked soft-shell crab. Topped with meuniere and even more crabmeat, this is one of the city's most legendary seafood dishes.
The restaurants on the pricier side are worth visiting for this one-of-a-kind appetizer. And, to reiterate: Commander's Palace's turtle soup is legendary. Go for lunch, order a series of 25-cent martinis (you read that right), and slurp from your glass and a bowl.
You'll distinguish Annunciation's Old World version of turtle soup for its redder tone. It's definitely worth downing a bowl or two -- as is the rest of the seasonal menu.
Hansen's is the legend in these realms. Open since 1939, this location still uses the same ice-shaving machine its owner invented in 1934. Expect the lines to be long, even on those oppressively hot days.
The sno-balls here come in flavors that stretch for what feels like miles on the menu, ranging from sour watermelon and pink lemonade to orchid vanilla and cream soda. Bring cash and expect a line.
The shaved ice here is beloved for its smooth, soft texture (not an ice chunk in sight), and comes in a miles-long list of flavors, including options like plum (of course), strawberry, piña colada, mocha, and passionfruit. Remember to bring some bills, as this spot is cash-only. And put your phone away when you approach the counter (or else).
The legendary Leah Chase, who recently turned 94, runs Dooky Chase's. A recent winner of a lifetime achievement award from the James Beard Association, Chase has been churning out some of the best fried chicken in the South, as well as a number of Creole dishes that are not to be missed. Stop by for lunch and explore the menu via buffet.
Willie Mae's, meanwhile, has also earned a James Beard and serves some of the best damn chicken you'll ever find. It's juicy, tender, and spiced to perfection. Both are within blocks of each other and definitely worth a stop.
You can scarcely miss the stuff; every Southern cuisine restaurant will have gumbo. However, Galatoire's Restaurant in the heart of the French Quarter offers seafood okra gumbo as well as duck and andouille gumbo, plus a truly iconic New Orleans restaurant experience.
Commander's Palace offers trademark New Orleans dining in the Garden District. Go for lunch or dinner in the famous teal Victorian turreted mansion -- an anomaly in a neighborhood teeming with Greek Revival architecture.
Add a bowl of gumbo to complement Dooky Chase's lunch buffet in Treme.
If you don't have access to a backyard barbecue, Jacques-Imo's Uptown has a lively atmosphere and offers classic Creole jambalaya. It's nestled on Oak Street, a short walk to after-dinner drinks or live music.
K-Paul's Restaurant in the Quarter is the trademark establishment of the late chef Paul Prudhomme, whose Cajun jambalaya (culturally different from French Creole) has tasso sausage, chicken, and a jalapeño kick.
Coop's Place has a rabbit and sausage jambalaya; make it "supreme" by requesting shrimp and tasso.
The city’s most famous spot for beignets is, of course, Café du Monde. Its doors are open 24/7, so you can feasibly get a sobering plate of beignets and cup of coffee after the Quarter bars shut down, right before the sun rises. During the morning rush, brace yourself for long lines of tourists.
It's cash-only, open 24 hours, and has been a New Orleans institution since 1870. Enough said.
Cafe Beignet’s Royal Street location is exactly what you'd want in an intimate, European-style sidewalk bistro -- as are the Bourbon and Decatur Street locations.
The general consensus is that the muffaletta sandwich began at Central Grocery on Decatur Street back in 1906, so folks looking for its purest form should start there.
A more experimental variety can be found in the suburb Metairie, at Parran's, which stuffs its sandwich with fried catfish, oysters, and shrimp.
Lower Garden District
The middle-ground muffaletta is over at Stein's on Magazine Street, which inversely keeps the sandwich's traditional innards while swapping the bread for a French roll used in po-boys.
Leah's Pralines, a shop that dates to 1944, is one of the classics. Its pralines are among the best, and also include varieties like chocolate and "traditional," a creamier take.
Southern Candymakers specializes in a praline with a less gritty feel (a common peril, given just how much sugar is packed into the candy) and a sweet potato variation that's just killer.
The truly decadent approach is at Elizabeth's, a great restaurant for any occasion that features a praline-coated bacon on its brunch menu that will make you question reality.
1. Parasol's2533 Constance St, New Orleans
2. Verti Marte1201 Royal St, New Orleans
3. Killer Poboys811 Conti St, New Orleans
4. Toups' Meatery845 N. Carrollton, New Orleans
5. Cochon Restaurant930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
6. Cochon Butcher930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
7. Atchafalaya Restaurant901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans
8. Gourmet Butcher Block2144 Belle Chasse Hwy, Terrytown
9. Pho Bang932 Westbank Expy, Gretna
10. Pho Tau Bay1565 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans
11. Magasin Vietnamese Cafe4201 Magazine St, New Orleans
12. Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery14207 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans
13. Pho Hoa1308 Manhattan Blvd, Harvey
14. Hong Kong Supermarket925 Behrman Hwy, Gretna
15. Manchu Food Store1413 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans
16. Eat-Well Food Mart2700 Canal St Ste A, New Orleans
17. Ralph's On The Park900 City Park Ave, New Orleans
18. Galatoire's209 Bourbon St, New Orleans
19. Clancy's6100 Annunciation St, New Orleans
20. Commander's Palace1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans
21. Annunciation1016 Annunciation St, New Orleans
22. Hansen's Sno-Bliz4801 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
23. Pandora's Snowballs901 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans
24. Plum Street Snoballs1300 Burdette St, New Orleans
25. Willie Mae's Scotch House2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans
26. Dooky Chase's Restaurant2301 Orleans Ave, New Orleans
27. Jacques-Imo's Cafe8324 Oak St, New Orleans
28. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen416 Chartres St, New Orleans
29. Coop's Place1109 Decatur St, New Orleans
30. Café Du Monde800 Decatur St, New Orleans
31. Morning Call56 Dreyfous Dr, New Orleans
32. Cafe Beignet334 Royal St Ste B, New Orleans
33. Central Grocery923 Decatur St, New Orleans
34. Parran's3939 Veterans Blvd., Metairie
35. Stein's Market and Deli2207 Magazine St, New Orleans
36. Leah's Pralines714 Saint Louis St, New Orleans
37. Southern Candymakers334 Decatur St, New Orleans
38. Elizabeth's601 Gallier St, New Orleans
A longstanding Irish Channel dive, Parasol's makes loyal fans out of locals and tourists alike thanks to its practically sinful po-boys, gumbo, and other comforting Southern specialities. The move is to order either the roast beef or shrimp po-boy, both of which come served on a soft roll that soaks up all the juices from the melt-in-your-mouth meat. You'll also want to throw in a local craft beer and an Irish Sundae: a well-seasoned potato salad covered in house gravy and roast beef shreds.
Twenty-four-hour deli Verti Marte is housed in the back of a small, unassuming grocery store on a quiet French Quarter street. It's earned a devoted following among night owls, especially for its interpretation of that all-important Louisiana staple, the po-boy, made with crispy fried shrimp and oysters on a soft, seeded roll. That's not to say the po-boy is all Verti Marte has in store: its calorie-packing sandwich roster includes All That Jazz, a ham and turkey sandwich layered with sautéed shrimp and mushrooms, and Swiss and American cheeses. They deliver, but you may want to budget in some walking time to pick up one of these monolithic sandwiches yourself.
The French Quarter's popular Killer Poboys serves exactly that: top-notch po-boys, cooked up in the tiny kitchen at the back of Irish pub Erin Rose on Conti Street. The po-boys here are crafted with a new-age eye, some even incorporating untraditional ingredients like pork belly, smoked salmon, and sweet potato. The cash-only counter also serves up standout sandwiches like BBQ chicken confit, Black Bear beef debris, and chorizo & egg.
Helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Toups, this Mid-City spot serves a carnivore-centric menu with bold Cajun flavor. Large entrees like the grilled Georgia quail with farm-fresh seasonal vegetables and saba satiate and surprise; light bites range from addictive cracklins and deviled eggs with smoked trout roe. Minimalist metal chairs and refurbished wood surfaces give Toups a cabin-like feel that enhances the relaxed, convivial vibe.
Cochon is French for "oinker," meaning you should pig out on all things pork at this rustic-chic warehouse, such as an oyster bacon sandwich and fried boudin with pickled peppers. Situated on the corner of Tchoupitoulas and Andrew Higgins, Cochon has James Beard Award-winner Donald Link at the helm, who serves up traditional Cajun dishes from his childhood with an upscale twist using fresh local pork, produce, and seafood. Though pig is the name of the game here, some plates do stray from the pork-centricity, like rabbit livers with pepper jelly.
Cochon's generalist meat offshoot, Cochon Butcher, is a hybrid butcher shop, deli counter, and wine bar in the same warehouse building as its pork-centric sibling. There are house-cured meats, sausages, and terrines to take home, but you're really here for the sandwiches, precisely the Muffuletta, stacked with nearly an inch of pink-hued, salty meats (pastrami, mortadella, Genoa salami), creamy provolone, and olive salad. You can order it to-go, but if you're staying, make sure to pair with a side of pancetta mac & cheese.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more exceptional brunch 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 the 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.
Stop into this takeout-only counter-serve for all the de-boned and pre-stuffed chicken, sausage, seafood, and other specialty meats you need to cook up your own hearty Cajun meal at home. For a truly authentic Cajun dinner -- typically a three pot affair with a main entree, a seafood dish, and seasonal vegetables -- bring home Gourmet Butcher Shop’s de-boned stuffed chicken with crawfish dressing, seafood gumbo, and stuffed mushrooms with pepper jack chicken sausage. Considering this spot touts itself as "Home of the Turducken," you might want to pick up that succulent hybrid of turkey, duck, and chicken (offered year-round, not just at Thanksgiving), especially if you're having trouble deciding which meat to order.
Like all the best Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Bang is tiny, unassuming, and nestled into an easily overlooked strip mall. True pho lovers know, though, that the area's best bowls are hiding here, particularly the Pho Chin Nam with tender flank steak and the Pho Dac Biet with brisket. They go best with fresh summer rolls and a Vietnamese iced coffee on the side, otherwise known as iced Cafe Du Monde coffee with condensed milk.
Phở Tàu Bay, a family-owned favorite in the Central Business District, stands out for both its contemporary, exposed-brick interior -- a far cry from the typical hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese joints around town -- and its exceptional pho and banh mi. Go for the Pho Thai with tender, medium-rare beef or the Banh Mi Pate Thit: homemade rolled ham with the chef’s special chicken liver sausage, mayonnaise, julienne carrots, onions, cucumbers, and (very) hot peppers on freshly baked French bread. The caramelized flan is a must for dessert, offering a sweet counterbalance to the pho's satisfyingly salty broth.
Though the best Vietnamese food is usually hiding in shabby hole-in-the-walls, Magasin is an exception to the rule. The sleek space on Magazine Street prepares exceptional banh mi, buns, and spring rolls, but you're here mainly for the pho. The full-bodied broth is rich in beef and ginger notes, and can be complemented with unconventional toppings like oxtail and meatballs.
This eastern New Orleans Vietnamese standby might not amount to much from the outside -- with a mixed brick exterior and fading eggshell awning greeting diners -- but the signature bahn-mis here have drawn accolades from the country over. In addition to functioning as a casual full-service restaurant, the venue comes with a bakery that turns over equally excellent pastries like coconut rolls, egg tarts, and strawberry shortcake.
The Harvey outpost of a casual chain of Vietnamese restaurants, Pho Hoa on the Westbank serves up affordable, authentic pho and -- perhaps even outshining the comforting namesake bowl -- a piquant, DIY banh mi sandwich that steals the show. Go for the latter and the server will bring you a bowl of carrot beef stew served alongside a plate of lime, green peppers, and cilantro, and a hearty loaf of fresh French bread. Put it all together and you've got yourself a spicy and scrumptious banh mi sandwich. In terms of pho, we'd suggest getting the most out of your bowl with the Pho Tai: a noodle soup loaded with steak, flank, tendon, tripe, and fatty flank. You'll want to cut the broth's saltiness with a tapioca-infused mango smoothie.
Stock up on baked goods, to-go po-boys, and a huge selection of Asian groceries at this unassuming supermarket by the Crescent City Connection. It's an ideal spot to grab all the makings for your next home-cooked meal, but the hot food selections are well-worth your time, too, including authentic banh mi sandwiches with either crispy roasted duck or pork that are prepared in-house -- and that fans swear are some of the best in the city.
If you're on the hunt for cheap Chinese street food, make your way to Manchu Food Store & Chinese Kitchen, a small, bright-purple cinderblock building under the bridge on Claiborne. It's serving up addictive chicken wings, scrumptious egg rolls, and the fan-favorite Ya-Ka-Mein (or, as it's known locally, "Old Sober" -- a nod to the dish's hangover-curing abilities), a beef noodle soup with a mix of hardboiled egg, soy sauce, creole spices, green bell pepper, onion, and celery. You'll only find this NOLA delicacy, which highlights both Chinese and African-American influences, at mom-and-pop shops like Manchu.
If you've been breezing by Eat-Well Food Mart on Canal in the past, stop that. Don't miss out on the authentic Vietnamese food hidden in the back of this unsuspecting convenience store, including freshly prepared banh mi, comforting bowls of ya-ka-mein, and a little thing called a phoritto, which is exactly what it sounds like: a pho burrito. Run, don't walk, to this stunning hybrid, which comes with all the makings of pho -- from brisket and noodles to bean sprouts and basil -- wrapped inside a tortilla. Beyond sandwiches like the phoritto and grilled pork banh mi, there are even po-boys here (go for the shrimp), solidifying Eat-Well as a go-to for a killer lunch.
Situated in a historic 1860s building among Mid-City's oaks and clapboard houses, Ralph's on the Park offers an elegant setting with classic Louisiana charm (in both service and decor), where you can nosh on a menu of comforting New Orleans delicacies with a refined twist. Treat yourself to ya-ka-mein (a Chinese- and NOLA-inspired beef noodle soup), a foie gras PB&J sandwich, a Louisiana seafood crepe with fried shrimp curls, or turtle soup finished with sherry. On Sundays, opt for a table on the sunny porch at brunch, and order some gulf shrimp & grits or crabmeat Benedict.
Established in 1905, Galatoire’s has remained a Bourbon Street bulwark of French Creole cuisine. The restaurant blends tradition with curiosity as it juxtaposes gumbo, shrimp remoulade, and oysters Rockefeller with deep-fried zucchini sticks, (which you’re meant to plunge into a mix of Tabasco sauce and powdered sugar) and duck crepes with homemade Boursin cheese, Port-cherry reduction, and pistachios. Galatoire’s keeps things elegant with its forest green walls, lace curtains, and mirrored walls, a glimpse into a past worthy of a Faulkner novel.
This former po-boy joint plays host to a classed up crowd eager to dine on cajun favorites like gumbo, crab salad, and turtle soup, in a white tablecloth setting. The crowd can veer toward the ritzy, but rest assured that sticky favorites like lemon icebox pie and peppermint ice cream -- served year round -- will make a child out of everyone.
This notable New Orleans spot offers refined Creole fare in a historic setting. The Garden District landmark has been around since 1893 and has since won six James Beard Foundation awards, in part due to its seamless execution of its "dirt to plate within 100 miles" policy, which strives for 90% of ingredients to come from within 100 miles of the back door. Come in for inspired (and environmentally-friendly!) offerings like cypress smoked Muscovy duck and shrimp and pork belly carbonara.
Housed inside a restored turn-of-the-century warehouse sporting exposed brick, white table cloths, and plenty of candlelight, upscale-bistro Annunciation serves up top-notch Cajun and Creole seafood dishes in a setting that's ideal for date night or a special occasion. The menu's refined yet comforting plates are served with a generous helping of French flair, and include fried oysters with melted brie & sautéed spinach, pan-roasted chicken bonne femme, and shrimp remoulade. There are refreshing cocktails, too, including a blueberry Sazerac and the Death From A Buzz, mixed with Death's Door Gin, cucumber water, ginger beer, and local honey.
It wouldn't be summer in NOLA without a high chance of snow, and you -- and maybe your parents and grandparents -- have been finding it in one particular NOLA spot for the last 77 years. There might be plenty of places in the city to enjoy a sno-ball, that quintessential Crescent City shaved ice treat, but Hansen's is a classic for a reason: this place not only preserves the traditions of decades past -- including using the same patented ice-shaving device that sweet-toothed NOLA machinist Enerst Hansen developed in the 1930's -- it also caters to new millennium palates with high-quality, handmade syrups.
It's a hot day in NOLA -- do you get ice cream or shaved ice? Head to Pandora's Snowballs, where the answer is both: you can get a sno-ball topped with creamy soft-serve or condensed milk for the ultimate sweet and refreshing treat. Served out of a window on N Carrollton, the sno-balls here come in flavors that stretch for what feels like miles on the menu, ranging from sour watermelon and pink lemonade to orchid vanilla and cream soda. A couple of tips: bring cash, and expect a line.
This small, colorful stand nestled into a neighborhood street in Uptown scoops velvety sno-balls for long lines of customers. Always refreshing, the shaved ice at Plum Street is beloved for its smooth, soft texture (not an ice chunk in sight), and comes in a miles-long list of flavors, including options like plum (of course), strawberry, piña colada, mocha, and passion fruit. Remember to bring some bills, as this spot is cash-only, and put your phone away when you approach the counter (or else).
The fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House is the best in the United States. No joke: it was dubbed such by the Travel Channel and Food Network, and also won the James Beard Award for “America’s Classic Restaurant for the Southern Region.” Tucked away the Treme neighborhood, the cozy spot features all the accoutrements of a beloved local haunt -- memorabilia mounted throughout, news clippings chronicling the success of the family-owned business (which has been open since 1957), homey environs -- and it’s worth noting that there’s always a line out the door, regardless of weather. It’s a walk-ins only spot, so be prepared to wait -- but the soul food here is so satisfying, and it’s entirely worth it.
The history of this cozy Treme spot is just as interesting as the authentic Creole flavors it serves up: perfectly crispy fried chicken, shrimp Clemenceau, and hearty, zesty seafood gumbo. Helmed by Chef Leah Chase -- known to locals and notable folk like President Obama and Beyoncé as the “Queen of Creole” -- the spot’s storied past covers its tenure as a po-boy and lottery shop in turned, as of 1941, beloved restaurant and community outpost for live music, local artwork, and civil rights. It’s the perfect option for a relaxed yet refined lunch during the week, and we suggest making a reservation -- it’s no secret that Dooky Chase’s is a Big Easy institution, and seating fills up fast.
Jacques-Imo's Cafe in Uptown is home to authentic NOLA cooking, offering a menu loaded with Louisiana favorites like Creole jambalaya, shrimp & alligator sausage cheesecake, blackened redfish with crab-chili hollandaise, and its famous Godzilla Meets Fried Green Tomatoes (fried soft shell crab over fried green tomatoes with remoulade and a side of slaw). You can either grab a table inside the mural-lined space, on the sidewalk, or even on the bed of Jacques-Imo's colorfully painted truck parked at the curb. All three options are steeped in the friendly, community feel that defines this neighborhood spot.
Located in the French Quarter, K-Paul's is a legendary establishment from the late renowned chef Paul Prudhomme, and is considered the birthplace of the NOLA delicacy blackened redfish, which is served alongside a host of other traditional, elevated Cajun dishes. Prudhomme's Cajun jambalaya (culturally different from French Creole) features tasso sausage, chicken, and a jalapeño kick, and is a must-try when dining at this iconic restaurant with exposed brick and white tablecloths.
Considering Coop's is located in the Quarter, it's impressive that this neighborhood watering hole isn't overrun with tourists, attracting a largely local crowd. The clientele give the divey, exposed-brick space a warm and welcoming feel that complements the comforting Southern menu. On it you'll find NOLA delicacies like seafood gumbo, Cajun fried chicken, shrimp creole, and the standout rabbit & sausage jambalaya, which you can (and should) make “supreme” by adding shrimp and tasso. Just stopping in for drinks? There's a couple of local craft beers on offer (plus a limited lineup of domestic and imported brews) and your standard well cocktails.
Originally established in 1862, Café Du Monde is the place to go for a quintessential New Orleans pick-me-up in the form of a beignet and cafe au lait. The patio, marked by a striped green-and-white awning, is a landmark in itself and the perfect place for people-watching in the French Quarter. The café gets busy during peak lunch and dinner hours, but its 24-seven schedule allows for plenty of opportunities to stop by, whether it's for a late-night sugar fix or an early-morning breakfast. Take-out orders can be placed through a quick-serve window, just be sure to take extra napkins -- those sugar-coated beignets are messy.
As NOLA's self-dubbed "most famous coffee drinking place," Morning Call has been brewing its prized French drip coffee since 1870, which has a rich chicory taste that goes all too well with the cafe's sugar-dusted beignets. Morning Call tends to be cheaper and less tourist-packed than some of the city's other coffee shops (ahem, Cafe du Monde), which means you don't have to wait as long to get your hands on the signature pastries. A short line-up of local cuisine (jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish bread) is worth a taste, too.
If you're trying to get your beignet fix in the French Quarter and want to avoid the frantic crowds at Café Du Monde, head to less-hectic Cafe Beignet, runner-up for the city's most beloved puff pastries, and creator of exceptional Cajun plates. This European-style sidewalk bistro will set you up with a rich cup of coffee and an order of three beignets that are thicker and doughier than the airy versions at Café Du Monde, but just as fresh and coated heavily with powdered sugar. Looking for a full meal? We'd suggest grabbing a seat on the twinkle-lit outdoor courtyard, where you can enjoy live jazz and NOLA specialties like a crawfish omelette, a roast beef po-boy, jambalaya, and gumbo.
There’s no disputing that this small Italian grocery with a deli counter, which dates back to 1906, invented the muffaletta, and still has its flag firmly planted in that fertile territory. Truth be told, the CG muff, served cold and not always overstuffed with meats and cheeses, has been surpassed in recent years by other eateries. But if you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and wait in line for the original, if only for the experience. Also, don’t forget that Central Grocery is also a grocery, with tons of canned, fresh, and dried Italian goodies for your sweet nonna.
This Metairie strip mall spot has been serving up po' boys, burgers, and club sandos since 1975. If you thought Italian Cajun fusion wasn't a thing, think again! Parran's is actually the originator of po'boy bread, and they're serving it right alongside classic spaghetti and meatballs. While their muffaletta is served on the classic round, seeded Italian loaf, on the inside, it’s all fried seafood po-boy, spilling over with fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish, and dressed in the typical fashion with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo. No matter your NOLA sandwich style, you're covered at Parran's.
This Jewish-Italian deli in the Garden District offers the best of both cuisines in the form of exceptional sandwiches, like the fan-favorite Mumbler with prosciutto, arugala, Balsamic vinegar, and Talleggio cheese on toasted ciabatta. The other must-try item on the extensive menu at this divey, bare-bones icon is the muffaletta, a now-national treasure that originated in NOLA, which keeps the sandwich's traditional innards (a combination of ham, salami, mortadella, mozzarella, and, most distinctive, an olive salad spread) while swapping the usual Sicilian sesame seed bread for a French roll typically used for po-boys. You'll find other miscellaneous items sold here, too, like local craft beer, wine, candy, and T-shirts.
Opened in 1944, Leah's in the French Quarter is a NOLA classic when it comes to the praline. This old-fashioned shop churns out several varieties daily, using a family recipe that's been passed down through three generations. Stop in for favorites like rich chocolate pralines made with Swiss dark chocolate, creamy traditional pralines studded with local pecans, or the salty-sweet bacon pecan brittle (no, you're not dreaming). There are all kinds of heavenly chocolates, too, including peanut butter cups, pecan turtles, and (if you're hunting for a fun souvenir) chocolate alligators. Is your sweet tooth tingling yet?
Nestled into Decatur with a bright-yellow facade, the family-owned Southern Candymakers specializes in handmade pralines that don't have the gritty texture that many fall victim to (thanks to their overwhelming amount of sugar). The silky-smooth pralines here have consistently been dubbed the nation's best by fans and publications alike. Be sure to try the sweet potato version for a perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Elizabeth’s in Bywater is a quintessential New Orleans breakfast spot, mostly because it cooks up some magical praline bacon (you really, really don’t want to miss this), but also because of the always-friendly servers who present said praline bacon inside the colorful, local art-filled space. The breakfast po-boys are noteworthy, too, and place bacon, egg, and cheese on fresh French bread. At dinnertime, you can expect Southern specialties like fried chicken, catfish, and a grilled seafood mix with scallops, Gulf fish, and BBQ shrimp.