10 Hottest Restaurants in New Orleans

By Paul Oswell
April 21, 2014
By Paul Oswell  |  April 21, 2014

It’s not easy for new restaurants to make a name for themselves in the food-obsessed city of New Orleans, but these are the places that have excited local palates over the last twelve months.

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  • Broussard's

    Why It's Hot: Not many old-school New Orleans restaurants get a chance at a second incarnation. After a million-dollar makeover, the dining rooms at this 1920s French Quarter institution are ready to welcome a new generation of fine diners. A newly named Empire bar and refined hallway are just two of the more striking physical changes, and behind the scenes, chef Guy Reinbolt now directs the classic French-Creole menu. A newly landscaped courtyard, still with its centuries-old wisteria tree, complements the renovations to the interior spaces, which at last look ready to take on the next 100 years.
    Must-Order: Broiled redfish Broussard ($28), oyster Broussard ($17), filé gumbo ($9.50)
    Insider Tip: Reserve a table in the smaller Josephine room if possible, with its intimate atmosphere and Italian bird-print wallpaper.

    819 Conti St.; (504) 581-3866

  • Cane and Table

    Why It's Hot: This "proto-tiki" bar and restaurant is the first Downtown opening from the team behind New Orleans’ Uptown craft-cocktail innovators, Cure. Nick Deitrich provides the rum-fuelled passion and vision, backed in the kitchen by chef Ean Bancroft and his rustic Colonial plates. The conflation of food and cocktails is confidently navigated in this well-appointed space, and the freshness of ingredients, elevated bar food and attention to detail is a welcome game-changer among the dive joints of Decatur Street.
    Must-Order: Fresh puffed pork skins ($5), crispy rum ribs ($17), ropa vieja ($24)
    Insider Tip: Head out back and find a table in a shady corner of the tranquil courtyard.

    1113 Decatur St.; (504) 581-1112

  • Doris Metropolitan

    Why It's Hot: A steakhouse with Israeli heritage seems a suitably unlikely sensation, even for New Orleans, but this is perhaps precisely the reason this restaurant works so well. Owners Doris Rebi Chia and Itai Ben Eli are extremely accomplished butchers, and have recruited chef Shachar Kurgan to run their state-of-the-art kitchen. The beef is dry-aged, making it a rarity in this city, and the dining room blends simplicity and extravagance in a beguiling way. The menu is predominantly American, with an occasional nod to Israeli influences, such as baladi eggplant. Sous-vide cooking techniques and an arsenal of tasty Malbecs add to the singular charm of this quirky success.
    Must-Order: The Butcher’s Cut steak ($38), The Classified Cut steak ($44), beetroot supreme ($13)
    Insider Tip: Take an apéritif at the horseshoe bar, where you can see the dry-aging case.

    620 Chartres St.; (504) 267-3500

  • La Boca

    Why It's Hot: A Central Business District staple for many years, it was about time that this high-end Argentine steakhouse moved down the road into bigger and better premises. The new dining room seats twice as many people, and is a classy affair with a solid (and good-looking) crew of long-term staff. Chef-owner Adolfo Garcia and his partner Jared Ralls serve up the most expertly attended beef in the city, from prime New York strip to "cowboy cut" rib eye. The wine list - impressive at the last venue - has further benefited from the expanded space.
    Must-Order: Bife de chorizo ($30), American Kobe terras major ($34), french fries "La Boca" ($6)
    Insider Tip: Let manager and sommelier Rickilane Banks guide your wine choice - he’s traveled extensively across the Argentinean wine regions and is charismatic and knowledgeable.

    870 Tchoupitoulas St.; (504) 525-8205

  • Marti's

    Why It's Hot: The revival of Rampart Street continues apace, aided and abetted by this reimagining of a local favorite, also called Marti’s, which closed in 1988. Operator Patrick Singley (from Gautreau’s) has overseen the conception of an instant French Quarter classic, with fresh eyes commanding a period-sensitive refurbishment. The seasonally changing menu is overseen by chef Drew Lockett, who edges toward a rustic bistro landscape, with a few seafood classics that will be available year-round. The tradition-heavy French Quarter doesn’t see too many new openings, let alone ones that are already talked about in excited tones.
    Must-Order: Roast bone marrow ($18), roast Gulf oysters ($24 per dozen), Mississippi rabbit two ways ($29)
    Insider Tip: Arrive early and have a glass of wine with a crab fritter at the bar.

    1041 Dumaine St.; (504) 522-5478

  • McClure's BBQ

    Why It's Hot: Well-regarded pitmaster Neil McClure has bought his impressive smoking acumen to the upper end of Magazine Street. The dining room has unpretentious wooden benches decked out with a wealth of condiments, all overlooked by amusingly whimsical local art. The menu is an homage to the discrete cultures of New Orleans and the South in general with bottles of sauces from multiple states. Tacos and po' boys complete a symphony of smoked meats, along with with homemade pickles and jalapeño cornbread.
    Must-Order: All meats and all sides ($26, feeds two people), smokey Cuban sandwich ($10), molasses-stewed collard greens ($3)
    Insider Tip: Try all of the seven or eight regionally tweaked sauces to find your perfect Southern condiment.

    4800 Magazine St.; (504) 301-2367

  • Mopho

    Why It's Hot: Chef Michael Gulotta is an acolyte of favorite local culinary son John Besh. He has stepped out from the relative safety of Restaurant August to open this merging of the Mekong and Mississippi deltas. It’s a step down in formality, but a step up in risk. The restaurant reflects this, from the cheeky name to the mix-and-match bowls of pho. New Orleans’ Vietnamese population means residents have high standards for this dish, and Gulotta has gone out on a limb, offering such components as head cheese, duck sausage and oxtail to the options. So far, the risks are paying off.
    Must-Order: Beef pho ($9), vegetarian pho ($7), crispy chicken wings ($10)
    Insider Tip: Try the Sazerac bubble tea - the logical conclusion of this East-West fusion.

    514 City Park Ave.; (504) 482-6845

  • Noodle and Pie

    Why It's Hot: A perceived scarcity of quality ramen and classic American pies lead Eman Loubier to experiment with a pop-up that evolved into this restaurant at State and Magazine Street. Backed up by chef Brian Armour and pie maker Mimi Assad, Loubier has turned this odd-couple concept into a restaurant that fills two niches. The Pan-Asian menu is more expansive than the name suggests, with okonomiyaki fries and miso-marinated Gulf fish as well as the steaming bowls of ramen. The pie menu changes every two months but can include irresistible slices of peanut butter and blackberry jam or Key lime-coconut.
    Must-Order: House bowl ramen ($13), smoked-bacon green beans ($6.50), house-baked pie (price varies)
    Insider Tip: If you’re not that hungry, the menu includes a kid-friendly small bowl of ramen.

    741 State St.; (504) 252-9431

  • Oxalis

    Why It's Hot: The Bywater neighborhood is home to some of the most innovative dining experiences in the city, and this gastropub is a more than worthy addition to the scene. Jonathan Lestingi leads from the kitchen, and his homemade duck-liver pâté (which arrives in a jar under a satisfying layer of fat) is already garnering much praise. Prepare for a cozily communal experience in the main dining/barroom, or head to the back patio if the weather permits. It’s a daring menu that doesn’t pander to lowest common denominators, and is all the better for that.
    Must-Order: Duck confit ($15), cauliflower "steak" ($15), sweet-potato poutine ($7)
    Insider Tip: The hot-buttered rum popcorn is a quirky snack to order with drinks while you’re exploring the menu.

    3162 Dauphine St.; (504) 267-4776

  • Pêche Seafood Grill

    Why It's Hot: A nautical adventure in the Warehouse District helmed by, among others, Donald Link, Pêche was always going to create waves. Chef and co-owner Ryan Prewitt disguises his confidently complex seafood dishes behind a disarmingly simple menu. It’s not easy to create a standout oyster bar in New Orleans, but Prewitt has accomplished just that, via a selection of painstakingly sourced Gulf oysters. Link’s traditionally Acadian influences are never far away, but the dishes remain fresh and inventive.
    Must-Order: Crawfish bisque ($8), grilled tuna with olive salad ($27), smothered catfish ($16)
    Insider Tip: Don’t neglect the dessert menu, which sees pastry chef Rhonda Ruckman dole out treats such as lemon pudding cake.

    800 Magazine St.; (504) 522-1744


Places Mentioned

Broussard's Restaurant

Creole • French Quarter

Food25 Decor26 Service25 Cost$66
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