There are so many reasons to visit New Orleans — the jazz, the architecture, the general laid-back vibe — but one of the major reasons to visit is the food. So much good food. It takes years to get to know all the city's beignets, po' boys and Cajun-Creole dishes. But if you only have a day in the Big Easy, we've mapped out the best way to max out your appetite.
Breakfast: French Truck Cafe
Third wave coffee has become a big deal in New Orleans over the past couple years, and French Truck was one of the earlier adopters. The Uptown outpost has breakfasty things like avocado toast, but a sweet, milky, chicory-laced Nola Iced will set you up for the day without loading you down.
4536 Dryades St.; 504-702-1900
Mid-morning snack: Domilise’s
Domilise’s makes some of the best and most famous po’ boys in town and it happens to open at 10 AM — perfect for your first snack of the day. Get the half-and-half, so you can try both the fried shrimp and fried oysters, and eat at a bar stool or card table in the no-frills dining room. You can also drive to the nearby Fly park for a picnic overlooking the Mississippi River.
5240 Annunciation St.; 504-899-9126
Lunch #1: Shaya
You’re at Alon Shaya’s stunning, award-winning Israeli restaurant for the hummus. It classifies as life-changing, especially when paired with the fluffy, just-out-of-the-oven pita bread, and topped with things like lamb ragu and fried cauliflower. After, there will be a strong temptation to order everything else on the menu. Try to resist, at least this visit — there’s a lot to come.
4213 Magazine St.; 504-891-4213
Lunch #2: La Petit Grocery
Head across Magazine Street for the warm, creamy-crisp blue crab beignets at this Uptown favorite from James Beard winner Justin Devillier. Afterward, walk it off with a ramble down shopping-friendly Magazine, through the mansion-filled Garden District and up to the famous, picturesque Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.
4238 Magazine St.; 504-891-3377
Post-cemetery drink: Commander’s Palace
Commander’s Palace, across the street from Lafayette Cemetery, is a storied, old-fashioned restaurant that attracts old New Orleans society. They serve lunch and dinner but the move is to get a drink at the bar, like a French 75 with cognac instead of gin, and enjoy it in the lush back garden, away from the crowds.
1403 Washington Ave.; 504-899-8221
Afternoon snack: Acme Oyster House
You can't come to New Orleans and not get Gulf oysters. Take the street car to the French Quarter, grab a seat at this famous oyster bar and order a half-dozen raw and a half-dozen chargrilled with herb-butter sauce. (If there’s a long line, Royal House, a few blocks down Royal Street, is just as good but often doesn’t have a wait.)
724 Iberville St.; 504-522-5973
Afternoon drink if you want to walk around the Quarter: Molly’s at the Market
Molly’s is an established dive popular with locals and famous for its frozen iced coffee, a sweet, frothy and deceptively alcoholic concoction that goes down way more easily than it should. Get one to go and wander the food-focused French Market and street artists at Jackson Square.
1107 Decatur St.; 504-525-5169
Afternoon drink if you want to sit on a fancy patio: Brennan’s
Brennan’s is a beautiful — and expensive — local institution. But from 2–7 PM most days, you can sip a $7 champagne cocktail or share a $35 bottle of GH Mumm Cordon Rouge on a Platonic New Orleans patio, next to a fountain and surrounded by plenty of wrought iron and Gothic architecture.
417 Royal St.; 504-525-9711
Pre dinner snack: Compère Lapin
Walk into the up-and-coming Warehouse Arts District to sample the small plates and cocktails of this modern New Orleans spot helmed by Top Chef alum, Nina Compton. Get the jalapeño-marinated shrimp and one of the small bites like dirty rice arancini, and don’t overlook the frozen cocktails from celebrated bartender Abigail Gullo.
535 Tchoupitoulas St.; 504-599-2119
Sit down for a meal at the Donald Link restaurant that was instrumental to the modern Louisiana dining scene. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the cleverly updated Cajun country dishes on the menu, but all-time classics include rabbit with dumplings and the namesake cochon, a triumph of a pulled-pork entree.
930 Tchoupitoulas St.; 504-588-2123
Dessert: Cafe du Monde
Your second beignet of the day. Great work. No trip to New Orleans is complete without a visit to this 24-hour, open-air bakery that traffics in an astonishing daily volume of powdered sugar-cropped donuts and chicory coffee. The beignets are light enough to fit even the fullest stomach, and the coffee will fuel a ramble down to Frenchman Street to see some live music. (What, you thought you were done? Nightlife in NOLA is just getting started.)
800 Decatur St.; 504-525-4544