One of the things New Orleans is known for is its food! And I was so excited to go and experience their delicious cuisine. So excited, in fact, that I had a list of restaurants that we simply had to go to if we could. Lucky for me, we made it to almost every restaurant on the list and even went to a few that we sort of just stumbled upon. But I was never disappointed by the food. Never. And I can’t wait to go back and eat all of their tasty food again!
Down the Hatch was recommended to us by our AirBNB host and we quickly jumped on it as my friend and I had been traveling all day and were starving. We walked a few blocks to the pub and were welcomed by our first glimpse of how bright New Orleans is. The bright orange wall and even rainbow of paintings were bright and welcoming, the establishment was laid back, and the table cloths were made out of former advertisements in old newspapers.
My friend ordered a hamburger and I got cheese fries and we were both incredibly satisfied. These are some of the best fries we both had ever tasted and granted, hamburgers and fries aren’t really Big Easy food they were still delicious and hit the spot. The happy, welcoming staff was awesome but little did I know that such great service was common in the city.
As a side note: they have gluten-free cider at the bar which made me very happy. I typically live a gluten-free lifestyle but I tossed that aside for my week away.
Cafe du Monde – French Quarter
Oh, Cafe du Monde! I could sing your praises for ages and I crave your coffee and beignets every morning! This was the cheapest breakfast I had on my trip but probably the one I miss the most. Cafe du Monde is likely a dream for kids who aren’t allowed sugary cereals for breakfast because the only thing you can get here is sugar covered beignets and a drink. That’s it! The menu is on the side of the napkin dispenser and lists their order for beignets (under $5 and one serving is three beignets on a plate) and their drinks: coffee, tea, water, or milk. It’s pretty straight forward and the service is fast. These people have their service down to a science.
Luckily for my friend and I, we stopped in on a Wednesday morning before 8am. That seemed to be the prime time to get food their as two other mornings we went by after 8 and there was a line going down the street for entrance. The location has plenty of seating and is open 24 hours a day so you can always go back at another time but I was more interested in having this for breakfast. The prices are cheap and they also have an area where you can get beignets to go!
River’s Edge Restaurant – French Quarter
One such morning that we tried to go to Cafe du Monde and discovered just how quickly a line forms (we showed up at about 8:30 instead of our normal arrival at 7:30) we were really hungry and just wanted breakfast. Across the street was French Market and Restaurant which we had passed numerous times and commented on how nice the restaurant looked. Better yet? They served breakfast! We had to wait for about 15 minutes but once we were taken in we were able to order pretty quickly.
I got a cheese omelet, bacon, and grits plus a side of toast and my friend ordered waffles with toast as well. Our toast was brought out first and it was pretty delicious (it’s very hard to get toast wrong) and the bacon was to die for. The omelet was… different in that it seemed to be smothered in melted butter. Not that I have an issue with butter but it just seemed a little much. I still devoured everything (except the grits, I never had them before, was full, and honestly didn’t know how I was supposed to eat them if I even had the room) and was full for the rest of the morning.
The inside of the restaurant is lovely and the corner location gives a great view. Our server was, as always, wonderful and polite and quick to help us with anything we needed.
French Market Flea Market – French Quarter
A flea market? Why would you go there to eat? Okay, hear me out. If you take the bus tours in New Orleans they’ll inform you that there are restaurants at the flea market plus a bunch of other special finds. Since it was one of those “must see”‘s we stopped by and discovered that yes, they served a lot of what is considered food staples of the city.
I was really curious about crawfish but too cheap to buy an order in one of the restaurants as they ran a little pricey. In the French Market there was an oyster and crawfish stand and I figured, why not ask about the price? For $10 I could get a pound of crawfish. Slightly concerned that I wouldn’t like them, I figured I might as well spend the $10, give it a try, and if I didn’t like it I suspected I could give it to the workers to eat for free.
Since I had stopped by the market just before close I didn’t just get one pound of crawfish but two! How generous! So, if you’re looking for cheap (good) seafood and the possibility of getting more bang for your buck — go at the end of the day!
I had heard of how you were supposed to eat crawfish but had never seen it done so I asked the man serving them and he was happy to show me. Following his instructions, I went to town and finished off the crawfish in a matter of a half hour. I was really hungry though, so don’t judge.
The end of May apparently is crawfish season so I’m sure that may have helped with the price of the crawfish. I can see why you’d want to order so many — the 2 lbs definitely filled me up! But keep in mind, you’re basically just eating the tiny tail of these little dudes so if you’re planning on making crawfish your meal ordering a larger quantity may be for the best.
Napoleon House Bar & Cafe – French Quarter
We were hungry, exhausted and running out of days in New Orleans. We had gone on a swamp tour so our lunch consisted of chips and once we were back to New Orleans we hunted down the first place that we could eat at (which was on our list of places to eat).
The Napoleon House is old and rustic with the walls covered in Napoleon related pieces. You have the choice of eating indoors or in the courtyard and seeing that we had just spent hours in a swamp, we decided to sit inside for a change. This was slightly unfortunate because the courtyard is beautiful.
Service was a little slow at this restaurant but, yet again, the servers were all so sweet. I was able to get an Italian Soda and let me tell you, I love this drink and haven’t had a proper Italian Soda in years so I was pretty excited.
My friend ordered jambalaya which she ate pretty quickly and I got a ratatouille calzone – my first! It was delicious and very flavorful but the serving size was a little small. Maybe I saw it as such simply because I had skipped lunch and was starving but I would’ve appreciated a bigger serving. (that post about the crawfish? yeah, that came after we had dinner here! Like I said, I was hungry).
The Camellia Grill – French Quarter
Another evening and once more we are starving. We had a way of letting the day quickly pass by until suddenly it’s evening and we realized we hadn’t had lunch. This was a moment of desperation. We were hungry and we wanted to eat. Now. And luckily there was the Camellia Grill right nearby! Even luckier was how awesome of a place it was.
Styled as I imagine a grill would be styled in, say, the 1950’s we had a wonderful waiter (quite possibly the best we had out of our entire stay) who was singing, dancing, entertaining a small child, and gave us free left overs from a chocolate malt that had been made. He took our order quickly and helped me to decide on what Big Easy cuisine I needed to try for the night.
Red beans and rice it was! I added the chicken because I was, as mentioned, super hungry. I devoured this meal and was really satisfied with it. While other restaurants had lines out the door, this restaurant wasn’t very busy but the food was excellent. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t as flashy as some of the restaurants but I found it well worth my time and money.
River’s Edge Restaurant – French Quarter
Oh, the River’s Edge Restaurant. From our first experience in the French Quarter to the last we kept passing by this restaurant and I, the lover of all things seafood, kept smelling the delicious food they were serving through their welcoming open doors.
We ordered the seafood platter plus the appetizer of alligator tail. I’ve had gator before and I absolutely love it. I think it’s filling and delicious. My friend never had it before and fell in love with it as well.
The seafood platter came with a ton of fries, one soft-shelled crab, fried shrimp and fried oysters. It, honestly, was too much for the both of us to eat. Well worth the price but I’m sure a family of three could munch on this platter. Only thing? There was only one soft-shelled crab. We split it in half and shared it but it’d be tough to share that baby with more than two people!
The service here was quick and wonderful as well. I definitely would go back there for their seafood platter. They also serve crawfish but I think my heart is set on the French Market for those babies.
Clover Grill – French Quarter
THIS PLACE HAD THE BEST HAMBURGER I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE. Now, you may notice a lack of Instagram Photo with this and it’s because the hamburger looked so delicious that I just dug in and completely forgot to take a picture of the beauty that was my meal. They cook the hamburgers under a hubcap. A HUBCAP. A clean one, mind you, but a hubcap. And my burger was flavorful and beautiful and I just loved it so much. I devoured that thing in record time and I will most certainly return to the Clover Grill in the future.
My complaints? The bathroom is sort of scary but I feel this is something sort of widespread in NOLA. The bathrooms are usually through an alley or a small courtyard and obviously added onto a building that formerly didn’t have bathrooms. They’re cramped, small, and sort of unkept (like this one) but what can you do? I had toilet paper, I could flush the toilet, there was a working sink and soap: that’s good enough for me. My other complaint has nothing to do with the restaurant but five obnoxious people who sat by me and kept banging a tambourine. Really.
Pere Antoine Restaurant – French Quarter
This restaurant looked darling as it was on a street corner and the many doorways opened up, with flower boxes filling them and tables right nearby. I was attracted to how lovely the place looked and after checking the menu and discovering the prices weren’t too bad my friend and I decided to dine here.
One complaint we saw on FourSquare was that the service at the restaurant was horrible. After nearly a week in the Big Easy we had yet to deal with horrible service so surely the reviewer had to be wrong. Unfortunately, they were right.
The service at this place was terrible. Our waitress was a lovely woman, very polite and sweet, but she all but vanished once she had us seated and we waited quite some time before we could put in our order. After she brought our food to us she vanished again. I asked three servers for a refill of water and never saw it until I finally spotted our waitress and called her over, asking for water. I had most of my meal without a drink due to this.
I had the New Orleans Sampler: gumbo, shrimp creole, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. It also came with bread pudding (which the waitress forgot about until I asked) but was very delicious. The food was good, I enjoyed it, however the service made me uninterested in going back to this restaurant. While sitting around waiting to put in our order we spotted other customers calling for help and asking for drinks or food that they had ordered which they never got. Great food, enjoyable people, but as I said: bad service.
Acme Oyster House – French Quarter
Our final meal in New Orleans made me so sad. I couldn’t wait to return to my own bed and take a shower in my own bathroom but I didn’t want to leave the city or its food. The Acme Oyster House had been a restaurant that kept coming up in my research as a place we simply had to go to. With an oyster challenge that had them featured on Man vs. Food (I love the Travel Channel, okay?) I was dead set on ordering oysters. And sweet heaven, these were the largest oysters I’ve ever seen in my life and they were wonderfully delicious. We got a seat at the oyster bar itself and were able to watch a server/bartender/oyster dealer (he did it all!) prepare the countless oysters. I found this particularly fascinating.
For my meal I ordered a po-boy which seems to be a Really Important Dish in New Orleans cuisine. To me, it reminded me of a (best ever) Subway sandwich but maybe that’s just because I opted for ham and cheese rather than seafood. Still, it was pretty delicious.
Our server was great as well and we got to talk to him about the various foods and activities that New Orleans had to offer. If anything, when you go out to eat in New Orleans it’s been in my brief experience that the servers are the friendliest of people and really willing to help you out if you have questions about the area.
If I’m ever back in New Orleans and I want my fill in oysters I can honestly say I’ll be going back to this restaurant!