We rounded up the best of the best when it comes to must-visit restaurants and bars in the Big Easy. Whether you're in the mood for a bloody mary or a southern feast with lots of flavor, we've got you covered.
1. Johnny Sánchez
The brainchild of mega-star chefs Aarón Sánchez and John Besh, Johnny Sánchez might just be the best Mexican restaurant in all of NOLA. We didn't meet a taco we didn't like while we were there, but our favorite hands down was the Pescado (beer-battered mahi mahi, chipotle, avocado, shaved cabbage, jalapeño vinaigrette). You're also going to want to order the blue crab tostada with corn elote and the crispy brussel sprouts with roasted pumpkin and cotija. Oh, and the marg and mezcal options are on point. Plus, the eclectic atmosphere is perfect for Saturday or Sunday brunch. Make your reservations now — you're guaranteed to be as obsessed as we are.
930 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70112
2. The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
What used to once be a warehouse in 1854 for canvas, rope, and tobacco, is now one of NOLA's hottest boutique hotels. Located 3 blocks from the French Quarter, The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery boosts eclectic rooms featuring exposed brick walls, extra plushy beds, free WiFI, a pets welcome policy, an art vending machine in the lobby, and some seriously cool paintings by New Orleanian locals. There's also an array of menu options that will blow your mind:
- Pillow Menu – Rest your head on your choice of a range of specialty pillow types.
- Spiritual Menu – Taoist? Christian? Muslim? The hotel offers a variety of books of faith.
- Spotify Menu – They have the sound track for your stay.
- Pet Room Service Menu – Designed with pets’ nutritional needs in mind.
535 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
There's a reason why Shaya was voted one of the best new restaurants in America in 2015 and that's because Chef Alon's modern Israeli food is that good. Not only is his falafel the best we've ever had (thanks to a bright green, perfectly soft interior), but we're still dreaming about his roasted cabbage with muhammara, tahini, and hazelnuts. Middle Eastern classics like kebabs, hummus, babaganoush, and shakshouka all make appearances on Alon's menu and an impressive mosiac-tiled, wood-fired oven in the back of the restaurant produces the lightest fluffiest pita bread you won't be able to stop eating. “Shaya is an interpretation of the food that I grew up cooking and eating with my grandmother, but what I hope to bring to the menu is my approach to marrying local New Orleans ingredients with the indigenous flavors of Israel,” said Alon. Well, consider that mission acheieved.
4213 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
4. Compère Lapin
It's all about the conch croquettes at Compère Lapin. Top Chef Nina Compton's traditional Caribbean and Creole cuisine is unparalleled in this city thanks to menu staples like the aforementioned croquettes with a pineapple sauce, crispy dirty rice Arancini with a sour orange mojo, cold smoked tuna tartare with avocado and crispy bananas, and grouper with Beurre Blanc, potato pearls and caviar. Another highlight of the meal is obviously the bacon butter which comes with the welcome biscuits. Bartender Ricky Gomez is the mastermind behind the restaurant's libations — modern takes on classic cocktails like the Pimm's Cup, the Ramos, and the Gin Fizz. Oh and there's an avocado cocktail. 'Nuf said.
The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, 535 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
5. Pizza Domenica
Two words: whole cauliflower (with whipped goat feta). Ok, technically that was six, but for good reason — this is the best app we sampled foodcrawling New Orleans. A whole head of cauliflower is roasted with herbs, olive oil, and other goodness, then served with a steak knife in its heart, accompanied by a side of the most epic tangy and perfectly flavored goat cheese. It's like we died and went to Pizza Domenica heaven. Also noteworthy: the smoked pork pizza with mozzarella, red onion, Anaheim chili, and salsa verde and the wood-roasted octopus with potatoes, jalapeno, and tomato. Que rico!
4933 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
6. Hyatt Regency New Orleans
With 32 floors and an elevator system that rivals a spaceship, it's hard not to be impressed with the newly renovated Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Not only is it one of the largest hotels in NOLA (so it's actually easy to get a room at an affordable rate), but it's equidistant to everything including the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Smoothie King Center, and historic French Quarter. There are numerous dinning options: 8 Block Kitchen & Bar, Vitascope Hall, Q Smokery & Cafe, Pizza Consegna, Borgne by celebrity Chef John Besh and did we mention there's a pool, complete with two TVs and pool bar?? Definitely file this hotel under where to stay in the Big Easy.
601 Loyola Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, 70113
7. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
As the oldest bar in America (it opened in 1761), it's only respectful that you swing by Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop for a frozen purple parrot drink AKA "the Voodoo daiquiri." Imagine a dark dilapidated shack with a piano at one end and that's Lafitte's. Named after Jean Lafitte, a privateer, entrepreneur, sailor, diplomat, spy, and hero of the Battle Of New Orleans, his bar is the best. Plus, the piano man will play any song you want for the proper price.
941 Bourbon Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
8. Waldorf Astoria Spa
No good vacation is complete with some relaxing and pampering. The Waldorf Astoria Spa features 10 private rooms, a couples’ therapy suite, a VIP treatment room, hydrotherapy facilities and a full-service salon, which carries OSEA Skincare, Kevyn Aucoin and Carita beauty products, but their signature massage is by far one of the best treatments we've ever received. Choose from a variety of aromatic oils and get ready to get your zen on.
130 Roosevelt Way, New Orleans, LA 70112
9. La Petite Grocery
When it comes to the menu at this charming restaurant on Magazine St., there's one thing you MUST order: the blue crab beignets with malt vinegar aioli. Life-changing, we tell you. Equally impressive, is the handmade spaghetti with blue crab, mustard greens and Colatura di Alici. Save this stop for one of your last nights, as it's bound to be one of the most memorable dining experiences you'll have.
4238 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115
10. Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar & Restaurant
This kitschy retired surfer bar is one of the best places to get a bloody mary in the city. Loaded with all the essentials, it's just the drink you want to sip outside in their fun little courtyard. Lucy's also serves up seafood-heavy Cal-Mex eats and offers late hours. Try "Da Killer Blue Whale" if you're feeling brave. Most libations come with sharks, scorpions, and a shot of Lucy’s Love.
701 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
11. Bombay Club
This bespoke cocktail and martini bar boosts some of the best live jazz in town and arguably, the best scotch egg. Renowned Louisiana Chef, Nathan Richard, has artfully composed a menu of unique, yet authentic, dishes for a result that's quasi-British with a Cajun twist. Not to miss: the aforementioned "Boudin Scotch Eggs" with braised collard greens, the corn-fried oyster wedge salad and the "The Cheeseburger" with b&b pickles, onions, not-so-secret sauce, and fried potato wedges.
830 Conti Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
It's basically an unspoken rule that you can't go to New Orleans and not have dinner at August. This is not only one of the best dinners we had in NOLA, but ever. The service is impeccable, the wine list expansive, the decor elegant, yet authentic, and the cuisine incredible. Our reccomended dishes: Trout Pontchartrain, Crawfish "Étouffée" (lemongrass, fermented pepper), and dark chocolate mousse with apricot, chestnut cream and roasted cocoa nib ice cream.
301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
When you're in the mood for a casual lunch, head over to Borgne, chef John Besh's low-key spot known for its excellent seafood. Signature dishes include duck poppers, garlic clove Louisiana shrimp, oyster spaghetti, and they make a killer grilled octopus with berber hummus and garlic caper confit. As for the cocktails, try the Hammered Tin Cup (Pimms #1, Hendricks gin, and blood orange).
601 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113
14. Quarter Past Time
The ONLY place to go for the best vintage watch selection in the city. Ask the owner Julio to check out the back room — that's where all the rare gems are kept.
606 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130