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Friends of Eater Pick the Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2016

What were the year’s best debuts?


As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of Eater Nola staff and contributors and a few local industry insiders. This year, we’re asking questions running the gamut from meal of the year to saddest closures. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the 2016. Responses are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein.

Q. What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2016?

Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads: Several restaurants come to mind because everyone and their sister's aunt were talking about them … and still are. Some went “viral” because of nostalgia, some because of the location, but I think all of them were top because the food is just that good. The specific ones I'm thinking of are Blue Oak BBQ, Cavan, Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain Hotel, Toups South at SoFaB, Turkey and the Wolf and, though it wasn't new per se, just re-opened, Pho Tau Bay.

B.E. Mintz, editor of Neat Pour (launching in Winter 2016):

N7 - Technically, it may have opened in 2015, but the uniquely New Orleans mythology and mystique surrounding their gallic gastronomy is half of the appeal (although I do miss Yuki on Frenchmen). Meril - Essentially an upscale sports bar from Emeril. Not what I expected, but it works… well. Blue Oak - The bar(becue) has been raised once again.

Marjie’s Grill - Although this outpost from a group of Herbsaint alumnus opened in late December, their delicious cooking is already a familiar treat for devotees of their previous pop-ups, Sparklehorse Grill. Halal Guys - So simple, yet so tasty. Did I mention that they deliver?

Rene Louapre, cofounder, Hogs For The Cause: Turkey and the Wolf and Cafe Henri. Love the ethos behind Turkey and the Wolf. They crack me up with their ability to both not take themselves seriously and also keep a straight face. Cafe Henri just does the simple really well, which is not actually simple at all. And the food at both is outstanding.

Nora McGunnigle, contributor, Eater Nola: Turkey and the Wolf, Freret Beer Room, Toups South.

Josh Brasted, photographer, Eater Nola: Toups South, Turkey and the Wolf, Frey

Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater Nola: In terms of nailing it, I think Turkey And The Wolf has the elevated stoner snacks down to an art form. I’ve been enjoying Mid City’s new meaty spots Blue Oak BBQ and Frey Smoked Meat Co. Also, the burger at Petit Lion and the snapper crudo at Josephine Estelle put them at the top of my list.