clock menu more-arrow no yes
A table setting at Thalia
Inside Thalia, one of Eater NOLA’s most important restaurant openings of 2019
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Filed under:

New Orleans’s Five Biggest Restaurant Openings of 2019

In a year packed with new eateries, these rose to the top

Over the past year, New Orleans’s dining scene has continued to grow in ways that keeps it one of the most exciting places to dine in the country. From long-awaited debut restaurants from some of NOLA’s favorite chefs to French Quarter spots refreshingly geared towards locals, 2019 brought a slew of exciting newcomers. Here are our picks for five of the biggest restaurant openings of the last 12 months.

Is your favorite 2019 newcomer missing? Let us know with a comment or email.


Zasu

Sautéed snapper, tumeric coconut curry, crispy chickpeas, roasted red peppers, and mustard greens
Zasu/Facebook

Making its debut on New Year’s Eve last year, Zasu is from James Beard Award-winning former Gautreau’s chef Sue Zemanick. With Zasu she finally has her own restaurant, and the city is better off for it. Approachable but upscale with the feel of a neighborhood bistro, every item on the tight, thoughtful menu expertly showcases Gulf coast gems from seafood to produce.


Jewel of the South

Blood boudin with quince, chestnut, and seckle pear
Jewel of the South/Facebook

The next restaurant debut to make an impact came in March, from Chris Hannah, the James Beard Award-winning former bartender at Arnaud’s French 75 and partner Nick Detrich (the team was also behind our favorite bar debut of 2018, Manolito). On the quieter, more accessible outskirts of the Quarter, the tiny 19th century Creole cottage housing this beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant feels refreshingly made for locals. While the cocktails may have top billing due to its founders, the food from behind-the-scenes chef Phillip Whitmarsh is an ever-changing mix of delightfully creative small plates.


Gianna

Tortellini from Gianna
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Opened in April, Gianna was the first new restaurant from Donald Link’s restaurant group since the beloved Peche, a Warehouse District neighbor. Chef Rebecca Wilcomb fully comes into her own with the delicate regional Italian menu, featuring “tortellini in brodo” (broth), meat-filled pasta dumplings in clear chicken broth served with parmesan cheese, cured meats, locally farmed produce, Gulf seafood, and more expertly-crafted fresh pastas.

Palm & Pine

Apple chorizo chilaquiles from Palm & Pine
Palm & Pine/Facebook

Another new addition to the outskirts of the French Quarter came in July, a hard-fought first restaurant from the couple behind successful pop-up Old Portage at neighboring bar Black Penny. Palm & Pine, like Jewel of the South, stood out for its seemingly thoughtful orientation to locals and fellow service industry workers — a wise move in a city whose restaurants face an annual tourist exodus every summer. The pair serves fresh and interesting food here, with an emphasis on local produce and flavors from “the South, and South of that.”


Thalia

The dining room of Thalia
The dining room at Thalia
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

The co-chefs and owners of the Garden District’s nationally-acclaimed Coquette opened their much-awaited second restaurant, Thalia, in August. The 37-seat restaurant on the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets in the LGD is a more casual counterpart to Coquette; kid-friendly, affordable, and built as a neighborhood gathering spot. With consistently delicious food and cocktails in a warm and hospitable setting at reasonable prices, we expect Thalia to be a favorite for years to come.

Do you have a hot restaurant tip? Noticed a spot in your neighborhood opening or closing? Leave a comment or send an email.

Looking for restaurant recs or a place to chat about favorite restaurants? Join Eater NOLA’s Facebook group.

Palm&Pine

308 North Rampart Street, , LA 70112 (504) 814-6200 Visit Website

Jewel of the South

1026 Saint Louis Street, , LA 70112 (504) 265-8816 Visit Website

Palm & Pine

308 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70112 (504) 814-6200 Visit Website

Zasu

127 North Carrollton Avenue, , LA 70119 (504) 267-3233 Visit Website

Gianna

700 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 Visit Website

thalia

1245 Constance Street, , LA 70130 (504) 655-1338 Visit Website
New Orleans Restaurant Closings

‘We Have a Manpower Issue’: Top NOLA Restaurant Group Closes Third Restaurant in Under a Year

These New Orleans Restaurants and Bars Are Open Following Hurricane Ida

Two Weeks After Hurricane Ida, New Orleans Restaurants Aim to Shift Attention Down the Bayou

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater New Orleans newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world