It’s possible to spend 24 hours dining and drinking through any New Orleans neighborhood. Sample the city’s many iconic cocktails in the French Quarter, restaurant hop along oak-lined St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District, or jump from lush courtyard to courtyard in the Bywater. But New Orleans’s Faubourg Marigny, situated just downriver to the sometimes overwhelming French Quarter, offers a taste of what makes New Orleans a culinary destination in a slightly more low-key setting. Here’s how to spend a delicious day in the Marigny.
Breakfast at Cake Cafe
All the savory and baked goods are excellent at the Cake Cafe, including the renowned carnival king cakes, traditional or stuffed with the likes of goat cheese and apples. Homespun and welcoming, with wrap-around pet-friendly seating outdoors, this busy cafe turns out excellent boudin and eggs, crawfish omelets, a great sesame-crusted fried tofu sandwich with pesto, and memorable shrimp and grits. For a dollar extra, add a cupcake to breakfast or lunch: A bonus that only a fool would refuse. Cake Café: 2440 Chartres Street
Lunch at Bao & Noodle
Bao & Noodle is a neighborhood destination for some of New Orleans’s best Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, and is now in its more-visible new location on St. Claude Avenue. Owner Doug Crowell, who opened the casual Chinese restaurant with his wife Asia Wong almost five years ago, provides one of the best bangs for your buck in the city. Sample all the dim sum dishes along with a dish featuring the hand-pulled noodles (perhaps the biang biang noodles with braised lamb), and be sure to try rousong, or fluffy pork floss/wool. Bao & Noodle: 2266 St Claude Avenue
Coffee and Dessert at Nola Mia Gelato
It’s fun to stop in to this new gelato shop on St. Claude and chat with the family who owns it; down from New York but with Italian roots. The gelato, sorbet, and Italian ice is all made in house, with classic flavors like amaretto and stracciatella and some less so like the bright blood orange. They also make real Italian sodas, cannoli and tiramisu, and have excellent coffee. Makes for a perfect post-lunch sugar and caffeine stop. Nola Mia Gelato: 2230 St. Claude Avenue
Afternoon Snack at Shank Charcuterie
Kris Doll and partner Carolyn Kolbe took a chance when they opened Shank, a full service butcher shop and charcuterie on St. Claude Avenue — and the neighborhood thanks them for it. Specializing in Italian-cured meats, Doll cuts all the meat himself and puts out platters of steak and eggs, head cheese with sides, and house-made sausages for breakfast and lunch. Sit at the counter and order a charcuterie plate or some pulled pork sliders for a perfect afternoon snack.
Drinks at The Franklin
The Franklin recently reopened in the Marigny after an eight-month closure, with a new chef, a revamped interior, and cocktail program designed by a slew of local veteran bartenders from The Company Burger, Cure, and Barrel Proof. Much of the new menu is dedicated to the Martini and its variants, including the Vesper, Martinez, El Presidente, and Rosita. As before, the wine list is solid and different, with an emphasis on the ever-trendy natural wines. The Franklin: 2600 Dauphine Street
Dinner at The Elysian Bar
This newly opened gem inside Hotel Peter and Paul is run by chef Alex Harrell, of Angeline and Sylvain fame, and comes from the people behind wine favorite Bacchanal. The Elysian Bar’s French-meets-Southern menu is fetching indeed, with the likes of chicken liver toast with stone fruit mostarda, smoked fish (always Gulf, always fresh), confit chicken leg, and hanger steak with smoked potatoes. Order the mostly small plates menu in the rectory bar, with its Gothic vibe or dine in the lovely courtyard. There are also private pews with peekaboo curtains if canoodling commences. No reservations and walk ins are welcome.
Late Night at Mimi’s in the Marigny
You’ve gotta love Mimi’s motto: “Two blocks from the river, three sheets to the wind”. Much adored as as a neighborhood watering hole, Mimi’s stays open “‘til late,” and the vibe just gets funkier as the evening goes on. And if you get hungry, chef Heathcliffe Hailey’s tapas menu is super savory, with vegetable and meaty options to please all. Try the sweet potato and leek empanadas encased in the flakiest of dough, grilled romaine, outstanding lamb chops, ceviche — the menu is an eclectic line up that’s also served ‘til late. Mimi’s in the Marigny: 2601 Royal Street