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Friday lunch at Galatoire's
Friday lunch at Galatoire's
Brasted

New Orleans' Essential Lunch Spots

The Crescent City's must-try midday meals

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Friday lunch at Galatoire's
| Brasted

In 2015, Eater critic Bill Addison declared New Orleans to be America's finest lunch town, and honestly, things are only getting better.

Numerous new lunch hubs have opened in the past year— especially sandwich shops— but New Orleans is still home to many a tried and true midday spot. Here in The Big Easy, the swanky, booze-filled Friday lunch is an institution, but it's just as classic to saddle up to a counter or bar for a shrimp po' boy, muffuletta or banh mi as well.

These essential lunch spots are places that anyone visiting the city for the first time should mark off his or her list. They cover a lot of ground for visitors and locals alike—great options for everything from business meetings to midday meet-ups with pals, including lots of Creole options with Vietnamese, Cajun and more cuisines as well.

Please note: These essential lunch restaurants are sorted by neighborhood, not by ranking.

Don't see an essential lunch spot that needs to be on the list? Leave a comment or hit the tipline and tell us all about it.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Rocky & Carlo's

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613 W Saint Bernard Hwy
Chalmette, LA 70043
(504) 279-8323
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This Sicilian family-run Chalmette icon is about a 20 drive from downtown, but well worth the trip with a cafeteria style operation where huge portions of macaroni and cheese, red gravy, stuffed peppers, and perfectly fried soft shell crabs are doled out on the daily.

Paul Broussard

2. Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery

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14207 Chef Menteur Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70129
(504) 254-0214
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This Vietnamese bakery is a bit of a drive out to New Orleans East, but is honestly worth it, if you're interested in seeking out the best banh mi you'll ever have in your life.

3. Galatoire's

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209 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 525-2021
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This Bourbon Street landmark is famous for its Friday lunch, where the drinks are strong and the menu is bursting with classics— Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou, Galatoire Goute, Pompano with crabmeat. Show up early to stand in line (and bring a jacket, gentlemen).

4. Central Grocery Co.

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923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 523-1620
Visit Website

Line up at this French Quarter grocery dating back to 1906 for a taste of one of the city's signature sandwiches, the muffuletta, comprised of Italian meats, olive salad, provolone and oil on sesame bread. Take it to the river and enjoy.

5. Bayona

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430 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 525-4455
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Head to this Susan Spicer classic in the Quarter for the smoked duck “PB & J," or for Saturday lunch, where three small plates will only set you back $28.

ENOLA

6. Willie Mae's Scotch House

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2401 Saint Ann St
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 822-9503

Show up. Wait in line. They'll tell you when a table is ready, and when it is, you'll eat some of the best fried chicken in existence. Don't overlook those peas either.

7. Dooky Chase Restaurant

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2301 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 821-0600
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The buffet at this Treme landmark, where nonagenarian chef Leah Chase still checks in on the dining room, will only set you back about $18 and includes basically everything you came to town for— gumbo, fried chicken, fried catfish, greens, lima beans and soul.

8. Restaurant August

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301 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 299-9777
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This Besh Group stunner offers a superb Friday lunch experience, including a very reasonable $26 prix-fixe of three courses from chef Todd Pulsinelli— crispy flounder, Mississippi rabbit, seasonal appetizers— for those in search of something that's not quite as rowdy as Galatoire's.

Bill Addison

9. Cochon Butcher

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930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 588-7675
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It's hard to go wrong at this Cochon annex, where Link Group shows off its incredible charcuterie skills and even more incredible sandwiches. The muffuletta is one of the best in town, but it's hard to go wrong with anything from a Cubano to a serving of boudin.

Bill Addison

10. Commander's Palace

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1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 899-8221
Visit Website

This Garden District beauty made famous by renowned restaurateur Ella Brennan (who employed both Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse during her tenure) is known for its twenty-five cent martinis at lunch. Chef Tory McPhail also offers an affordable three-course prix-fixe special for about $35 or so, a steal for this landmark.

ENOLA

11. Lilly's Cafe

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1813 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 599-9999

This LGD staple is where numerous locals go to get their lunchtime pho fill. Many consider the broth here to be the best in town, but the menu is also home to numerous Vietnamese classics that won't break the bank.

ENOLA

12. Turkey And The Wolf

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739 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

This new sandwich spot in the LGD from former Coquette cook Mason Hereford is the best new lunch destination New Orleans has seen in quite a while. Wacky but incredible eats like a huge chicken fried steak sandwich and hilarious but tasty headcheese 'tacos inauthenticos' make this a great new stop for locals and tourists alike.

13. Domilise's Po-Boys

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5240 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-9126

Domilise's is a po' boy institution dating back to 1918, and what many consider THE classic po' boy operation in New Orleans with fans even including Mario Batali. It's an incredibly delicious hole-in-the-wall experience, where you can't go wrong with a fried shrimp.

14. St. James Cheese Company

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5004 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 899-4737
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This Uptown cheese shop has dominated the casual lunch game since opening in 2007 with a menu of sandwiches featuring cheeses from Gruyere (with carmelized onions) to Rogue River's Smokey Blue (with thin sliced roast beef), not too mention a Ploughman's Lunch, meat boards and more.

15. Boucherie

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8115 Jeannette St
New Orleans, LA 70118
(504) 862-5514
Visit Website

Chef Nathaniel Zimet has a mini Cajun compound on the corner of N. Carrollton and Jeanette, where he specializes in bringing the concept of the boucherie (or, in this case, in-house butchering, curing and cooking) to the table, with a meaty menu where boudin balls and charcuterie shine, but creative dishes from smoked scallops to hamachi sashimi with kimchi should not be overlooked.

16. Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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538 Hagan Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 482-3047
Visit Website

This Bayou St. John po' boy staple is a favorite among locals and tourists in the know. The fried shrimp is a classic, but it's the Thanksgiving po' boy that has locals lining up around the block on Wednesdays in November. Bonus: An excellent Reuben and gumbo.

17. Toups Meatery

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Carrollton
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 252-4999
Visit Website

If meat is what you're after, head to this casual Cajun eatery in Mid City from chef Isaac Toups, where the chef's lunch (boudin, burger and a beer) will set you back about $22 but the house signatures, like barbecue goat and the double cut pork chop with dirty rice, are not to be overlooked.

Toups Meatery

1. Rocky & Carlo's

613 W Saint Bernard Hwy, Chalmette, LA 70043
Paul Broussard

This Sicilian family-run Chalmette icon is about a 20 drive from downtown, but well worth the trip with a cafeteria style operation where huge portions of macaroni and cheese, red gravy, stuffed peppers, and perfectly fried soft shell crabs are doled out on the daily.

613 W Saint Bernard Hwy
Chalmette, LA 70043

2. Dong Phuong Oriental Bakery

14207 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

This Vietnamese bakery is a bit of a drive out to New Orleans East, but is honestly worth it, if you're interested in seeking out the best banh mi you'll ever have in your life.

14207 Chef Menteur Hwy
New Orleans, LA 70129

3. Galatoire's

209 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

This Bourbon Street landmark is famous for its Friday lunch, where the drinks are strong and the menu is bursting with classics— Oysters Rockefeller, Eggs Sardou, Galatoire Goute, Pompano with crabmeat. Show up early to stand in line (and bring a jacket, gentlemen).

209 Bourbon St
New Orleans, LA 70130

4. Central Grocery Co.

923 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Line up at this French Quarter grocery dating back to 1906 for a taste of one of the city's signature sandwiches, the muffuletta, comprised of Italian meats, olive salad, provolone and oil on sesame bread. Take it to the river and enjoy.

923 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70116

5. Bayona

430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112
ENOLA

Head to this Susan Spicer classic in the Quarter for the smoked duck “PB & J," or for Saturday lunch, where three small plates will only set you back $28.

430 Dauphine St
New Orleans, LA 70112

6. Willie Mae's Scotch House

2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119

Show up. Wait in line. They'll tell you when a table is ready, and when it is, you'll eat some of the best fried chicken in existence. Don't overlook those peas either.

2401 Saint Ann St
New Orleans, LA 70119

7. Dooky Chase Restaurant

2301 Orleans Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

The buffet at this Treme landmark, where nonagenarian chef Leah Chase still checks in on the dining room, will only set you back about $18 and includes basically everything you came to town for— gumbo, fried chicken, fried catfish, greens, lima beans and soul.

2301 Orleans Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

8. Restaurant August

301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Bill Addison

This Besh Group stunner offers a superb Friday lunch experience, including a very reasonable $26 prix-fixe of three courses from chef Todd Pulsinelli— crispy flounder, Mississippi rabbit, seasonal appetizers— for those in search of something that's not quite as rowdy as Galatoire's.

301 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130

9. Cochon Butcher

930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Bill Addison

It's hard to go wrong at this Cochon annex, where Link Group shows off its incredible charcuterie skills and even more incredible sandwiches. The muffuletta is one of the best in town, but it's hard to go wrong with anything from a Cubano to a serving of boudin.

930 Tchoupitoulas St
New Orleans, LA 70130

10. Commander's Palace

1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
ENOLA

This Garden District beauty made famous by renowned restaurateur Ella Brennan (who employed both Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse during her tenure) is known for its twenty-five cent martinis at lunch. Chef Tory McPhail also offers an affordable three-course prix-fixe special for about $35 or so, a steal for this landmark.

1403 Washington Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

11. Lilly's Cafe

1813 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
ENOLA

This LGD staple is where numerous locals go to get their lunchtime pho fill. Many consider the broth here to be the best in town, but the menu is also home to numerous Vietnamese classics that won't break the bank.

1813 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

12. Turkey And The Wolf

739 Jackson Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

This new sandwich spot in the LGD from former Coquette cook Mason Hereford is the best new lunch destination New Orleans has seen in quite a while. Wacky but incredible eats like a huge chicken fried steak sandwich and hilarious but tasty headcheese 'tacos inauthenticos' make this a great new stop for locals and tourists alike.

739 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA 70130

13. Domilise's Po-Boys

5240 Annunciation St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Domilise's is a po' boy institution dating back to 1918, and what many consider THE classic po' boy operation in New Orleans with fans even including Mario Batali. It's an incredibly delicious hole-in-the-wall experience, where you can't go wrong with a fried shrimp.

5240 Annunciation St
New Orleans, LA 70115

14. St. James Cheese Company

5004 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115

This Uptown cheese shop has dominated the casual lunch game since opening in 2007 with a menu of sandwiches featuring cheeses from Gruyere (with carmelized onions) to Rogue River's Smokey Blue (with thin sliced roast beef), not too mention a Ploughman's Lunch, meat boards and more.

5004 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA 70115

15. Boucherie

8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

Chef Nathaniel Zimet has a mini Cajun compound on the corner of N. Carrollton and Jeanette, where he specializes in bringing the concept of the boucherie (or, in this case, in-house butchering, curing and cooking) to the table, with a meaty menu where boudin balls and charcuterie shine, but creative dishes from smoked scallops to hamachi sashimi with kimchi should not be overlooked.

8115 Jeannette St
New Orleans, LA 70118

Related Maps

16. Parkway Bakery & Tavern

538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

This Bayou St. John po' boy staple is a favorite among locals and tourists in the know. The fried shrimp is a classic, but it's the Thanksgiving po' boy that has locals lining up around the block on Wednesdays in November. Bonus: An excellent Reuben and gumbo.

538 Hagan Ave
New Orleans, LA 70119

17. Toups Meatery

Carrollton, New Orleans, LA 70119
Toups Meatery

If meat is what you're after, head to this casual Cajun eatery in Mid City from chef Isaac Toups, where the chef's lunch (boudin, burger and a beer) will set you back about $22 but the house signatures, like barbecue goat and the double cut pork chop with dirty rice, are not to be overlooked.

Carrollton
New Orleans, LA 70119

Related Maps