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Inside a crowded main floor dining room at Galatoire’s for Friday lunch in 2015.
Friday lunch at Galatoire’s.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

New Orleans's Essential Lunch Restaurants

The Crescent City's must-try midday meals

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Friday lunch at Galatoire’s.
| Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

It’s been said that New Orleans is America’s finest lunch town, and it’s no wonder, really — restaurants here take the midday meal seriously. A great number of lunch hubs have opened in New Orleans over the past decade — especially sandwich shops — but the city is still home to many classic midday spots for a more leisurely meal. Here, a swanky, booze-filled Friday lunch remains an institution, but it's just as appealing to saddle up to a counter or bar for a shrimp po' boy, muffuletta, or banh mi.

These essential lunch spots are places worth visiting whether from out of town or local — they include great options for everything from business meetings to midday meet-ups with pals, celebratory meals to damn good sandwiches. As hours are ever-changing right now, be sure to call or visit restaurant social media pages before stopping by.

Don't see an essential lunch spot that should be on the list? Hit the tipline and tell us about it.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Domilise's Po-Boys

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

St. James Cheese Company

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This cheese shop has dominated the casual lunch game since opening in 2007 with a menu of sandwiches featuring cheeses from French brie (on a baguette with ham) to Rogue River's Smokey Blue (with thin sliced roast beef), not too mention a Ploughman's Lunch of cheeses, paté, chutney, a green salad, and bread. Both locations also offer some of the best entree salads in town.

St. James’s ham and brie
St. James Cheese Company

The High Hat Cafe

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Relaxed, bright, and friendly, High Hat offers a taste of Louisiana cuisine in a relaxed Uptown setting. Daily lunch specials, po’ boys, and favorites like rich, dark gumbo; fried catfish with cornbread and greens; and pimento mac and cheese rule the day, but the menu also holds some surprises and the bar serves excellent cocktails.

Pascal's Manale

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This birthplace of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, Pascal’s Manale opened in 1913. Today, it’s a lunchtime destination for its friendly oyster bar, laid back attitude, and old-school atmosphere.

Barbecued shrimp served with Leidenheimer French bread 
Pascal Manale’s/Facebook

Casamento's Restaurant

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At the narrow, bustling Casamento’s, oyster-shuckers have been holding court since 1919, when this family-owned oyster classic opened. Besides raw oysters, Casamento’s is best known for its oyster loaf (like a fried oyster po’ boy, but on toasted, thick, white sandwich bread); and its Creole style gumbo, lighter in color and flavor and filled with tomatoes and okra.

Casamento’s

Toups Meatery

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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 $23 but the house signatures, like confit chicken thigh and the double cut pork chop with dirty rice, are not to be overlooked. The patio makes for an especially pleasant lunch setting.

Toups’s chef’s lunch (boudin, burger, and a beer)
Toups Meatery

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

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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.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Commander's Palace

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This Garden District beauty made famous by renowned restaurateur Ella Brennan has been known known for its twenty-five cent lunch martinis since introducing the promotion in the 1990s. For food, chef Meg Bickford offers an affordable three-course prix-fixe special for about $40 or so, featuring the restaurant’s most famous dishes: turtle soup, lacquered quail, and bread pudding soufflé.

Liuzza's by the Track

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This horse tracks-adjacent neighborhood bar got its start in 1936, later evolving into a quintessential lunch restaurant and the unofficial gathering place for Jazz Fest. It’s best known for the garlic oyster po’ boy and barbecue shrimp po’ boy, both offering slight twists on the classics.

Willie Mae's Scotch House

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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.

Dooky Chase Restaurant

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The buffet at this Treme landmark is legendary (when it’s available, per COVID safety protocols), and one of the best ways to experience the late Leah Chase’s iconic restaurant. Try it all at once — gumbo, fried chicken, fried catfish, greens, lima beans — or order from the new takeout menu, which also includes daily family meals, which covers gumbo, salads, po’ boys, and more.

Stein's Market and Deli

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A majority of Stein’s customers know their order before they go in, lest they get skipped over in line. There’s not much seating at this sandwich icon — a few more tables are outside on Magazine — but most people grab and go anyways, eager to savor a Rachel, Reuben, and any of the other fantastic sandwiches in the privacy of their own home (or car).

Stein’s storefront on magazine street with large windows next to a door.
Stein’s
Brasted/Eater NOLA

Turkey And The Wolf

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This nationally-acclaimed sandwich spot in the LGD might be New Orleans’s best lunch destination to open in the past decade. Distinctive and incredible eats like hogshead cheese tacos, a fried bologna sandwich, any specials, and perhaps best of all, the collard green melt — slow cooked collards, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and cherry pepper dressing served hot on rye — make this an essential lunch visit for locals and tourists alike.

Lilly's Cafe

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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.

Galatoire's

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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 snag a table (and bring a jacket, gentlemen).

Friday lunch at Galatoire’s
Bill Addison/Eater

Head to this Susan Spicer classic in the Quarter for a leisurely Saturday lunch on the intimate back patio, when themed, four-course prix fixe menus — wine pairings included — are a relatively affordable $65. The regular lunch menu is also available Friday and Saturday.

Li'l Dizzy's Cafe

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Stepping into Li’l Dizzy’s at lunchtime is likely to brighten your day, when you’re greeted with a bustling dining room, friendly owners, and happy customers. Choose from fried catfish and chicken, gumbo and red beans, and po’boys, all high quality and affordable.

A brown takeout container holds two large pieces of fried chicken next to a styrofoam container of collard greens. Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Cochon Butcher

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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.

Butcher’s buckboard bacon melt
Bill Addison/Eater

Domilise's Po-Boys

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

St. James Cheese Company

St. James’s ham and brie
St. James Cheese Company

This cheese shop has dominated the casual lunch game since opening in 2007 with a menu of sandwiches featuring cheeses from French brie (on a baguette with ham) to Rogue River's Smokey Blue (with thin sliced roast beef), not too mention a Ploughman's Lunch of cheeses, paté, chutney, a green salad, and bread. Both locations also offer some of the best entree salads in town.

St. James’s ham and brie
St. James Cheese Company

The High Hat Cafe

Relaxed, bright, and friendly, High Hat offers a taste of Louisiana cuisine in a relaxed Uptown setting. Daily lunch specials, po’ boys, and favorites like rich, dark gumbo; fried catfish with cornbread and greens; and pimento mac and cheese rule the day, but the menu also holds some surprises and the bar serves excellent cocktails.

Pascal's Manale

Barbecued shrimp served with Leidenheimer French bread 
Pascal Manale’s/Facebook

This birthplace of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, Pascal’s Manale opened in 1913. Today, it’s a lunchtime destination for its friendly oyster bar, laid back attitude, and old-school atmosphere.

Barbecued shrimp served with Leidenheimer French bread 
Pascal Manale’s/Facebook

Casamento's Restaurant

Casamento’s

At the narrow, bustling Casamento’s, oyster-shuckers have been holding court since 1919, when this family-owned oyster classic opened. Besides raw oysters, Casamento’s is best known for its oyster loaf (like a fried oyster po’ boy, but on toasted, thick, white sandwich bread); and its Creole style gumbo, lighter in color and flavor and filled with tomatoes and okra.

Casamento’s

Toups Meatery

Toups’s chef’s lunch (boudin, burger, and a beer)
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 $23 but the house signatures, like confit chicken thigh and the double cut pork chop with dirty rice, are not to be overlooked. The patio makes for an especially pleasant lunch setting.

Toups’s chef’s lunch (boudin, burger, and a beer)
Toups Meatery

Parkway Bakery & Tavern

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Commander's Palace

This Garden District beauty made famous by renowned restaurateur Ella Brennan has been known known for its twenty-five cent lunch martinis since introducing the promotion in the 1990s. For food, chef Meg Bickford offers an affordable three-course prix-fixe special for about $40 or so, featuring the restaurant’s most famous dishes: turtle soup, lacquered quail, and bread pudding soufflé.

Liuzza's by the Track

This horse tracks-adjacent neighborhood bar got its start in 1936, later evolving into a quintessential lunch restaurant and the unofficial gathering place for Jazz Fest. It’s best known for the garlic oyster po’ boy and barbecue shrimp po’ boy, both offering slight twists on the classics.

Willie Mae's Scotch House

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.

Dooky Chase Restaurant