Every month, Eater tries to answer the oft-repeated question: Where should I eat right now? New Orleans’s steady stream of restaurant openings can make it difficult to keep track of what’s new, what’s cool, and where New Orleans’s top local chefs are cooking. To help, Eater’s heatmap tracks the city’s most exciting new restaurants, all worth a try. The below restaurants are open as of publication time, but be sure to call or check a restaurant’s social media pages before paying them a visit.Read More
The 12 Hottest New Restaurants in New Orleans, November 2023
Our answer to the question: Where should I eat right now?
Garrison Kitchen + Cocktails
This swanky new Metairie restaurant that took over a former home and garden store leans into its country club-esque property with individual gazebo dining. Garrison Kitchen + Cocktails’ menu is upscale American, utilizing ingredients from its onsite herb and vegetable gardens as well as beef from a local cattle farm, Gulf and East Coast oysters, and some fittingly country club-style dishes like tuna niçoise and caviar artichoke dip. It’s open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.
New-school New Orleans cuisine has revived a homey cottage in the Riverbend that was formerly home to Mexican restaurant La Mansion. Courtesy of Blake Cressey, the chef behind Tasty Treat food truck and restaurant, Blake’s Place offers a casual but full-service setting for New Orleans staples and Creole Italian specialties. It’s chic, pretty, and welcoming, and the menu is crowd-pleasingly familiar, full of comfort food and shareable items.
Wonderland & Sea
This fun, funky fast-casual spot with a focus on fried fish, chicken, and frozen drinks opened in May. Wonderland & Sea serves kale and cous cous salads; sides of flash-fried bok choy, rice fritters, and grilled collard greens; fried chicken and fish sandwiches; and fried chicken and fish platters served with a sweet potato biscuit, crunchy cabbage, and house pickles. There’s even a vegan crispy chickpea tender sandwich. Prices are extremely fair given the restaurant’s claim of antibiotic-free chicken and locally caught fish; everything except the fried fish platter is priced at $10 or less.
Pigeon and Whale
Both the menu and atmosphere at Pigeon and Whale, opened in July, bring a decidedly New England vibe to New Orleans. The Uptown restaurant prepares rarely-seen seafood like Maine lobster, PEI mussels, and Atlantic clams, while putting fresh spins on swordfish, scallops, and squid ink shrimp pasta. It’s a great new spot to splurge on East and West Coast oysters, caviar service, and four types of negronis in a lively, pretty setting.
The much-anticipated debut of this Italian restaurant arrived in early April to the delight of fans of Magazine Street Spanish restaurant Costera. For their second restaurant, partners chef Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieiri drew on inspiration from Piedmont, Liguria, and other regions in northern Italy for a menu of fresh pasta like blue crab radiatori, wood-fired pizza with clam and broccoli rabe, antipasti like red snapper crudo, and roasted meat and fish entrees, like rack of lamb with pistachio verde.
After conquering breakfast and lunch, Mason Hereford and the team behind Turkey and the Wolf have opened Hungry Eyes, a splashy, ’80s-themed dinner and drinks restaurant. The menu ranges from “drinking snacks” to medium plates that top out at $20, like grilled pastrami kebabs and a seafood curry with calamari, catfish, and hearts of palm served with roti. The food is designed to compliment the drinks, and Hungry Eyes mixes a menu of classic martinis and not-so-classic cocktails, like a pandan old fashioned made with rum and bourbon and an Ube Baby Baby made with coconut, pineapple, and rum.
Each sandwich at Francolini’s, Uptown’s new Italian deli, is a carefully designed and composed creation born from owner Tara Francolini’s upbringing in her home state of New Jersey. A few examples are the Gandolfini, made with hot soppressata, fresh mozzarella, spicy olive salad, arugula, and chili vinaigrette; the Italian with prosciutto cotto, Genoa salami, mortadella, hot capicola, provolone, pepperoncini, and house vinaigrette; and the Smoltz, with thinly-sliced, rare roast beef, horseradish aioli, red onions, fontina cheese, and lettuce in a mustard vinaigrette; or a simple meatball sub. Then there are the sandwiches on focaccia, like owner Tara Francolini’s favorite, the Underdog: super thin-sliced mortadella with salsa verde, pickled garlic, broccoli rabe stems, sharp provolone, and mustard seed.
This new LGD charmer is a family-run affair, from the front of the house to the kitchen. The Dilonno family has put a great deal of care into the renovation of the space that was formerly home to restaurant Seed, creating a comforting but chic space featuring brass and neon light fixtures, small family antiques, and beautiful, big ’70s-inspired murals. Serving lunch, weekend brunch, and dinner, the menu utilizes seafood uncommon to New Orleans menus, like calamari, scallops, swordfish, and mahi mahi, and has a strong cocktail and wine program. It’s a great neighborhood spot for drinks and snacks in the stunning bar area, a romantic date night, or a group dinner.
Also featured in:
This highly-anticipated pop-up-turned-restaurant from chefs Sarthak Samantray and Aman Kota added to an exciting slew of new restaurants downtown in July. In a gorgeous, artsy atmosphere the pair serves an upscale menu of chaat, curry, and regional specialties like dahi ke kebab, a Mughlai dish of fried yogurt dumplings, mirchi bhajji, a South Indian street food of stuffed banana peppers; and Mumbai-style biryani, as well as excellent cocktails and dessert. It’s open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Thursday.
Also featured in:
Plates Restaurant & Bar
Plates is an ambitious new restaurant in the Warehouse District blending the flavors of Spain, Vietnam, Germany, New Orleans, and more on a menu of colorful shareable dishes served on antique plates. Chalmette-born chef Farrell Harrison creates dishes like charred okra, patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, scallop maque choux, and mustard-braised rabbit with spaetzle, served alongside Spanish-inspired cocktails utilizing vermouth. The restaurant, set in the sprawling warehouse space formerly home to the Mill and Sac-a-Lait, also offers a weekend brunch and weekday happy hour.
Mister Oso is the splashy new downtown restaurant to take over Barcadia, though it’s from the same owner — local restaurateur Billy Blatty has imported the Denver restaurant (and Bib Gourmand winner) after a merger with Colorado hospitality group The Culinary Creative Group. Fun, festive, and Instagrammable, Mister Oso serves tacos, empanadas, ceviche, aquachile, and colorful cocktails in a lively setting.
Sun Chong is the third restaurant from Larry Morrow, the New Orleans entrepreneur behind hotspots Morrow’s and Monday. It’s arguably his most stylish restaurant yet, and his most meaningful — it’s named after his grandmother, who also leads the kitchen (with help from Morrow’s mother Lenora Chong and chef Christian Green). In addition to Korean specialties like bulgogi and bibimbap, the menu features Asian American classics like fried rice (crawfish or vegetable), lettuce wraps, sweet and sour pork, bacos, and dumplings. Overall, Morrow aimed to create a “cool, intimate spot with classic hip hop music being played and dope food,” and Sun Chong is just that.