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Fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp remoulade and maque choux.
Saint John shrimp remoulade.
Randy Schmidt/Saint John

The Essential French Quarter Dining Guide

Time-honored Creole cafes, charming cocktail havens, classic po’ boy shops, and decadent fine-dining

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Saint John shrimp remoulade.
| Randy Schmidt/Saint John

The French Quarter is the oldest square mile in New Orleans and home to more restaurants and bars per square block than any other neighborhood. This guide is a varied cross-section of restaurants in the Vieux Carre, from historic places that sell iconic dishes (Johnny’s Po-Boys and Brennan’s) to cocktail destinations (Jewel of the South and Manolito) to over-the-top special occasion restaurants (Restaurant R’evolution and Galatoire’s).

Consider this list a starting point for exploring the Vieux Carre table. There are surprising and delicious treasures along the way, so don’t be shy about trying them all. Looking for drinks only? Check out these essential French Quarter bars.

Did we miss your favorite spot in the Quarter? Leave a comment or send an email.

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Palm and Pine

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Palm and Pine has officially established itself in the French Quarter after a few years on the scene. Its refreshing, ever-changing food offerings mix Southern, Central American, and South American influences, and has also become known for special menus, a late-night happy hour, and fresh, Caribbean-inspired cocktails. Try the crudo, Oaxacan mole, and any specials on tap.

Oaxacan mole from Palm and Pine.
Palm and Pine

Killer PoBoys

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Killer Poboys still rocks its original location at the rear of the Erin Rose bar, but the spot on Dauphine (next to the Museum of Death) has an expanded menu and a little more breathing room. The po’ boys range from barbecue chicken confit with coffee barbecue sauce and ranch slaw to seared gulf shrimp with coriander lime sauce to black beer debris. Vegetarian options, like a sweet potato po’ boy black-eyed pea and pecan spread and braised greens or a whiskey grilled cheese, are available and excellent — vegetarian or not.

Barbecue Chicken Confit Po’ Boy
Barbecue chicken confit po’ boy.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Jewel of the South

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On the quieter outskirts of the Quarter, cocktail enthusiasts will be delighted to find an enchanting 19th-century Creole cottage that houses this beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant. Have a seat at the bar or in the courtyard and sip some of the best cocktails in town — and while the drinks may have top billing due to its cocktail-expert founders, the food is also not to be missed, with tasting menus and other special dinners available from time to time.

Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

Galatoire's

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The front of the house is as important as the back of the house at this historic restaurant. Locals ask for their waiter by name upon entering the family-run staple that has long been known for lines down the street for Friday lunch. Word to the wise: Ask your waiter what to order and take that suggestion. Soft shell crab is a must when it’s in season.

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

GW Fins

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Fish is serious business at GW Fins, where chef Michael Nelson is a leading proponent for Gulf-to-plate dining and using the entire fish in innovative ways. The menu changes constantly, based on what fish is fresh and always sustainable, but recent menus can be viewed on the website. The lobster dumplings are delicious little clouds and are almost always on the menu, as is the Scalibut, its famed scallop-encrusted halibut dish.

Chicken skin crusted fish.
Sam Hanna/Official

Arnaud's Restaurant

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Arnaud’s is known for a few things. 1. It’s a historic restaurant in the French Quarter. 2. Its James Beard Award-winning bar, the French 75 bar. 3. The souffle potatoes with béarnaise sauce are among the best that can be found, anywhere. What’s not as well-known is that the rest of the restaurant’s dishes also impress. Try the oysters Ohan, which are baked with eggplant and andouille. Whatever you do, end your meal with a fire show and order the cafe brulot.

Josh Brasted

Restaurant R'evolution

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Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto came together to open this over-the-top, special occasion restaurant in the Quarter. Each glorious, well-appointed room represents a different influence on New Orleans cuisine. The sweeping menu includes the famed Death by Gumbo, caviar service, and quail three ways: Southern-Fried, boudin-stuffed, and absinthe-glazed. Be warned: R’evolution will raise the bar on what you expect from dining, but it’s expensive so don’t get addicted.

Trio of quail: Southern-Fried, boudin-stuffed, and absinthe-glazed.
Restaurant R’evolution

One of the most refined options on the list, Bayona has been charming diners since Regina Keever and chef Susan Spicer opened the doors in 1990. Set in a 200-year-old Creole cottage in the heart of the Quarter, Bayona drips with romance, but the vibe is casual and inviting. Spicer’s award-winning global cuisine and a great wine list are ideal for a special lunch or a leisurely dinner on the patio.

Colorado lamb carpaccio from Bayona
CHRIS GRANGER/Official Photo

Brennan's

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Famous for breakfast, Brennan’s stuns all day long under the leadership of owner Ralph Brennan and head chef Ryan Hacker. Six years ago, the historic restaurant went through a massive, multi-million dollar renovation that extended the bar area and brought the whole place up to date after ownership changed hands. No longer the old dowager of the French Quarter, this restaurant is now relevant and dazzling. But, by all means, try the bananas Foster. It’s well-known for a reason.

Brennan’s Josh Brasted

Irene's

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Irene’s may be in newish digs on Bienville Street, but this family-owned Creole Italian restaurant remains the gold standard for homey, cheesy Italian goodness. Open since 1992, Irene’s is much loved for its lasagne Bolognese and crispy duck St. Philip. Although it now accepts reservations, cutting down on the wait for a table, it’s still fun to have a martini in the piano bar before tucking into a feast.

Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29

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When tiki historian Jeff Beachbum Berry opened this fun upscale lounge in the Quarter in 2014, the cocktail world rejoiced. The award-winning bar program from the leading authority on tiki culture features dozens of resurrected tiki drinks, from Sinatra’s favorite sipper to crazy communal wonders. The cool, laid-back atmosphere and in-the-know staff have made it a favorite in the local service industry, as well as attracting national attention from entities like Tales of the Cocktail and Miracle Christmas, which has partnered with Berry for the now-annual Sippin’ Santa pop-up.

Customers sit at a bar while a bartender makes drinks.
Latitude 29.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Johnny's Po-Boys

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Johnny’s is an unassuming classic, a counter-service spot with red and white checkered tablecloths and humble, paper-wrapped po’ boys. Stop in for a quick lunch and choose from over 30 kinds of sandwiches, like a shrimp and oyster po’boy or a Jack Cheese melt — it also serves a great, classic breakfast.

Johnny’s Po-Boys
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Sylvain

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This charming and romantic spot in the French Quarter is known for exceptional ambiance and satisfying, unexpected food, from a Southern fried chicken sandwich to a Champagne and fries special to refined versions of Southern classics. The beauty of this place lies in the unpredictable, and ever-changing, twists weaved throughout the menu — and it’s all good.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Manolito

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Manolito is a Havana-inspired bar and cafe from a trio of top New Orleans restaurant and bar proprietors, and the vibe and drinks reflect the expertise behind it. Though the main attraction at Manolito would have to be its cocktails, the Cuban menu is worth your attention. One of Manolito’s best signature cocktails is the Jazz Daiquiri — made with Jamaican rum, lime, agave nectar, Creme de Cacao, and coffee beans, but all the drinks are fantastic. This spot is not to be missed.

Bennachin

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If you’re exploring the French Quarter, Bennachin is a welcoming, casual option for comforting Gambian and Cameroonian specialties, many vegetarian-friendly, served in a cozy, funky space with eclectic furniture and colorful art covering the walls. It’s BYOB, but Sidney’s Wine Cellar is a few blocks away.

Cafe Sbisa

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Originally opened in 1899, this classic French-Creole restaurant is led by the talented Alfred Singleton, now chef and partner. Cafe Sbisa’s menu is old-school compared to many of the restaurants currently opening in the city, and the crab cakes are some of the best in town. Dinner, brunch, and small plates. Date night alert: this place is an atmospheric stunner, with original wood, intimate balcony and patio dining.

Saint John

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Eric Cook’s Saint John is certainly on the newer side when it comes to French Quarter dining, but it’s already growing into essential status. It’s one of the best new representations of contemporary Creole cuisine in the city, with a menu informed by 18th century Creole cookbooks, dishes like slow braised smothered turkey necks, chicken and shrimp maque choux, courtbouillon, whole fish almandine, and pork belly cassoulet. It’s a lovely destination for special occasion dining somewhat off the beaten path.

Randy Schmidt/Saint John

Dian Xin

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Dian Xin has met the French Quarter’s need for excellent, traditional dim sum. From the original owners of Little Chinatown in Kenner, Diane Ceng and her family operate this simple but popular kitchen on Decatur Street with a two-page menu of bao, soups, chive cakes, jianbing, and shu mai, a solid neighborhood comfort food destination. There’s now a second location with new offerings on Conti, also in the Quarter.

Xiao Long Baos at Dian Xin
Dian Xin/Yelp

Palm and Pine

Palm and Pine has officially established itself in the French Quarter after a few years on the scene. Its refreshing, ever-changing food offerings mix Southern, Central American, and South American influences, and has also become known for special menus, a late-night happy hour, and fresh, Caribbean-inspired cocktails. Try the crudo, Oaxacan mole, and any specials on tap.

Oaxacan mole from Palm and Pine.
Palm and Pine

Killer PoBoys

Killer Poboys still rocks its original location at the rear of the Erin Rose bar, but the spot on Dauphine (next to the Museum of Death) has an expanded menu and a little more breathing room. The po’ boys range from barbecue chicken confit with coffee barbecue sauce and ranch slaw to seared gulf shrimp with coriander lime sauce to black beer debris. Vegetarian options, like a sweet potato po’ boy black-eyed pea and pecan spread and braised greens or a whiskey grilled cheese, are available and excellent — vegetarian or not.

Barbecue Chicken Confit Po’ Boy
Barbecue chicken confit po’ boy.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Jewel of the South

On the quieter outskirts of the Quarter, cocktail enthusiasts will be delighted to find an enchanting 19th-century Creole cottage that houses this beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant. Have a seat at the bar or in the courtyard and sip some of the best cocktails in town — and while the drinks may have top billing due to its cocktail-expert founders, the food is also not to be missed, with tasting menus and other special dinners available from time to time.

Beth D’Addono/Eater NOLA

Galatoire's

The front of the house is as important as the back of the house at this historic restaurant. Locals ask for their waiter by name upon entering the family-run staple that has long been known for lines down the street for Friday lunch. Word to the wise: Ask your waiter what to order and take that suggestion. Soft shell crab is a must when it’s in season.

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

GW Fins

Fish is serious business at GW Fins, where chef Michael Nelson is a leading proponent for Gulf-to-plate dining and using the entire fish in innovative ways. The menu changes constantly, based on what fish is fresh and always sustainable, but recent menus can be viewed on the website. The lobster dumplings are delicious little clouds and are almost always on the menu, as is the Scalibut, its famed scallop-encrusted halibut dish.

Chicken skin crusted fish.
Sam Hanna/Official

Arnaud's Restaurant

Arnaud’s is known for a few things. 1. It’s a historic restaurant in the French Quarter. 2. Its James Beard Award-winning bar, the French 75 bar. 3. The souffle potatoes with béarnaise sauce are among the best that can be found, anywhere. What’s not as well-known is that the rest of the restaurant’s dishes also impress. Try the oysters Ohan, which are baked with eggplant and andouille. Whatever you do, end your meal with a fire show and order the cafe brulot.

Josh Brasted

Restaurant R'evolution

Chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto came together to open this over-the-top, special occasion restaurant in the Quarter. Each glorious, well-appointed room represents a different influence on New Orleans cuisine. The sweeping menu includes the famed Death by Gumbo, caviar service, and quail three ways: Southern-Fried, boudin-stuffed, and absinthe-glazed. Be warned: R’evolution will raise the bar on what you expect from dining, but it’s expensive so don’t get addicted.

Trio of quail: Southern-Fried, boudin-stuffed, and absinthe-glazed.
Restaurant R’evolution

Bayona

One of the most refined options on the list, Bayona has been charming diners since Regina Keever and chef Susan Spicer opened the doors in 1990. Set in a 200-year-old Creole cottage in the heart of the Quarter, Bayona drips with romance, but the vibe is casual and inviting. Spicer’s award-winning global cuisine and a great wine list are ideal for a special lunch or a leisurely dinner on the patio.

Colorado lamb carpaccio from Bayona
CHRIS GRANGER/Official Photo

Brennan's

Famous for breakfast, Brennan’s stuns all day long under the leadership of owner Ralph Brennan and head chef Ryan Hacker. Six years ago, the historic restaurant went through a massive, multi-million dollar renovation that extended the bar area and brought the whole place up to date after ownership changed hands. No longer the old dowager of the French Quarter, this restaurant is now relevant and dazzling. But, by all means, try the bananas Foster. It’s well-known for a reason.

Brennan’s Josh Brasted

Irene's

Irene’s may be in newish digs on Bienville Street, but this family-owned Creole Italian restaurant remains the gold standard for homey, cheesy Italian goodness. Open since 1992, Irene’s is much loved for its lasagne Bolognese and crispy duck St. Philip. Although it now accepts reservations, cutting down on the wait for a table, it’s still fun to have a martini in the piano bar before tucking into a feast.

Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29

When tiki historian Jeff Beachbum Berry opened this fun upscale lounge in the Quarter in 2014, the cocktail world rejoiced. The award-winning bar program from the leading authority on tiki culture features dozens of resurrected tiki drinks, from Sinatra’s favorite sipper to crazy communal wonders. The cool, laid-back atmosphere and in-the-know staff have made it a favorite in the local service industry, as well as attracting national attention from entities like Tales of the Cocktail and Miracle Christmas, which has partnered with Berry for the now-annual Sippin’ Santa pop-up.

Customers sit at a bar while a bartender makes drinks.
Latitude 29.
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Johnny's Po-Boys

Johnny’s is an unassuming classic, a counter-service spot with red and white checkered tablecloths and humble, paper-wrapped po’ boys. Stop in for a quick lunch and choose from over 30 kinds of sandwiches, like a shrimp and oyster po’boy or a Jack Cheese melt — it also serves a great, classic breakfast.

Johnny’s Po-Boys
Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Sylvain

This charming and romantic spot in the French Quarter is known for exceptional ambiance and satisfying, unexpected food, from a Southern fried chicken sandwich to a Champagne and fries special to refined versions of Southern classics. The beauty of this place lies in the unpredictable, and ever-changing, twists weaved throughout the menu — and it’s all good.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Manolito

Manolito is a Havana-inspired bar and cafe from a trio of top New Orleans restaurant and bar proprietors, and the vibe and drinks reflect the expertise behind it. Though the main attraction at Manolito would have to be its cocktails, the Cuban menu is worth your attention. One of Manolito’s best signature cocktails is the Jazz Daiquiri — made with Jamaican rum, lime, agave nectar, Creme de Cacao, and coffee beans, but all the drinks are fantastic. This spot is not to be missed.

Bennachin

If you’re exploring the French Quarter, Bennachin is a welcoming, casual option for comforting Gambian and Cameroonian specialties, many vegetarian-friendly, served in a cozy, funky space with eclectic furniture and colorful art covering the walls. It’s BYOB, but Sidney’s Wine Cellar is a few blocks away.

Related Maps

Cafe Sbisa

Originally opened in 1899, this classic French-Creole restaurant is led by the talented Alfred Singleton, now chef and partner. Cafe Sbisa’s menu is old-school compared to many of the restaurants currently opening in the city, and the crab cakes are some of the best in town. Dinner, brunch, and small plates. Date night alert: this place is an atmospheric stunner, with original wood, intimate balcony and patio dining.

Saint John

Eric Cook’s Saint John is certainly on the newer side when it comes to French Quarter dining, but it’s already growing into essential status. It’s one of the best new representations of contemporary Creole cuisine in the city, with a menu informed by 18th century Creole cookbooks, dishes like slow braised smothered turkey necks, chicken and shrimp maque choux, courtbouillon, whole fish almandine, and pork belly cassoulet. It’s a lovely destination for special occasion dining somewhat off the beaten path.

Randy Schmidt/Saint John

Dian Xin

Dian Xin has met the French Quarter’s need for excellent, traditional dim sum. From the original owners of Little Chinatown in Kenner, Diane Ceng and her family operate this simple but popular kitchen on Decatur Street with a two-page menu of bao, soups, chive cakes, jianbing, and shu mai, a solid neighborhood comfort food destination. There’s now a second location with new offerings on Conti, also in the Quarter.

Xiao Long Baos at Dian Xin
Dian Xin/Yelp

Related Maps