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Shrimp & grits at Gris-Gris
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A Guide to Dining in the Lower Garden District (LGD)

Funky, fun, and sometimes kinda fancy

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Shrimp & grits at Gris-Gris
| Photo by Gris-Gris/Facebook

The Lower Garden District is a fairly large neighborhood that runs roughly from St. Charles Avenue to the river, and Jackson to the Expressway. It’s got several different sub-neighborhoods with their own centers and attractions - Magazine Street between Jackson and Felicity, Magazine Street between Melpomene and Calliope, and St. Charles Avenue, for example - but they all fall under the auspices of this sometimes trendy, sometimes gritty ‘hood.

Dining in the LGD includes places to satisfy most diners: vegan-friendly, locally sourced, creative, cheap eats, special occasion splurge, boozy, meat-loving. Sometimes in one restaurant. Italian, Mexican, Cajun, Creole, and... is whiskey a food style?

Some of the city’s most creative food is contained in the Lower Garden District, and eating one’s way through it is a worthy personal challenge. (And make sure to wash everything down with world class beer, cocktails, whiskey, and wine.)

- Nora McGunnigle

Did we leave out your favorite LGD restaurant? Send an email.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Emeril's Delmonico

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1300 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA
(504) 525-4937
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Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant on the Avenue (St. Charles Avenue, that is) is difficult to define. It’s got dry-aged steak and housemade charcuterie, but also fresh takes on seafood and Covey Rise vegetables. The menu has a Creole note to it, and the interior space is luxe. Treat yo’self!

2. Barrel Proof

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1201 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA
(504) 299-1888
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Whiskey counts as food, right? If not, don’t worry. This low lit bar with a huge bourbon/whiskey list (along with a respectable beer list and a large amount of non-whiskey booze) just opened a permanent kitchen with bar standards like wings (which are $5 during happy hour) and frites covered with braised beef/chimichurri or vegetarian chili cheese. Don’t miss out on some of the more creative offerings like the chicken cutlet hoagie or the cold noodles. It’s open Wed-Sat, but on off nights check out a variety of popups like Melao, Matchbook, Nicolina, Congreso Cubano, and Ramen Y’All.

3. Seed

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1330 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA
(504) 302-2599
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For the vegan and raw-food lover. Seed offers a variety of clever takes on traditional dishes with a variety of influences from southeast Asian to Cajun. Gumbo, southern fried poboy, and raw gluten-free pad thai show that plant-based eating is so much more than just salad.

4. Lula Restaurant Distillery

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1532 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA
(504) 267-7624
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Louisiana’s first (and so far only) restaurant-distillery, the cocktails feature Lula’s gin, vodka, and rum, and the food menu is rustic Louisiana-influenced. The copper still is in the back of the large space (safely sealed off with glass) and the reclaimed wood decor gives the dining room a cozy feel. Lula spirits are in all the signature cocktails - three mixed to order, four on tap, and three bottled. Try the cucumber vodka Collins on tap or the bottled negroni, along with sugarcane pork skewers, tea-brined fried buttermilk cornish hen, or boiled seafood.

5. Fat Boy Pantry

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1302 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 239-9514
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Fat Boy Pantry is a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, breakfast joint, and sandwich shop, all of which it does well. Check out the roasted lamb belly pita with scrambled eggs, hollandaise, and harissa for breakfast, fried lobster poboy for lunch, and ice cream flavors like basil/malt, buttermilk salted lime, and semolina/cannoli filling.

6. Avenue Pub

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1732 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA
(504) 586-9243
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The Avenue Pub’s world class beer list is complemented by its menu created by Boucherie and Bourree’s Nathanial Zimet. Go with a bistro vibe with the chicken leg confit, a locally influenced choice with the the Cajun croque monsiuer (with Chappapeela pork ham and tasso prepared by Bourree), or run with straight up pub food with Dump Truck fries, smothered with cheddar bechamel sauce and pulled pork. The cheese and charcuterie board from St. James Cheese Company is killer, and there are several vegan choices including cauliflower hummus.

7. Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar

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1418 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA
(504) 524-3828
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Surrey’s in the LGD (there’s another location further uptown) serves both breakfast and lunch, but it’s the breakfast that attracts customers that spill out on the sidewalk while waiting for a table. Biscuits baked in-house every day, a fairly extensive fresh juice menu, and Latin American-inspired dishes like migas and huevos rancheros are unique touches that complement an all around solid breakfast menu. Pro tip: Surrey’s grit game is strong, both as a side and as part of its popular shrimp and grits dish.

8. HiVolt Coffee

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1829 Sophie Wright Pl
New Orleans, LA
(504) 324-8818
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This third-wave coffee shop with the vegan friendly (but not exclusively) menu is filled all day long with laptop-toting artists, young professionals, writers, and chefs. Try a single source pour over, the tamale du jour (gluten free, natch), or the Good Morning Vietnam breakfast sandwich with pork sausage patty, fried egg, jalapeno, carrot, cucumber, and sriracha mayo. Sit back, eat and drink, and enjoy the free wifi, there’s no downside here.

9. Lilly's Cafe

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

Lilly’s is a small, bare-bones pho joint that is constantly packed for lunch. The spring rolls, banh mi, and bun are all solid options, but it’s the pho that shines here. The beef pho with any combination of beefballs, brisket, and rare flank steak will cure anything that ails you, from a killer hangover to the flu. But don’t overlook the spicy shrimp pho, something you don’t see very often.

10. Gris-Gris

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1800 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 272-0241
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Gris-Gris is the latest LGD standout, one of the best new restaurants to hit the neighborhood in recent years. Taking over the lovely corner space formerly home to Root and Square Root, longtime New Orleans chef Eric Cook has created what feels like a reliable standby for upscale but approachable Cajun serving favorites like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and chicken and dumplings. This crowd-pleaser is at the quieter end of the Magazine Street stretch, so if it’s nice out, wait for a table on the upstairs patio, also a good setting for the daily happy hour.

11. La Carreta

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1814 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 304-7063
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The first Southshore location of La Carreta edges out Juan’s Flying Burrito’s Magazine Street location, because sometimes you have to make room for the new guys. Good margaritas, a better happy hour, and open seven days a week, it’s got a similarly divey but more bright, festive, and friendly atmosphere than its neighbor Juan’s. It’s got the extensive menu that’s to be expected at a Tex-Mex joint but with lighter options than normal, and good tacos, if you like flour tortillas.

12. Bonnets NOLA

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1910 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 827-1959
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The LGD got a welcome vegan soul food restaurant late last year, taking over a space on Magazine Street that’s seen a hookah cafe and creole spot, Roux Public House, in recent years. Bonnets Nola serves excellent vegan and non-vegan Caribbean options alike; menu items include tacos, “soul bowls,” (collards, rice and beans, protein), crawfish mac and cheese, jerk rolls, and festive-looking cocktails. Bonnets is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

13. Turkey & the Wolf

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739 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA
(504) 218-7428
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The hottest sandwich shop has a menu and decor conceived by the two full grown kids behind the concept - Mason Hereford and Lauren Holton. Mason’s food includes bizarro but insanely delicious items like fried baloney sandwich, deep fried chicken pot hand pie, and deviled eggs with chicken cracklin. Keep an eye out for specials, including gumbo, whatever’s up for Monday Big Ass Bowl of Pasta night, and anything involving tacos and/or tostadas (both pork rinds and headcheese are frequent toppings). Holton’s cocktail menu is similarly Dali-esque and sophisticated, like A Failed State of Affairs, made with bourbon, tamarind, cardamom, and grapefruit bitters.

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1. Emeril's Delmonico

1300 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA

Emeril Lagasse’s restaurant on the Avenue (St. Charles Avenue, that is) is difficult to define. It’s got dry-aged steak and housemade charcuterie, but also fresh takes on seafood and Covey Rise vegetables. The menu has a Creole note to it, and the interior space is luxe. Treat yo’self!

1300 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA

2. Barrel Proof

1201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

Whiskey counts as food, right? If not, don’t worry. This low lit bar with a huge bourbon/whiskey list (along with a respectable beer list and a large amount of non-whiskey booze) just opened a permanent kitchen with bar standards like wings (which are $5 during happy hour) and frites covered with braised beef/chimichurri or vegetarian chili cheese. Don’t miss out on some of the more creative offerings like the chicken cutlet hoagie or the cold noodles. It’s open Wed-Sat, but on off nights check out a variety of popups like Melao, Matchbook, Nicolina, Congreso Cubano, and Ramen Y’All.

1201 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA

3. Seed

1330 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA

For the vegan and raw-food lover. Seed offers a variety of clever takes on traditional dishes with a variety of influences from southeast Asian to Cajun. Gumbo, southern fried poboy, and raw gluten-free pad thai show that plant-based eating is so much more than just salad.

1330 Prytania St
New Orleans, LA

4. Lula Restaurant Distillery

1532 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA

Louisiana’s first (and so far only) restaurant-distillery, the cocktails feature Lula’s gin, vodka, and rum, and the food menu is rustic Louisiana-influenced. The copper still is in the back of the large space (safely sealed off with glass) and the reclaimed wood decor gives the dining room a cozy feel. Lula spirits are in all the signature cocktails - three mixed to order, four on tap, and three bottled. Try the cucumber vodka Collins on tap or the bottled negroni, along with sugarcane pork skewers, tea-brined fried buttermilk cornish hen, or boiled seafood.

1532 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA

5. Fat Boy Pantry

1302 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Fat Boy Pantry is a coffee shop, ice cream parlor, breakfast joint, and sandwich shop, all of which it does well. Check out the roasted lamb belly pita with scrambled eggs, hollandaise, and harissa for breakfast, fried lobster poboy for lunch, and ice cream flavors like basil/malt, buttermilk salted lime, and semolina/cannoli filling.

1302 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

6. Avenue Pub

1732 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA

The Avenue Pub’s world class beer list is complemented by its menu created by Boucherie and Bourree’s Nathanial Zimet. Go with a bistro vibe with the chicken leg confit, a locally influenced choice with the the Cajun croque monsiuer (with Chappapeela pork ham and tasso prepared by Bourree), or run with straight up pub food with Dump Truck fries, smothered with cheddar bechamel sauce and pulled pork. The cheese and charcuterie board from St. James Cheese Company is killer, and there are several vegan choices including cauliflower hummus.

1732 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA

7. Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar

1418 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

Surrey’s in the LGD (there’s another location further uptown) serves both breakfast and lunch, but it’s the breakfast that attracts customers that spill out on the sidewalk while waiting for a table. Biscuits baked in-house every day, a fairly extensive fresh juice menu, and Latin American-inspired dishes like migas and huevos rancheros are unique touches that complement an all around solid breakfast menu. Pro tip: Surrey’s grit game is strong, both as a side and as part of its popular shrimp and grits dish.

1418 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA

8. HiVolt Coffee

1829 Sophie Wright Pl, New Orleans, LA

This third-wave coffee shop with the vegan friendly (but not exclusively) menu is filled all day long with laptop-toting artists, young professionals, writers, and chefs. Try a single source pour over, the tamale du jour (gluten free, natch), or the Good Morning Vietnam breakfast sandwich with pork sausage patty, fried egg, jalapeno, carrot, cucumber, and sriracha mayo. Sit back, eat and drink, and enjoy the free wifi, there’s no downside here.

1829 Sophie Wright Pl
New Orleans, LA

9. Lilly's Cafe

1813 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

Lilly’s is a small, bare-bones pho joint that is constantly packed for lunch. The spring rolls, banh mi, and bun are all solid options, but it’s the pho that shines here. The beef pho with any combination of beefballs, brisket, and rare flank steak will cure anything that ails you, from a killer hangover to the flu. But don’t overlook the spicy shrimp pho, something you don’t see very often.

1813 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA

10. Gris-Gris

1800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Gris-Gris is the latest LGD standout, one of the best new restaurants to hit the neighborhood in recent years. Taking over the lovely corner space formerly home to Root and Square Root, longtime New Orleans chef Eric Cook has created what feels like a reliable standby for upscale but approachable Cajun serving favorites like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and chicken and dumplings. This crowd-pleaser is at the quieter end of the Magazine Street stretch, so if it’s nice out, wait for a table on the upstairs patio, also a good setting for the daily happy hour.

1800 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

11. La Carreta

1814 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

The first Southshore location of La Carreta edges out Juan’s Flying Burrito’s Magazine Street location, because sometimes you have to make room for the new guys. Good margaritas, a better happy hour, and open seven days a week, it’s got a similarly divey but more bright, festive, and friendly atmosphere than its neighbor Juan’s. It’s got the extensive menu that’s to be expected at a Tex-Mex joint but with lighter options than normal, and good tacos, if you like flour tortillas.

1814 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

12. Bonnets NOLA

1910 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

The LGD got a welcome vegan soul food restaurant late last year, taking over a space on Magazine Street that’s seen a hookah cafe and creole spot, Roux Public House, in recent years. Bonnets Nola serves excellent vegan and non-vegan Caribbean options alike; menu items include tacos, “soul bowls,” (collards, rice and beans, protein), crawfish mac and cheese, jerk rolls, and festive-looking cocktails. Bonnets is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

1910 Magazine St
New Orleans, LA 70130

13. Turkey & the Wolf

739 Jackson Ave, New Orleans, LA

The hottest sandwich shop has a menu and decor conceived by the two full grown kids behind the concept - Mason Hereford and Lauren Holton. Mason’s food includes bizarro but insanely delicious items like fried baloney sandwich, deep fried chicken pot hand pie, and deviled eggs with chicken cracklin. Keep an eye out for specials, including gumbo, whatever’s up for Monday Big Ass Bowl of Pasta night, and anything involving tacos and/or tostadas (both pork rinds and headcheese are frequent toppings). Holton’s cocktail menu is similarly Dali-esque and sophisticated, like A Failed State of Affairs, made with bourbon, tamarind, cardamom, and grapefruit bitters.

739 Jackson Ave
New Orleans, LA

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