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A sandwich of Rye bread, coleslaw, collard greens, and sauce is cut in half on a white plate.
Turkey and the Wolf’s collard green melt
Bill Addison/Eater

A Guide to Dining and Drinking in the Lower Garden District (LGD)

The NOLA neighborhood’s growing dining scene is funky, fun, and sometimes kinda fancy

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Turkey and the Wolf’s collard green melt
| Bill Addison/Eater

The Lower Garden District, or LGD, is a fairly large neighborhood that runs roughly from the Expressway to Jackson Avenue and St. Charles Avenue to the river. Not to be lumped in with the Irish Channel or Garden District neighborhoods, the LGD is home to some of the city’s most creative food, including nationally-acclaimed sandwiches, steaming bowls of ramen, contemporary Cajun, and gifted pairings of cocktails and cake. To wash it all down, there are lively settings for beer, cocktails, whiskey, and wine.

Here are 17 Eater picks for dining and drinking in the LGD — a mix of longtime breakfast haunts, quiet corner bars, Magazine Street hotspots, and neighborhood standbys for coffee, pho, and steak — arranged geographically as always.

Don’t see your favorite LGD restaurant? Leave a comment or let us know nola@eater.com.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Mr. John's Steakhouse

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This classic Italian steakhouse with an old school feel and attentive service has been around for more than 20 years, and the atmosphere and approach embrace that history. Stick to classic cuts served medium rare, au gratin vegetables, twice baked potatoes, and the perfectly-browned French onion soup.

Mr. John’s Steakhouse

Avenue Pub

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The Avenue Pub’s vast beer selection features local breweries as well as relatively unknown, seasonal, and artisanal ales from around the world. Bartenders are knowledgeable and ready to help; downstairs the focus is on beer and pub grub, upstairs is a smaller bar with an impressive selection of bourbon, whiskey and rye, as well as a wrap around balcony overlooking the streetcar line (and Mardi Gras parade route). As for its impressive food, an ever-changing menu combines Cajun flavors with elevated pub food, including several vegan options.

Mayas | Nuevo Latino Cocina

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Mayas has been serving Latin American fusion since 2007, and remains an under the radar destination for ceviche, empanadas, ropa vieja, and fresh, creative cocktails — as well as an excellent Cuban sandwich available only at lunch. Dine at the restaurant’s center bar or at a sidewalk table, and settle in to try a little of everything, and a lot of drinks — palomas are two for one all day Saturday, and brunch cocktails go for $5.

HiVolt Coffee

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This third wave coffee shop with a vegan-friendly (but not exclusively) menu is frequented by laptop-toting artists, young professionals, writers, and chefs. Try a single source pour over, a fresh breakfast burrito, slice of quiche, 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, inside or out.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

Turkey & the Wolf

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The hottest sandwich shop is hot for good reason: the fried baloney, layered with potato chips and hot mustard on toast; the collard green melt with cherry peppers that is easy to forget is meatless; and a classic-but-different smoked ham with cranberry sauce, mayo, aged cheddar, and arugula on a perfect baguette loaf. It’s also known for wedge and cabbage salads, deep fried chicken pot hand pie, and hogs headcheese tacos, but keep an eye out for specials.

Union Ramen Bar

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Union Ramen is a long-anticipated solo spot from Nhat Nguyen, and it’s lived up to the hype. The casual restaurant debuted on Magazine Street in 2020 with a menu of chicken broth-based ramen, salads, poke bowls, and a changing menu of Vietnamese small plates, and a bar that can be relied on for fresh seasonal cocktails.

Lilly's Cafe

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Lilly’s sits on a busy stretch of Magazine Street and is usually packed for lunch. The interior is simple and clean, but the rich pho broth simmered for eight hours has a decadence that puts it at the top of the city’s crowded pho list. Any combination of beefballs, brisket, and rare flank steak is a highlight — but don’t overlook the spicy shrimp pho, something you don’t see very often.

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Gris-Gris

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Gris-Gris is a LGD standout, one of the best new restaurants to hit the neighborhood in recent years. Longtime New Orleans chef Eric Cook has created a reliable neighborhood standby for contemporary Southern cuisine with refined versions of favorites like oyster pie, shrimp and grits, and chicken and dumplings. The upstairs balcony offers a special setting for happy hour drinks, weekend brunch, or dinner.

A bowl of shrimp and grits with cherry tomatoes, sausage, and green onion
Shrimp and Grits
Gris-Gris/Official

A revamp at Seed thanks to new owners and a head chef with a background in fine dining brought new life to the top destination for vegan and vegetarian fare. A stylish interior fits the fresh menu of soups and snacks, cauliflower katsu sandwiches, kelp po’ boys, and eggplant shawarma on naan, as well as tasty desserts, all available for takeout and delivery in addition to dine-in.

The interior of a restaurant with light green walls
Seed
Randy Schmidt/Official

San Lorenzo at Hotel Saint Vincent

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Hotel Saint Vincent opened at this historic LGD address in early 2021, and with it the elegant San Lorenzo, a restaurant bringing together coastal Italian and New Orleans with a focus on seafood. Go for the raw bar with oysters from the Northeast and Pacific Northwest; tartars and crudos; and fresh pasta dishes with seafood and vegetables, and for San Lorenzo’s gorgeous patio seating. The attached Paradise Lounge is a must for a pre or post-dinner drink.

Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar

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Surrey’s 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.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

The Courtyard Brewery

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There’s always a reason to visit Courtyard Brewery, even if it’s not for the many highly-acclaimed, original beers on tap. Formerly tucked away on Erato Street, the brewery’s larger new Camp Street location hosts the city’s top food pop-ups, sells a beloved local ice cream maker’s pints, and even hosts frequent art markets.

Fat Boy Pantry

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A one stop shop for coffee, ice cream, breakfast, and sandwiches, Fat Boy is a great LGD to-go option — perfect for grabbing before a stroll up Magazine. Check out the breakfast pita with scrambled eggs for breakfast, fried lobster po’ boy for lunch, and ice cream flavors like basil/malt, buttermilk salted lime, and semolina/cannoli filling, not to mention espresso drinks and fresh juices.

Barrel Proof

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This cool, low lit bar with a huge bourbon/whiskey list (along with a respectable beer list and a large amount of non-whiskey booze) is home to some of the city’s best pop-ups, though they change frequently. Grab food from the back window and a sidewalk table for solid Magazine Street people watching.

Blue Giant Chinese

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Blue Giant slings reinvented Chinese takeout standards for lunch and dinner in a lively setting on a now-busy corner of Magazine Street. Cochon alums Bill Jones and Richard Horner serve an extensive menu of “straightforward” American-Chinese dishes, with highlights including excellent peking duck, egg foo young, shrimp wontons, dan dan noodles, and bok choy in a sauce made from Louisiana oysters. Any specials are also not to be missed, including crawfish in spring.

Shrimp wontons with spicy chili crunch
William Hereford/Blue Giant

Lengua Madre

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Lengua Madre is Ana Castro’s new modern Mexican tasting menu experience, a standout addition to the LGD’s growing culinary offerings. Castro, who was the chef at Thalia and a former sous chef at Coquette, serves courses like a fontal tetela, a light masa pocket stuffed with cheese and topped with charred avocado; Louisiana long grain rice with clams, shrimp, and mussels; and cobia al pastor in a dimly lit, sparsely decorated room with a minimalist, Colonial-chic vibe. Reservations are required, and it’s worth the price tag.

Louisiana long grain rice and seafood dish
Clair Lorell/Eater NOLA

Bakery Bar

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Bakery Bar’s location in the shadow of the Crescent City Connection is just enough off the beaten path to make for a relaxing setting for a nightcap or solo happy hour drink. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, brunch is the main attraction, and there’s a bigger bar food menu now, but cake and cocktails still rule the roost here. Try a slice of whatever doberge cake is available that day, or a few dobites, or a cake shake. The fluffy pancakes stacked up like a cake and stuffed with blueberry compote are available for breakfast or dessert, and are good any time of day.

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Mr. John's Steakhouse

Mr. John’s Steakhouse

This classic Italian steakhouse with an old school feel and attentive service has been around for more than 20 years, and the atmosphere and approach embrace that history. Stick to classic cuts served medium rare, au gratin vegetables, twice baked potatoes, and the perfectly-browned French onion soup.

Mr. John’s Steakhouse

Avenue Pub

The Avenue Pub’s vast beer selection features local breweries as well as relatively unknown, seasonal, and artisanal ales from around the world. Bartenders are knowledgeable and ready to help; downstairs the focus is on beer and pub grub, upstairs is a smaller bar with an impressive selection of bourbon, whiskey and rye, as well as a wrap around balcony overlooking the streetcar line (and Mardi Gras parade route). As for its impressive food, an ever-changing menu combines Cajun flavors with elevated pub food, including several vegan options.

Mayas | Nuevo Latino Cocina

Mayas has been serving Latin American fusion since 2007, and remains an under the radar destination for ceviche, empanadas, ropa vieja, and fresh, creative cocktails — as well as an excellent Cuban sandwich available only at lunch. Dine at the restaurant’s center bar or at a sidewalk table, and settle in to try a little of everything, and a lot of drinks — palomas are two for one all day Saturday, and brunch cocktails go for $5.

HiVolt Coffee

Brasted/Eater NOLA

This third wave coffee shop with a vegan-friendly (but not exclusively) menu is frequented by laptop-toting artists, young professionals, writers, and chefs. Try a single source pour over, a fresh breakfast burrito, slice of quiche, 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, inside or out.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

Turkey & the Wolf

The hottest sandwich shop is hot for good reason: the fried baloney, layered with potato chips and hot mustard on toast; the collard green melt with cherry peppers that is easy to forget is meatless; and a classic-but-different smoked ham with cranberry sauce, mayo, aged cheddar, and arugula on a perfect baguette loaf. It’s also known for wedge and cabbage salads, deep fried chicken pot hand pie, and hogs headcheese tacos, but keep an eye out for specials.

Union Ramen Bar

Union Ramen is a long-anticipated solo spot from Nhat Nguyen, and it’s lived up to the hype. The casual restaurant debuted on Magazine Street in 2020 with a menu of chicken broth-based ramen, salads, poke bowls, and a changing menu of Vietnamese small plates, and a bar that can be relied on for fresh seasonal cocktails.

Lilly's Cafe

Google Maps

Lilly’s sits on a busy stretch of Magazine Street and is usually packed for lunch. The interior is simple and clean, but the rich pho broth simmered for eight hours has a decadence that puts it at the top of the city’s crowded pho list. Any combination of beefballs, brisket, and rare flank steak is a highlight — but don’t overlook the spicy shrimp pho, something you don’t see very often.

Google Maps

Gris-Gris

A bowl of shrimp and grits with cherry tomatoes, sausage, and green onion
Shrimp and Grits
Gris-Gris/Official

Gris-Gris is a LGD standout, one of the best new restaurants to hit the neighborhood in recent years. Longtime New Orleans chef Eric Cook has created a reliable neighborhood standby for contemporary Southern cuisine with refined versions of favorites like oyster pie, shrimp and grits, and chicken and dumplings. The upstairs balcony offers a special setting for happy hour drinks, weekend brunch, or dinner.

A bowl of shrimp and grits with cherry tomatoes, sausage, and green onion
Shrimp and Grits
Gris-Gris/Official

Seed

The interior of a restaurant with light green walls
Seed
Randy Schmidt/Official

A revamp at Seed thanks to new owners and a head chef with a background in fine dining brought new life to the top destination for vegan and vegetarian fare. A stylish interior fits the fresh menu of soups and snacks, cauliflower katsu sandwiches, kelp po’ boys, and eggplant shawarma on naan, as well as tasty desserts, all available for takeout and delivery in addition to dine-in.

The interior of a restaurant with light green walls
Seed
Randy Schmidt/Official

San Lorenzo at Hotel Saint Vincent

Hotel Saint Vincent opened at this historic LGD address in early 2021, and with it the elegant San Lorenzo, a restaurant bringing together coastal Italian and New Orleans with a focus on seafood. Go for the raw bar with oysters from the Northeast and Pacific Northwest; tartars and crudos; and fresh pasta dishes with seafood and vegetables, and for San Lorenzo’s gorgeous patio seating. The attached Paradise Lounge is a must for a pre or post-dinner drink.

Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar

Brasted/Eater NOLA

Surrey’s 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.

Brasted/Eater NOLA

The Courtyard Brewery

There’s always a reason to visit Courtyard Brewery, even if it’s not for the many highly-acclaimed, original beers on tap. Formerly tucked away on Erato Street, the brewery’s larger new Camp Street location hosts the city’s top food pop-ups, sells a beloved local ice cream maker’s pints, and even hosts frequent art markets.

Fat Boy Pantry