While plenty of restaurants have umbrellas and sunshades up to mollify the burning sun, not every al fresco dining situation can withstand a spring or summer squall. Since surprise rainstorms are as common in New Orleans during those seasons as Mardi Gras beads along St. Charles Avenue during Carnival, it’s good to know which spots provide shelter from the storm. When the meal simply must go on, here are some top New Orleans restaurants offering protected patio dining. Just remember, servers are doing their best to work around the rain, so tip extra and don’t fret over a couple of water droplets — it is New Orleans after all.Read More
Where to Find Covered Patio Dining in New Orleans
Where to dine outside on a rainy day
When it became apparent how important it was to have a covered outdoor dining space to stay afloat during the pandemic, Nathanial Zimet, executive chef of Boucherie, built his own. It features a permanent covering surrounded by trellises growing new evergreen wisteria vines, picnic tables and benches, as well as smaller four-top tables and purple chairs to match the flowers when they start to bloom. The modern Southern restaurant offers a fab cocktail program along with the likes of blackened shrimp and grit cake and whole hog pulled pork.
Chef Alison Vega-Knoll sets a high bar for pescatarians at Station 6, from her charbroiled oyster pasta to one of the best seafood gumbos in town. Enjoy her top-of-the-catch fare on the breezy front-covered patio lined with fans to keep the air moving. Heaters turn on in the winter.
Frankie & Johnny's
This Uptown locals' favorite for crawfish has covered outdoor seating in the front and back, though the few tables along the front porch are the most coveted. A neighborhood throwback with a lively but relaxing atmosphere, regulars also love Frankie and Johnny’s for po’ boys, chargrilled oysters, and cold beers.
Saba showcases chef Alon Shaya’s penchant for using farm fresh ingredients to create flavorful Israeli and Mediterranean fare. Enjoy over-the-top versions of of harissa chicken salad and falafel with Shaya’s famed pita in the roomy, protected outdoor garden under two tents with greenery and fans.
Felix's Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Like the original Felix’s in the French Quarter, the main draw at this Lakefront location is the oysters — the second is the view over the lake. There’s second-floor outdoor seating and a covered, open-air patio under the restaurant on the water level that serves up live music and a truncated menu of oysters and boiled seafood. See also Blue Crab on the Lakefront.
Cafe Navarre is a quintessential neighborhood spot, a cozy corner restaurant tucked away on a Lakeview side street. It specializes in salads, sandwiches, and pizza, making it good for the whole family, as well as an impressive menu of frozen drinks, served on the covered patio out front or in the backyard. It’s a popular weekend brunch destination, so be prepared for a potential wait.
Neal Bodenheimer and his partners pushed through the pandemic to open Vals, a former garage on Freret they’d been eying for more than five years. The space is warm and inviting, chef Fredo kills it with his charred tomato salsa, green mole chicken tacos, and ceviche of the day — and no surprise, the drink menu is amazing. The covered patio is vast and welcoming (if full of college students).
This gorgeous church-turned-restaurant in Mid City offers a large covered patio with a clear roof above stylish wooden slats — think oversized pergola with pizzazz. There’s a tasty all-day menu featuring Mediterranean favorites, salads and sandwiches, and brunch served on weekends.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
Parkway was a master of pivots throughout the pandemic, from quickly establishing an efficient curbside service model to adding tenting to let seating spill outside. This patio isn’t the most open-air of the bunch — it’s more of an extension of the restaurant — but it is one of the most protected from the elements; no need to fear a storm spoiling your po’ boys and gumbo here.
Imagine dining in a treehouse in the south of France. Except for the beach views, Cafe Degas delivers. From twinkling lights to a tree in the middle of the front patio, this is al fresco dining with gobs of panache. Don’t miss the floating islands doused in creme Anglaise for dessert.
Don Villavaso on the Bayou
Don Villavaso on the Bayou is a great hangout, tucked away right off tree-lined Esplanade Avenue in the heart of Bayou St. John. The large, covered patio and cigar area is made even better with ceiling heaters in cold weather, making it a great stop for chargrilled oysters or a post-dinner nightcap.
Central City BBQ
Opened in 2016, this Central City spot housed in a corrugated metal building is known for its custom smokers and pushing creative boundaries, undoubtedly one of the top barbecue spots in town. It also boasts a huge covered patio decked out with televisions and string lights, making it one of the city’s best spots for rainy game days. Don’t miss the burnt ends, spoon bread, or Brussels sprouts.
Although Herbsaint has scattered sidewalk tables under umbrellas and of course that lovely courtyard, there’s also a covered sidewalk area with seating out of the rain. Pull up a chair and enjoy some of chef de cuisine David Rouse’s savory takes on contemporary, seasonal French-Southern cuisine along with rustic Italian dishes.
The Bower is an inviting space forin the Lower Garden District with a Gulf and farm-to-table dinner menu, a lovely covered outdoor patio, and a chill vibe. Dishes like a whole roasted branzino with black rice and fennel and a spectacular seared scallops option with farro and Maggie mushroom conserva are excellent. For brunch and lunch, Birdy’s next door, from the same owners, also has a beautiful covered patio.
Gianna’s covered patio is open, and now you can reserve your spot al fresco. Come have cocktails in the shade, enjoy antipasti and dinner with a glass of wine, or sip the evening away with an Amaro flight.
This taco filling station in Bywater has a spacious covered patio out front facing St. Claude Avenue. Galaxie’s handsomely restored gas station, originally designed by Walter Teague, offers a fabulous setting for a taqueria inspired by Mexico City street fare. Try the al pastor tacos, pork shoulder roasted with pineapple and topped with cilantro and jalapeno.
N7 is still a hotspot, and for good reason — the French-leaning bistro boasts lovely outdoor seating, including a spacious covered patio. Add to that some dishes not easily found on New Orleans menus — smoked mackerel, wagyu tataki, and duck l’orange, for example — and a huge menu of wines from small producers across the globe (including lots of natural varieties), as well as rare spirits, and sipping drinks out back can feel like a mini-vacation.