Pairing dinner and a show is a no-brainer, a fun way to extend a good time and have a few drinks along the way. Some of these restaurants are in close proximity to theater row, the Canal Street locale for the Saenger, the Joy, and Orpheum. Le Petit Theater is connected to Tableau, in the heart of the French Quarter. Then there’s the super cool Mudlark for offbeat performances on St. Claude Avenue in Bywater, and the Marigny Opera House, a gorgeous venue for dance and other performing arts. Fuel up before, or after, the show.Read More
Where to Eat Before and After the Theater in New Orleans
The best restaurants for dinner and a show near the Saenger, Joy, Orpheum, and more
The newly relocated Addis Ethiopian Kitchen is the crowning jewel of Bayou Road and just steps from St. Rose de Lima Church, home to the André Cailloux Center for Performing Arts & Cultural Justice (ACC), a Black-led, BIPOC performance and community center. Prince Lobo is the face of this family-owned restaurant, an enthusiastic curator for the menu of homestyle, authentic Ethiopian dishes, prepared by his father, chef Jaime Lobo. The interior is stunning, the bar program comes from Touré Folkes, founder of Turning Tables, and the hospitality is beyond genuine.
This gorgeous wine bar is key to drinking and dining before a show at the Smoothie King Center or Superdome. With 30 wines and eight craft beers on tap, the options are many at Copper Vine, including everything from half-glass pours to a bottle, in case you want to create your own flights. For food, elevated bar snacks are the perfect place to start, but this spot is so close to the arena you’ll have time to dig into its contemporary American brunch or dinner menu.
At Besame, chef Nanyo Dominguez serves a menu of bold Latin flavors, a variety of ceviche, and tapas that includes addictive guacamole studded with bits of fried pork rind, Mexico City style. He’s also a two-minute walk from Canal Street theaters.
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Broke the bank on the show tickets? Head to Olive in the CBD for a flavor-packed, reasonably priced Mediterranean feast — better yet, the place stays open late Friday and Saturday. Owner Hani Rabee uses his family recipes in the scratch kitchen for the likes of shawarma made with chicken or beef, marinated lamb chops, and grilled catfish fillets dusted with herbaceous za’atar. Lots of vegetarian items too.
Domenica in the Roosevelt is a fine place for creative pizza, pasta, Italian charcuterie, and cocktails, situated directly across the street from the Orpheum Theater. Early birds take note, daily happy hour runs from 3 to 5 p.m., with half-priced pizzas, draft beers, well cocktails, and wine by the glass. Bar seats are at a premium.
Palm & Pine
Palm & Pine promises a “progressive and soulful dining experience” with a menu based on the Southern states, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, and a bar program focused on agave and cane spirits. Friday and Saturday nights there’s a late-night menu and happy hour from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., so even if the show runs long, you can chow.
Sustainability is the star of the show at GW Fins, where chef Michael Nelson is a leading proponent for Gulf-to-plate dining and using the entire fish in innovative ways. He also butchers his fish in-house and is dry aging primal cuts of fish including tuna and swordfish, distilling the meat into wonderous umami flavor. Get the seafood gumbo before curtain time — it’s one of the very best in town.
Couvant at The Eliza Jane Hotel
Couvant doesn’t want guests to miss a minute of showtime. So the sexy French brasserie in the Eliza Jane Hotel offers a $48 pre-theatre dinner menu for all Saenger shows, guaranteed to have you out the door in 60 minutes. Chef Ryan Pearson offers options like gruyere gougères, crispy skin Gulf fish with grilled shrimp and garlic sabayon, and profiteroles for dessert.
Bijou Restaurant & Bar
Chef Eason Barksdale’s swapped out the more formal cuisine he created at Mondo and Bayona for Bijou’s fun, tapas-style global menu. The insanely good gruyere gougers studded with bacon are reason enough to dine here. Adding in the Tom Yum fried chicken with makrut lime, ginger, lemongrass, and Thai “ranch” seals the deal.
American Townhouse on N. Rampart Street sets a high bar for pub cuisine. The expansive 1857 Greek Revival townhouse sets the stage for the likes of elote and loaded waffle fries, waguy burger, kale caesar and a hot honey fried chicken sandwich. Cocktails are first rate too.
Date night and Effervescence go together like, well champagne and caviar, both of which are on the menu at this pretty bubbles bar and bistro on St. Claude Avenue. It’s a 15-minute straight shot stroll to the Saenger.
Tableau is as close as it gets to the action onstage at Le Petit Theatre, in fact, it was Dickie Brennan’s polished modern Creole restaurant that saved the beloved theater from closing — now that’s worth raising a glass. The newly reopened and expanded balcony is the best seat in the house.
Breakaway's Restaurant & Bar
It’s a three-minute walk to the Marigny Opera House from Breakaway’s R&B, chef Paul Artigues’s super cool follow-up to the wildly popular Green Goddess in the Quarter. Breakaway’s serves flavor-packed salads and comfort Creole fare from the chef’s childhood, including braised beef daube and red beans and rice layered with bacon and ham hock. The house-smoked ham sandwich arrives piled with a half-pound of seasoned meat, dressed with house-made slaw and Creole mustard. An excellent jukebox is a bonus.
The Marigny’s chic corner bistro The Franklin consistently offers an elegant and intimate atmosphere, a reliable bar program, and a French and Italian-inspired menu. Menu highlights include the excellent chicken Parmesan and garlic spaghetti, flash fried frogs legs and the espresso-rubbed hanger steak. There’s a super happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. daily.
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N7 is pretty entertaining without adding a show, but this French gem at the edge of Bywater is close to a lot of action along St. Claude Avenue including Mudlark, where quirky stage antics rule. Beyond the gate, a candlelit covered courtyard awaits, along with the likes of escargot, hanger steak, and smoked mackerel.