The 38 Essential New Orleans Restaurants, October 2014
New Orleans' 38 essential restaurants, freshly updated for October 2014.
Here, now, we present to you the updated Eater 38, our answer to any question that becomes with, "Can you recommend a restaurant..." This list is not the 38 best restaurants in our fine city, but it instead seeks to provide a comprehensive picture of where you can get a great meal regardless of mood. It covers the entire city with some lagniappe love for the West Bank, spans myriad cuisines and should satisfy all of your restaurant needs. These are listed here in no particular order. These restaurants are not where you would go for a big occasion, so no fine dining, and as one might guess, Creole eateries do appear quite often.
Coming off the map this month is recently-shuttered Crescent Pie & Sausage Co, along with Juan's Flying Burrito and Ye Olde College Inn. Shogun, Casamento's and Casa Borrega snag those spots.
Every quarter, we update this list with any restaurants that were omitted, have become newly eligible (all restaurants must have been open 6 months to appear on this list), or have improved and now warrant being included. So send your tips and your nominations right here.
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Cafe Reconcile underwent some serious renovations in 2012 to achieve its current beauteous lunch-serving state in Central City. To say it’s great food for a great cause doesn’t do justice to Reconcile’s operation or mission. Even if it wasn’t a successful job training program for at-risk kids, the food here would still be incredibly delicious, old-school New Orleans soul food.
Located in an unassuming strip mall in the center of a vibrant Vietnamese community in New Orleans East, Ba Mien features dishes from Northern, Central and Southern Vietnam. [Photo: Facebook]
New American, gastropub-style restaurant in the Quarter helmed by Chef Alex Harrell. Widely acclaimed as a very high-end restaurant at a price point that’s high but not terrifying.
A boucherie is a traditional Cajun day of partying and pig butchery (remember that episode of No Reservations), and Nathanial Zimet’s eponymous restaurant is a fitting (and delicious) tribute to this tradition.
The pho and banh mi here are excellent. But regulars swear by the house specialties, like the goat curry. [Photo: Yelp]
Some call them the best po’ boys in town. It’s Obama endorsed. And the line to the order window tends to wrap throughout the entire dining room towards the door. So they must be doing something right.
It’s barbeque, beautiful, delicious, wonderful barbeque that draws all sorts of people all the way down to the Upper Ninth Ward. Zagat loves it. Saints players love it. You should love it, too.
Amazing fried chicken, often called the best in town (or even the best in the country). Though it’s a little out of the way for many people, way on the edge of the Faubourg Treme, the food and atmosphere are quintessential New Orleans, among the best you’ll find in town.
One of the few NY-style pies in town, and honestly, the best. But don't discount the salads, pastas, and even the cookies. All are worth a try at this Bywater favorite.
This is so much more than a cheese shop. With a short menu of sandwiches and salads (plus the “ploughman’s lunch,” a selection of cheeses, pork pie, chutney, salad and bread), this is a small and comfortable spot to grab a bite to eat. It closes at 6 during the week, but is open until 8 Friday and Saturday nights, making it a good spot for an early dinner (read: date night) before catching a movie at the Prytania.
Cochon Butcher is not just a fantastic butcher shop and deli hiding behind Donald Link's famed Cochon, but it's home to crazy good small plates, a great bar, and the best sandwiches in town. From duck pastrami sliders to muffulettas, these eats satisfy for lunch or dinner, and there's plenty of seating since their early 2014 expansion.
At this Faubourg Marigny bar and music spot, Heathcliffe Hailey offers tapas that go well beyond regular bar food. Get the patatas bravas and thank us later.
It’s impossible to say any shop has the best po’ boys, but the ones at Domilise’s make a strong claim to that title. They’re expensive for po’ boys, but they’re large and worth every penny.
For Spanish food, this is the best bet in town. Delicious paella, plentiful sangria, and walls adorned with art for sale. Watch out for the bread, though: It’s not free, even though the servers will just keep bringing it as if it was on the house.
Another Faubourg Treme landmark famous for its soul food and lunch buffet, Dooky Chase is now run by Paris-trained chef, Edgar Chase, grandson of founder Leah Chase. The fried chicken rivals that at nearby Willie Mae’s, and the fried catfish will be some of the best you’ve ever had.
A favorite Freret destination Ancora is part of the ever-expanding restaurant empire of chef Adolfo Garcia, but these guys know how to do it right. The specials, from gnocchi to market salads, are all worth it.
For most people, The Company Burger is the reigning king of the New Orleansburger joints. It doesn't hurt that chef/owner Adam Biderman opened the shop after serving as the opening chef de cuisine at famed Atlanta spot Holeman & Finch. He was responsible for the uber-famous burger there, and his solo venture in New Orleans does not disappoint.
This Bywater cafe is known to have a line out the door for breakfast and lunch, with great options for vegetarians too. Also a good spot for a cup of coffee, and some people watching.
"Fine dining refugee" chef Michael Doyle does fine dining quality food without any of the fuss or price. The focus is very much on the freshness of the ingredients, and the cocktails are absolutely some of the most innovative in town.
Chef Joaquin Chef Joaquin Rodas offers a seasonal menu of exquisite small plates seven days a week at this wine shop and upstairs cocktail bar with an amazing backyard and live music.
A meat-centric spot from Cajun chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda. House-cured meats and house-made sausages (plus the BEST cracklins in town).
Banana Blossom is a small, fairly austere restaurant located in a stripmall in Terrytown. But in an area with few Thai options, they're known for being pretty good and inexpensive. The roti, spicy clams, and various seafood dishes have gained many a fan since the cafe opened in 2009, including critics like Ian McNulty, the Blackened Out boys, and chef Sue Zemanick of Gautreau's.
The Deep South-inspired casual eatery by Adolfo Garcia and Chip Apperson on Freret Street blends New Orleans classics with Delta-inspired dishes, and solid drinks from mixologist Ryan Iriarte.
West Africa meets Europe, Asia, and the Tropics at this cafe in the Warehouse District, offering a range of non gut-busting dishes. This is perhaps the only restaurant in New Orleans that actually caters to vegans and vegetarians, but exotic flavors and produce that aren't so easily found on the New Orleans dining scene make it a destination for all.
No frills, just excellent jerk chicken, callaloo, and plantains like you get at Jazz Fest. The restaurant itself is not much to look at, besides that one poster of a Jamaican lady in a wet shirt bordering on porn-quality (maybe don't bring the kids), but the service is friendly and the "patty" pies are great too. Avoid the lunch buffet, and just order off the menu.
This classic family-owned, neighborhood haunt in Mid City serves giant frozen mugs of soda and beer, Bushwhackers, huge helpings of red beans and rice, pasta, all the fried seafood you cold ask for, and a killer shrimp remoulade.
For a taste of authentic Colombian comfort food, arepas in particular, head to this Central City eatery from former-Baru partner David Mantilla.
Former Iris owners chef Ian Schnoebelen and Laurie Casebonne run this casual, yet refined Italian restaurant in the Bywater, serving pizzas, pastas, and raw bar offerings that won't break the bank, but are certain to impress.
Decent Indian food is hard to find in New Orleans, but this Old Metairie staple does it better than most, with slightly steep prices. The lunch buffet is the best bet at $10.
Not everybody coming to New Orleans is seeking out a jewish and Italian deli, but at Stein's you'll find some of the best sandwiches in town, along with a mind blowing beer selection and lots of rarities in these here parts of America, from pickled eggs to Tastee Cakes.
Finally, a place where you can get decent ramen and pie for dessert. The folks behind Dante's also offer a lot more at this Uptown haunt, including tons of amazing Japanese-inspired small plates, craft cocktails, and housemade shrub sodas.
Chef Michael Gulotta brings together the best of Vietnamese and Louisiana cuisine at this casual, reasonably-priced restaurant in Mid City. Saturday pig roasts, an awesome bar list of boozy boba teas, live music, and happy hour specials means an experience that can range from a quick banh mi and a beer at the bar to an epic five-course chef's tasting menu with fine wine pairings.
Though it’s primarily a wine bar, The Delachaise has small plates and snacks that are filling enough to have for dinner, and perfect for snacking on with friends, inside or on the front patio overlooking St. Charles Avenue.
This Seventh Ward restaurant was featured extensively in HBO’s “Treme,” and it's perfect for a Creole or soul food lunch from the lunch buffet. Call for hours.
One of the oldest sushi/hibachi restaurants in town, this Metairie restaurant is now home to one of the most innovative sushi programs in town. Critic Ian McNulty recently deemed the omakase a must try, so do wait for a seat at the sushi bar. [Photo: Yelp]
This eclectic Central City restaurant and live music venue serves up authentic Mexican for lunch and dinner and also features tequila and mezcal galore.