Walking along Bayou St. John is a particular pleasure, with its bucolic views, doggies on parade, and residents gathering for wine and conversation as the sun sets. Once the primary portage between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi, the Bayou now accents a hub of dining, recreation and festival-ing, with the annual Bayou Boogaloo a highlight of the summer season. Whether catering to hungry neighbors or intrepid visitors striking out into new territory, the restaurants in and around Bayou St. John step up to the plate.Read More
Where to Eat In and Around Bayou St. John
Here’s the skinny on dining in this sweet ‘hood
A bit on the outskirts of the Bayou St. John ‘hood but still close enough at the edge of City Park, Michael Gulotta’s Creole meets VIetnamese eatery is the bomb. Truly everything is good at MoPho, from the build your own pho (say yes to pork belly) to the huge lemongrass ginger chicken wings, available at half price during the weekday 3-6 happy hour. Try the fried oyster app with pickled blue cheese, yes indeed.
2. Toups Meatery
Celebrity chef Isaac Toups channels his inner caveman at Toup’s Meatery, the wonderful restaurant on Carrollton Avenue, opened before his cookbook fame and before Toup’s South. All of the housemade charcuterie is to die for - the Meatery Board may harden your arteries upon delivery. Then there’s the cheese plates, the confit chicken thighs with Dijon cream and lardons, real cracklin’s - this is serious stuff. Great brunch don’t you know.
3. Blue Oak BBQ
Blue Oak is smokin’ hot in every sense of the word. Slow-cooked savory meat deliciousness is at every turn, from the perfectly crusted beef brisket to the jerked pulled pork with fresh jalapenos on a bun. The chicken wings with Buffalo inferno sauce will make your eyes water, so good. The cocktail program is also impressive - try the frozen aperol spritz on a hot day.
4. Bayou Beer Garden New Orleans
Just a block away from the bayou, Bayou Beer Garden and Bayou Wine Garden connect through an always buzzing outdoor patio. Big with the young professional crowd, there are hundreds of local and craft beers on the menu and weekly crawfish boils during the season. The copious menu covers the likes of tacos, sandwiches, dips - there’s even a lamb French onion pot pie with Swiss sure to satisfy.
5. Parkway Bakery & Tavern
Parkway has defined po-boys in New Orleans for the better part of a century and no wonder. Every flavor is yum, but the juicy roast beef is at least a four-napkin meal, dressed of course with lettuce, tomato, mayo and pickle. Thank goodness Jay Nix reopened the place in 2003 after a decade of darkness when the original owners closed up shop. Thanks Jay and pass the napkins.
6. Pal's Lounge
Love love love this twisted Cheers scene, so friendly and welcoming to all. A dive bar and proud of it, Pal’s hosts food pop ups from the likes of Crackburger (the name says it all), Gattone Grasso (fresh pasta) and a personal fave, Budsi’s Authentic Thai; not your typical Thai, with a spotlight on Northern Thai dishes, usually served on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sunday nights.
Lola’s paellas and fideuàs (same idea but with angel-hair pasta) are legend in these parts. The tiny dining room is a sweet backdrop for Spanish peasant fare that includes stewed meats, fresh seafood, herb-driven pastas and salads and lots and lots of olive oil and garlic. Housemade sangria is a bonus.
8. Santa Fe
Just a few steps away from Cafe Degas, Santa Fe offers Southwestern fare in a relaxed, patio setting. The margaritas are always made from fresh juice, the ceviche is superb and tacos, nachos, and quesadillas will satisfy the craving. Don’t expect a cheap Tex-Mex fix here - two fish tacos are $17 - but portions are large and very shareable. Anybody remember when SF was in the Marigny?
9. 1000 Figs
With every plate as pretty as a picture, 1000 Figs dishes sprightly veggie-forward Mediterranean fare that inspires droves of regulars. Whether you are a vegetarian or not, the falafel feast for two (or three) is revelatory, with lots of crunch and freshness in every bite. Everything is freshly prepared and expertly executed; the dining room has an inviting, living room vibe.
10. Cafe Degas
When a pecan tree is growing through the romantic dining room and quail, escargot, and ethereal Iles Flotantes (floating islands) are on the menu, Francophiles who lean towards the rustic will be over the moon. Cafe Degas serves irst-rate French fare includes specialties like steak frites au poivre, mussels with fennel and crispy frites and a bracing salad of crab, grapefruit and mint.
11. Liuzza's by the Track
This neighborhood joint, ground zero for Bloody Mary’s come Jazz Fest, dishes some of the best gumbo in town. Always an eclectic scene, Liuzza’s by the Track (no relation to the other one) is just as famous for its Worcestershire-fueled barbecue shrimp po-boy slathered between a hot pistolette. Oh, and the deep-fried garlic oysters are legend.
12. Sweet Soulfood
With Sneaky Pickle still not reopened, Sweet Soulfood is doing a public service with its menu of New Orleans comfort dishes done vegan. Ok, so the sausage in the jambalaya is made with wheat gluten, but it’s good baby. A changing menu usually features the likes of gumbo and red beans, stuffed bell peppers greens and mac and cheese, cornbread and bread pudding. Yes, all of it vegan.
13. Pagoda Cafe
This funky spot on Bayou Road is a gem pure and simple. Pagoda Cafe serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week, with a sweet little dog-friendly outdoor patio perfect for picnicking. Try the breakfast tacos and the savory pastry for sure and definitely get their version of a veggie banh mi. That’s fried lemongrass tofu on Dong Phuong french bread, dressed with mayo, cucumbers and a fresh slaw with peanut satay dressing. Spot on.