Driving around the Convention Center is no fun these days, thanks to an ongoing $557 million construction project that will turn Convention Center Boulevard into a green park space park by the fall of 2020. But you still have to eat. Here are some super options that are walkable from the Convention Center and nearby hotels, to help you stay fueled and keep moving.Read More
Where to Eat Near the New Orleans Convention Center
When you need a break from banquet food
1. NOCHI Cafe by Gracious
A great choice if you’re out and about heading towards the Ogden or World War II Museum, Nochi Cafe by Gracious is the latest expansion of this locally owned gem. Set in the gorgeous expansive space on the ground floor of the spanking new culinary institute, Gracious offers everything from stellar morning coffee to cooking demonstrations to a full-course breakfast, brunch or lunch complete with cocktails. The baked goods are off the hook ya’ll - and don’t miss the expansive happy hour which runs Monday through Saturday from 3pm to close, with lots of drinks and snacks to enjoy.
2. The American Sector Restaurant & Bar
Adjacent to the wonderful National World War II Museum, the American Sector is an airy space with a swell bar that opens out to Magazine Street. Available for groups up to 80, the restaurant offers an inventive country food menu with the likes of frito pie, mac and cheese and a super burger, with a bean veggie option also between the bun.
Who says a body can’t stay healthy in New Orleans? The food at this tropical oasis in the CBD is fresh, tasty, vegan friendly and full of the kind of nutrients that can be a game changer after a big night out. Cocktails at Carmo are made with fresh fruit juices - so feel righteous while you imbibe.
4. Sofia NOLA
This newish Italian spot on Julia delivers fine pasta and specialties from around the boot, including steak Florentine, wood-fired pizzas and a range of oven roasted veg. Sofia, an homage to a true Italian dish, Sophia Loren, is an airy, stylish space brimming with eye-popping art. Remember they are closed Sunday and Monday.
5. Pêche Seafood Grill
Peche is to be trusted, still popular after six years in part due to its consistently quality delivery. The Donald Link group restaurant has a wood-burning oven, great raw bar selection, and expertly done seafood, with a diverse enough menu to satisfy most palates. The crab claws, “fish sticks,” duck pasta, and whole grilled fish are particular crowd-pleasers, and go for a special when available.
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6. Gianna Restaurant
The latest from Donald Link’s restaurant group, its first since the ever-popular Peche, Gianna is the buzziest spot around. Inspiration for the delicate menu comes from the rustic cooking of Southern Italy, with items from chef Rebecca Wilcomb like the featured “tortellini in brodo” (broth), meat-filled pasta dumplings in clear chicken broth served with parmesan cheese, house-cured meats, locally farmed produce, Gulf seafood and more house-made pastas. The bar is focused on Italian wines and cocktail bases of Vermouth, Apertivo, and Amari. Open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday, the price point is about the same as Link’s other restaurants.
Meril is an underrated, more casual option from Emeril’s stable of restaurants, with a super duper happy hour featuring substantial $5 flatbread pizzas that will certainly tide a body over. It’s huge, so it’s good for the inevitable group lunches and dinners that keep growing and growing, with great service to boot. Chef de cuisine Will Avelar, a long time Lagasse veteran, brings a fresh eye and a personal flair to dishes like yellowfin tuna wraps with jalapeno, chicken livers, boudin tamales, and the best dang turkey necks you’ve ever had. Promise.
8. Cochon Restaurant
Local swine is only the beginning at this James Beard award-winning Southern meets Cajun eatery from chefs Donal Link and Stephen Stryjewski. Cochon also happens to have one of the best char-grilled oysters in town, in this case enhanced with a divine chile garlic butter that lets the flavors of the bivalve sing. Ask about the semi-private dining space in the mezzanine of the new Diamond Street dining room to entertain up to 40 clients or colleagues in style.
9. Cochon Butcher
Cochon Butcher offers a very different experience than its sister restaurant, with the emphasis on Dawood house cured meat sandwiches, charcuterie, brats, and sausages in a cool casual setting. Beyond the sandwich counter, there are small plates and daily specials to tempt. Sausage or cheese platters and sandwich trays are available for catering needs. Yes, they do catered lunches if you want to treat the team to a real wow.
10. World Famous Corporation Bar & Grill
New Orleans, LA 70130
If your business trip has you craving something a bit more gritty, Corporation Bar’s got you covered. This hole-in-the-wall on the corner of S. Peters and Andrew Higgins has all the Louisiana staples: jambalaya, gumbo, muffulettas, red beans and rice, and great po-boys. It’ll have a shorter line than Cochon Butcher, and you may even meet a character or two.
11. Galliano Restaurant
Named for a Cajun town down da’ bayou, Galliano dishes raw and char-grilled oysters along with specialties like country-fried steak, fried chicken and shrimp, and Sunday pot roast. Chef/owner Ricky Cheramie, who hails from Bayou Lafourche, serves gumbo and traditional po-boys and of course red beans and rice. Enter from Fulton Street for a taste of real deal Cajun cuisine, seven days a week.
12. Restaurant Rebirth
Chef Richy Cheramie’s original spot, Restaurant Rebirth, is a farm-to-table Cajun Creole restaurant ideal for wowing foodie clients. Soulful bowls of country gumbo, oysters and pasta and double cut pork chops are a few tempting options. The blackened redfish on the half shell is outstanding, and if it’s offered, don’t leave without trying the beignet topped creme brûlée.
13. Fulton Alley
If you like to play in between working, Fulton Alley is your jam. Besides a hipster bowling scene, there’s bocci, foozball, darts and more at this gaming palace meets small plates emporium. Try any of the tacos (especially the short rib), veggie spring rolls and sliders. This place does group events well, using semi-private areas and an outdoor patio to get the job done.
14. Two Chicks Cafe
This breakfast and lunch spot couldn’t be more convenient - it sits just across the street from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Dishing up sweet and savory crepes, omelets and egg Benedict dishes, pancakes and parfaits, healthy juices and necessary bloody Marys, Two Chicks is the bomb. The restaurant recently expanded with a second location in the CBD.
15. Grand Isle Restaurant
Visitors may or may not know that Grand Isle, Louisiana is the closest access from New Orleans to the Gulf, which translates to a fishing paradise for eager anglers. The CBD restaurant uses vintage photos and a menu of pristine seafood to get the point across. From boiled seafood to raw oysters - offered $.75 each during weekday happy hour, the menu is fresh and very local.