By Beth Whitman, on February 1, 2014

New Orleans eateries

After Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, something interesting happened in New Orleans. The city came back. With a vengeance. 

Brad Pitt joined in the cleanup efforts by supporting the building of homes in the Ninth Ward. The Saints won the Superbowl in 2010. Young people poured into the city to help the rebuilding. And those young people stayed-they opened up shops, started restaurants, and infused the Crescent City with an entrepreneurial spirit that wasn’t quite there before. 

What they didn’t do was try to change the devil-may-care attitude that permeates NOLA.

New Orleans is now thriving again and filled with new businesses galore, including restaurants with a wide range of offerings from down-home cooking to fine cuisine. There are cooking schools, celebrity chefs, and hometown heroes in the food industry.

Whether you’re a veteran visitor to New Orleans or a newbie, here’s a short list of restaurants not to be missed. There’s no possible way to include all of the amazing choices in town (leave a comment at the bottom for additional suggestions).

Tujagues Restaurant

The second oldest restaurant in the city, Tujaques (pronounced two-jacks), is located across the street from the French Market, in the heart of the French Quarter. For more than 150 years, Tujagues has specialized in Creole cuisine. The restaurant nearly closed recently to make way for a T-shirt shop, but with help from local food celebrity, Poppy Tooker, it was saved and continues its excellent food and service.


823 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116


Monday – Friday – 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday – 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Though admittedly a tad bit touristy, there’s no better place for Cajun music and food than Mulate’s. You’ll find a live band playing nightly and a wide variety of Cajun menu items, including fried alligator, catfish bites, barbecue shrimp, and Cajun smoked oysters. Bring your dancing shoes because young and old alike take to the dance floor.


201 Julia Street
New Orleans, LA 70130


Daily from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Charbroiled oysters


Not only is Drago’s known for its charbroiled oysters, but its owner is considered a bit of a local hero for his work feeding the community after Hurricane Katrina. More than 75,000 free meals were served to staff, their families, and anyone in need (all grocery stores were closed following Katrina so there were a lot of people in need).


2 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Also in Metairie.


Daily 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Viewfinder Tip: Order appetizers or small plates at many restaurants rather than big meals at a few. It’ll give you more of a chance to sample until your next visit. 

Central Grocery

Down by the French Market is Central Grocery, which serves arguably the best muffulettas in the city. What? Don’t know what a muffuletta is? Well, it’s the next best thing to a Jersey hoagie. It’s a round sandwich filled with salami and cheeses (including capicola, provolone, Emmental) and then slathered in olive salad. Plan on sharing one of these or bringing half of it home.


923 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116


Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday

Mother’s Restaurant

Located on the side of Canal Street away from the French Quarter, it’s still an easy walk over to this very established restaurant. Mother’s is considered to have the best baked ham on the planet. You heard me. The planet. Mother’s isn’t kidding around. Eat it in an omelet, a po’ boy, or roux. Or try one of the many other items on the full menu.


401 Poydras
New Orleans, LA 70130


Open every day from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Café du Monde

Cafe au Lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde

You cannot go to New Orleans without stopping at one of the many Café du Mondes for a café au lait and a plate of beignets. Bring cash as they don’t accept cards and be ready to get your sweet tooth on with all the powdered sugar on these fried treats.


800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

Other locations around the city


Open 24 hours

Looking for a place to stay? My very fave hotel is the Bourbon Orleans, located in the heart of the French Quarter. This reportedly haunted hotel is a royal treat and happens to be perfectly situated to enjoy all the above restaurants and more.

What are your favorite New Orleans restaurants?