To most people outside of New Orleans, the first words often associated with the legendary city are Bourbon Street or the French Quarter. After all, when visitors plan an upcoming trip, they frequently stay in hotels, visit attractions, and spend a lot of time eating and drinking in the famous downtown neighborhood.
Without a doubt, if you’ve never been to New Orleans or visit occasionally, the French Quarter is certainly a ‘must see’ part of your trip. It’s the historic heart of the city and full of bucket list places to visit – Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and the St. Louis Cathedral, to name a few.
However, if you venture out a few blocks or miles from the French Quarter, there’s a whole new world awaiting your exploration. Neighborhoods like the Garden and Arts/Warehouse District, Mid City, Bywater, Metairie, and Lakeview. Each area is distinct for its architecture, shopping, food, and entertainment offerings.
The one thing locals and visitors can agree on: when it comes to great restaurants and diverse cuisine, few places in the United States can match the Crescent City foodie scene. In fact, it is estimated there are over 1400 restaurants throughout the city, covering just about every variety of cuisine.
The bottom line is that New Orleans is an amazing city, full of life and communal spirit. Next time you’re in town, plan to spend time exploring a few of the other neighborhoods around this city. With this in mind, here are 12 popular New Orleans restaurants outside of the French Quarter that will leave you with a belly full of food and fond memories of your stay in the Big Easy.
You can also click and see the restaurants located in these neighborhoods around the city.
Hop on the St. Charles Streetcar from the French Quarter for a quick ride to the Uptown/Garden District of New Orleans. Development began back in the early 19th century, and the architecture is highlighted by historic homes, colorful rows of houses, majestic mansions, and rows of giant oak trees along the path.
It would be easy to spend a day or more checking out the attractions, shops and restaurants in the area. Some of the more well-known attractions include the Audubon Zoo, Layfayette Cemetary, Audubon Park, several theatres, and art galleries.
In addition to great attractions, shopaholics will enjoy all the unique retail opportunities, including rare antiques, eclectic artwork, and stylish boutiques. Magazine Street, in particular, offers many opportunities to find that one-of-a-kind gift or souvenir.
There is also no shortage of places to eat and drink – college and neighborhood dive bars, craft cocktails, and restaurants covering upscale to casual and brunch to late-night munchies. Here are a couple of restaurants to put on your itinerary when you visit the Uptown/Garden District.
Nestled in the heart of the Garden District, Commander’s Palace has been a New Orleans landmark since 1893 (that date is not a typo). It’s also where top chefs like Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, and Tory McPhail launched their culinary careers.
Now led by Executive Chef Meg Bickford, it continues a long history of award-winning cuisine. Among the accolades include seven James Beard Foundation awards, New Orleans Magazine “Top of the Town,” and Southern Living “The South’s Best Restaurants”.
The menu is modern New Orleans cooking meets Haute Creole. You’ll find specialties like Turtle Soup, Pecan Crusted Gulf Fish, and the “Queen of Creole Desserts” – the Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé. The jazz brunch is highly recommended and available on Saturday and Sunday.
Before you leave the hotel, you’ll need to put away the shorts for the night and spiff up because the Commander’s Palace does have a dress code – but we promise it’s worth it!
1403 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA
The first Superior Grill opened in Shreveport, LA, in 1983. The New Orleans location opened its doors in 1997 and has become an Uptown landmark serving delicious Tex-Mex cuisine along with a festive atmosphere.
In particular, the menu is made from scratch every day, including hand-rolled tortillas and meats cooked over a mesquite grill. Crowd favorites are the sizzling fajitas, mouth-watering enchiladas, and their famous margaritas (made with freshly squeezed lime juice).
Dine indoors or out in their landscaped patio featuring beautiful flowers and a great view of St. Charles Avenue.
3636 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA
Follow the Mississippi River a little bit east from the French Quarter, and you’ll encounter the Bywater/Marigny neighborhoods. When you explore this area, you’ll discover colorful cottages, Washington Square Park, St. Claude Arts District, Crescent Park on the riverfront, Frenchmen Street music scene, and the Marigny Opera House.
Besides a lot to see and do, you’ll also find several trendy restaurants in the area. The Bywater Brew Pub, Morrow’s, and the award-winning Bywater American Bistro are just a few of the dining establishments that capture the essence of this hip and trendsetting part of the city.
Located on Royal Street (on the corner of Montegut), Bywater Brew Pub features a cajun menu with a Vietnamese twist, plus 5 rotating beer tanks, a full bar, and art from local artists around the neighborhood.
Stop by and grab a pint of their house-brewed beers, craft cocktails, wine or sake. While you’re there, let Chef Anh Luu prepare one of her specialties including spring rolls (grilled shrimp/veggie), pickles & pig, Banh Mi Burger, cajun fried rice, or a full vegan menu.
3000 Royal St.
New Orleans, LA
The self-described restaurant ‘where great food & dope vibes collide’ features classic New Orleans cuisine and authentic Korean dishes. The mother-son duo of Chef Lenora Chong and Event Curator Larry Morrow have established this local gem as a nationally recognized hotspot in the historic Faubourg Marigny neighborhood.
The ambiance is trendy cosmopolitan, and the menu is a combination of authentic New Orleans and Korean BBQ dishes. Try one of their signature cajun dishes like the Oysters Morrow (topped with house-made crabmeat dressing), Cajun Crawfish Pasta, Grilled Redfish Acadiana, or one of their massive seafood platters. Korean specialties include the Chef Specialty Bibem Bop (rice bowl) and mouth-watering Korean BBQ.
Speaking of great food and dope vibes, Morrow’s is also a place to run into a local or national celebrity. Stars like Drake, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Patti Labelle, and New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara have all stopped by the restaurant for a bite to eat.
2438 St Claude Ave.
New Orleans, LA
Awarded Eater NOLA’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year, Bywater American Bistro hopes to be your favorite New Orleans neighborhood restaurant. Chef Nina Compton and Larry Miller’s award-winning neighborhood bistro features a diverse combination of Sicilian, Creole, Caribbean, and Cajun flavors – all served in a casual and comfortable atmosphere.
If you frequently watch food competition shows, you may have heard of Chef Nina Compton. The Eastern Caribbean island native of St. Lucia competed in Bravo network’s Top Chef Season 11: New Orleans. Compton ended up as the runner-up and was voted fan favorite.
The menu at Bywater is inspired by small local farms, using seasonal ingredients. Choose from a variety of delectable offerings like curried rabbit, half-jerk chicken, and pan-roasted snapper. If you’re looking for a restaurant that captures the New Orleans sense of community, Bywater American Bistro is the perfect place to visit.
2900 Chartres St.
New Orleans, LA
Warehouse/Central Business District
The CBD is the heart of the city. A bustling business center infused with creative thinkers, inventive restaurants, upscale shopping, Harrah’s Casino, and the familiar Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Family-friendly attractions, cultural arts, concert venues, renovated theatres, and landmarks dot the area.
The nearby Arts/Warehouse district is known for James Beard Award-Winning Chefs, Julia Street (Gallery Row), National World War II Museum, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, and the Convention Center.
Just like every other neighborhood in New Orleans, there’s no shortage of diverse, award-winning places to eat. There are many to choose from, however, Compère Lapin and Willa Jean are two restaurants just outside the French Quarter that offer distinctive styles of cuisine and a memorable dining experience.
Speaking of Chef Nina Compton, the St. Lucia native makes it twice on our list of top New Orleans restaurants outside the French Quarter. Following her run on Top Chef Season 11, Compton returned to the Big Easy and launched the much-heralded Compère Lapin in 2015. It has certainly lived up to its hype.
Located in the Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery, the restaurant has won numerous awards including one of ‘America’s 38 Best Restaurants’ by Eater in 2017. Nina was awarded the 2017 “Best New Chef” award from Food & Wine magazine and the prestigious 2017 James Beard Foundation award for “Best Chef: South”.
The eclectic menu infuses classic New Orleans cuisine with flavors of Chef Compton’s hometown on the island of St. Lucia. Additionally, Compère Lapin is open for lunch, dinner, and a terrific Sunday brunch.
New Orleans, LA
Located in the Central Business District, Willa Jean is a chic southern bakery and café with a modern, elegant vibe. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy a relaxed meal with friends and family. Enjoy a coffee, one of their homemade pastries, biscuits, cookies, bread, or a delicious homemade biscuit or breakfast sandwich.
Of course, it wouldn’t be New Orleans without a few cocktails on the menu. Willa Jean has you covered with various alcohol-infused beverages like the Brandy Milk Punch and the Blackberry Bourbon Smash frozen drink.
611 O’Keefe Avenue
New Orleans, LA
As we continue with our tour of the most popular New Orleans restaurants around the city, here is where we start moving away from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter. As you can imagine, Mid City gets its name for its location in the center of the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Highlights in the area include the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Botanical Gardens, and the 1,300-acre City Park with fun attractions like the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Storyland, and Sculpture Garden. The Mid City neighborhood is a great place to get outside and explore one of the city’s most beautiful areas.
Once again, there are LOTS of great dining options (you’re starting to get the picture). From well-known brunch spots to some excellent local eateries, Mid-City has restaurant options for every taste. We also include a sweets hot spot that’s been a New Orleans favorite for over 100 years.
If you’re looking for authentic New Orleans Creole cuisine, you should plan a stop at Neyow’s Cafe. Rich in Creole heritage, the menu comes straight from grandmother’s “I’ll race you to the dinner table” recipes.
In particular, affordable prices and a long list of scrumptious menu items highlight this New Orleans dining institution – red beans and rice, jambalaya, pork chops, ribs, gumbo, southern fried chicken, po-boys, a variety of pasta, and the list goes on… and on (you get the picture). Oh, did we mention the chargrilled oysters? You can watch a video of them being prepared below.
In addition to amazing Creole entrees, this is another place you should make room for dessert. The homemade bread pudding is worth a stop all by itself.
3332 Bienville St.
New Orleans, LA
Nina Compton isn’t the only celebrity chef in New Orleans. Issac Toups appeared in Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef ending up as ‘Fan Favorite’ and a 3rd place finish.
Born and raised in the heart of Cajun country (Rayne, LA), Chef Toups has more than 300 years of Louisiana heritage behind him. Along with his wife Allison, they opened Toups’ Meatery in 2012 to share that love of Louisiana culture and cuisine.
The contemporary Cajun restaurant offers diverse food, wine, specialty cocktails, charcuterie-inspired dishes. Choose from a selection of small and large plates. If you have a tough time deciding, you can’t go wrong with The Meatery Board, which is a selection of house-cured meats and accompaniments (see image below).
For those with an adventurous palette, Toups’ offers several unique offerings such as authentic pork cracklings, turkey and lamb neck, venison, and BBQ Mississippi rabbit.
845 N. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA
After all that delicious New Orleans cuisine, it’s time to find someplace to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you’re looking for a sweet shop that’s rich in Louisiana tradition, look no further than Angelo Brocato.
Angelo Brocato Italian Ice Cream Parlor has been a New Orleans institution for over one hundred years. The Brocato family opened the first store in the French Quarter back in 1905. After 80 years, the Brocato family decided to move from Ursulines St. to its current location in Mid-City (about 2 miles Northwest of the French Quarter).
Brocatos is unlike any ice cream store you’ve ever visited. Treat yourself to sumptuous ice cream, gelato, classic spumoni, handmade cannoli, Italian cookies, or a shot of espresso, served in a classic ice cream parlor setting.
214 N. Carrollton Ave.
New Orleans, LA
Our final stop for popular New Orleans restaurants outside the French Quarter are the northern New Orleans neighborhoods of Lakeview and Bucktown. If you want to escape the other tourists and get a “locals feel” of the city, this part of the city would be a great place to start.
Lakeview and Bucktown are on the northern side of New Orleans and border Lake Ponchartrain. The area is punctuated by seafood restaurants, sailboats, and marinas.
Attractions in the Lakeview area include family fun at City Park, Harrison Avenue dining and shopping, sailing, and some great seafood on the Lakefront.
In between Lakeview and Metairie, you’ll find a short stretch of lakefront called Bucktown. Just like Lakeview, the economy revolves around boats, fishing and seafood.
With close proximity to the lakefront, there’s not a shortage of fresh seafood. Two of the best in the area are a Bucktown staple and a favorite of Harry Connick Jr.
Drive about 20 minutes north from the French Quarter to Bucktown, and you’ll find a Louisana family-owned restaurant that’s been serving up delicious Louisiana vittles for over 40 years. Originally opened by Ora and Roland Mollere back in 1980, R & O’s is now operated by their four children.
The menu is simple and straightforward, with a large selection of Italian and South Louisiana classics. Start with a bowl of their famous seafood or oyster gumbo. Then for the main course, try one of the homemade pizzas or specialty sandwiches.
Two customer favorites are the R & O Special (Ham and Roast Beef with Swiss cheese) and the award-winning Roast Beef Po-Boy. Many long-time patrons say it’s the best roast beef they have ever eaten. If you want to find a place where the locals eat and hang out, a visit to R&O’s should be at the top of your list.
216 Metairie-Hammond Hwy.
We wrap up our top 12 popular New Orleans restaurants outside the French Quarter with the Blue Crab Restaurant & Oyster Bar. Overlooking Lake Pontchartrain, the restaurant is locally owned and operated and serves up some of the finest Louisiana seafood around.
You’ll find the usual selection of oysters, fresh seafood platters, sandwiches, and New Orleans classics such as the Basin BBQ Shrimp & Grits, Whole Stuffed Flounder, and Ponchatrain Pasta. There’s plenty of indoor dining, or grab a seat on the large outdoor deck and watch the boats come and go. In addition, you can enjoy some great live music every Friday through Sunday (check website for schedule).
The Blue Crab is also a favorite of Harry Connick Jr., who frequently visits when he’s back in his hometown.
7900 Lakeshore Dr.
New Orleans, LA
Additional New Orleans Travel Resources
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