When people ask me how I like living in New Orleans I ask a question in return. Have you ever been to New Orleans? If you’ve been here, you have an idea of the strange, joyous, beautiful, gnarly magic. In some ways it’s hard to describe unless you’ve experienced it.
I started my New Orleans journey 2 years ago, in the French Quarter, having moved there from Venice, California. Living in the French Quarter is like living on Mars… if Mars had a Disneyland… and if that Disneyland were two hundred years old… and everyone was drunk. The French Quarter is New Orleans, but it’s not the only part of New Orleans. Sure, there are a boatload of tourists stumbling around the French Quarter on any given day, but that’s because it’s an incredible place to visit. Don’t miss it thinking you’re too cool for school… because no one is that cool (except probably Beyonce).
Native New Orleanians might argue that I’m not entitled to any of the below opinions about where to eat and what to do because I’ve been here for such a short time, because I got here after the storm, because I’ve never caught a coconut in the Zulu parade… and they’re right. New Orleans is a place you have to earn, everyday… and I’m well aware that I’m still working on it. Still though. I have thoughts, and these are some of them.
The one overarching opinion about New Orleans, native or not, is that we’re glad you’re coming to visit. Genuinely. We want you to come enjoy what we enjoy about this city, take lots of pictures, have a daiquiri, listen to the music, eat all of the food. We want you here because we love it here.
Incidentally, DO NOT: drink any alcoholic beverage sold in a plastic fish bowl, wear flip-flop sandals in the French Quarter, drink a Hurricane before noon (or ever, really), take a vampire tour, or take your top off (people don’t actually do that). Ok? Cool.
I’m going to break this guide up into my favorite New Orleans neighborhoods. This is, by no means, an extensive list, just a helpful place to start. New Orleans neighborhood maps, as a guide, with some handy printable versions for you.
• Café Amelie 912 Royal St. New Orleans, LA 70116 // A lovely courtyard brunch.
• Brennan’s New Orleans 417 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
• Carousel Bar and Lounge 214 Royal St New Orleans, LA 70130 // Try to sit at the rotating bar and have a Sazerac!
• Sylvain 625 Chartres St New Orleans, LA 70130 // I love to sit at the bar and eat a burger. It’s a really good burger. This is perhaps the best restaurant in the Quarter.
• Cafe Du Monde 813 Decatur St New Orleans, LA 70116 // Gotta go. Just go.
• Napoleon House 500 Chartres St New Orleans, LA 70130 // Have a Pimm’s Cup and look around at how old the walls are.
• Bar Tonique 820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116 // A very happy Happy Hour.
• Spitfire Coffee 627 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 // Best coffee in the Quarter
• UAL 518 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Designer shopping, very good prices. I love this place!
• Peche 800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Sit at the bar and order too many oysters. It won’t be cheap but it’s fun and worth it.
• Herbsaint 701 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130
• Keife & Co 801 Howard Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113 // The best wine shop in town!
• Martine Chaisson Gallery 727 Camp St, New Orleans, LA 70130
• Barrelproof 1201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Go get you some whisky.
• Reyn Yoga 725 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Sweat it out.
Commander’s Palace 1403 Washington Ave New Orleans, LA 70130 // It’s an experience. Weekend brunch is the move. Walk around the cemetery across the street after your meal. Quintessential New Orleans.
Juan’s Flying Burrito 2018 Magazine St New Orleans, LA // Be careful, the margaritas are really good and go down like water. Also, the taco salad is surprisingly delicious.
Stein’s Market and Deli 2207 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // A very good sandwich and some Philadelphia attitude.
District Donuts Sliders Brew 2209 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70130 // Forget the beignets, go here for a donut. (I might get kicked out of New Orleans for saying that).
Square Root 1800 Magazine St New Orleans, LA 70130 // I like to sit upstairs and order a cocktail (and sometimes a really expensive cheese plate).
Loomed Rink Shopping Center 2727 Prytania St #13, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Fine Turkish textiles. Really beautiful things.
Garden District Book Shop Rink Shopping Center, 2727 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70130 // Buy books from actual people who love and sell books! (There might be a few signed copies of my cookbook in there too!)
• Atchafalaya 901 Louisiana Ave New Orleans, LA 70115 // Such a wonderful neighborhood restaurant. The shrimp and grits and duck fat Sazerac are fantastic!
• Coquette 2800 Magazine St New Orleans, LA 70115 // Delicious rotating dinner menu.
• Basin 3222 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Cocktails and oysters and fish tacos.
• Baru 3700 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Latin-Caribbean tapas!
• Surrey’s 4807 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Go for breakfast.
• Magasin Cafe 4201 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 7011 // Healthy Vietnamese food!
• Maple Leaf Bar 8316 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118 // Go for a whisky and great music.
• Patois Restaurant 6078 Laurel St, New Orleans, LA 70118 // One of my favorite restaurants in the city and I can’t believe I’m giving away my secret. Lovely food. Lovely staff. In a homey uptown neighborhood. Everything is right about it.
• Creole Creamery 4924 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Such good ice cream!
• St. James Cheese Company 5004 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Great cheese selection and really good sandwiches.
• Manhattan Jacks 4930 Prytania St, New Orleans, LA 70115 // Get the Black and White Cookie
• Audubon Park 6500 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70118 // Go for a lovely sunset walk.
• Elizabeth’s Restaurant 601 Gallier St. New Orleans, LA 70117 // Really great for breakfast. Of course you’ll get a Bloody Mary and the Praline Bacon. Of course you will.
• The Joint 701 Mazant St. New Orleans, LA 70117 // Delicious Barbecue. Do it. Do not hesitate.
• Satsuma 3218 Dauphine St New Orleans, LA // Where everyone in the Bywater gets their coffee and toast.
• Cake Cafe 2440 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70117 // Sit yourself on the sidewalk and eat your breakfast.
• Bacchanal Wine 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 // One of the best places in all of New Orleans. Buy a bottle of wine. Sit at a folding table. Order some eats. Talk to everyone.
New Orleans inspired recipes on Joy the Baker
Buttermilk Beignets // Red Beans and Rice // Pimm’s Cup Cocktail // Muffuletta Pasta Salad // Shrimp and Grits // Mardi Gras King Cake // Whole Roasted Cauliflower // Bourbon Pecan Pie with Chocolate //
Follow more of my New Orleans adventures on Instagram #jtbnola