Make it easy while I'm in the Big Easy!
March 25, 2018 2:21 PM   Subscribe

The girlfriend and I are getting ready to go to New Orleans next week for the first time. We are not big partiers but would call ourselves foodies. What spots so we make sure we hit keeping away from the touristy stuff? Outside of great restaurants, what else are must sees in New Orleans? Thanks in advance
posted by keep it tight to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
When my wife and I were there a couple years ago, we really loved Atchafalaya for brunch, followed by some wandering around the garden district. I also enjoyed Majoria's Commerce in the central business district for a simple (but fantastic) diner breakfast a couple days. Cochon Butcher was also very good and is a couple blocks from the WWII museum, which I highly recommend.
posted by noneuclidean at 2:53 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Can you provide some detail about what types of activities you enjoy and what kinds of food you like?

Ogden Museum of Southern Art is good - in some ways, more unique than NOMA.

The Pharmacy Museum in the French Quarter is a must-see, and only $5.

I like just perusing the art galleries in the Quarter and on Julia St.

The rooftop bars are lovely - Ace, Pontchartrain, and Monkey Board.

I take visitors to Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt and to Carousel Bar in the historic Hotel Monteleone all the time. They're both tourist and local spots.

Frenchmen is a little less crowded, and there's usually tons of music as well as a nighttime art market there.

For food, some of the classic New Orleans restaurants are Commander's Palace, Galatoire's, Antoine's, Mandina's, Arnaud's (ask to see the Mardi Gras gowns while you're there), and Dooky Chase, among others.

You might also consider Mother's and Parkway, though those border on too touristy.

You might look up the Mardi Gras museum and see if they offer tours.

Avery Island is where they make tabasco sauce. I haven't been, but people tell me it's a fun trip, and friends say it's the best etoufee they've ever had.

Cafe du Monde is touristy but kind of a staple. Visit the French Market just beyond, but resist the temptation to buy culinary souvenirs or oysters from there, they're way overpriced.

For oyster happy hour, skip Drago's and head to Acme, Superior Seafood, or Blind Pelican.

My personal favorite restaurants are Green Goddess - lovely afternoon people watching, Shaya, and Carmo - interesting and flavorful world cuisine. There's a new fancy food court with some intriguing options that just opened up this month over on Magazine in the Warehouse District, it's called the Auction House Market.

City Park and Audobon are nice for picnicking. City Park has kayaking. I prefer Morning Call's beignets (City Park) to Cafe du Monde's.

There's also an aquarium and a zoo. The Steamboat Natchez is touristy but still fun and interesting.

NOLA is a city you've gotta explore by walking through the various neighborhoods, rather than by tour bus. Uber or streetcar from place to place, but make sure to take time to walk around, esp in the Quarter.
posted by aquamvidam at 2:53 PM on March 25, 2018 [10 favorites]

The Barataria Preserve of the Jean Lafitte National Park is fantastic. It's not far out of the city, and you can do a very easy hour or two on boardwalk and see alligators, turtles, snakes, herons, lizards, armadillos (if you're lucky), and all sorts of other creatures. Highly recommended. It's easier with a car, but I have successfully done it several times with Lyft/Uber.

Seconding Cochon. If you need a break from restaurant eats, Rouses Markets have good prepared foods (try the almond petit fours or muffaletta) and great beer/wine selections.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 3:06 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had Felix's recommended to me by a cop (a story in and of itself) and liked it so much I went there twice.

I randomly went into Igor's because it was near my hostel and I was just like "I need a quick place to just eat and then go to bed" and ended up with the best red beans and rice I had all week. It's kind of a dive bar, but the food was still good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:10 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh - and this shop is great fun. It's a used bookstore specializing in cookbooks.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:12 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Siberia is a dive bar has a delicious Slavic menu with an amazing beet burger and pierogi, sausage, and mustard platter. Also really fun performances! Allways Lounge has such a diverse amount of events going on, it's worth checking the calendar.

One of my most favorite memories is The Singing Oak. It's just so ethereal to sit and listen and be amongst the wind.
posted by yueliang at 3:40 PM on March 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seconding Igor's. A tasty dive that I visit at least once every trip. Also in dive bars, Clover Grill made a good burger and they're open 24 hours.

I like cemetery tours; I enjoyed the Lafayette Cemetery tour more than the others.
We enjoyed the drinks at Tiki Tolteca; we went looking for food afterwards. We expected so-so bar chow at St. Lawrence but got super good food.

We also had a good time riding the streetcar down through the garden district to look at the beautiful houses.
posted by pointystick at 3:45 PM on March 25, 2018

Former resident ... seconding Morning Call over Cafe du Monde for beignets, with the added benefit of fewer tourists.

For brunch/lunch, Refuel Cafe is tucked away near the riverbend and is SO good.

Snug Harbor will have tourists but is worth it ... be sure to get a hamburger while you're there.

Rock 'n Bowl is fun if loud bowling is your thing. Careful in the parking lot ...
posted by mccxxiii at 4:23 PM on March 25, 2018

I went to Bullet's Sports Bar on a Thursday evening and saw Kermit Ruffins play and ate amazing seafood jambalaya and it was maybe the best three hours of my life.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:26 PM on March 25, 2018 [4 favorites]

The WWII museum is completely wonderful if you're at all a fan of excellent storytelling.
posted by cholly at 4:38 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Don't miss the Jazz Museum at the old Mint. Satchmo's horns, and frequent live music.
posted by beagle at 6:12 PM on March 25, 2018

I'm a food nerd and loved the Southern Food and Beverage Museum. I also had fun taking a class at the New Orleans School of Cooking,. It's not too serious - kind of like a demo with snacks - but I did use some of the recipes after I got home.
posted by beyond_pink at 6:18 PM on March 25, 2018

Echoing Cochon and the Pharmacy Museum. Both are delightful (in very different ways.)
posted by gingerbeer at 6:54 PM on March 25, 2018

I enjoyed eating breakfast at Mother's.

The WWII museum was amazing, if you're at all into that sort of thing.

I reluctantly went on a "haunted New Orleans" tour because my friends wanted to do it. It was easily the worst two hours of my life, and I once had a kidney stone. It was basically two hours of an out-of-work actor taking us to houses where semi-recent murders had taken place. It was laughably bad. Even my friends who are into ghosts and shit thought it was terrible. Do not do that.
posted by bondcliff at 7:09 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

For breakfast, we *repeatedly* enjoyed Who Dat.
posted by L0 at 8:01 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

Preservation Hall is a great place to hear live Dixieland jazz. Popular with tourists, but don't let that stop you. (If you have trouble standing for long periods, get there early as there are only a few seats and everybody else squashes in, standing room only.)
posted by Quietgal at 8:43 PM on March 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Food and Beverage museum has an onsite restaurant.
posted by brujita at 9:03 PM on March 25, 2018

Just fyi, pretty much any local coffee shop other than Cafe du Monde will have beignets that are a thousand times better.
posted by cooker girl at 5:37 AM on March 26, 2018

Boucherie is my personal favorite for restaurants. There’s always one exceptional vegetarian dish on the menu amid (what I’m told are) several great meat/fish entrees. Atmosphere is like being in someone’s house.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 7:41 AM on March 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Just went last week:
-It's crawfish season, there's a chain called Cajun Seafood where you can get a pound of boiled crawfish for about $6. They just scoop it out out of a cooler into a plastic bag. It took me about half an hour to work through 2lbs.
-High Hat has terrific fried chicken (Tues special - btw, red beans and rice is a Monday thing I learned after my Monday there).
-Peche was good seafood joint, would be more fun to try stuff with a larger group.
-Bacchanal was my favorite meal. You enter through a wine shop (decent selection), and in the backyard is a garden party with live music and great kitchen (I went with vegetarians and they were really into the food). Lively, great atmosphere, you may end up sharing a table if you're a small party. I was surprised things wound down around 11pm.

If you're adventurous, biking is a great way to see the city (not cheap, $80 for 3 day rental - blue bike system is ok, also not cheap).
Agree on Audubon and City Parks for a picnic.
I passed on the WWII Museum, but heard I missed out.
posted by lowest east side at 9:45 AM on March 27, 2018

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