NOLAGuide

The Best Breakfast Spots In New Orleans

The most important meal of the day shouldn’t be boring.
Spread of breakfast dishes on booth table at Surrey's

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

Could you eat beignets for breakfast every day in New Orleans? Probably. But when your body needs something besides fried dough before 10am, these are the spots you’ll want to check out. You’ll find lots of savory grits (no shade to sugar grits, that’s just not the New Orleans way), Creole and Cajun-style eggs, and plenty of morning drinks—we rarely turn down a brandy milk punch, Bloody Mary, or bellini, especially when they’re as good as they are here.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

American

Fairgrounds

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLiterally EveryoneOutdoor/Patio Situation

There are times we’ve been sitting outside around midnight at Jockey’s, the bar next door to Toast near the Fairgrounds, watching (and smelling) the team cook bread, sauces, and jellies for the next morning. Few things have ever inspired us to get our asses home and go to bed quicker than that. The crepes, toasts, and omelets are all extremely good, but the aebelskivers are the real star of the menu. The puffed pancakes come dusted in powdered sugar and have a bunch of sauces to choose from, the best being the tangy lemon curd. This is also a spot where you’ll be rewarded for waking up early—if you get there between 6:30-7:30am on weekdays, they have a two eggs, bacon, grits, a biscuit, and a cup of coffee deal for $8.

If Turkey and the Wolf is the successful sandwich firstborn, and Hungry Eyes is the drinks and snacks ‘80s wild child, Molly’s is the breakfast middle sibling of this restaurant group’s family. But make no mistake: this spot in the Garden District doesn’t play second fiddle to anybody when it comes to the morning meal. That’s because plates of country ham with hollow cheese puffs, fried chicken biscuits, and their take on a grand slam McMuffins studded with an American flag are so good. Plus, walking in feels like you set a time machine to 1991—there’s so much ‘80s and ‘90s ephemera scattered everywhere throughout the dining room. You’ll find a Nickelodeon “Guts” Aggro Crag trophy on the long shelf, a Michael Bolton READ poster from the American Library Association on the wall, and a life-size E.T. statue standing watch over the kitchen.

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Brennan’s has been open since 1946, beloved among locals and tourists for Creole staples. And it’s a classic for a reason. You’re treated like royalty here, with chairs pulled, napkins delicately placed on your lap, and your table adequately spruced throughout your meal. What made it famous in the first place is that they invented bananas foster, so of course it’s a must. All the egg entrees are amazing too: hussarde, sardou, benedict, St. Charles, and the lobster omelet cardinal. The seasonal cocktails are always good, but lean into the more old-school breakfast drinks, like the Bloody Bull with housemade Bloody Mary mix, vodka, and beef bouillon, or some New Orleans-style coffee and chicory.

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

Every time we pass Surrey’s in the Lower Garden District, there’s a line. Even on weekdays. We’re here to tell you it’s worth the wait. You’ll smell the sauteeing New Orleans seasoning trinity of bell peppers, onions, and celery right when you walk in (and probably even waiting in line). Stay focused and get some french toast or the crab meat omelet, which is easily one of the best crab dishes in the city. It’s filled with avocado and brie, and topped with creamy lump crab meat sauce that sparks joy every time we spot it on our fork. Get a biscuit instead of toast with that, because it’s ideal for sopping up that sauce—it's moist but still dense enough to stand up to aggressive plate swabbing. Despite the lines, the food comes out quickly, you won’t feel rushed, and every other table is lingering and having fun.

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

Bearcat looks like any trendy restaurant that opened in the mid-to-late 2010s: huge windows, succulents all around, somewhat industrial decor, and a neutral color scheme. But it’s the breakfast dishes that make this place special, not the numerous jade plants. Go for the housemade chia pudding and the Cat Momma biscuit with spicy lemon butter crab sauce. The biscuits are soft, warm, and some of the butteriest on this guide. The vegan food here is also a highlight, particularly the ranchero bowl filled with black beans, avocado, and salsa, topped with creamy cashew crema and slightly spicy ranchero sauce. Order a butterfly matcha lemonade to pair with everything.

For people working remote, there’s WeWorks and then there are places like Satsuma in the Bywater. This is a pretty ideal cafe to get some work done over avocado toasts upgraded with whipped feta and spiked with chili oil, or bagels with lox and cream cheese full of caramelized onions. They’ve got a long cushy booth spanning half the restaurant, and a communal high-top that’s perfect for collaboration or coworking—plus, the wifi password is posted in multiple spots, so you can avoid awkwardly going up to the counter if you forget. We adore the cold-pressed fresh juices, and recommend taking one with you on a stroll around the neighborhood. Because hey, you responded to an email on time and even typed up a new one. Pomodoro timer-designated break, please.

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastBYOBKids

Everything at Scrambled is slightly over the top in the best way. Yes, even the decor with hand-painted heart-shaped sunny-side-up eggs. The Kashon’s Korner side of the menu has fun french toasts, and the board is a perfect way to try a couple of options (that the chef chooses). If you’re more type-A with your breakfast, some great choices are Danny’s chilaquiles topped with pickled red onions, chicken and waffles benny featuring a plump and well-seasoned chicken breast, or shrimp and grits swimming in a particularly BBQ shrimpy gravy. They also do refreshing but not-too-sweet juice blends (like the raspberry lychee), so it’s a fun place to BYOB (for an extra $10) when you want something more than just a basic mimosa.

Walking into Slim Goodies feels like you took a road trip in the ‘80s and stopped at a diner. There are Polaroids of guests all over the walls, Debbie Gibson and Madonna playing on the speakers, and new friends at every table. You can’t go wrong with any of the omelets or pancakes, but the more excessive plates tend to be the best things. Like the extra meaty and cheesy Sinkhole omelet and the Banarama pancake that contains an entire banana. The cocktails are especially good, like the brandy milk punch, refreshing satsuma frozen lemonade, and chaotic Bloody Mary served in a hurricane glass with bacon, fried potatoes, and pickled vegetables. Come here on a day when you have no plans, and take a drink to go while you spend a couple hours strolling and window shopping in the neighborhood.

Ayu is the most exciting bakery in the city. It’s easy to get hyped about the creative treats here, like the coconutty kaya buns, cheesy crawfish croissant sandwiches, flaky parm and chive biscuits, muffuletta breadsticks, and sweet-savory jalapeño cornbread cookies. Our advice: go early, try whatever special they’re doing (the satsuma curd-filled BaYule Log was so good, we’re haunted by it not being on the menu full time), and order as many pastries as you can convince yourself is acceptable. They have a couple of tables outside that are ideal for snacking, drinking one of their on-point lattes, and gazing out on to Washington Square.

We love the spicy margaritas and other cocktails at Birdy’s, but love ordering bottomless mimosas and sharing plates with our friends just as much. Thanks to our math teachers, we know that if bottomless mimosas are $22 and individual mimosas are $9, we’re simply losing money if we don’t do the bottomless option. More importantly, Birdy's is just a fun spot for things like their brunch board with teeny-weeny Homer Simpson donuts, pancakes, and cookies, as well as soft-boiled eggs, fresh greens, and prosciutto. The dining room has the usual pink neon lights, and the covered patio with turf flooring is an equally great place to take down a chicken thigh biscuit or pulled pork benedict.

You can find some of the most affordable and delicious breakfast food from this pagoda-shaped, worker-owned cooperative cafe at the edge of the 7th Ward. The menu has a little bit of everything, but some of the best dishes are the soft and dense banana Nutella bread with its slightly crisp and chewy top, To Le’s lemongrass tofu taco made with ingredients direct from VEGGI Farmers Cooperative in New Orleans East, and the Cuban pulled pork taco, which you should wash down with a ginger-lavender tea or some mango lassi. There’s a ton of outdoor seating here, too, including a covered patio and a long counter where you can do some birdwatching.

photo credit: Cory Fontenot

There’s great Vietnamese food all over the city, but it’s particularly excellent in Michoud and Village de l'Est. That’s where you’ll find Ba Mien, which is perfect for a hot or iced chicory coffee with condensed milk and Vietnamese dishes that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Yes, they’ve got pho, cold noodle salads loaded with peanuts and fish sauce, and rice plates, but it’s the banh cuon thit nuong, or steamed rice rolls with grilled pork, and DIY spring rolls that really set this place apart. The casual dining room could probably fit multiple brass bands, so there's plenty of space for you and your friends when you need some food ASAP.

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastWalk-InsSports!

Casa Honduras, a former Shoney’s turned Honduran restaurant, is sort of like three businesses in one: an affordable breakfast spot full of families, a sports bar to watch soccer during the afternoon, and a discoteca at night where you can dance and do a shot of gifiti, a rum-based botanical that’s a Garifuna tradition. But you’re here for breakfast, which means that pupusas with stretchy cheese and tender chicharron and a baleada con todo are non-negotiables. For the latter, they take a thick white corn tortilla and fill it with refried beans, cream, queso fresco, avocado, scrambled eggs, and a big helping of carne asada. Always get some maduros and a maracuya or melon agua fresca as well.

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