The Best Restaurants In The French Quarter

There are more places to eat and drink in the French Quarter than there are ghost stories about New Orleans. Here are the 15 restaurants we like best.
The Best Restaurants In The French Quarter image

photo credit: Stephen Lomonaco

Hanging out in the French Quarter is like binge-watching every season of Below Deck: it's fun while you're doing it, but once you're done, you're glad you escaped with your sense of reality intact. But if you look beyond the fake voodoo shops, kitschy galleries, and everything on Bourbon Street, you'll find some of the city's best (and most classic) restaurants. Check out our favorite spots in the French Quarter, and whatever you do, go easy on the hurricanes.


photo credit: Sam Hanna


French Quarter

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Mamou opened a little over a year ago, but it's already one of the best French restaurants in town. It’s a great place to check out if you’re around Louis Armstrong Park and need a glass of wine and a snack, or just want to hang out at a lively bar. We love the braised celery hearts with beef tongue, gulf fish court bouillon, and risotto—basically anything that leans into the rich and butter-loaded dishes they do really well.

photo credit: Arnaud's



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Arnaud’s is a classic New Orleans restaurant located right off Bourbon Street that's been serving up great food and cocktails since 1918. The best time to come here is for their jazz brunch when they do a three-course, prix fixe with dishes like grillades and grits, eggs sardou, and shrimp arnaud. You should also make time for Arnaud’s French 75 Bar for a sazerac or an Old Fashioned.

This Creole restaurant claims they’re haunted, and they even keep a table for their resident ghost. While the whole experience might sound like the plot of a PG-rated Disney movie, this is about as classic of a New Orleans experience as you can get. Drink a cocktail in the dark and moody, second-floor seance lounge or on the patio overlooking Jackson Square, and then settle in at a candle-lit table for some seafood gumbo and redfish with smoked andouille salad. They also have a live jazz brunch on Sundays—which might seem a little avant-garde for the spirits of the early 1800s who haunt the place.

Saint John is from the same team behind Gris-Gris, one of our favorite restaurants on Magazine Street. This newer spot is another excellent place for Southern and Creole dishes, in a space that feels both old-school and modern New Orleans, thanks to the lovely open kitchen with counter seating and paintings by local artists that line the wall. Come for a date night dinner where you can split dishes like oysters three ways, a rich plate of beef daube, and buttery scallops over sweet potato puree. They also do a great drag brunch where you can get a lot of the same dishes as the dinner menu, with a side of immaculate lashes and unlimited slayage.

Jewel of the South puts equal emphasis on the food and cocktails, and both are extremely quality, if not a little bit over the top. There are multiple cocktails that cost over $25, and you’ll find a lot of caviar on the menu, along with plates of wagyu beef tongue. We like it best for a sit-down dinner in the plant-filled courtyard, but it’s just as good for walking in for some drinks and snacks at the bar. The owner and bartender is somewhat of a local legend, and you can often see him behind the bar mixing up cocktails or shooting the sh*t with regulars and tourists.

Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is a New Orleans right of passage. To experience it best, you need to sit in the downstairs dining room, which requires getting in line on Bourbon Street before it opens at 11:30am. The servers wear tuxes, everybody is drinking sazeracs and glasses of milk punch, and you can eat old-school classics like shrimp remoulade and gumbo. If you’re looking for a proper “Yes, I’m definitely in New Orleans” way to kick off a weekend, start at Galatoire’s.

​​Sure, you could settle for Waffle House after a night out, but you should go to Palm & Pine instead. They're open until 1am on Friday and Saturday and serve shareable dishes like buttery cornbread with fermented chili butter, curry crab beignets, and a crispy fried chicken sandwich with pepper jelly hot sauce. And yes, it’s also a good option when it’s still light out. They do a great Sunday brunch where you can eat some duck fat fried potatoes and actually make out all the cool art on the walls.

Classic spots in the French Quarter tend to turn tables fast, which can make it feel like you're just a part of a large march of tourists. But at Bayona, you can linger in the plant-filled courtyard (that has more cobblestones than a Roman sidestreet) with a couple friends for a while over a bunch of Creole dishes. It feels like your own secret little garden where you can eat duck liver pate, grilled pork chops, and fennel and pepper-crusted lamb loin that’s always cooked perfectly.

If you only have brunch once in New Orleans, it should be at Brennan’s. Even though you might be surrounded by bachelorette parties, this place has been open for more than 70 years, serves top-notch eggs benedict and gumbo, and is known for their excellent service. If morning drinking is something you’re interested in, make sure to try the brandy milk punch.

It’s hard to tell if Cane & Table is a restaurant with great drinks, or a fancy cocktail bar that serves surprisingly good food. Either way, their big back courtyard is the perfect place to escape the chaos of nearby Bourbon Street. They have one of the most diverse cocktail menus in the city and serve a solid mix of rotating small plates and entrees, like green gumbo and a whole roasted fish. Whether you need a place for a big group or somewhere for a date, Cane & Table is the spot.

The French Quarter gets packed on the weekend, and as a result, most of your dinner options are going to be crowded dining rooms or small back patios filled with too many tables. Rather than deal with all of that, have dinner on the upstairs terrace at Cafe Sbisa. This vintage French-Creole restaurant is one of the few places in the area where you can have cocktails and eat some barbecue shrimp and crab cakes outside, while the crowd below stays comfortably out of earshot. After dinner, grab a drink at the bar inside, which dates back to 1899 and is the last refuge before you reenter the madness.

When it comes to po'boys, what the French Quarter lacks in quantity it makes up in quality—there are two locations of Killer Poboys, and they're about a block away from each other. In addition to classics like grilled shrimp, this place serves a few more unexpected options, like glazed pork belly and Thai BBQ tofu. Head to the main shop on Dauphine for the full menu, or go to the location inside Erin Rose if you want a beer with your po’boy.

Sylvain is a semi-upscale neighborhood spot that you’ll wish was around the corner from where you get your mail delivered. Located just off Jackson Square, this place serves some of our favorite all-purpose dishes, like cast-iron cornbread and a truly great fried chicken sandwich. Besides food, Sylvain is equally perfect for a few cocktails on their back patio, in case you’ve already eaten for the fourth time that day and need a break before dinner.

Cafe Du Monde is as vintage as New Orleans gets—they've been serving coffee and beignets in the same location on Jackson Square since 1862. And while it’s one of the most touristy spots in the city, standing in the long, unorganized line is worth it. The beignets are always hot, generously caked in powdered sugar, and make for the most satisfying snack in between all your other eating plans. Grab a table if you find one, and accept the fact that you’re going to show up in the background of someone else’s vacation photos.

This spot is Temporarily Closed.

The po’boy might be the most famous sandwich in New Orleans, but the muffuletta—a giant Italian sandwich that can easily feed four people—is a close second. You can find it across the city, but it was invented at Central Grocery, and that’s where you should eat one. This Italian specialty shop looks like it’s from another century, which makes sense since it opened in 1906. There’s always a lunch crowd, but it moves quick—they churn out the muffulettas super fast. They’re currently under construction, but you can still get their muffulettas next door at Sidney’s Wine Cellar, and other spots around town. They also ship nationwide.

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Suggested Reading

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