New Orleans Beyond Bourbon Street
In a city crowded with cocktail meccas, cutting-edge restaurants and cozy wine bars, it’s hard to know where you should hit to fully experience the charm of the Crescent City, especially if you only have a few short days. Don’t fret—we’ve scoured the bustling streets and discovered the essential stops for must-try tipples and tantalizing food. Here are the 10 you need to visit the next time you’re in New Orleans.
Celebrity chef and author Emeril Lagasse has been serving up his signature New Orleans-inspired cuisine at hotspot Emeril’s since 1990. Meat lovers should order the char-grilled Creekstone ribeye and maple-braised short rib dish, sprinkled with beef bacon and served with root vegetable risotto. Sommelier Ray Gumpert, who curates the eatery’s 1,800-bottle wine list, masterfully pairs this entrée with Saint-Joseph’s La Lauves Syrah.
At Cochon Restaurant, Louisiana-native and James Beard-award winner Executive Chef Donald Link dazzles diners with his Cajun-centric concoctions that feature fresh ingredients sourced straight from local farms and fisherman. The smoked ham hock with red beans, rice and pickled peppers, paired with Saint-Damien’s 2012 Côtes du Rhône La Bouveau, is a must. Also great: The short ribs topped with pickled watermelon and served with Louisiana’s own Tin Roof Brewery’s Perfect Tin Amber Ale. (It’s brewed in nearby Baton Rouge.)
It’s not hyperbole to say that Tujague’s (pronounced too-jacks) is a New Orleans institution. Over the last 158 years since opening (it’s survived Prohibition and the Great Depression), this unassuming watering hole has attracted locals and tourists alike for its top shelf spirits and classic cocktails. To truly immerse yourself in the setting, order the mint-flavored Grasshopper, which was invented here.
You could spend an entire weekend eating through celebrity chef John Besh’s empire—he’s the mastermind behind nine illustrious kitchens, including August, Borgne and Besh Steak—but hit Domenica (“Sunday” in Italian), where he and long-time accomplice Alon Shaya dish out the Big Easy’s best artisanal pizza. There are few foods as tasty as the roasted carrot and goat cheese pie, peppered with red onion, Brussels sprouts and beets. Happy hour kicks off every day (weekends included) at 3 pm, when all pizzas and drinks are half price.
Don’t miss a sip-and-spin session at the French Quarter’s Carousel Bar & Lounge at Hotel Monteleone. For decades, patrons have come here to polish off classic cocktails while they orbit the bar (it takes about fifteen minutes to make one full circle) and listen to local musicians. The Monteleone Cocktail, a whiskey drink mixed with Domaine de Canton, St.-Germain, orange bitters and ginger ale, is popular, but if you’re craving something strong and smooth, stick to the Vieux Carré cocktail, which was invented here in 1938.
Patrick’s Bar Vin, located in the heart of the French Quarter, takes a glass of wine to a whole new level. The bar’s extensive, diverse wine list isn’t the only great thing about it: It features a cozy courtyard for al fresco sipping and also offers guests personalized, climate-controlled wine lockers in which they store their own bottles to pop open at any time.
Pictured: Owner Patrick Van Hoorebeek
Situated south of Bourbon Street (hence the name), SoBou takes its spirits program as seriously as it does its food menu. The stylish saloon serves up some of the city’s most delicious and cheap—25 cents each during happy hour—martinis, shaken to perfection by Head Bar Chef and former New Yorker Abigail Gullo. Pair your sip with some bar bites—shrimp and tasso pincho and smoky pulled-pork tacos are two tasty choices—for $3–$6 from 3pm–6pm.
Only true insiders know to hit the Uptown canteen Delachaise for a late-night glass of fermented grape juice (sit outside when the weather’s nice). The wine-by-the-glass program is impressive, featuring everything from Caparone’s 2006 Sangiovese from Paso Robles to Bodegas Olivares’s 2007 Monastrell from Jumilla—plus the bar offers a lengthy craft-beer list and an eclectic selection of cheese and charcuterie.
Reserve your seat for jazz brunch at Commander’s Palace, the Garden District eatery that dishes out Haute Creole cuisine dreamed up by James Beard Award-winning chef Tory McPhail. Complement the band’s live tunes with a sampling of the snapping-turtle soup, dressed with veal stock, crushed lemon and aged Sherry. It’s second only to the bread-pudding soufflé, which is finished tableside with whiskey cream sauce and paired with Bourbon milk punch.
Get your day started right by devouring a down-home breakfast at Ruby Slipper Café in the Central Business District (though there are three other locations in NOLA). The restaurant is known for using only local ingredients—the dairy, bread, sausage and coffee is all sourced from local purveyors—and being creative. The fried catfish is served over French-bread spears and topped with poached eggs, sautéed spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and tasso, finished with Creole tomato court bouillon. And for the late riser, they offer the Rubyn—corned beef and Swiss cheese, topped with sauerkraut and Russian dressing, served on a marble-rye bagel.
- 3Cochon Restaurant
- 6Carousel Bar & Lounge
- 11Ruby Slipper Café