Just In Time For Essence Fest: NOLA from a Local Perspective

Ok. You’re coming to New Orleans. You’ve heard that the food is amazing and you can’t wait to eat your way through the city, right? You’ve been warned that many downtown restaurants are tourist traps that brag they have “the best *fill in the blank* in the city” and its usually they don’t even rank in the best of the city block. So, you ask all the “locals” where the best place to get gumbo, red beans and jambalaya are…and they look at you with a blank stare. Its because as New Orleanians, we don’t order that stuff out! The best place to get that type of local goodness is at our mama’s house! Or grandmama’s house! Or auntie or cousin! We eat local stuff at somebody’s house! But not just anybody’s house. LOL I’m serious tho. But to help you visitors out, I composed a list of a few local favorites that serve up the local fares and come pretty close to tasting like ya mama & nem’s home cooking! I also threw in some non-food must-dos! Enjoy and let me know how you like them.


1.) Neyow’s Creole Cafe – 3332 Bienville Street


They’ve recently upgraded the place and can now accommodate more people. However, the more they can accommodate, the more people come! Get here early (6-6:30p) for dinner to beat the rush. Their oysters are really popular!

Update: I’ve been here twice since this post and I was NOT impressed. The Bow Wow drink is the only thing I would personally recommend outside of the ambiance (cool, neighborhood vibe with good music playing usually) . The food is okay at best. I don’t eat oysters, but I hear the chargrilled oysters are tasty. That is the ONLY menu item that I’ve heard consistently good things about. Beware! Vegetables are straight out the can/freezer and super bland! No flavor whatsoever. 


2.) Elizabeth’s – 601 Gallier Street


A brunch fav! However, please note that the weekday brunch menu is different from the weekend brunch menu and guess what? I love the weekDAY menu so much better. Due to high weekend traffic, they limit the menu. Still good, but way less options. If possible, I recommend going during the week instead. Also plenty of non-brunch yumminess as well. Either way, you should put it on your to-do list for the ambiance alone. The decor is very cool and artsy and its located in the very hip and up and coming by-water area. You will be certain that you are brunching in New Orleans throughout your dining experience.


3.) Katie’s – 3701 Iberville Street


Neighborhood dining at its best! Katie’s serves up po-boys, pizzas, fancy fries, and local favorite doberge cake! Ask about it! Plus a full bar of course. Its somewhat off the beaten path, but definitely a local gem.

4.) Hansen’s –  4801 Tchoupitoulas Street


You haven’t had a snowball until you’ve had one from Hansen’s! I’m told that their sno-bliz machine is actually patented so that NO other snowball will have ice as smooth and creamy as theirs! Try it and become a believer! Warning::: There WILL be a line. Prepare to wait. Its worth it.

Must do’s that you’ve probably heard of:

5.) Cafe Du Monde: Because beignets. Please don’t order beignets from anywhere else. Its just not the same.

6.) Port of Call: Yea their burgers are good, but the locals go for the drinks. Huma Huma please.

7.) Seed: because Vegetarian is my thang. They have a fried eggplant po-boy that is AH-maz-ING!

8.) Tarot Reading at Marie Laveau’s Voodoo House: because you’re in New Orleans! They’re only $25 and your stories of your New Orleans visit can start with “remember when we went to that voodoo place in New Orleans” πŸ™‚ I recommend Miles or Philip if you can schedule with them! Plus they have cool and funny things in the store to help you cast a spell on your love life or to get that pesky boss off your back.

9.) Blue Nile: because music. Catch the Soul Rebels or a reggae band or who knows who performing at this Frenchman Street favorite. Super casual. Super cool. Super New Orleans.

10.) New Orleans Original Daquiris: because there is a drive thru. Yes they have alcohol in them. Yes, drinking and driving is illegal here. Yes, you’re asking too many questions now!

“Laissez le bon temps rouler!” translation- “Let the good times roll!” Follow this guide and they certainly will πŸ™‚







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