The 10 Best Places To Dine In New Orleans Right Now

As a culinary center of the South, it seems as if a new restaurant opens in New Orleans every other week, and all of them offer stiff competition. So where should diners direct their attention in the city right now?

Summertime means that many spots are trying their hand at seasonal specialties like fresh redfish or scallop crudo. Bars are putting a frozen spin on traditional cocktails, serving adult slushies for steamy Louisiana afternoons. Homegrown hits incorporating local ingredients are always an easy choice, and thoughtful and well-priced Euro-centric wine lists fit every adventurous eater's style and budget. This summer, the city's previously limited lunch and brunch options have expanded, enticing eaters with less waiting and more munching. Below are the hottest spots in the Crescent City to drink and dine right now:


Nestled between Bouligny Tavern and Harry's Hardware on Magazine Street, this uptown eatery opened its doors in February. Launched by the minds behind successful standbys Sylvain and Meauxbar, this Victorian residence turned restaurant boasts two charming bars, intimate tables with elegant red high-back chairs, and front-lawn seating. The delightfully fresh and ever-changing menu is not to be missed. Be sure to try the refreshing scallop crudo, crab and avocado toasts, and the butter-baked Gulf shrimp. A phenomenal cocktail menu featuring old and new favorites entices the local uptown crowd, and the Friday-through-Sunday brunch adds a delicious opportunity for busy and hungry travelers trying to see and taste it all. 3607 Magazine St.; 504-509-7655;

Pho Tau Bay

After a yearlong absence, this classic Vietnamese eatery from the Westbank finds a new home on Tulane Avenue. The family-run eatery traces its lineage to an unlikely romance during the Vietnam War between an American GI stationed in Saigon and the daughter of a Vietnamese restaurateur. The family and its restaurant embody the entire story, serving delicious spring rolls alongside the gentle lull of Glenn Miller tunes in the background. Seating is ample and communal — reminiscent of a traditional Vietnamese outdoor food market. Must-haves: the P.T.B Wonton Soup with egg noodles added, and the Banh Mi Nem Nuong (BBQ Pork Meatball Po-Boy). Numerous vegetarian selections make the restaurant a perfect fit for a diverse group, but be sure to get there early! Doors are locked for dine-in at 5 p.m., and the place is closed Saturdays and Sundays. 1565 Tulane Ave.; 504-368-9846;

Bakery Bar

Located in the former Eleven 79 space in the Lower Garden District, Bakery Bar homes in on the success of local bakery duo Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV of Debbie Does Doberge (formerly housed in 12 Mile Limit) and partners with talent from Coquette alums for an entirely enticing experience. The prized doberge cake will remain readily available for pickup or dine-in. The atmosphere is cozy and beguiling, beckoning patrons to stay a while with its generous stash of communal board games and books. Delicious and innovative cocktails pair perfectly with the small plates and baked goods. The place is perfect for an after-supper nightcap or two — definitely try the Absinthe Frappe and Pimento Cheese Scone-wiches. Still hungry? Don't miss the Brandy Alejandro cocktail paired with the Salted Caramel Dobites (mini-Doberge cakes). 1179 Annunciation St.; 504-265-8884;

Revel Cafe and Bar

The highly anticipated casual eatery opened in February to much acclaim. Located in midcity on Carrollton and Canal, it is the brainchild of New Orleans cocktail legend Chris McMillian, a founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, all-around professional bartender and cocktail-lore scholar. The menu offers an array of casual tasty sandwiches on homemade bread such as the Crawfish Grilled Cheese and enticing appetizer options including a daily Tartine special and Slow-Smoked Pork Nachos. Classic Southern cocktails such as mint juleps and Pimm's cups are perfect for sipping on a summer day in the city. 133 N. Carrollton Ave.; 504-309-6122;

Cafe Henri

The newest opening for the James Beard Award–nominated team behind Cure and Cane & Table is a decisive turn toward a more casual and convivial atmosphere. Located in the old Booty's Street Food space in the Bywater neighborhood, the aim is to offer delicious takes on local favorites for fantastic prices and without pretension. The cocktail menu is classic, and the frozen Negroni is the stuff of dreams. The eatery also offers an enticing happy hour with an ample selection of local and favorite beers and wines. Got a tot in tow? Don't shy away — this restaurant is very family-friendly, a rare oasis in the land of 24-hour bars. Be sure to try the Brisket Lasagna and the Buttered Soba Noodles with jumbo lump crab. Easy bicycle parking out front makes it the perfect neighborhood restaurant. 800 Louisa St.;

Josephine Estelle

The majestic eatery inside the new Ace Hotel in the city's central business district made its grand entrance in March. The space offers pleasing Art Deco styling and brings the outdoors of nearby Lafayette Square inside with a vibrant green palm mural crawling aloft paired with grand windows that shed ample light. The restaurant features a Southern-inspired Italian menu created by Ace's culinary directors, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, who named the restaurant in honor of their respective daughters. The Italian-driven wine list is deep and competitively priced, and the Louisiana-Italy integration continues on the cocktail list, where HooDoo Chicory Liqueur shares space with Amaro Montenegro in the aromatic "Bittersweet Symphony." The dinner menu is seasonal and currently features Snapper Crudo with brown butter — a sweet and savory take on a regularly citrusy item. The house-made pasta is not to be missed, and the agnolotti with sweetbreads and wild mushrooms is an easy favorite. Ace Hotel, 600 Carondelet St.; 504-930-3070;

Bar Frances

Opened by popular New Orleans "wine guys" PJ Rosenberg and Mark Latter, Bar Frances is a well-appointed wine bar and bistro on Freret Street that brings a nuanced, American cuisine to the growing neighborhood. Named for Rosenberg's grandmother, the restaurant offers quaint outdoor seating, a well-appointed bar with clean subway tile, and a stellar Euro-centric wine program that pairs perfectly with the seasonal menu offerings. The happy hour is perfect for a leisurely afternoon snack showcasing discounted cocktails, wines, and small plates. The chicken liver mousse with shallot aigre-doux is a delightful treat, especially paired with the house rosé. 4525 Freret St.; 504-371-5043;


The newest location for successful husband-and-wife restaurateurs Sean Josephs and Mani Dawes is a sister restaurant to Josephs's New York City restaurant Maysville in more ways than one. Simon Kenton, the restaurant's namesake, is a founder of the town of Maysville, the Kentucky port town from which bourbon was first shipped downstream to New Orleans. The restaurant features a seasonal raw bar that overlooks bustling Magazine Street and a library of diverse and thematically appropriate American whiskeys. The focus of the cuisine is grilled, smoked, and charred flavors that have a pairing affinity for bourbon. In fact, whiskey is an often-incorporated ingredient on the menu, such as the bourbon aioli that graces the plate of crispy grits with country ham. Chef Kyle Knall eschews the fancy menu-item-naming trend and calls things like they are, such as the succulent Chicken Under a Brick. The eatery also offers a three-course lunch option for $29 that tempts the drinking lunch crowd with the dessert choices of a scoop of ice cream or a shot of Buffalo Trace bourbon. 5757 Magazine St.; 504-891-1177;


This French Riviera–styled eatery, tucked away in the cozy Bywater neighborhood, slowly made its presence known this past January. There was no advertising, no fanfare and hardly anyone knew what the plain wooden fence held until they dared to step inside. Still the neighborhood's best kept secret, N7 is a French culinary wonderland named for the highway that ferries weary Parisians to their vacations on the Riviera. The restaurant offers no fancy specialty cocktails — only the classics — and an beguiling and ever-changing wine list. The scene is intimate and dimly lit and fairly quiet for a New Orleans restaurant providing a truly romantic experience. The menu offers a dazzling array of European dishes with the occasional Japanese influence thrown in for spice as well as a diverse selection of the best canned seafood available — a classic coastal French mainstay. Seasonally appropriate offerings means the menu changes often, offering a multitude of experiences from one single venue. 1117 Montegut St.;

Trinity Restaurant

Looking for a serious dive into the deep end of the New Orleans food pool? You're in luck at Trinity, named for the ubiquitous mixture of onion, celery, and bell pepper that forms the base for many a Southern dish. Mere blocks from Tujague's, the grande dame of old-school New Orleans dining, Trinity offers a youthful, refined take on the often overworked New Orleans theme. Chef Michael Isolani, previously of Bouligny Tavern, has a magical way of giving traditionally heavy dishes a more youthful vibrance while retaining all the charm and flavor of the originals. The French Quarter eatery provides dining space with intriguing views of the open kitchen, the active bar scene and the historical New Orleans architecture on the upstairs balcony. And don't miss the smoked deviled eggs. 1117 Decatur St.; 504-325-5789;