What To Do In New Orleans

Here’s the popular list of great places to go in New Orleans compiled by my buddy Craig Bayer of Optiable  ( I don’t know what it means either) … I vouch for pretty much most of them.


I usually get asked by friends where to go when visiting New Orleans. The easiest thing to do was to break New Orleans into sections and list my favorite places in each area. If you show this list to a local, they will probably call me an idiot and complain that I left off “insert pretentious restaurant”.  New Orleanians are very passionate of their restaurant and bars, which is why we have some many great places.

French Quarter:  Tourist Trap,however there are some great places.Try to get out before 10 pm.

La Fitte’s Blacksmith Shop/ Bar -Oldest Bar in the United States. Lit by candles, except theJukebox and Daiquiri Machine, just like the 1800s.

Sylvain(Food) My favorite place to eat in the quarter. They take reservations, and I would make one, because they fill up fast.

Old Absinthe House(Bar)-Get a Sazerac, you can attribute 75% of your next day hang over to it.

Coops(Food) Hole in wall atmosphere: Crab Claws are amazing as well as the fried chicken and Jambalaya. They used to have a Cat that lived in the Bar, but I think it died. It had no tail.   (Editors note: Craig is probably referring to Mr. Wu, who actually resided next door at Mollys which shares a common rear service entrance .. see a pic at this link Mr Wu )

Molly’s at the Market(Bar) –Next to Coops, best Bloody Mary in New Orleans, the secret is a splash of Guinness.  The irish coffee slushie is also a must.

Stanley-My favorite breakfast place in the Quarter.
Bar Tonique(Bar)-If you’re a mixologist go here.Take a Cab or Uber there and back, don’t walk. Also, if you refer to yourself as a mixologist, you’re a moron.

Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar  -The bar moves in a circle,  so if you can get drunk enough, it will start saying in one place.

Krystal Burger(food) -Free T-Bags, open 24 hours.  (Editors Note: this refers to a local legendary post Bama LSU football game incident: see story here at Tbag

CBD  Central Business District(This is Poydras St., Canal, and the Superdome Area)

Dragos(Food) –Charbroiled Oysters,get a dozen as the main meal and don’t share.
Emeril’sDelmonico(Food)–My Favorite overall Nola Restaurant.
Couchon(Food) -High ClassBarbecue.James Beard Finalist Chef.
Peche(Food) -Owned by Donald Link, who also owns Couchon, might be one of the best seafood places in nola. And it just won James Beard award for best new restaurant and new Chef.
The Rusty Nail -Local Watering Hole.

Frenchmen Street / Marigny / Bywater
If you want Jazz, live here.It’s the hipster version of Bourbon Street. This is where the locals go at night.  (Editors Note: actually all sorts of music all night long these days)
Blue Nile(Music)-Jazz Club
The Spotted Cat(Music) -Jazz Club
dba–(Music) Music Club. Try to sit in the fish bowl in the front. Great people watching.
Bacchanal-(Wine Bar) If you like wine,go here.
Port of Call (Food)-This really on the end of quarter, great burger place that comes with a full baked potato. Get a Monsoon, but be warned, it is a really strong drink. There is always a line.

Mid –City
Down Canal Street near City Park and the Fair Grounds (Jazz Fest)

Liuzzuas by the Track-(Food) –Best Gumbo in New Orleans. Near the track. (Editors note: “the track” refers to the NO Fairgrounds and Slots which is the home of JazzFest but better known as the ‘hood of Tom O )

Mandina’s–(Food)Get the Turtle Soup.
New Orleans Fair Grounds (Horses)-You need a collared shirt. Try to come on a weekend where they are racing Camels. This is also where Jazz Fest happens.
Parkway Bakery and Tavern (Food)-Another famous po-boy place, even POTUS has eaten here.
Ralph’s on the Park (Food) -High end dining located across from City Park.

Garden District
From the CBD to Audubon Park,take the Street Car, it’s worth it. Upper and Lower Garden District
St. Joes Bar (Bar) –Best Mojito in Nola.
Patois(food) -Upscale restaurant in the heart of the Lower Garden District. Great food, great people. Ask for a Ladle and they will hook you up.
Domilie’s Poboy and Bar(food) -Another great po-boy place
Boulingy Tavern(food) -This is next to Lilette (which is a great restaurant) and shares the kitchen. Food and drinks are top notch.

Irish Channel
Between the Garden District and the CBD.I used to live on First and Magazine for a couple of years.
Commander’s Palace(Food)-Classy Restaurant.A wonder dining experience. 25cent Martinis during lunch.
Tracey’s(food) -It is the old Parasols, even though the old Parasol is still around. After a couple of drinks, this will make sense. This is my hangout, best Roast Beef Po-Boy in the World.
The Bulldog(bar) -Best Beer selection in New Orleans. Like most Nola bars extremely Dog Friendly.
Joey K’s (food) -Great restaurant on Magazine Street, has that home cooking feel, everything here is wonderful.
Freret St
This is place was dead when I went to college, but now is pretty hopping.
The Company Burger (Food)-might be the best burger place in Nola.
High Hat Café (food) -This place resembles an old school diner you would see in small town Louisiana and the food is top notch.

Chalmette Battlefield-Last major battle of the war of 1812, which was fought after the War was over, cause in New Orleans, we are so far behind, where ahead. Take the Creole Queen from Jackson Brewery. Make sure you buy the buffet with your ticket. The food is crap but they have a keg of Abita Purple Haze. You get a great trip down the Mississippi and about an hour or two to view the battlefield.
The National World War II Museum-I used to work here, its world class. Watch the video in the Forbes Theatre, it’s worth it. It will probably take you the whole day, have lunch at The American Sector.
St. Charles Street Car -For $1.25 each way you will get a great view on New Orleans.
Moscas-This is an ItalianRestaurantout in Avondale, which is about 45 mins from New Orleans. This was the hangout of mobsterCarlos Marcello.
Jean LaFitte National park-This is also a 45 minute drive out of New Orleans. I had a friend visiting from Australia who wanted to do something besides drinking. I am amazed no one dies here, you walk in a swamp and regularly run into Alligators and all sorts of snakes. It takes about 2-3 hours and is worth it.

New Orleans is a wonderful place but it is also very dangerous. I have had multiple friends mugged, robbed, and pistolwhippedin the French Quarter. Don’t go to an ATM at night, these are usually staked out, travel in packs, take an Uber and be careful.

Tom’s Additional Recommnedations

Dooky Chase’s ……  http://www.dookychaserestaurant.com     Best creole cuisine in town and a legendary secret meeting place of civil rights groups in the 60’s

The Mother In Law Lounge  … https://www.kermitstrememotherinlawlounge.com/     too much musical legend for one sentence

The Ruby Slipper   https://www.therubyslippercafe.net/   local chain started after The Storm

Lil Dizzys Cafe  http://lildizzyscafe.net/      authentic NOLA soul food breakfast




Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.