You didn’t think you were going to come to New Orleans just for the parades did you? You will need something to soak up all of booze between partying and experiencing the New Orleans food scene is the best way to do that. From the new and trendy to classics that you can’t leave Nola without trying, here’s everything you need to eat at Mardi Gras!
A Po-boy is the quintessential New Orleans sandwich. It’s perfect for a quick lunch between parades or even as a grab and go to bring to the parade route. Watch out though, sometimes these can get messy! No matter where you are in the city, it’s never too far of a trek for a delicious po-boy. Some of our favorites are the firecracker shrimp po-boy from Irish Channel neighborhood bar Parasol’s, the oyster loaf from Casamento’s (not served on the traditional french bread but SO divine) and the short rib from Mahony’s. You can also find top notch sandwiches at Killer Poboys, Guy’s, Verti Marte, Liuzza’s by the Track, Parkway Bakery and Tavern and Domilise’s.
A Friday Lunch
If you are in New Orleans the Friday before Mardi Gras, don’t miss one of the most fabulous New Orleans traditions, a long, drawn out and indulgent Friday lunch at one of the city’s classics. Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s and Brennan’s are all ideal places to have this experience. Reservations are definitely encouraged, but it’s worth the wait in a line if that’s the route you have to go. Grab a drink while you wait! Bonus, if you come to Arnaud’s, we will be parading through and throwing beads from the balcony that day as part of our walking parade krewe, The Divas.
Duh! It’s not Mardi Gras without a king cake. Pre-order or pick one up to keep wherever you are staying because you are likely going to want more than one slice. There are so many good ones to choose from. Some of the local favorites are Dong Phuong, Randazzo’s, Haydel’s, Gambino’s and Gracious Bakery. There are lots of fun specialty cakes to be found around the city too like the Willa Jean Caramel Crunch king cake, the Babka king cake from Saba and the “Elvis” from Cochon Butcher with peanut butter, banana, bacon and marshmallow.
There’s something about fried chicken and Mardi Gras that go hand in hand. It’s the one time of year I allow myself to eat Popeye’s (minus all the chicken sandwiches). The full spread of fried chicken, biscuits and red beans & rice to go from Popeye’s is perfect for your parade pregame, after party or to bring picnic style onto the route. For a more dignified fried chicken experience, try some of the city’s other favorites like Willie Mae’s, Dooky Chase or the family style fried chicken at Coquette during brunch.
This year’s later Mardi Gras means that crawfish boils will be in full effect! I wouldn’t recommend trying to boil them yourself unless you are being instructed by a local , but there are tons of seafood markets to take them to go and places that serve them by the pound. Big Fisherman is great if you want to take them elsewhere. If you would rather dine in which is probably easiest, try Frankie and Johnny’s, Bevi Seafood Co. or one of the city’s local breweries like Urban South or Nola Brewing.
Brunch, our favorite meal. Many claim that New Orleans is the place where brunch was born. While that may or may not be the case, it’s definitely the case that brunch is the most fun meal in New Orleans, so save time for it! Whether you choose somewhere more modern like Jack Rose (CHAMBONGS), Justine, The Country Club’s drag brunch, Willa Jean or go with a classic like Brennan’s or Broussard’s, you won’t be disappointed!
We may have lost the beignets in our name, but that doesn’t mean they are not worthy. I’ve heard skepticism as to whether or not beignets or the real deal or if they are some tourist trap. Yes, they are a widely recommended “must eat” in New Orleans, but they are the real deal. Skip the Cafe du Monde lines and head to Cafe Beignet, a ‘grammable cafe on Royal street. If you’re feeliig extra, get the beignet cake (tower of beignets) to share!
Somewhere New & Trendy
There are always lots of new places popping up in this city. If you are like us, you love to be in the know on what’s hot even when you are in a new city. Everyone is talking about new Chinese American spot Blue Giant by former Cochon chefs. I have yet to try it, but it’s at the top of my list. There’s been an influx of modern swanky Italian places downtown in the past year that would make a great add to your trip including Gianna, Sofia and La Mensa. We’ve also been getting hit with the tex-mex we have all been needing for a while with casual, cool new additions like Barracuda and Galaxie Tacos. If you are looking for craft cocktails, atmosphere and bites, try Jewel of the South, Bar Marilou, Longway Tavern or Elysian Bar. Also worth nothing is Coquette’s more casual little sister restaurant, Thalia that opened late last year.
Happy Mardi Gras & Happy Eating!