Traveling the Big Easy By the Dish
Hands down one of the best reasons to visit New Orleans is by far the food. Yes, that deliciousness that fuels our bodies and expands our waistlines. Scrumptious, delectable, tasty, food. I mean, the art and music and atmosphere are great too. But let’s be honest. We eat to survive, right? So, why not eat well!? Here’s my list of where to eat, and what to eat, in New Orleans.
With so many of the great restaurants closed because of COVID, my sister and I honestly weren’t sure what restaurants we would find open on our last trip to New Orleans. Thankfully, the smaller bistros that were open lived up to the New Orleans food reputation!
The Royal House Oyster Bar
On our first full day in the New Orleans, my sister was, shall we say, indisposed after our first full night of drinking. So, Angie and I went on an adventure on our own to “see what we could see.”
We ended up walking most of the River Walk and the Mississippi River, over Canal St then turning back into the French Quarter on Royal St. If you’re not familiar with the area, I’ll tell you we definitely earned our lunch. Which was a good thing when we stumbled upon the Royal House Oyster Bar.
Do you see that appletini drink the picture above? I ordered that with my Chicken salad and cup ‘o Gumbo. Actually, I ordered a cup of Red Beans but the waitress brought the Gumbo by accident. I didn’t mind. It was delicious!
About that appletini – I’m not sure who was behind the bar that day but that one little martini knocked my socks off! And their specialty drink “the Godfather 2” I ordered with dinner was mostly Jack Daniels. If you’re not trying to get drunk, be sure to pace yourself well in New Orleans!
We enjoyed our lunch so much at the Royal House that we had to come back for dinner to try the oysters. I must say, of the 3 places we sampled the fried oysters that week, the Royal House did the the best!
For the main course I decided to try the ravioli’s. Now, I’m not a big pasta eater for health reasons. So, this was a super special treat for me. And I cleaned my bowl! Yes, they were that tasty. A must try from me!
Katie’s Restaurant and Bar
Day 2 had us leaving the French Quarter and heading out for a Cemetery tour. If you’ve never been, taking one of the tours is a must do in New Orleans. Day tours are more for the history and night tours are more for the ghosts.
After our tour (and a lot more walking) we asked our guide what would be the best place for lunch on that side of town. His answer was a quick “Katie’s”. Katie’s Restaurant and Bar is a 2 story house turned restaurant in the heart of a residential neighborhood. And, a true favorite of the locals. Our appetizer alone told us why. May I introduce you to the “Taeyo’s Seafood Beignet.”
Now, most people who’ve heard of New Orleans have also heard of Cafe du Monde and their world famous beignets. Those powdered sugar covered doughnut-like delights that will please any sugar fan. However, this was my first time ever hearing of such a thing as a ‘savory’ beignet. So of course I ordered one.
Y’all, it was the most delicious thing I put in my mouth. Stuffed with a mixture of crawfish, shrimp, cheese, jalapenos and carmelized onions, then wrapped in a beignet dough and fried. Finally, they cover it with an incredible jalapeno aioli cream sauce. I mean to tell you. My companions were darn lucky I decided to share. I’m nothing if not giving, after all. 😊
Truthfully, I almost cancelled my po-boy sandwich and ordered another Taeyo’s Seafood Beignet for lunch. But, I kept my composure and stuck with the po-boy. It is my favorite of all the sandwich varieties. And, when the catfish is cleaned and cooked properly, I could eat them every day.
And Katie’s Catfish Po-Boy was amazing. The fish was absolutely perfect and the seasoning was on point. I don’t have a photo of my sister’s Kalamata Muffaletta. However, I can tell you if you order one, unless you’re feeding 3 people, get the half!
Pier 424 Seafood Market
After a long day of walking and exploring we made our way back down Bourbon street to the Pier 424 Seafood Market for dinner. To be honest, my experience here might be a bit jaded as I was pretty intoxicated by the time we sat down. There may or may not be video evidence of my silliness on someone’s phone. But I won’t tell you who. 😊
All kidding aside, we had a great time at Pier 424. The food took quite a long time but it was pretty busy and we were in no hurry. We started with the Alligator appetizer. To be honest, I’ve had better. I thought the breading was a bit heavy and the meat was a little overcooked for my taste. Still tasty, just not the best I’ve had. However, that honey mustard type dipping sauce that came with it was outstanding!
You might be thinking this is a bad review of Pier 424. But, I promise you, it’s not. For my dinner I ordered the Taste of New Orleans sampler. Most of the restaurants in New Orleans will offer one and they usually include a choice of Gumbo, Red Beans, Etouffee and Jambalaya. Personally, I love ordering these so you can get a taste of each without ordering a week’s worth of food.
As I had already had a Gumbo at the Royal House, I chose the Red Beans, Jambalaya and the Crawfish Etouffee. Each one was absolutely delicious!
All that said, the absolute best dish we tasted that week is one I don’t have a photo. My sister ordered the Shrimp and Grits at Pier 424. After she ate her fill, Angie and I helped her clean the plate. It was that good! So, if you’re in New Orleans, plan a stop in to Pier 424 Restaurant and order the Gulf Shrimp and Maque Choux Grits. You won’t be disappointed!
Corner Oyster House
For our last dinner in the city, and a long afternoon of walking and shopping the market on Decatur St, we happened upon the Corner Oyster House. They had a sign out front that said their special was “Fried Chicken and Red Beans.” So, we went inside.
Holy moly was that a great decision! Y’all, I love alligator. I love it just about any way you want to cook it. But, I’m here to tell you the Decatur Gator appetizer was probably the best alligator I’ve eaten to date.
They marinate the meat overnight in a “special sauce” then grill it up to order. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
And of course, I got the house special Fried Chicken and Red Beans. In fact, both my sister and I ordered the special. I’ll be honest. The dish overall was very tasty. However, if you’re like me and are looking for a good spicy cajun dish, this was not it. It’s perfect for my husband who doesn’t like spicy. But, for me I was hoping for a bit more heat. 😊
Cafe Beignet on Bourbon St
Before leaving New Orleans we had time for one last farewell meal and what better place to enjoy a relaxing breakfast than at Cafe Beignet on Bourbon St. There are actually four Cafe Beignet locations in New Orleans but I like the one on Bourbon St. To me, it has the best atmosphere!
The breakfast menu is fairly basic. But what they have, they do well. And, instead of regular ‘sausage’ they use Andouille, of course.
And of course, they have beignets. Which, in our opinions, are better beignets than Cafe du Monde. I know! Some will say that’s sacrilege but it’s true, nonetheless.
I decided to go with the Cajun Hashbrowns. It literally is what you see on the plate above. Fried potatoes, Andouille sausage, peppers, onions and eggs. The perfect meal after a long week of drinking. Oh, and let’s not forget that coffee!
In true New Orleans style they use chicory in their coffee. It’s kind of an acquired taste which my sister and I have acquired. So much so I had to buy a bag to bring home. This body doesn’t run without coffee!
Did you know…
Truthfully, you really can’t go wrong when trying to find a great place to eat in New Orleans, especially in the French Quarter. But, if you’re ever unsure or you can’t decide, ask a local! Your tour guides or hotel clerks will always give you the best advice for where and what to eat.
But my best tip of all… try one of everything!
- A Quilter’s Trek to New Orleans – My Best Tips for Visiting the Big Easy
- Mes Amis Quilt Shops – a New Orleans quilt shop spotlight!
- Concerned about Traveling post COVID? Click HERE!
- Want to take a Quilt Tour with me? Click HERE!
- How many of the Quilters Bucket List items can you check off?
- Complete list of the current Quilt Shows!
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