If I Had a Day in New Orleans

I have been going to New Orleans at least once per year for fifteen years, and I am passionate about all that the city offers, and especially it’s food. If you’re going to NOLA, here are the list of things you can’t miss (and yes, it is admittedly partial to the French Quarter, which isn’t fair to the whole city):


If you’re looking for a bargain, use Booking.com and look for well-rated bookings in the French Quarter or Central Business District (CBD). There are lots of hotels, so it’s hard to recommend just one because it depends on your price range and goals for your trip. I also love the Marigny for bed and breakfasts if you don’t mind a little walk into the Quarter.

If you prefer historic inns and boutique hotels, I have found The Dauphine and The Prince Conti Inn to be comfortable, well located and reasonable. Other favorites include Le Pavilion, The Monteleone, and Iberville Suites. My friends and I personally choose The Sheraton Four Points at New Years or Mardi Gras due to its location on Bourbon Street and its balconies, and we also enjoy the class and roominess of The Courtyard by Marriott on Iberville.


Airport: You can have a taste of a New Orleans creole institution at Dooky Chase at the airport.

Breakfast: Petunia’s was the best place in the Quarter for breakfast until it shuttered a few years ago. You can still ask for “the Petunia’s menu” at Oceana Seafood where the french toast (pain pardue) is unbelievable, or try the locals favorite Vacherie on Conti St. for delicious breakfast in huge portions. Beignets, cafe au lait and the breakfast is wonderful at the charming Cafe Beignet on Royal St. Go to Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar on Magazine St. for some the best shrimp and grits in New Orleans. Stanley at Jackson Square, KingFish, and The Coffee Pot (ask Shirley  the server to sing you a gospel song) are three of my other regular breakfast or brunch places.

For lunch: Mother’s on Poydras St. is a New Orleans favorite for the fried shrimp po boy, the derby sandwich or the ham. The line will look long, but it moves fast. Or go to Domilise, a few miles from the Quarter, for what is widely considered to be the best Po Boy in New Orleans — at least that’s what Peyton Manning, Anthony Bourdain and I all believe. I recommend the “Anthony Bourdain” shrimp po boy there. If you don’t want to leave the Quarter, NOLA Po Boy on Bourbon Street makes a delicious gumbo and po boy too. Central Grocery for a muffaletta is also a lunch standard in NOLA. Domenica Pizza, MoFo, and Port of Call are great options if you’re tired of traditional New Orleans food.

Snack or Late Night: Cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde, a burger at Deja Vu or Port of Call, or fried chicken at Willie Mae’s on Bourbon St.

Dinner: On the high end, Antoine’s, Galatoire’s, Herbsaint, August or Brennan’s. Other fine dining restaurants but a bit less expensive are Peche Seafood Grill (Bon Appetit nomination Best New Restaurant 2013), Muriel’s (for Cajun and Creole), Le Petit Grocery, or Commander’s Palace (also a classic in the Garden District). For medium priced fare, I love Palace Cafe on Canal (pecan crusted androille catfish!), Irene’s for Italian, or Emeril’s NOLA for innovative New Orleans cuisine. For something other than creole, I love the New American offerings at Sylvain and Couchon.

Coffee: The coffee scene is much improved in the Quarter in 2015 with the addition of two excellent independent coffee shops (Addiction and Spit Fire). The drink Nancy’s Addiction at Addiction is one of the most memorable coffee drinks I’ve had in a while, and its cayenne pepper pays homage to New Orleans cuisine. And of course, everyone must have a cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde. If you like dark coffee, be sure to have a chicory coffee while in NOLA, a NOLA specialty.

Drinks: You must have an “hurricane” on the patio at Pat O’Brien’s, a Monsoon at Port of Call, a mint julep at The Columbus Hotel veranda, and a native sauzerac or drink at the revolving carousel at Hotel Monteleone. That’s all that is required, but go to the beautiful hipster style bar Kingfish for some of the best mixology in the city, and to Bacchanal for wine and cheese pairings.

See the Bon Appetit restaurant list here.


Preservation Hall for Jazz

World War II Museum

Garden District Trolley Tour. Walk through a cemetery. Walk the neighborhoods. Stop at a cafe and watch people.

The French Market and Farmer’s Market

Swamp Tour or Haunted Tour

Jackson Square

Enjoy my favorite American city, and tell me what you discovered!

This blog entry is part of a larger series of travel articles on Toddbouldin.com called “If I Had a Day” covering New York City, New Orleans, Nashville and Los Angeles.

Todd is available for travel consultation and reservations to these cities and more for a negotiated rate per hour. Todd is a travel writer and Yelp Elite based on his restaurant and travel reviews. If you are interested, please contact Todd at Todd@toddbouldin.com.

3 Responses to “If I Had a Day in New Orleans”
  1. samir singh says:

    hey iwant to be an actor…

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