It’s Carnival season in New Orleans, aka Mardi Gras, and that means eating and drinking like kings and queens! In between all the parades, cocktails, street parties and bead tossing, head to one of these top New Orleans restaurants and bars to reset and refuel for the next round.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!
The brainchild of Chef Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieri, who also own wildly-popular Spanish-inspired restaurant Costera, Osteria Lupo showcases Northern Italian cuisine with a variety of house-made pastas, roasted meats, seafood, and vegetables, and pizza from the wood-fired oven.
Bring the whole gang and enjoy a menu of shareable plates along with a stellar wine program and full bar. The 4,700 square foot space has been transformed into a stunning dining room with seating for 140. Exposed industrial ceilings and polished concrete are balanced with warm hues of blue, soft globe pendant lighting and blonde wood.
The open kitchen with a mosaic tiled wood-fire oven serves as the focal point of the restaurant, while an adjacent bar and lounge area are the perfect perch for drinks with friends or casual dining. Try the four-course tasting menu for just $55 per person.
osterialupo.com and stay up-to-date on Instagram @osterialupo.
Located right on the parade route, Chef Nina Compton’s beloved New Orleans restaurant in the Old No. 77 Hotel – Compère Lapin has received critical acclaim, including Eater National’s “Best Restaurants in America” and a rave review in The New York Times. Compère Lapin is the first New Orleans restaurant to receive the prestigious Spirited Award® by the Tales of The Cocktail Foundation – honored as the “Best American Hotel Bar”.
The renowned neighborhood restaurant features robust dishes that meld the flavors of Compton’s Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine, while highlighting the Gulf and Louisiana’s beautiful indigenous ingredients. The award-winning beverage program at Compère Lapin pays homage to New Orleans’ rich cocktail heritage, making it one of the hottest restaurants in NOLA.
Named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants 2022” by Bon Appètit, Mister Mao is the tropical roadhouse restaurant from Chef/Owner Sophina Uong and husband/partner William Greenwell.
With a bar and lounge called “Naked Bills”; a vibrant and lively dining room; and an interactive Chef’s Counter, Mister Mao is the perfect place for friends to gather for a festive evening filled with creative food and killer cocktails.
Enjoy globally-inspired cuisine, along with an ever-changing selection of small plates served from roving carts. The whimsically-themed menu categories include Drinking Snacks, Foods We Love to Share, These Bring Us Joy + Hellfire Heartburn, and Here Comes the Chuck Wagon. Diners can enjoy creative dishes like Kashmiri Fried Chicken; Plaquemine Parish Kale Pakora; Pani Puri with fiery mint water, Alabama Corn Pudding, and Backwater Duck Confit.
Commons Club New Orleans
Just a stone’s throw from all the parades and the social epicenter of Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Commons Club is a dynamic restaurant, bar, and lounge offering a modern social club experience for locals and visitors alike. The Kitchen at Commons Club features an array of dining spaces, from a communal chef’s table and open kitchen to relaxed “porch” seating and private dining rooms. At the helm is Executive Chef Chris Borges who will put his creative spin on Southern seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and West Coast influences.
The Bar at Commons Club welcomes a mix of live New Orleans entertainment and offers thoughtfully crafted cocktails, a curated wine and Champagne selection, and tempting bar bites. Those seeking a more intimate setting will enjoy The Shag Room – a playful lounge featuring colorful furniture for ample seating, plush, luxurious fabrics, custom decoupage wallpaper, and local New Orleans art. The Shag Room is perfect for a gathering of friends, an intimate soiree, and private events.
Birdy’s Behind the Bower is the charming Instagram-worthy spot perched in the back of New Orleans’ Framework building in the Lower Garden District.
The restaurant serves an all-day brunch featuring Southern-inspired, locally sourced American cuisine inside and in the welcoming outdoor courtyard. Chefs work closely with partner farm, Sugar Roots, to source fresh, local ingredients for dishes that range from comforting house-made breakfast items and specialty toasts to health-conscious power bowls and salads.
Standouts include Polenta Toast – crispy white cheddar polenta, Buster crab, roasted poblano pepper and corn vinaigrette, queso fresco; a festive Funfetti Bubble Waffle served with Louisiana strawberries, chantilly cream and granola. Of course, Birdy’s famed Brunch Board – donut, granola, slab bacon, hot coppa, bubble waffle, fruit, seasonal jam, mini cookies, mini pancakes, triple crème brie, soft boiled eggs; and Biscuit Board – whipped local honey butter, seasonal jam, chicken sausage gravy are also available.
Also available are $20 Bottomless Mimosas and Birdy’s Bloody Mary along with signature cocktails like the Cold Brew Old Fashioned – Jameson, cold brew, mole bitters and Hummingbird – white peach Grey Goose, fiero, simple syrup, grapefruit, orange juice, luxardo cherries.
Executive Chef Marcus Woodham, who has worked at some of NOLA’s most acclaimed restaurants including Luke, Restaurant Patois, and Galatoire’s, works closely with partner farm Sugar Roots to provide a menu of seasonal ingredients from the fields and garden.
Diners can enjoy house made pastas such as rigatoni with ground shrimp and crab and tagliatelle with chicken saltimbocca, prosciutto, capers, and spinach, to mains like seared scallops with Maggie Mushroom conserva, farro and hot coppa and paneed pork loin with mint, radish, avocado, and watermelon molasses. Cocktails, under the direction of Mickey Mullins, are created with the same farm-fresh ingredients.
Guests at The Bower Bar next door can enjoy the same culinary creations found at The Bower, along with the famed cheese and charcuterie boards. Happy Hour at The Bower Bar takes place from Monday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is certain to tantalize with $8 signature cocktails, daily House Punch; $7 , and $4 beer.
This four-story space complete with private dining rooms and courtyard seating is in the center of it all in the French Quarter. It’s the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans and the third oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S.
From Presidential visits by Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and France’s De Gaulle to the many obstacles and challenges the restaurant faced, the story of Tujague’s is multi-faceted. The iconic dining institution recently celebrated its 165th anniversary in its new location at 429 Decatur. Under the auspices of Executive Chef Gus Martin, the menu at Tujague’s features both classics and creative dishes.
Can’t miss are the Turtle Soup and Shrimp and Grits along with Crispy Pork Belly with parmesan polenta and pepper jelly gastrique. Oysters en Brochette are bacon-wrapped Gulf oysters with wilted spinach, served with crystal butter sauce and tomato jam. Or go big with pan roasted maple leaf duck breast with foie gras mashed potatoes, wilted spinach and orange rosemary demi-glace.
Guests can also take part in the Table d’hôte, a five-course tradition that was the only menu served between 1856 and 2013.
Reservations are encouraged and can be made on OpenTable
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