New & Noteworthy Spots to Eat, Drink and Play in the Crescent City Spring 2023
Named one of the world’s best cities for six consecutive years by Travel + Leisure, and with a slew of new nonstop flights from across the globe, New Orleans has become an easily accessible destination with an unparalleled spirit and culture. Spring in New Orleans is filled with multiple festivals and events including French Quarter Festival, Jazz Fest, and many others. Below is an overview of some of the new and noteworthy spots to eat, drink and play in NOLA this spring.
Mister Mao: 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 perch to gather with friends for a festive evening filled with creative, “inauthentic” food and killer cocktails. The restaurant features a static menu of eclectic 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. Mister Mao is located at 4501 Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans. www.mistermaonola.com
Osteria Lupo: In spring 2023, Osteria Lupo opened in New Orleans’ Uptown neighborhood. The brainchild of former Link Restaurant Group alum, Chef Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieri, who own wildly-popular Spanish-inspired restaurant Costera, Osteria Lupo showcases Northern Italian cuisine with a variety of house-made pastas; roasted meats and vegetables from the wood-fired oven; seafood and other regional specialties. Guests can enjoy a menu of shareable plates including Black Truffle Arancini with fresh Umbrian truffles over a creamy Val d’Aosta fonduta, Red Snapper Crudo – utilizing the best the Gulf has to offer, and served with tomato pesto and fried capers, and Seared Porchetta with local arugula and lemon on grilled focaccia, along with a stellar wine program and full bar. Designed by New Orleans architect Brooks Graham, along with De Ranieri and Burns themselves, the 4,700 square foot space has been transformed into a stunning space with an open kitchen, mosaic wood fire oven, and industrial elements perfectly balanced with warm hues of blue, soft globe pendant lighting and blonde wood. An adjacent bar and lounge area are the perfect perch for drinks with friends or casual dining. Osteria Lupo is located at 4609 Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans. osterialupo.com
Bakery Bar: Just a stone’s throw from the Warehouse District, Bakery Bar is an intimate eatery and cocktail bar featuring savory dishes, weekday brunch, craft cocktails and NOLA’s famed layered doberge cakes from Debbie Does Doberge Executive Chef Lydia Solano, a dual-citizen of Costa Rica and the United States, showcases a savory menu that marries Latin American and Creole cuisines. Solano’s roots are evident in nearly every dish at Bakery Bar, with offerings like Oxtail Croquettes, Smoked Bone Marrow, and Hibiscus Fried Pickles. Weekday Brunch, a rarity, is a hallmark of Bakery Bar and gives guests the chance to enjoy crave-able dishes and booze from Tuesday – Sunday. The cocktail program is as creative and unique as the menu with drink names nodding to pop culture. Current cocktails, inspired by the theme “Pretend,” include libations such as Mr. Beaverton’s Pistachio Fiasco – inspired by the children’s series, Knotty Pine Mysteries, the cocktail features vodka, Cocchi Americano, Monin Pistachio syrup, lemon, and Prince de Lise bubbles and Abolish the Monarchy! – an elevated take on a Pimm’s cup, the drink’s name is inspired by Harry (the won’t-be prince) and features Pimm’s, Lillet Blanc, cucumber bitters, and green Chartreuse and garnished with carrot peel and ginger candy. Bakery Bar is located at 1179 Annunciation Street in New Orleans www.bakery.bar. To order doberge cakes, visit www.debbiedoesdoberge.
The Bower: Located in New Orleans’
Lower Garden District, The Bower is the culinary darling of Latter Hospitality (Tujague’s and Birdy’s). 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 featuring the best seasonal ingredients from the fields and garden. Everything at The Bower begins with the soil; from 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 from Sugar Roots and are an exercise in both creativity and meticulous execution. The Bower is located at 1320 Magazine Street, New Orleans. Telephone: (504) 582-9738; www.thebowernola.com
Tujague’s: The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans and the third oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S., Tujague’s Restaurant is the birthplace of brunch and the Grasshopper cocktail. 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. Under the auspices of Executive Chef Gus Martin, the menu at Tujague’s features classic and creative Creole dishes including Oysters en Brochette – bacon-wrapped Gulf oysters with wilted spinach, Crystal butter sauce, and tomato jam, Grilled Duroc Pork Chop and a Pan Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast with foie gras mashed potatoes, wilted spinach, and orange rosemary demi-glace. New brunch offerings and a brand-new selection of cocktails make Tujague’s the perfect stop for modern Creole cuisine and innovative libations served up in a four-story space complete with private dining rooms and courtyard seating. Tujague’s is located in the French Quarter at 429 Decatur Street. Reservations are encouraged and can be made on OpenTable. Telephone: (504) 525-8676; https://
The culinary crown of the Pontchartrain Hotel, Jack Rose by QED Hospitality, brings an eclectic and exciting dining experience to New Orleans’ Garden District. Named the #1 “Best Hotel Restaurant” by USA Today 10Best and awarded Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards: “Award of Excellence”, the lively atmosphere at Jack Rose encourages spontaneous celebration whether enjoying brunch “Chambongs” or dinner in the Jack or Rose rooms, hosting an escapade in the Mile High Pie Club, snacking on small plates under the Lil Wayne Portrait in the Living Room or sipping sparkling rosé in the rose garden patio. In keeping with the building’s homage to the Pontchartrain’s connection with Tennessee Williams, the name is inspired by his play The Rose Tattoo. Chef/Owner Brian Landry’s menu showcases a mix of New Orleans’ craveable Italian, French, and Spanish dishes, with a unique spin. The cuisine is simultaneously unpretentious and skillfully executed. Guests can expect the Crescent City’s joie de vivre atmosphere coupled with creative interpretations of classic dishes alongside modern delicacies that are complemented by vibrant cocktails and a wine list that skews towards bubbles. Notable dishes include the Royal Red Shrimp Muddy Waters with squid ink campanelle; pompano en papillote – saffron, bok choy, sunchokes; and fried chicken parmesan – red gravy, Parmigiano Reggiano. And of course, the famed mile-high pie is not-to-be-missed. Jack Rose is located at the Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St Charles Avenue. www.jackroserestaurant.com
Toups’ Meatery: Two-time finalist for James Beard “Best Chef: South;” Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 “Fan Favorite;” and author of Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking, Chef Isaac Toups exemplifies the new guard of Cajun chefs. The contemporary Cajun restaurant is a glimpse into “Isaac’s Id” – the Cajun rustic cookery he grew up knowing, with his unique updated, sophisticated approach. At Toups’ Meatery, diners will find authentic cracklins’ on the menu which have been called “equal to Christendom’s finest,” and just like at his family’s table, cocktails are available by the pitcher along with the Meatery Board – a wonderful selection of house-cured meats and accompaniments. The menu, broken down by small and large plates, includes signature dishes like Confit Chicken Thighs
ham with braised greens, dijon cream, and lardons; and Gulf Seafood Couvillon, along with other robust dishes that reflect Chef’s refined approach to his deep-rooted Louisiana family traditions. The restaurant is located at 845 N. Carrollton Avenue. www.toupsmeatery.com
Compére Lapin: Situated in the Warehouse Arts District, in the lobby of the funky boutique hotel Old No. 77 Hotel is award-winning restaurant Compére Lapin helmed by acclaimed Chef Nina Compton. Named the 2018 James Beard: Best Chef South, and one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs 2017”, Compton creates robust dishes that meld the flavors of her Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine while highlighting the Gulf and Louisiana’s beautiful indigenous ingredients. Standout dishes range from Conch Croquettes and Curried Goat with Sweet Potato Gnocchi, to Hot Fire Chicken and Roasted Banana Zeppole. With a beverage program that reflects Compton’s bold and flavorful cuisine, it’s no wonder Compère Lapin was named one of Playboy’s Best Bars in America. Compere Lapin is located at 535 Tchoupitoulas Street. For additional information or reservations, please visit: www.comperelapin.com
Debbie Does Doberge: Debbie Does Doberge is a critically-acclaimed New Orleans-based bakery and one of the few bakeries left in Louisiana to offer doberge cakes – a multi-layered dessert originating in New Orleans that stacks thin layers of cake with creamy custard or puddings. Co-owned by Pastry Chef Charlotte McGhee and Charles Mary IV, Debbie Does Doberge features over a dozen different cakes including Cookies & Cream Doberge, Sweet Potato Spiced Latte Doberge, Not Your Grandma’s Chocolate Orange, Spiked Smores, and more. The bakery also offers special seasonal cakes (Irish Car Bomb, Cream Cheese King Cake, etc.), house-made gelato, salty balls and dobites – bite-size morsels of layered cake covered in fondant, similar to petit fours. The bakery offers doberge cakes in multiple sizes that can be shipped nationwide through Goldbelly. Locals can pick up cakes, along with slices & treats at Bakery Bar restaurant in New Orleans and Debbie on the Levee in Kenner, Louisiana. For additional information and to place online orders, visit www.debbiedoesdoberge.
Birdy’s: 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. Birdy’s Behind the Bower is located at 1320 Magazine Street in New Orleans. Telephone: (504) 302 2992. Reservations can be made online at https://birdysnola.com/
Hot Tin: Sitting atop the Pontchartrain Hotel, Hot Tin is a rooftop bar that boasts a breathtaking 270-degree view of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans. Yet, beyond the sweeping views and sexy space, is a top-tier cocktail program that focuses on both the classics and creative with perfectly-balanced concoctions that utilize local ingredients and spirits like Burn Book – Gentilly gin, Chinola, Chareau, lime and Orgeat and Back to Black – Cathead honeysuckle, blackberry lavender syrup, lemon, egg white and vermouth. The space captures the look and feel of a 1940s artist loft with nods to American playwright, Tennessee Williams, who lived at the hotel. Hot Tin is located at the rooftop of The Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St Charles Avenue. www.hottinbar.com
Bayou Bar: Nestled on the ground floor of New Orleans’ charming Pontchartrain Hotel, the Bayou Bar is a cozy & convivial 40-seat gathering place with a stellar whiskey collection, inventive cocktails, elevated small plates, and live music (no cover charge) with the some of the city’s best musicians including Dave Torkanowsky, Stanton Moore, and Peter Harris. The casual tavern-style bar is filled with history and memories including serving as a drinking den for both Sinatra and Capote and being the locale where the New Orleans Saints football franchise was christened in 1966. Exposed wood, rod iron chandeliers, velvet couches, and eclectic art give the space a warm, intimate vibe perfect for friends to enjoy great conversation and cocktails. Live music is offered Wednesday through Sunday. Bayou Bar is located in the lobby level of The Pontchartrain Hotel, 2031 St Charles Avenue. www.bayoubar.com
The Bower Bar: Located in the New Orleans Lower Garden District, the recently-opened Bower Bar is the perfect perch to gather with friends for cocktails, conversation, and bites. The reimagined Claret Wine Bar space has the same lush look and feel of its adjacent restaurant, The Bower, with living green walls and plants from locally-owned landscape architects, Luna Botanicals. The cocktail program is under the direction of Beverage Director Mickey Mullins and features field-to-glass libations focusing on the seasonal herbs, flowers, and produce available at Sugar Roots Farm. Zero-proof drinks are also on offer and wines are equally impressive and include small production vintners, as well as widely-known global collections. Guests at The Bower Bar can enjoy the same culinary creations found next door at The Bower, along with the famed “boards” that made Claret a go-to destination for cheese and charcuterie. The Bower Bar is located at 1320 Magazine Street. https://www.
Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB): New Orleans has no shortage of museums, but one of the most unique is the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Come join an interactive cooking class and learn how to make jambalaya, Bananas Foster, and more. Named one of “11 of the World’s Top Food Museums” by CNN and one of the “12 Best Museums Around the World” by Elle Decor, SoFAB celebrates the food and drink of all cultures, with a focus on the history of cuisine and cocktails, through a variety of exhibits, programming, and a range of media. Located inside SoFAB are The Museum of the American Cocktail’s (MOTAC) New Orleans collection; Deelightful Roux Cooking School, and spectacular exhibits, including La Galerie d’Absinthe. SoFAB is located at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley. www.southernfood.org