No Reservations Required!

February 03, 2017
There are many descriptive phrases and keen observations about this city used by people either visiting New Orleans for business or pleasure, or making the city their home.

We have been tagged with the title “Big Easy” since the 1920s, and that still fits. New Orleans is an easy place to settle into. Whether you are on your first foray into the city, a regular visit, or a newcomer who knows a few things about the lifestyle, please consider our town your “second home.” Be comfortable. Do fun activities. Eat fun foods. Experience great music. Meet others …. and relax. Enjoy yourself. We really are easy and welcoming of good people who come here to experience life in our city, even if only for a little while.

Along these lines, many of our restaurants are happy for you to just walk on in. No reservations necessary. While that is not necessarily true of many of our grander restaurants, casual dining in New Orleans extends to even before you enter the door. And in New Orleans, casual dining is still several steps above what you are likely to find in other towns. This is still New Orleans and the idea of having a bad meal is not acceptable.

Let us share with you some of our favorite dining places where the doors are always open and there is usually a seat just perfect for you. However, if you have a particularly large party, please call ahead to check in!

BIstreaux at Maison Dupuy

Located in the charming boutique Maison Dupuy Hotel, Bistreaux is a magnet to local residents and visitors alike. The inspired cuisine is served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, with brunch service on Sunday.

Under the direction of award-winning Chef Matt Regan, the restaurant menus offer a wide range of dishes often reflecting local flavors and favorites. The emphasis is on fresh, seasonal produce, seafood, and other ingredients from nearby farms and water bodies.

David Broussard, Maison Dupuy’s director of outlets, describes the cuisine as American Gulf Coast. “Our menu has the New Orleans’ specials— shrimp and grits, gumbo, bread pudding— however, we are not defined by these dishes. Chef Matt does a great job at mixing fresh local ingredients with seasonal twists on every dish,” he said. “A personal favorite of mine is the Seafood Linguini - housemade pasta with locals veggies, fresh crabmeat and shrimp. Also, our Fish of the Day never seems to disappoint,” he added.

Inside BIstreaux, guests are captivated by the murals covering the walls showing scenes derived from Toulouse Lautrec’s paintings of his beloved Paris. When guests are not admiring the interior surroundings, floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the historic French Quarter. During fair weather, the Maison Dupuy’s picturesque courtyard is just the place for cocktails or Sunday jazz brunch. Poolside dining is available daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. seasonally.

The Bistreaux also offers Happy Hours Monday-Friday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. offering a variety of bar bites and special prices on featured cocktails, beer, and wine. Specialty cocktails, Pimms Cup, Sazerac, Moscow Mule, and Whiskey Sours are $5. Louisiana’s own Abita beer is $3. And by-the-glass house wine is $6. Also, the best deal around is half-off any bottle of wine! In addition to jazz at the Sunday brunch, BIstreaux also offers live music on Fridays during Happy Hours. Here’s to many happy hours at Bistreaux!

Bistreaux at Maison Dupuy 1001 Toulouse St., corner Burgundy, New Orleans, LA. (504) 586-8000

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen

Sometimes a restaurant benefits from “good buzz,” which is the community saying nice things about a restaurant, usually ending with a positive recommendation to go and try the place.

K-Paul’s has enjoyed good buzz for years. It is not just a legendary restaurant; it is the restaurant of a legend. At K-Paul’s that “buzz” extends to the interior, to the tables, the bar, and the patrons. That is not the norm at a lot of places.

Paul Prudhomme, who came to New Orleans and made this Creole city, then the world, aware of the excitement of Cajun food, built something in which he would be comfortable, making people happy through his joy for life and his incredible ability to construct memorable meals.

The treasure of K-Paul’s is the extension of the delight Paul brought to everything he touched and created. His hand-chosen successor, Paul Miller, has changed nothing of what Paul has done. Both Pauls were from Opelousas, a small-town on the Cajun Prairie in South Louisiana; both have similar cooking styles; and both have made their mark in one of the most respected food cities in the world, New Orleans.

Casual is the order of the day at K-Paul’s, and it always has been. You can take advantage of the little-known lunch program, only served three days a week, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The menu at K-Paul’s changes every week to offer what is available and in season. “Fresh” is the important word. Flounder and drum are a good way to go when they are featured. Gumbo? Of course. Along with some of the best seafood or roast beef po-boys in town.

K-Paul’s, 416 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA (504) 596-2530

Praline Connection

“Every culture around the world has soul food,” according to Omar XXX, the general manager of The Praline Connection. “And what it means is the ‘comfort’ part of any culture’s cuisine.” What makes the diner happy? What settles them down from the pressures of the day? What makes them close their eyes to fully savor the aromas and flavors of something so good they have to fully concentrate on what’s on their plate?

Praline Connection began as a delivery service from Cecil Kaigler and Curtis Moore on Frenchman Street in the Marigny Triangle. They, and Curtis’ wife, Gloria, opened their first location at 542 Frenchman Street in New Orleans’ Marigny and they are still located in the spot. Three generations have devoted themselves to “Pure-D-Goodness” Creole Soul Food.

There’s fried, baked, or stewed chicken; meat loaf; ribs; fried fish; etouffee; jambalaya; and red beans - all legendary. The gumbo here is one of the best in a city that well knows good gumbo. The style of greens is mustard, collard, or cabbage. Not ordering the corn bread is not an option.

The meal does not end until a traditional dessert has been enjoyed. Bread Pudding, sweet potato pie, and cheesecake with praline sauce are among the offerings. Making a decision about dessert, just like the main course, is difficult. It’s best to share and order a selection for passing around the table. It’s what’s done in New Orleans.

Praline Connection has recently opened a dining location at Louis Armstrong International Airport, which has received rave reviews from diners and dining websites such as Eater.

Praline Connection, 542 Frenchman St., New Orleans, LA (504) 943-3934; Louis Armstrong International Airport, Concourse B Food Court

Royal House Oyster Bar

It is an axiom in the restaurant business that location is everything. In New Orleans, location is important, but serving good fare is totally necessary. Some places have it all, location and good food, and Royal House Oyster Bar is that kind of place.

Located on a prime corner, literally in the middle of the French Quarter, at Royal and St. Louis streets, this place is ground zero for New Orleans casual cuisine. The whole experience begins with the quintessential New Orleans seafood offering: oysters from the surrounding bays and marshes. Fresh, salty, and always a kiss from the sea.

Royal House purchases only the best oysters from this area’s old-line oyster harvesting families. While on the half-shell is a usual presentation, grilling oysters over a charcoal fire topped with butter, cheese, and garlic has become a preferred style for locals. There’s always Rockefeller or Royale, or a combination.

No local seafood is left off the menu. There is always crawfish, alligator, shrimp, crab, redfish, and more, all prepared in New Orleans’ traditional ways. Also in the mix are gumbos, etouffee, Creole pescatore, jambalaya, red beans, and ravioli.

For those visitors who want something more mainstream, there’s French-Onion Soup, great steaks, salads with every manner of ingredient, and lobster prepared to outstanding creative result.

The wine list has been chosen to enhance the dining experience, both by the bottle and the glass. The cocktail bar is renowned for its Bloody Marys among other drinks, and there is a beer for every suds lover.

Locals like to walk around the Quarter, head into Royal House and stand at the oyster bar downing a few dozen with an adult beverage then move on to the next stop. That may just be the perfect example of the essence of the city’s reputation for easy living.

Royal House Oyster Bar, 441 Royal St. New Orleans, LA (504) 528-2601

Bayou Burger and Sports Company

The unexpected answer to “who in New Orleans serves the best burger?” is Bayou Burger on Bourbon Street. The array of burgers offered can ensure that a quick choice will be difficult.

The place has both upstairs and downstairs seating areas so you can enjoy the excitement of Bourbon Street, or get above it on the covered balcony, the largest in the Quarter. There is a full array of beers—local, regional and international—all on tap or by the bottle. They live by the phrase, “You can never have enough beer.”

But for those whose tastes run to spirits, the full bar with professional mixologists assures a satisfying cocktail. Homemade kettle chips start matters off, along with a full complement of appetizers you are not likely to find anywhere else. Ever enjoyed an Alligator Trap? Then you move on to a very big decision: the meat for the burger. Oh sure, there is 100% beef. But there is also venison, sausage, alligator, veggies, and shrimp. Next comes the choice of bread for the bun, which of the nine cheeses would work for you, choice of sides, and on and on. Some of these are truly difficult decisions.

It’s a fun place featuring big-screen TV’s, which cover practically every square inch of wall space throughout the restaurant. At all times, sports of any kind are on. Just in case the sports action slows down, look outside. Bourbon Street energy goes on.

Bayou Burger, 503 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA (504) 529-4256