So New Orleans - Casual, Classic, Trendy & Fun!

January 29, 2020
Seductive whiffs of magnolia blooms fill the air, a gentle breeze keeps the humidity at bay, crawfish season is at its savory peak, and the city is abuzz with lively festivals. It’s springtime in the Crescent City and one of our favorite times of the year. As festival season kicks off, we turn our taste buds to more casual cuisine. From a beckoning bowl of richly flavored gumbo to an artfully crafted po-boy, tempting tidbits are boundless. We’ve honed in on a few scrumptious must-have’s that are well worth the indulgence.

Mahony’s Original Po-Boys & Seafood
901 Iberville St.;

Since 2008, this casual eatery has churned out some of the best po-boys in town. From classic fried seafood selections–taste bud tempting oyster, shrimp and catfish–to signature loaves like the Fried Green Tomato BLT with zesty pimento cheese and candied bacon or Grilled Shrimp Remi with creamy remoulade, there’s something to please every palate. Don’t miss the mind-blowing onion rings, which are simply divine! Paper-thin cut onions are lightly battered and flawlessly fried to create crisp ribbons of heaven. The French Quarter location enjoys a spirited atmosphere with a large bar, where you can sip a refreshing Coconut Mojito or Louisiana Mule with satsuma liqueur. Top it all off with their decadent Bread Pudding Ice Cream “Po-Boy” and you’ll roll out blissfully.

416 Chartres St.;

When thinking of K-Paul’s, the word casual doesn’t immediately come to mind. White cloths adorn the tables, impressive labels grace the wine list, and a stellar selection of bread sets a refined tone. However, the atmosphere and cuisine genuinely parallel that of the Big Easy: Cultured, yet unpretentious; Celebrated, yet approachable; Dynamic, yet familiar. Dishing up Cajun-Creole fusion for 40 years, this iconic bistro consistently ranks among the best for a truly authentic local dining experience. If you appreciate a dark, richly flavored roux then the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo is essential. Teaming with tender chunks of braised chicken and spicy Andouille sausage, this flavorsome version is merely supported by rice, rather than masked. As for entrees, it’s easy to see why the Blackened (a technique made famous here) Drum topped with fresh crabmeat and savory chipotle butter, served with sautéed veggies and perfectly whipped potatoes, is one of the stars of the menu. Portions are generous, but make sure to save room for one of the housemade desserts. The Chocolate Hill, an explosion of chocolaty goodness, features a rich, chocolate bundt cake and sinfully dark chocolate ganache drizzled with white and dark chocolate. But the luscious Sweet Potato Pecan Pie topped with Chantilly cream is truly hard to resist. Our vote–have both!

527 Julia St.;

When something on the lighter, yet equally as gratifying side, is called for, then look no further than this internationally flared, Warehouse District spot. While the food bares no resemblance to classic New Orleans fare, it’s no less impressive. This tropical café and bar showcases a cornucopia of flavors ranging from West Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and beyond. Take your palate on a journey with their signature Carmo Salad, which is bursting with goodness. It’s a brilliant combination of rice, avocado, cashews, almonds, pineapple, raisins, cucumber, smoked ham (vegan is available, too), and cilantro tossed in a sublime citrus-mango vinaigrette and served atop organic lettuces. The ceviches here are exceptional! Whether you opt for the Peruvian (daily catch, Andean corn, cashew, passion fruit, Peruvian peppers, lime juice), the Cuban (fresh Gulf tuna, olive oil, red onions, habanero, cilantro, lime) or the Panamanian (Gulf shrimp and fish, celery, orange, onions, habanero), all are fresh and pleasing. You’ll discover several tasty vegetarian options worth exploring as well.

200 Julia St.;

If you’re on the hunt for classic Cajun flavors with a modern twist, this is your place. Colorful and inviting, this casual eatery serves up signature starters such as Popcorn Shrimp Creole–fried shrimp and Andouille sausage tossed in an aromatic, tomato-based sauce with tangy pickled veggies--and finger-licking good Golden Meadows Duck Wings tossed in a sweet and spicy Crystal hot sauce and sugar cane glaze, accented by a refreshing mango-feta relish. A richly flavored, dark roux forms the base of the delectable Chicken, Andouille Sausage and Okra Gumbo, and there’s also Louisiana Select Raw Oysters for those craving our famous bivalves. Entrée specialties include Louisiana Shrimp & Grits with a savory roast duck jus reduction and Crawfish Pasta Monica, a delightful rendition that skillfully melds sautéed Louisiana crawfish tails with a velvety Creole spice-white wine sauce, tossed with fresh fettuccine. Homey and satisfying, the Southern Fried Chicken offers the perfect juxtaposition of crisp, crunchy outside with moist, juicy inside and partnered with classic, creamy red beans and rice… a flavor marriage made in heaven!

Napoleon House
500 Chartres St.;

One of the oldest and most illustrious bars in the French Quarter, Napoleon House is a must stop for classic cocktails and people watching. Locals and visitors belly up to sip a Pimm’s Cup, a delightfully refreshing libation that’s been charming palates since the 1940s (be sure to ask about the seasonal flavor). If all that sipping stirs up an appetite, this beloved haunt serves casual, local favorites that are sure to please. Enjoy comfort food at its finest from the indulgent Fancy Grilled Cheese, which pairs sharp, aged cheddar with a delectable tomato-onion jam on walnut-raisin bread to the zesty Grilled Alligator Sausage Po-Boy with sweet and spicy Tabasco pepper jelly. But the culinary standout here is the Muffuletta. A nod to Italian immigrants, this hearty and flavor-laden sandwich boasts a pile of savory cured meats (they use pastrami rather than the usual mortadella) and melted cheeses perfectly balanced by tangy, housemade Italian olive salad, served warm on sesame seed bread. While a half is large enough to share, you probably won’t want to!

Ruby Slipper
1005 Canal St., 200 Magazine St., 204 Decatur St. and more;

Founded in May 2008, this beloved hotspot has grown to multiple locations and is the quintessential place to go for New Orleans-inspired breakfast, classic brunch and eye-opening cocktails. Begin with a Ruby Mimosa, a traditional version of the brunch favorite elevated by a splash of pomegranate or an award-winning Bacon-Infused Vodka Bloody Mary. Please your palate with a signature dish like the Eggs Cochon--buttermilk biscuits topped with tender apple-braised pork debris, poached eggs, and creamy Hollandaise--or wickedly good Bananas Foster Pain Perdu--French bread toast slathered with rum-soaked bananas, raisins, and caramel sauce. Indulge in a unique seasonal special such as Cereal and Milk Pancakes--classic buttermilk pancakes filled with sweet marshmallow, topped with fruity rice crispy cereal, and served with a sweet milk sauce. Craving a Roast Beef Po-Boy? This dreamy, breakfast-style variation of flavorful, braised beef debris over a buttermilk biscuit, topped with impeccably poached eggs, silky Hollandaise, and fried pickles will not disappoint!