[ Cheryl’s note: Several months ago the fine people at Trulia reached out to me and asked for my opinion as to where the Best Local Eats in New Orleans were. After explaining that all one needs to do is throw-a-stone to find culinary bliss, they asked me to get serious. Not my best flavor, but okay- it is TRULIA, for God’s sake. Their services provide the best real estate and travel information in the Universe (though I tend to stay focused only on MY Kingdom- I agreed). Here are my fav neighborhoods. Bon Appetite foodies!]
New Orleans’ Best Local Foodie Neighborhoods
By Hannah Goodman of Trulia
It is no secret that New Orleans food is delicious. In fact, many publications agree that New Orleans is currently one of the top foodie destinations in the country. Home to a wide variety of restaurants serving food from all over the world, it’s hard to go anywhere in the “Crescent City” without coming across an eatery that you simply must try. New Orleans Cajun flavors are so unique that it has become one of the few places in the country whose establishments have learned to expertly adapt their menus to include local favorites. However, certain areas of New Orleans are better known for their foodie hotspots than others. For instance, the historic French Quarter, home to the world famous Bourbon Street, is an extremely popular area amongst people seeking out quintessential New Orleans food. However, for those who are looking to get away from the crowds of the Quarter but still want to taste some of the best that New Orleans has to offer, the neighborhoods of Uptown, Mid-City and Bayou St. John boast some excellent offerings.
Home to both of the city’s largest Universities, Tulane and Loyola, Uptown’s many restaurants are popular hangouts for the younger, college-aged crowd. Most of those hangouts happen to be located along the area’s popular thoroughfare, Magazine Street. The avenue, located on the southern end of Uptown, is not only home to tons of delectable restaurants, (whose offerings range from traditional Cajun to Vietnamese and Indian,) there is also a wide variety of art galleries, boutiques and antique shops. In fact, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Magazine Street food scene is one of the fastest growing in the city. Ten years ago the street was home to about 25 eateries, today, that number is upwards of 85 and growing daily. One of the most popular up and coming spots on Magazine Street for visitors and locals alike is AVO. Where Chef Nick Lama, a third generation Sicilian, crafts authentic Italian dishes inspired by his own family recipes.
Mid-City and Bayou St. John
Just a few blocks north of Uptown and Magazine Street are the neighborhoods of Mid-City and Bayou St. John. These mostly residential areas, are especially popular amongst young families due to their proximity to New Orleans City Park, Kids Theme Park, “Storyland” and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Located on the southern end of the 1300 acre park, Mid-City is home to one of the city’s most popular local foodie destinations, Carrollton Avenue. Looking to try some authentic creole eats? Check out Toups’ Meatery, for a wide selection of Cajun style meat dishes, and some of the area’s best “Cracklins” (Cajun pork rinds) in addition to unique cocktail and drink options.
Bayou St. John, located just a few blocks to the east of Mid-City is also home to some incredible places, particularly along Esplanade Avenue. One of the most popular hotspots in the area is Lola’s, where you can taste traditional Spanish fare, like their popular seafood paella.
New Orleans has been recognized nationwide for its thriving foodie scene, and its many dining rooms are notorious for their ability to not only adapt to current trends, but also to incorporate the distinct flavors of NOLA into cuisine from every culture. Whether you are a local or just visiting for the weekend, there is a neighborhood, and restaurant in New Orleans to satisfy even the most particular taste buds.