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Restaurant August entrance, courtesy of Restaurant August.

The Best Restaurants In New Orleans' Central Business District

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Rebeca Trejo
Updated: 30 June 2017
What began in the late 18th century as New Orleans’ first expansion beyond its original French Quarter footprint is known today as the city’s Central Business District. Similar in infrastructure to what other urban areas call Downtown, this historic neighborhood is home to modern skyscrapers, hotels, museums, residences, and commercial centers. However, over the last few decades, the area has become a mainstay for many of the city’s finest and most exclusive eateries. From Southern and Caribbean to Brazilian and European-inspired fare, these are the six best restaurants in New Orleans’ Central Business District.


Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant 

French cuisine

Located on the historic Saint Charles Avenue, Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant is Chef Donald Link’s posh Central Business District eatery. Aside from its acclaimed French and Italian-inspired menu, this modern bistro features creative takes on Southern tastes, such as fried catfish with green rice and chillies, and a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with city ham, plus a dynamic wine list. Often regarded as New Orleans’ most consistently excellent restaurant, Herbsaint is open every day of the week but Sunday from 11:30 am until 10pm.

701 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 524 4114

Herbsaint Restaurant dinning room, courtesy of Herbsaint Restaurant.

Herbsaint Restaurant dining room, courtesy of Herbsaint Restaurant.

Compère Lapin 

Caribbean and European cuisine

Run by Top Chef’s Nina Compton, Compère Lapin (pronounced kom-pare la-pan and translated to ‘brother rabbit’) is a contemporary restaurant where Creole and Caribbean-inspired fare meet New Orleans’ unparalleled flavors. Based inside The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery, this Warehouse Arts District eatery has become a local favorite thanks to Compton’s delicious creations, such as housemade biscuits, spiced pigs’ ears with smoked aioli, and boiled shrimp, as well as for its creative cocktail confections and bustling atmosphere. Compère, perfect for those looking to savor traditional city tastes on dishes indigenous to Europe, welcomes hungry crowds from Monday to Friday starting 11:30 am, and on weekends at 10:30am.

535 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, Louisiana, +1 504 599 2119

Steak Tartare at Compere Lain, courtesy of Compere Lapin.

Steak Tartare at Compere Lain, courtesy of Compere Lapin.

Willa Jean 

Southern Contemporary cuisine

Run by Pastry Chef Kelly Fields of Besh Restaurant Group, and Pastry Chef Lisa White, Willa Jean is a retro-chick café and restaurant serving Southern-contemporary fare, baked goods, freshly brewed-coffee and specialty cocktails. This brick-walled hotspot, open seven days a week from seven in the morning, is ideal for those looking to experience flavors indigenous to the Port City. From their buttered banana bread and corn syrup cornbread to their seared drum and chicken pot pie, Willa Jean is hard to beat when it comes to authentic austral cooking.

611 O’Keefe Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana 70113, +1 504 509 7334

Willa Jean dining room, courtesy of Willa Jean restaurant.

Willa Jean dining room, courtesy of Willa Jean restaurant.


Tropical cuisine

Opened in 2010 by Dana and Christina Honn, Carmo is a New Orleans-based restaurant and bar serving vegan-friendly fare with tropical influences. With a commitment to providing vegans, vegetarians and omnivores healthy and affordable food options inside a cozy atmosphere, this eatery’s menu is inspired by the multi-cultural influences found throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, West Africa, and Southeast Asia. Chief dishes at Carmo, open every day but Sunday from 11am until 10pm, include the Burmese Tea Leaf Salad, the Peruvian version of sashimi, ‘Tiradito’, which is smothered in aji amarillo pepper sauce, and rum-cured, cold-smoked yellowfin tuna.

527 Julia St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 875 4132

Tastes as amazing as it looks! Perfect for lunch any day of the week @cafecarmo. #Carmo #FollowYourNOLA #Artdesignmag

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Restaurant August

Contemporary French cuisine

Offering a five-star dining experience in the heart of the CBD, Restaurant August is Chef John Besh’s award-winning flagship restaurant. Located in a historic 19th century French-Creole building, this chandelier-studded eatery features contemporary French fare and creative cocktails all week starting at 5pm, except for Fridays, when the restaurant opens at 11am. Can’t-miss dishes at August include the lightly battered and fried potato crusted oysters, the slightly frizzled flounder topped with shrimp and crab, and the richly buttered shrimp etoufee.

301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, +1 504 299 9777

August, Chef John Besh’s fine dining eatery in New Orleans' Central Business District, courtesy of Restaurant August.

August, Chef John Besh’s fine dining eatery in New Orleans’ Central Business District, courtesy of Restaurant August.


French cuisine

In a homage to the grand old Franco-German brasseries that once reigned in New Orleans, Chef John Besh introduces Lüke, an elegant French restaurant serving Old World cuisine. This CDB eatery, which offers visitors an impressive selection of French, German and Belgian brews as well as three exclusive house beers made in Louisiana, features a delicious menu that spans from fried chicken and Tabasco honey biscuit sandwiches to fresh gulf drum and jumbo Louisiana shrimp. Lüke opens daily from 7am to 11 pm.

St. Charles Avenue, 333 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, Louisiana, +1 504 378 2840

Fresh oysters at Lüke, courtesy of Lüke restaurant.

Fresh oysters at Lüke, courtesy of Lüke restaurant.