The Best Restaurants in the Garden District, New Orleans

Try unique hot-dog dishes at Dat Dog on Magazine Street in New Orleans
Try unique hot-dog dishes at Dat Dog on Magazine Street in New Orleans | © 4k-Clips / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Nick Dauk
6 July 2021

Leave Bourbon Street in the French Quarter behind, and discover another side of New Orleans as you eat your way through the best restaurants in the Garden District.

Venture beyond the jazzy streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans, and you’ll be treated to the charming, tree-lined streets of the Garden District. Historic mansions, cemeteries, cottages and gardens surround diverse restaurants, running the full spectrum of cheap eats and fine dining. Simple yet sensational delights, such as hot dogs, and unique plates, like Louisiana-Italian dishes, will stretch your appetite all the way down Magazine Street.

Dat Dog

Restaurant, American
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New Orleans, USA - April 22, 2018: Restaurant Dat Dog selling hot dogs sausages, Frenchmen street, road blue colorful building entrance sign
© Kristina Blokhin / Alamy Stock Photo
If it’s tubular tastes that you seek, Dat Dog is here to delight your every desire. Yes, the classic Vienna beef with ketchup is on the menu, but it’s wildly outshined by the dozens of other elaborate combinations. Go all-in on an alligator dog with dat sauce and nana’s slaw. Set your tongue ablaze with a spicy duck sausage or Vaucresson hot sausage topped with Creole mustard and sport peppers. And the crawfish etouffee fries? Don’t even get us started.

Ruby Slipper Cafe

Cafe, Restaurant, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Ruby Slipper Cafe, Magazine Street, New Orleans, Blue Crab Benedict
Courtesy of Ruby Slipper Cafe
Click your heels three times, and you’ll end up at the Ruby Slipper Cafe on the edge of the Garden District. Wake up, and rally at this boozy brunch spot, with a little vodka in your iced coffee or a little OJ in your mimosa. Go ahead, and order another round while you snack on pig candy bacon bites – your bananas foster pain perdu and crawfish & grits benedict will help you sober up.

Turkey and the Wolf

Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, American, $$$
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Turkey and the Wolf
Courtesy of Turkey and the Wolf

This is no run-of-the-mill sandwich joint. As quirky and colorful as a Mardi Gras parade, Turkey and the Wolf has had a James Beard Award within its grasp multiple times. Some call it wacky, some call it wonderful, we just call the inventive menu absolutely delicious. Where else can you find a collard-green melt with cherry pepper dressing, a fried bologna sandwich topped with potato chips, or a hog’s head cheese taco with hot sauce?

District Donuts & Coffee Bar

Dessert Shop, Coffee Shop, American, Vegetarian, $$$
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Bridging breakfast and lunch, District Donuts, Sliders and Brew is our preferred way to meal-plan. Vietnamese iced coffee and a savory kolache with bacon, egg and cheese make even a Monday morning taste good. You’ll get through any long day with a to-go box of cinnamon rolls and glazed donuts. Keep your appetite in check for the rest of the day, with a box of pork belly or chicken sliders and waffle fries drowned in homemade cheese sauce.

Gris-Gris

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Oyster BLT
Courtesy of Gris-Gris, New Orleans

Southern cooking staples are elevated and elaborated at Gris-Gris. Who knew a BLT was missing fried oysters and sugarcane vinegar? How have shrimp platters survived without being dipped in Cajun caviar ranch? Gris-Gris answers your questions with a single bite, letting its stone-ground grits, hand-pulled chicken and Louisiana popcorn rice do the talking. You’ll only ask, “how could this get any better?”, to which the brunch menu will reply, “with a crawfish omelet and blueberry bourbon pain perdu”.

Pascal's Manale

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
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New Orleans, Louisiana/USA - 7/25/2020: Pascal's Manale Restaurant on Napoleon Avenue
© William Morgan / Alamy Stock Photo
Oddly enough, the New Orleans barbeque shrimp that made Pascal’s Manale famous over the last century is actually not barbequed at all. Instead, these crustaceans are cooked in a peppery butter sauce, though you won’t mind the misnomer when they’re melting in your mouth. Elsewhere on the menu, you’ll find classic Italian and Louisiana dishes with delicious variations. A mix of cocktail sauce and remoulade create the best crab dip you’ve ever tasted, while a frutta del mare marries seafood to a plate of pasta blanketed in marinara sauce.

Superior Grill

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Traditional Mexican dish - chimichanga
© Olga Vorobeva / Alamy Stock Photo

Mexican food rarely finds its way on the typical NOLA menu, and, yet, Superior Grill’s success proves that the Crescent City needed a little south-of-the-border flair and flavor. Scan through the traditional tacos, and you’ll find a handful of locally influenced items like thick crawfish con queso and uptown enchiladas stuffed with shrimp, crawfish and spinach. The usual suspects like chimichangas, street tacos and nachos are all up for grabs if you’re fancying something familiar.

Cafe Abyssinia

Cafe, Restaurant, Hole in the Wall, Ethiopian, $$$
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Delicious fresh homemade crispy samosas with sauce
© BlueOrangeStudio / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re one to seek out the hole-in-the-wall haunts, you’ll be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind experience at Cafe Abyssinia. As the first, and one of the extremely few, Ethiopian restaurants in the city, Cafe Abyssinia invites you to dine family-style. Silverware is swapped for injera, a spongy bread that doubles as a utensil. Nibble on savory sambusa, pastries filled with beef and veggies, and dip your injera into a spiced butter sauce as you experience new flavors with new friends.

Mahony’s Po-boys & Seafood

Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, Seafood, $$$
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Fried shrimp po'boys with remoulade
© Dorling Kindersley ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Topping the long list of must-eats in New Orleans is the famous po’ boy, a local dish made classically and creatively at Mahony’s Po-boys & Seafood. Take your pick of fried shrimp, fried oyster or fried catfish slathered in mayo, sprinkled with lettuce and topped with tomatoes. Already a po’ boy pro? Mahony’s has a few twists for you to try, such as the poor-boy with french fries and roast beef debris or the root-beer-glazed Chisesi’s ham and cheese.

BOIL Seafood House

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Crayfish. Red boiled crawfishes on table in rustic style
© Olena Danileiko / Alamy Stock Photo

Newbies to NOLA, take note: you’ve never truly experienced the city until you’ve attended a backyard boil. BOIL Seafood House invites you to sink into a bucket of crawfish, Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, crawfish, crab and corn – and, then, order up a plate of oysters, crawfish beignets and voodoo rice, for good measure. As unpretentious as a bottle of Abita beer, BOIL will have you making friends with the table beside you, swapping stories and sharing appetizers.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Ann Marshall-Thomas.

Why not make a weekend of it? Book a stay with Culture Trip at one of the best hotels in New Orleans, or stick to a tighter budget at one of these budget hotels and hostels in Mid-City. There’s plenty to keep you busy, too, from ticking off the best things to do in New Orleans on your bucket list to exploring the best museums around or trying local specialties such as a po’ boy at these top spots.

These recommendations were updated on July 6, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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