I started compiling restaurant lists back in 2005 while working at The Columns and being asked for recommendations. These are some of my favorite “New Orleans style” restaurants in in the French Quarter, listed in no particular order. They are all great for first time visitors and exemplify the local cuisine and culture. -Kevin
Muriel’s – FQ, $$$ – This is one of my favorites. Definitely a sleeper pick. It’s only for locals or tourists in the know and it doesn’t have the “cool” factor, but this is a “must visit” on every trip. Go there just to get the goat cheese and seafood crepes. All of the food is good, but this dish is outstanding. You can dine at the bar. http://www.muriels.com/
Galatoire’s, FQ, $$$$- Pricey and dressy, but the food is remarkably down to earth; one of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans if you can sit downstairs. (I don’t love the feel of the upstairs dining room.) It’s over 100 years old and in my opinion one of the best restaurants to find classic Creole cuisine. Jackets are required for men for dinner and for lunch on Sundays. The soft shell crab is always outstanding or you can’t go wrong with a piece of broiled fish topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. The menu reads like a phone book, but your best bet is to just take the advice of your waiter. You absolutely must get the crabmeat and/or shrimp maison as an appetizer. Best thing on the planet. Better yet, get them both on a appetizer combo with the oysters en brochette! No reservations for downstairs but you can make them for upstairs.
GW Fins – FQ – $$$ – this place is always packed and for good reason. It’s one of the best seafood restaurants in the city and one of the first to serve “non-local” styles of seafood. The Scalibut is one of their signature dishes and is outstanding. If you want to go and just grab apps or a meal without reservations, you should be able to squeeze in at the bar (but found out on a recent last trip that they now do a waiting list for seats at the bar, so beware). 808 Bienville Street (between Bourbon and Dauphine Sts) http://gwfins.com/
ACME Oyster House, FQ, $$ – Good for casual seafood. Fantastic seafood po’ boys and some damn good raw and grilled oysters. There is always a line so get there when there isn’t. It’s not really worth waiting for, so if there is a line, head across the street to Felix’s. 724 Iberville Street. (near corner of Bourbon) – 504.522.5973 www.acmeoyster.com
Felix’s Oyster, FQ, $$ – Great raw oysters in a traditional New Orleans oyster bar setting. Across the street from Acme but there is rarely a line. Recently renovated in August of 2017 so the interior is pretty inviting. There are two entrances; the old school entrance on Iberville and the “new” entrance on Bourbon St. Good fried oysters as well as grilled. Grilled are not as good as Acme. Best place in the FQ for raw oysters and beer. Iberville Street. (near corner of Bourbon, across from Acme) http://www.felixs.com/
Redfish Grill – FQ, $$ – Good solid food. Not on my must-see list but everything is quality. Also a great oyster bar. The atmosphere is cool and casual. All of the seafood is fresh and well prepared. They make a good bloody mary. This is a Brennan family owned restaurant. 115 Bourbon St. (near Canal St.) – 504. 598.1200 – www.redfishgrill.com
Verti Marte – FQ, $ – Takeout only. Great po’boys. Open 24 hours. Little grocery store on Royal Street. Seriously, go to this place. Shrimp and Oyster po’boys are both fantastic.
Tableau – FQ, $$$ – the newest of the Dickie Brennan restaurants. Great food. Very good happy hour drinks. Overlooks Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral and there are several tables (2 tops) on the balcony. The oysters en brochette was probably the best version I have ever eaten (from July 2014 trip) but I don’t think it is on the menu any more. http://www.tableaufrenchquarter.com/
Mr. B’s Bistro – FQ, $$$ – Really great food and popular. Make a reservation or sneak in and have dinner at the bar. Gumbo Ya Ya is great. The BBQ Shrimp are some of the best in the city (messy). The steaks are fantastic. This place gets really loud. Great fun atmosphere. http://www.mrbsbistro.com/
Bourbon House – FQ, $$ Food is ok. Stop in and get a Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch in a cool plastic go-cup! The oyster bar is great too. http://www.bourbonhouse.com/
Café Du Monde – FQ, $ – World famous beignets, which are fried donuts covered with powdered sugar. If you haven’t heard of this place, you may have spent your life in a cave. Though it is touristy, it’s a must-do for any visit to New Orleans. If the line is too long, check out the take-out line and you can eat them anywhere. It’s best to go during off-hours and they are generally open 24/7.
Arnaud’s – FQ, $$$ – Classic New Orleans cuisine and one of the old school restaurants in the FQ. I love the place and it’s a great place for brunch or for celebratory occasions. Can be a little pricey. https://www.arnaudsrestaurant.com/
Stanley – FQ, $$ – go for Brunch or breakfast. Outstanding. Their bacon bloody mary is fantastic. If you can get fried oysters benedict or soft shell crab benedict, you’ll be set. This is my go-to breakfast joint and it gets very crowded. Try to hit it early or late (in the morning). It’s right next to the St. Louis Cathedral. http://www.stanleyrestaurant.com/
Irene’s – FQ, $$ – This is a classic Creole Italian restaurant and has been around for many years. Have always loved it. They recently moved into a new location and it’s still as good as ever. Go there if you have a chance. Make a reservation. 529 Bienville St. https://irenesnola.com/