New Orleans

Photo courtesy Jewel of the South

The Hit ListNew Orleans

The Resy Hit List: Where In New Orleans You’ll Want to Eat Right Now

By

There’s no question we hear more often: Where should I go eat? And while we at Resy know it’s an honor to be the friend who everyone asks for restaurant advice, we also know it’s a complicated task. That’s where the Resy Hit List comes in. 

We’ve designed it to be your essential resource for dining in New Orleans: a monthly-updated (and now expanded!) guide to the restaurants that you won’t want to miss — tonight or any night.

Five Things In New Orleans Not to Miss This Month

  • Kitchen Takeover: Palm & Pine has launched Summer Heat Check, a six-part monthly chef collaborative dinner series. On July 11, look for Amanda Allard of Quepasta NOLA. Five courses are $85 per person. Beverages are a la carte. Book here, and find more Resy Events here.
  • Rare Opportunity: Throughout July MaMou will offer Oeufs et Bulles (Eggs and Bubbles), a special offering of glasses of Piper Heidsieck Rare with a bump of Kaluga Caviar for $75. The Champagne was originally made for Marie Antoinette, and vintage 2013 is only the 13th time it has been made.
  • Highly Anticipated: Celebrated chef Ana Castro will open Acamaya in the Bywater neighborhood this month. The James Beard-nominated chef, who closed her standard-bearing haute Mexican tasting restaurant Lengua Madre in 2023, will take a more casual approach with her new spot. The focus here will be on Mexican mariscos like agua chiles (think mahi mahi and alamo jack agua chile verde), classic Mexico city-style shrimp cocktail, tuna tostadas, octopus tacos, michelada oysters, and of course, top-notch margaritas.
  • Summer Heat, Cool New Menu: Osteria Lupo greets the swelter of summer with a fresh new menu. New dishes include crawfish arancini, grilled octopus with roasted red pepper pesto; a Bianco pizza with potato, guanciale, and rosemary; and new pastas. New mains include Gulf fish with fennel and charred cipollini; grilled hanger steak with crispy potatoes and salsa verde; and grilled rack of lamb with wood-fired zucchini, pistachio, and mint. Save room for dessert, and book here.
  • NOLA and Team USA for the Win: In June, New Orleans became the first American city to host the international Bocuse d’Or and the Pastry World Cup (aka the Culinary Olympics). Chef Emeril Lagasse served as president for the Bocuse d’Or, with chefs Alon Shaya, Nina Compton, Susan Spicer, Frank Brigtsen, and EJ Lagasse serving as advisory members. Winners were teams from Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, the USA, and Venezuela, with Team USA winning the top spot for the third consecutive year. The winners will join the 10 European countries already qualified to compete at the Grand Finale in January 2025.

New to the Hit List (July 2024)
Dahla, Garrison Kitchen and Cocktails, Jewel of the South, Outpost 45, Saffron, Vals.

1. N7 Bywater

map

Photo courtesy of N7

Founded by filmmaker Aaron Walker and situated behind a high wooden fence on an obscure street, N7 provides few signs you’ve arrived, namely a small burned-in impression in the wood. But to step behind the swinging gate is to enter another world. A lush garden surrounds the small, open building. Candlelight glows. Within this petite French restaurant, beautiful people sip natural wines and share artfully arranged plates of French-Japanese delicacies deftly turned out by chef Yuki Yamaguchi. Pro tip: During inclement weather, garden seating may not be available, so check with the restaurant (via your Resy confirmation; it has no phone).

Book Now

Photo courtesy of N7

2. Lil’ Dizzy’s Treme

map

It was a close call during the pandemic when Wayne Bacquet decided to hang up his apron for good. But after a long shutter Baquet’s son, Wayne Jr., and his wife, Arkesha Baquet, stepped in and reopened this beloved Creole lunch spot. Lil’ Dizzy’s is all about home cooking–from seafood gumbo to overstuffed po-boys, and red bean specials on Mondays–with an atmosphere that makes everyone feel welcome. On most days, the plate lunch special can get you out the door for under $10. Not so on Fridays when Catfish Jourdain is on offer for $21.50, but the fried filet topped with shrimp and crab meat in lemon butter sauce with a choice of two sides is worth it.

No reservations, lunch only Sunday-Thursday.

3. Chapter IV Central Business District

map

Chapter IV fulfills the late Leah Chase’s dream of having grandson Edgar “Dook” Chase IV, an economist, financier, businessman, and classically trained Le Cordon Bleu chef, rise to assume the mantle of family leadership. Chase’s menu at his breakfast and lunch spot honors his legendary family’s Creole culinary heritage while making things intriguing to younger palates. Oysters are fried for his interpretation of Oyster Rockefeller, then served on the half-shell atop creamed spinach and topped with pickled red onions and jalapeno. Weekends bring brunch with live music, lively cocktails, fried oyster Benedicts, fish and grits, and fried chicken sandwiches. The younger Chase is also the exceedingly handsome figure behind PBS’ “The Dooky Chase Kitchen: Leah’s Legacy.”

Book Now

4. BABs Bywater

map

James Beard Award-winning chef Nina Compton of Compere Lapin shut down her Bywater American Bistro for what seemed the blink of an eye before she reopened it as BABs, with an aesthetic overhaul. Compton and her spouse and business partner, Larry Miller, describe it as a “restaurant for every day or any day.” It brings focus to Compton’s exemplary pasta-making skills — with signatures like a wagyu beef lasagna with Fontina fonduta; spaghetti carbonara with andouille and black truffles, and cavatelli with shrimp and Compton’s unctuous run-down sauce. There’s also burrata with marinated tomatoes and soppressata; arancini with paddlefish caviar; and so much more.

Book Now

5. Dakar NOLA Uptown

map

Photo by Kat Kimball

Chef Serigne Mbaye’s destination for providing overdue recognition to the culinary contributions enslaved Africans made to the foodways of the American South was recently named Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Mbaye’s ever-changing seven-course pescatarian tasting menu explores the intersection of his native Senegambian cuisine of West Africa with that of his adopted New Orleans. Each dish arrives with a history lesson explaining its evolution from Africa, through the slave-run kitchens of the South, to where it is today. Though the subject matter is heavy, the menu of carefully sourced Gulf seafood is not. Mbaye brings levity and warmth by serving most dishes family-style. Consider it part dinner party, part history lesson — and a chance to provide substance for both body and soul.

Book Now

Photo by Kat Kimball

6. Fives Bar French Quarter

map

Last fall, businessman and designer Jason Seidman opened this chic raw bar in New Orleans’ most in-demand locale on the ground level of the historic Lower Pontalba building, reimagining it as a mix of contemporary and vintage elements. A wooden horseshoe-shaped bar with a green marble top takes center stage, surrounded by round tables beneath a series of sketches by American artist Gerald Gooch. Executive chef Paul Terrebonne offers a menu of oysters (Gulf and Eastern shore), caviar, and raw seafood, as well as salads, beef tartare, roasted bone marrow, butter-poached lobster rolls, and luscious crème brûlée for dessert.

Book Now

7. Jewel of the South French Quarter

map

Barmaster Chris Hannah’s elegant tavern was recently named Outstanding Bar by the James Beard Foundation. The highly atmospheric destination is tucked into an 1835 Creole cottage on a ragged edge of the French Quarter. The main entry is accessed through a passageway to a lush, verdant courtyard that opens to reveal the antique bar that sets the vibe for the place. Jewel is named for a restaurant run by Joseph Santini, inventor of the Brandy Crusta, the first cocktail to incorporate fresh citrus juice. The menu of contemporary craft and classic cocktails in this soothing spot changes monthly, but always features Hannah’s muse: the house’s signature Brandy Crusta.

Book Now

8. Saba Uptown

map

Chef Alon Shaya’s tribute to his grandfather remains built around an Israeli-influenced menu. Kick off with a selection of salatim served with puffy pita pulled from the wood-burning oven. The hummus is mind-blowingly creamy, with several seasonal versions available daily. A version topped with lump crab, butter, corn, and mint is particularly unforgettable — as are the grilled lamb kebabs, hanger steak with muhammara, and lamb shank braised with pomegranate and pink peppercorns. The duck matzo ball soup is afloat with threads of duck confit for a supremely comforting bowl of goodness. And if you’re coming in a group of eight or more, the family-style Feed Me meal is a terrific choice.

Book Now

9. Outpost 45 Lakeview

map

Named for both the French military outpost that once occupied this formerly swampy terrain and the RTA bus line that services the area today, Outpost 45 has an eclectic vibe focusing on kooky cocktails and offbeat menu surprises with underpinnings of American fusion and Southern styles. Chef Jeff “JP” Roots’ menu offers shareable items like ahi tuna poke with pineapple and habanero; muffuletta eggs rolls; fried ribs; garlicky barbecue shrimp with toast; and a Southern take on poutine with brisket debris spread over housemade chips or fries dotted with bracing bits of Danish blue cheese and bacon.

Book Now

10. Plates Restaurant Warehouse District

map

Photo courtesy of Plates

Early last fall after a series of pop-ups, local restaurant veterans chef Farrell Harrison and Brian Weisnicht took over the first floor of the Cotton Mill. Moody lighting, rustic brick, warm natural wood, and vintage plates and cutlery lend a homey vibe to what could be a cavernous space. The menu of shareable dishes was designed as “New Orleans tapas” with small plates bearing influences that span the globe. A four-course family-style tasting menu also is available. Wines are from lesser-appreciated Old World regions. Pro tip: Get the crawfish boulettes. The crustaceans will be gone for the year by the end of the month.

Book Now

Photo courtesy of Plates

11. Addis NOLA Treme

map

This mission-driven Ethiopian restaurant is situated on historic Bayou Road, a trading portage established by Native Americans before the arrival of the French, in what is now a cultural hub of Black-owned businesses. The space was designed by OI Studio and Nomita Joshi to evoke the Motherland. Chef Jaime Lobo mans the kitchen while Dr. Biruk Alemayehu and the couple’s engaging son, Prince Lobo, run the front of the house. The menu caters equally to vegetarians, pescatarians, and carnivores. The Ethiopian coffee service is not to be missed; nor is the Ethiopian honey wine.

Book Now

12. MaMou French Quarter

map

Despite the city’s French heritage, classic French food is a rarity in town. In this intimate and atmospheric spot, chef Tom Branighan is rectifying this oversight both with bistro classics (cassoulet and côte de boeuf) and Louisiana cuisine (a take on gulf fish courtbouillon, which features both oyster dressing and sauce rouille) and salmon mi-cuit, in which just-cooked salmon is stuffed in a beignet. The baba au rhum is flambéed tableside. Sommelier Molly Wismeier’s list is a world tour that roves from France to Italy to California to Portugal. A tight space means a tough reservation, so get right on it.

Book Now

13. VALS Freret

map

Developed on the site of a 1930s service station, the team behind nearby Cure created Vals as an indoor-outdoor hang, splitting the difference between bar and restaurant. Though the menu is Mexican-centric, cocktails go beyond the workaday Margarita. Look to an assortment of drinks including a frozen Margarita (classic and a daily special), Palomas, Ranch Water, and some originals. Two garage doors open directly into the bar room from a spacious outdoor area. Behind the bar is a 16-table dining room. Chef and partner Fredo Nogueira developed the menu over a year spent traveling Mexico. Look for takes on ceviche, elotes, and tacos, such as crispy beef belly, carnitas, chicken in green mole, and fried fish.

Book Now

14. Saffron Nola Uptown

map

A recent finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: South award, chef Arvinder Vilkhu’s menu has been driving double-takes since it opened in 2017. The menu merges the culinary sensibilities of India with those of New Orleans, like Gulf fish and shrimp, oysters, gumbo, and charcuterie with the use of Indian techniques and spices. If a prize were available for beautiful, inventive plating the oyster bed roast would be a sure bet. One dozen fine Gulf specimens arrive on a large pewter platter in the shape of a curving leaf with wells forming the cups within which the oysters are broiled with caramelized onions, garlic, and curry leaves.

Book Now

15. Cafe Amelie French Quarter

map

With one of the city’s most lush and fragrant courtyards, following a heartbreaking and unexpected closure last spring, one month later Café Amelie re-opened next door in an enhanced and expanded interior space while still retaining the courtyard for which it has been beloved for decades. After a night of carousing the Quarter, cochon poutine (fried fingerling potato and mozzarella poutine, topped with slow-smoked pork) tossed back with Midnight in the Garden (rye, rum, Cynar, and cold brew) should clear things up. Or not. Pro tip: Nab a table outside while the fine temperatures hold.

Book Now

16. Yakuza House Metairie

map

Ask for a table, or ask the high-roller next to you to scoot it over at the bar. After a year-long meteoric rise in his minuscule first solo spot, chef Huy Pham’s roomier digs nearby are top-of-mind with the serious sushi-centric crowd — who seem happy to pay the price. The menu offers temaki, dressed nigiri, Japanese-style sandwiches, donburi bowls, and noodles. Temaki “sets” come in varieties that include “Nibbles,” ”Starving,” and “Hangry.” On a menu full of them, standouts include creamy Ora king salmon sashimi with shiso furikake, and seared hotate (scallop) dressed with luscious foie gras, unagi sauce, and a frizzle of fried leeks that lands on the palate in a swirl of flavors and textures. Looking to impress? This is your spot.

Book Now

17. Garrison Kitchen and Cocktails Old Metairie

map

Taking over a long vacant garden center on a prime stretch of land, this three-in-one restaurant presses into service a historic home as the centerpiece of the operation. The buzzy, social cottage dining rooms number among several gathering spaces, both indoor and out, on the sprawling property. Executive chef John Sinclair’s menu straddles the line between comfort food and culinary inventiveness, and even the entrée-sized dishes lend themselves to sharing. Scallop crudo with grilled cantaloupe offers a light, bright start to the sweltering season, but the star of the show is the pork belly, which arrives crispy, chewy, and smoky with grilled Napa cabbage and fennel.

Book Now

18. Parkway Bakery and Tavern Midcity

map

There is magic here. Perhaps it floats down, unseen, like a fairy’s dust out of the empty McKenzie’s bakery cake box hanging from a thin wire above the toilet in the ladies’ bathroom. Perhaps the magic is dispensed by Elvis as he swings his pelvis in perpetual motion over the order-taking counter, a sandwich between his ankles. Whatever it is, you’ll see every walk of life in New Orleans here at the communal tables; you don’t have to leave the block. As for the po’boys? Oyster varieties are available on Wednesdays and Thursdays only. The James Brown is a belt-buster with BBQ beef and fried shrimp topped with melted pepper jack cheese. No wrong answers, though.

No reservations. Find more info here.

19. Dahla Central Business District

map

It’s a family affair at Dahla, the upscale Thai eatery Warakorn “Tom” Intavichai opened with business partner Glenn Mahiya last year. The Intavichai family hails from Sukhothai, Thailand’s ancient capital, and many dishes on the menu are executed from family recipes. Intensely flavored Chaing Mai sausage is made on-site with lemon grass, lime leaves, ginger, and chile paste. Prad kra pao kai, or Thai basil chicken, is a chile-spiced stir fry with Thai basil leaves and ground chicken, served with rice and topped with a fried egg. A grilled flank steak salad is bright with citrus, fresh herbs, and nam pla. Pro tip: Go for the chef’s special duck curry. The meat is roasted, then fried and bathed in a sweet-and-sour curry simmered with pineapple, raisins, and peppers.

Book Now

20. Saint-Germain Bywater

map

Photo courtesy of St-Germaine

Set aside some time for this 10-course stunner of a tasting menu in an intimate setting meant to evoke the experience of dining in someone’s home. The small guest count allows chefs Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith to offer carefully composed, technical dishes that rely on the dry aging of meats, freshly-made washed rind cheeses, and á la minute seafood butchery. The menu changes monthly and features such delicacies as white asparagus, venison, Norwegian king crab, squab, and geoduck. Check the website for frequent vegetarian tasting menu nights. A garden patio wine bar features natural wines, wines with minimal to no added sulfites with a preference for those grown organically or biodynamically. There are also beer, and craft cocktails.

Book Now

Photo courtesy of St-Germaine