There always are new restaurants to try in the French Quarter, from breakfast nooks to Francophile brasseries and craft cocktail dens. Here are some spots in the Vieux Carre and surrounding neighborhoods to try during French Quarter Festival.
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Start the day out strong at the third and latest outpost of Cara and Evan Benson’s breakfast spot, Toast. Joining locations in Uptown and Gentilly is this Decatur Street restaurant with a similar spread of crepe dishes and sweet and savory toasts. To get a hearty breakfast, look no further than the towering croque madame or coconut cream-stuffed French toast, served with bruleed pineapple, candied macadamia nuts, lemon curd and maple syrup.
This petite one-stop convenience store and deli is a great spot for a quick morning coffee and a New York-style bagel sandwich. Later in the day, an easy lunch or early dinner can be plucked from a display case filled with Indian and Pakistani treats. An all-vegetarian selection of hot dishes includes tandoori tofu po-boys, samosas, pakoras, chaat bowls and a daily curry. There isn’t any alcohol sold here, but there is kombucha on tap.
Appease your inner Francophile at Justin and Mia Devillier’s French Quarter brasserie, where the flashy decor and see-and-be-seen scene is half the fun. The sprawling restaurant stays open throughout the day and serves a menu of French classics, from steak tartare to moules frites and onion soup topped with a cap of melted cheese. An abbreviated late-night menu served on the weekends features raw Gulf and East Coast oyster platters and a rib-sticking duck fat-fried chicken sandwich.
Another good option for late-night revelers is the latest project from bartending duo Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich. It provides an elegant and cozy respite from French Quarter crowds and serves nearly forgotten cocktails such as a brandy crusta. Chef Philip Whitmarsh’s creative menu changes daily, with dishes such as Parmesan cream-filled gougeres, spring onions served with whipped schmaltz with lemon and thyme, warm beef tongue pastrami and fried chicken bao sliders with collard kimchi and fiery gochujang pepper sauce. The place is tucked on St. Louis Street at the edge of the Quarter with no clear signs, but it won’t be a secret for long.
Sometimes nothing but dim sum will do. If the afternoon festivities have you craving dumplings or fiery chili oil-doused Chinese fare, this is the place to go. Fried, steamed and dropped into bowls of hot-and-sour soup, dumplings of all sorts are served in a variety of dishes. For larger appetites, there’s a selection of fried noodle and rice dishes and jianbing, Chinese-style crepes filled with meats and fresh herbs.
If you’re not done with musical entertainment, the Starlight Lounge is a late option for food and music. Occupying a historic Creole townhouse, the two-story building features a double parlor and lounge downstairs with space for live music and dancing. The music lineup often includes sets from different acts each night. At the rear of the bar, a kitchen window serves as the portal to late-night dining in the form of Venezuelan snacks such as empanadas, arepas and fried cheese sticks called tequenos.
Just across Elysian Fields Avenue in the Faubourg Marigny, the Hotel Peter and Paul offers an elegant escape from the bustle of Frenchmen Street. The restaurant and bar occupy the campus’ beautifully renovated rectory, and the drinks menu includes classic cocktails and a section of aperitivos and spritzes, including several iterations of vermouth and tonic. For the hungry, a menu of small plates includes many vegetable dishes such as fried cauliflower with sheep’s milk cheese and whipped ricotta with preserved mushrooms with flatbread. Spicy chorizo sausage is served on a bed of quinoa, lentils and kale.
The location and the name are the same, but the menu and several of the players behind the corner bar and cafe are new. Bartending trio Evan Wolf, Matt LoFink and Jason Sorbet designed a martini-inspired cocktail program, so expect drinks that pack a punch, such as a Gibson, which is rendered a light pink hue from a house-made onion brine. Chef Dane Harris’ “gastrobar” menu features Louisiana-inspired dishes with creative twists. Beef tartare is served with Vietnamese pho garnishes and a smoked egg yolk. A German-style pork-neck schnitzel is served with a sunny side up egg and Creole mustard sauce, and a grilled half chicken is coated in a pepper vinegar glaze.