The New Orleans Arena hosts concerts, shows, conventions and sporting events. These activities take place morning noon and night. During all three of those time periods, the human body needs nourishment. Fortunately, the New Orleans dining infrastructure is sound in this area.
The area in question is generally considered the CBD or Central Business District. There are plentiful restaurants, bistros and cafes all within walking distance. What kind of food types you say? All.
Craving some sushi? Check out Horinoya. Trying to cross a famous New Orleans soul restaurant off your bucket list? Shuffle on down to Mother's and make sure to say yes to "debris" on your po-boy.
The newly minted Pelicans are playing hoops at the arena these days. After a great win, or good game/close loss, head on over to Walk-On's. There, you can commiserate with fellow fans while catching up on the remaining sports action and highlights on the literally hundreds of screens they have up.
If you happen to be staying at the Hyatt Regency or Loews New Orleans, you could be in for an even more convenient treat. Your lodgings have excellent restaurants right inside of them that you could dine at before heading out for a night on the town. Read the list below to find out which those are (cliffhanger).
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant
Gordon Biersch is a large restaurant/sports bar on Poydras Street in the heart of New Orleans. The venue has outdoor seating allowing you to view the bustle of the downtown. Inside, their are a handful of plasma television screens as well as direct views of the brewery where actual beer making goes down. You can really make a day out of Biersch's by planning a brewery tour for before or after the sporting event you plan to watch. If lucky, you'll be in attendance during one of the sporadic times the staff chooses to give out free beer samples! ((504) 552-2739)
Eat - Drink - Cheer is the perfect description of Manning's, the upbeat sports bar and restaurant located in the lively Fulton Street corridor. This is one of the best places to cheer for the home team in New Orleans, a partnership between the casino and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, who spent 12 years playing at the Superdome. The restaurant is heaven for any fan of the Manning family, with all kinds of memorabilia from Archie Manning's playing career, and that of his sons, Peyton and Eli. The sports theme at the 210 seat restaurant is driven home by 30 flat screens always tuned to one game or another. There's even a giant screen in a section called the End Zone. As for the menu, it's an intersection between Mississippi delta and Creole, with specialties like shrimp and grits and local red fish. ((504) 593-8118)
The Original Italian Pie
The Original Italian Pie is a pizza parlor type restaurant located in the CBD of New Orleans. They have been around for a good long while, cooking up inventive pizza pies that locals have clamored about since 1992. Besides their delicious gourmet specialty pizzas, they make great salads, calzones and sandwiches. Dining out in New Orleans can be expensive, but with Italian Pie, you always come away feeling like you got a great deal. A giant chicken parm sandwich can be yours for under $9!
If you are in town for a party, wedding or large event, consider having The Italian Pie cater for you. ((504) 522-7552)
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar is located on Poydras Street in the CBD of New Orleans. Close by to both the New Orleans Arena and the Superdome, this joint is the preeminent spot to be for pre- and post-game food and drinks. Walk-On's has televisions nearly everywhere, including outside on their 2nd floor terraced balcony. Don't count this place as a "bar food" type; the menu is filled with regional specialties, including seafood po-boys, fried catfish and andouille-filled quesadillas.
The bar area is a great place to be to watch your favorite team in action. Grab a few buds and a pitcher of ice cold beer and post up at Walk-On's. ((504) 309-6530)
Mother's has been a New Orleans tradition since the 1940's and it is still creating happy customers today. If you are looking for a hearty breakfast or a "meat and three" for supper and don't mind standing in line, this cafeteria-style eatery is sure to please. And do not miss the po' boys – natives claim Mother's sells the definitive version of the popular sandwich. Also a winner: the New Orleans style, chicory-flavored coffee. Mother's is located on Poydras in the Central Business District, and is known for attracting heaping amounts of visitors during weekends. Try sneaking your Mother's trip in mid-week to avoid a potential fiasco. (504-523-9656)
Capdeville takes a British ale house and throws an American spin on it. Located in the CBD of New Orleans, and tucked away, this spot is truly one of a kind. The drinks are always flowing and the crowds friendly and usual. The burgers, fries and truffle mac and cheese get great reviews. This is a great spot to try if you want to get away from the crowds, and enjoy a conversation with your companions and/or the amiable staff. For the drinkers among us, Capdeville has an enviable stash of American whiskeys at their disposal that they would be more than welcome to serve you. (5043715161)
Reginelli's is a pizza joint with a few spots around town (one in the CBD and the other in Uptown). They offer more than just pies though, with specialty salads, pastas, sandwiches and calzones gracing the menu. They've been a staple college favorite for years and are now fully recognized by the city as having outstanding food at great prices. They always have a great selection of beer on tap, including locally brewed Abita. Midweek pitcher specials can have you and your pals drinking on sofa change. Their locations are super casual, and if you don't feel like eating out, grab to go or have them deliver. (504-895-7272)
Borgne is a seafood restaurant located inside the Hyatt Regency in the CBD of New Orleans. Superstar chef John Besh overseas this restaurant, which he created along with the menu which features Coastal Louisianan cuisine. The restaurant serves many purposes. It's a great spot for a casual lunch. It doubles as a excellent venue for a meal before a Saints or Pelicans game. It triples as a solid spot for the group to get together to catch up over a tasty bite any night of the week. Lunch is great because Besh has created revolving $10 lunch specials. Ragout of Louisiana rabbit, smothered catfish and red beans & rice are some of the day's offerings. ((504) 613-3860)
Located in the fab Loews Hotel, the Brennan family-run Café Adelaide is named for colorful Ti Adelaide Martin, co-owner of big sister restaurant Commander's Palace. You'll be happy starting with the bacon and cornmeal crusted fried oysters, and the shrimp and tasso corndog with five pepper jelly is like nothing you'll ever taste at a country fair. The menu is served at the Swizzle Stick bar next to the restaurant, a tasteful homage to Adelaide Brennan, also known as "Queenie" and "Auntie Mame," who did her share of living the good life. The restaurant recently adopted an All American approach to its wine list, with some 200 selections derived from North, South, and Central America. (504-595-3305)
The Mexican love child of local uber chef John Besh and Food Network wunderkind Aarón Sánchez, Johnny Sánchez is the best thing to happen to Poydras Street since Sculpture for New Orleans. A place that gives the option of roasted grasshoppers on the freshly made guac gets a body's attention. The menu is locally charged and full of authentic Mexican flavors. A seasonal specialty, the fried Brussels sprouts "salad" is really a revelatory warm veg dish tossed with bits of roasted squash, pomegranate and queso. The pork belly tacos are sweet with pineapple glaze and savory with swiney goodness. Lamb enchiladas, yellowtail tostados, grilled sweetbread tacos with chorizo - what's not to like? There are some interesting (and pricey) wines by the glass along with a very good house margarita and a full list of sipping tequilas.
By the way, the place also happens to be gorgeous, bright with a colorful Day of the Dead wall mural and Chihuly-style overhead chandeliers. Service is informed and attentive. (504.304.6615)
About Beth D'Addono
Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.
After spending years flying in regularly to research stories, attend festivals and eat the city's amazing cuisine, this New Orleanian at heart moved to the Crescent City full time in 2012.
Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets including USAToday, AAA Traveler, Wells Fargo Conversations, Philadelphia Daily News, Taste, Fodor's and others.
Her new book The Hunt New Orleans is a carefully curated insider's guide to indie shops and restaurants around town.
Read more about Beth D'Addono here.
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