Brunch is a special meal in New Orleans, a chance to slowly start your engines on a weekend day with an endless array of possibilities stretching out before you.
In Uptown, there are plenty of places where partying can go on into the wee hours, so of course good brunch places abound. The list below contains a mix of places that just serve on Sundays, some just weekends, and others all days of the week. Depending on your brunch needs, plan accordingly.
Uptown is not the biggest neighborhood in the world, so most of these places can be easily accessed by streetcar. This is huge considering most visitors prefer leaving the car parked and exploring on foot, bike or streetcar. Coming to the area for your first meal can be a great leader to a day followed up with trips to Audubon Park, the zoo or the Fly on the Mississippi River.
Shrimp & grits, andouille/boudin infused eggs, breakfast burritos and brunch po-boys are all offerings you can expect to order at the top brunch locales of Uptown. Don't worry about drinks. If you're a "hair of the dog" subscriber, Bloody Mary's and mimosas flow at most of these spots. If not, that's what go cups are for.
Breads on Oak raises the bar on bread, pastry and breakfast sammies for Uptowners on historic Oak Street. Open Wednesday through Sunday and serving breakfast and lunch, this artisinal bakery specializes in Old World style breads studded with fruits and nuts, seeds and multi grains. Extremely vegan and vegetarian friendly, you can order a mean locally sprouted tofu scramble on pumpkin cheddar biscuit and all kinds of veggies between two hearty pieces of the break of your choice. Frittatas are offered most weekends along with all kinds of gooey pastry. There is outdoor seating, great for Fido and the kids are welcome here.
Delachaise lets you sleep in on the weekends, opening "early" - for them - on Saturday and Sundays at 3 pm. Day drinking and croque monsieur-munching is the perfect way to start the weekend at this under the radar spot along St. Charles Avenue. Dine on the outdoor patio, always buzzing with a lively crowd. This spirited wine bar uptown is easy to love for its long convivial bar, lack of pretense, impressive wine list and most notably the smoked salmon Johnny Cakes with vodka crème fraiche and caviar. Really everything at this atmospheric French-ish bistro is good, say yes to housemade pate and double yes to the devilish chocolate souffle.
Just off the St. Charles streetcar, (get off on Carrollton and head down Hampson), Refuel serves breakfast and lunch, as well as a delicious Sunday brunch from 8:30 am til 2 pm. The offerings are light, contemporary and affordable. Brunch is the highlight meal, as people from all over the neighborhood flock here for the Huevos Rancheros and the Migas. Grits come with a choice of toppings if Hearty breakfast sandwiches color outside the lines with ingredients like pulled pork and avocado. There are choices sweet and savory, along with a bottomless cup of the mighty fine French Truck Coffee.
A favorite with the locals, this eatery's the perfect spot to spend a leisurely morning. Beverage selections are of the non-alcoholic variety, including fruit and vegetable juices, Abita root beer and organic coffee. Menu favorites include the muffuletta, filled with ham, cheese, salami, and olive salad, and huevos rancheros, comprised of chilies, black beans, egg and tortillas in a deeply flavored mole sauce. Lush plants, whimsical art work and regional music playing in the background add to this restaurant's vitality. Surrey's has two locations on Magazine Street, one in the lower Garden shopping district and this one uptown close to Napoleon Avenue. Both serve breakfast all day, at least until 3 when it's closing time.
Cafe Atchafalaya features authentic Creole food, comforting service and locally seasoned live music. Touted as New Orleans' only "five A" restaurant, this funky neighborhood bistro emanates a distinct New Orleans vibe that attracts locals and tourists alike. The sauces, soups and shrimp and grits are offerings that attract weekly repeat customers. The Jazz Brunch offered here is less "prim and proper", and more wild to put it simply. The Jazz trio pumps out some great tunes while interacting with the enthusiastic crowds. The building has served as a restaurant since the 20's and is located in the famed Irish Channel.
Built in 1883, the Columns offers a gorgeous Victorian setting, a stellar bar (order a Ramos gin fizz) and a reputation among locals for serving a most genteel Sunday brunch. Friday, Saturday and Sunday The Columns opens up the lovely Victorian dining room at 11 am. Within minutes, it is filled with "in the know" locals, coming to feast on shrimp & grits, eggs benedict or jumbo lump crab cake. The meal is a flat $40, which includes a glass of bubbly or a mimosa. Getting to The Columns is as easy as hopping on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar.
Green is beautiful at Satsuma, a fetching dining spot with locations on Maple Street Uptown and on Dauphine Street in the Bywater. Yard eggs scrambled with basil pesto and shaved Nueske's ham, free trade coffee and freshly made juices concocted in their industrial juicer behind the bar are just a few of the daily specials. Vegans are in heaven here, thanks to dishes like the tofu scramble and black bean burger with avocado mash. Eat indoors or out, and definitely plan on trying some of the green juice blends. Satsuma uptown is in walking distance to the universities and Audubon Park.
Step a few hundred feet inside the oak tree lining of Audubon Park and you will stumble upon the Audubon Clubhouse Cafe. The cafe is not just for golfers, as it is open to the public six days a week. They serve breakfast, lunch and drinks those days, and include a brunch buffet on Sundays. Choose to eat indoors in the Acadian-style home, or outdoors to immerse yourself in one of the city's most beautiful green spaces. The Clubhouse Cafe is accessible by foot by following the park's walking path, or by car through the Magazine Street entrance (right across from the zoo).
La Crepe Nanou is a quick walk from the St. Charles streetcar. The charming eatery serves dinner, with brunch on Sundays. La Crepe Nanou serves traditional French fare in a neighborhood bistro type setting. Sampling the crepes, all of the seafood options are delicately lovely and pair well with wine. Served Sundays 11 to 3 pm, the brunch menu is extensive including omelets, crepes oozing cheese and bechemal and of course a tip top Croque Monsieur. Indoor and outdoor seating is available here, and guests tend to take their time, wiling away a lazy Sunday afternoon over crepes and libations, French style.
There is no better way to begin a New Orleans weekend morning than brunch at Dante's Kitchen, where delectable dishes offer playful twists on Creole comfort food. This local gem's charming dining rooms and tropical patio provide a wonderful setting for sipping the perfect Bloody Mary and indulging in morning masterpieces like decadent homemade breakfast breads, brioche French toast and a deliciously genius version of eggs Benedict, featuring rosemary-crusted pork and honey on a buttermilk biscuit. Located right on the Riverbend, take the St. Charles streetcar (the green one) Uptown for a delicious meal followed by a stroll along the Mississippi.