What's for lunch in New Orleans' Garden District

The Garden District in New Orleans is usually associated with shopping and mansion ogling, but there are plenty of dining options to fit any appetite and occasion.  Magazine Street is ground zero for both shopping and nibbling, with many a sidewalk cafe and po-boy joint there for the grazing.  

If an upscale experience is the ticket, Commander's Palace one of New Orleans's most beloved restaurants, is a great place to reserve a table for lunch. Before or after, just across Washington Avenue is the white-walled Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 , one of the most beautiful in the city and a frequent backdrop featured in Anne Rice novels.

If it's rib-sticking you need, Parasol's has a massive roast beef po-boy that deserves attention. For a break from Creole fare, Byblos has inventive, light Mediterranean dishes on the menu and Stein's dishes authentic Jewish deli. Simply let your hunger point you in the right direction and dig in.


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 one uptown close to Napoleon Avenue.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Surrey's offers diners lighter eats, especially appreciated on a hot summer day.

Beth's expert tip: Surrey's is the spot if you're looking for healthier fare and don't need a drink to wash it down. They serve delicious freshly squeezed juice and shots of wheat grass.

Read more about Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar →

Chef Justin Devillier and his wife/partner Mia Freiberger-Devillier operate this refined lunch and dinner restaurant that turns any meal into a special occasion. With its Magazine Street setting, La Petite makes an ideal lunch break if you're not down with fried food and po-boys. Chef's blue crab beignets are a fabulous savory treatment of the New Orleans specialty, but all the apps are tempting, including fried green tomatoes with burrata and country ham. There's rarely a wait for lunch, but if you must, do grab a drink from their innovative cocktail menu and soak in the historic ambiance of this sweet and beckoning restaurant.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: La Petite Grocery is a lovely setting for an upscale lunch Tuesday through Saturday.

Beth's expert tip: La Petite Grocery is named after the specialty grocery store that was opened on site in the late 1800s.

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Parasol's has been a New Orleans mainstay for years, tucked away in the Irish Channel portion of the Garden District. The bar/restaurant is known for a few things, one being their huge St. Patty's day blow outs. Parasol's is also known for crafting up some of the best roast beef and seafood po-boys in town. The venue is an old school bar, with a vintage interior and walls lined with memorabilia. The place gets rowdy during Saints games and soccer matches and competes with nearby Tracey's as one of the busiest Irish pubs in town. Locals have their favorite, you decide.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Parasol's roast beef po-boys is legend, a great choice for a rib-sticking midday meal.

Beth's expert tip: Come for the St. Patrick's Day Block Party and the roast beef po-boys.

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Tracey's was the original bar in New Orleans' Irish Channel, opened in 1949, a sports bar known for hefty sandwiches, cold beer and great drink specials 11 am to 7 pm. Monday through Thursday. Sports fans gawk endlessly at the 20 flat screens tuned to all sports, all the time. Tracey's food is served in mammoth portions, with po-boys a specialty, including options like chicken parm, fried gulf shrimp, Italian sausage and surf and turf - shrimp and roast beef dressed. Start with an order of boudin balls, then move onto the fried seafood platter, fried and salad on the side, a great deal for $20.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Tracey's in the Irish Channel has been feeding hungry New Orleanians since 1949.

Beth's expert tip: Check out Tracey's during a Saints game for unbelievable atmosphere

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Arana Taqueria Y Cantina
Photo courtesy of Katie Sikora Photography

Arana Taqueria y Cantina, home to local chef Richard Papier, is a popular Magazine Street specializing in flavorfuil Mexican cuisine. The name, which means spider in Spanish, is a nod to the chef's longtime nickname. Look for slow braised pork, beef, chicken and duck cooked in banana leaves and dishes seasoned with achiote. Papier, who has worked alongside chefs Emeril Lagasse, Donald link and Susan Spicer, gets creative with smoky chicken mole, a send up on chicken fried steak called torta Milanese and a variety of 12 different tacos including killer fish tacos with jalapeno sauce and a tasty carne asada. There's also a menu featuring crowd pleasing Mexican dishes like fajitas, burritos and enchiladas - including the New Orleans-flavored fried oyster tostadas.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: A nice change from Creole fare, Arana Taquiria delivers tasty Mexican eats and a killer happy hour.

Beth's expert tip: Sunday brunch includes $15 bottomless mimosas and margaritas.

Read more about Arana Taqueria Y Cantina →

Lunch is called brunch at Atchafalaya, a Thursday through Monday 10am - 2:30pm great idea thanks to chef Jacob Cureton's inventive take on contemporary creole cuisine. Touted as New Orleans' only "five A" restaurant, this funky neighborhood bistro bristles with a distinct New Orleans vibe that attracts locals and tourists alike. Besides eggs all kinds of ways, the afternoon menu might include specialties like Low Country Benedict: poached eggs atop a red bean and rice cake served with collard greens, alligator sausage, gumbo gravy and pickled peppers. The jazz brunch is lively, drawing an enthusiastic crowd tuned up by the bottomless Bloody Mary bar.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Atchafalaya serves inventive cocktails and a creative and well priced menu for both lunch and dinner.

Beth's expert tip: Jazz brunch Saturdays and Sundays is also a popular reason to visit this top shelf eatery.

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Commander's Palace
Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace

Driving by the blue Victorian facade of Commander's Palace in the Garden District of New Orleans immediately invokes curiosity. What's in there? Just a five star upscale restaurant whose kitchen was tended to by a young pre-famed Emeril Legasse some many years ago is all. Commander's Palace was battered a bit by Katrina, but it is back in full force now, serving up dishes starring local meats, seafood, vegetables and fruits. In keeping with tradition, the Palace requires gentlemen to wear slacks and button ups, with suit jackets recommended for dinner. Stepping inside the time warp that is the front door, be prepared to experience New Orleans dining like it was, back in the day.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Lunching at Commander's Palace allows you to indulge in their scrumptious meals at a fraction of what it would cost at dinner.

Beth's expert tip: 25 cent martinis at lunch. That's all there is to say.

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Joey K's
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Joey K's is a neighborhood treasure, a Garden District go-to for locals and visitors alike. Situated on busy Magazine, Joey K's serves soulful Creole specialties like overstuffed po-boys, red beans & rice and fried seafood. Come hungry,as portions are hefty to say the least. Some favorites to try include the roast beef debris po-boy, fried green tomatoes topped with shrimp and sauteed trout topped with shrimp and crabmeat. Beer and wine prices are affordable, like everything else at this friendly locals' spot. Plus, Joey K's is right in the mix of Magazine Street shops and boutiques, a perfect place to recharge and take a load off.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Joey K's is an affordable, down-home spot for po-boys, plate lunches and bread pudding.

Beth's expert tip: Joey K's is the place to go for lunch if you can afford to nap immediately after eating.

Read more about Joey K's →

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar
Photo courtesy of Superior Seafood

Superior Seafood, located on the corner of Napoleon and St. Charles delivers solid seafood options right on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. Housed in a building that was once a stable for the mules that pulled the street cars along before electricity, the restaurant has a gorgeous zinc bar with a fab cocktail list to match. Reasonably priced lunch choices range from salads, fried platters and po-boys to grilled seafood, if you're watching your waistline. The happy hour oysters specials are legend, with raw oysters just $.50 and two for one frozen mojitos. Save room for the bread pudding for dessert.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Lunch is served daily from 11 am, a great option for hungry early birds.

Beth's expert tip: Always get the char-grilled oysters loaded with butter and parmesan cheese and are absolutely to die for.

Read more about Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar →

Delachaise is that mystery spot that you might cruise right by without noticing during a daylight trip on the St. Charles streetcar. But the frankly Francophone menu works perfectly for lunch and afternoon munch on the weekends. Come evening, and it's another story. The outdoor patio, lit with twinkle lights, is always buzzing with a lively crowd along with couples enjoying date night. This spirited wine bar is easy to love for its long convivial bar, lack of pretense, impressive wine list and most notably the Thai spiced mussels served with goose fat fries. Also say yes to housemade pate and tender flank steak bruschetta, and double yes to the devilish chocolate souffle. And order Viognier or Gruner by the glass - a treat for a white wine drinker weary of house Chardonnay.

Recommended for Garden District's Best Lunch because: Right on the streetcar line on St. Charles Avenue, Delachaise dishes a tasty chance from Creole fare.

Beth's expert tip: Lunch is only served on Saturday and Sundays at this French charmer.

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Meet 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.

Beth writes about New Orleans and other destinations for outlets...  More About Beth