Located in the swanky Roosevelt Hotel on Canal Street, on the edge of the French Quarter and the CBD, Domenica dazzles with chef, co-owner Alon Shaya's regional Italian cuisine and what may be the best thin crust pizza in town. Try a pie topped with pork shoulder fennel bacon and sweet onions or a dish of squid Ink tagliolini with crab, rich with seafood goodness. Shaya gets ingredients from partner John Besh's farm, so the emphasis is on seasonal freshness. Happy hour seven days a week from 3-6 pm is a great deal, with the gourmet pies and drinks half off.
Reginelli's is a popular pizza joint with a few spots around town including one within and easy stroll of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The menu dishes more than just pies, with specialty salads, pastas, sandwiches and calzones among the popular specialties. A staple college favorite for years, Reginelli's has graduated to a reputation for outstanding food at great prices. Beer drinkers will appreciate the great selection of beer on tap, including locally brewed Abita. Midweek pitcher specials can have you and your pals drinking on sofa change. All of the locations are super casual, and if you don't feel like eating out after the game, grab to go or have them deliver.
Fulton Alley in the New Orleans CBD is a fun locally owned destination for bowling, contemporary Southern comfort food and curated craft cocktails. The setting is sleek and urbane, with local art adding eye-popping appeal. Executive chef Mike Nirenberg is behind the contemporary Southern-influenced menu, delivering the likes of pimento cheese on toasted brioche, crispy chicken sliders and raisin bread pudding beignets right to your lane. Cocktails from the team behind Cure bring a hip night of bowling into perfect focus. The bowling lounge recently expanded to include an array of fun games, from darts and foozball to a full on bocce court and oversized chess on the patio. A creative event staff will customize a party package for your group, including everything and anything from bowling and shoes to tasty nibbles and cocktails from the premium bar.
The Little Gem Saloon is located in a historic building on the 400 block of South Rampart Street, a place jazz historians have long considered the likely birthplace of jazz. First opened in 1903, the Little Gem Saloon served as a popular watering hole for early jazz legends like Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton. The space was remodeled in late 2012 and opened again as Little Gem Saloon; a place where you can listen to live music five days a week while munching on Southern soul food infused with Louisiana seafood. Try shrimp and grits, fried chicken or succulent barbecue ribs. The joint is an easy walk from both major sports/event venues, and is right off the Loyola streetcar line.
If you're looking to relax and be treated like a VIP, the Palace Cafe is the ticket. Situated on Canal Street on the edge of the French Quarter, this restaurant boasts a Brennan pedigree and chef Brandon Muetzal's creative vision in the kitchen. Housed in the historic Werlein's music building, the two-level restaurant is filled with local art including a stunning upstairs mural in the dining room overlooking Canal Street. Enjoy an upbeat, friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere as you sample favorites like oysters pan roast, crawfish mac & cheese or the Andouille crusted local fish. A terrific list of craft cocktails will ensure that you're in a celebratory mood.
The Bourbon House is an authentic New Orleans seafood restaurant, with its dining room windows looking out onto the riotous Bourbon Street. Inside, calm indulgence presides, in a setting that is pure New Orleans, from its lacy, wrought-iron balcony seating to its large French windows overlooking the famous street below. The menu, a veritable catalog of Creole specialties, includes oysters Bienville, catfish pecan and a killer fried seafood platter. The bar boasts more than 90 American whiskeys, one reason why the restaurant is home to the New Orleans Bourbon Society. The expert wait staff is attentive and caring, able to guide you through the various oyster options and small batch/single barrel bourbon choices.
Copper Vine is what would happen if a swank wine bar married a craft beer joint. Owned by Brechtel Hospitality Group (BHG), the same company behind Fulton Alley and the Walk Ons franchise up the block, Copper Vine is a gorgeous spot close to the Dome, Smoothie King Center and in the heart of the CBD. If some wine bars can be snooty, this one is a breath of fresh air intent on making wine sipping approachable and fun. BHG founder Kyle Brechtel had a vision with Copper Vine, imaging an approachable and inviting place for tasty food and 30 wines on tap. Add in the knock out interior, second floor balcony, communal tables and private dining options, and Copper Vine is sweet indeed. Chef Mike Brewer, known for his award winning spot The Sammich as well as stints at Brennan's and Commander's, gets creative with gastro pub cuisine, offering snacks like deviled eggs topped with jumbo lump Louisiana crab meat; beef carpaccio with Tabasco� pickled strawberries, pea shoots, snow peas and shaved radish; and flatbreads topped with the likes of duck confit with bacon jam and goat cheese. Substantial mains run the gamut, from crispy pork belly with braised collards to gnocchi with citrus cream, mint and jumbo lump Louisiana crab meat. The stunning Edwardian building was originally constructed in 1876 as the Maylie's residence and restaurant.
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.
For a pre-game bite or celebratory cocktail, head to Borgne, one of local celebrity chef John Besh's much touted restaurants. Situated on the ground floor of the newly renovated Hyatt on Loyala Avenue, Borgne is great choice for locally sourced Louisian seafood and coastal cuisine. Both Besh and executive chef Brian Landry grew up fishing on Lake Borgne, an eastern Louisiana Gulf-fed body of water teeming with fish. Borgne's menu celebrates coastal Louisiana with a touch of Isleño influence, a throwback to the immigrants from Malaga and the Canaries that settled in New Orleans in the late 1700s. Try the grilled Canary Island goat cheese with mjo verde sauce oyster spaghetti and seafood stuffed flounder.
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.