10Best Spots for Lunching Uptown in New Orleans

Now that more visitors to New Orleans are striking out from the French Quarter to discover the rich tapestry of neighborhoods in every corner of the city, it makes sense that exploring new restaurants is a tasty part of that territory. Whether riding the St. Charles Streetcar or heading into the Marigny on the new Rampart/St. Claude line, catching the sunset by the lake or strolling along the Mississippi into Bywater, new-to-you neighborhood restaurants await.

Uptown, where residential streets like Magazine and Oak are peppered with eateries and cafes, the choices can be overwhelming. Decide if you want cocktails, or not; casual or white tablecloth and what type of cuisine you're hungry for, and go from there.

Planning day trips around an Uptown lunch is not a bad idea. Uptown browsing along Oak Street, strolling Tulane's leafy campus or discovering Audubon Park and the Fly are all good reasons for a jaunt.  Since this is New Orleans, decide what you want to eat first, then build your fun accordingly.


Clancy's Restaurant
Photo courtesy of New Orleans CVB

Removed from the usual downtown tourist traffic, this classy Uptown dining room's a hit with the locals. The skilled waitstaff, clad in tuxedos, deliver plates of Nouvelle Creole cuisine and introduce the impressive wine and scotch collection. Once you dig into one of the kitchen's specialties, like fried oysters with brie, smoked softshell crab piled high with crabmeat or the paneed veal, you'll understand why the restaurant's so busy. The former bar and po-boy shop have been a white tablecloth eatery since the 80s, a favorite of locals who want a Galatoire's experience without crossing Napolean, never mind Canal Street.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: This swank spot uptown only does lunch on Thursday and Friday, popular time slots for locals so reserve in advance.

Beth's expert tip: The voluminous wine list is one of the best in town.

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Joey K's
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Joey K's is a neighborhood treasure, a 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 Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: Joey K's is a downhome uptown spot that has comfort at its core.

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

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Founded by Frank Manale in 1913, this seafood-centric family-friendly eatery is beloved and with good reason. Pascal's Manale is known for fabulous value and copious portions of fresh New Orleans-style Creole Italian dishes, homestyle specialties (liver and onions anyone?) and dishes like the swoon-worthy barbecue shrimp swimming in a buttery Worcestershire-spiked sauce, a recipe that hasn't changed since 1954. If it's on special at lunch, order the combination pan roast, a seasoned blend of puréed shrimp, oysters, and crab baked with bread crumbs on top, a creamy casserole that makes an incredibly tasty dip with French bread. The raw oysters are always a good idea. The hot off the presses Pascal's Manale Cookbook by local food celeb Poppy Tooker gives the backstory on the family's Albanian roots along with a slew of great recipes that you can (try) to make at home.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: Pascal's has been around since 1913, an Uptown institution and for good reason.

Beth's expert tip: Get half off raw oysters during Happy Hour 3-6 pm Monday through Friday.

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Picnic Provisions and Whiskey
Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

Commander's Palace is an amazing restaurant on all counts, but it's really not the kind of place you go to all the time. That's not the case with Picnic Provisions and Whiskey, the latest project from Commander's chef Tory McPhail. Situated way uptown at Magazine and State, Picnic, a partnership with Ti Martin, a co-owner at Commander's and Daryl Reginelli, a founder of Reginelli's Pizzeria, is exactly the kind of neighborhood place that everybody wants on their corner. The fried to order chicken is farm-sourced, brined and treated to a crawfish-boil dusted crust, served with a mound of Crystal hot sauce pepper mash for some extra heat. The ooey-gooey grilled cheese oozes mozzarella and cheddar between thick slices of Texas toast. The fish collar dip is creamy with a hint of horseradish and plenty of smoke, accompanied by perfect homemade saltines. As for the cracklin' fat fried fingerlings, crispy outside, creamy in, those spuds are darn perfect. Frequented by families, neighbors and lots of Tulane students, Picnic isn't exactly an edgy scene and the music could stand a bit of funking up. But the food is some of the best around and for sure you'll be back for more.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: This casual picnic destination from chef Tory McPhail brings Commander's Palace quality Uptown.

Beth's expert tip: Love a daily happy hour - Picnic's 'make me so happy hour' is every day from 3-7 pm, with special drink and snacks on the menu.

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Tartine is tucked away in the Black Pearl section of Uptown near Audubon Park. It is a French cafe serving breakfast and lunch. Patrons rave about the tastes, presentation and service of this New Orleans sleeper. Breakfast is served French style, light, with coffee, pastries, fruit and favorites such as baked eggs on brioche. For lunch, try the tartines, savory pates and salads dressed on toasted baguettes. The restaurant offers a neat concept for dinners. Though they don't serve in-house, you can check their website for the "Plat du Jour" (dish of the day). For a fixed price, they will craft up dinner plates for you to pick up and enjoy back at your residence.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: Tartine is quaint, quiet and scrumptious. Lunch-goers appreciate the efficiency and attentiveness of the staff.

Beth's expert tip: This family owned cafe is known for its sandwiches but don't miss the hefty entree salads, especially the authentic nicoise.

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Try the stuffed grape leaves or the kabobs at Lebanon's Cafe for full-on Mediterranean flavor The falafel and hummus are also not to be missed. Visit Lebanon's on a nice day and you might be rewarded with a street-side table, where you can people watch and see the streetcar roll by. Coffee lovers will adore the Turkish coffee, although it's not for the faint of bean. Portions are generous with lunch combos including salad, hummus and bread. The lunch menu is served Monday through Friday until 4 pm, making this is a perfect place to fuel up late in the day.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: Lebanon's is the perfect place for breaking out of the normal lunch routine. Stop by for delicious kabobs and falafel.

Beth's expert tip: Pita sandwiches with options like spiced lamb, chicken shawarma and falafel are made for on the go snacking.

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Truburger is an Oak Street burger joint located by the Riverbend in Uptown New Orleans. All the beef comes in fresh from Creekstone Farms in Kansas, ground in-house for that not-your-average-burger mouthfeel. There is also a veggie burger made in house. Pick your bun filler (gluten-free buns are available if you wish) then add tangy Tru sauce and veggies, or spin out with extras like a fried egg or avocado. The shakes are thick and delish, fresh cut fries a thing of beauty, especially with a dousing of TwoRun gravy when they've got it. This place isn't on your diet ok? But order the housemade poppers anyway, they're the bomb.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: Truburger burgers are some of the finest in the city, farm-raised beef makes the difference.

Beth's expert tip: The milkshakes here are calorie-worthy, especially the chocolate mint and peanut butter banana.

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Midway Pizza on Freret Street touts itself as Uptown's only deep dish and they've got a point. Baked Chicago-style, with lots of toothsome crust filled with creative toppings, the pizza menu sports inventive choices like the Reggie Dunlop with gorgonzola, prosciutto and pickled red onion and the King Creole topped with marinated Gulf shrimp and a tangy creole sauce. This is New Orleans, so Midway also features a full bar with great local drafts, wine and specialty cocktails. Stop by for lunch, dinner or take-out and prepare to be impressed. The Mexican wrestler theme sets a fun, offbeat vibe to the place.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: For lovers of deep dish pizza, Midway Pizza offers a thicker crust with plenty of chew.

Beth's expert tip: Don't miss the $9.95 lunch special: choice of salads and all you care to eat pizza.

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Turkey and the Wolf, Mason Hereford's Irish Channel sandwich joint, is still going strong since it was named the best new restaurant in America by Bon Appetit. The former Coquette chef took the kudos in stride and just kept doing what he does: make some of the finest sandwich mashups you'll ever get your mitts around. And some Dagwoods they are, in mind-expanding combos like thick sliced local bologna slathered with English mustard, and a carpet of housemade potato chips, shrettuce (yep, that's shredded lettuce) and American cheese on grilled Pullman bread and the fine Collard melt, silky with braised collards, zesty coleslaw, and Swiss cheese on rye. Sandwich avoiders can scarf all manner of salads but do try the wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and a sprinkling of the goodness that makes an everything bagel just that. Hogshead tacos, fried chicken pot pie, it just keeps getting better. The place is sweetly off-kilter, a muddle of mixed china and flatware, funky art and super sweet servers eager to inform. The cocktail list is as off the wall as the menu. You'll be back.

Recommended for Uptown New Orleans' Best Lunch because: T&W has legions of local fans along with its national cheerleaders.

Beth's expert tip: Turkey and the Wolf doesn't take reservations, so getting there just when the doors open at 11 am is a good move.

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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