Now that more visitors to New Orleans are striking out from the French Quarter to explore 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 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 Stree, 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.
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 has 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.
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.
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 Camellia Grill on South Carrollton Uptown is often filled with Tulane students seeking a late night nosh after an evening of cocktailing. But the trademark white columned facade lit up with neon is also really great for lunch, a comfort food emporium notable for thick amazing milk shakes filled up the very brim, famously good omelettes and the usual burgers and sandwich line up. The lines get long especially for late breakfasts but the omelette is served anytime of day. The staff is friendly and since all the seating is at the counter, watching the efficient cooks do their thing is part of the show.
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.
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 perfect place to fuel up late in the day.
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 mouth feel. 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.
Midway Pizza on Freret Street touts itself as Uptown's only deepdish 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.
It's been not quite a year since Mason Hereford's Irish Channel sandwich joint Turkey and the Wolf 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 mash ups 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.
In need of some comfort? Turns out it's closer than you'd think, a state of mind and indulgence on Oak Street at the bendiest part of Riverbend uptown. Brack May's original eatery (sadly his Truck Farm Tavern went by the wayside in St. Rose), the menu includes small plates such as figgy toast with blue cheese croutons and chicken wings with smoked bacon and pickled chiles. The burger is the bomb, made with grass-fed beef on a toasted potato roll,, dressed and served with housemade ketchup and tangy agogo sauce, hand cut fries on the side. Everything is good, so good in fact that there's often a wait. But one bite of the massive shrimp cobb salad, and that wait is forgotten. Save room for dessert, especially if it's pie.