Where do the Locals Eat in New Orleans French Quarter?
To find the best food in The French Quarter, you should first ask, “Where do the locals of New Orleans eat?”
Luckily, the locals here at Nola Tour Guy are happy to share with you the best places to order Cajun and Creole food in The Quarter! You could even say that offering free tours of The French Quarter is what we do best.
This guide covers it all: brunch and breakfast basics like omelets and croissants; Creole traditions like turtle soup and crawfish etouffee; Cajun classics like jambalaya and boudin; and New Orleans born desserts like the bananas foster.
Tip: Finding where the locals eat is another reason to navigate New Orleans with a tour guide, but we have also designed a free, self-guided tour of the Quarter.
You might be wondering what’s the difference between Creole, and Cajun. Often these words are just thrown around but they do have separate meanings. Both Cajun and Creole dishes are native to Louisiana and found all over New Orleans. However, Cajun and Creole are unique ethnic groups with their traditions, culture, and cuisine. Here’s a breakdown of Cajun and Creole food.
Cajun food was brought to Louisiana by the French, who migrated from Nova Scotia 250 years ago. Today, Cajun food is found all along the bayous of Louisiana, combining French and Southern dishes.
This type of cuisine is defined by smoked meats and one-pot dishes like jambalaya or the rice-filled, spicy sausage called boudin. The iconic Lousiana crawfish boil is another byproduct of Cajun culture.
Popular Cajun Dishes: gumbo, boudin sausage, red beans and rice, boiled crawfish, maque choux
More challenging to define, the term Creole holds no official definition but is generally said to have elements of French, European, African, Caribbean, or Hispanic descent mixed with a flair that is distinctly New Orleans. The impact of Creole culture is an inseparable part of the city.
Creole food is known for rich sauces, southern herbs, red tomatoes, and locally caught seafood. This type of cooking is steeped in tradition and deeply intertwined with the history of New Orleans. Gumbo, shrimp, grits, and other locally cultivated ingredients are staples in Creole food. Creole food tends to be served in higher end restaurants like Brennan’s and Antoine’s.
Popular Creole Dishes: shrimp creole, shrimp and grits, jambalaya, po-boys, muffuletta, turtle soup, dirty rice, bananas foster
Creole & Cajun
When to Go: Breakfast/Brunch, dinner
What to Order: Seafood Omelette, Crawfish Etouffe, Duck a L’Orange
Wondering where the locals go to eat a classy breakfast in The French Quarter? Court of the Two sisters has a daily jazz brunch plus a buffet with Creole staples like chicken & Sausage Gumbo, Turtle Soup au Sherry, Crawfish Etouffee, and bananas foster for dessert. This elegant restaurant, with its wisteria-lined courtyard, is the ideal setting to listen to live music in New Orleans.
Address: 613 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 522-7261
When to Go: Breakfast/Brunch
What to Order: Crepes, Chicken & Waffles with Maple Syrup and Cayenne Butter, King Cake
If you’re looking for budget brunch and breakfast options, we recommend Toast. Phenomenal New Orleans food, great prices, and welcoming outdoor seating draw locals to Toast in the French Quarter. All loaves of bread, biscuits, croissants, jams, custards, and curds are made in-house daily. If you’re there for brunch, try a bloody mary; if you don’t drink alcohol, read where to find the best mocktails in New Orleans
Address: 1035 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: (504) 300-5518
When to Go: Dinner or Late Night
What to Order: Rabbit & Sausage Jambalaya
When locals want incredible Cajun food in an unpretentious setting right in the French Quarter, Coop’s Place is it. The ambiance is New Orleans dive bar, but the food is five-star French Quarter. First-timers should try Coop’s Taste Plate to get a bite of the famous rabbit & sausage jambalaya, seafood gumbo, shrimp creole, and red beans and rice.
Address: 1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: (504) 525-9053
When to Go: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner
What to Order: Bananas Foster, Turtle Soup
Brennan’s is traditional, fine-dining creole cuisine that has been serving the locals of New Orleans and tourists of the French Quarter since 1946. The bananas foster, a flambé dessert dish, was invented here and is still what Brennans is best known for. For over 70 years, locals and tourists have loved “Breakfast at Brennan’s” with dishes like a baked apple, turtle soup, and eggs hussarde. For solo female travelers, Brennan’s is an ideal place to experience authentic New Orleans cuisine, people-watch, and stay close to the Quarter’s action.
Note: Make reservations up to 30 days in advance since spots fill up almost immediately!
Address: 417 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 525-9711
When to Go: Lunch
What to Order: Pimms Cup, Muffuletta
Napolean House is one of the French Quarter’s most historical sites and a favorite place to eat amongst the locals. Enjoy Creole food in the palm tree-studded courtyard or the beautiful building built in 1797. We recommend the muffulettas and the Pimms Cups, the perfect refreshment for exploring the French Quarter any time of the year.
Address: 500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 524-9752
When to Go: Breakfast/Brunch
What to Order: Muffaletta, Roast Beef sandwich
Cafe Maspero is where you go for classic New Orleans food at a budget-friendly price. It is also family friendly too! Specializing in po-boys and varieties of seafood platters, seasonal crawfish, and muffulettas. Don’t eat meat? Check out their Vegetarian Muffuletta. The brick-lined, old-world vibe of the Cafe is near Jackson Square, in the middle of all the French Quarter fun.
Address: 601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 523-6250
When to Go: Breakfast
What to Order: Any croissant, but especially the almond croissant
New Orleans locals love this Parisian-style patisserie hidden between Royal and Chartres. Usually refereed to as croissant “door” by locals. The croissants at Croissant D’Or Patisserie are known for being fluffy and delicious, some of the finest in the Quarter. All pastries, including tarts, tortes, and quiches — are made fresh in the bakery each morning. Grab a cafe au lait or curl with a spiced hot chocolate on a rainy day. Their courtyard is widely considered one of the prettiest in the French Quarter.
Address: 617 Ursulines Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: (504) 524-4663
When to Go: Lunch
What to Order: Seafood Gumbo, Alligator Sausage
Right in the beating heart of the French Quarter is the counter-service Creole joint that’s been serving New Orleans locals since 1950. The legacy of Johnny’s Po-Boys can be read in the cheery memorabilia layered on the walls. Unpretentious and not open late, this is the perfect spot to pop in, grab a bite, and enjoy the rest of The French Quarter.
Note: Johnny’s Po Boys is cash only!
Address: 511 St Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone: (504) 524-8129
When to Go: Anytime you feel the need for a Po-boy
What to Order: Po-Boys, Muffaletta, All That Jazz Sandwich
Verti Marte is a longtime local favorite, serving New Orleans food since 1968. The market with the attached deli stays open 24/7 and is known to make some seriously flavorful Creole-inspired Po-Boys, entrees, and sides. Verti is a quick and tasty spot to grab a sandwich before walking or hiking.
Note: Verti Marte offers free delivery service to the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, and the Central Business District!
Address: 1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116
Phone: (504) 525-4767
When to Go: Lunch
What to Order: Nearly anything on the Vietnamese part of the menu
Did you know that New Orleans has a large Vietnamese population? Locals living or working in the French Quarter get tired of the same food, even if it’s delicious. So, for these reasons, we had to mention Moonwok, who offers Chinese and Vietnamese food at reasonable prices. Plant-based eaters will love that any of Moonwok’s entrees can be made with tofu. The tofu banh mi (sort of like a Vietnamese po-boy) is one of our favorite dishes on the menu. Moonwok isn’t currently open for dine-in but give them a call and walk over to pick up through the window. Instagram is the best way to find the restaurant’s current hours and specials, or give them a call +1 504 523 6950.