The trouble with finding the best lunch spots in New Orleans is that there are far too many choices. To clarify, there are too many excellent choices of places to get a satisfying meal.
Good food is everywhere in the Big Easy and you won’t need to venture far to find it.
Claiming “the best” of any one type of food in New Orleans is a brave undertaking. It’s equivalent to declaring the “best pizza in New York” or “best cheesesteak in Philly”.
With that thought in mind, just know that this list will provide you with high quality options when looking for a great lunch in New Orleans.
To help you to narrow down where the best place to eat lunch is while visiting the French Quarter, or nearby, we narrowed it down by needs.
Here is the list of a few of our favorites.
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Best Fried Chicken Lunch in New Orleans
Willie Mae’s Scotch House has been a long time favorite for delicious fried chicken and southern cooking.
Its authentic setting and traditional down home sides made it a must try restaurant.
Sadly, at this time Wille Mae’s original New Orleans location is closed until further notice.
Fortunately, there are other places in town serving amazing fried chicken.
Willa Jean’s is a breakfast and lunch spot in the Central Business District that is top notch. Just a few short blocks from the Quarter will get you there.
The high ceiling industrial decor is light filled and welcoming. The service is friendly.
But we came for the chicken, so let’s get into it.
The fried chicken is so tender it melts in your mouth. The coating is not too thick and perfectly crispy.
I ordered Willa Jean’s Fried Chicken Sandwich. Sounded simple and run-of-the-mill.
And while it looked just like any other chicken when served, that first bite was an OMG moment. Yes, that’s how good it was.
Save room for dessert because the coconut cake was huge and moist and fed two us. They are known for their excellent coffee which I am a big fan of as well.
Brunch is very popular so expect to wait for a table on the weekends. Making a reservation is a good idea.
They do offer take away if you are heading from one attraction to the next.
Take note that they close daily at 3pm. They stay open until 5pm on Saints home game days!
More Places to Eat Fried Chicken in New Orleans
Voodoo Chicken & Daiquiris – for a quick take away in the Quarter
Brothers- A convenience food mart with delicious fried chicken at low prices. Good to know if you are day tripping to a tour from the French Quarter as it can be found in multiple gas station food marts.
Best Boudin In New Orleans
Cochon and Cochon Butcher
Boudin is a popular Cajun sausage in Louisiana made with pork, rice, and vegetables.
Depending what type of dining experience you’re looking for, these sister restaurants offer delicious boudin.
The food offerings are similar. Cochon is a sit down restaurant. Cochon Butcher, just next-door, is a counter service experience.
If you are not sure which to go to, both restaurants have their menus online.
More Places to Eat Boudin in New Orleans
Toups’ Meatery– A trip to Toups’ Meatery takes you a bit outside the Quarter, but so worth it to taste the modern Cajun cuisine. If you are visiting the St. Louis Cemetery No.3 or the New Orleans Art Museum nearby, this is a great option for lunch.
Elizabeth’s– A breakfast lunch place in Bywater. An artsy place only about a 30 minute walk from Frenchman Street. A great choice when you feel like venturing outside the French Quarter.
Best New Orleans Quick Lunch – Sit Down
If you are on a schedule and are looking for a quick lunch, where you can sit and be served, there are options. You can get fast, friendly service with good food and get to your tour on time.
Built in the 1700s and operating as a tavern since 1920.
Yes, named after the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte, you can read the interesting history of Napoleon House on their website where they have placed a photographic timeline.
This historic restaurant’s signature drink is the Pimm’s Cup, which was introduced in the late 1940s. Make sure to try one when you visit. It is a refreshing cucumber flavored drink that is perfect for a hot afternoon in New Orleans.
On nice weather days sit outside in their lovely shaded courtyard. Even in the heat, the Napoleon House outdoor seating has large fans misting diners to keep you cool.
If you sit indoors it is easy to be distracted by the architecture and historical items adorning the walls.
As far as your meal, you will be able to taste some of the classic New Orleans dishes such as Red Beans and Rice or Gumbo.
Order an iconic New Orleans sandwich for lunch. Known for excellent muffulettas, their po boys are made on locally baked Liedheimer bread and are tasty as well.
More Places to Have a Quick Sit Down Lunch in New Orleans
Gallier’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar– Great food located just off Canal. This is the perfect spot to grab a quick lunch before jumping on a streetcar to your next adventure.
Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar & Fish House– There are 4 locations but the French Quarter restaurant is on Bienville.
Everything is good here but you will want to try the BBQ shrimp and the fried green tomatoes.
Best New Orleans Quick Lunch – To Go
Sometimes you need to grab a quick lunch to bring on the bus as you head out to that Swamp Tour or Plantation Museum.
This supermarket has some great grab and go lunch items and snacks that will travel well. It’s a good option to grab a sandwich and try out some local ingredients and treats.
There are prepackaged items available and a prepared foods counter you can order at as well.
Popping into Rouses will let you experience a bit of local culture. It can also help you save money on food on your New Orleans trip as well.
For visitors spending most of their time in the French Quarter, the two most convenient locations are on Royal St. and Baronne St.
When you need a few staple items or beverages to bring back to your New Orleans hotel room, Rouses Market is a convenient and affordable choice.
More Places to Grab a Quick To Go Lunch in New Orleans
Verti Marte- a small grocery and deli located on Royal Street. Head to the back of the store to find excellent sandwiches and prepared food. This gem is not just great for lunch, but all day and night. They are open 24 hours and
If you are looking to book a tour here are two fabulous choices:
Airboat tour with hotel pickup on an air conditioned bus in New Orleans.
Make all your gator dreams come true!
Departs one block from Jackson Square on an air conditioned bus.
Discover history on this self-guided tour of a National Historical Landmark.
New Orleans Lunch in a Romantic Setting
I want to say that Cafe Amelie is like a hidden gem but only right there in plain sight. It was never on radar until recently and now that I’ve discovered it, it has become an instant favorite.
Cafe Amelie is located on Royal Street with a sweet little courtyard in the back. The strings of soft lights in the night create a romantic setting indeed.
To add to the romance the cafe has a royal history. Read about the story of the first American Princess of Monaco, who is connected to the history of the courtyard.
We sat inside on our most recent visit. It was 98 degrees outdoors, and we were grateful for the air conditioning. The inside proved to be even lovelier than the courtyard.
The decor is charming and the atmosphere calm and peaceful.
Our server gave us great menu recommendations. Everything we ate was fresh, delicious, and homemade.
I ate the most perfect bowl of gumbo I have ever had. The Gulf Shrimp dish was outstanding. I am still dreaming of the Bread Pudding.
If you are looking for a relaxing vibe to sharply contrast with the crazy energy found on the streets of the French Quarter, then Cafe Amelie is your place.
More Places to Find a Romantic Lunch in New Orleans
Cafe Degas– French cuisine, always romantic, not far from City Park.
Most Unforgettable New Orleans Po Boy Lunch
The best poboy in NOLA is a hotly debated topic.
I’m not here to join that conversation but I will share my personal favorite po’boy spot.
Parkway is not walkable from the French Quarter, but it is worth your while to find your way here.
It is very close to City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art so you can incorporate some sightseeing to the journey. The Canal Streetcar line stops directly in front of the park. From there it is about a mile walk or short Uber drive away to Parkway.
It would also be a great place to stop after touring some of the nearby cemeteries when you are after some of the spooky history of New Orleans.
Parkway Bakery not only has amazing po’boys, the strong frozen cocktails are wonderful. Even on the near one hundred degree day we visited, the tables under the covered patio felt pleasant.
I’m still dreaming of this mouthwatering shrimp.
Parkway Bakery turned out to be one of our favorite lunch spots in New Orleans.
People from every part of The Big Easy stop here to eat along with the tourists in the know. We saw one or two out-of-towners, local workers on their lunch break, and just friends out enjoying a meal.
More Excellent Places to Find Po’boys in New Orleans
Liuzza’s by the Track Try their signature po’boy of BBQ shrimp. Open for lunch 6 days a week and Saint’s games Sunday.
Best Muffuletta Picnic Lunch in New Orleans
You may find other muffulettas around The Crescent City but none quite as good as the original one made at Central Grocery.
Italian meats and cheeses topped with the famous olive salad as the filling. The large round bread it is layered into is delicious.
While a single sandwich seems pricey at nearly 30 dollars, do not be deceived. This sandwich easily feeds 2 hungry people.
Honestly, one quarter of this sandwich makes a decent sized lunch if you throw in a bag of Zapp’s Chips.
This is made on hearty Italian bread so no worries about sogginess if you can’t eat it all in one day.
We have brought it home as a yummy souvenir for the family and it is still fabulous the next day.
Closed for repairs since Hurricane Ida hit in 2021. Central Grocery was close to reopening at the time we visited in September 2023.
We were still able to grab one of their muffulettas at Rouses Market on Baronne Street in the Central Business District to bring home before we left for the airport.
Where to Get a Muffuletta When You Can’t Get One From Central Grocery
This gem is not just great for lunch, but all day and night because they are open 24 hours. A small grocery and deli located on Royal Street. Head to the back of the store to find excellent sandwiches and prepared food.
New Orleans Best 25 cent Martini Lunch
Everyone must have a 25 cent martini at least once in their life and Commander’s Palace is the place to do it.
This iconic New Orleans restaurant is a great option for lunch when visiting the Garden District. The Garden District is a picturesque neighborhood of old homes and mansions and a lovely place to wander when it’s not too hot outside.
At Commander’s Palace expect a menu of Creole cooking using local ingredients.
The trio of soups includes their infamous turtle soup, gumbo, and soup of the day. Make sure to end with Commander’s Palace bread pudding souffle topped with whiskey sauce.
As far as the martinis, you can choose the classic martini or from three other brightly colored choices. The blue Commander, green Melon, and red Cosmo.
Yes, they really are only 25 cents each! There is a limit to three and as they state on their menu “cause that’s enough”.
Lunch is served on Thursdays and Fridays only with brunch served on the weekends.
If you love the chance to feel a little fancy then Commander’s Palace is a fun place to visit on vacation. The service is flawless. Also, take note there is a dress code as follows:
- Business Attire
- Jackets are preferred for gentlemen
- Collared shirts and closed-toed shoes required for gentlemen
- No shorts, flip-flops, t-shirts, sweat shirts or sweat pants
- Jeans are discouraged
After lunch head down to nearby Magazine Street for an afternoon of strolling among the shops and art galleries.
How do I get to Commander’s Palace from the French Quarter?
You can drive to Commander’s Palace and they have free valet parking. If you are taking advantage of those 25 cent martinis there the New Orleans streetcars are the way to go.
Hop on the green streetcar to get there. This is St. Charles Avenue line which you can catch at the corner of Canal Street at Carondelet on the edge of the Central Business District.
More Places for 25 Cent Martini Lunches in New Orleans
Mr. Bs Bistro– With an entree during Bloody Marys and Martinis are $1.50. So, while it’s not a 25 cent price tag it’s still an amazing deal.
The more time you spend eating in NOLA, the harder it is to leave. This list will just be the beginning of your food love affair with New Orleans.