Beignets for Days: NOLA Musician’s 5 Favorite Eateries
new orleans

Voodoo Fest is coming up at the end of the month at which you’re probably planning to split your time between seeing sets from Kendrick Lamar and Foo Fighters and hanging out in the numerous historic cemeteries that dot the city of New Orleans. But when you’re not seeing incredible live music or haunting the crypts, you might be interested in sampling some of the local flavors The Big Easy has to offer. Here are five local eateries you don’t want to miss out on while at Voodoo Fest.

Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro –  recommended by Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah
For a traditional New Orleans experience, there is no substitute for Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro. Situated in the Frenchman Street entertainment district in Faubourg Marigny, Snug Harbor takes up three rooms of a renovated 1800’s storefront. As the name suggests, Snug Harbor is both an exquisite Cajun restaurant and an old school jazz bar.  The dining room at Snug Harbor is one of best places in the city to get authentic Creole standards like gumbo, shrimp remoulade, and fried oysters.  After your meal, mosey on over to the music room where you can catch up-and-comers and legendary jazz acts alike in an intimate cabaret-style space.  

Kayla’s Restaurant – recommended by Galactic
Kayla’s Restaurant is the epitome of the term “hole in the wall,” and is one of the most guarded local secrets in town.  With no official internet presence, no advertising, and absolutely no frills, knowledge of this fabled destination for southern-fried goodness is passed exclusively by word of mouth.  Without a doubt, Kayla’s offers some of the best BBQ and Po-boys in The Big Easy, and at prices that can’t be beat: most entrees won’t run you more than seven dollars!  Of course the tradeoff is sparse décor and food served on paper plates, but that shouldn’t deter any true lovers of southern cuisine.  

Atchafalaya – recommended by Honey Island Swamp Band, Galatic
Taking a turn towards more upscale eating environs, Atchafalaya exemplifies the history and trends that have shaped the New Orleans culinary scene into what it is today.  Although the building it calls home has been used as a restaurant since 1924, the story of Atchafalaya began in the early 1980s, when the Crescent City was experiencing a major renaissance in its restaurant scene.  Atchafalaya was one of the first establishments to take a foundation of local creole cooking and incorporate modern techniques and exotic ingredients from around the world to create a modern take on Cajun cuisine, a path that has been traveled by many a restauranteur since those days.  Atchafalaya continues to uphold this tradition, offering modern takes on old favorites for brunch and dinner, plus a bloody mary bar, occasional live music, and even “Dog’s Night Out” events for epicurean animal lovers.

Tableau – recommended by Anders Osborne
Tableau is one of the many restaurants to follow the precedent set by Atchafalaya, breathing new life into classic Creole dishes via modern reinterpretations.  Besides the decadent, locally-sourced food, Tableau draws in hungry crowds with its opulent ambiance.  Set in a three-story townhouse, Tableau offers some of the finest settings in the Crescent City.  Guests have a wide array of dining environs to choose from, including balcony seating with views overlooking the bustling French Quarter, luxurious private dining rooms, and picturesque courtyards.  For lunch, brunch, or dinner, you won’t find a better meal in nicer digs anywhere in the city.  

Morning Call – recommended by Tank and the Bangas
To call the Morning Call Coffee Stand a New Orleans institution would simply not do it justice.  With a history dating all the way back to 1870, this long running establishment has withstood the test of time because they know exactly what basic foods keep this city running.  The Morning Call’s bread-and-butter is the classic New Orleans combo of café au lait (coffee with hot milk) and beignets (fried dough breakfast pastries served with powdered sugar).  These two simple items have nearly single-handedly kept the Morning Call in business for nearly 150 years.  They also offer other Creole staples like gumbo and jambalaya, but the beignets and café au lait are the real draw here, and are undoubtedly a must-try during your trip to the Big Easy.

photo by: Main: Careecrosby/Flickr; Background: Kevin OMara/Flickr