The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival will be here before you know it. Music takes center stage, but if you’re like me, you’re already making a mental “must eat” list of your festival food favorites. But once Jazz Fest shuts down for the evening, you may want to stay near the Fairgrounds to enjoy a meal. I’ve put together a list of six restaurants you can try anytime of the year.
Please note during the Fest, hours and menus may change, so it’s best to check with each place for details. There are links to the restaurants at the bottom of this post to make it easier.
I could write a book about this place. The atmosphere is a mélange of French bistro, romantic upscale restaurant, and neighborhood eatery. How many restaurants have a tree growing through the floor? The dining room is open air and the tables in front offer incredible views of Esplanade Avenue. Expect bistro favorites like French Onion Soup, Mussels and Frites, and a fun to share cheese board. They also have a wonderful weekend brunch with omelettes and speciality egg dishes.
This utterly charming Mediterranean restaurant is perfect for vegetarians and meat eaters. Each table has custom pullout drawers that hold your utensils. Sauces and breads are made in house and they have a shareable falafel platter with all the fixings. The Brussels sprouts are a favorite. If the weather’s nice try to snag a table outside.
You’ll find Spanish cuisine including one of the best paellas in New Orleans. The bread with garlic aioli is a must. Try their take on mussels—steamed, cooled, and brought to your table in a house made vinaigrette. The garlic shrimp is addictive. Vegetarian options are available.
Liuzza’s by the Track
Just steps away from the Fairgrounds this “old school” neighborhood restaurant and bar features classic New Orleans poboys and seafood. They serve their signature BBQ Shrimp poboy in a hallowed French bread loaf.
If you’ve never tried a Creole gumbo, this is place to give it a go! During the Fest they serve a limited menu but it includes the gumbo and the BBQ Shrimp poboy. Liuzza’s by the Track has been around in some form since the ‘3o’s and has the kind of bar where everybody knows your name. They also make a great Bloody Mary!
As you’d expect with a name like Santa Fe the menu features Southwest flavors. As far as I know, it’s the only place in New Orleans to order Salpicon de Mariscos, a salad featuring mussels, octopus, and calamari. The fish of the day is served with crawfish salsa. Vegetarians will have an easy time finding something to order. There’s a great patio with dining right on Esplanade Avenue where you can see and be seen.
Nonna Mia Cafe & Pizzeria
The menu and atmosphere at Nonna Mia are inspired by Sicily. You’ll find Italian favorites like pasta, pizzas, panini, and calzones. Dine al fresco on their lush garden patio hidden from the street. It’s so peaceful and relaxing you’ll feel miles away from the Jazz Fest crowds.
Good to Know During Jazz Fest
- It’s best to check with the restaurant before going because hours and menus often change during Jazz Fest
- Here are the links: Cafe Degas , 1000 Figs, Lola’s, Liuzza’s by the Track, Santa Fe, Nonna Mia Cafe & Pizzeria
- Be prepared to wait for a table if you go during Jazz Fest
- Many of the restaurants offer a weekend brunch
- Parking is limited and many people find a spot in the surrounding neighborhood. Read all signs before parking to make sure you won’t be ticketed.