I am an early riser and, for as long as I can remember, breakfast has been my favorite meal of the day. My sister, who also lives in New Orleans, and I meet at least once a week for breakfast before work. I’ve eaten breakfast at many of the restaurants that serve it but, as with everything, I have my favorites. Here’s my top five breakfast spots and a few I’d like to try.
1. Camellia Grill
Visitors and locals alike flock to this Riverbend eatery. It’s a total dive, joint, diner — whatever you want to call it — and it is southern, greasy goodness. This is my favorite place after I’ve been out all night. I hear the omelets and eggs are good but my go-to meal there is the waffles. They are moist and delicious, not to mention that the butter comes in a syrup jar — only in New Orleans. If a ride from the quarter down to the Riverbend isn’t feasible, there is a relatively new Camellia Grill (540 Chartres Street) located in the French Quarter on Chartres. The original is at 626 S. Carrollton Ave.
I love Refuel Cafe for a few reasons. The first is that it’s literally blocks from my house and I love convenience. The second is that it’s absolutely delicious. The staff, including the owner who is almost always there, is very friendly, they have some of the best iced coffee in the city and their bacon is crispy perfection. I always get the Refuel Breakfast during the week and The Big Breakfast on the weekends but, honestly, you can’t go wrong. They serve breakfast and lunch Tuesday-Friday and brunch on the weekends. Refuel is located at 8124 Hampson Street.
3. Surrey’s Juice Bar
If you like juice, Surrey’s is the place for you. The tiny restaurant is situated in the Lower Garden District on the one-way part of Magazine Street. In addition to delicious and fresh breakfast and lunch dishes, they have seasonal and fresh juices. Each day Surrey offers orange, grapefruit, apple, carrot and beet juice and they usually feature one or two seasonal juices; my favorite seasonal is the Watermelon Limeade served in the spring and summer. If the original location at 1418 Magazine Street is too busy, you can always stop by Surrey’s Uptown (4807 Magazine Street), also located on Magazine Street between Napoleon and Jefferson streets.
4. The Ruby Slipper
I only just discovered this Mid-City gem a few months ago. I’m not usually an omelet person. Don’t get me wrong, eggs are delicious, but very few places can cook an omelet the way I like it. Ruby Slipper at 139 South Cortez Street is one of those few places. They have an omelet they call “The European” with Portobello Mushrooms and Brie. Words cannot describe the awesomeness of this omelet. You can also get this omelet, and the rest of their delicious menu at the Ruby Slipper in the Central Business District (200 Magazine Street) or in the Marigny/Bywater area (2001 Burgundy Street).
Located in the Bywater, this modest looking restaurant is home to “real food done real good” and one of best bacon dishes in New Orleans, praline bacon. Elizabeth’s Restaurant menu features a number of delicious breakfast dishes, but my favorite thing to get there is the praline bacon. If I had to recommend anything else on the menu, it would be the Redneck Eggs — two fried green tomatoes, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. That really is some real food, done real good. Elizabeth’s is located at 601 Gallier Street.
New Orleans breakfast honorable mention:
updated on July 18, 2012 to reflect closed locations or newly opened locations.