With all the (due) credit that New Orleans’ fine dining establishments get, it is pretty easy to forget that New Orleans is also home to tons of great places to eat and drink on the cheap. Here are just a few of our favorite spots for delicious bites at affordable prices by neighborhood. Your wallet and your stomach will thank us.
Cheap Eats by New Orleans Neighborhood
Killer Po-Boys: They serve up the most innovative po-boys in the city at two locations on Dauphine Street and inside Erin Rose Bar on Conti Street. These widely acclaimed sandwiches are probably the best bang for your buck in the French Quarter. Their Whiskey Grilled Cheese is just $8 with vegetarian po-boys ringing in at about $9. Carnivorous? Plan to pay about $12 for a giant sandwich like the Black Beer Beef Debris.
Napoleon House: For a more traditional New Orleans sandwich, head here (500 Chartres St.) and get a muffuletta. And while you’re at it, be sure to pick up a Pimm’s Cup, because you deserve it. Even their quarter of a muffuletta is plenty hearty and rings in at $5.25. Half is $9.50, or split a whole one amongst two or three people for $16.50.
The Joint: The Joint smokes some mean pulled pork. And for just a few bucks — $7.50 for pulled pork with a side — they’ll pile it up on a bun (and top it with slaw if you ask nice) and give you a side of your choosing. Don’t worry, there is plenty more barbecue to choose from, too.
New Orleans Cake Cafe & Bakery: This neighborhood staple is a great place to grab a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dessert. Cake Cafe is also heralded for its boozy cupcakes with flavors ranging from mimosa to Sazerac. Sandwiches start at $5, and you can add a cupcake to your meal for $1 (yes, even breakfast). If you’re in town during the Mardi Gras season, be sure to try their fantastic king cakes (both savory and sweet!).
12 Mile Limit: Want top-shelf cocktails at well prices? Then this is the place for you. Add to that the barbecue and great weekend brunch, and I’m not real sure you’ve got to go any place else. Craft cocktails ring in at just $6-8 (a steal!); pair ’em with barbecue sliders or ribs for $7.
Parkway Bakery & Tavern: If you’re looking for more traditional po-boys, this is as good a spot as any. The large po-boys can feed you for a couple meals, and almost all are under $10. Now that’s stretching your dollar.
Willie Mae’s Scotch House: It is pretty hard to talk about Treme restaurants without including Willie Mae’s. For $11, you’ll get 3 pieces of fried chicken and a side. That’s a heck of a deal for what numerous national publications have dubbed America’s best fried chicken!
Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe: Another quality score for the cheap eats breakfast. Unbelievably cheap breakfast platters (starting at $6.99) and omelets (starting at $7.99). Lunch comes in with daily $11 specials and a daily buffet.
Taceaux Loceaux: So this is cheating a little bit, as it is a food truck, but you’ll most often find it Uptown by the King Pin on Lyons Street or Dos Jefes on Tchoupitoulas Street. Fresh ingredients and great flavors make this a meal worth tracking down. That you could order up dinner for two for about $20 earns Taceaux Loceaux a spot on this list.
Slim Goodies: This diner is your key to an Uptown/Garden District cheap eats breakfast. Pan perdu or pancakes starts at $5.50. Try a breakfast combo like the Re-Population Combo ($9.50) to really stretch your breakfast dollar — but remember, we mean dollars literally since it’s cash-only (there’s an ATM on site).
Ms. Mae’s: I’m not sure if there is a place to get a cheaper drink in town on a regular basis. While the prices have risen in recent years (from $1 to $2!), you still aren’t going to find a better 24-hour bar to satisfy your cheap drinking needs. Plus, there’s air hockey and foosball. Enough said.
Cooter Brown’s: Nestled in the heart of the Riverbend area, Cooter Brown’s is the fantastic marriage of a sports bar, beer bar, and kitchen. You’ll be able to catch virtually every kind of sporting event that you can imagine, enjoy more than 400 different brands of beer, and chow down on raw oysters, boiled crawfish, po-boys, and other sandwiches (try the buffalo chicken sandwich for $7.99).
Chill Out Cafe: When I’m in the mood for Thai food, Chill Out Cafe is a no brainer. While the cozy cottage on Maple Street doesn’t look like your typical Thai restaurant, your taste buds will set you straight. Filling lunch specials fit the tightest budgets (as does the Thai beef salad, $8.75), proving very popular with the nearby college students while school is in session. They also have breakfast, including a coconut waffle for $4.25.
Central Business District
Majoria’s Commerce Restaurant: Don’t let the new sign fool you. Commerce is as old school (and cheap) as it gets. In this delightful greasy spoon, most breakfast options will only run you a few bucks, with plenty of options under $5! Things don’t get too much more expensive at lunch with almost all po-boys (and pretty much everything else) well under $10.
Domenica/Borgne: So, I’m cheating a little bit by naming two John Besh restaurants, but these places have happy hour specials to die for. Domenica features half-price pizza, wine, cocktails and beer from 2 to 5 p.m. every day (putting your full pizza in the $8 zone) while Borgne has $5 small plates to accompany their half-price wine, cocktails, and beer from 3 to 6 p.m. every day. I don’t know if there is a better happy hour set up in the city.
Of course, these aren’t all the places you can eat and drink on the cheap in New Orleans. Let us know on Facebook or Twitter if we missed your favorites!