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Food & Drink

A Tasty Serving for Spring: New Orleans’ New Restaurants 2018

Jack Rose Lounge (photo credit Christian Horan)
Jack Rose Lounge (Photo Credit: Christian Horan)

New Orleans’ food scene is anything from static. Constantly evolving, there’s a whole crop of new restaurants making their debut this spring. One of the most innovative newcomers is Deja Vieux Food Park, a permanent food truck round-up space in the Lower Garden District. The Bywater and Marigny haven’t yet reached capacity as restaurant entrepreneurs make bold choices, including the opening of Bywater American Bistro by Top Chef star Nina Compton. Forget the takeout, and get yourself to one (or several) of these new restaurant spaces.

New Restaurants in New Orleans

New restaurants and food hubs, some developed by familiar names, several breathing new life into recently shuttered spaces.

Auction House Market – Developed by the team behind the St. Roch Market, Auction House Market is a food hall featuring numerous vendors. Diners can try sushi from Aloha Lei, Mediterranean food from Alpha, which is run by a couple from Egypt, macarons at Mac & Moon, and Indian street food at Tava. Locals may recognize some of the other vendors, including Elysian Seafood, the Mayhaw, and Empanola, from their time at St. Roch Market. 801 Magazine Street (corner of Magazine and Julia Streets).

Bywater American Bistro Curried Rabbit (photo credit Denny Culbert)
Bywater American Bistro Curried Rabbit (photo credit Denny Culbert)

Bywater American Bistro – In mid-March, the Rice Mill Lofts in the Bywater gained a new tenant. Bywater American Bistro is the latest project from Chef Nina Compton, also the chef behind Compère Lapin. The menu will feature dishes “inspired by the many cultures— past and present— that make up the region’s cuisine,” according to a recent press release. Highlighted dishes include hog’s head boudin, fresh house-made pastas, and rabbit curry. 2900 Chartres Street (inside the Rice Mill Lofts).

Deja Vieux Food Park – New Orleans’ first food truck park, which was years in the making, recently opened in the Lower Garden District. The food truck park will be open daily and, in addition to its permanent tenant Soulsation Kitchen, will provide space for six other food trucks on a rotating basis. Deja Vieux will feature patio seating, a full bar, bathrooms, games, televisions for sporting events, and, occasionally, live entertainment. 1681 Religious Street.

Deja Vieux Food Park (photo courtesy of Deja Vieux Food Park)
Deja Vieux Food Park (photo courtesy of Deja Vieux Food Park)

El Patio– The Mexican eatery La Casita recently expanded to El Patio in a substantially larger location. Enjoy the outdoor patio this spring while nibbling on some elote (Mexican street corn with chili lime butter, garlic aioli, queso fresco, and green onions), tacos, of course, enchiladas, and more. Order one of the micheladas off the drink menu to wash it all down. 845 Carondelet Street.

Jack Rose's Royal Red Shrimp Muddy Waters with squid ink campanelle (photo credit Randy Schmidt)
Jack Rose’s Royal Red Shrimp Muddy Waters with squid ink campanelle (photo credit Randy Schmidt)

Jack Rose – The new restaurant opened in early April in the Pontchartrain Hotel, replacing the most recent iteration of the Caribbean Room. David Whitmore, who was previously at Borgne, is the restaurant’s executive chef. In addition to the multiple dining rooms, Jack Rose also provides a lounge space to enjoy drinks and small plates. 2031 St. Charles Avenue (inside the Pontchartrain Hotel).

Luvi – This Asian-fusion restaurant run by Hao Gong combines the chef’s Chinese heritage, Japanese cuisine, which he studied in California, and French ingredients. On the verge of opening, some dishes will be traditional, such as Lion’s Head soup, spicy Szechuan dishes, such as dan dan noodles, as well as Gong’s own dishes. 5236 Tchoupitoulas Street.

Manolito – Cuban food is making a comeback in New Orleans these days, and Manolito is the latest addition to the scene. Manolito is a Cuban bar and cafe located in the cozy French Quarter space that El Libre, another Cuban cafe, vacated in order to move Uptown. Though the drink menu is slightly longer than the food menu, the cafe is serving up traditional Cuban fare such as Cuban sandwiches and ropa vieja. 508 Dumaine Street.

Sofrito Shakshuka, eggs baked in a spiced tomato sauce served on baguette (photo courtesy of Paloma Café)
Sofrito Shakshuka, eggs baked in a spiced tomato sauce served on baguette (photo courtesy of Paloma Café)

Paloma Café – Replacing Cafe Henri, which replaced Booty’s Streetfood, Paloma Café brings Latin American cuisine to the Bywater. Developed by Revelator Coffee, the restaurant is open for breakfast with horchata chia pudding (described as puffed rice cinnamon crunch) and the chorizo biscuit as well as more standard options like avocado toast and yogurt & granola. Lunch and dinner menus include small bites (like yuca frita), entrees (enjoy a torta sandwich at lunch and mojo-roasted pork at dinner), and desserts (flan and arroz con leche). 800 Louisa Street.

Poke-Chan – Opened in late 2017 on St. Claude Avenue in the Bywater, Poke-Chan is a fast-casual restaurant specializing in poke, the Hawaiian raw fish dish which has made its way to New Orleans in recent years. Menu items come as either a bowl or in burrito form with white or brown rice or mixed greens. The menu works as a sort of build-your-own meal: pick your protein (such as yellowtail, scallops, or octopus), then choose your mix-in (like sesame oil or cucumbers), and finally your toppings and garnishes (including mango, seasoned bean sprouts, or pickled ginger). Not a fan of raw fish? Don’t worry as the menu features cooked dishes as well. 2809 St. Claude Avenue.

Emily Ramírez Hernández is the child of New Orleans natives whose families have been in the city for generations. Emily's earliest memories of New Orleans include joyful car rides over bumpy streets, eating dripping roast beef po-boys at Domilise's, and catching bouncy balls during Mardi Gras parades with cousins. An urban planner by day and freelance writer by night, when she is off the clock she enjoys biking around town, belly dancing, and catching nerdlesque shows.

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