Since I was little, I’ve always been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This holds true whether breakfast is your pick-me-up meal at the start of your day or your last fortifying meal of the day after a night full of fantastic memories. To help you get your early morning grub on, here are a handful of New Orleans breakfast spots I highly recommend to fuel up for the day’s number one meal.
Café du Monde
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Café du Monde is as iconic New Orleans as it gets. Start your morning with these soft, pillowy fried donuts blanketed in powdered sugar, better known as beignets. Grab a café au lait or chocolate milk to accompany your beignets and you’re set for a day of exploring the French Quarter, or downtown. Can’t make it to the Quarter? Café du Monde has nine locations in the New Orleans metro area.
Biscuits & Buns on Banks
Tucked away in Mid-City, Biscuits & Buns has a varied and delicious menu. Although the biscuits (and buns) get all the glory, my heart belongs to the chicken and waffles. Dining space is a little limited, so if you’ve got a large party or are looking to avoid a wait, I recommend getting there on the earlier side of the morning.
With locations in the Bywater, the Riverbend, and the Lower Garden District, the breakfast (and lunch) at Satsuma is almost always within reach. Satsuma’s special twist on breakfast is the plethora of fresh squeezed organic juices and special house juices. Paired with one of their fantastic breakfast plates or sandwiches, your day is off to a delicious and healthy start.
Stanley is typically my number one recommendation for friends staying in the French Quarter. This restaurant serves up classic New Orleans comfort food with a unique and tasty twist. Take for example, the Eggs Benedict Poor Boy: poached eggs, smoked Canadian bacon, and hollandaise on toasted French bread. In a word: yum.
Cake Café & Bakery
In contrast, Cake Café is there for you earlier risers with doors opening at 7 a.m. Another bonus to this Marigny bakery is that it has one of the more varied breakfast menus you’ll find – from Boudin and eggs to crab omelets to the classic eggs, bacon, and toast. Cake Café’s menu also includes a variety of vegetarian options, like the mushroom gravy and biscuits.
Moving a little slow in the morning? Atchafalaya has you covered. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. Thursday-Monday, so there’s no need to hop right out of bed at the crow of the rooster. And on Saturdays and Sundays, Atchafalaya rolls out what may very well be the city’s most impressive, build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, so you’ll be able to get back up to speed on the double.
Riccobono’s Panola Street Café
This café on Panola Street known as Riccobono’s is your quintessential breakfast spot. Their modest menu includes bottomless coffee, pancakes, waffles, omelets, and breakfast plates. A spot at Riccobono’s counter is one of my favorite places to sit with a friend (or the paper) and enjoy a traditional breakfast.
The Camellia Grill
When you’re craving classic diner food, head to Camellia Grill. A favorite both late at night and early in the morning, Camellia Grill is good no matter the hour. The counter snakes through this landmark restaurant, ensuring counter seats for all.
Mid-City has become a bit of a breakfast hub in New Orleans, and Wakin’ Bakin’ is one of the main reasons why. One thing that sets Wakin’ Bakin’ apart from the rest is delivery (to Mid-City and the Bayou St. John area). If you’re in need of some serious breakfast, but can’t be bothered to leave the house, Wakin’ Bakin’ is the call to make. Not in the delivery area but willing to make the trek? Their dine-in space is on Banks Street cross the street from Biscuits and Buns.
If you find yourself craving breakfast at a decidedly non-breakfast time of day, you’re in luck: this Bourbon Street restaurant serves breakfast all the time. Given its prime location, you’re almost sure to get a meal and a show at Clover’s, whether it is from the other customers or the side order of sass that comes free with every meal.
District: Donuts, Sliders, Brew
While undeniably delicious, donuts are often seen as conventional and, well, a bit boring. Not at District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew. Browse the case and you might find donuts in as wild flavor combinations as margarita, lemon raspberry, whiskey ginger, something with Sriracha, and a root beer float-inspired donut. And if even those inventive flavors are a little too conventional for your adventurous tastebuds, you can really branch out with one of the Croquenuts (a griddled donut sandwich). Not feeling a donut? There are also biscuits, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast tacos for the taking plus a wonderful selection of coffee. With three locations in New Orleans, there’s plenty of opportunities to get yourself a donut from District.
While EAT technically serves weekend brunch, it starts at the decidedly breakfast time of 9 a.m. Take full advantage of EAT’s “Cajun tradition” of cooking, and look to the Eggs Cochon (pulled pork cake, mustard greens, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and a biscuit) or the Eggs Dumaine (grillades, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, and grits).
Elizabeth’s has long had a sacred vision of the awesomeness of bacon. That vision? Praline bacon. One normally wouldn’t need any additional reasons to understand Elizabeth’s place as one of the most popular spots for breakfast in New Orleans, but Elizabeth’s boasts great food and a great set of brunch-only cocktails. I thoroughly enjoy a corpse reviver to wash down my praline bacon.
Slim Goodie’s Diner
Slim Goodie’s is “food made with love” down on Magazine Street. Their New Orleans-style down-home cooking in a funky atmosphere with a friendly staff is irresistible. Slim’s is a place you can’t help but enjoy, just like New Orleans.
We won’t tell if you eat the restaurant’s signature chocolate chip cookies for breakfast… but you can certainly make do with the other delectable options at Willa Jean, including an array of pastries, griddled banana bread, smoked salmon tartine, or a breakfast grain bowl. The restaurant’s sunny interiors and solid coffee menu (try the iced Milk Money latte) make mornings brighter.
The Ruby Slipper
With several locations around town, The Ruby Slipper is your go-to for Southern brunch fare and cocktails. Choose from a whole bunch of Benedicts, and if you simply can’t decide, order their “Peacemaker” – your choice of any two Benedicts.
Sure, it’s called Toast, but this spot stands out for another type of carb: aebleskivers. These puffy, Scandinavian pancakes come with a variety of dipping sauces (lemon curd, caramel, Nutella, maple syrup…) and are a great appetizer before generous breakfast options like Croque Monsieur. There are locations both uptown and in Gentilly. We recommend getting there early to beat the wait on the weekends.
Now with three New Orleans locations, Gracious Bakery continues to turn out drool-worthy pastries, plus awesome breakfast (and lunch) sandwiches on house-made breads. Order a cruffin (croissant-muffin hybrid), a danish, a house-made bagel… it’s all good. Like, really, really good.
Proving that being curmudgeonly and charming aren’t mutually exclusive, owner Dan Stein makes mornings tolerable with bagels direct from New York City (baked in house) and house-made cream cheeses. At Stein’s, classic breakfast sandwiches on your choice of bread are the perfect complement to the Cherry Espresso Bar popup inside. It’s also right next door to District Donuts, so if you’re a savory devotee with a sweet-toothed companion, you can both get your morning fix.
Go healthy or not-so-healthy at this Lower Garden District café. At Hivolt, you could start your morning with the Ozzy Breakfast Bowl (poached eggs atop quinoa with greens and kefir-herb dressing) or you could order the house-made, as-big-as-your-head blueberry muffin. Expertly-made espresso drinks and uniquely-prepared cold brews bring all the buzz.
Charming architecture and breakfast tacos – you’ll covet both for weeks to come after a trip to Pagoda Café. Toasts, pastries, and “treats” (like coconut-mango chia pudding) round out the menu. Located right off Bayou Road, you can do some shopping after your breakfast to walk off your meal.