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Food

Cheap Eats in New Orleans: 5 Places to Try in 5 Neighborhoods

Dat Dog on Freret Street (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

New Orleans is known world-wide for being home to some of the finest restaurants. Sometimes fine dining is what you’re going for; more often than not, though, you really just want a quick meal that won’t take a big bite out of your wallet. If you’re nodding your head “yes” to this, then check out my recommendations for five cheap eats in New Orleans. Conveniently, I’ve chosen places in five different neighborhoods so you’re bound to have one nearby.

French Quarter

When I’m on the prowl for cheap eats in the French Quarter, I’m partial to Killer Poboys, located in the back room of the Erin Rose bar on Conti Street. I’ve tried many of their “chef inspired” poboys and of all of them, their Five Spice Meatloaf poboy is my favorite. In addition to the juicy, well-seasoned meatloaf, the poboy is dressed with spicy mustard, chili garlic bok choy and scallions, all served on a Dong Phuong roll. At $9.17 (including tax), this poboy is my own little slice of heaven.

Juan’s Flying Burrito (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

Mid-City

When in Mid-City, I’m almost always hitting up Juan’s Flying Burrito for cheap eats. They’re conveniently located half a block from the Canal Street streetcar line, right on Carrollton Avenue. Nearly all of their menu items run under $10 each with many averaging around $7.50, and the portions are huge. My long-time favorite is the Mardi Gras Indians taco basket. At $7, this three-taco plate is a steal: The soft corn tortillas are overfilled with roasted corn, pinto beans, grilled squash (and sometimes zucchini) and served topped with Jack and cheddar cheeses and a spicy slaw to finish. Finally, Juan’s offers an awesome happy hour, Monday through Friday from 2 p.m.- 7 p.m. and all day on Sunday: double house rocks margaritas for $5 each, Tecate cans or $2, and PBR cans for $1.

Uptown

If I’m Uptown, I’m typically heading to Dat Dog on either Magazine Street or Freret Street. While the Magazine Street location is newer, I prefer the indoor/outdoor thing that the Freret Street location, a former gas station, has going for it. It’s lovely in the fall and spring for dinner. All of Dat Dog’s “dogs” go for under $8 each. They’ve got a selection of 17 types of hot dogs and sausages to choose from, including the traditional beef or pork weiners and alligator or Italian sausages. My favorite dog here is the Slovenian sausage topped with cheese, sour cream, jalapeños, tomatoes, relish and yellow mustard. There’s something for everyone here, even the vegetarians. (Note: They also have a location on Frenchmen Street in Marigny.)

Lower Garden District

My favorite place to eat in this neighborhood is Lilly’s Cafe on Magazine Street. New Orleans is known for its wide variety of Vietnamese restaurants, and Lilly’s is one of the best. Their banh mi are priced under $6 and they offer numerous pho options, all under $10 for a huge bowl. My favorite there is the tofu and vegetable pho, a large bowl filled with vegetable broth, a variety of vegetables and a generous portion of tofu. It’s soul-satisfying, for sure.

Marigny

When I hit up the Marigny, it’s typically late at night, and I’m looking for a snack. Thankfully, Mimi’s in the Marigny has me covered with their wide selection of small plates, served from the upstairs kitchen. Located at the corner of Royal Street and St. Roch Avenue, Mimi offers small plates that can be combined to create a meal or ordered one at a time for snacking. The menu consists of a variety of Spanish tapas, all priced at under $10 each (most are $8 or under). The menu is quite large for such a small kitchen. I have a few favorites here including the patatas pravas, manchego mushroom toast, serrano and chorizo plate, and the almond stuffed dates. Don’t let the fact that it’s located in a bar fool you: Mimi’s has some of the best tapas in New Orleans.

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