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Food

COOLinary New Orleans: The Best in NOLA Dining Made More Accessible Than Ever

Summer in New Orleans is a special time for so many reasons. Besides the wonderful al fresco activities and snoballs, the summer month of August brings us COOLinary New Orleans. While New Orleanians and visitors alike are looking for delicious and creative ways to keep cool and fueled, COOLinary provides the perfect solution: affordable dining in charming surroundings. What could be better?

COOLinary new orleans LogoIf you’re new to COOLinary, you’re in for a treat. During August, more than fifty of the city’s top restaurants will offer prix fixe lunch and dinner menus. Meals typically range from two to three courses, depending on the restaurant. This program is a great way to try that fancy place you’ve been dreaming about or get back to that one spot where you’ve previously had an outstanding meal. Both are acceptable and smart strategies for making the most of the COOLinary offerings. Even better, visitors can use this program as a way to try even more mouth-watering dishes and meals in the city.

Of the many city-wide promotions taking place each year, COOLinary stands out as one that both locals and visitors alike can enjoy. Kim Priez, Vice President of Tourism for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it best, “People from all over the world come to New Orleans to eat, drink and relax. COOLinary New Orleans is an invitation for locals and visitors alike to sample our world-class cuisine at New Orleans’ most prestigious restaurants. Participating restaurants will offer exquisite dishes that are representative of our city’s food culture.”

It’s great to see old favorites along with newcomers on the list of participating restaurants. Of the restaurants signed up, I’m excited to see Besh Steak and Coquette on the list. Those are places that I’ve been to, but it’s been a while so this is a great excuse to go back! Also, dining at Criollo has been on my culinary bucket list since it openened. K-Paul’s is another top-notch spot on the list. So many of our city’s best restaurants made incredibly accessible — it’s dining heaven.

oysters new orleans restaurant
Oysters on the half shell are a quintessential New Orleans summer treat. (photo Courtesy of Addie K Martin)

In addition to lunch and dinner offerings, some restaurants are taking it a step further with happy hour specials. In the last few years, happy hour has become an essential fixture on the New Orleans dining and imbibing scene. Tivoli and Lee along with Dijon are offering great drink specials while places like the Bombay Club and Dominque’s on Magazine are offering discounts on meals. Check out the full happy hour selection on the COOLinary website.

Finally, if you’re an avid home cook like I am, you may want to peruse the recipe selection available via the COOLinary program. Some of the participating restaurants have provided recipes for signature dishes so you can even recreate your favorite dishes and meals at home. A meal of GW Fins’ New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp with Strawberries Arnaud for dessert is surely a winning combination. This is a great way for visitors to take a bit of New Orleans home with them and share with friends and family.

Fried Soft Shell Crab new orleans restaurant
A gourmet New Orleans meal of fried soft shell crab (Photo by Addie K Martin)

In the month of August, be sure to take advantage of the variety of restaurants participating in COOLinary. Most places offer both lunch and dinner prix fixe menu options. Some menus change daily so please check with the establishment if needed. Take the opportunity to try a new place or revisit a staple that you’ve been meaning to experience again. Regardless, dine till your heart’s content, and stay cool in the process. Cheers!

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