Jazz Fest is so close you can smell it. Those who flock to the festival are just days away from one of the most popular music events in the country and some of the best restaurants in the Big Easy.
In honor of the seven days of Jazz Fest, here’s our guide to seven sensational restaurants based on seven different types of Jazz Fest attendees. While these fun locations all serve alcohol, remember to always designate a driver or call a cab!
1. Best Place for Jazz Fest Marathoners
Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza
You know who you are. You’ve got your “Brass Pass” permanently affixed around your neck, all your Jazz Fest t-shirts picked out for the next two weeks, a Costco-sized bottle of sunscreen and more ponchos than you can count. You know Jazz Fest is a marathon and now there’s only one thing left to do: carbo-load.
Any championship marathon runner will tell you that the key to sustained energy is carb intake. What better place to get your fix than Theo’s? Voted “Best Pizza Restaurant” in Gambit’s 2014 Best of New Orleans poll, Theo’s offers 20 specialty pies, including eight veggie options. If that doesn’t do it for you, you can build your own pizza. They also have weekly beer specials (more carbs! Yum!) to wash it all down. If you’re going the distance, Theo’s could save your life.
4024 Canal St - 504.302.1133
2. Best Place to Satisfy a Sweet Tooth
If you love sweets and haven’t heard of Angelo Brocato’s, you need to reassess your life. There’s no excuse to pass up this ice cream parlor during Jazz Fest. Just two miles from the Fair Grounds, Angelo Brocato’s is an ideal stop for coffee and biscotti to go in the morning or a post-Fest cannoli at night. And on those hot, sunny days that eventually strike during the Fest, there’s no better way to cool off than with a specialty gelato.
214 N. Carrollton Ave - 504.486.0078
3. Best Place if You Just Go With the Flow
Maybe you prefer to roll with wherever the current takes you, or you feel like “remembering what day it is” is an abstract concept. If so, you need to stop by Lola’s restaurant.
A short walking distance from the Festival, Lola’s shares your aversion to “plans” and “the passage of time.” A Spanish restaurant through and through, dinners here are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Have a glass of sangria while you wait for your table (they don’t take reservations). Share paella with a group of friends. Those four, five, six hours will fly by.
3312 Esplanade Ave. - 504.488.6946
4. Best Place for a Healthy Treat
Crawfish monica. Charbroiled oysters. Cochon de lait. Ya Ka Mein. Champagne in a can. Jazz Fest has no shortage of indulgences, but, believe it or not, these things can add up. Don’t believe us? Ask your doctor, or you could skip that depressing ordeal and go to Seed instead.
The restaurant just celebrated its one-year anniversary and has already become a local favorite, winning Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Gambit’s 2014 Best of New Orleans reader’s poll. It offers a diverse and creative menu of juices, sandwiches, soups and entrees. Seed is the rare restaurant that makes exceptionally good food that is also exceptionally good for you.
1330 Prytania St. - 504.302.2599
5. Best Place for Philanthropists
Of all the dining options you have in New Orleans, Cafe Reconcile is the only place where every dollar you spend goes to ensuring a better future for the city. This non-profit restaurant is the extension of an organization that works with at-risk New Orleans youth and gives them the skills to establish careers in the foodservice industry, with graduates going on to work at some of the best restaurants in the city.
Café Reconcile may be a training ground, but it also provides great soul food and traditional New Orleans cooking for a fraction of the cost of French Quarter tourist traps. Your meal comes with the added bonus that you know your money goes directly to supporting the next generation of great New Orleans chefs.
1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd - 504.568.1157
6. Best Place for People Who Like to Dress Up
Jazz Fest is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is “fancy.” Between the porta-potties, mud and people wearing eccentric outfits, it can have some people craving high-class amenities. Commander’s Palace provides all that and more.
Commander’s Palace is a 120-year-old New Orleans landmark. Not only is this the former home of celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme, but also current renowned chef Tory McPhail has won many awards and accolades for the menu. Truly, when it comes to its mix of history, innovation and fine dining service, nothing beats Commander’s Palace.
1403 Washington Ave. - 504.899.8221
7. Best Place for All-Night Party Animals
Port of Call
Jazz Fest hosts so much great music that it’s impossible to see it all. So it’s a good thing many bands also play in clubs after the Festival is over. But a full day at Jazz Fest and then a night out can be a tall order. That is, unless you make a pit stop at Port of Call.
While a slew of excellent new burger places have opened up across the city, Port of Call still reigns supreme for its simplicity, deliciousness and proximity to French Quarter. Nothing satisfies a hunger brought on by long days at the Fair Grounds than a burger and baked potato. Wash it all down with a Monsoon and you’ll be ready to ride that second (or third or fourth) wind deep into the night.
838 Esplanade Ave - (504) 523-0120
Article written by Bestofneworleans.com