Alfresco Fresh

Spring is the season for dining (all the way) out
Thebower Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 3

dg

New Orleans has long enjoyed a tradition of outdoor dining, from crawfish-laden picnic tables to candlelit courtyards. Over the past year, many restaurants have responded to COVID-19 concerns by adding, expanding or beautifying outside seating to give patrons and staff extra breathing room. 

As we settle into spring, there’s no better time to sample the abundant alfresco options in neighborhoods across the city. This list represents just a fraction of places where the outdoor ambience might cure your spring fever. 


 

Mid-City

Acorncafe Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 4

Acorn 

Acorn, the café from Dickie Brennan & Co., may be connected to the Louisiana Children’s Museum in City Park, but it’s not just for kids. A stunning contemporary terrace overlooking the park’s “Little Lake” makes Acorn an ideal spot for coffee, drinks or a meal – at any age. The breakfast burrito (served all day) and thin patty double burger are a good match for grown-up appetites, as is the selection of local beers. 15 Henry Thomas Dr., 218-5413, Acornnola.com

Blue Oak BBQ  

The covered outdoor patio at Blue Oak BBQ offers plenty of room to spread out and tuck into a heap of goodness. Start with the smoked wings (in flavors like buffalo inferno and kung pao) or cracklins before moving on to the melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket, pulled pork, or a burger made from house-smoked ground brisket. In the non-BBQ arena, go for the fan favorite spicy fried chicken thigh sandwich and a side of Brussels sprouts. Wash it all down with a frozen drink of the day, then take a long nap. 900 N. Carrollton Ave., 822-2583, Blueoakbbq.com

Clesi’s Seafood Restaurant & Catering  

When the seafood mood hits, check out Clesi’s (located right next door to Trep’s), which serves up an array of seafood specialties in a welcoming outdoor area reminiscent of a backyard boil. Looking for crawfish and cold beer? They’ve got it. But over the course of its catering history, Clesi’s has also built up some intriguing twists on seafood standards like sambal chargrilled oysters and crawfish rangoon with red pepper jelly, along with classic pastas, gumbos and sandwiches. 4323 Bienville St., 909-0108, Clesicatering.com 

 

Treps Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 3

Trep’s

Trep’s came along at the right moment for outdoor dining. Built on the site of a former auto body shop of the same name, Trep’s aims to serve locals in a casual, primarily outdoor atmosphere. Big screen TV’s punctuate the various seating areas, which are spread out enough to allow plenty of space between parties. The menu ranges from cheeseburgers to cochon de lait on French bread to an excellent chopped salad with avocado ranch dressing. The kitchen also serves up roti tacos, including one filled with bang bang shrimp and crispy wonton strips, and another with spiced lamb. The relaxed, family-friendly vibe, along with a fully stocked bar, makes Trep’s a solid addition for neighborhood dining. 4327 Bienville St., 581-8900, Trepsnola.com

Parkway Bakery and Tavern

Po-boys have always made great outside eats, and Parkway has embraced the alfresco push wholeheartedly by essentially creating an entire outdoor restaurant. Diners can set up at one of Parkway’s plethora of patio tables (tented for rainy days) to down one of the city’s best sandwiches. Hits are too many to count, from exquisitely fried shrimp (make it a surf and turf by adding roast beef and gravy) to hot sausage. Not in the mood for a po-boy? Try the Reuben on thick-cut rye. Add sweet potato fries or a bag of Zapp’s and a Barq’s for the ultimate repast. 538 Hagan Ave., 482-3047, Parkwaypoorboys.com

Piece of Meat  

It’s hard to decide what is most tempting at Piece of Meat: the offerings behind the counter that showcase the butchering talents of proprietors Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson or the menu items that showcase the kitchen team’s cooking chops. Fried egg rolls stuffed with house-made boudin and pepper jack and the thick-cut bologna sandwich with provolone, barbecue sauce and fried onions make a strong case for the latter. These can be enjoyed in Piece of Meat’s newly expanded outdoor dining area, with cozy wooden tables fit for feasting. “It has increased our curb appeal by 1,000 percent,” Smith said. “We never would have done it without being forced to.” Though the shop had originally announced plans to open a dine-in restaurant pre-pandemic, the owners have now repurposed that space to showcase a variety of local produce (including offerings from Downriver Market) and gourmet grocery items. 3301 Bienville St., 372-2289, Pieceofmeatbutcher.com

 

Zony

Zony Mash Beer Project

Zony Mash is beautiful on the inside, a stunningly re-imagined microbrewery-take on the former Gem Theater. But its outdoor beer garden has been the center of the action lately, showcasing a rotation of popup eateries, as well as Zony Mash brews sold from the brewery’s tricked-out beer bus. As owner Adam Ritter said, “When the weather is nice, and it’s feeling right, it’s great.” Recent eats have included Zee’s Pizzeria and Doughtown’s Detroit-style pies as well as Bub’s Burgers, Southerns (of fried chicken sandwich fame) and the culinary talents of Luncheon. Seasonal brews from Zony Mash and frequent live music performances round out the scene for relaxed outdoor dining and drinking with personality to spare (as evidenced by the recurring wrestling themed night). Ritter plans to keep things interesting by adding boiled crawfish, including some Viet-Cajun style, and continuing a popular challenge series of cooking competitions featuring local chefs. 3940 Thalia St., 766-8868, Zonymashbeer.com

 

UPTOWN

La Petite Grocery  

The original jewel in the restaurant crown of chef/owner Justin Devillier and partner/director of operations Mia Freiberger-Devillier, this corner bistro attracts locals and visitors alike. A tidy row of sidewalk tables provides an ideal setting for enjoying signature dishes like delicate blue crab beignets, standard-setting Gulf shrimp and grits or the LPG cheeseburger with hand-cut fries. A thoughtful menu of wines by the glass and happy hour offerings make La Petite Grocery a comfortably elegant outdoor destination – especially if the meal ends with butterscotch pudding. 4238 Magazine St., 891-3377, Lapetitegrocery.com

Cavan  

While much of Cavan’s intrigue lies in its stately interior, the 19th century mansion also boasts a wraparound porch and umbrella-dotted patio that added some special touches during the pandemic. According to Robért LeBlanc, founder and creative director of hospitality group LeBlanc + Smith, “We added more shade and breezy fans to each table for cool comfort even on warm days and nights – providing our guests with the same level of high-quality hospitality and improved safety during the pandemic.” Menu specials change frequently, but the smash-style burger is a consistent crowd-pleaser, as are the truffle Caesar salad and poke tacos with salmon, avocado and seaweed salad. Whimsical desserts run the gamut from a s’mores pie with toasted marshmallow fluff to the sophisticated matcha colada featuring ginger compressed pineapple. 3607 Magazine St., 509-7655, Cavannola.com

 

Bourree Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 1

Bourrée at Boucherie

Bourrée is a casual spinoff of parent restaurant Boucherie next door. Bourrée’s smokehouse offerings are best enjoyed in finger-licking relaxation at one of the beer garden’s purple picnic tables. Wings, a house specialty, come in a range of preparations from jerk to sweet mango BBQ. Sandwiches feature house-made meats, like mouthwatering hot sausage, 12-hour roast beef or lemongrass pulled pork, as well as a BBQ shrimp and buffalo cauliflower. Meat pies and boudin balls scratch the Cajun itch, and fresh fruit daiquiris (another signature item) are a perfectly cooling accompaniment. 1510 South Carrollton Ave., 510-4040, Bourreenola.com

Del Fuego 

When the craving for Mexican strikes, Del Fuego offers two outdoor seating areas: a covered front porch and a colorful open-air patio in the rear. In either spot, sample a margarita made with Del Fuego’s homemade roasted orange triple sec and guacamole customized with toppings like crumbled bacon, roasted poblanos and pomegranate seeds. An enticing selection of well-crafted tacos, burritos and pozole rojo make excellent fresh-air options. 4518 Magazine St., 309-5797, Delfuegotaqueria.com 

La Boulangerie  

This French bakery and café from Link Restaurant Group is routinely packed with folks from the neighborhood and beyond seeking flaky croissants, crusty loaves, savory quiche and house made ice creams. Last fall, La Boulangerie unveiled a charming rear patio that allows customers to enjoy a cappuccino – and some of the city’s best avocado toast – away from the indoor crowd. 4600 Magazine St., 269-3777, Laboulangerienola.com

Misa  

This globally inspired spot on the corner of Magazine and Bordeaux Streets opened last fall in the location that formerly housed restaurant Bordeaux. The dining space is almost entirely outdoors but partially covered, making it suitable for all-weather dining. The menu draws heavily from across the Mediterranean (owner Tal Sharon also operates Tal’s Hummus across the street), with offerings including a salad topped with crispy chicken schnitzel, a grilled red tuna burger with herbed garlic tzatziki and a variety of house made pastas. 4734 Magazine St., 510-2791, Misanola.com

Saba  

Over the past year, Saba has upgraded its outdoor space fronting Magazine Street to offer comfortably chic dining digs in any kind of weather through its mix of tented and open-air tables. This airy Uptown corner shines in the spring, as do dishes that show off the best of the season. Pillowy pita and savory spreads (like the popular blue crab hummus) prepare the palate for heartier fare like matzah ball soup with slow cooked duck or latkes with cured salmon and caviar. Don’t miss the outstanding shakshuka at brunch – or the exquisite cocktails at any meal. 5757 Magazine St., 324-7770, Eatwithsaba.com

The Columns

When word got out in December 2019 that the historic Columns Hotel had a new owner (hotelier Jayson Seidman of the Drifter) and a renovation was in store, expectations were high. After all, the hotel’s gracious front porch has long been prime real estate for those seeking liquid respite from summer heat, Mardi Gras merrymakers and an unparalleled view of St. Charles Avenue. Now with a kitchen and bar overseen by Coquette chef Michael Stoltzfus, Columns is once again a food destination. The menu features shareable fare like vegetable crudité with seasonal accompaniments or a plate of Broadbent country ham with pimento cheese and shrimp chips. The burger is fortified by andouille, ricotta and pepper marmalade, and fried chicken cameos at brunch. Flanked by sprawling live oaks and stately mansions, Columns’ sophisticated porch and patio offer a uniquely New Orleans outdoor dining experience. 3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308, Thecolumns.com

The Chloe 

The outdoor space at this chic boutique hotel from LeBlanc + Smith is nearly as enchanting as the dreamy interior. Though the front patio faces St. Charles Avenue, hedges and greenery create a refuge perfectly suited to intimate meals and meetings. The menu from chef Todd Pulsinelli ranges from a seafood salad showcasing fresh shrimp and crab in a delicate ravigote to a hearty chicken katsu sandwich and Royal Red shrimp roll. At brunch, indulge in shrimp and grits or fried chicken and French toast. 4125 St. Charles Ave., 541-5500, Thechloenola.com

 


Picnic Perfect           

NOLA PopUp Picnic

After months of quarantine, Ana Suarez took inspiration from an idea she saw in other cities and founded Nola PopUp Picnic, offering people a safe way to socialize by turning elaborate picnic fantasies into reality. “I loved having picnics with friends at the Fly,” said Suarez, who also teaches second graders in a local Spanish immersion program. “Why not turn that into a business?” Nola PopUp Picnic will set up a dreamy alfresco experience, from the “basic” package with rug, pillows and chic décor to options that include more extensive culinary, kid-friendly or romantic elements. Suarez also makes a point to support local businesses by offering food, wine and décor options from local vendors like Empanola, Faubourg Wines, The Floured Tin (for macarons) and CharCutie. While most customers choose a panoramic setting like Audubon Park, picnics can take place in your backyard or, in case of uncooperative weather, even the living room. Suarez’s next move? Incorporating crawfish. Nolapopuppicnic.com

Picnic Provisions and Whiskey

This uptown spot offers a range of to-go picnic basket meals featuring their signature fried chicken and biscuits, seafood or an EatFit-NOLA-approved package. Add-ons include a bottle of rosé or a bucket of Paradise Park lager. All you need to bring is the blanket. 741 State St., 266-2810, Nolapicnic.com


 

Lilette Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 16

Lilette 

It’s hard to believe Lilette turns 20 this year. In a gift to patrons, Lilette has translated the charm of its intimate dining room to chic outdoor seating, placing tables along the sidewalk and sprucing up the cozy rear courtyard, a spot many patrons had never experienced. “People who have been coming here for a decade… had no idea what’s hiding in plain sight,” said general manager Jesse Martin. The outdoor seating is only part of Lilette’s draw. The real attractions are chef/owner John Harris’ splurge-worthy Alaskan king crab claws and potato gnocchi accented with sage and brown butter. The daily crudo special is always top-notch, as are heartier options like hangar steak with marrow-rich bordelaise. Bookend the outdoor meal with an expertly crafted Boulevardier and a dish of house-made ice cream. 3637 Magazine St., 895-1636, Liletterestaurant.com

The Delachaise Wine Bar 

The Delachaise occupies a precious sliver of uptown real estate between Aline and Delachaise Streets, with its front patio embracing St. Charles Avenue. There, patrons can pass a pleasant evening sampling the kitchen’s ever-changing specials (like Oysters Delachaise, poached in absinthe cream, or house smoked salmon dip) or the much-loved goose fat pommes frites. Further uptown, sister restaurant Chais Delachaise on Maple Street offers ample outdoor seating as well. 3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858, Thedelachaise.com

St. James Cheese Company  

St. James’ Prytania Street location has always attracted a crowd to its shaded outdoor tables. Enjoy the bounty of the cheese case in simple form with the Ploughman’s Lunch: a selection of cheeses paired with pate, bread and salad. Or take things to the next level with mozzarella, pesto and artisanal salami grilled to gooey perfection on ciabatta, or the brie de meaux nestled with French ham on a buttered baguette. The tasty manchego salad drizzles arugula, pears and almonds with house made quince vinaigrette. Feeling saucy? St. James offers wines by the glass as well as craft beer and cider. Happy hour brings beverage specials and a discounted cheese board. For downtown days, St. James’ Warehouse District location also offers outdoor seating. 5004 Prytania St., 899-4737, Stjamescheese.com

Val’s  

When this Mexican spot from the team at CureCo (which also operates nearby Cure and French Quarter favorite Cane and Table) opened last summer, it brought the Freret neighborhood a welcome open-air dining option. The former gas station has been reimagined as a sprawling, casual gathering spot serving up tacos, ceviche, queso fundido and specials like the birria torta. The CureCo bar pedigree is evident in the cocktail and spirits list, which includes not only praiseworthy margaritas but also creative twists on classics like the mezcal negroni or Oaxacan old fashioned. 4632 Freret St., 356-0006, Valsnola.com

 

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT / CBD

Bearcat CBD  

Like its sister Bearcat uptown, Bearcat CBD offers a menu of wholesome goodness for “Good Cat” (e.g., the savory Ranchero with vegan black beans, cashew crema, ranchero sauce, pico and avocado) and “Bad Cat” (country fried steak on Texas toast) cravings. There is more on offer downtown, however, including a contemporary rear patio fit for the pages of Dwell magazine. According to general manager Michael Matthews, Bearcat’s outdoor space has been a work in progress since the restaurant opened in December 2019. A newly planted herb garden feeds the kitchen and bar, and hand-fabricated wooden bench seating strikes a stylish note. Though both locations are best known for breakfast and lunch, the CBD spot has recently introduced dinner service with a separate menu, allowing diners to enjoy cocktails and bites (like the delicate chicken liver pâté) in the glow of the light-strung courtyard. 845 Carondelet St., 766-7399, Bearcat845.com

 

Sidecarpatio Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 9

Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar

Oyster lovers are rejoicing over this new Warehouse District oasis opened by the team behind the nearby Rusty Nail and Uptown favorite Cooter Brown’s. Sidecar boasts abundant outdoor space – both an outdoor patio and upstairs balcony – in which to enjoy a carefully chosen selection of bivalves and other seafood specialties. The menu also features classic bar fare like burgers and cheese fries, as well as cocktails like frozen Disco Lemonade, amped with vodka and sake. 1114 Constance St., 381-5079, Sidecarnola.com

Cochon Butcher 

Many offerings at Cochon Butcher, like the beloved muffuletta, are easily portable. Now diners can enjoy those tasty dishes in a “parklet” area of umbrella-shaded tables. According to manager Jacques Couvillon, “We have a lot of people that will order takeout, and once they get here, they will see the outdoor dining and just bring their food right outside.” Menu highlights include Le Pig Mac – two pork patties with special sauce and more on a sesame bun – and the Moroccan-spiced lamb with tzatziki and chili oil on flatbread as well as killer key lime pie. Take a little Butcher magic home with a package of house made andouille or boudin from the counter. 930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-7675, Cochonbutcher.com

Rye & Pie Pizza Bar 

Rye and Pie’s generous corner patio begs to be enjoyed on a fine spring day (or evening). Wood-fired pizzas range from the simple margherita to muffuletta-style (with house-made olive salad). Pies are on the smaller side, so parties might sample a few. Salads and sandwiches round out the menu, as does a large selection of beer and, as the restaurant’s name suggests, rye whiskey. 404 Andrew Higgins Dr., 533-0016, Ryenpie.com

 

LAKEVIEW / WEST END

Bluecrab3

The Blue Crab

The Blue Crab harks back to the glory days of West End, when places like Bruning’s, Fitzgerald’s and Swanson’s served up hearty portions of boiled and fried seafood. When he opened the Blue Crab in 2013, owner Nick Asprodites sought to recapture some of that magic with the classic fare that has long lured diners to Lakeshore Drive. With ample outdoor seating upstairs and down, diners can enjoy boiled crawfish, shrimp and grits, fried seafood platters, chargrilled oysters and more against the backdrop of Lake Pontchartrain. “I don’t have a walk-in freezer,” Asprodites said. “Everything comes in every day – the freshest Louisiana seafood I can possibly get.” Outdoor tables are in high demand for sunset views during happy hour, and weekends bring music on the downstairs patio (weather permitting). “When the weather is really good, everybody wants to be out there,” Asprodites said. “It’s a beautiful view.” 7900 Lakeshore Drive, 284-2898, Thebluecrabnola.com

Junior’s on Harrison  

Junior’s has built the outdoors into its business model by offering outdoor seating on an upstairs balcony and downstairs patio. They also have a multi-function window for to-go meals, ice cream ordering or beverage delivery. In either case, check out the honey citrus shrimp tacos or the prime burger in addition to the kitchen’s inspired daily specials. 789 Harrison Ave., 766-6902, Juniorsonharrison.com

 

Celtica Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 7

Celtica French Bakery

This patisserie from the former owner of La Boulangerie brings a tasty slice of France to Lakeview. In addition to limited indoor seating, the bakery offers a charming row of bright yellow tables on a petite patio alongside the building, allowing customers to take their coffee and pastry outside. Temptations include eclairs, financiers, sweet and savory croissants and danish. For heartier appetites, customers can customize sandwiches on a range of Celtica’s house made breads. 218 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 354-8548

 

TREMÉ

Li’l Dizzy’s Café  

Fans of this Tremé soul food stalwart rejoiced with the January announcement from the Baquet family that Li’l Dizzy’s, which had announced its closing in November, would reopen under the leadership of next generation owners Wayne Baquet Jr. and his wife Arkesha Baquet. Known for its buffet meals of crispy fried chicken (among the city’s best), red beans and rice, gumbo and a host of daily specials, the restaurant has moved from buffet service to counter service. Diners can unpack the same delicious meals at one of the sidewalk tables lining both sides of the corner restaurant. 1500 Esplanade Ave., 766-8687, Lildizzyscafe.net

The Flagpole  

Though mainly beverage focused, the Flagpole makes the list for its tiny triangle footprint that is mostly patio situated along a dreamy stretch of Esplanade Avenue. In a nod to the owners’ heritage, the menu shows touches of Cuban flair like the cortadito enriched with evaporated milk and rich guava pastelitos, served warm. Sno-balls cover standard New Orleans flavors as well as specialties like raw mango, café con leche and guava. Frequently scheduled live music adds to the festivity. 2032 Esplanade Ave., Facebook and Instagram @Theflagpolenola

 

FAUBOURG MARIGNY / BYWATER

The Elysian Bar  

The Elysian Bar, located in the Marigny’s Hotel Peter and Paul, has made headlines for stunning design and culinary dazzle ever since its 2018 opening. Under the leadership of chef Alex Harrell, the kitchen puts out seasonal dishes that are equally at home on a table indoors or in the restaurant’s picturesque courtyard. Small plate highlights include a simple giardiniera of pickled local vegetables and the whipped ricotta with preserved mushrooms, herbs and pickled shallots. For something more substantial, try the roasted and confit chicken or Gulf fish special. Pair it with a spritz cocktail for optimal spring refreshment. 2317 Burgundy St., 356-6769, Theelysianbar.com

Saint-Germain 

The homey charm that characterizes Saint-Germain’s petite dining room now extends to its back patio. While the prix fixe tasting menu is only available inside (by reservation), outdoor seating is first-come, first-served and features the tasty delights of the bar menu. That menu changes frequently but may include options like tempura fried fish with tarragon tartar or a fried chicken sandwich with rouille and slaw. The thoughtful selection of cocktails and wines by the glass completes the experience. 3054 St. Claude Ave., 218-8729, Saintgermainnola.com 

 


Garden Fresh    

Kitchen in the Garden 

Kitchen in the Garden in the New Orleans Botanical Garden hosts local chefs and culinary experts for a variety of dinners and food-focused experiences. In April, Kitchen in the Garden will welcome Frank Brigtsen and guest chefs for “Frank and Friends,” continue its global culinary series with Addis NOLA’s Ethiopian fare, explore healthful eats with Ochsner EatFit NOLA and host “Hors d’oeuvres, Cocktails and Garden Tales” in partnership with Sazerac House. Chef Pat White will also return for Wednesday Evenings in the Garden, with mojitos and socially distanced eats. Neworleanscitypark.com/botanical-garden/kitchen-in-the-garden

Paradigm Gardens

This urban farm in the heart of New Orleans is also an event space, with a rustic outdoor kitchen that services both private functions and public events. These might include fundraising dinners hosted by chefs from local restaurants, open-air concerts or plant sales featuring food for purchase. Check the website for information on upcoming events. 1131 S. Rampart St., 344-9474, Paradigmgardensnola.com


Rosalita’s Backyard Tacos  

Rosalita’s had developed a devoted following over the last couple of years as a pop-up before moving into the former home of Shake Shugary in late 2020. Its new backyard is indeed an excellent venue for tacos – plus empanadas, tamales, enchiladas and more. The colorful outdoor space is roomy and partially covered, with additional tables shaded by umbrellas. Owners Laurie Casebonne and Ian Schnoebelen formerly owned the highly regarded Bywater restaurant Mariza and apply the same attention to culinary detail at Rosalita’s. Tacos are uniformly excellent, with options like fried fish and crema, lengua with pickled onion and radish and al pastor (pork) with pineapple salsa, but the whole menu merits exploring. Don’t miss the homemade passion fruit juice and watermelon lemonade.  3304 St. Claude Ave., 354-2468. Rosalitas-nola.com

Galaxie  

Galaxie has been serving up tacos in this slick former service station since late 2019, and its inviting outdoor space now makes a very good dining room. Galaxie imports corn from Oaxaca, grinding it in house for hand-pressed tortillas. These provides a delicious base for fillings like barbacoa, al pastor (sliced from its traditional vertical rotisserie), grilled shrimp and gulf drum. A large selection of mezcal and specialty cocktails make appealing accompaniments to any meal. 3060 St. Claude Ave., 827-1443, Galaxietacos.com

Bratz Y’all!  

Some cuisines seem quite at home outdoors, German food among them. In the finest biergarten tradition, Bratz Y’all has been serving up crispy schnitzel and juicy wursts to Bywater diners since 2017. Try the signature Bavarian Brat, an oversized house-baked pretzel with Bavarian caraway brie dip or the sliced doner kebab on house baked pita. Pair it with one of the many German brews bottled or on tap. 617 Piety St., 301-3222, Bratzyall.com

 

FRENCH QUARTER

Sylvain  

One of the most atmospheric settings in the French Quarter is the moody courtyard at Sylvain. Day or night, it makes a worthy backdrop for consistently excellent Southern fare. “Sylvain’s socially distant heated patio, featuring the second-oldest wall in the French Quarter, allows us to continue to create an excellent 21st century Southern hospitality experience – outside,” said Robért LeBlanc. Dig into the famous Sylvain burger, a wedge of cast iron cornbread with cane syrup butter, a fried chicken sandwich with house hot sauce and dill pickles or splurge on champagne and fries for the table. 625 Chartres St., 265-8123, Sylvainnola.com

 

Napoleonhouse Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 6

Napoleon House

Napoleon House is a classic Quarter spot for outdoor dining. Though it became part of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group in 2015, the 200-year-old institution has maintained its relaxed, history-soaked ambience. Pimm’s Cup cocktails and muffulettas, served warm, are house favorites, but the menu also features a variety of New Orleans standards from poor boys to jambalaya and red beans and rice. Take a seat at one of the courtyard’s shaded iron tables and prepare to linger. 500 Chartres St., 524-9752, Napoleonhouse.com

Tujague’s 

Tujague’s big news in 2020 was its big move – just a few blocks up Decatur Street from its former home. In the new spot, the 160-plus-year-old eatery offers a courtyard packing loads of French Quarter charm but not loads of tables, making it a lovely option for socially distanced dining. Menu options include the restaurant’s signature five-course table d’hôte or a la carte ordering. Whatever you choose, consider the boiled beef brisket with creole horseradish sauce or the shrimp rémoulade, and for dessert, the grasshopper panna cotta, a nod to Tujague’s famous Grasshopper cocktail. 429 Decatur St., 525-8676, Tujaguesrestaurant.com

 

IRISH CHANNEL / LOWER GARDEN DISTRICT

Thebower Neworleansmag Emilyferrettiphoto 4

The Bower

This airy spot from the owners of Tujague’s and Claret Wine & Cocktail Bar features a sleek, tented turf patio in which to enjoy The Bower’s elevated continental cuisine. Happy-hour options include charcuterie plates and whipped feta. On the regular menu, dig into the beef tartare with house hot mustard and crisp gnocchi fritto and house made pastas like cannelloni with Louisiana crawfish. The Bower also features an extensive list of wines by the glass. 1320 Magazine St., 582-9738, Thebowernola.com

El Cucuy 

According to owner Austin Lane, El Cucuy specializes in “unapologetic Mexican street food, not dolled up.” Offerings include tacos stuffed with fillings like tender carne asada or puerco pibil, as well as a range of tortas (Mexican street sandwiches) and fried churros dusted in cinnamon sugar. A full bar serves up a range of cocktails including a house margarita with Lunazul blanco tequila. The large side patio is accented by a colorful mural that captures El Cucuy’s metal/Mexican folklore/funky Irish Channel vibe as well as a covered area for rainy days. Said partner Jennifer O’Blenis, “We wanted it to be like our backyard.” 3507 Tchoupitoulas St., 897-5395, Elcucuynola.com 

Nola Pizza Co.  

Outdoor pizza is definitely a spring thing. Nola Pizza Co., located inside the taproom at the Nola Brewing Company, serves up New-York-style pies and heroes that can be enjoyed at one of many picnic tables in front of the brewery. Pizza dough is made with water specially treated to match the magical composition of New York City tap water and is naturally leavened and fermented. Pies come in red, white and square, and heroes include crispy eggplant with mozzarella and pizza sauce, as well as meatball, provolone, broccoli rabe and vodka sauce. The beverage choice is easy: one of the stellar beers on tap from Nola Brewing Co. 3001 Tchoupitoulas St., 272-0618, Nolapizzaco.com

 


New Orleans East

Faubourg Brewery

In November 2020, owner Gayle Benson announced that the iconic Dixie brand would be renamed Faubourg Brewing Company, a transition now reflected at the brand’s New Orleans East brewery and taproom. Opened in January 2020, the 85,000-square-foot brewery also boasts an expansive, beautifully appointed outdoor “brew park” with plenty of seating as well as disc golf and bocce courts. From Friday through Sunday, Fete au Fete StrEATery cooks up a range of beer-friendly dishes like chargrilled oysters, fried chicken biscuits and a brisket burger. It’s a great, family-friendly spot for brunch or early dinner on a mild spring day. 3501 Jourdan Rd., 867-4000, Dixiebeer.com


 

HARAHAN / METAIRIE / KENNER

Rivershack Tavern  

There is something to be said for a sunny afternoon spent looking over the levee at the tops of passing shipping vessels. That is the view from the tables alongside Rivershack Tavern, the iconic River Road bar, eatery and self-proclaimed “Home of the Tacky Ashtray.” While outdoor diners will miss the chance to sit atop one of Rivershack’s quirky barstools perched on costumed legs, they will gain a breezy perch for enjoying Shack-a-tizers like fried green tomatoes and buffalo shrimp, a half-pound burger or a garbage fry poor boy stuffed with roast beef, fries, cheese, mushrooms and more. There’s also an impressive selection of draft beers. For outdoor dining in the roadhouse tradition, Rivershack Tavern is one-of-a-kind. 3449 River Road, 834-4938, Rivershacktavern.com 

Oak Oven 

Since opening in 2014, Oak Oven has supplied its Harahan neighbors with well-executed Italian favorites, from wood-fired pizzas to handmade pastas to tender veal (piccata, marsala and parmigiana). Its well-covered patio seating offers an ideal spot for lunch or dinner, year-round. Don’t sleep on the daily specials (including an ever-changing array of fish and seafood dishes) or desserts like homemade tiramisu, cannoli and crème brusciata. 6625 Jefferson Hwy., 305-4039, Oakoven.com

Gendusa’s Italian Eatery 

On a corner lot in picturesque Rivertown sits the newest iteration of Gendusa’s. After a fire destroyed his former location down the street, owner Troy Gendusa moved his Italian eatery to the site of a former bakery. The spacious new spot has allowed Gendusa to set up plenty of well-appointed outdoor seating, including several tables on the restaurant’s covered porch. In this pleasant atmosphere just a stone’s throw from the levee, diners can fill up on hearty Italian fare including massive meatballs, pizzas, chicken parmesan, Italian subs and muffulettas. A rotating selection of desserts might include a classic tiramisu, traditional Italian cookies or delectable cakes. 325 Williams Blvd., 305-5305, Gendusasitalian.com

Categories: Restaurants, Restaurants + Food