There’s never a bad time to visit New Orleans, but Halloween has got to be one of the best. In addition to all of the usual food, culture, and general wackiness the city has to offer, the annual Voodoo festival is a weekend-long music and arts adventure. More than 65 bands, immersive art installations, a beer hall, and, of course, amazing costumes are all part of the experience. The food on-site is made by some of the city’s top local chefs, but at some point, you’re going to have to eat outside of Voodoo. When you do, here are eight top picks for uber-delicious, not-too-expensive, super-chill places to go. These locals-approved restaurants might be busy, but they won’t be overrun with tourists.
It’s really hard to get pizza that tastes like it’s from New York outside of New York. But the aptly named Pizza Delicious makes it possible. Their thin crust is crispy but still doughy, and also completely satisfying. Funky toppings (sriracha pineapple, anyone?) and house-made pastas will further delight your palate.
Jack Dempsy’s Restaurant
Don’t let its hole-in-the-wall appearance fool you: Jack Dempsy’s serves up some fine New Orleans fare. With recipes passed down through generations, the fried seafood platters, po’ boys, and mac n’ cheese here are the real thing. This is Southern-style fill-you-up food – you won’t leave hungry.
Neighborhoods: Marigny, Bywater
Local, fresh, and healthy is the mission at Satsuma, which serves up scratch baked goods, fresh juices, and fine coffees, plus salads and sandwiches. With cafés in two locations – in the Bywater and the Marigny – it’s a great place to fuel up for the day.
Bacchanal describes itself as “a wine laboratory where food music and culture collude with Holy Vino,” and it’s a wonderful place to gather. With live jazz in the courtyard seven nights a week, patrons pick their poison from the “Old World” wine shop (yes, there are cocktails, too), then move into the dining rooms or backyard to enjoy the Mediterranean-meets-NOLA menu. This is a popular destination with locals and tourists alike; expect a wait most evenings.
The ribs, brisket, slow-cooked pork, juicy chicken and house-made sausage at The Joint are all smoked right out back. Add some proper sides and fixins, sit back, and enjoy the shack-like décor. This isn’t just some of the best BBQ in New Orleans, it’s some of the best anywhere.
Juan’s Flying Burrito
Neighborhoods: Uptown, Garden District, Central Business District, Mid-City
If you have a hankering for some really good Mexican, head to Juan’s Flying Burrito, which calls itself “the world’s first Creole Taqueria.” This crowd-pleaser serves interpretative traditional Mexican mixed with local ingredients, so if your squad is on a Margarita kick, this is the place to go. And with locations in four neighborhoods, you’re never too far from one.
Neighborhood: Garden District
For more than 90 years, Casamento’s has served up traditional New Orleanian fare alongside Italian classics. Joe Casamento, an Italian immigrant who opened the space, covered the eatery floor to ceiling in tile, and the original décor still remains. (Be sure to make a trip to the rest room here, which will through the incredible kitchen.) Eat anything you want off the menu, but if you don’t order the chargrilled oysters, you’re a fool.
Café du Monde
Neighborhood: French Quarter
There are plenty of great spots to eat in the French Quarter, but the famous Café du Monde really shouldn’t be missed. Opened in 1862, this New Orleans institution retains an old time-y feel, as servers in paper hats deliver plates of beignets and dark-roasted chicory coffee round the clock. It’s impossible to resist these squares of fried dough topped with mountains of powdered sugar. Is it touristy? A bit. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go.