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Where Locals Eat in New Orleans' French Quarter

6 Local Tour Guides' Picks

Updated: December 18, 2023

As tour guides, we are always asked where the best places are to indulge in New Orleans culinary delicacies.

During our tours, we'll often tell you the old standbys such as Commander's Palace, Antoines, Dooky Chase’s, and Cafe Du Monde.

However, sometimes we will whisper to guests the local establishments that we hold near and dear to our palates.

We realize that some visitors to New Orleans do travel outside of the Quarter.

For that reason, we collectively compiled our favorite French Quarter establishments to share with you.

Our guides also wanted to share with you what their secret favorite dining establishments are, and why, around the city. 

French Quarter Local Favorites

This section covers some of the most popular restaurants among locals in New Orleans.

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116 

Open since 1968, it's obvious that this is a local joint when you walk in the door.

Being a French Quarter convenience store, you can get anything you would want in regards to conveniences.

Locals go for the hot plates and poboys. Their signature poboy is the All That Jazz, but our guides were in agreement that the Muffaletta Hot is where it's at. 

Hours: This is a 24-hour joint, but after drinking, it hits the spot late at night.

Croissant D’Or Pâtisserie

617 Ursulines Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

This is a French Quarter hidden gem. All of their pastries are made in-house and are to die for.

Cafe au Lait and whatever is special that day is what you should order. 

Hours: It is best to get there before 10 am as they do sell out of the Croissants early. Since they focus on breakfast and lunch foods, they open at 7 am and close at 2 pm.

Clover Grill

900 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Located in the “Gayborhood” this is hands down the best diner in the Quarter.

They are known for their counter service and burgers cooked under hubcaps. 

Hours: The best time to dine here is around traditional meal times. A long line can appear later at night, as prospective diners are trying to sop up that alcohol with Clover’s delicious, greasy dishes. 

Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

There is almost always a line at this Decatur Street establishment for good reason.

Locals will wait in line with tourists alike, to imbibe cheap beer, delicious rabbit gumbo, and fried fish plates. 

Hours: There is always a line, so be prepared; if there isn't, you should pop in immediately. The shortest lines seem to be about 30 minutes before they close at 11 pm. 


813 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70112

As far as fine dining goes, this is where the locals dine when in the Quarter.

We suggest getting a drink at the French 75 Bar before your reservations, which is recommended.

Check out their Mardi Gras exhibit which dates back to when they opened in 1918. 

Hours: As they take reservations, anytime is a good time to dine.

If you happen to find yourself here at Christmas or Mardi Gras, that's a special time, as they have different menu items, and often locals are celebrating in costume. 

Free Tours By Foot Guide’s Favorite Restaurants 

Andrew Ferrier has been working with Free Tours By Foot for years now. You may recognize him from our YouTube channel.

When asked about his favorite local establishment he said: 

“One of my favorites is Atchafalaya. It's one of those rare restaurants that's versatile enough to fit into lots of different plans, but still always stands out.

It's got a prime location just off Magazine Street, a few blocks from the Garden District, innocuous but convenient.

They're one of a modest number of brunch options uptown (the Bloody Marys are really something), they have maybe the best happy hour drink menu in town, and dinner is classy without making you walk around overdressed all day. 

And their renditions of Louisiana dishes have always struck me as a nice mix of traditional and creative. 

It may be hard to spell (the name is Choctaw for "long river"), but it's easy to spot - look for the giant cast iron skillet on the side and you're there.” 

Atchafalaya | $$$ | 4.7 Google Rating

901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115 (504) 891-9626

Andrew Simenoux has been with Free Tours by Foot for 8 years. We recruited him knowing he could convey his love of New Orleans genuinely.

He loves telling Ghost Stories and teaching about the darker elements of The City That Care Forgot

When we asked what his favorite joint was, he was happy to oblige. 

“One of my favorite restaurants in the New Orleans area is Pho Bang Vietnamese.

New Orleans has some of the best Vietnamese food in all my travels around the United States.

The rich Vietnamese culture dating back to immigrants fleeing the Vietnam war is felt in New Orleans.

This may surprise visitors, but locals know it's true. The Westbank and New Orleans East are where the culture truly abounds.

Some of the best French style bakeries in New Orleans are Vietnamese family owned. Pho Bang is a cut above the rest, and a hidden gem. I order the Pho Thai which is delicious.

Their Bahn Mi’s are dressed just the way I like them, French bread is dressed with pate, butter, cucumber, pickled carrot-daikon, jalapenos, and cilantro.

One thing they offer that no where else does is the Soung Sa Drink. Made from Mung mean, green and red jelly, coconut cream, and shaved ice.” 

Pho Bang | $ | 4.3 Google Rating

14367 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129, (504) 254-3929

Daniel Chick has been a New Orleans history and culture fanatic his whole life. That made him the perfect fit as an FTBF guide.

He can offer almost all of the tours our city provides.

Being born and bred in New Orleans his choice would of course be truly authentic.

“My favorite restaurant in New Orleans is Chicken's Kitchen. The service is great and Chef Chicken is the nicest dude.

The line is always long but it moves. They have different hot plates everyday.

I love the Fried Chicken, pork chops, and brisket (my favorite). The mac and cheese is to die for.

Also, the Pepper balls are my favorite thing. It's a mixture of dressing, green peppers, and shrimp rolled, breaded, and fried.

It's like a stuffed bell pepper you can eat one handed.

Their corn bread is sweet as God intended. Top that all off with a cold grape Kool-Aid over ice and you're in comfort food heaven.

The prices are reasonable and one plate is enough food for 2 meals.” 

Chicken’s Kitchen | $ | 4.7 Google Rating

629 Derbigny St, Gretna, LA 70053, (504) 244-2536

Sandy Hester After being a tour guide for 20yrs she came on board with us and has been featured heavily on our Youtube Channel.

She offers French Quarter, Ghost, Voodoo, and Treme Tours. When she is not guiding she likes to support small businesses in her neighborhood.

It would reckon then that her favorite restaurant would be in her Frenchmen hood.

“At the moment my favorite restaurant is right in my neighborhood: Margot's Pizza. A hole in the wall with an intimate environment, you can watch the pizzas being made. The dough is amazing.

You can dress up an ordinary pepperoni pizza by drizzling honey on it, which is delightful. The staff is friendly and knows their clientele.

They have well crafted cocktails and specials that change periodically. When you ask locals what their favorite Pizza is, those in the know will say Margot’s.” 

Margot’s | $$ | 4.6 Google Rating

1243 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116, (504) 224-2892

Sean Chick is the Original Chick brother.

We knew he would be a good fit as a guide because of his passion for conveying Civil War history (he is a published author) and political discourse throughout New Orleans' different eras.

Born in the Westbank he knows of some of the authentic old-school joints on the other side of New Orleans. When asked without a beat he said:

“My favorite is DiMartino's. It is a West Bank establishment that has been around for over 40 years.

The food is very old school New Orleans Italian, and Pete DiMartino not only refuses to skimp on his ingredients but still experiments to make them even better.

The roast beef and fried shrimp poboys are excellent; most places can only seem to do one or the other right, DiMartino's does both.

Being a lesser known local joint it’s great for people watching while you munch.”

DiMartinos | $ | 4.5 Google Rating

3900 General De Gaulle Dr, New Orleans, LA 70114, (504) 367-0227

Kayla LeMaire is our lead culinary guide. Needless to say, she has opinions about New Orleans Restaurants.

You can hear her discuss some of these on our YouTube channel.

If you know her you would already know her answer to “What’s Your Favorite Restaurant?” Per Kayla:

“Chef Michael Gulotta brings together the best of the Gulf Coast and South Asian cuisine at Maypop.

An homage to the Mekong and Mississippi deltas, Maypop reflects the influence Vietnamese culture has had on the food scene in New Orleans.

Curried crawfish etouffee, sweet potato beignets with lime foam, local oysters with soybean aioli and spicy cucumber, and fresh house made roti are a few of the amazing dishes I have enjoyed there.

The cocktail and wine selections are equally fabulous!”

Maypop | $$ | 4.6 Google Rating

611 O'Keefe Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113, (504) 518-6345

Sarah Vogue Hester or as the guides call her “Mama V” is the original FTBF Tour Guide.

She began touring the streets 13 years ago by herself and is proud to have honed such a great team of some of New Orleans' most knowledgeable and entertaining historians.

One thing to know about her is that she REALLY likes to eat, but cook, not so much.

So a favorite restaurant is a difficult choice for her.

“I could pick a restaurant that everyone might suspect, but when I’m hungry I almost always crave one specific place. Friends have gotten used to my text, “Wanna go to Panchitas?”

Located on Carrollton it is easy to get to on the St. Charles Streetcar, if you don’t have a car.

My favorite item on their menu is actually the salsa. I leave the restaurant every time with a quart to go.

They have daily food and drink specials. If you look in the case by the door you can grab one of their variety of Mexican Sodas.

My friend swears by their Pozole, which the owner Francesca makes on occasion.

If you dine there, ask and see if it’s available. I personally always order their Carne Asada plate.” 

Panchitas | $ | 4.4 Google Rating

1434 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118, (504) 281-4127

About The Author

Sarah Hester

Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it's food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history. Read More... Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!
Updated: December 18th, 2023
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