Jambalaya, fresh seafood, crawfish étouffée – it’s no secret that New Orleans offers some of the most unique and delicious cuisines in the world. But, what you may not know is that this distinction holds true for breakfast, too!
A hearty breakfast to revive you from a night on the town or a classic Sunday brunch are both staples of a balanced diet in New Orleans, and the creative menus of many local breakfast spots bridge the gap between the classic bacon, eggs, and toast and the distinct Creole and Cajun flavors the city is so known for.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite places to find the most important meal of the day – whether it’s at 7 a.m. or 2 p.m.
Low-key Local Breakfast Spots
Tucked away eateries that will make you really feel like a New Orleanian
Betsy's Pancake House
Betsy’s has been a bit of a community pillar since it opened in 1986. If you’re looking for the most quintessential breakfast options - we’re talking 19 different combinations of eggs and sides else alone - with staff and clientele that makes you truly feel like one of the locals, Betsy’s is a must.
Biscuits & Buns on Banks
Tucked away in Mid-City, Biscuits & Buns has a varied and delicious menu. Although the biscuits (and buns) get all the glory, our heart belongs to the chicken and waffles. Dining space is a little limited, so if you’ve got a large party or are looking to avoid a wait, I recommend getting there on the earlier side of the morning.
Russell’s Marina Grill
Take a scenic morning drive along Lake Pontchartrain to the aptly-named neighborhood of Lakeview for down-home, diner-style breakfast or brunch at Russell’s. Their menu includes breakfast and lunch items and features both New Orleans favorites as well as their own creations - including their famous Big Al’s bloody mary, which, if he’s in-house, Big Al will make you himself.
Riccobono’s Panola Street Café
Nestled among the Uptown residences on Panola St., Riccobono’s is your quintessential breakfast spot. Their modest menu includes bottomless coffee, pancakes, waffles, omelets, and breakfast plates. A spot at Riccobono’s counter is a favorite place to sit with a friend (or the paper) and enjoy a traditional breakfast.
Slim Goodies Diner
Slim Goodies makes “food made with love” down on Magazine Street. Their New Orleans-style down-home cooking and funky atmosphere with a friendly staff are irresistible. Slim’s is a place you can’t help but enjoy, just like New Orleans.
Ruby Slipper Café
With several locations around town, The Ruby Slipper is your go-to for Southern brunch fare and cocktails. Choose from a whole bunch of Benedicts, or if you simply can’t decide, order their “Peacemaker” – your choice of any two Benedicts.
Big Names in Breakfast
Places highly recommended by both locals and visitors – for good reason
While this French Quarter classic is a bit on the fancier side for breakfast, if it really is the most important meal of the day, don’t you deserve to treat yourself a bit? Start with some breakfast gumbo, then follow it up with Eggs Hussarde (a Brennan’s original), and be sure to save room for the dessert they made famous–Bananas Foster.
Surrey’s Café and Juice Bar
With locations on either end of Magazine St., Surrey’s is known for its relaxed, eclectic atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy start to your day - especially if you indulge in a plate of their Bananas Foster French Toast. They also stake their claim as the city’s oldest organic juice bar where, depending on what’s available, you can play mixologist with their daily options.
We won’t tell if you eat the restaurant’s signature chocolate chip cookies for breakfast… but you can certainly make do with the other delectable options at Willa Jean, including an array of pastries, griddled banana bread, smoked salmon tartine, or a breakfast grain bowl. The restaurant’s sunny interiors and solid coffee menu (try the iced Milk Money latte) will make any morning brighter.
Sure, it’s called Toast, but this spot stands out for another type of carb: aebleskivers. These puffy, Scandinavian pancakes come with a variety of dipping sauces (lemon curd, caramel, Nutella, maple syrup, and more) and are a great appetizer before generous breakfast options like Croque Monsieur. There are locations both Uptown and in Gentilly. We recommend getting there early to beat the wait on the weekends.
With locations in the Bywater and the Riverbend, the breakfast (and lunch) at Satsuma is almost always within reach. Satsuma’s special twist on breakfast is the plethora of fresh-squeezed organic juices and special house juices. Paired with one of their fantastic breakfast plates or sandwiches, your day is off to a delicious and healthy start.
The Camellia Grill
When you’re craving classic diner food, head to Camellia Grill. Whether you need a late night bite or an early-morning wake-up call, Camellia Grill is good no matter the hour. The counter snakes through this landmark restaurant, ensuring counter seats for all.
Elizabeth’s has long held a sacred vision of the awesomeness of bacon. The result? Praline bacon. One normally wouldn’t need any additional reasons to understand its place as one of the most popular breakfast spots in New Orleans, but Elizabeth’s also boasts great food and a great set of brunch-only cocktails. We recommend a corpse reviver to wash down your praline bacon.
Brunch with a Bonus
Where the best compliment to your meal is the atmosphere
The Country Club
For a decadent meal to match an even more decadent atmosphere, you’ll find no better spot than The Country Club. Nestled deep in the historic Bywater neighborhood, this little spot of paradise has its own historic roots as a haven for Louisiana’s LGBTQ community. Enjoy chicken and waffles piled high with seasonal berries and brandy milk punch with a one-of-a-kind show at their Drag Brunch! Be warned: their full brunch is offered on weekends only, and seats at Drag Brunch are a hot commodity, so check their website for the best methods to reserve your spot.
Stanley is typically a top recommendation for people staying in the French Quarter. This restaurant serves up classic New Orleans comfort food with a unique and tasty twist. Take for example, the Eggs Benedict Poor Boy: poached eggs, smoked Canadian bacon, and hollandaise on toasted French bread. In a word: yum.
If you find yourself craving breakfast at a decidedly non-breakfast time of day, you’re in luck: this Bourbon Street restaurant serves breakfast all the time. Given its prime location, you’re almost sure to get a meal and a show at Clover’s, whether it is from the other customers or the side order of sass that comes free with every meal.
Moving a little slow in the morning? Atchafalaya has you covered. Brunch starts at 10 a.m. Thursday-Monday, so there’s no need to hop right out of bed at the crow of the rooster. And on Saturdays and Sundays, Atchafalaya rolls out what may very well be some of the city’s most impressive Bloody Marys, so you’ll be able to get back up to speed on the double.
Charming architecture, scenic patio seating, and breakfast tacos – you’ll covet it all for weeks to come after a trip to Pagoda Café. Toasts, pastries, and “treats” (like coconut-mango chia pudding) round out the menu. Located right off Bayou Road, you can do some shopping after your breakfast to walk off your meal.
Café and Go!
Who said “fast” and “on-the-go” couldn’t be satisfying and tasty, too?
Café du Monde
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Café du Monde is as iconically New Orleans as it gets. Start your morning with an order of beignets – soft, pillowy square donuts blanketed in powdered sugar. Grab a café au lait or chocolate milk to accompany your beignets and you’re set for a day of exploring the French Quarter, or downtown. Can’t make it to the Quarter? Café du Monde has nine locations in the New Orleans metro area –including one in the heart of beautiful City Park.
Now with three New Orleans locations, Gracious Bakery continues to turn out drool-worthy pastries, plus awesome breakfast (and lunch) sandwiches on house-made bread. Order a “cruffin” (croissant-muffin hybrid), a danish, or a house-made bagel… it’s all good. Like, really, really good.
District: Donuts. Sliders. Brew.
While undeniably delicious, donuts are often seen as conventional and, well, a bit boring. Not at District Donuts. Browse the case and you might find donuts in wild flavor combinations like margarita, lemon raspberry, whiskey ginger, something with Sriracha, and a root beer float. And if even those inventive flavors are a little too tame for your adventurous tastebuds, you can really branch out with one of the Croquenuts (a griddled donut sandwich). Not feeling a donut? There are also biscuits, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast tacos for the taking - plus a wonderful selection of coffee. With multiple locations in New Orleans, there’s plenty of opportunities to get yourself a donut from District.
Go healthy (or not-so-healthy) at this Lower Garden District café. At HiVolt, you could start your morning with the Ozzy Breakfast Bowl (poached eggs atop quinoa with greens and kefir-herb dressing) or the house-made, as-big-as-your-head blueberry muffin. Expertly-made espresso drinks and uniquely-prepared cold brews keep the buzz going into the afternoon.
The Kolache Kitchen is ideal for a meal that’s both quick and satisfying. Their menu features empanadas, breakfast tacos, and both sweet and savory options of, you guessed it, kolaches – an American spin on a classic Czech sweet bread filled most often with meat and cheese. The kolache is practically made for on-the-go dining and pairs perfectly with one of their fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and a hot cup of coffee, whether you’re staying in the CBD or exploring colorful Freret St. Uptown.