There’s no denying that dining out while on vacation can certainly get expensive quick. But when you’re in a new city (or revisiting an old favorite), you want to make sure you get to taste as much of the local flavor as you possibly can. And while there are certainly tons of restaurants worth splurging on in New Orleans, and several must-try dishes at every end of the cost spectrum, it’s also refreshing to know that you can indulge in delicious meals without breaking the bank.
From breakfast to dinner, and casual eateries to can’t-miss dining deals at some of the city’s most well-known (and typically pricey) dining institutions, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite low-cost meals across New Orleans.
1. Bearcat Cafe
Whether you’re looking for something healthy (good cat) or looking to indulge (bad cat), there is something on Bearcat’s menu for any mood. The Biscuit Sandwich is a steal. It comes with egg, cheese, bison sausage, or bacon for $5. Wash it down with a coffee and you can still get a full breakfast for under $10 before exploring Freret Street Uptown, or visit their Central Business District location.
2. Surrey's Cafe & Juice Bar
Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar is a New Orleans favorite for a casual bite. Their fresh juices are excellent, along with other great healthy options, but the Surrey’s Egg Plate takes the lead for a deal. For $8.50, you get the breakfast classics: two eggs any style, grits or home fries, and toast or a biscuit. They have two locations on Magazine Street.
3. 1000 Figs
If you’re looking for a cozy neighborhood atmosphere and some of the best Mediterranean food in NOLA, look no further than 1000 Figs. The falafel sandwich will make you feel as though you are watching a Mediterranean sunset, and it’s only $7.50. The warm, fluffy pita stuffed with red cabbage, tahini, pickled vegetables, and spices is a perfect combination of flavors. An extra pro tip: get a group of friends and split the Falafel Feast for $39 that comes with flatbread and all of the yummy toppings and dips they have to offer - it easily feeds four people, coming in at just under $10 a person.
4. Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar
It wouldn’t be a New Orleans food list if there wasn’t some seafood somewhere on it. Superior’s oyster happy hour is one of the best in the city, featuring $1 oysters every single day from 4-6:30 p.m. The happy hour also includes large-for-the-price-of-small frozen drinks–we’re partial to the frozen French 75. Bonus: Superior Seafood is located right along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, so you can factor that $1.25 fare into a very affordable late afternoon snacking session.
5. Bratz Y'all
Transport yourself to Germany in this biergarten and restaurant. Choose one of their many sandwiches for under $10 or indulge in a slice of German chocolate cake for just under $7. If the weather is nice, the beer garden is great for a casual day with friends in a European setting.
6. The Rum House
Take your taco night to the extreme at The Rum House. Exceptional salads, a plethora of dips, and mouthwatering tacos, Rum House is not only the perfect spot for a fun night, but it also has a huge selection of cheap eats. Two favorites are the Duck Duck Goose Taco for $5.25 and the Creole Rib Tao for $4.95.
Normally a restaurant on the pricier side, Brennan’s has a Thursday-Sunday champagne sabering where you can get happy hour deals with a show. Grab a bubbly cocktail for just $9, crispy wings for $12, and pommes frites for $8 while relaxing in their French Quarter courtyard.
8. Neyow's Creole Cafe
Authentic Creole food will be devoured at this Mid-City hotspot. Get a three-course meal for under $25. A truly New Orleans meal would include: a cup of filé gumbo ($6.75), hot sausage po-boy ($11) and beignet sticks ($7.75). For just $25.50, you can officially say you’ve tried the local New Orleans food.
9. The Joint
You can’t go to the South without finding some sort of barbecue to stuff yourself with. The Joint keeps its Bywater charm with the local art-filled walls and offers a full meal that will leave you unbuttoning your top button for $8. The pulled pork sandwich comes on either white bread or a bun and is accompanied by one side. Make sure to save some time after this one for a food coma rest.
10. The Creole Creamery
The ice cream store of everyone’s dreams, The Creole Creamery frequently has lines out the door. With classic flavors such as Cookie Monster and chocolate chip or more eccentric ones including Lavender Honey (a local fave) and the seasonal White Chocolate Truffled Popcorn, a small scoop is only $3.75 cash. But, with over 40 fresh flavors to choose from, actually choosing one is the hard part. Get a double for just $7.
11. The Camellia Grill
It can’t be a cheap eats list without adding in the beloved Camellia Grill. Whether it’s breakfast, dinner, or a late-night snack, Camellia Grill has something for any time of the day. Live your diner fantasy while watching all of the food being made and order a few different items for cheap. The legendary mac & cheese bites for $6 are served with six bites and make the perfect appetizer for a meal of a $9.99 cheeseburger. Their chocolate pecan pie is a must for $4.99.
12. The Pagoda Cafe
Pagoda Café’s menu may be short, but it’s nonetheless delicious. Enjoy $3 breakfast tacos, $2.50 Banana Nutella bread, and $5 mango chia pudding, among other savory and sweet pastries. Enjoy these low-price offerings, plus coffee, tea, and specialty drinks.
13. Chez Pierre
Located in the quieter side of Lakeview, Chez Pierre doubles as a French bakery and a Vietnamese café. Order a thrifty banh mi sandwich for just under $8, or grab hot breakfast from their all-day menu for just a few bucks.
With fillings to satisfy everyone, from vegan yellow curry to crawfish étouffée, Empanola is delectable dining on a dime. Empanadas range from $4-$5 each, or you can combine them into a meal with a green salad or soup for $11.75.
With a happy hour daily from 4-6 p.m., Seaworthy is perfect for an afternoon snack or early dinner. Get $8 drinks and beer-and-shot combos while knocking back $1.50 Louisiana oysters on the half.