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 a number of 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 from 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.
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. You can even add hot chicken for an additional $3. Wash it down with a coffee and you can still get a full breakfast for under $10 before exploring Freret Street.
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 $6.25, you get the breakfast classics: two eggs any style, grits or home fries, and toast or a biscuit. The Costa Rican is another option for just $8 and comes with eggs, rice, pico de gallo and avocado. They have two locations on Magazine Street.
Before checking out Dr. Bob’s Folk Art and the colorful street murals of the Bywater, head to Paloma Cafe for a fueling treat. Two of the best dishes for under $10 will be sure to keep you energized for exploring Crescent Park and all of the local art galleries. The $9 shakshuka plate comes sizzling with fried eggs and tomato, or you can grab a avocado toast topped with cumin-roasted chickpeas for $7. For those with a sweet tooth, the Tres Leches French Toast with caramelized pecans cannot be missed for $9.
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 $6.50. 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 $36 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.
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 50 cent oysters every single day from 4-6:30 p.m. The happy hour also includes 2 for 1 frozen mojitos and half off bottles of house wine. You can also grab a $10 plate of crawfish mac’n’cheese off their non-happy hour menu to round out your meal. 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.
Transport yourself to Germany in this biergarten and restaurant. Choose one of their many sandwiches for under $10 or a giant pretzel and dip for $7. If the weather is nice, the beer garden is great for a casual day with friends in a European setting.
Enjoy a meal or some afternoon snacks in a French Quarter courtyard. Everything at Longway Tavern is meant for sharing, and they have plenty of options for under $10. Order a couple with a group of friends and spend your day relaxing with some fresh air. Go for happy hour and enjoy $5 daiquiris, sidecars and moscow mules as well.
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.
Warbucks is a great place to explore funky New Orleans food combinations in a laid back atmosphere. Chef Todd Pulsinelli, formerly of Restaurant August, brings high-end cooking expertise and applies it to low-brow (but delicious) dishes. Get the shrimp rings or Louisiana Meat Pies for the table for $9 and a zapps crusted fish sandwich for yourself for $13. This unique meal won’t empty your pocket and will be one of a kind.
With way more than just beer, this uptown eatery serves delicious and affordable food. Everything on the menu ranges from $2-$16. The oyster foch po-boy and fried chicken sandwich are favorites for $14. Other steals include $2 deviled egg with trout roe and $8 buffalo fried oysters with blue cheese.
This classic New Orleans landmark attracts diners from near and far, but don’t let the heavy menu and fancy facade scare you away. Check out their lunch special, which is one of the best fine-dining deals in the city. For $18, you can dine on their famous turtle soup and lunch specials like a “Creole Tostada,” which is bison brisket, boudin and more. If you have a sweet tooth, splurge on dessert and get an award-winning, three course meal for under $30. Even better, they offer 25-cent martinis during weekday lunches.
From Chef Emeril Lagasse comes Meril. A collection of Chef Lagasse’s favorite foods and named after his daughter, Meril is a shared-plate restaurant that has many dishes that can keep your bill low. Not all food has to be shared, and many plates are big enough for one. The Fried Rock Shrimp Tacos for $10 is the perfect cheap eats dish worth trying. Happy hour has $5 flatbreads as well.
Authentic creole food will be devoured at this Mid City hotspot. Get a three course meal for under $20. A truly New Orleans meal would include: a cup of file gumbo ($5.75), alligator sausage po-boy ($9) and homemade bread pudding or beignet sticks ($5). For just $19.75, you can officially say you’ve tried the local New Orleans food.
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 pants for $9.50. The beef brisket 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.
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 fav) and the seasonal White Chocolate Truffled Popcorn, a small scoop is only $3 cash. But, with over 40 fresh flavors to choose from, actually settling for one becomes hard. The ice cream sampler allows you to try either four flavors for $5 or six for $7.
And, finally, 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 for any person. Live your diner fantasy while watching all of the food being made and order a few different items for under $10. The legendary mac & cheese bites for $3.60 are served with six bites and make the perfect appetizer for a meal of a $4.49 cheeseburger. All the fried food you could ever want can be found. Their chocolate pecan pie is a must for $3.99