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How to Eat Your Way Through New Orleans

The Big Easy is famous for the French Quarter and live jazz, Mardi Gras and beads, Voodoo and ghost tours, Sazeracs and milk punch and its charming gas lantern-lined cobblestone streets, but above all else it's known for its cuisine. 

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How to Eat Your Way Through New Orleans

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It's entirely possible to plan every day from start to finish around food in this city. From classic Creole-inspired restaurants to international gems and everything in between, here's where to make all the reservations on your next trip.

The Caribbean Room

A photo posted by Josh Brasted (@jbrasted) on

Imagine going to dinner in a Nola time capsule and this is where you'll end up. The Caribbean Room is the newest brainchild of Chef John Besh with partner Chef Chris Lusk and it's hands down a must-visit thanks to its quirky decor (think rattan furniture, drapes à la your grandma's house and an art wall complete with a sparkly-toothed Lil Wayne portrait). Order the Crab Remick, short rib ravioli, seafood gumbo and Pompano en Papillote, but absolutely do not leave without sampling Wayne's favorite dessert, "Mile High Ice Cream Pie," which is literally the tallest slice of pie with chocolate sauce served tableside. Wayne's mother was a housekeeper at the Pontchartrain Hotel where TCR is located and she used to sneak it to him on her breaks. Now I understand the addiction.

Pro tip: Enjoy libations before dinner or a casual lunch at Bayou Bar also located in the Pontchartrain Hotel. They have some of the best craft cocktails around (both Sinatra and Capote loved the place) and a killer burger stuffed with bone marrow. 

The Pontchartrain Hotel; 2031 St Charles Ave

Cafe Du Monde


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Of course no trip to Nola is complete without late-night (or early am) beignets and frozen cafe au lait. The original French market coffee stand dates back to 1862 and I'm serious when I say these are the beignets to beat all beignets. Light, fluffy, slightly fried, warm, covered in powdered sugar — they're the best sweet treat in the city, which is why virtually every celeb on the planet has swung by for a plate of them.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for a boozy caffeine fix, Molly’s at the Market serves frozen Irish coffee a few blocks away.

800 Decatur Street;

1107 Decatur St;

La Thai Uptown

#thai food in #neworleans

A photo posted by La Thai Uptown (@nolathai) on

Even in the heart of fried chicken, grits and gravy land, sometimes a girl just wants some Thai and that's when you head to La Thai Uptown. Every dish at this Thai-Creole locally loved spot is packed with delicious flavor that will make choosing only a couple items from the menu pretty hard. Start with the skewer-less chicken sate and Tom Kar Gai soup, then move on to the Chilean sea bass with jumbo lump crabmeat and veggies in a spicy coconut green curry sauce or the duck delight of duck confit cubes, asparagus and mushrooms in Mama’s sauce. Basically you won't be disappointed with anything you order and the space is super cute.

Pro tip: Swing into St. James Cheese Company earlier in the day if you're shopping uptown before dinner. It's right next to La Thai and has a major selection of fromage. You know, just in case you haven't consumed enough dairy at that point.

4938 Prytania St;

5004 Prytania St;


Ready for Saturday

A photo posted by Seaworthy (@seaworthynola) on

When you're in the mood for oysters and champagne, head straight to Seaworthy in the Ace Hotel. Arguably one of the the best raw bars in town and seriously the most adorable (get ready for some major Insta pics here), it's the perfect date choice, or ideal for happy hour with your girlfriends. As for ordering, you can't go wrong with a dozen local oysters, a caviar plate or the blue crab claws with a chili-corn relish. 

Pro tip: You can book an intimate private party for up to 20 guests on the roof of this 19th century cottage or just stroll on up the stairs for a drink on a warm Nola night.

630 Carondelet St;

Bar Frances

After a few days of heavy eating involving copious amounts of shellfish and cream sauces, Bar Francis is a smart choice for lighter, yet extremely well-executed fare. Staples like pork rillettes and chicken liver mousse make appearances on the menu, but the soups, salads and small plates are spot on, as is the wine list.

Pro tip: Head over to Commander's Palace for 25-cent martinis Monday-Friday. It's close by and a New Orleans landmark. 

4525 Freret St;

1403 Washington Ave;

Willa Jean

eggs in purgatory + frosé #menuchanges #frosé | We're servin' up brunch all day Monday, y'all!

A photo posted by Willa Jean (@willajeanneworleans) on

Best brunch in the Big Easy? Willa Jean for sure. Whether it's the first place you hit or the last on your way home, it's 100% where you want to be for eggs, pastries and damn good biscuits. The bakery restaurant hybrid also has Frosé and Creamsicle slushie machines in house. Now that's how you brunch. Crowd pleasers include: artichoke dip with cheese business and crostini, avocado toast with tomatoes and poached eggs and Huevos Rancheros.

Pro tip: Make a reservation. This place is always packed and there's a good chance you'll be waiting for a while before being seated if you're going the walk-in route.  

611 O'Keefe Ave;


Decisions, decisions. 📸: @msalvie

A photo posted by Shaya (@shayarestaurant) on

Chef and Nola Legend Josh Besh's protégé Alon Shaya opened his Modern Israeli restaurant a few short years ago, but it remains my ultimate "best meal ever" pick for New Orleans. Insanely good pita, mouthwateringly perfect hummus (get the curried fried cauliflower one with caramelized onions) and wood-roasted cabbage with muhammara, tahini and hazelnuts that I can't stop dreaming about are only a few of the highlights here. Ask to sit in the romantic outside terrace for the ultimate ambiance and plan to stay awhile since you'll never want to leave. 

Pro tip: Book a room at the nearby Henry Howard hotel for your stay. A restored 1860s mansion located in the garden district, this boutique jewel only has a few rooms, but each is unique in its own right with a blend of modern-meets-vintage furnishings. 

4213 Magazine St;

2041 Prytania St;

Killer PoBoys

Po'boy (Feat. Daft Punk) - The Weeknd

A photo posted by Akshay Kolluri (@akshaykolluri) on

You might have to walk through a dive bar to get to the ordering counter, but you won't regret ordering any of the nine signature po’ boys with yummy sides. So good.

Pro tip: Pop into the Monteleone Hotel Carousel Bar for drinks when in the French Quarter. They have live jazz at night and the bar is actually a real carousel that spins. Just try beating that.

219 Dauphine St;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Somehow any meal just tastes better on the beach. 

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8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Six Senses Laamu Hotel in the Maldives

When you want true romance under the stars, book an evening for two at Six Senses Laamu's private sandbank, which is just a five minute speedboat ride away from the hotel. Candles and glowing triangle lamps set the mood while a personal chef will be waiting on hand to prepare a delicious barbecue dinner as the sun drops into the sea. Oh and your soundtrack for the night will be the waves of the Indian Ocean. #NBD


8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Oil Nut Bay in the British Virgin Islands

Accessible only by boat or helicopter, Oil Nut Bay is tucked away on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda and it's stunning. The luxury resort community sits on the pristine beaches of the British Virgin Islands with views of the Caribbean Sea, which means you can take sunset selfies with your bae before feasting on the world-class cuisine of the Beach Club Restaurant on property. We can get into that.

British Virgin Islands;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico

The W Retreat & Spa in Vieques Island really kicks things up a notch with their lanterns, tiki torches and pillows motif. Not only is this the perfect setting to spend a private meal with your loved one, but the views of Puerto Rico and Culebra Island are breathtaking.

KM3.2 State Road 200, Vieques Island, PR 00765;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

The Reach A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Key West, Florida

Imagine rolling up to dinner with this setup facing you. Flowing white drapes wrapped around bamboo sticks in the sand just sets the tone, don't you think? The Waldorf Astoria always gets it right and that goes for this beachy meal by their fine-dining restaurant, Spencer’s by the Sea. This $350 4-course dinner for two is one of the island’s most coveted experiences since it involves a champagne toast, a locally-infused menu featuring lobster with vanilla butter, black grouper with an avocado-papaya salsa and homemade apple confit. #YOLO, you earned it.

1435 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Park Hyatt Avira Resort Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, California

Surfing with the Chef Program: At the Park Hyatt Avira Resort, Golf Club & Spa, Executive Chef Pierre will be sharing his two passions – cooking and surfing – with resort guests through this new program that allows guests to not only surf with Chef, but cook with him too. The day will begin with a morning in the kitchen with Chef preparing breakfast, followed by surf lessons at one of the local Carlsbad beaches, and concluding with a “toes in the sand” meal on the beach, prepared by Chef Pierre himself. After lunch, guests will be presented with their own personalized longboard surfboard that will be shipped back home for them following their visit.

7100 Aviara Resort Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92011;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Four Seasons Resort in Seychelles

A special dinner Seychelles-style includes a choice of specially-created menus, a private chef and server to cater to your every whim, the ultimate location (Petite Anse beach) and soft sand beneath your toes as you indulge on fresh local delicacies. Just try to top that.

Petite Anse, Mahe Island, Seychelles;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino in Noord, Aruba

Upon request, guests staying at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino can book an exclusive La Playa Torchlight Dinner, AKA a four-course, prix-fixe twilight dinner set directly on the island’s beautiful Palm Beach. Go crazy on lobster, filet mignon, lamb chops and double chocolate cake drizzled with caramel while staring into your boo's eyes — and the sweeping views of the resort’s 15 acres of white sand and turquoise waters.

J.E. Irausquin Blvd 81, Noord, Aruba;

8 Toes-in-the-Sand Dining Experiences That Are Next Level Romantic

Nikki Beach Resort & Spa in Ibiza, Spain

Located on the east coast of the island in the Santa Eulalia area, Nikki Beach Ibiza sits on a magnificent beachfront property overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The club and restaurant features all-white sun beds, chic drapery and the brand’s signature teepees nestled in the sand, making it the perfect spot for brunch, afternoon cocktails and snacks, or dinner. Dine on delectable dishes like tiger shrimp tacos, Bali summer rolls and Saint Tropez chilled tomato soup while sipping champagne and dancing to the beats of resident and guest DJs.

Urbanización S Argamassa, Avenida S’Argamassa, 153, 07840 Santa Eulalia del Río, Illes Balears, Spain;

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Kelli is a travel, fashion, beauty and lifestyle writer who spends most of her time in NYC, when she's not globetrotting around the world.