Some things in life need to be shared.
Earlier this year prior to meeting my mom for our annual trip, I did a little research on happy hours and dining specials in New Orleans. Over the span of three and half days, we hit the following restaurants: Dominica, Sucre, St. James Cheese Shop, Creole Creamery, La Boulangerie, Delmonico, Port of Call, Stanley’s, Laurel Street Bakery, Angelo Brocato’s and Mandina’s.
I promise we did more than just eat.
Figuring that many others might be interested in drinking on the cheap in the Crescent City, I am sharing the list I complied. I’m sure my list is not comprehensive. Since we stayed in the Garden District, I focused on places nearby or in the French Quarter that also offered good food. Enjoy.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any additions or edits.
Cure | Uptown
Deal: $5.50 classic cocktails, 40% off bottles of wine on Thursdays
Happy hour: daily, 5 – 7 p.m.
The Bulldog | Mid-City and Uptown (two locations)
Deal: 50¢ off pints, $1 off pitchers, half-price house wines and 2 for 1 mixed drinks
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 2 -7 p.m.
The Columns | Upper Garden District
Deal: $4 house white, red wine and champagne by the glass, $3 well drinks, $5 martinis, $1 off all beer
Happy hour: daily, 5 – 7 p.m.
Commander’s Palace | Garden District
Deal: three course lunch special, $0.25 martinis (limit three)
Lunch hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Coquette | Garden District
Deal: $20 three course lunch, happy hour with small plates and drink specials
Lunch hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Happy hour: Tuesday – Saturday, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Le Petite Grocery | Garden District
Deal: $5 feature cocktail, $6 vodka martinis, $5 wine, appetizers
Happy hour: Tuesday – Friday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Rum House | Garden District
Deal: $2 beer, $4 margaritas and sangria, $5 mojitos and specialty drinks, $2 tacos on Tuesdays
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 3 – 6:30 p.m.
Salu | Garden District
Deal: half-price mussels and flatbreads, $2.50 classic margaritas, mojitos, sangrias, $3.50 – $5 specialty drinks, $2 beer
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 4 – 7 p.m.
Emeril’s Delmonico | Lower Garden District
Deal: small plates, half-price wine and drink specials available at the bar
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 5 – 7 p.m.
Domenica | Central Business District
Deal: 1/2 price pizzas, $7 small plate menu, half-price wine, beer and well drinks
Happy hour: every day, 3 – 6 p.m. in the restaurant (not just the bar)
Luke | Central Business District
Deal: $0.50 oysters, half-price wine, beer and specialty drinks
Happy hour: Monday – Friday, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Antoine’s Bar | French Quarter
Deal: $20.12 three course lunch specials, $0.25 martinis
Lunch hours: Monday – Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Hermes Bar (Antoine’s) | French Quarter
Deal: food and drink specials
Happy hour: Monday – Sunday, 4 – 7 p.m.
Mr. B’s | French Quarter
Deal: drink specials such as $1.50 Bloody Marys, lunch specials
Lunch hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Cafe Adelaide | French Quarter
Deal: lunch specials and $0.25 martinis (limit three)
Lunch hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville | French Quarter
Deal: food and drink specials available at the bar
Happy hour: daily, 5 – 10 p.m.
(If you want to expand the location of your search, try checking out this article Top Happy Hours in New Orleans.)
During our tour of the Florida Keys, we ate at too many memorable places to write individual stories about each one. Such good food, so little time.
As usual, before hitting the road I had a solid list of restaurant recommendations from Chowhound, online research and a friend who used to live in Key West. There’s something about camping that makes food taste amazing, even more so when it’s raining on your parade. Probably because delicious food is that single bright, dry spot during the day.
Not every place we stopped at was awesome. Sometimes even the best of intentions go astray due to circumstances beyond your control. I’ve listed the highlights and places I would return below.
Versailles Cuban Restaurant | Miami, FL
Versailles is located downtown near the baseball stadium in Little Havanna, the “heart” of Miami’s Cuban community. They have a popular walk up window where you can order a small cafe con leche, which is cheap, sugary and delicious. I wish I had one of these down the street, then I would have a cafe con leche in the morning every single day.
Gator Grill | Homestead, FL
Immediately following our walk on Anhinga Trail in the Everglades, my husband wanted to eat alligator. I was thrilled to be able to spot a couple babies and large ones from afar, not be served one on a plate. However he and hunger won, so we ate lunch just outside the park at Gator Grill. I tried my husband’s alligator tacos which tasted like chewy chicken, but he loved them.
Robert is Here fruit stand | Homestead, FL
Robert’s fruit stand kept popping up on websites as a place to stop by for a Key Lime Pie Shake and to sample unusual produce. The shake was very, very tart.
Big Pine Restaurant | Big Pine Key, FL
This restaurant was not on my prepared list, but rather a hidden gem we stumbled upon. Thank goodness you can’t plan everything out. We ate here for dinner and came back for breakfast. I’m not sure if it was the hunger talking, but our meals were especially delicious and please try the fried fish sandwich.
No Name Pub | Big Pine Key, FL
My husband was excited for No Name because they boast of having the best pizza ever. Well, after Shakespeares and Pizzeria de Michele in Naples we have high standards. It was decent and the restaurant is covered in dolla, dolla bills.
Kelly’s Caribbean Bar | Key West, FL
To start our Key West bar hopping happy hour, we started at Kelly’s for cheap wings ($4 for one lb.), margaritas ($3) and beer ($2). The wings are huge and tasty with one of their local brews. For the discount belly up to the bar, made out of an old Pan American airplane.
Half Shell Raw Bar | Key West, FL
Continuing our happy hour dinner, we headed to Half Shell by the water for smoked fish dip and steamed shrimp. They have more of an extensive seafood menu if you want to really sit down and eat.
El Siboney | Key West, FL
My half Cuban friend adamantly recommended El Siboney, which we also ate at twice. They have addicting grilled, buttery bread as a starter. Everything we had was tasty including the cuban sandwich, black bean soup, plantains, roasted pork, and chicken and yellow rice daily special. After spending some time at Smathers Beach we rode bikes here for lunch, just beware of the laid back service.
Santiago’s Bodgea | Key West, FL
Probably our nicest meal of the trip, we went to Santiago’s upon the suggestion of our bed and breakfast host (her favorite restaurant on the key). The restaurant is smaller and has dark, intimate lighting. We enjoyed bruschetta, beef tenderloin, bread service and one more plate I can’t remember…sorry. If you go, please get a glass of the sangria, for me.
Angelina Guest House | Key West, FL
On a side note, while in Key West we stayed at the Angelina Guest House. It was a lovely place to stay in a convenient location. Our room was spacious, inexpensive for the island and the innkeepers were very helpful. It didn’t hurt to be woken up by the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls every day.
Restaurants on the list that we didn’t make it to:
Parasol’s holds a special place in my foodie heart.
Located on a corner in the Irish Channel neighborhood, it’s where I ate my very first po’boy in New Orleans. Hailing from the Midwest, my po’boy knowledge is limited but I’ve tried to make up for lost time at Mother’s, Johnny’s and Stanley. I wouldn’t turn my nose up at any of them but Parasol’s might be the best.
Part dive bar, part hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Parasol’s restaurant is small and one could say cramped. If a passion for food will teach you anything, it’s that looks can be deceiving. At least that’s what I told my mom when she suspiciously eyed the building. Charging forth we went in for po’boys and a quintessential New Orleans experience on our annual trip.
Passing the ground level bar littered with remnants of St. Patrick’s day decorations, we made a beeline for the stairs to the second floor dining area. You walk up to the window to place your order, grab a table, and can order drinks from the bar below through a tiny cutout window in the adjoining wall.
When it comes to po’boys, my husband and I share an unspoken agreement. One of us orders a fried shrimp, the other a roast beef, both fully dressed and then we split them along with an order of french fries. Hoisting this policy on my mom, we followed suit.
Even while dining at an odd hour in the afternoon, there was a slight wait but it was oh so worth it. The beef was tender and gravy soaked, the shrimp were plump and golden brown. The French bread had a sturdy crust and cushiony interior, and manages to stand up to the mess created by a fully dressed po’boy (a layer of mayonnaise, topped with tomato slices, lettuce and pickles).
We polished off our two regular sized po’boys, french fries, tea and the crazy mix of escaped drippings in the bottom of our baskets. It’s unsightly, sloppy, grubby. This is what people come to New Orleans to eat.
According to the Cynical Cook, Parasol’s switched hands over a year ago and the previous owners now operate Tracey’s a stones throw away. Both restaurants are a short distance off Magazine street in the Garden District. Either way you probably can’t go wrong, but the hearts wants what is wants – which for me is Parasol’s.
If you liked this post, read more of my Restaurant Stories.
Parasol’s Bar and Restaurant
2533 Constance Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Meandering down the long stretch of Lakeland Drive, local gems inconspicuously blend into the chain restaurant landscape like deer in the woods. You know they are there but it takes focused determination to hunt them down.
Eslava’s Grille occupies the shell of a former fast food restaurant, mixed in with the likes of Primo’s, Saigon, Fusion, Grant’s Kitchen and Table 100 from Jackson to Flowood. The former chef from AJ’s on Lakeland (the lakeside location closed) took off on his own and has operated Eslava’s for just over a year.
Similarly as hearing about a book I’d like to read and then promptly forgetting the title, I had wanted to eat at Eslava’s but it escaped my mind time and time again.
Recently my husband ate lunch there and I snagged a highly discounted certificate on the Restaurant.com website, which was a perfect reason to go back for dinner. The weekend rolled around and we took off for a date night.
Upon entering we saw a fairly full dining room, open doors and no host or hostess. We looked around aimlessly – wondering if we should sit or wait – and were rescued by other patrons who said we seat ourselves. A waitress rushed by shortly after and apologized for the confusion. She came back and promptly took our order of crab cakes, salad, Red Fish for me and Cajun Pasta for him.
Inhaling a basket of warm, buttery crostini with the kitchen in full view, we set in for our leisurely meal.
All four of the listed appetizers sounded great, but the other three might have been better options than the average crab cakes. Their version was thick, lightly breaded, accompanied by a light mango salsa and plated on a creamy sauce. The fresh green side salad was unembellished and came with a lovely house-made vinaigrette.
When my entree was set before me, I couldn’t help but observe how brown and one dimension the plate was. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the large portion of fish prepared with restraint and a dash of lemon, absent of a heavy sauce or pools of butter. It was served with roasted potatoes and an overcooked yellow squash/zucchini medley on the side, which is how Southerners seem to like them. On the other hand my husband’s pasta was plum full of seafood and had a muted spicy kick. After one good dash of salt, I kept sticking my fork in his bowl in return for my vegetables.
We had pleasant, if not slightly drawn out service, because there seemed to be only two people working the dining room besides the cooks. This might have been amended since we dined there, but they need a standing sign near the door instructing people to seat themselves. We observed many parties come in with confused faces. It’s a very small detail but one that could be of great help.
For generous portions and fresh seafood, the prices are fair. If you’re curious to try it for yourself, consider buying a certificate from Restaurant.com because our meal of one appetizer and two entrees was still over $40 after saving $25. I’d like to return for the avocado salsa, pasta or fried green tomatoes and crab meat sauce. And unbeknownst to us, apparently it is a BYOW establishment that other tables were happily taking part of.
Due to the simplicity, you might have the same thought as I did, that I could have made this at home. However, when you don’t feel like cooking, search out Eslava’s bright sign for a solid seafood meal.
2481 Lakeland Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
How most girls feel about designer shoe boutiques is how I feel about bakeries.
I gawk at the artistry, I’m enchanted by the selection and it’s hard to settle on a single item. There should be a fifth member of the Sex and the City crew who’s a foodie searching out places like the Big Gay Ice Cream and Prune for the best eats in NYC. In stilettos no less.
On this dreadful Monday I would give a pair of Jimmy Choos for a Chocolate Almond Croissant and cappuccino. I’ve been fantasizing about La Boulangerie.
La Boulangerie is a french bakery located Uptown in the heart of Magazine street among trendy, quirky shops. A welcome respite from Creole and Cajun food (although not necessarily lighter) they offer sandwiches, breads, soup, quiche, coffee and of course, pastries.
During our annual New Orleans trip, despite having eaten a continental breakfast at Avenue Inn, my mom and I fueled up for a day of shopping with a snack at La Boulangerie. Stumbling upon it’s pretty gold and blue awning, we popped in and took our place in line. Pouncing on an open table, I sat while my mom ordered so I have no opinion about the service.
We split a Chocolate Almond Croissant and I soaked up each bite accompanied by sips of a single shot cappuccino. The croissant was filled with sweet almond paste and chocolate, which I would have preferred more of, but then again who doesn’t like more chocolate. The substantial pastry was tender, flaky and strewn with almond slices.
Much like Sucre and other area bakeries, they offer special King Cakes during Mardi Gras season, both a traditional and French version. I was tempted to buy one, but the thought of lugging around a cake box and then five extra pounds post-consumption was a strong deterrent. Needless to say, everything looks and smells heavenly.
I believe La Boulangerie now accepts credit cards and cash, but I didn’t pay for this round. Get there early because like a secret sample sale, the good stuff runs out fast.
Don’t just take my word for it, New Orleans food bloggers Foodographer and The Hungry Nomad have also written about their experiences, in addition to the Cynical Cook. If you liked this post, read more of my Restaurant Stories.
4600 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115