New Orleans’ bars can stay open around the clock, which means you can rearrange your schedule to whatever suits your night-owl soul. And if you are partying during Mardi Gras, you will most likely be in need of some sustenance at unusual hours. But while the drinks keep flowing, most restaurants close at 10 pm. If you expect to experience an undeniable hunger sometime past midnight, it is a good idea to commit the following late-night eateries to memory.
Angeli – Lower Quarter
A late-night place is great when the food tastes as good sober as it does at 3 am.
And the food at Angeli is
wonderful no matter what time of day or night. Decked out with hipster art and
patrons, the restaurant serves top-quality burger, pasta and pizza fare. Early
music sets by solid live acts are a good way to start your evening, but bring
cash as credit cards are not accepted.
Coop’s Place –
Coop’s gets credit for maintaining high
standards in the middle of the Quarter, where most restaurants are tourist
traps. The rocked out, nearly authentic Cajun dive is a grotty and chaotic
place, but it is worth it for the food: rabbit jambalaya, chicken with shrimp
and tasso (in a cream sauce – there is no such thing as “too heavy” in New
Orleans). It is rural, rustic and rich food served at an honest price.
Clover Grill –
You do not have to be gay to eat at Clover
Grill -- in fact, much of the clientele base is loyal, local straight folk
-- but there is a big gay customer base thanks to nearby gay bars. Given that this
place otherwise resembles a 1950s diner, it is a slightly surreal experience to
witness a prima donna–ish argument between an out-of-makeup drag queen and a
drunk club kid, likely set to blaring disco music. The food is not anything
special, but it is open 24-hours-a-day, has dependable diner fare and is good
for a hangover -- or those who can see the hangover approaching.
Alibi – Upper
Alibi is more bar than restaurant, but it
is one of the better 24-hour joints in the Quarter. The grub is decidedly
greasy, unhealthy and perfect after a long night of partying on Bourbon Street.
Alibi largely does burgers, po’boys and fried foods, although salads are on the
menu and, rumour has it, occasionally emerge from the kitchen.
The Avenue Pub – Lower Garden
When chefs get off work in New Orleans, plenty of them head to The Avenue Pub to sample one of its
100-plus beers and down some of its excellent fare: pub grub taken to a rarefied,
yet never pretentious level. Try the seemingly simple cheeseburger; the meat is good and expertly grilled, the
cheese lovingly melted and the fries crisp. There are few more atmospheric ways
to end your night then to roll into The Avenue, listen to some hard rock or hip
hop with tattooed service industry folks and polish off whatever special is
scrawled on their chalkboard.
Cooter Brown’s Tavern and Oyster Bar – Riverbend
Cooter’s is open until 1 am, does mean
cheese fries, whips out a killer chilli cheese hotdog and has one of the best
beer selections in the city. But the long, lingering romance with Mr C Brown is
attributable to his oyster bar. The boys are shucked to order, plump and cold,
and at $8 for a dozen, are an absolute steal.
Camellia Grill – Riverbend
It is rumoured that a woman once walked into Camellia and asked if the restaurant
served low-fat dessert. The line cook’s response? To dip a slice of pecan pie
in melted butter and throw it on the grill! The other great thing about this
spot, besides its great diner burger-chilli-Reuben fare, is that it is the sort
of place where the staff look like 50 Cent or The Ramones, and they all call
each other – and you – “baby”. All the time. Plus, they dress in tux shirts and
black bow-ties, as if this place could not be any wonderfully weirder.
Delachaise – Uptown
The winner of the wine-and-cheese war in New Orleans comes down to this spot versus
the Bywater’s Bacchanal. We will not declare a victor,
but Delachaise is a lot more suave and open
a fair bit later. Plus, you will love its cheese menu with its cute pictograms explaining
each cheese. The small plates are all wonderful in their own indulgent way,
especially the ridiculously over-the-top grilled cheese sandwich. If you are
looking for something more refined than a burger late at night, head here.
The article 'Late-night eats in New Orleans' was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.