New Orleans Travel Guide: What to Eat & How to Burn It Off

The ultimate travel guide to New Orleans. I’ll tell you where to stay, what to eat and how to burn it off! 

New Orleans Travel Guide The best place to eat well and ways to stay active
French Quarter Streets of New Orleans

Last month I had the opportunity to visit New Orleans for the first time to write a story for my What to Eat & How to Burn it Off travel series. In case you missed it, so far we’ve already visited San Diego, Vail and Miami.

A first time visitor of Louisiana, I was so excited to finally cross NOLA off my travel bucket list!

New Orleans Lincoln Square Streets

Between the passionate people, diverse food scene, beautiful architecture and ideal climate, this city has everything going for it and more.

New Orleans Street Performer

It has a really unique vibe about it that I’ve truly never experienced anywhere else. Above all? Everyone just seems super relaxed and ready to have a great time – any hour of the day.

DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans Exterior e1485721878516

If you’ve ever considered a New Orleans getaway, I urge you to make it happen. The DoubleTree by Hilton that hosted me was ideally situated downtown New Orleans directly across the street from the French Quarter within walking distance to many hot spots and attractions.

DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans 1

In fact, many of their newly renovated guests rooms feature views of Canal Street, French Quarter or the Mississippi River. Their lobby was being renovated during my visit but is set to be complete by March 2017.

Bourbon Street New Orleans 1

When it comes to good eats (and drinks!) in New Orleans, let me tell you – I have never struggled so hard to hit up so many foodie hotspots in a four day stay. It’s truly impossible but I’ll be damned if I didn’t try my hardest.

Parkway Bakery and Tavern 1

First thing’s first: let’s talk po boys! There was no way I could visit this town without having my first authentic po boy. Based on a tip from our friendly Uber driver, I wound up at the infamous Parkway Tavern & Bakery.

Shrimp Po Boy at Parkway Tavern New Orleans

Like so many local businesses, Parkway had to completely rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the owner decided to expand and his business is now bigger and better than ever. And that mouth-watering shrimp po boy pictured above? One of the best bites of the trip.

Desire Oyster Bar Raw Oysters New Orleans

A huge seafood lover, I couldn’t wait to eat as many local gulf oysters as possible during my visit. For a truly authentic New Orleans oyster bar experience, I highly recommend Desire Oyster Bar located in the Sonesta Hotel on Bourbon Street.

Desire Oyster Bar in New Orleans 1

Not only did Desire deliver on some of the best oysters I’ve ever eaten but the authentic red beans & rice and jambalaya were out of this world delicious. I’m talking next-level stuff!

Cafe Dumonde Beignets

Of course, as anyone who has been to New Orleans can attest, you simply can’t go without a stop to Cafe Du Monde for a beignet and a cup of chicory coffee. I’m not a big fan of sweets and really don’t care for donuts but let me tell you – these aren’t your typical donuts. Chewy, doughy, slightly salty yet perfectly sweet at the same time, these are a must.

DSC 0838

Next on my list? Muffalettas! My first time ever eating one, I was so excited to finally try this sandwich made famous by the Food Network years ago. While many had suggested Central Grocery, it closes at 5PM so we ended up grabbing one at Frank’s Restaurant located directly next door. It was out of this world tasty and I can’t wait to try and recreate it at home!

Willa Jean Restaurant New Orleans

Now that we have the essentials covered, I want to share a few other recommendations for fantastic food in New Orleans. For breakfast, I suggest two great options: Willa Jean (pictured above) and Satsuma Cafe.

Willa Jean Breakfsat New Orleans

Of the two, Willa Jean is definitely a bit more on the indulgent side featuring homemade biscuits, fresh bakery items and hearty southern breakfast options.

Willa Jean Cookies New Orleans

Case in point? They brought out these chocolate chip cookies, complete with a beating mixer full of DOUGH, on the house. It was as delicious as it looks.

Satsuma Cafe New Orleans

For a healthier breakfast option, I really enjoyed the fresh juices and avocado egg sandwich at Satsuma Cafe. The coffee was on point as well.

Seafood Pasta Domenica 1

For an authentic Italian dining experience, Domenica did not disappoint. Executive Chef Alon Shaya, better known from his other restaurant Shaya, takes classic Italian dishes and pairs them with local New Orleans ingredients.

Domenica Italian Food New Orleans 1

The squid ceviche, whole roasted cauliflower, and spicy seafood stew were all well balanced, full of flavor and had me wishing for a larger stomach.

Peche Restaurant New Orleans

My final food recommendation was one that almost everyone mentioned when I asked for tips before my trip: Peche Seafood Grill. Honored with two James Beard awards, this restaurant features rustic seafood dishes and modern twists on traditional cooking methods. There are also plenty of options for the meat lovers like the luscious duck pasta and fragrant lamb kabobs photographed above.

Higher Ground TRX Class Members New Orleans

Now that we’ve had plenty to eat, it’s time to get moving! First up? Higher Power NOLA – a yoga, spin and TRX studio!

Higher Power TRX Class New Orleans

If you know me, you know I couldn’t resist an opportunity to take my first ever TRX class! Fortunately, Mark Berger, the Owner of the studio, took a spot right next to me to coach me each step of the way. It was exhilarating, challenging and I was sore for four days- just the way I like it after a good workout!

Garden District Walking Tour of Lafayette Cemetary New Orleans

Looking for a slightly less intense option for burning calories? The Garden District Walking Tour is a relaxed and leisurely walking tour that includes a visit to the infamous Lafayette Cemetery.

Garden District Walking Tour New Orleans

The guided tour was not only informative but a great way to chat with other visitors to the city to get tips on what to do throughout the rest of your stay. Oh and that house we’re stopping to look at above? That belongs to John Goodman who just so happened to pull in the driveway during out tour.

Sweat Social HIIT Class New Orleans

For another fun outdoor workout option, I highly recommend signing up for a class with The Sweat Social. What’s so special about The Sweat Social is that their fitness and wellness activities are designed specifically in mind for travelers in the area.

Sweat Social New Orleans Group Photo

Rupa, third from the left, left her corporate job in NYC to start The Sweat Social franchise in New Orleans with one simple mission: to help fit travelers stay fit while traveling. How great is that? I can’t recommend her classes enough the next time you’re in NOLA!

City Park New Orleans Bridge

For a final and more relaxed way to burn off those good eats, a visit to New Orleans City Park is a must for your itinerary.

Sculpture in City Park New Orleans

You can stroll through the sculpture garden, visit the botanical garden, have a picnic in the park or simply walk around and enjoy the warm southern air.

Mature Live Oak Trees City Park New Orleans

I couldn’t get over these gorgeous live oak trees sprawled out throughout the park. You can read more about the Live Oaks of City Park here.

Lincoln Square New Orleans

That wraps up my New Orleans edition of What to Eat & How to Burn It Off! How did I do? Did I miss any great hot spots I should know about for next time?

Liz in City Park New Orleans

As always, if there are any other destinations you’d like to see me feature, be sure to let me know! Afterall, not all those who wander are lost.

Disclosure: New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation coordinated my hotel accommodations, meals and activities during my stay. Photography by Alejandro Photography. I was not compensated to write this post. All thoughts are my own. 

Photo of Liz Della Croce

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones. I believe in the power of real, wholesome ingredients that are bursting with flavor and won’t break the bank. Whether it’s a traditional Lebanese recipe from my family or a culinary creation from across the globe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that nutritious food can be exciting, affordable, and easy to prepare.

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18 responses to “New Orleans Travel Guide: What to Eat & How to Burn It Off”

  1. Mike judnick Avatar
    Mike judnick

    This is a great first visit post….the only exception is Franks restaurant…I had visited many times before, and
    Now live here, and despite my high hopes their food and service denigrates each time….the only notable thing about them is that they are still operating with so many wonderful food options……arrive in time and do CG…they are the best

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thanks so much for reading Mike! I hope to go back again soon!

  2. Sean Avatar

    If you want to burn it off and see more of the city, taje a bicycoe tour. There are several that take you through thr Quarter, Arts, cemeteries, the oark, and arts districts. It is an absolutely wonderful way to see the city.

    1. Sean Avatar

      *spelling correction: take a bicycle tour

    2. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Love the idea of a bicycle tour!!

  3. Madi Avatar

    Wow, this looks like such an awesome trip! I really want to go now!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      You must get it on your radar!! It’s a blast!

  4. Cheryl - Pook's Pantry Avatar
    Cheryl – Pook’s Pantry

    Pesche is still to this day one of my favorite places!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It was one of my favorites!

  5. Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons Avatar
    Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons

    Looks like an awesome trip full of great food and new friends!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      So much fun!! Can’t wait to go back!

  6. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
    Liz DellaCroce

    Love these tips – thank you!

  7. Abby @ Heart of a Baker Avatar
    Abby @ Heart of a Baker

    Holy cow, between the food and the gorgeous city, I can’t wait to visit!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      It’s such a great city!

  8. Caddietravels Avatar

    It’s quite shocking the New Orleans Tourism and marketing cooperation picked the doubletree as your hotel. There’s several fine independent and local hotels that are unique to Nola that one should stay at over a doubletree. Windsor Court, hotel Moeteleone, The old #77 to name a few. It’s disappointing you didn’t get to experience one of those on your first time trip. And no personal dig at you but this is hardly an ultimate travel guide. Several of your restaurant recommendations were good; Satsuma, Peche, Willa Jean, Delmenica but the others were not even close. And to not mention any music when talking about Nola in a ultimate travel guide is absurd.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Hi Caddie – Thank you for your candid feedback. I will definitely be returning and will be sure to check out your hotel suggestions for the next visit. I’m sorry you don’t care for a few of the restaurant picks I loved like Parkway Poorboys, etc. I’d love to hear your favorite spot for a po boy for my next visit. :) Thanks again for writing it.

  9. Melissa Griffiths Avatar
    Melissa Griffiths

    We are headed there on the 16th of this month and I CAN’T wait! I made a big list of all the things to eat based on what you said and I think that walking tour is up my alley. I love a little history. Thank you for going first because I only have 2 days to explore :) Great pics, great recs, and great looking food. Thank you Liz!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      I hope you have a great time!!!! So envious of your trip!!

Liz Della Croce eating black bean dip

Hi I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones.