10 of the Top Al Fresco Dining Restaurants in New Orleans
The temperatures may be rising in New Orleans, but that won’t keep residents and visitors indoors. With a plethora of restaurant options in the city, there is no shortage of patios available for outdoor dining.
Check out some of our favorite options for al fresco dining in The Big Easy:
Restaurant Avo (Uptown)
Since opening in May 2015, Restaurant Avo has been touted as the best Italian restaurant in the city. What is even better is that you can enjoy regional Italian cuisine in a fine dining format on its rustic and romantic terrace. With its dim, candlelit ambiance and retractable roof in case of inclement weather, Restaurant Avo is one of our top pics for dining al fresco.
Bacchanal Wine (Bywater)
When entering Bacchanal, it’s almost impossible to tell that beyond the brick exterior of the front (which is a wine shop) lies an outdoor retreat; but that’s what makes this Bywater establishment so charming. You can put together a cheese plate, purchase a glass or bottle of wine from the front store, or order from the Mediterranean menu, but no matter what be sure to snag a seat on the massive back patio. Plan your visit to coincide with one of the regular live performances on the patio for an even more memorable experience.
Bayou Wine and Beer Garden (Mid-City)
The highly anticipated Bayou Wine Garden, which is adjacent to its popular sister bar, Bayou Beer Garden, was completed in January of this year. The two establishments have adjoining patios which gives ample outdoor seating space. While Bayou Beer Garden has 21 rotating beers on tap, Bayou Wine Garden accommodates 32 different wines on tap, and each have their own food menu. Additionally, Bayou Wine Garden offers more refined food options, while Bayou Beer Garden offers more casual fare. There is truly something for everyone this Mid-City establishment.
The Blue Crab (Lakefront)
This lakefront eatery boasts beautiful views of Lake Pontchartrain, fresh seafood, and a completely open-air ground level. Watch sailboats pass while dining on the balcony of the raised dining room or on the dock next to the water. The Blue Crab offers live music and you’ll definitely want to stay to catch the sun setting over Lake Pontchartrain.
Café du Monde (French Market)
Already well known, this New Orleans landmark was established in 1862 in the French Market and is best known for its café au lait, beignets, and being a prime location for people watching under its iconic green and white striped awning. Café du Monde is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so there is never really a bad time to hang out on its patio and take in the sights and sounds of the French Market.
Casa Boregga (Central City)
In a city that lacks many options for authentic Mexican cuisine, Casa Borrega is a breath of fresh air in Oretha Castle Haley with its bright, colorful cuisine, and unique decorative style. The courtyard, which was designed by the former owner of the Green Project, is filled with recycled and re-purposed décor and occasionally hosts live music. Grab a chair and a margarita and you just might feel transported to Mexico City for a moment.
Dat Dog (Freret)
This vibrant joint has been selling a variety of gourmet hot dogs to the people of New Orleans since it opened in 2011. However, its Freret Street Location is a far cry from the 475 square foot space it originally occupied when it first opened. Today, Dat Dog offers an abundance of both indoor and outdoor seating, and the menu has grown to include burgers, chicken, and an assortment of beer and cocktails. Take a seat in Dat Dog’s outdoor beer garden to enjoy the weather and the occasional live music.
Nona Mia (Mid-City)
Situated in a converted New Orleans style cottage on Esplanade Avenue, Nona Mia churns out family-style Italian cuisine inspired by its love of Sicily. What lands the eatery on this list, however, is its porch seating and large patio that extends from the side of the café. Stop by on a Monday or Tuesday for $5 pitchers of beer and half-off bottles of wine.
St. Roch Market (Marigny)
The revival of St. Roch Market, built in 1875 as an open-air market, has been the pillar of the revitalization of St. Claude’s commercial corridor. While St. Roch Market is not a restaurant, per say, it does house an assortment of food and beverage vendors, most of which would rival some of the city’s most popular restaurants. Once you pick — if you even can — from the myriad food options, head to the front patio to enjoy your meal with a side of fresh air. Don’t worry — you can head back inside when you are ready for dessert!
Sylvain (French Quarter)
Known for its Southern cuisine and skillful cocktail creations, you can find this gastropub nestled in an 18th-century building in the French quarter. Sylvain offers a warm, intimate dining experience in its small dining room, but you can kick the romance level up a notch by forgoing the dining room and enjoying your dinner in the courtyard instead. Listen closely and you’ll be able to hear the sounds of the city coming from the bustling French Quarter.
While this is not a complete list, and there are many, many options for outdoor dining in New Orleans, these are some of our favorite picks. What are your favorite places to eat al fresco in New Orleans?
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