If you’re going out with Nina Compton, the chef and owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, we have some advice: Bring your dancing shoes. The Frenchmen Street bars are the last stop on her freewheeling guide to NOLA, but before all that, she’s got recs for solid po’boys, cocktails, and museums and parks for a little breather. This is how she shows friends around her chosen city, and now you’re getting the full introduction.
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If you’ve got just a single day in New Orleans, you have two challenges: deciding which corner of the city to get lost in and pacing yourself between each delicious stop. Tackle both with my guide.
I don’t usually eat big breakfasts, but I’ll make an exception at the Orange Couch. I love to kick-start my morning there with coffee and whatever pastry catches my eye.
From there, head over to The National WW II Museum for a grounding education in global history. There’s never enough time to see everything, so choose any exhibition and dive into the details.
For lunch, we’re zipping over to Parkway Bakery & Tavern in Mid City for po’boys (the restaurant calls them poor boys). I love a good po’boy, and nobody does it like we do in New Orleans. I’m always craving roast beef, catfish, or oyster, but no matter what, I ask for it dressed. Around here, that means with mayo, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Then it’s back downtown to walk it all off at Crescent Park for unparalleled views of the Mississippi River before stopping at Bacchanal for a bottle of wine. If you’re lucky, Raphaël Bas is onstage cranking out cheerful tunes from his electric guitar.
For dinner, it’s gotta be Paladar 511. Anyone who knows me knows I love Italian food, and everything here is fresh and flavorful. Order the pizzas, but don’t skip the squid ink pasta or the agnolotti.
After dinner, grab drinks at Cane & Table. Trust the bartenders’ recommendations, or try mine: the Jamaica Queens, scented with cardamom that reminds me of home on St. Lucia.
We’ll follow our ears into the late night, dancing at any of the Frenchmen Street bars with their doors flung open, before landing at Dat Dog, exhausted, happy—and hungry. It’s open late, and the hot dogs are perfect to soak up the night.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Old No. 77, a funky hotel in the center of things
WHAT TO BRING BACK:
Le Grand Coq Rouge beans from French Truck Coffee