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Elizabeth's Praline Bacon, Duck Hash Waffle, Fried Softshell Crab, Stuffed M
Photograph: Paul Broussard

The best breakfast in New Orleans to fuel your morning

From biscuits to eggs Benedict with boudin, start your day with the best breakfast in New Orleans

Written by
Jenny Peters
&
Gerrish Lopez
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Some may say that the best breakfast in New Orleans is a simple cup of cafe au lait, made with strong chicory coffee. Throw in a beignet and it becomes iconic. But for those who need something heartier and more substantial (maybe even even healthy?) there are plenty of breakfast spots around the city to get you going.

From neighborhood joints that draw locals for daily eats and camaraderie to a French Quarter institution serving a legendary morning meal, these restaurants have the breakfast that you need. With so many amazing things to do in New Orleans, you’ll need a good base before heading out. Think fresh juices, fresh baked bread, buttermilk biscuits and fluffy pancakes. Or go ahead, indulge in an over-the-top creation like crawfish étouffée hash browns (you can dance it off later at a jazz club).

If you’re more into a long, leisurely start to the day (and what better way to fuel up for a night out, or recover from the previous night?), check out our list of the best brunches in the city. They feature bottomless bloody Marys and mimosas, live music and more. But for a straight up tasty breakfast, here are the best breakfasts in New Orleans.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in New Orleans

Best breakfast in New Orleans

Starting out in Mid-City in 2008, The Ruby Slipper Café has grown to five locations in the city. But the expansion has not diluted the genius menu that puts a New Orleans twist on breakfast and brunch faves. The bloody Mary is one of the best in the city (yes, there's bacon), and the innovative menu features a lengthy list of Benedicts (cochon de lait, crawfish-and-grits, fried green tomato), sweet offerings (Bananas Foster pain perdu, stuffed French toast) and even lighter offerings (a "skinny" version of their signature migas). Throw in an amazing morning cocktail list and you've got yourself a memorable breakfast.

Toast originated on Laurel Street, in the Uptown neighborhood, in 2014. Today, three locations all over town (on Gentilly near the racetrack, and on Decatur in the French Quarter) dish up savory and sweet breakfast delights. The spot is known for its aebleskivers, round Danish puffed pancakes that are smothered in voluptuous sauces, so make sure to have some. Pick your favorite sauce – lemon curd, caramel, jam, chocolate, maple syrup or Nutella, among others – and indulge. Also try the savory or sweet crepes, omelettes or the toast, which comes in all sorts of variations, including avocado (obviously).

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This breakfast and lunch spot is a local favorite on Magazine Street. Slim Goodies serves classic comfort food with bold twists, all made with fresh ingredients (and lots of love). Everyone loves the slammers: hash browns slathered in something delicious – think crawfish étouffée or chili with bacon and cheddar cheese – but the sweet potato pancakes are not to be missed. Feel free to linger and soak in the eclectic vibe.

Tucked back in the Marigny is Who Dat Coffee Cafe, serving breakfast from 7am. Sit inside or outdoors and enjoy the Not Yo Mama's Corn Cakes, piled high with a mess of creamy egg sauce, bacon bits, cheddar cheese and more; or go all in for Da Crabby Bené, crab cakes covered in poached eggs and a Creole hollandaise sauce. Whatever you order, know there's going to be a Cajun spice in the mix.

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Head Uptown to Riverbend to this legendary spot serving up breakfast and diner faves since 1946. The wait is worth it. When you take your seat at the counter, you’ll be greeted by friendly servers ready to get your order to you quickly. Sip an orange freeze while you decide among omelettes, pancakes and waffles. Camellia Grill is also open late night, serving all the breakfast options alongside burgers, sandwiches, dinner plates and more. Whatever time of day you go, round out your meal with a slice of pecan pie finished on the grill.

  • Restaurants
  • French Quarter
  • price 3 of 4

For an elegant start to the day, Brennan's on Royal Street can't be beat. This legendary French Quarter eatery has been an integral part of the high-end restaurant scene since 1946, with a breakfast that rolls straight into the lunch hour. Start with a Cajun Bloody Mary, then indulge in the famous eggs sardou, the crawfish scramble or the amazing baked apple. Feeling really decadent? Order the bananas foster dessert, which was invented here.

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The oldest organic juice bar in New Orleans, Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar obviously serves some of the best fresh-squeezed juices in town (Orange! Carrot! Apple! Grapefruit!). But that’s just the beginning: biscuits, bagels and buns are house-made at all three locations (Uptown on Magazine and in Bywater). For a serious morning sugar fix, opt for the bananas Foster French toast, or go for the Costa Rican breakfast with eggs, rice, pico de gallo, avocado, chorizo or boudin for a protein-heavy start.

Any mention of local favorite Elizabeth's Restaurant will usually include "praline bacon" in the description. Nestled in the Bywater since 1998, the eatery makes everything from scratch, including redneck eggs (fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, Hollandaise) and the French toast burrito. Pro tip: add hash browns as a side dish to anything you choose. 

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At Bearcat Café Uptown, your mood determines just how healthy your meal will be. Are you a “good cat” or a “bad cat” today? The former enjoys vegan tofu scrambles or house-made yogurt while the latter indulges in gluten-free chai pancakes smothered in candied pecans and folded in with pumpkin cream cheese. Good news for CBD-ers, there's a second location there too.

If you're in Mid-City or Uptown and craving a belly-warming breakfast, Wakin' Bakin' is the place. Open from 7am-2pm, the two casual outposts serve breakfast bowls filled with eggs, bacon confit, cheddar and whatever else you'd like to throw in. Or go for a gooey sandwich: an avocado toast, the “chronic” (grilled ham, egg, caramelized onion and Brie) or the BST (bacon, spinach, tomato). Wash it all down with fresh orange juice or a bottomless cup of coffee.

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With three locations (Uptown, Garden District and Mid-City), there are several opportunities to try delightful breakfast treats like breakfast sandwiches, house-cured salmon bagels, house-made granola, morning buns and other baked goods. The Uptown location on Prytania has more seating. Pick up a baguette for later on your way out.

From the crew behind Turkey and the Wolf, this offbeat spot on Magazine Street features an eclectic breakfast menu with items that will keep you going all day. Keep it simple with a breakfast burrito, biscuit and egg sandwich or carrot yogurt, or go all in with a spicy fried chicken biscuit, grilled pepperoni and mortadella sandwich or a grand slam "McMuffin" featuring sage pork patties, hashbrowns, griddled onions and cheese. Throw in a side of grits, collards or bacon and you’re all set.

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Bywater Bakery on Dauphine Street is famous for the king cakes it dishes out during Carnival season, but it also bakes muffins, croissants and other pastries on a daily basis that will delight all. Pair them with a full list of specialty coffees and teas and you’ve got yourself a breakfast of champions. On Wednesdays, grab a fresh-made bagel served with cream cheese and lox and every other day browse through the constantly changing to-go cups, filled with the likes of bagon, eggs, grits and cheese or even tofu scrambles.

This sunny cafe on Jackson Square serves creative Louisiana specialties and breakfast all day. You can’t go wrong with the Stanley Classic — eggs, praline bacon, heirloom grits and toast — but the rest of the breakfast menu is an indulgent treat. Options like the Breaux Bridge Benedict with seared boudin patties and smoked ham, eggs Benedict po boy with smoked Acadian bacon, or the breakfast seafood platter will fill you up, but after breakfast you’ve got the whole French Quarter right there to walk it off.

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If biscuits make your heart go pitter patter, then make your way to Willa Jean restaurant and bakery, where you'll find insanely fluffy ones. Head for the CBD near the Superdome to try the fried chicken and Tabasco-honey biscuits or get really deep into Southern tastes with the crispy boudin and collards version. There's cornbread, banana bread and a "hangover bowl” (short ribs, grits, poached egg), as well as avocado toast and summer hash (made with sweet and new potatoes). Something for everyone, in other words.

Note: Currently operating at limited hours 

Whether it's late night in the Quarter or it's noon and you're still in the mood for breakfast, Clover Grill always delivers. Perched on the corner of Bourbon and Dumaine and usually open 24 hours a day for the last 81 years, this little diner is a quintessential NOLA spot. "We love to fry and it shows" is the motto, so don't be surprised if there's a little grease on your spoon. Chicken fried steak and eggs are a staple here, along with waffles, biscuits and gravy, and fat burgers.

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