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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 serves up more than just beignets

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

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
Contributor
Jenny Peters
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When the sun starts to come up and the streetcars start to rumble down the street, the best breakfast in New Orleans is waiting just around the corner. Some may say that The Big Easy’s signature breakfast involves a simple cup of cafe au lait (made with strong chicory coffee) and a beignet. But for those who need something heartier and more substantial to start things up in the morning, there are plenty of breakfast spots around the city that’ll get you going.

You’ll find plenty of neighborhood joints around the city that draw locals for daily eats and camaraderie, while the French Quarter boasts the types of famous restaurants that serve iconic flavors morning till night. From fresh juices to buttermilk biscuits and fluffy pancakes—not to mention indulgent creations like crawfish étouffée hash browns—it’s never too early for serious flavor in this city.

Of course, it you’re looking for 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. But for a straight-up tasty pick-me-up, here are the best breakfasts in New Orleans to check out right now.

RECOMMENDED: our 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 since grown to include five locations in some of the best neighborhoods in New Orleans. But the expansion has thankfully not diluted the genius menu, one that puts a New Orleans twist on breakfast and brunch faves—the bloody Mary is hands-down one of the best in the city, 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 (like 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, with three locations all over town (on Gentilly near the racetrack, and on Decatur in the French Quarter), Toast dishes up savory and sweet breakfast delights. The spot is known for its aebleskivers, round Danish puffed pancakes smothered in voluptuous sauces (lemon curd, caramel, jam, chocolate, maple syrup or Nutella, and more), an indulgent but necessary order if you ask us. Same room for savory or sweet crepes, omelets, or toast (which comes in all sorts of variations, including avocado, naturally).

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This eclectic 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). Most customers tend to order 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.

Who Dat Coffee Cafe, tucked back in the Marigny, serves breakfast starting at 7 am. Sit inside or outdoors and order 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 with 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 somewhere.

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Head Uptown to Riverbend where this legendary spot has served up breakfast and diner classics since 1946. Although there’s often a wait, it’s well worth it—as soon as you take your seat at the counter, friendly servers get right to work. Sip an orange freeze while you choose between staple dishes like omelets, pancakes, and waffles. Camellia Grill is also open late at 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 that’s finished on the grill.

  • Restaurants
  • French Quarter
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For an elegant morning, Brennan's on Royal Street is hard to beat. This legendary French Quarter eatery, an integral part of the high-end restaurant scene since 1946, serves a breakfast that rolls straight into the lunch hour. Start with a Cajun Bloody Mary, then indulge in Brennan's famous eggs Sardou, crawfish scramble, or its amazing baked apple. Feeling really decadent? Order the bananas foster dessert, which was invented here.

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As the oldest organic juice bar in New Orleans, Surrey's Cafe and Juice Bar serves some of the best fresh-squeezed juices in town. But juice is just the beginning: you’ll also find biscuits, bagels, and buns that are house-made at all three locations (Uptown on Magazine and in the Bywater). For a serious morning sugar fix opt for the bananas Foster French toast. If you’re in the mood for something savory, order the Costa Rican breakfast (served with eggs, rice, pico de gallo, avocado, and chorizo or boudin) for a protein-heavy start.

Any mention of Elizabeth's Restaurant, a local favorite, usually includes "praline bacon" in the description (as it should). Nestled in the Bywater since 1998, the eatery makes everything from scratch, including redneck eggs (fried green tomatoes, poached eggs, Hollandaise) and a fabulous 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. The latter indulges in gluten-free chai pancakes smothered in candied pecans folded in with pumpkin cream cheese. And, the great 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' will hit the spot. Open from 7 am to 2 pm, the two casual outposts serve breakfast bowls filled with eggs, bacon confit, cheddar, and whatever else you'd like to throw into the mix. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, order one of their gooey sandwiches that range from avocado toast to the “chronic” (grilled ham, egg, caramelized onion, and Brie) and the BST (bacon, spinach, and tomato). Wash it all down with fresh orange juice or a bottomless cup of coffee, and you’ll be ready for a whole new day.

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With three locations (Uptown, Garden District, and Mid-City), try delightful fresh 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, if you’re hoping to stick around—just make sure you 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’ll keep you going all day long. Keep it simple with a breakfast burrito, a 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 are worth ordering all year long. 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, while every other day offers constantly changing to-go cups (filled with the likes of bacon, 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 nonetheless indulgent. Options like the Breaux Bridge Benedict (with seared boudin patties and smoked ham), the Eggs Benedict Po Boy (with smoked Acadian bacon), or the breakfast seafood platter will fill you up to the brim, but after feasting on 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. Here, insanely fluffy biscuits are anything but ordinary. Try the fried chicken and Tabasco-honey biscuits, or get really deep into Southern flavor with the crispy boudin and collards version. There's cornbread, banana bread, and a "hangover bowl” (short ribs, grits, poached egg) too, as well as avocado toast and summer hash (made with sweet and new potatoes). Something for everyone, in other words.

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 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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