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The best brunch in New Orleans for weekend indulgence

Expect decadent dishes, bottomless drinks, jazz and more at the best brunch in New Orleans

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
Contributor
Adriana Lopez
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After a big night out sipping cocktails at all the fabulous bars in New Orleans, you need some major sustenance to get back out there and do it all again the next day. And what better way to do that than a leisurely brunch? And by 'brunch' we mean another party. The best brunch in New Orleans is more than just a decadent, late morning meal. Here it means world-class food, bottomless cocktails, great music and a whole lot of fun.

The Creole cuisine that New Orleans is known for is evident in many a brunch around town, and chefs who serve up excellent versions of iconic dishes do not hold back their talent on brunch. Classics like shrimp and grits, grillades, and pain perdu are on most menus, while other restaurants offer up New Orleans twists on biscuits, waffles, eggs and the ubiquitous toast. You’ll find brunch faves like chicken and waffles or fried green tomatoes around town as well as Mediterranean or French offerings.

Whatever type of brunch fare you like, indulgence is a must. Brandy milk punch is how you start brunch here, and Bananas Foster is a decadent way to finish. If you’re attending a jazz brunch, all the better — just get up and dance along with the music and the calories won’t count.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in New Orleans

Best brunch in New Orleans

A legendary New Orleans institution in the heart of the Garden District serving elevated Creole cuisine with exceptional service, it goes without saying that Commander’s Palace’s weekend jazz brunch is as New Orleans as it gets. While many menu items transition with the seasons, some timeless ones remain permanent fixtures year-around, like the shrimp and tasso henican, cochon de lait eggs Benedict and the Creole bread pudding soufflé. Brunch is complete with a jazz band circumnavigating through each of the dining rooms. Those in the know request a table in the Garden Room: a great place to be eye level with the tips of the Garden District’s oak trees and the who’s who of the city. Don’t forget to snap a photo underneath the iconic sign on the way out.

Housed inside the Ponchartrain Hotel, Jack Rose took over the Caribbean Room, a vestige of yesteryear, and transformed the space with eclectic décor, vibrant art and a modern menu. Sunday brunch features some great food options, like chicken and waffles or speckled trout en papillote. At some point, try a Chambong, which is basically the adult, classy version of the beer bong. Don’t be intimidated by your first try, you’ll get better with each round. End the meal with the iconic mile high pie, then head over to the Living Room or the hotel’s rooftop bar, Hot Tin, for a drink and the best view of New Orleans.

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Arnaud’s may be one of the oldest and largest restaurants in the city, but its elegant main dining room still feels intimate. Sunday brunch here is of the quintessential French Quarter kind, complete with a Creole menu that stays true to the classics and a jazz trio orbiting around the tables, taking requests. Arnaud’s is where locals go to celebrate holidays and life’s milestones, eat the legendary Gulf fish Meunier (top it with crab, because that’s what’s up), and sip on a French 75. Order bananas foster for dessert for an added New Orleans experience and an indulgent end to the meal. It’s flambéed tableside.

La Petite Grocery, housed inside an old corner store that has evolved with the Uptown neighborhood over the past 100 years, pays homage to the French influences of the city. The menu includes Gulf shrimp and grits, brioche pain perdu, hot iron buttermilk waffles and the LPG burger—arguably, one of the best burgers in the city. Make sure to kick things off with blue crab beignets and a Big Red Hammer Bloody Mary, garnished with poached shrimp, blue crab and pickled vegetables. You’ll figure out how to make room for the rest of your meal later.

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Elizabeth’s is the place to go for reliable comfort food. It doesn’t matter what you order here – it's all delicious. Word to the wise: whatever it is that you go for, make sure to include a praline bacon in your order. Eat it as an appetizer, a side dish, sprinkle it on your food, bring some home, moisturize with it—whatever. It’s life changing. Additionally, the shrimp and grits have been known to cure hangovers, but the French toast burrito, the red neck eggs with fried green tomatoes and the chicken and waffles are worth a try, too. Elizabeth’s is in the Bywater, and the decor is just as eclectic as the neighborhood itself, with local art from Dr. Bob cluttering the walls and bright, floral plastic tablecloths covering the tables. Brunch starts at 8am and ends at 2:30pm. It’s first-come, first-serve, so be prepared for a wait or head to the bar for a bloody mary or brandy milk punch to make the time pass.

Compère Lapin attracts people from all over the city to its restaurant and bar housed inside of the Old No. 77 Hotel. It should also be mentioned that owner and chef Nina Compton was voted fan favorite on Bravo’s Top Chef and was recognized as Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation in 2018. Chef Compton brings Caribbean influences to the menu: You can't go wrong with the Hot Fire Chicken, buttermilk gnocchi, or French toast with rum caramel. As an added bonus, each meal starts with warm biscuits and the butter du jour, which is made in-house, of course.

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  • Restaurants
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'Breakfast at Brennan’s' is a New Orleans tradition, but this is no quick meal meant to simply start the day. Elegant, old-world dining and excellent service make for a memorable occasion. The Creole menu features classics like eggs Sardou and eggs Benedict, crawfish omelettes, and more. But the crown jewel of Brennan’s brunch is the Bananas Foster. Invented here, the dessert is flambéed right at your table.

This Magazine Street cafe is a standout spot for handmade pasta, meatballs and other Italian favorites made from family recipes. The food is taken seriously, but the friendly atmosphere is anything but. Grab a table inside or on the patio for weekend brunch and enjoy live music along with innovative delights like cannoli pancakes, breakfast spaghetti, chicken & donuts, brulee french toast and more.

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It may seem a little unexpected to include an Israeli restaurant on a New Orleans brunch list, but trust us. The hummus will make you swear off all other imposters. Just make sure to keep the pita bread coming—it’s prepared fresh-to-order in a wood-burning oven. But don’t stop there. Saba’s modern Mediterranean menu incorporates flavors from New Orleans in dishes like the grilled Louisiana shrimp with field pea tzatziki, zhoug and dill. The shakshuka, the falafel and any variation of items from the 'salatim' menu are to-die-for. The best seats are part of the living room tables or outside on the patio, when the weather calls for it.

Perched on the corner of Magazine and Foucher Streets, between antique stores and boutiques, is a large, Victorian mansion with a wraparound porch and patio. It’s not an enviable residence, but a restaurant called Cavan. The interior marries together the history of the century-old house and the modernity of new New Orleans, with its soaring ceilings, a grand staircase, glamorous chandelier and contemporary menu and cocktails. It’s nice to dine inside and pretend like the space could be your home (one of the restrooms even has a clawfoot tub). Brunch options include Creole spiced shrimp with sweet corn grits, potato chorizo hash with chimichurri and egg, and a croissant sandwich with pork belly and kimchi.

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Atchafalaya Restaurant, housed inside a small Creole cottage in a residential Uptown neighborhood, might seem unsuspecting at first. However, the bold menu says otherwise. The fried green tomatoes, cream cheese grits and hickory smoked bacon are a great place to start, then try basically anything else: the duck hash with poached egg, chicken and andouille gumbo, and chicken and waffles are great options. The Bloody Mary Bar offers a range of variations on the classic brunch cocktail. Bonus points: brunch service stars on Thursdays, for those who want to get a head start on the weekend culinary festivities.

Justine is a Parisian brasserie with a lively New Orleans twist. Weekend brunch features the likes of barbecue shrimp toast, poached eggs and crawfish tails and a fried green tomato sandwich with crawfish ravigote on a croissant, Those ready to annihilate brunch with a more decadent option should try the pepper-encrusted Justine burger or the steak frites. The restaurant has three dining rooms, each with its own vibe, but request to sit in the front, café section for brunch. The floor-to-ceiling windows drench the room in natural light and offer a front-row seat ideal for people watching in the French Quarter.

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Sometimes, all you need for brunch is a no-frills meal at a diner counter with greasy food, friendly staff and quick turnaround. Enter Camellia Grill, in the Riverbend area. There’s usually a wait as it is only counter service, but it moves pretty quickly. We recommend the chili cheese omelette the size of the plate with fries, pecan waffle or a cheeseburger with grilled onions. Get a chocolate freeze too, or regret it forever. 

It’s a wine bar and it’s in the middle of the central business district. Order a rosé and pair with the crab deviled eggs, cochon de lait benny or the cornflake-fried chicken and waffles. The restaurant is equidistant from the Superdome and the French Quarter, so it’s a great place to fuel up before a Saints game or a stroll through the neighborhood. In fact, we do suggest some sort of physical activity to digest such a filling but tasty meal. Pro advice: request a table in the courtyard or on the balcony overlooking the action.

Every meal should end with beignets

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