No other city in America calls you to the table like New Orleans—the city lives and breathes great food and without question, the Big Easy offers my favorite destination dining in the entire US of A.
Though I will be the first to rave about the oysters and po’ boys, duck sausage gumbo and the mighty meaty muffuletta, I am well aware that not all of us eat meat. Some of you just want to sit down and dine on something amazingly scrumptious that does not involve cows or turtles or goats or birds—I get it.
What few of you may know that I was a strict vegetarian for seven years, and that the good city of New Orleans is our friend. What matters most in this town is eating well, and no matter your allergy or dietary preference, New Orleans delivers.
Though NOLA’s vegetarian landscape extends well beyond my own petite list, the following ten spots are my favorites (in no particular order):
- Seed “Garden Base, NOLA Taste”, this all-vegan restaurant recently opened up on Prytania Street near the CBD. Personally, I loved the eggplant po’ boy and the homemade hummus, and their raw and vegan dessert menu is simply outstanding. Definitely the place to please the most finicky diners out there.
- Sneaky Pickle Vegetarian, farm-to-table cafe in the 9th Ward with a rotating menu. The best part? Nothing on the menu is over $10. Amazing daily soups and flatbreads.
- Bennachin Delectable delights inspired by West Africa (Cameroon & Gambia). I highly recommend the Kone Ni Makondo (black eyed peas w/ tomato stew and fried plantain), though anything on the menu can be prepared vegetarian. Worth checking out for something truly unique and tasty in the French Quarter.
- Breads on Oak Organic and (mostly) vegan bakery that stays true to the old world traditions of breadmaking while being inventive and thoughtful to everyone’s taste and needs. Come for the bread, or breakfast, or sandwiches, or coffee! The all-vegan, gluten-free coconut rosemary cookies will make you shout.
- Carmo Brazilian-inspired tropical cafe near the National WII Museum. Though meat is on the menu, the number of hearty salads sets this place apart, as does their one-of-a-kind juice bar. The Burmese Tea Leaf Salad looks yummy, and the vegan banana cake gets two thumbs up.
- Mayas Culinary stand-out on the new Magazine Street, this nuevo latino menu has a dedicated column for vegetarians. Try the roasted red pepper and sundried tomato guacamole and the bountiful vegetarian paella.
- District Donuts Renowned for their delicious doughnuts and meaty mini sandwiches, DD earns a spot on this list solely for their tofu sliders. Anyone that can make tofu taste this satisfying deserves a trophy.
- Juan’s Flying Burrito Another Lower Garden District favorite, Juan’s most famous vegetarian special is the Supergreen–a giant spinach tortilla wrapped around a massive amount of grilled vegetables with green chile, spinach, onion, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, and, if you want, sour cream. Messy good
- The Green Goddess In the French Quarter, this longstanding New Orleans favorite does more than just nod at vegetarians–they aim to please, with several big plate items for both lunch and dinner that are all-vegetarian and even vegan and gluten-free. (Dine outside if you can get a table!)
- Slice New Orleans’ best pizzeria is highly conscious of vegetarians (half their pizza listings are meatless) and their salads are always colorful, filling and fresh. Sometimes the best food is the simplest dish made with carefully-picked ingredients.