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N'Orleans Is The Place To Be Right Now!

I have peppered the press release below with ALERT! on the places I have been.


FROM THE WIRES...


Springtime in New Orleans signifies the start of festival season, great new restaurant openings, and plenty of opportunities to be outside. From food festivals like Hogs for the Cause and NOLA Crawfish Fest to cultural events like Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Literary Festival, and of course, world-renowned music weekends like the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, visitors flock to the Crescent City to enjoy events almost every weekend of the season. Below, please find the best spots to sleep, eat and drink this Spring.


WHERE TO SLEEP

 

Virgin Hotels New Orleans

Get ready for food, festivals, and all that jazz. Located in the city’s lively Central Business District, Virgin Hotels New Orleans is the perfect place to stay and play during the festival season. The boutique lifestyle hotel mixes a passion for food & beverage with music and culture that fuses with Crescent City’s unique personality, providing an inclusive environment for travelers and locals alike. Guests can expect festive happenings such as burlesque brunches, live music sets, and local pop-up shops throughout their stay, as well as enjoy sunshine and views on the rooftop or top-tier dining down below. Springtime programming includes Burlesque Brunches and Jazz Fest After Parties with local and national musicians. Rates throughout the festival season start at $339 and can be booked by visiting virginhotels.com/new-orleans.


ALERT! I have stayed here and can recommend it. Funky bare-brick walls. Compere Lapin

downstairs for a great dinner, and it's on the boundary of the warehouse district, which is an emerging super-interesting restaurant area in town.

The Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery

Rooted for nearly 175 years in the heart of New Orleans' Warehouse Arts District, The Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery is a distinctive boutique hotel seamlessly blending modern comfort with the city's rich, and storied history. Housed within a meticulously restored 19th-century warehouse, the property captures the essence of New Orleans' unique charm. In collaboration with Where Y'Art, the hotel’s common areas and rooms feature curated displays of local artists’ work, allowing guests to connect with the city's creative spirit. Exceptional dining experiences including award-winning Compere Lapin by Chef Nina Compton, along with upscale amenities, and walking distance to iconic attractions, make The Old 77 Hotel & Chandlery a sought-after haven during festival season. www.old77hotel.com.

 

WHERE TO EAT

BABs

BABs (formerly Bywater American Bistro) is a casually sophisticated culinary haven embodying James Beard: Best Chef South Nina Compton’s vision of a “restaurant for every day or any day.” At BABs, enjoy comfort-driven dishes grounded by meticulous technique and imbued with her natural finesse. Diners can find an array of house made pastas, fresh seafood and meats, and a cocktail & wine program that complements Compton’s cuisine. http://bywateramericanbistro.com/

 

Alma Cafe  

Just a stone’s throw from the French Quarter is award-winning Honduran restaurant, Alma Cafe. Under the auspices of Executive Chef/Owner Melissa Araujo, who was recently named a semifinalist for James Beard: Best Chef South 2024, Alma pays tribute to Chef Araujo’s grandmother and her cooking with hearty dishes like Baleadas, Pollo Chuco, Carne Asada, Pupusas, and Marmahon. Alma has its roots deeply entrenched in tradition and celebrates Honduran culture, food, and music. https://eatalmanola.com/

 

Tujague’s

The birthplace of brunch and the Grasshopper cocktail, and the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Tujague’s has been visited by former Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and France’s De Gaulle. Brunch offerings and cocktail selections make Tujague’s the perfect location for modern Creole cuisine and innovative libations served up in a four-story space complete with private dining rooms and courtyard seating. https://tujaguesrestaurant.com/

 

Costera

This popular coastal Spanish restaurant & bar in Uptown New Orleans highlights Louisiana produce and Gulf seafood in a modern, yet casual, communal-dining setting and offers an extensive selection of small and large plates, perfect for sharing. Cocktails run the gamut from light spritzes to boozy concoctions, and the wine program highlights Old World Spanish and French selections. Costera also offers a three and four-course tasting menu for large groups.   https://costerarestaurant.com/

 

Beggars Banquet

Named after the famous Rolling Stones album, Beggars Banquet is the Lower Garden District’s new American bar and bistro under the direction of Chef Michael Dilonno who owned and operated a New Jersey soda shop turned luncheonette of the same name. The menu pays homage to the South, yet is injected with Italian, French and Asian touches. From Fried Green Tomatoes with burrata, balsamic reduction and arugula to Duck Leg Confit with butternut squash, onion, bacon, pecans and hot honey, dishes are meticulously executed and thoughtfully presented. The space features bathrooms adorned in Rolling Stones lyrics, and a hand-painted mural by local tattoo artist Vivian Hava. Beggars Banquet is located at 1330 Prytania Street. Phone: (504) 766-6711. www.beggarsbanquetneworleans.com

 

Osteria Lupo

This Magazine Street eatery showcases Northern Italian cuisine with a variety of house-made pasta, roasted meats, and vegetables from the wood-fired oven, seafood, and other regional specialties. Enjoy a menu of shareable plates, along with a stellar wine program and a full bar. The restaurant also offers a tasting menu, perfect for large groups to try fan favorites. Osteria Lupo is the perfect perch for drinks with friends or casual dining. https://www.osterialupo.com/

 

The Bower

When visiting The Bower, enjoy house-made pastas such as the Pappardelle Bolognese with pork, beef, Parmigiano, aged balsamic, and truffle cultured cream, to mains like Braised Pork Osso Bucco with crispy new potatoes, pepper piperade, gremolata, and pork espagnole, and Chicken Parmesan with Calabrian chili tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil vinaigrette, and buttered spaghetti. The menu is ingredient-driven, determined by seasons, product availability, and the additional health benefits they provide. https://www.thebowernola.com/


Birdy’s

This Instagrammable restaurant in the Lower Garden District serves all-day brunch and features Southern-inspired, locally sourced-American cuisine. Standout dishes include the Brunch Board - donut, granola, slab bacon, hot Coppa, bubble waffle, fruit, seasonal jam, mini cookies, mini pancakes, house syrup, triple crème brie, and soft boiled eggs, and the Ube Waffle with house whipped cream, fruity cereal clusters, and ube glaze. https://birdysnola.com/

 

Commons Club

Commons Club is a dynamic restaurant, bar, and lounge offering a modern social club experience for locals and visitors alike. Under the direction of Executive Chef Chris Borges, Commons Club offers Borges’ creative spin on Southern seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and West Coast influences. https://virginhotels.com/new-orleans

 

ALERT! One of the best restaurants in the Big Easy, hands-down.

Compere Lapin

Named Food & Wine’s “40 Most Important Restaurants of the Past 40 Years,” Compere Lapin is helmed by St. Lucian native and James Beard Award-winning Chef Nina Compton. The restaurant features robust dishes that meld the flavors of Compton’s Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine while highlighting the Gulf and Louisiana’s beautiful indigenous ingredients.  http://comperelapin.com/

 

WHERE TO DRINK

The Bower Bar

The Bower Bar is the perfect perch to gather with friends for cocktails, conversation, and bites. The cocktail program at The Bower Bar is under the direction of Beverage Director Mickey Mullins and features field-to-glass libations focusing on seasonal herbs, flowers, and produce from local partners Sugar Roots Farmhttps://www.thebowernola.com/the-bower-bar

 

The Pool Club

Featuring scenic skyline views of downtown New Orleans, The Pool Club is Virgin Hotels New Orleans’ rooftop retreat, perfect for swimming, sunning and/or sipping. Enjoy creative cocktails from Head Bartender Heather Blanchard, on the wrap-around lounge deck,  along with tasty light bites from Executive Chef Chris Borges. https://virginhotels.com/new-orleans/eat-drink/the-pool-club/

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