In the past, finding a good, reasonably priced lunch in the French Quarter was a challenge. You had three main options: an expensive meal at a fancy restaurant, a mediocre and overpriced meal at a tourist trap, or fast food. But things have changed! Now, there are plenty of affordable and delicious lunch spots to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:

Oyster Heaven

Acme Oyster House (724 Iberville Street) is the go-to place for all things oyster. Whether you like them raw on the half shell, chargrilled, or fried in a po-boy, Acme has you covered. For a classic New Orleans lunch, we recommend the fried oyster po-boy. It’s crispy, flavorful, and sure to satisfy.

Classic Diner Fare with a Twist

If you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned American diner food with a New Orleans spin, check out Belle’s Diner (1122 Decatur Street, near the French Market). This retro spot serves up classics like burgers and all-day breakfast, but with a little something extra.

Our top picks? The Roast Beef Debris Fries are a meal in themselves, loaded with savory beef and gravy. And the Belle’s Burger is simple but delicious, topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, and housemade pickles. Yum!

Cajun-Inspired Cuisine

For a taste of Louisiana with a modern twist, head to Kingfish (337 Chartres Street). This relative newcomer (opened in 2013) has quickly become a lunchtime favorite thanks to its creative Cajun-inspired menu.

We love the charcuterie platter, which features an assortment of cured meats (like venison pepperoni and Linden speck), alligator boudin, and unique relishes and marmalades (think pickled watermelon rind, pickled pumpkin, and pepper jelly). It’s a great way to sample a variety of local flavors.

Another standout dish is the seasonal fish tacos. Served on corn tortillas with collard green chimichurri, citrus slaw, green tomato chow chow, and Sriracha aioli, they’re a fresh and zesty take on a classic.

And don’t forget to try one of Kingfish’s excellent cocktails. The Pimm’s Cup is a refreshing choice on a hot New Orleans day.

Seafood Galore

For a casual but delicious seafood lunch, check out Royal House Oyster Bar (441 Royal Street). This spot opened in 2008 on the site of the historic Tortorici Restaurant and has been serving up fresh, flavorful dishes ever since.

We can’t get enough of the redfish beignets. These light, fluffy fritters are served with a tangy Crystal beurre blanc sauce and sweet cane syrup. They’re a perfect balance of savory and sweet.

Another must-try is the Seafood Pescatore. This generous dish is loaded with clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp. Pro tip: ask for the scampi sauce instead of the marinara for an extra burst of flavor.

And be sure to pair your meal with one of Royal House’s refreshing cocktails. The Hendricks Royal Cup is a favorite.

Diner Delights with a New Orleans Twist

Stanley (547 St. Ann Street, right on Jackson Square) is a modern take on the classic American diner, serving up sandwiches, burgers, and all-day breakfast with a Louisiana twist.

Our top pick? The seasonal fried Soft-Shell Crab Poor Boy. It’s crispy, juicy, and bursting with flavor. Plus, the location can’t be beat – you can people-watch on Jackson Square while you enjoy your meal.

Fancy Lunch on a Budget

If you’re in the mood for something a little fancier but don’t want to break the bank, keep an eye out for lunch specials at some of the more upscale restaurants. For example, Antoine’s offers a three-course Seasonal Lunch Special for just over $20. And as a bonus, they offer 25 cent martinis with lunch. Talk about a deal!

Tips for a Great Lunch Experience

  • Beat the crowds: The French Quarter can get busy at lunchtime, especially on weekends. Try to arrive early or late to avoid the rush.
  • Check for specials: Many restaurants offer lunchtime deals or discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask your server or check the menu for any current promotions.
  • Share dishes: Portions in New Orleans tend to be generous. Consider splitting an entree or several appetizers with a friend to save money and room for dessert.
  • Embrace the local flavors: New Orleans cuisine is unlike anything else. Be adventurous and try dishes you might not find at home, like gumbo, jambalaya, or po-boys.
  • Take a break: Lunch is a great time to rest and recharge during a busy day of sightseeing. Don’t feel rushed – take your time and enjoy your meal and the atmosphere.

A Delicious Dilemma

With so many great lunch options in the French Quarter, the hardest part might be choosing where to eat. Our advice? Try a few different spots during your visit. That way, you can sample a variety of dishes and find your new favorite.

And don’t be afraid to ask locals for recommendations. New Orleanians are passionate about their food and love to share their top picks with visitors.

One thing’s for sure – you won’t leave the French Quarter hungry. From casual po-boy shops to upscale Creole restaurants, there’s something to satisfy every craving and budget. So come hungry and get ready to dig in to some of the best lunches in the Big Easy. Bon appétit!

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