Few things are more quintessentially New Orleans than a jazz brunch. Outside of a Bloody Mary, there are few things better than a side of live jazz to accompany a plate of Eggs Benedict. Or if you’re just looking for some downhome cooking, sans tuba, these restaurants have that, too. With Mardi Gras right around the corner, the city will be packed with visitors, so book a reservation now at one of these top brunch restaurants in New Orleans.
The birthplace of Bananas Foster, this French Quarter mainstay has been a favorite for more than seven decades. “Brunch at Brennan’s is a celebration unlike any other, and it is what we are most known for — from Champagne and Brandy Milk Punch to our legendary egg dishes,” said executive chef Slade Rushing. Don’t miss his signature Rabbit Rushing, which is fried Mississippi rabbit served with creamed collards, eggs over easy, and pickled pork jus. Make a reservation at Brennan’s.
This critically-acclaimed, Southeast Asian-inspired restaurant is in the heart of the Business District. Brunch here features a selection of dim sum ranging from crab meat toast to spicy lamb dumplings to share with your table. If you overdid things the night before, the refreshing Espresso Sua Da, made with espresso, condensed milk, and chicory liqueur over ice, will perk you up. Make a reservation at Maypop.
Coming up on their 100th year, this French Quarter institution is one of the few remaining that offers up classic Creole cuisine. Every Sunday from 10AM-2:30PM, a traditional jazz band plays while you feast on turtle soup and Grillades & Grits in their stunning dining room. Make a reservation at Arnaud’s.
This Southern-chic restaurant in the beautiful remodeled Pontchartrain Hotel serves up the classics with impeccable plating. The hearty steak and egg entreé and the Croque Madame are sure to help ease that hangover from Bourbon Street, as will the humbly named yet deceptively complex Eggs and Toast with crab, truffles, and Green Hill cheese. Make a reservation at Caribbean Room.
The oldest French-Creole fine dining restaurant in New Orleans offers plenty of history with their grits. Operating since 1840, they’ve perfected the Sunday jazz brunch. Enjoy anything from Oeufs Benedict to Gombo Creole as the band makes their way around the dining room. Make a reservation at Antoine’s.
Inside the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, this down-home eatery serves up dishes from across the region from 10AM to 3PM on Sundays. Start off with the sourdough biscuits and crab fat butter followed by a poutine po’ boy or buttermilk waffle. Don’t forget to order the cinnamon roll and a side of their famous cracklins. Make a reservation at Toup’s South.
The Country Club
Hidden inside the Bywater neighborhood is a historic center hall home turned restaurant and pool club. Each room is bright and quirky in its own unique way. As for food, chef Chris Barbato said, “South Louisiana is my favorite place to source seafood. Blue crab meat, local oysters, and wild-caught white shrimp are my favorites and always on the menu. You know you’re in Louisiana when you dine here,” said chef Chris Barbato. Make a reservation at The Country Club.
The sign for the Palace Café is lit up in big bright bulbs so you literally can’t miss it. It’s a contemporary Creole restaurant cooking up plenty of crab dishes and Gulf seafood. “Our family created jazz brunch. Today, we carry on this tradition with a live jazz brunch every weekend. We’ve also added a build-your-own Bloody Mary and mimosa bar each Saturday and Sunday,” said owner Dickie Brennan. Make a reservation at Palace Café.
A mix of Caribbean flavors and New Orlean’s ingredients make chef Nina Compton’s Warehouse Arts District restaurant a must-visit. Go for the $20 bottomless brunch punch to complement your coconut French toast with pecan rum sauce and the lobster and jalapeño hush puppies. Wrap things up with the banana zeppole. Make a reservation at Compére Lapin.
Ralph’s on the Park
Located in City Park nestled between mature oak trees, Ralph’s opened inside a remodeled house from the 1860’s. “Sunday brunch at Ralph’s on the Park is unlike any other brunch in the city,” said executive chef Chip Flanagan. He and his team invite you to come by for dishes highlighting fresh Gulf seafood, such as fried oysters, on their picturesque balcony. Make a reservation at Ralph’s on the Park.
What are your picks for the top brunch spots in New Orleans? Let us know here or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Katie Lockhart is a Brooklyn-based food and travel writer. When she’s not writing, she’s eating her way around the world and posting it all on her Instagram @findyourhappyplate and blog findyourhappyplate.co.
Photo credits: Chris Granger (Brennan’s); Randy Schmidt (Caribbean Room); Sara Essex Bradley (The Palace Cafe).