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10 Cheap Eats in New Orleans – A New Orleans Food Guide

In Food Travel Guides, South by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch19 Comments

New Orleans is a city where the best food is served on the cheap. Check out our favorite spots for the best cheap eats New Orleans style.

Jambalaya at Coop's Place - Cheap Eats New Orleans

It goes without saying that a diner can eat well in New Orleans. A visitor (or a native) could easily spend a large wad of cash on some of the best restaurants in New Orleans like Commander’s Palace, August or Herbsaint, and there’s no doubt that these top New Orleans restaurants serve excellent world-class meals.

However, it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money to experience some of the best food in New Orleans and the city’s tastiest drinks. Eating may be one of the most fun things to do in New Orleans, but the food of New Orleans doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. As it turns out, many of the best inexpensive restuaurants in New Orleans are also the best casual restaurants in New Orleans.

Savvy diners can head to a dive bar, a sandwich stand or a luncheonette to find the best New Orleans cheap eats that made NOLA famous: Poor Boys, Gumbo, Fried Chicken, Jambalaya and Muffalettas. Plus, eating at some the best cheap restaurants in New Orleans means more money for a nice hotel or Airbnb room close to the action.

Pro Tip:  The Hotel St. Pierre is near all of the cheap eats French Quarter action. We’ve stayed at this reasonably priced hotel multiple times because we like its charm and convenience. Click here to find the best rate for the affordable Hotel St. Pierre.

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Cheap Eats New Orleans

So grab a drink (with legs of course) and travel with us as we reveal our favorite cheap places to eat in New Orleans. In our opinion, these are the best places to eat in New Orleans on a budget. When you eat at the best affordable restaurants in New Orleans, you won’t feel bad about eating in New Orleans on a budget. Actually, you won’t feel bad at all.

1. Cafe Du Monde

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde - Cheap Eats New Orleans

This mass of fried dough goodness is generously smothered with powdered sugar. The only thing missing from this photo is the Café Au Lait.

Our obligatory first stop in New Orleans is always at Cafe Du Monde. And why not? This popular French Quarter coffee shop is open 364 days on a 24/7 basis, only closing for Christmas and the occasional hurricane. Frying beignets since 1862, Cafe Du Monde is a legend that lives up to its reputation as one of the best inexpensive places to eat in New Orleans.

The limited menu features beignets, coffee (regular and chicory), milk, orange juice and soft drinks. Even with so few options, the line is often quite long. Don’t be afraid since the line moves quickly. Trust us and not your cardiologist – it’s worth the wait when the end result is a plate of fried dough generously smothered in mountains of powdered sugar.

Pro Tip: Order your coffee “Au Lait” style with steamed milk and be sure to specify chicory when you order. A chicory Cafe Au Lait is the perfect complement to doughy, sweet beignets.

Cafe Du Monde is located at 800 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States.

2. Parkway Bakery

Po Boy at Parkway Tavern - Cheap Eats New Orleans

Only available on Mondays and Wednesdays, the fresh oysters in Parkway Tavern’s poor boys are seasoned with garlic and cayenne pepper and then served in classic style on Leidenheimer’s bread.

Parkway Bakery is another necessary stop for us whenever we are in New Orleans. It’s easy to get to this Mid-City institution by cab or streetcar. To us, Parkway is worth the extra distance since, in our opinion, this is the best poor boy in New Orleans.

Parkway’s poor boys are a must, especially for the roast beef, but don’t stop there. We always order a side of debris fries and bread pudding for dessert. The debris fries, smothered with roast beef gravy with large strands of brisket that could have been cooked by a Louisiana grandmother, are a meal all by themselves. As for the bread pudding with rum sauce, let’s just say that it’s the best dessert we’ve ever eaten served in a french fry boat. Also, be sure to look for the oyster poor boy, served only on Monday’s and Wednesdays.

Pro Tip: Skip the line and order your food right at the bar. The up-front bar features Abita beer on tap. Then again, you may prefer a spicy Bloody Mary (or two) depending on your mood.

Parkway Bakery is located at 538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

3. Coop’s Place

Coop's Place - Cheap Eats New Orleans

Server Stephanie Turnbull keeps Coop’s Place going as she deftly handles the never-ending crowds while serving some of the best Cajun food in the French Quarter.

Dingy and dark, the well-worn Coop’s Place looks more like a dive bar than a restaurant serving up damn good food. As it turns out, Coop’s Place is both. Aside from their kick-ass fried chicken and some of the best jambalaya in New Orleans, the other draw to Coop’s is the busy cheek to jowl atmosphere.  It’s fun to watch servers like Stephanie Turnbull  ‘work the room’ as they expertly referee the crowds while serving some of the best cheap food in New Orleans.

Yes, like nearby Cafe Du Monde, there’s often a line to get into Coop’s Place, but it’s well worth the wait. The reason is that the best cheap Cajun food in New Orleans that tastes like the soul of New Orleans. The atmosphere is far from fancy, and the service can be surly if you sport an attitude. But who cares when the food is this good?

Pro Tip:  Coop’s Place attracts large evening crowds seeking cheap eats in the French Quarter. If crowds aren’t your thing, go for a cheap lunch and enjoy the second best fried chicken in New Orleans (See Willie Mae’s below). Or, even better, stop by for nightcap of your favorite adult beverage with a side of their amazing jambalaya.

Coop’s Place is located at 1109 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70016, United States.

4. Cochon Butcher

Muffaletta - Cheap Eats New Orleans

A lunch of two sandwiches and two sides is more than enough to satisfy two hungry diners at Cochon Butcher. Pictured here are the Buckboard Bacon Melt and Muffaletta sandwiches along with two sides – the Marinated Brussel Sprouts and the Mac and Cheese.

Sometimes we want a full-on meal experience like we ate at Cochon, one of the top 10 restaurants in New Orleans, during our first trip to the Big Easy together in 2010. Usually, though, we prefer great food served in a casual setting at a reasonable price. That’s why we love Cochon Butcher.

Sharing a kitchen with its similarly named big brother in the Warehouse District, Cochon Butcher is a cross between a local deli and an artisan cafe. We love perusing the different kinds of ‘cochon’ (pork) before we order our sandwiches and sides at the counter. We also love eating their modern versions of traditional sandwiches like the gussied up muffuletta and the grilled BLT with butcher bacon (cut from the shoulder), not to mention the satisfying sides like mac and cheese and brussels sprouts.

Pro Tip: Go early or late for lunch to avoid the lunch rush since Cochon Butcher is rightfully crowded with locals and conventioneers who flock to eat at one of the best lunch spots in New Orleans. Get a seat at one of the high-top tables. Better yet, go in the evening and splurge on a nice glass of wine to go with Cochon’s charcuterie plate.

Cochon Butcher is located at 930 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

5. Port of Call

Hamburger at Port of Call - Cheap Eats New Orleans

It’s easy to order at Port of Call since the hamburgers and baked potatoes are practically the only things on the menu. The big choice is what toppings to add. Here we have a mushroom cheeseburger with a baked potato topped with even more mushrooms.

Located on the edge of the French Quarter, Port of Call has been slinging out top-quality burgers and baked potatoes for years. In fact, they’ve been in the burger business since the 1960s. The burgers are serious business – each starting out with a half pound of ground beef – and served with a big baked potato. Splurge a few bucks to get cheese and mushrooms added. The unmelted cheese and wine-sautéed mushrooms meld together to create a unique burger experience.

The joint may not be fancy, and there’s often a line to be seated since many people consider Port of Call to be one of the must eat New Orleans restaurants. Hang in there though, as it’s worth the wait for this reasonable meal that will satisfy your taste buds while filling your stomach.

Pro Tip: Do not drive to Port of Call if you plan to drink their cocktails. The Neptune Monsoon, a close relative to the infamous hurricane, is particularly potent.

Port of Call is located at 838 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States.

6. Dat Dog

Bacon Werefolf Hot Dog at Dat Dog - Cheap Eats New Orleans

We shared this bacon werewolf hot dog at Dag Dog. Our arteries thanked us later since this sandwich includes Slovenian sausage, bacon, sauerkraut, dill relish, grilled onions, tomato and Creole mustard.

Shopping on Magazine Street can use up a lot of energy, and that’s where Dat Dog steps in. This colorfully decorated hot dog shop serves a full menu of crazy hot dogs like the crawfish etouffee dog and the bacon werewolf. Sides are equally inventive, plus there’s a full bar with craft beers and specialty cocktails.

Hot dogs can be a guilty pleasure, but there’s no guilt here with the fresh ingredients. If you must, there are vegetarian options available. Either way, Dat Dog is a great option when you’re craving fast food in New Orleans.

Pro Tip: If ordering off of a menu isn’t your thing, Dat Dog offers over 30 toppings that you can mix and match to create your own hot dog masterpiece. Go for it!

Dat Dog has several locations. We ate at 336 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115 in the Garden District, United States.

7. Blue Dot Donuts

Donuts at Mid-City Blue Dot Donuts - Cheap Eats New Orleans

We were warmly greeted and guided by employee Amy Guidry during our recent visit to Mid-City’s Blue Dot Donuts.

As much as we love beignets, sometimes we want to get our sugar fix in a different way. That’s how we found Blue Dot Donuts in the Mid-City neighborhood. Opened and owned by expert, donut eating police officers, Blue Dot serves all kinds of donuts from simple yeast, buttermilk and cake versions to fancy varieties like maple bacon bars.

The donuts are very reasonably priced. Buy a dozen so that you can enjoy them in the room after an inevitable night of New Orleans imbibing.

Pro Tip:  Be sure to order at least one red velvet donut. We tried several flavors, and that was our favorite.

Blue Dot Donuts is located at 4301 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.

8. Sucré

The Banana Cream Canned Pie at Sucré - Cheap Eats New Orleans

The Banana Cream Canned Pie at Sucré is a perfect dessert to share or eat by yourself.

Let’s face it – New Orleans is a wonderful yet crazy city. When you want or need a break from the craziness, Sucré provides a delightful respite right in the heart of the French Quarter. The downstairs cafe serves coffee, tea and expert pastry chef Tariq Hanna’s world-class pastries including the Banana Cream Canned Pie, Eclairs and a wide assortment of Macarons. Using Modbar machines and locally roasted beans from Orleans Coffee Roasters, the baristas make perfect coffee drinks ranging from pour-overs to cappuccinos. The teas are truly lovely with flavors like Scarlet Glow – a rich red infusion of fruit, hibiscus and linden flowers.

Sucré means sweet in French. This little shop lives up to the name with both their desserts and pleasant service.

Pro Tip: Buy some extra treats from the on-site retail store. There is no more perfect souvenir to buy for your friends (or yourself!) as a memory of your sweet time in New Orleans.

Sucré has multiple locations. We ate at the French Quarter location at 622 Conti Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

9. Bacchanal

Bacchanal - Cheap Eats New Orleans

On the edge of the Bywater neighborhood, Bacchanal is the backyard party that everybody wants to attend. Top notch musicians entertain diners while they eat and drink under the stars.

Of all the neighborhoods in New Orleans, Bywater is the neighborhood we would probably live in, and Bacchanal is the backyard party we would go to if we wanted a neighborhood night out. This funky bi-level emporium serves a full menu which can be eaten either upstairs or in the backyard with live music. The menu offers everything from pasta to whole fish. A Big Plus: Bacchanal’s BYOB policy and in-house wine shop make the restaurant one of the best bargains for a night out in the Big Easy.

Seriously, how awesome is that?

Pro Tip: In addition to wine, Bacchanal’s shop also features a comprehensive cheese selection which means, for a nominal amount, you can enjoy wine, cheese… and jazz under the stars!

Bacchanal is located at 600 Poland Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70117, United States.

10. Willie Mae’s Scotch House

Fried Chicken at Willie Mae's Scotch House - Cheap Eats New Orleans

Many say that the fried chicken at Willie Mae’s Scotch House is the best in the country. We couldn’t agree more.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House is serving up the most famous fried chicken in New Orleans, if not the country. The menu describes the fried chicken as “America’s Best…” and accolades from the likes of James Beard, Anthony Bourdain and the 2foodtrippers prove that point. If you’re wondering where to eat best New Orleans lunch, this is the best spot in town.

Located in the historic Tremé neighborhood, Willie Mae’s is authentic to the neighborhood, city and owners. Crispy and slightly salty on the outside yet explosively moist and juicy on the inside, the made-to-order fried chicken is not to be missed. There are other things on the menu, but why bother. Get the chicken platter for $11 and pick out a side or two like the amazing red beans and rice on Mondays. Spend an additional buck for all white meat if you must, then sit back and enjoy the ultimate fried chicken experience – one of the best cheap eats in New Orleans without a doubt.

Pro Tip: Plan your lunch at Willie Mae’s on a weekday to the avoid longest lines. That being said, this fried chicken is well worth the inevitable wait.

Willie Mae’s Scotch House is located at 2401 St Ann Street, New Orleans, LA 70119, United States.


Hungry for more now that you know the best cheap places to eat in New Orleans? Check out additional New Orleans restaurants and bars here. And then click here to learn all about drinking in New Orleans.

Also, why not consider a side trip to Lake Charles LA? Just a three-hour drive from New Orleans, Lake Charles is a great spot to eat boudin and fresh seafood after you have your fill of cheap New Orleans food.


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Comments

  1. Mmm looks delicious I’ve pinned for future reference and if I ever get to New Orleans I will try some of these out

  2. Lots of yummy stuff here. I am afraid it would be hard to say no to those donuts!

  3. My husband and I designed our own NOLA foodie tour a couple of years back. We still talk about Cafe du Monde. Unfortunately, Coop’s place was too crowded when we decided to got there. Now, there are more places to add to the list for our next trip.

  4. I want to dive inside my computer and eat ALL of these! The first time that I went to NOLA, I fell in love with beignets and muffalettas, which are now two of my favorite foods. I’d love to add a few more to that list. (And those doughnuts! YUM!)

  5. Reading this post makes me miss New Orleans. I’ve only been to Cochon, Cafe du Monde, and Parkway from this list so I guess that means I should go back to New Orleans and try these other places.

  6. Went to NOLA last October and LOVED Sucre! The upstairs restaurant was great, too, and had a much more relaxed vibe than most of the other places in the French Quarter.

  7. these foods are looking so delicious ans yummy also. water comes in my mouth after seeing it. i want to check them soon.

  8. Oh, I want it all!!! I will be visiting New Orleans later this year in November and I. Cannot. Wait. Thank you Mindi and Daryl for such an informative guide. I have to get my hands on a po boy, that’s for darn sure. Plus pack some more stretchy pants! Cheers from Australia, Kirsty

    1. Author

      You will love New Orleans! Let us know if you have any questions as you’re planning your trip.

  9. Love this! We are hoping to hit up NOLA in April (never been) and this was a great help! Coop’s looks like our kind of place! We love a good dive bar atmosphere with amazing food!! Thanks for all the tips!!

    1. Author

      You will love New Orleans! You may also want to check out St. Roch Tavern. We really liked this dive bar but we didn’t try any of the food.

  10. Good heavens! What amazing photos. We love New Orleans and have opportunity to visit often because of my husband’s business trips there. The food is so wonderful and we love trying new places. Coop’s is a new one to me and now on the list!

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