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.
It goes without saying that a diner can eat well during any New Orleans itinerary whether it’s for two days, three days or even longer. In our educated opinion, New Orleans isn’t just one of the best food cities in America – it’s one of the best food cities in the entire world.
Visitors (and natives) could easily spend a large wad of cash on some of the best restaurants in New Orleans like Commander’s Palace, August or Herbsaint. 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.
Sure, New Orleans has a range of restaurants at different price points. However, many of the best inexpensive restaurants in New Orleans are also the best casual restaurants in New Orleans.
In fact, inexpensive restaurants represent some of the best restaurants in New Orleans period.
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: Po 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 room or apartment close to the action.
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.
Cheap Eats New Orleans
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
Our obligatory first stop in New Orleans is always 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.
→ Click here to discover 100 more of the best desserts around the world.
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. The queue at Cafe Du Monde is worth the wait when the end result is a plate of fried dough generously smothered in mountains of powdered sugar.
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
Parkway Bakery is another necessary stop for us whenever we’re 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 po boy in New Orleans.
Parkway’s po boys are a must, especially the roast beef, but don’t stop there.
→ After you eat a Po Boy, click here to discover 29 more iconic American food favorites you need to eat at least once in your life.
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 po boy, served only on Mondays and Wednesdays.
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
Dingy and dark, the well-worn Coop’s Place looks more like a dive bar than a restaurant serving up 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.
→ Click here to discover more of the best fried chicken in America and beyond.
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 Coops serves some of 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?
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 a 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
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 eating at 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.
→ Click here to discover 20 of the best sandwiches in America.
We love eating modern versions of traditional sandwiches like the gussied up muffuletta and the grilled BLT with butcher bacon (cut from the shoulder). Satisfying sides like mac and cheese and brussels sprouts complete the meal.
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
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.
These 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.
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
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 with a selection of loaded fries and tater tots. Plus, there’s a full bar featuring craft beers, daiquiris 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.
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
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.
→ Click here to discover 25+ of the best donuts in America.
These 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.
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.
** Important Update – Sucre has permanently closed. **
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.
Not in the mood for coffee? Sucré’s 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.
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 had multiple locations. We ate at the French Quarter location at 622 Conti Street, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States. All locations are now closed.
Of all the neighborhoods in New Orleans, Bywater is the neighborhood where we would probably live. 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 that can be eaten either upstairs or in the backyard with live music. The menu offers everything from pasta to whole fish.
A Big Plus: Bachchanal’s in-house wine shop makes the restaurant one of the best bargains for a night out in the Big Easy. Seriously, how awesome is that? Note – Bacchanal charges a corkage fee (currently $20) for bottles brought from outside the premises.
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
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 want to eat the best lunch in New Orleans, you need to add the fried chicken at Willie Mae’s to your New Orleans eating plan.
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 fried chicken platter and pick out a side like amazing red beans and rice or comforting mac and cheese.
Order an extra side if you’re extra hungry, then sit back and enjoy the ultimate fried chicken experience – one of the best cheap eats in New Orleans without a doubt.
Plan your lunch at Willie Mae’s on a weekday to avoid the 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.
Things To Do in New Orleans
Since you’re saving so much money on food, you can splurge on some of the fun things to do in New Orleans, a true win-win situation. If you do, here are five ideas to consider:
Don’t worry if you want to stay on a budget – some of the best things to do in New Orleans are free or cheap. You won’t get bored walking around the French Quarter, taking cable cars and people watching. This is New Orleans after all.
Plan Your New Orleans Trip
Some businesses may revise their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information and make advance reservations where possible.
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About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.