As one of North America’s more unique cities, New Orleans is celebrated for its rich cross-cultural, multilingual heritage. The birthplace of jazz, this Louisianan city is famed for its music, as well as its traditional Deep Southern cuisine and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras.
The city is also a bit of a sleeping giant when it comes to foodie destinations in the US, and New Orleans’ weekend brunches top the city’s list of surprising and wonderful culinary traditions. Brunch in New Orleans often consists of a three-course set meal including a range of traditional Louisianan and Creole dishes. This is usually accompanied by boozy ‘eye opener’ cocktails to start (or finish) the weekend with a hedonistic bang. We’ve rounded up six of New Orleans’ best weekend brunches that offer everything Creole, from turtle soup to rum-flamed bananas.
La Provence offers a brunch experience away from the bustle of New Orleans. This restaurant’s fresh produce from its own farm and rustic interior make it worth the hour’s trek to get there. The three-course brunch menu at La Provence is full of home-farmed produce. The flavourful Creole cream cheese dumplings are definitely worth sinking your teeth into with jumbo lump crabmeat, heirloom tomatoes, wild mushrooms and the restaurant’s home cured bacon.
Traditional and long standing, Brennan’s is renowned for having one of the tastiest brunches in New Orleans. There are several brunch options at Brennan’s.A three-course breakfast menu has a selection of eggs, cooked in every way possible, accompanied with various sophisticated sauces, while the a la carte breakfast menu offers steaks, oysters, shrimp, and of course dessert. The Bananas Foster (a Brennan’s creation and world famous) is a boozy dessert made of bananas sautéed in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and banana liqueur and then flamed in rum – where do we sign up?.
Elizabeth’s Restaurant mixes traditional Louisianan brunch dishes with a few of their own creations, such as praline bacon, and offers a ‘neighbourhood funk’ menu and atmosphere. The entrée menu offers a variety of brunch dishes from Duck Waffle to the ‘Hangover Helper’ shrimp and grits. For those wanting something a little on the softer side, there are sweet waffles and a basic breakfast of eggs, toast and hash browns.
Housed in a Victorian mansion, Commander’s Palace is easily one of the most atmospheric brunches in New Orleans. You’ll want to be very hungry and a come with a taste for afternoon cocktails – the Jazz Brunch Special includes turtle soup to start, followed by pork belly and eggs and Creole bread pudding soufflé to finish, washed down with a Classic Bloody Mary. If the jazz special isn’t your thing, there’s also a three course option with a variety of traditional Louisianan and Creole dishes, all of which are, of course, best enjoyed with an ‘eye opener’ boozy beverage like the brunch favourite: Brandy Milk Punch.
The Columns is a popular local hotspot and a great place to drop in for a brunchy bite. Although it doesn’t offer a separate brunch menu, the banquet lunch menu has a variety of typical Louisianan and Creole mid-morning dishes. If you are feeling adventurous, the escargot in mushroom caps with garlic butter are a standout, alongside a few fishy starters and mains to get you going.
Ralph’s on the Park
Ralph’s on the Park is perhaps the best option for a fine dining New Orleans brunch. A selection of small plates includes the Southern classic, Pigs in a Blanket: Creole breakfast sausages dipped in cornmeal batter, fried and served with sugar cane syrup. Ralph’s ‘Brunch on the Park’ set menu consists of traditional turtle soup, a choice of braised lamb or chicken & waffle (good for those with a penchant for sweet and savoury combos), and white chocolate banana bread pudding for dessert. Ralph’s doesn’t shy away from the more exotic local traditions, either: shrimp and grits, chicken liver omelette and ‘Tasso Eggs Benedict” (oysters, smoked tasso – a Louisiana spicy ham – and jalapeno hollandaise) all grace the menu.
For further inspiration on NOLA hotspots check out the Hg2 New Orleans guide.