From Cajun to Italian to American, New Orleans has restaurants with virtually every cuisine. We know the story — coronavirus cases went up and business profits went down (well, unless you’re Amazon and huge tech companies). Small businesses like restaurants took a huge hit, and with summer now in full swing, the warmer weather mixed with beautiful outdoor seating arrangements means that more New Orleans residents and visitors will be able to enjoy dining out and experiencing the city once again. In such a diverse and broad city, it can be difficult to choose just one restaurant to go to. We have assembled a list of seven great outdoor dining experiences in New Orleans, factoring in COVID safety, service, food, and atmosphere.
912 Royal Street
Located in the French Quarter, this romantic and beautiful courtyard will leave customers with a memorable experience. The restaurant serves brunch and dinner, with classic Cajun dishes such as Gulf Shrimp & Grits and Gumbo. The courtyard is adorned with beautiful lamps and lights, with indoor seating near windows, accommodating customers of all comfort levels. The cocktail menu is expansive and sweet, with classic cocktails along with Amelie specials. This Creole restaurant is a must for New Orleanians.
1001 Poydras Street
Opening in the last few years, Copper Vine has become a staple restaurant for all meals of the day. This modern restaurant combines Cajun cuisine with healthy hipster preferences, and it works. The restaurant has proved to be an excellent spot for small and large parties, with snacks and shareables taking up much of the menu. The restaurant also offers a happy hour on all weekdays from 2:00 – 6:00 PM, serving drinks and snacks. The cocktail menu puts fun twists on classic cocktails, and the wine list encompasses wines from all over the world. Each of their menus is long and different, so you can always try something new or stick to your favorite dish. The outdoor patio is spacious and cozy, with plants and string lights warming the area. The tables and booths are well spaced out, as are all tables inside the restaurant. The service is great, the chef is talented, and the wait staff is generous and kind.
5757 Magazine Street
Located on Magazine Street, this well-known Israeli restaurant is a must. Chef Alon Shaya’s hummus dips are unbeatable and pair perfectly with other items on the menu. The restaurant has a large outdoor area that has been covered by tents and decorated with string lights, so even in the New Orleans rain you can enjoy a falafel. If you are eating during the day and want to get some heat, there are also tables not covered by the tent, where customers can be in the sun and soak in the summer. The menu is every food-lover’s dream, and the kids’ menu, which includes pizza and buttered noodles, allows for parents to relax and know that their kids will also be satisfied by the family outing.
4632 Freret Street
A new addition to New Orleans, Vals serves up tacos, ceviche, salads, and more. The Freret Street restaurant has a beautiful outdoor seating space that is partially covered and surrounded with grass. The drinks menu includes various margaritas and spirits, and there are pitcher options for larger parties. If you are in a rush but still want to try the food, Vals has a takeout window where you can order your meal and pick it up. The restaurant is a new experience that stands out on Freret Street.
700 Magazine Street
One of the best Italian meals in New Orleans is Chef Donald Link’s Gianna located in the Warehouse District. The restaurant has adorned the sidewalks with tables as well as spaced out the indoor set up to account for social distancing. The service is impeccable, as waiters are accommodating of any allergies and ensure customers are satisfied. The entrees include Cajun classics such as gulf shrimp in addition to Italian classics such as classic carbonara. From the group that brought you Herbsaint, Cochon, Péche, and more, Gianna is an up-and-coming restaurant that will leave you wanting more.
1320 Magazine Street
Located on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District, The Bower serves American cuisine with a Louisiana touch. Open for dinner, the restaurant includes classic starters such as tuna tartare, burrata, and beet salad. The charcuterie boards are delicious, with cheeses of all kinds to choose from. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor patio with lights, heaters, and grass. Large parties of seven or more are welcome, making this the perfect summer spot for a get-together.
4518 Magazine Street
When in the mood for a margarita and burrito, this is the place to go. Del Fuego has one of the best and most authentic Mexican menus in New Orleans, and their covered outdoor patio lets you be outside and comfortable while enjoying your dinner and staying cool. The restaurant has vegetarian and vegan options, and they do takeout and delivery. Additionally, Del Fuego adds a 22% Living Wage Service Charge to all dine-in, phone-in-takeout orders. They are passionate about providing their staff with a guaranteed equitable living wage of more than double the national minimum wage. They are fighting for all their workers to earn the same wages and be able to provide for themselves. Only thing better than a good Mexican meal is one at a place that cares!