It’s time to buy a bigger belt because you’re about to feast. New Orleans, while known for its fine dining restaurants, is also filled with equally great buttoned-down spots that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Visitors have access to classic New Orleans Creole, Southern, and Cajun cuisine, along with plenty of other options. These affordable restaurants are known for their huge, delectable dishes, and are cheap enough that you’ll still be able to afford to buy the next round of shots.
Port of CallPort of Call, Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA, United States
Port of Call is the spot for packs of guys to chow down in New Orleans. There might as well be a sign outside the door that says “bachelor parties only.” Grab a table and order one of the famous, award-winning burgers that this place has been serving up for some fifty years. The trademark 1/2-lb burgers are huge, messy, juicy, tender, and come with an equally enormous loaded potato. We recommend you load up the burgers with mushrooms and cheese and grab a cocktail; they’re stiff as hell, ensuring a clumsy night out after you leave the restaurant. You won’t spend more than $20 here since burgers start at $10.50 and only go up to $13. Just know that if you come during peak hours, you’ll be waiting outside until a table opens, which might take a while.
Elizabeth'sElizabeth's, Gallier Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
The Bywater District is is home to many important New Orleans restaurants. Elizabeth’s was one of the original pioneers, and it gets absolutely packed with locals and visitors alike. It’s a quirky place with signs, posters, stringed lights, and local art tacked up on every corner of the wall and even the entrance outside. Expect excellent, down-home country cooking. Skip dinner, which is expensive, and go for breakfast, which is what makes Elizabeth’s so popular. Pretty much everything on the breakfast menu (served until 2:30 pm) is under $10, like bananas foster stuffed french toast and breakfast burritos, although we recommend going for the Redneck Eggs ($15) which is fried green tomatoes topped with poached eggs and hollandaise, and comes with hashbrowns or grits and a biscuit.
MerilMeril, Girod Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
You can’t go to New Orleans and not dine at one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. While most of the New Orleans native’s restaurants are prohibitively expensive, Meril, in the Warehouse District, is more casual, an affordable alternative where everyone can get a taste of his signature cooking. You’ll find globally-inspired dishes here, and it gets really packed, so make a reservation. It’s heavy on comfort food and the portions are big, so be prepared to share the dishes. The jerk chicken thighs ($10), house-made sausage ($9), smoked pork belly with bourbon ($12), and lasagne bolognese ($10) are all great options–but we recommend the specialty, the muffaletta flatbread ($14), which is justifiably all the rage.
Brothers Fried Chicken222 Carondelet St, New Orleans, LA, United States
Maybe you and your boys have had an epic day and don’t necessarily have time for a proper sit-down meal before hitting the bars. Head to Brothers Fried Chicken. A small, counter-style, fast casual chicken spot inside a deli, its fried chicken is consistently rated among the top three in New Orleans. You’ll only pay about five bucks for some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever have. We have no idea what they do with the seasoning, but it’s the perfect flavor to compliment their just-as-perfectly fried crisp and juicy white and dark meat.
Willie Mae'sWillie Mae's Scotch House, Saint Ann Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
If you’re in the mood for amazing fried chicken, but want to have the full sit-down experience, skip Brothers and head to Willa Mae’s Scotch House. The chicken is as mind blowing as Brothers’–in fact it’s consistently voted one of the best fried chicken place in America–and three pieces will set you back $11, still a bargain. This is essential soul food dining in a no-frills atmosphere, and it’s been serving up it’s magical recipe since 1957.
Central GroceryCentral Grocery and Deli, Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
True to its name, Central Grocery is an actual grocery store right on Decatur in the French Quarter. But in the back, under blinding fluorescent lights and lined by counter stools, there are a few tables set up so you can chow on the muffaletta. These guys literally invented the muffuletta (one of the most iconic foods of New Orleans: basically a hoagie-style sandwich on sesame bread piled high with marinated olive salad, salami, ham, mortadella, provolone, and secret sauce). This place has been around since 1906, and there’s a reason why people have been coming back for more than a century. A full whole sandwich is $15, but it’s enormous, so you might want to opt for the half portions here.
Pizza DeliciousPizza Delicious, Piety Street, New Orleans, LA, United States
Pizza Delicious is a favorite among locals and visitors in the know. The owners of this pizza joint started off selling slices in an alleyway, and it was such a hit that they eventually opened a restaurant. Fans have consistently voted this the best pizza in New Orleans since it opened in 2012. That’s no surprise, as pretty much everything is perfect here. The dough is crispy and chewy, the sauce is rich, and the toppings are fresh. Pies are huge at about 18”, so they’re great for sharing, and will only set you back $19 for a pepperoni–though we suggest going for some of their most popular pies like spicy kale or braised brussels sprouts with smoked prosciutto and pickled red onion. Pizza Delicious is a magnet for hipsters in the Bywater District, and you can expect lines. The outdoor patio is a great social spot, and the beer and wine menus are expansive.