Where to Eat in New Orleans, According to Chef Nina Compton
Given the way food, history, and culture intersect in the Crescent City, it’s easy to see why our sister title Travel + Leisure selected New Orleans as one of the top cities in the U.S. in their 2018 World’s Best Awards. From its hedonistic party culture and soulful jazz to sugar-dusted beignets, NOLA is legendary. To help us discern the very best food spots to hit up, we chatted with one of the city’s most acclaimed chefs: F&W Best New Chef alum Nina Compton, the chef-owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro. Read on for her favorites.
“Willa Jean is a must. Chef Kelly Fields’ breads are amazing; she’s the pastry queen. You can tell that she is putting love into every single thing she makes.” Don’t miss the biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, or their daily specials.
“I buy all of the cheeses for my restaurants from St. James Cheese Company. The owners travel to Europe to handpick selections to import.” After shopping, linger for lunch, dinner, or an excellent cheese board.
“The Orange Couch is this cute little coffee shop in my neighborhood where I go to hang out and people watch.” Pro tip: Their counter is stacked with cookies and pastries, but the mochi is where it’s at.
“French 75 is a very French-feeling boutique bar with award-winning cocktails. When you walk in, it absolutely feels like you’re in New Orleans.” The bar is inside Arnaud’s restaurant, which turned 100 this year.
“One of my favorite things is the fried chicken at Dooky Chase’s. Leah Chase is 90-something years old, and she’s always in the kitchen.” This is classic, old-school Southern food at its best.
“Definitely go to Gene’s Po-Boys. My hangover go-to is the hot sausage and cheese.” Open 24 hours, the shop has a pink facade that is a beacon for bar crawlers and post-bar crawlers alike.
“If I want to buy rabbit, goat, or pork, I go to Shank Charcuterie. They have Italian cured meats, too.” Plus, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try boudin heated to order or the killer pimento cheeseburger.