11 Mouthwatering Brunch Spots In New Orleans

The word brunch made its first appearance in an 1895 essay, "Brunch: A Plea," by Guy Beringer, where he championed the meal, saying, "It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week." However, it wasn't until the 1930s that the concept of combining breakfast and lunch into a single meal took off in the States. It was during this time that hotels and restaurants started introducing brunch menus to cater to the changing preferences of their patrons.

In New Orleans, brunch is more than just a meal — it's a cherished tradition that brings family and friends together over a leisurely dining experience. On the weekends, the late morning meal provides the perfect opportunity to reminisce about a night out on the town or energize for upcoming festivities. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that these moments of connection are often accompanied by a cocktail or two.

When it comes to brunch, the Big Easy delivers plenty of options. From cozy neighborhood eateries to elegant restaurants that pull out all the stops, New Orleans has truly embraced the art of brunch. Whether you're in the mood for classic Southern comfort food, Creole-inspired treats, or classic brunch favorites, the city caters to all moods and palates.

1. Commander's Palace

The weekend jazz brunch at Commander's Palace is nothing short of a Garden District institution. Showcasing haute Creole cuisine with a modern twist, the restaurant follows a "dirt to plate within 100 miles" philosophy to ensure that its dishes are made from locally sourced ingredients with a minimal environmental footprint. And the efforts are paying off. Over the years, Commander's Palace has received no less than seven James Beard Foundation Awards.

The aptly named restaurant is housed in a stately Victorian mansion constructed by Amil Commander in 1893. Painted bright teal, the so-called "Victorian Cuckoo" structure has been the domain of the Brennan family since 1974. One of its current proprietors, Ti Martin, summed up the secret of the Commander's Palace's success in an interview with The Tennessean, saying, "We literally think that we're just as good as the last meal we served. Period. [...] Working from that premise every day is really what it's about."

Prepared by chef Meg Bickford and her team, Commander's Palace's brunch menu is served to the sounds of live jazz by Joe Simon's Jazz Trio. Some of the dishes made from the local bounty include Harris Ranch beef tournedos, Louisiana heirloom pepper shrimp curry, and crispy Louisiana catfish. To complement the cuisine, the restaurant offers a selection of cocktails known as the "Commander's Eye Openers." Try the classic Bloody Mary, indulge in watermelon sangria, or sip your way through the brandy milk punch.

2. Seafood Sally's

Fans of the popular '90s show "Baywatch" are in for a treat at Seafood Sally's. The restaurant's Baywatch Brunch combines delicious seafood dishes with the nostalgic memories of the iconic television series, which runs in the background as patrons indulge in their meal. Seafood enthusiasts shouldn't miss the shrimp & grits a la Hasselhoff, which features Pistol P's grilled jumbo shrimp with heirloom tomato chili gravy and Bayou Cora grits. The other options on the restaurant's brunch menu include French toast, buttermilk biscuits, or the Cajun breakfast plate with eggs, grits, and homemade tasso. Seafood Sally's also delivers in the booze department with its Red Eye Rum Punch, Mitch's Michelada, and Peach Ya to the Beach.

Opened in 2021, Seafood Sally's is set in a cottage that has seen its fair share of restaurants open and close. Its present incarnation exudes a distinct beach vacation vibe. Adorned with a wave-shaped bar and an eclectic assortment of knick-knacks, the pastel-colored restaurant is the second offering from chef Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney — the duo behind Marjie's Grill, a low-key NOLA eatery that combines local seafood with tastes of Southeast Asian. Perhaps Carney captures the essence of Seafood Sally's best in an interview with NOLA.com, saying, "What we've tried to do with [Seafood Sally's] is create a neighborhood joint — a place where you feel comfortable going anytime."

3. Miss River

Billed as chef Alon Shaya's "Love Letter to Louisiana," Miss River is a playground for the renowned culinary artist's unique take on Southern cuisine. And the restaurant's extensive brunch menu is no exception. The Miss River brunch combines Louisiana flavors with a modern twist and the sounds of live jazz in the elegant atmosphere of the lobby-level restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans. Best of all, the creative flare behind the dishes can be seen on the restaurant's Food Stage where the chefs plate their signature creations.

With a focus on ingredients procured from local farmers and fishermen, Miss River's multi-course brunch menu takes familiar dishes to new heights through intricate culinary techniques. Chef Shaya's brunch experience commences with a cocktail service, paving the way for starters like crab cakes, boudin, or oysters brochette. The feast continues with a main course that shines with offerings such as buttermilk fried chicken, filet mignon tournedos, and clay pot dirty rice with duck egg yolk, scallions, and liver pate.

There's little doubt that Miss River's patrons are feeling the love. One reviewer went as far as calling their brunch at the restaurant the highlight of their trip to New Orleans, adding, "Miss River brunch is hard to beat. [...] We were so impressed with the menu options, so local and different and so delicious." Another contented patron agreed, saying, "Amazing Bloody Marys with a wonderful assortment of garnishes and great music at brunch..not to mention delicious food!"

4. Mucho Más Mexican Eatery & Lounge

Looking to break away from the typical brunch offerings? The Mexican brunch at Mucho Más Mexican Eatery & Lounge has you covered. From vibrant colors to bold flavors, the fare here is bound to awaken your senses, particularly if you're looking for some post-night-out rejuvenation. Only in business since January, Mucho Más is the brainchild of Venezuela-born chef Julio Machado. Translating to Much More in English, Mucho Más is a modern enclave complete with sculptures, chandeliers, and a mini stage for live acts.

While the restaurant's brunch menu offers a lineup of long-standing Mexican favorites, it's by no means limited to the cuisine of one country. Indulge in traditional chilaquiles, a Mexican breakfast dish made with tortillas, salsa, cheese, eggs, and avocado. Alternatively, savor the restaurant's Mexican scrambled eggs accented with sofrito, tomato, and onions. Beyond the customary offerings, the menu surprises with choices one wouldn't normally expect at a Mexican restaurant. These include waffles and fried chicken, avocado toast with shrimp, and Nutella waffles paired with fresh berries.

No matter your choice, you can rest assured that your meal will follow Machado's culinary philosophy. The chef is a firm believer that food is a "celebration of life," elaborating, "At Mucho Más, we believe that life is too short to eat boring food. That's why we infuse every dish with a touch of playfulness and a pinch of spiciness to make your taste buds dance with joy!" (via U.S. Menu Guide).

5. Elizabeth's

Don't be surprised if you have to queue for Elizabeth's popular weekend brunch. Dished out on a first-come, first-served basis, the Bywater restaurant definitely lives up to its "Real Food Done Real Good" slogan. Made from scratch from top-notch ingredients by chef Bryon Peck, Elizabeth's brunch is served in a lively — almost raucous — atmosphere. Let's just say, if you're looking for style and sophistication, look elsewhere. However, if you're after delicious fare that's bound to hit the right spot, Elizabeth's is the palace to be.

Elizabeth's brunch menu abounds with beloved New Orleans classics and other culinary creations. Why not try the corn waffles topped with sweet potato, duck hash, and pepper jelly? Alternatively, opt for the chicken and sausage gumbo or the smoked salmon with brie on rye topped with fried eggs. And if you're feeling adventurous, try Elizabeth's unique invention — praline bacon. Finish your culinary journey with a choice of desserts that includes pecan pie, bread pudding, or ooey gooey cake.

There's a good reason why Elizabeth's brunch is the talk of the town. One enthusiastic reviewer praises the restaurant, saying, "This might be my new favorite brunch in the city. [...] The spinach cream sauce on the potatoes was heavenly. Perfectly poached eggs. Custard on the French toast was delicious. [...] Amazing." Another patron echoes this sentiment, saying, "Elizabeth's brunch hits right every time, no matter what you order! We've been many times over the years, and it is still great."

6. Bakery Bar

Located near a busy overpass on the outskirts of the Garden District, the Bakery Bar may not make much of an impression from the outside. Once you enter the small premises, however, it's a whole different story. The charming space exudes the nostalgia of a cozy 1960s neighborhood bar, complete with books and games to entertain you as you unwind over a meal and a drink.

Perfect for those who like to brunch during the week, the Bakery Bar offers two separate brunch menus — one for weekdays and one for weekends. Both menus offer classics such as French toast, breakfast tacos with scrambled eggs and vegetables, patatas bravas with poached eggs, and Cuban sandwiches. The more expansive weekend menu also offers chia seed pudding, eggs Benedict, and the BB breakfast sandwich with a buttermilk biscuit, garlic aioli, bacon, eggs, and cheese.

While the Bakery Bar's brunch definitely holds its own, the cafe's original claims to fame are doberge cakes and cocktails. The eatery's proprietors, Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV, originally ran a pop-up affair called Debbie Does Doberge, which specialized in the famous NOLA multi-layered cake. In fact, you can still order different flavors of the cake at the restaurant including pecan praline, Irish mocha, and triple chocolate. In addition, the Bakery Bar boasts a captivating array of over 15 cocktails, each a masterpiece of imaginative mixology. Among the innovative concoctions is the intriguing Whatchamadrinkit, blending bourbon, peanut butter whiskey, and chocolate mole bitters.

7. Arnaud's Restaurant

Named its first proprietor, Arnaud Cazenave, Arnaud's has been serving Creole specialties to hungry patrons since way back in 1918. Having undergone multiple renovations, today Arnaud's features exquisite dining rooms adorned with majestic chandeliers, antiques, rich wood paneling, tiled floors, and tastefully designed wall coverings. Moreover, a surprise awaits in the extra rooms of the restaurant — the Mardi Gras Museum. Here, visitors can marvel at the splendid gowns once worn to the grand event by none other than Arnaud's daughter, Germaine Cazenave Wells.

While Arnaud's is an experience in its own right, the French Quarter restaurant's claim to fame is its iconic Sunday Dixieland jazz brunch. The three-course dining experience, which will set you back the price of the entrée, starts with an appetizer. And there are plenty of NOLA classics to choose from including seafood gumbo, turtle soup, and the restaurant's signature dish: shrimp Arnaud made with Gulf shrimp coated in a tangy Creole remoulade sauce.

Arnaud's entrée selection includes five different styles of eggs, including poached variations. For those seeking heartier options, the menu offers flash-seared baby veal scaloppine braised in a vegetable sauce and served with cheese grits. Another meaty delight is the panéed veal loin with capers, brown butter, and a fried egg. When it comes to dessert, the restaurant's pièce de résistance is the bananas Foster, flamed with banana liqueur and dark rum tableside for your viewing pleasure.

8. Mister Mao

From the moment you step foot in Mister Mao, you know that you are in for an experience where conventions take a back seat. Billing itself as a "tropical roadhouse" that's "quirky, eclectic, and unapologetically inauthentic," Mister Mao's dining room and bar greet patrons with a light pink and dark teal color scheme, high ceilings, and an array of gold-framed mirrors. The main focal point of the restaurant is a striking mural of two tigers in a pastel-colored jungle painted by a local artist Margie Tillman Ayres.

Despite its name, Mister Mao is not a Chinese restaurant — the venue is named after the proprietor's cat. Instead, Chef Sophina Uong's unorthodox menu invites you on a culinary journey where unexpected flavor combinations are the order of the day. And while Mister Mao's Sunday brunch lineup changes on a regular basis, it's always inspired by global flavors from as far afield as India and Asia. Some of Mister Mao's past offerings have included such treats as Kashmiri chili fried chicken, coffee-smothered chickpeas, and Gulf shrimp dumplings.

Since the dishes are served tasting plate-style, it's recommended that each patron explores the diverse selection by ordering two to three plates. Additionally, the menu boasts a selection of creatively named cocktail concoctions, including favorites like Walk of Shame, Overserved, Daddy Issues, and Uncle Butthead.

9. Vessel

What sets Vessel apart from the NOLA brunch pack is its unusual setting. The restaurant is nestled in a refurbished 1914 Lutheran church right in the center of Mid-City. Some of the remnants of the building's past life include a lofty wooden ceiling that resembles a ship's hull and enchanting stained glass windows. The restaurant has even made an appearance on "The Dead Files" after business partners Alec Wilder and Eddie Dyer alleged that it was plagued by paranormal activity. Despite the eerie reputation, however, the restaurant's ambiance remains both charming and welcoming.

When it comes to the menu, Vessel focuses on dishes that make the most of seasonal ingredients sourced in the area. The restaurant's extensive brunch menu features a slew of classic appetizers, entrées, and sides. Opt for chicken or blueberry waffles, Louisiana jumbo shrimp and grits, or a brunch burger with a half-pound beef patty. Vessel's dedication to quality extends beyond its delectable dishes to include imaginative cocktails and a selection of craft beers. Interestingly, one of the restaurant's owners also runs The Bulldog, a well-known craft beer bar.

10. Atchafalaya

Despite its humble appearance, Atchafalaya's brunch fills up fast so be sure to reserve a table. Nestled in a cozy Creole cottage in the predominantly residential Irish Channel, Atchafalaya serves brunch five days per week, including on the weekend. The rustic building comes with a storied history, dating back to 1924 when it was the home of an Italian restaurant called Petrossi's. And while Atchafalaya's exterior reflects its long past, the restaurant's interior is both cozy and modern, with high ceilings, paintings, tiled flooring, and ample lighting.

Atchafalaya's brunch menu is packed with iconic Southern-Creole dishes including some very tasty NOLA staples. From gumbo du jour to waffle chicken to Lowcountry shrimp and grits with Creole-spiced shrimp broth, the restaurant's dishes are a celebration of both local flavors and produce. There are also dishes that could easily grace the tables of any restaurant across the country. These include the kale and goat cheese salad, housemade granola parfait, and deviled eggs.

One of Atchafalaya's most beloved attractions is the famous Bloody Mary Bar, affectionately referred to as the "Vodka Salad Bar." Back in the day when the restaurant didn't have an alcohol license, the setup encouraged patrons to bring their own liquor. Today, it's a quintessential part of the Atchafalaya brunch experience.

11. Toups Meatery

A gastronomic wonderland for carnivores, Toups Meatery has been redefining what it means to sink your teeth into meat-based creations since opening its doors in 2012. The weekend brunch of Cajun-inspired dishes features a range of small plates, such as crispy turkey necks and pickle-brined fried chicken oysters. Toups Meatery also caters to the cravings of those with a heartier appetite with a selection of large plates. Think mouthwatering mustard-crusted rack of elk or succulent Raynes Farm wagyu steak accompanied by crispy herb potatoes and fried eggs.

Toups Meatery represents chef Isaac Toups homage to his Rayne, Louisiana heritage. Toups' interest in Cajun cuisine was sparked early by his grandmothers. As he embarked on his culinary journey, Toups perfected his skills in some of NOLA's most prestigious restaurants, with an impressive decade-long tenure for Emeril Lagasse.

Toups' efforts seem to be paying off, with overwhelmingly positive reviews from experts and patrons alike. Brett Anderson from NOLA.com writes that the Mid-City restaurant "risks predictability with imagination and heart," adding, "The restaurant may not be something new under the sun, but it's also not a carbon copy of anything else. If you've had these dishes before, it hasn't been in exactly the way Toups prepares them." Customers also seem impressed with their dining experience, with one reviewer saying, "I had a little of everything and thought [that the brunch] was all great. [...] The waiter was friendly and everything came out hot and fairly quickly."