Must-Try Foods at Mardi Gras – Food & Beverage

It’s Carnival season in New Orleans! In between all the parades, cocktails and king cakes, reset and refuel at these top New Orleans restaurants and bars. Be sure to stay up to date on social media to find out Mardi Gras specials and activations at each spot.


Osteria Lupo: After catching all the beads and throws, head uptown for respite and dinner at Osteria. The brainchild of Chef Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieri, who own wildly-popular Spanish-inspired restaurant Costera, Osteria Lupo showcases Northern Italian cuisine with a variety of house-made pastas; roasted meats and vegetables from the wood-fired oven; seafood and other regional specialties. Guests can enjoy a menu of shareable plates, along with a stellar wine program and full bar. The 4,700 square foot space has been transformed into a stunning space seating approximately 140. Exposed industrial ceilings and polished concrete are balanced with warm hues of blue, soft globe pendant lighting and blonde wood. The open kitchen with a mosaic tiled wood-fire oven serves as the focal point of the restaurant, while an adjacent bar and lounge area are the perfect perch for drinks with friends or casual dining. Visit and stay up-to-date on Instagram @osterialupo.


Compère Lapin: Located right on the parade route, Chef Nina Compton’s beloved New Orleans restaurant in the Old No. 77 Hotel – Compère Lapin – has received critical acclaim, including Eater National’s “Best Restaurants in America” and a rave review in The New York Times. Compère Lapin is the first New Orleans restaurant to receive the prestigious Spirited Award® by the Tales of The Cocktail Foundation – honored as the “Best American Hotel Bar”. The renowned neighborhood restaurant features robust dishes that meld the flavors of Compton’s Caribbean upbringing and love for French and Italian cuisine, while highlighting the Gulf and Louisiana’s beautiful indigenous ingredients. At Compère Lapin, Compton serves up a menu that is as diverse, colorful and tempting as the city itself. Complementing Compton’s delectable fare, the award-winning beverage program at Compère Lapin pays homage to New Orleans’ rich cocktail heritage, making it one of the hottest restaurants in NOLA.  Compère Lapin is located in The Old No. 77.



Mister Mao: Named one of the “50 Best New Restaurants 2022” by Bon Appètit, Mister Mao is the tropical roadhouse restaurant from Chef/Owner Sophina Uong and husband/partner William Greenwell. With a bar and lounge called “Naked Bills”; a vibrant and lively dining room; and an interactive Chef’s Counter, Mister Mao is the perfect perch to gather with friends for a festive evening filled with creative, “inauthentic” food and killer cocktails. The restaurant features a static menu of eclectic globally-inspired cuisine, along with an ever-changing selection of small plates served from roving carts. The whimsically-themed menu categories include Drinking Snacks, Foods We Love to Share, These Bring Us Joy + Hellfire Heartburn, and Here Comes the Chuck Wagon. Diners can enjoy creative dishes like Kashmiri Fried Chicken; Plaquemine Parish Kale Pakora; Pani Puri with fiery mint water, Alabama Corn Pudding, and Backwater Duck Confit. Mister Mao is located at 4501 Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans.




Commons Club New Orleans: Just a stone’s throw from all the parades and the social epicenter of Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Commons Club is a dynamic restaurant, bar, and lounge offering a modern social club experience for locals and visitors alike. The Kitchen at Commons Club features an array of dining spaces, from a communal Chef’s table and open kitchen to relaxed “porch” seating and private dining rooms. At the helm is Executive Chef Chris Borges who will put his creative spin on Southern seasonal cuisine with Mediterranean and West Coast influences. The Bar at Commons Club welcomes a mix of live New Orleans entertainment and offers thoughtfully crafted cocktails, a curated wine and Champagne selection, and tempting bar bites. Those seeking a more intimate setting will enjoy The Shag Room – a playful lounge featuring colorful furniture for ample seating, plush, luxurious fabrics, custom decoupage wallpaper, and local New Orleans art. The Shag Room is perfect for a gathering of friends, an intimate soiree, and private events. For more information, visit Commons Club New Orleans. Stay up to date on Instagram at @commonsclubnola.


Birdy’s: Birdy’s Behind the Bower is the charming Instagram-worthy spot perched in the back of New Orleans’ Framework building in the Lower Garden District. The restaurant serves an all-day brunch featuring Southern-inspired, locally sourced American cuisine inside and in the welcoming outdoor courtyard. Chefs work closely with partner farm, Sugar Roots, to source fresh, local ingredients for dishes that range from comforting house-made breakfast items and specialty toasts to health-conscious power bowls and salads. Standouts include Polenta Toast – crispy white cheddar polenta, Buster crab, roasted poblano pepper and corn vinaigrette, queso fresco; a festive Funfetti Bubble Waffle served with Louisiana strawberries, chantilly cream and granola. Of course, Birdy’s famed Brunch Board – donut, granola, slab bacon, hot coppa, bubble waffle, fruit, seasonal jam, mini cookies, mini pancakes, triple crème brie, soft boiled eggs; and Biscuit Board – whipped local honey butter, seasonal jam, chicken sausage gravy are also available. Also available are $20 Bottomless Mimosas and Birdy’s Bloody Mary; along with signature cocktails like the Cold Brew Old Fashioned – Jameson, cold brew, mole bitters and Hummingbird – white peach Grey Goose, fiero, simple syrup, grapefruit, orange juice, luxardo cherries. Birdy’s Behind the Bower is located at 1320 Magazine Street in New Orleans. Telephone: (504) 302 2992. Reservations can be made online at




Costera: Costera is the wildly popular coastal Spanish restaurant & bar in Uptown New Orleans. Under the direction of Chef Brian Burs and Reno De Ranieri, who also own Northern Italian hotspot, Osteria Lupo, Costera serves an extensive selection of small and large plates, meant to be shared. The restaurant highlights Louisiana produce and Gulf seafood in a modern, yet casual, communal-dining setting. Dishes range from the rustic simplicity of Pan con Tomate with roasted garlic aioli to a sophisticated Braised Lamb Shank with salsa verde and Manchego.  Cocktails run the gamut from light spritzes to boozy concoctions and the wine program highlights Old World Spanish and French selections. A stunning two-story private dining room makes for the perfect celebration and the restaurant also offers a tasting menu. The restaurant is located at 4938 Prytania Street in New Orleans. Visit for additional information.


The Bower: Located in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District, The Bower is the culinary darling of Latter Hospitality (Tujague’s and Birdy’s). Executive Chef Marcus Woodham, who has worked at some of NOLA’s most acclaimed restaurants including Luke, Restaurant Patois, and Galatoire’s, works closely with partner farm Sugar Roots to provide a menu featuring the best seasonal ingredients from the fields and garden. Diners can enjoy house made pastas such as rigatoni with ground shrimp and crab and tagliatelle with chicken saltimbocca, prosciutto, capers, and spinach, to mains like seared scallops with Maggie Mushroom conserva, farro and hot coppa and paneed pork loin with mint, radish, avocado, and watermelon molasses. Cocktails, under the direction of Mickey Mullins, are created with the same farm-fresh ingredients from Sugar Roots and are an exercise in both creativity and meticulous execution. The Bower is located at 1320 Magazine Street, New Orleans. Telephone: (504) 582-9738;



Tujague’s – Right in the center of it all in the French Quarter, the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans and the third oldest continuously operating restaurant in the U.S., Tujague’s Restaurant is the birthplace of brunch and the Grasshopper cocktail.  From Presidential visits by Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and France’s De Gaulle to the many obstacles and challenges the restaurant faced, the story of Tujague’s is multi-faceted. The iconic dining institution recently celebrated its 165th anniversary in its new location at 429 Decatur. Under the auspices of Executive Chef Gus Martin, the menu at Tujague’s features both classics like Turtle Soup and Shrimp and Grits, along with creative dishes including Crispy Pork Belly with parmesan polenta and pepper jelly gastrique; Oysters en Brochette – bacon wrapped Gulf oysters with wilted spinach, Crystal butter sauce and tomato jam; and a Pan Roasted Maple Leaf Duck Breast with foie gras mashed potatoes, wilted spinach and orange rosemary demi-glace. Guests can also take part in the Table d’hôte – the five-course tradition that was the only menu served from 1856-2013. New brunch offerings and a brand-new selection of cocktails make Tujague’s the perfect perch for modern Creole cuisine and innovative libations served up in a four-story space complete with private dining rooms and courtyard seating. Tujague’s is located at 429 Decatur Street. Reservations are encouraged and can be made on OpenTable. Telephone: (504) 525-8676;

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The Bower Bar: The Bower Bar is the perfect perch to gather with friends for cocktails, conversation, and bites. The indoor/outdoor space has a lush look and feel with living green walls and plants from locally-owned landscape architects, Luna Botanicals. The cocktail program at The Bower Bar is under the direction of Beverage Director Mickey Mullins and features field-to-glass libations focusing on the seasonal herbs, flowers and produce from local partners Sugar Roots Farm.  Cocktails include 51 Problems – beet-infused mezcal, passionfruit, lime, Suze, demerara, and a smoked salt rim; LGD – reposado, hibiscus, orange flower, orgeat, and mole bitters; and the Hydrix – bourbon, mint-infused contratto, amaro, and aquafaba. Zero-proof drinks are also on offer featuring the Sugar Roots Spritz with house made hibiscus syrup, lime and soda, and Pear-Ly There – spiced pear puree and tonic.  Wines are equally impressive and include small production vintners, as well as widely-known global collections. Guests at The Bower Bar can enjoy the same culinary creations found next door at The Bower, along with the famed “boards” for cheese and charcuterie. Executive Chef Marcus Woodham focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients, housemade pastas, and sustainably sourced seafood. Happy Hour at The Bower Bar, which takes place Monday – Saturday from 4PM to 6PM, is certain to tantalize with $8 signature cocktails and daily House Punch; $7 house wine-by-the-glass; and $4 beer. Food offerings include discounted ($6-12) charcuterie plates, cheese plates, cacio e pepe, crispy cauliflower, whipped feta and warm Castelvetrano olives. 1320 Magazine Street The Bower Bar.