It's hard not to fall in love with New Orleans. The Creole charm, the Southern flair, and the historic architecture are enough to seduce just about anyone. While the French Quarter is postcard-perfect, it's also home to Bourbon Street in all its colorful Mardi Gras madness. There is no visiting New Orleans without hopping around a few jazz bars, so you'll need a solid foundation to balance out the cocktails. Luckily, New Orleans is also a surprising food capital in its own right. Step out of your room at the Hyatt Centric and into the heart of the action of the French Quarter to sample the city's best food. Look no further: These are the must-try restaurants in The Big Easy.
Any doughnut fanatic will attest: There is no better way to start a day in New Orleans than with a pit stop at District Donuts. Grab a coffee from the full espresso bar, and sample the unusual donut flavors, which rotate daily. There are three locations in the city, but our personal favorite is on Magazine Street, a quaint shopping district uptown filled with décor and fashion boutiques like Elle and Sunday Shop.
Quaint cocktail bars are few and far between in the French Quarter, which makes Cane & Table a welcomed diamond in the rough. Sit at the bar of this Old Havana–inspired space for happy hour, and choose from its vast selection of inventive craft cocktails and Caribbean snacks.
Step into Turkey and the Wolf and back in time. This '50s-inspired diner is filled with nostalgic memorabilia, but the real attraction here is the selection of sandwiches. Make no mistake—this isn't your average lunch. This sandwich shop in the sleepy Irish Channel neighborhood was voted Bon Appétit's best restaurant of 2017. The lamb neck roti is worth writing home about, while the fried bologna sandwich is a trip down memory lane. This is the perfect quick but memorable lunch.
Stop by the lobby of the Art Deco–inspired Ace Hotel for a quick happy hour drink. This elegantly decorated space feels like you're stepping into a different era with its plush leather armchairs, intricate wood panelings, and sky-high ceilings. The bustling Lobby Bar is the perfect stop before dinner at Josephine Estelle, the Ace's Southern-inspired osteria. The hotel also has its very own Stumptown Coffee Roasters, so you can get your espresso fix at any time of the day.
You wouldn't expect to find one of the best Israeli restaurants outside of Israel in New Orleans, but this is exactly what makes Shaya a delightful surprise. If you've already noshed on a few too many oyster po'boys, head over to Magazine Street's Shaya for brunch or dinner. The selection of hummus comes with toppings ranging from soft-cooked eggs to curried cauliflower and is served with thick fresh pita bread that more closely resembles naan bread than your traditional American pita. Try the crispy halloumi, Israeli salad, and roasted chicken sandwich.
If the weather permits, book a table in the back garden at Sylvain in the heart of the French Quarter. Surrounded by trees and string lights, the garden sets the tone for a memorable evening. Start with one of the signature cocktails and selection of veal sweetbreads, stuffed banana peppers, and Gulf fish crudo. This James Beard–nominated restaurant is guaranteed to impress.
Looking for the perfect Southern lunch? Make your way to Willa Jean for a mouthwatering sampling of biscuits, pimento cheese, cornbread, or shrimp and grits. Wash it down with a glass of the popular frosé. The contemporary bakery counter also means you can grab signature pastries to-go.
New Orleans is perhaps not the place you'd expect to find a rooftop bar, but Hot Tin, located in the Pontchartrain Hotel, will give you unparalleled views of the city skyline and Mississippi River in a Soho House–esque setting. This local favorite is the perfect place to grab a sunset cocktail in a lively atmosphere before heading to dinner.
When your friends return to August twice on a three-day trip, you know it's worth a try. August is set in a classic 19th-century French-Creole building and has multiple dining rooms. The black truffle Parmesan gnocchi is a must, as is the raviolo uovo. The extensive wine list ensures you will stay satiated throughout the evening.
This press trip was paid for by Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans. Editors' opinions are their own.