Eat Cheap in New Orleans
Come to the Big Easy to discover some little-known restaurants that have great food at rock-bottom prices.
When in search of great food at bargain prices, how could you not find the ultimate cheap eat in the city that gave us po'boys, beignets, and oyster bars? Whether splurging for dinner by the city's many celebrated culinary wizards or settling in for a $4 overstuffed muffuletta sandwich, diners can find a memorable meal on any budget in New Orleans. And because the Big Easy attracts those who love and live to eat, stiff competition keeps prices reasonable. From all-you-can-devour fried chicken to elegant tapas, there are a wealth of ways to enjoy great food without spending a lot of cash.
In this casual Uptown restaurant, you'll see photographs of Muhammad Ali, rave restaurant reviews, and a framed letter of praise from Bob Hope and his pilots. But they can never overshadow the real star--the fried chicken. Cooked up hot and fresh by 18-year veteran Jeffery Jones, the crispy bird crowds plates alongside red beans and rice, cornbread, and salad.
Noel Authement, a local fitness guru, hadn't eaten fried chicken in 25 years, but he recently muscled his way into Dunbar's and ate seconds and thirds--all for the unbeatable price of $5.99. "Ask for it hot, right out of the fryer," swoons Noel, "that's when it's the best."
A friendly and relaxed atmosphere welcomes seriously hungry diners who venture from as far away as England and as close as St. Charles Avenue. Lunch bustles with federal judges, councilmen, students, construction workers, and hospital interns.
Even if you're seated across from a celebrity or high-powered state politician, what will really get your attention, along with the fried chicken, are the pork chop plate ($6.25) and a bowl of seafood gumbo with potato salad ($5.50). The most expensive item on the menu is a gargantuan platter of perfectly fried seafood for $15.95, which could easily feed the whole family. To round out the all-star cast, try mustard greens, lima beans, and candied yams. Wash it all down with an ice-cold Barq's root beer straight from the bottle. 4927 Freret Street; (504) 899-0734. Breakfast: starts at $1.99; fried chicken lunch: $5.99; lunch plates: $4.75-$15.95.
Locals pack this Warehouse District eatery at night, so beat the crowd and the dinner prices and go for lunch instead. At $12 for the most expensive main course, try this unbeatable bargain for some of the freshest seafood in the city.
Co-owner and chef Adolfo Garcia, a New Orleans native and graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, returned home after 10 years of cooking in New York and Spain. He has created a Latin-inspired menu rooted in Southern generosity. Choices vary, but if available, try silky skate with lemon, capers, and brown butter; char-grilled oysters; or pan-roasted monkfish beside a small forest of fresh hearts of palm and passion fruit-butter sauce.