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These 10 New Orleans restaurants nail outdoor dining

With its balmy temps and lively soul, New Orleans is an outdoor dining paradise. There are a myriad of options for enjoying a meal under sunny or moonlit skies in Crescent City. A rooftop bar by the tracks in old Metairie is ideal for date night beneath the stars. A French Quarter stalwart draws consistent crowds for elegant Creole fare and a burbling courtyard fountain. In the Central Business District, jaw-dropping river views await at a swanky hotel restaurant steered by a James Beard Award winner. Read on for a guide to 10 possibilities for a memorable alfresco meal—some casual, a few fancy, but each one offering the chance to take a delicious break from the ordinary. These New Orleans restaurants nail outdoor dining.

A photo of Otlogo
Beth D'Addono
10 Restaurants
Updated May 09, 2023
Restaurants:Brennan's, Cafe Degas, The Bower
Price Range:$$ - $$$
Cuisines:Creole, French, Contemporary American
Neighborhoods:French Quarter, Mid-City / City Park, Lower Garden District
A photo of Brennan's restaurant

Brennan's

$$$$
Creole
French Quarter
4.8
9711 reviews

Although all of Brennan’s is wonderful, from its flamingo pink exterior to the aviary-themed back bar, its courtyard is sheer magic. The beautifully preserved space feels celebratory thanks to verdant landscaping and a burbling fountain. It’s a setting fit for weddings or milestone parties—and Champagne sabering, which unfolds at 5 pm from Thursday to Monday. If you’re here for a romantic dinner, the outdoor space invites lingering, as do Southern stalwarts such as smothered shrimp and grits and Gulf fish amandine. Don’t skip the bananas Foster, a boozy flambéed dessert that traces its origins to this very place.



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A photo of Cafe Degas restaurant

Cafe Degas

$$$$
French
Mid-City / City Park
4.7
2488 reviews

Cafe Degas has offered a place to rendezvous on leafy Esplanade Avenue since 1986 and serves romance and elegant French cuisine in equal portions. The entire restaurant comes with an outdoor vibe—there’s a tree growing through the center of the main dining room, after all—but al fresco options have multiplied recently: Additional covered seating on the front porch area and the side let diners enjoy escargot and bouillabaisse in an inviting streetside setting.



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Takeout available
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A photo of The Bower restaurant

The Bower

$$$$
Contemporary American
Lower Garden District
4.6
530 reviews

The word “bower” conjures a shaded country lane, a welcoming respite from city life, rich with greenery. That’s exactly the vibe at this modern farm-centric restaurant tucked in the Lower Garden District. Talented executive chef Marcus Woodham (of Bar Frances fame) helms an astonishingly lean kitchen team and turns out housemade charcuterie and pastas, seafood, and heritage meats. Dine on the back patio, a pretty setting perfect for the Bower’s locally sourced American dishes—and plenty of fresh air.



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Experiences available
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A photo of The Clubhouse at Audubon Park restaurant

The Clubhouse at Audubon Park

$$$$
Bistro
Uptown
4.4
320 reviews

Imagine grazing on smoked pork belly tacos or a riot of spinach, strawberries, and goat cheese on a cozy patio surrounded by historic oaks and lush garden views. That’s the joy of dining at The Clubhouse, a treat reserved for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday lunch, plus brunch on the weekends. Start your Saturday with chicken and waffles and a bloody Mary, and go ahead, have key lime pie for dessert. There’s a two-mile track just steps away for a much-needed after-brunch walk.



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A photo of The Country Club restaurant

The Country Club

$$$$
Creole / Cajun / Southern
Bywater
4.8
935 reviews

You might want to bring a swimsuit to lunch or dinner at this hidden Bywater gem. Besides enjoying chef Chris Barbato’s modern Italian and Creole cuisine on a front veranda framed by stately columns and palm fronds, the back patio includes tables around the popular pool (day passes are available for a fee). The daily menu includes beignets filled with blue crab and sofrito mascarpone, Caprese pasta, duck cassoulet, and crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon and Parmesan cheese.



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Takeout available
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A photo of San Lorenzo at Hotel Saint Vincent restaurant

San Lorenzo at Hotel Saint Vincent

$$$$
Contemporary Italian
Garden District
4.6
569 reviews

The Hotel Saint Vincent’s restaurant is named for the patron saint of cooks. Fittingly, it offers delectable coastal Italian cuisine, served in an elegant dining room and on an outdoor porch patio. With touches of New Orleans, the menu includes housemade pasta—try the fresh linguine vongole—grilled Creole oysters, scampi risotto, and flounder piccata. Preface your meal with a drink at Paradise Lounge, an airy, sun-drenched space that also includes porch seating.



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A photo of Chemin à la Mer restaurant

Chemin à la Mer

$$$$
Contemporary French / American
Central Business District
4.6
712 reviews

Take in jaw-dropping river views at this Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans restaurant steered by James Beard Award-winner Donald Link. Chemin à la Mer boasts a wraparound patio that overlooks the Mississippi River’s hairpin turn—the very reason New Orleans is nicknamed the Crescent City. In addition to the awe-inspiring vistas, a meal at this fifth-floor restaurant features a grand oyster bar, specialty steaks, and Gulf seafood, all steeped in French traditions. Breakfast here is also a hit, featuring boudin-stuffed beignets, a French goat cheese omelet, and buttermilk pancakes.



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A photo of Café Sbisa restaurant

Café Sbisa

$$$$
Cajun
French Quarter
4.6
1225 reviews

This second-floor balcony is highly sought after, thanks to streetscape views and lacy wrought-iron accents. Café Sbisa is a century-old French Quarter brasserie led by chef and partner Alfred Singleton, who worked his way up from busboy to chef. Singleton’s outstanding French Creole dishes include crab cakes made with Louisiana blue crab and fried oysters Sbisa, served with creamed spinach and a hot sauce-laced hollandaise.



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A photo of Monday Restaurant + Bar restaurant

Monday Restaurant + Bar

$$$$
American
Mid-City / City Park
4.3
212 reviews

This Mid-City pub originally opened as Trep’s in 2020, a spectacular outdoor party space with plenty of flat-screen televisions for watching the game. Now owned by chef Lenora Chong and her son Larry Morrow (the duo behind Morrow’s in the Marigny), Monday boasts a tasty menu of casual fare, from boudin egg rolls and hot wings with sweet Thai chile sauce to a salmon burger and a crispy catfish platter.



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A photo of Parish Line Bistro Bar restaurant

Parish Line Bistro Bar

$$$$
Bistro
Metairie
4.2
74 reviews

The rooftop bar atop Parish Line Bistro is ideal for date night under the stars. Then again, it’s always a good time to visit this cafe by the tracks in old Metairie. Chef Chris Wilson, who worked with the Emeril Restaurant Group for years, offers a creative array of bar bites, including tuna ceviche, a top-notch burger, and a killer whole-roasted cauliflower slathered with Parmesan and garlic. A fancy louvered roof system with retractable side screens keeps the outdoor space climate-controlled year round.



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