Where to Eat & Drink in the Big Easy
By Donald Link
New Orleans has countless classic bars and restaurants. One of my favorite things about this city is how these old classics work with some of the newer classics and interesting aspects of the scene that make New Orleans such a fascinating place to be.
Guys Po-Boys is my place for a shrimp or catfish po’boy. I have been going here for 20 years and it still remains my #1 po’boy shop. Marvin is always behind the counter making the sandwiches.
The Bouligny Tavern and the Kingpin are my top bars in town. Bouligny for cocktails and wine in a stylish uptown setting next to Lilette. When I’m feeling like being down home and maybe a little rowdier, I head to the Kingpin for good company, beer and bourbon. This is definitely a local’s Uptown bar.
If you’re in the mood to sit out on a beautiful covered patio and drink some classics check out The Columns on St. Charles Avenue. Great place for outdoor drinks and a great view. For the upscale drink experience check out Cure or Bellocq. Their craft cocktails were one of, if not the first, wave to hit New Orleans and the owners couldn’t be better.
As for restaurants, I’m just going to throw mine right out there to start: Herbsaint, Cochon, Peche, and Butcher.
Herbsaint lunch on the sidewalk watching streetcars go by has always been one of my favorite spots in the city.
I love how New Orleans has so many great neighborhood places. Lilette, Clancy’s, and Patois uptown. Dooky Chase, Willie Mae’s, Liuzza’s, Vincent’s, and Satsuma Cafe are just a small sample of some really great independent spots. And there’s R & O in Bucktown, which is worth the visit just to get the R & O special: a hot ham and roast beef po’boy with gravy and mayonnaise (and lettuce and tomato on a sesame po’boy bun).
The Boulangerie uptown has always been my favorite bakery in town and recently seems to have inspired a mini boom of new bakeries, including Gracious and Breads on Oak. During Mardi Gras, this is where I get my Gallette de Roi, the French version of a King Cake, which I prefer since it’s not so sweet.
About Chef Donald Link
Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Recognized as one of New Orleans’ preeminent chefs, Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with several restaurants over the course of the past thirteen years. Herbsaint, a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro” was Link’s first restaurant. Cochon, opened with chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, is where Link offers true Cajun and Southern cooking featuring the foods and cooking techniques he grew up preparing and eating. Cochon Butcher is a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops which also serves a bar menu, sandwiches, wine and creative cocktails. Calcasieu is Chef Link’s private event facility that takes its name from one of the parishes in the Acadiana region of southwest Louisiana. In the spring of 2013, Chef Link celebrated the opening of Pêche Seafood Grill in New Orleans.
Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant; The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook– Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. Released in 2009. Real Cajun is a collection of family recipes that Link has honed and perfected while honoring the authenticity of the Cajun people. Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Gourmet Magazine listed Herbsaint as one of the top 50 restaurants in America, and was inducted into the Nations Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and recently named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restaurateur of the Year in 2012.
This February, Link celebrates the release of his second cookbook “Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything,” (Clarkson-Potter), which looks beyond New Orleans and Louisiana at dishes in nearby states.
For more information please visit: www.DonaldLink.com