New Orleans cuisine just keeps getting better, thanks to a new generation of chefs who aren’t afraid to branch out from their Cajun and Creole predecessors. And thanks to a collective embrace of Italy’s finest flavors, the Big Easy has become one of the country’s most surprising pizza destinations. With expertly wood-fired pies on menus all over town, you can get the best of the boot and your beignets in a single weekend.
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Chef Susan Spicer is part of the old guard, but her Lakeview establishment shows she’s keeping up with the young guns. Pizzas here are blistered and chewy, and you won’t be disappointed whether you opt for the basic margherita or something more ornate: Start your day with a breakfast pizza of potatoes, bacon, ricotta and Parmesan, with a perfectly runny egg on top.
Order: Get the best of both worlds by finishing your meal with cinnamon beignets with honey yogurt.
900 Harrison Ave.; 504-224-2633 or mondoneworleans.com
The Roosevelt Hotel
Huey Long is no longer a fixture at this 1893 grand dame, but thanks to a huge renovation, the property is once again poised to be one of the South’s premier hotels. Plus, there’s Domenica, a modern Italian kitchen whose sleek look belies its peasant-style fare, including a series of exemplary Neapolitan pizzas.
Order: Chef Alon Shaya’s extended pilgrimage in Italy pays off when it comes to his speck-and-gorgonzola pie.
123 Baronne St.; 504-648-1200 or therooseveltneworleans.com
The pet project of two ex-New Yorkers, this tiny operation serves its crisp-but-pliant pies out of a commercial kitchen. It’s only open on Thursdays and Sundays, so make it the coda to your weekend before heading out of town.
Order: The menu changes frequently, but if it’s offered, get the rosemary potato pie with spicy béchamel and soppressata.
3334 N. Rampart St.; 504-676-8482 or pizzadelicious.blogspot.com
If you tire of Italy, go to France with dishes like steak frites, escargot and mustard-braised rabbit at this just-opened spot. A collaboration of several local restaurateurs (including Leon and Pierre Touzet of Patois), the restaurant draws inspiration from French Champagne houses, which means, naturally, that there’s an extensive selection of bubbles.
Order: Any of the fizzy cocktails, like the Hayworth: rosé Cava with vermouth and a rosewater-soaked sugar cube.
930 Poydras St.; 504-304-6988 or stemarienola.com