Eating on the Budget Near The Brakeman Hotel

New Orleans is known for its food, so it’s no wonder that it has long been home to many of the finest and most high-end eateries. You can experience quintessential New Orleans fare at places like Antoine’s, Brennan’s, Galatoire’s and others, and every trip to the city should include visits to these emporiums of great dining.

But when you just want a quick, inexpensive meal — maybe one with a little local color thrown in — ask the locals and follow the French Quarter workers, the service industry folks, the bartenders, and the servers, to places where good eating can be cheap eating. (Or please ask us at the front desk.)

Some spots are open 24 hours, some deliver. Some are at their best in the middle of the night. For our purposes, “cheap” is defined as breakfast for $15 or less, and lunch or dinner for around $25 per person, or less.

You won’t find haute cuisine or, for that matter, haute society either, at places like the Quartermaster Deli or Deja Vu. But you will find New Orleans culture out the wazoo, soulful and satisfying sustenance and a few more reasons, as if you needed any, to eat out in the Big Easy.

Here are our top recommendations close to the hotel, in alpha order.

Bon appetit!

Ayu Bakehouse

801 Frenchmen St., Marigny

A relatively recent addition, Ayu has quickly become one of the best bakeries in New Orleans. It’s a welcoming, bright, modern, and quiet spot that serves pastries, breakfast items like frittata, sandwiches, and, of course, all kinds of baked goods.


1212 Royal St., French Quarter

At the small and cozy Bennachin, you can sample flavorful African dishes with origins from Gambia and Cameroon. The restaurant was also one of the first places in New Orleans to feature vegan items on its menu.


1001 Esplanade Ave., Marigny

A funky mainstay that exists just on the other side of the Quarter in the Marigny, Buffa’s is essential for eccentric servers, New Orleans locals, great burgers and etouffee, and live music (offered in no particular order). Open till 2 a.m. every day.

Cafe Maspero

601 Decatur St., French Quarter

If it’s classic New Orleans fare you are looking for with a price that won’t blow your travel budget, this is the place for you. With a wide variety of seafood platters, crawfish (when in season), muffulettas, and traditional po-boys all tastes are sure to be satisfied.

And did we mention its perfect location? Cafe Maspero is right in the middle of all of the French Quarter action, near the river and Jackson Square. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day in an open and friendly atmosphere.

Central Grocery & Deli

923 Decatur St., French Quarter

A sprawling old-fashioned grocery store on a buzzing block of Decatur Street, Central Grocery is not called “Home of the Original Muffuletta” for nothing. Its founder, a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Lupo, is credited for creating the famous sandwich.

The store is still lovingly run by the same family, and is packed full of imported Italian delicacies, including the famous olive salad by the jar. Central Grocery is worth a look for that reason alone, but it’s the made-to-order muffulettas that have the visitors and the locals flocking there since 1906. You can eat at one of the few tables in the back, or take your muffuletta to go.

Clover Grill

900 Bourbon St., French Quarter

Both the staff and clientele of this Bourbon Street burger joint look like a casting call for a John Waters movie, and the atmosphere is just about as fun. Located across from a thriving gay nightclub, the tile-and-chrome diner is as heavy on camp as it is on calories. Everyone from drag queens to cab drivers keep the orders for burgers, fries and omelets coming in all night. Open 24 hours.

Coop’s Place

1109 Decatur St., French Quarter

Visitors wander into Coop’s but locals are the mainstay of this raucous bar/restaurant close to the French Market. Loud and lively, it’s the kind of place you’d probably expect to offer a limited menu, maybe fried cheese sticks and out-of-a-freezer-bag of buffalo wings, because it could get away with that.

Instead, expect appetizers like the local crab claws and a delicious smoked duck quesadilla, a complex flavor surprise made even better with Coop’s outstanding house-made salsa.

Coop’s takes its food as seriously as its mixology. You’d be hard-pressed to find better fried chicken anywhere in town; served with the creamy, house-made coleslaw, it’s a plate of pure plump-you-up pleasure. Regulars rave about the rabbit and sausage jambalaya, especially when made “Supreme” with the addition of spicy tasso ham and shrimp. Alert: You must be 21 and over to enter only. Also, it could get crazy busy.

Croissant D’Or Patisserie

617 Ursulines St., French Quarter

Please don’t miss this Parisian-style patisserie, tucked away between Royal and Chartres on Ursulines. Steeped in old-world charm, Croissant D’Or some of the best baked goods in the city. The sweet and savory croissants, and everything else you’ll find displayed in the gleaming glass case — the tarts and the tortes and the quiches — is delicious and served fresh daily from the bakery.

Dat Dog

601 Frenchmen St., Marigny

Dat Dog is located on the music club-heavy part of Frenchmen Street. Not only Dat Dog’s dogs and sausages are pretty amazing but there’s balcony seating overlooking Frenchmen, and the second floor is filled with decorations culled from the Krewe of Chewbacchus (the city’s science fiction/fantasy-themed Mardi Gras krewe).

Deja Vu Restaurant and Bar

400 Dauphine St., French Quarter

This 24-hour full-service restaurant and bar in the French Quarter is always available and ready to accommodate. You will find a wide variety of options on the menu ranging from traditional New Orleans fare to downhome comfort food, all reasonably priced. Deja Vu serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day long and is available for dine-in, carry-out, or delivery.

Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe

1241 Decatur St., French Quarter

We also recommend this airy coffeehouse with comfortable sidewalk seating, popular with the locals. It has a full bar and a big breakfast menu, plus small plates — all of which will go easy on your budget.


1535 Basin St., Tremé

Fritai is a chef-driven traditional Haitian restaurant with modern takes on the traditional street food and plates like whole roasted fish, crispy goat, smothered greens, and other Haitian staples.

Johnny’s Po-Boys

511 St. Louis St., French Quarter

This place has been dishing them out since 1950 and, in addition to a first-class sandwich, the popular lunch spot offers a glimpse of a truly down-home po-boy joint packed with character and characters. Ask for your po-boy “dressed,” and it will come with chopped lettuce, tomato, pickles, and plenty of mayonnaise.

I-tal Garden

810 N. Claiborne Ave., Tremé

I-tal Garden serves delicious vegan soul food dishes that even carnivores will crave. There’s a breakfast menu, and for lunch and dinner, you can build your own menu with one protein and two sides for $20, or two proteins with three sides for $23.

Killer PoBoys

219 Dauphine St., French Quarter

If you want to depart from the traditional po-boy, pop into Killer PoBoys. They play around with the ingredients here — the black beer beef debris, served with pickled peppers and green beans, is to die for, while the roasted sweet potato sandwich with pecan spread is great for herbivores — and the results would make a purist’s mouth water.

Killer Poboys has another branch in the back of the excellent Erin Rose bar (811 Conti St.). The menu at both locations changes, so this is just a sample of what awaits.

Li’l Dizzy’s Cafe

1500 Esplanade Ave., Tremé

This is a popular choice for a casual soul-food breakfast, but you’ll find staples like gumbo, po-boys, bread pudding, and other New Orleans must-try dishes on the menu as well.

Lucky Dog

Various street corners in the French Quarter

The popular hot dogs and iconic weenie-in-bun-shaped carts have been part of the late-night Quarter scene for years; the company website claims over 21 million hot dogs have been sold in the past half-century. Lucky Dog makes a pretty good weenie, perfect for slowing your roll when you’ve had one too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s.

Mona Lisa

1212 Royal St., French Quarter

Right next to Bennachin is another comfy, cozy spot, the Mona Lisa, decked in the namesake’s-centric art floor to ceiling, and serving some of the best (and inexpensive) pizza in the Quarter.

Ray’s On The Ave.

2139 Orleans Ave., Tremé

The no-frills Ray’s features authentic Southern comfort food with a focus on Creole and Cajun specialties and soul food staples. It’s also a popular spot for live music.

Quartermaster Deli

1100 Bourbon St., French Quarter

Also known as the Nellie Deli, this French Quarter institution is open 7 days a week, 24 hours. Space is cramped because so much is packed into a tiny footprint — groceries, liquor, sundries, and the focal point, the old-style deli case crammed with goodness — bowls and bowls of made-in-house sides, veggies and more.

Don’t expect to eat there — there are no tables and there’s no room — but you can order at the deli case, or call your order in ahead of time for pickup. There’s free delivery, too (though check if they’ll deliver to your hotel).

The Quarter Master cooks serve up breakfast, lunch and dinner, late-night munchies, and even offer two specials a day — which seem almost superfluous considering the comprehensive menu in this teensy space. Among the favorites: homemade mac-and-cheese, 1/2 pound choice burgers, overstuffed po-boys (especially the roast beef and the hot sausage), entrees like barbecue chicken, New Orleans meatloaf, and hamburger steak. Good food, friendly staff, local color, and great prices.

Sweet Soulfood

1016 N. Broad St., Tremé

The cafeteria-style Sweet Soulfood only serves plant-based dishes, with many gluten-free options. You’ll find New Orleans classics, served in generous portions, with meat and fish swapped out for plant-based versions.

Verti Marte

1201 Royal St., French Quarter

Verti Marte is open 7 days a week, 24 hours, and delivery is available (though not to Tremé). Like The Quarter Master Deli a couple of blocks away, it’s strictly a to-go operation, serving a heavily local clientele and offering a mind-bogglingly extensive menu of breakfast specialties, sandwiches and po-boys, entrees, and even desserts.

You’ll see the Quarter workers stopping in for fried shrimp po-boys, BLTs, and Verti Marte’s Philly Cheese Steak. You also can’t go wrong with the other epic specialty sandwiches like the vegetarian Green Giant and the mountainous All That Jazz — with grilled ham, turkey and shrimp, plus two cheeses, grilled veggies, and the special “wow” sauce.


In New Orleans, “lagniappe” (pronounced lan-yap) means “something extra,” and that’s what we’re giving you. Here are a couple more places to eat for less. They are both bars with live music, but they do food, too, just in a more unofficial way.

Both in Tremé, the Candlelight Lounge (925 N. Robertson St.) is an excellent option for seafood (they have recurring Seafood Mondays) and brass bands, and Kermit’s Treme Mother in Law Lounge (1500 N. Claiborne Ave.) does a great BBQ, and often. The place belonged to the late R&B legend Ernie K-Doe and his wife Antoinette. When both passed, New Orleans’ now, the great Kermit Ruffins bought it and continued the tradition with live music and BBQ.

Are You Visiting New Orleans Soon?

We’d love for you to stay with us! And if you do, consider booking a guided tour of the famous St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 to experience the hauntingly beautiful past of New Orleans. And, for easy, informative sightseeing, we recommend the City Sightseeing New Orleans city tour on the open-top, double-decker bus. It runs every 30 minutes through the Garden District, French Quarter, and CBD. You can hop on and off anytime!

Take advantage of The Brakeman Hotel specials, group rates, and best-rate guarantee for greater savings to spend on New Orleans’ famous cuisine and enjoy everything this magnificent city has to offer. Reserve your room today!