Late Night Dining: Where to Turn in the Quarter When the Midnight Hungries Hit Hard

By: Ian McNulty

The French Quarter is truly a 24-hour neighborhood where “making a night of it” can easily mean greeting the daybreak in last night’s clothes. But even the most spirited reveler must eat, if only to keep up stamina. Fortunately, late-night Quarter restaurants offer a wide variety of options for noshing round midnight, whether you’re hankering for a burger and fries, need to sample jambalaya before your red-eye flight back home or are looking for something a little more urbane to polish off the evening in style. Below is a list of favorite Quarter spots to turn to when midnight cravings hit, even if they hit quite a bit after midnight.

Angeli on Decatur (1141 Decatur St., 504-566-0077): The best dishes at Angeli are served on excellent, fresh-made breads. Big, crusty rolls at this eclectic all-night diner and watering hole make all of their sandwiches satisfying and memorable, even the humble grilled cheese. Breakfast food, salads and a pan-Mediterranean smattering of pita and olive-based fare round out the menu. You can choose from the locally made Abita Amber beer or a milkshake from the bar (please don’t mix), and watch one of the classic movies they often project on the wall. Open til 2am Sunday -Thursday; til 4am Friday and Saturday.

Bombay Club and Martini Bistro (830 Conti St., 504-586-0972): Located in the elegant Prince Conti Hotel, the Bombay Club offers the most refined food you’ll find in the French Quarter after 10 pm. Port-soaked lamb chops, a signature crawfish and tasso chowder and pancetta-wrapped diver scallops are a few examples of the dishes served in a British imperial setting of polished wood, high-end cocktails and well-heeled patrons. Seating until 10 on weekdays; til 11pm on weekends. Live music weekends.

Clover Grill (900 Bourbon St.,504-598-1010): 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 from Thursday to Monday. Open 8 am to midnight Tuesday and Wednesday.

Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St., 504-525-9053): What appears to be another of the many dark barrooms along Decatur Street reveals an excellent late-night menu of local dishes, including the best inexpensive jambalaya around. Look for pasta dishes loaded with local seafood and tasso (a flavorful Cajun ham smoked on premises), blackened redfish and a fried alligator appetizer that for once actually tastes like something besides batter. Coop’s also serves a surprisingly rich wine list. Be warned, however, that service is on a par with a neighborhood barroom and is typically brusque. Also, patrons must be 18 or older. Open until 2 a.m.

Verti Mart (1201 Royal St., 504-525-4767): A miracle of space management, this tiny corner deli serves an enormous array of sandwiches and po-boys and hot plates ranging from blackened catfish and creamed spinach to a dense block of utterly comforting macaroni and cheese. There is barely enough room to stand and order, never mind sit and eat, so all orders are “to go.” Bicycle delivery is available in the French Quarter. Open 24 hours.

Zydecue (808 Iberville St., 504-565-5520): A relative newcomer to the French Quarter, Zydecue has a spiffy, family-friendly layout just a few steps away from Bourbon Street where they serve good, very large platters of barbecue late into the night. Brisket, ribs, pulled pork and chicken platters are joined by Louisiana specialties like boudin sausage and dirty rice. Flavorful smoke from the skillful kitchen pours forth into the street and, for once, something smells good near Bourbon Street. Hours 11:30 am til 10pm.

Ian McNulty is a freelance food writer and columnist, a frequent commentator on the New Orleans entertainment talk show “Steppin’ Out” and editor of the guidebook “Hungry? Thirsty? New Orleans.”