Vegetarian Destinations in the French Quarter

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Photo courtesy of 13 Monaghan on Facebook

Crawfish boils, alligator boudin balls, deep-fried frogs’ legs—if there’s a swamp creature that swims, flies or skitters, chances are a Louisianan has turned it into something delicious. That ingenuity put New Orleans on the culinary map—but as far as the vegetarian radar goes? Not so much.

No, it hasn’t always been easy to go meat-free in New Orleans, but recent years have seen an influx of vegetarian options that are more than an afterthought. The following restaurants don’t serve plant-based meals exclusively, but they all put thoughtful preparation into their meatless fare. (Which comes as quite a relief for vegetarians who have eaten one too many bland grilled vegetable platters.)

13 Monaghan (517 Frenchmen St.)

This laid-back joint offers vegetarian-centric pub grub in a casual barroom setting. Walk past the bar and video poker machines to grab a seat at a tall table by the open kitchen. Tachos (gloriously spicy, cheesy and messy potato tot nachos) are a longtime menu fav. They’re perfect as an appetizer or a main course, and you can’t go wrong with a tofu banh mi or a mushroom Philly cheese steak and side of Zapp’s potato chips. Bonus: 13 is open until 4 a.m., making it perfect for capping off a night of drinking and dancing on Frenchmen.

Green Goddess (307 Exchange Way Place)

It’s easy to overlook this petite restaurant tucked in a narrow, gas lantern-lit alley, but to miss its globally-tinged cuisine would be a shame. There’s mostly outdoor seating at the quirky, no-reservations spot, which fills up fast.  Give your name to the maître d’ and grab a craft cocktail (the food is worth the wait). A pecan mushroom pate is savory enough to win over the staunchest carnivore, and the vegan Indian lentil pancake is not to be missed.

 

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Photo courtesy of Killer Poboys on Facebook

Killer Po-Boys (219 Dauphine St.)

Launched as a pop-up inside Irish Rose (the original location is still operating from the rear of that bar), Killer Po-Boys recently opened a stand-alone, counter-serve restaurant. Their takes on the classic New Orleans sandwich are inventive yet respectful of its original form: there’s a vegan sweet potato and kale version, as well as a decadent Caprese po-boy with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil.

Bennachin (1212 Royal St.)

You might have sampled Bennachin’s legendary black pea fritters and jama jama (sautéed spinach, fried plantains and coconut rice) at Jazz Fest, where the longtime spot for African fare has a perennial presence. The food tastes even better when consumed in the cozy, colorful French Quarter destination. Bonus: a BYOB policy makes Bennachin an excellent place to affordably wine and dine.

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Photo courtesy of  The Crepe Cart on Facebook

The Crepe Cart (French Market)

The Crepe Cart opened a standalone restaurant in Bywater this year called The Crepe Place, but it maintains its original French Market stand. Here, you’ll find classic, vegan and gluten-free crepes in flavors ranging from sweet to savory. Stuffed with spinach and tomatoes, the hummus crepe is a hearty choice for vegans, and the strawberry and Nutella version is a perfect option when you aren’t sure if you want to eat lunch or skip straight to dessert.

The Italian Barrel (430 Barracks St.)

Intimate and candlelit, with brick walls and cozy tables, this corner restaurant with sidewalk seating provides all the romance you’d expect from an Italian spot. The tomatoes and basil on the bruschetta are mouth-tinglingly fresh, and a creamy truffle and porcini sauce blankets excellent, house-made ravioli, but you can’t go wrong with almost any menu option. (Tip: Reservations recommended.)

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