Try the Best Coffee in the French Quarter and Nearby
Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde by Selena N. B. H. on Flickr
As befits one of the most European and Caribbean cities in the country, New Orleans loves coffee. This city was sipping on the stuff long before it became popular across the rest of the USA, and some of our oldest cafes remain destinations in and of themselves. Of course, there are some modern coffee houses here as well that you don’t want to pass up. Here are a few of our favorites.
In the French Quarter
New Orleans can be a romantic place for a cup of coffee, but there are parts of the French Quarter where the balconies and street music make for pure caffeinated magic.
334 Royal Street
There’s plenty of ridiculous debate over who serves the better beignet, Cafe Fu Monde or Cafe Beignet (just have both and decide for yourself), but when it comes to the venue, it’s hard not to make the case for the Royal Street location of Cafe Beignet (there are three more across the French Quarter). It’s shady, relatively quiet, and you can get some excellent people-watching in.
800 Decatur Street
What, you thought we’d let you go without recommending one of the world’s most iconic cafes? If we’re being brutally honest, the lines here can be a little much when they stretch almost a city block, but the chicory coffee and beignets are truly excellent, there’s live music all around, and the service is efficient.
1241 Decatur Street
The people-watching at Envie Espresso Bar & Cafe (also referred to as Cafe Envie) is some of the best in the city, and that’s saying something. Pull up a chair at an outdoor table, order a coffee drink (or a drink drink, or both; Envie has good cocktails and can do an excellent Irish coffee), and just watch life in the Quarter: musicians, lovers, poets, rowdy folks on a weekend trip, and everyone in between.
700 Canal Street
French Truck is one of the city’s most well-known brands, with multiple locations across New Orleans. The company roasts its own beans and also has an extensive wholesale operation (you might have seen the products in local stores). The Canal Street location is super convenient if you’re staying in the French Quarter.
Outside of the French Quarter
Many of the best coffee shops in New Orleans are located within easy walking or biking distance from the French Quarter. Here are some of our picks.
2381 St. Claude Avenue (Bywater)
Located within St. Roch Market, Coast Roast produces some fine pour-over coffee and espresso drinks. With all of that said, frozen coffee is quite simply the best frozen coffee we’ve had anywhere, full stop. That sort of superlative statement gets thrown around a lot in these sorts of articles, but we really will stand by this assertion: Coast Roast frozen coffee is sweet, strong and stupendous. It’s good whatever the external climate is, but on hot, humid days (which, let’s be honest, aren’t unheard of in New Orleans), it’s seriously heaven in a cup.
410 S. Broad Street (Mid-City)
The business’ motto is: “We’ll brew with science, you enjoy the coffee!” The fact that Coffee Science is helmed by Tom Oliver, who’s been in the coffee business for over 30 years, truly backs it up. The space is generous, there are weekend flower popups from a local vendor, special events are held in the big backyard, and the wi-fi is strong. Coffee Science is located on a busy thoroughfare near the courthouse complex at Tulane and Broad, and there’s plenty of parking.
2606 St. Louis Street (Tremé)
The Uptown favorite HEY! Café & Coffee Roastery recently expanded to the edge of Tremé, right on the Lafitte Greenway bike path and park, also moving all roasting to the new location. HEY’s progressive stance is manifested in such touches as the eco-friendly pasta, not plastic, straws — and the coffee speaks for itself.
2600 Royal Street (Marigny)
The atmosphere can’t be beat. The overgrown lushness of the outside trees, fading paint and cracked walls are like the Platonic ideal of the sort of space where you’d expect to find a local musician or writer.
3218 Dauphine Street (Bywater)
Whether the owners like it or not, Satsuma is one of the most recognizable icons of the “new” Bywater, which is ironic, as old neighborhood locals and transplants alike tend to congregate here. That’s because Satsuma is simply a lovely place: they’ve got good coffee, excellent breakfast and lunch food, a pretty outdoor courtyard, a cool, airy interior, and they’re totally family-friendly. Bring the kids, and don’t leave without trying the quiche of the day. (Satsuma has two more locations in New Orleans.)
637 N. Carrollton Avenue (Mid-City)
This Mid-City favorite remained popular over the years, while many other coffee shops have come and gone. The reasons, to name a few, are good wi-fi, ample outdoor and indoor seating, staying open till midnight Thursdays through Sundays (it also opens at 6:30 a.m. every day), and a long menu of bagel and croissant sandwiches, panini, specialty teas, and sweets.
2339 Royal Street (Marigny)
This spare, minimalist cafe is nonetheless populated with warm, inviting staff. The coffee is made with care and attention, and the menu is more creative than your average espresso outpost; mochi ice cream sits aside a delicate, moist tea bread that makes for a fairly perfect light lunch. This is also a popular spot for those looking to get some work done or just to enjoy the wi-fi.
4400 Bienville Street (Mid-City)
This Mid-City joint is inviting, with interesting architecture and decor. All baked goods are made in-house with high-quality ingredients, and the coffee menu is varied.
2401 Burgundy Street (Marigny)
While there’s not a ton of space to bust out a laptop and be all professional in this little Marigny cafe, if you can score a comfy seat in the little alcove room, you’ve got one of the best little workspaces in New Orleans (or if you’re in a group, an excellent spot for a caffeine-fueled discussion). Bonus: The attached restaurant is pretty excellent; try the corncakes.
Are you planning to spend some time in New Orleans soon? To stay close to all the action, book a historic boutique hotel in the French Quarter at FrenchQuarter.com/hotels today!