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New Orleans on a Budget

So, there are a bunch of different threads about what places to go in NoLa, but I didn't see anything really for a low budget meals. I'm going there for the first time with my girlfriend and staying with two friends. Since we're in college...we're broke and we need to keep that in mind. I plan to have one nice dinner or lunch, which will probably be at Cochon; one of my professors recommended it and raved about it. Would you guys agree?

Where are some good places for a cheap lunch or dinner? Breakfast will probably be taken care of in the mornings, so I'm just looking for meals that will be $10 or so that will also be great....what have you guys got for me?

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  1. Dunbar's on the Loyola Campus, just about any poboy place with the exception of Mahoney's is cheap.

    1 Reply
    1. re: roro1831

      This remark kind of crystallizes why I'm not a huge Mahony's fan.

      1. Mena's Palace is a local's favorite that serves NOLA comfort food for breakfast and lunch.. They serve 25/30 different po boys. Johnny's Po Boy's is in the FQ on St. Louis and has outstanding po boys. Felipe's has great Mexican food using local ingredients. Clover Grill is open 24/7 for breakfast and good burgers and it's inexpensive. Rampart Food Store has good po boys. Antoine's has 25 cent martini's at lunch. Commerce Restaurant is a couple of blocks W of Canal in walking distance of FQ and has good inexpensive breakfast and lunch. Buffa's Lounge has good tamales. Daisy Dukes serves good breakfast, lunch and dinner open 24/7. Here's a link to NOLA specials.


        Mena's Palace @ 200 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 0217.
        Johnny's Po Boys @ 511 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 8129.
        Felipe's Taqueria @ 301 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 267 - 4406.
        Clover Grill @ 900 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 598 - 1010.
        Rampart Food Store @ 1700 North Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 944 - 7777.
        Commerce Restaurant @ 300 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 561 - 9239.
        Buffa's Lounge @ 1001 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 0038.
        Daisy Duke's @ 121 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 561 - 5171.



        Go to Port O Call in the Marigny for good burgers or Praline Connection. Buffa's has reasonable food for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And tamales too.

        Port of Call @ 838 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 0120.

        Praline Connection @ 542 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 943 - 3934.

        Buffa's Lounge @ 1001 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 0038.




        3 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          I don't think Buffa's has tamales on the menu since it changed hands earlier in the year. Still not a bad choice for other grub (but the menu has expanded and the prices have been bumped up a little). It's worth noting that the back room at Buffa's has music Th-Sun (and open night mic on Wed but then you often have to put music in quotes...) and doesn't require 21+.

          1. re: Littleman

            Really, Mena's is a local's favorite? Maybe if you live in the fq or stay in a quarter hotel. Littleman, are you a local?

            1. re: JazzyB

              I made the mistake of going to Mena's exactly once and would never, ever go back. I assumed I had an unusual experience. Pretty much anywhere beats it.

          2. If you go to Cochon, the way to go is to share small dishes. The entrees are fine, but the real strength is in the appetizers. Sit at the back foodbar, and usually the chefs will send you an extra dish which will help keep your costs down.

            1. My advice would be to swap out some of the lovely twenty-dollar lunch specials instead of the indulgent dinner. I would recommend Coquette and/or Restaurant August for their twenty-dollar lunches (see their sites for sample menus). Reasonable lunch/dinner options would include the half-priced pizza happy hour at Domenica, Cochon Butcher (given your budget I would do this instead of Cochon), Carmo Café for great fusion food, Magasin Vietnamese Café, and some of the menu items at High Hat Café.

              1. For a fancy lunch that is also budget friendly, the 3 course lunch for $20 at Coquette can not be beat. They have drink specials on Wed and Thurs as well. Don't miss it. Seriously.

                Other budget friendly options:
                Mandina's, portions are huge so you can share an entree; I like their gumbo and poboys.

                Cochon Butcher, located behind Cochon is cheaper and better in my opinion. It would make a great lunch or dinner spot. The Cuban is amazing. Don't miss the boudin either.

                Bachannal - most unique place in the city. It's a wine store with a great big backyard. You buy your bottle of wine, then get glasses for an extra corkage fee. There is a chef in a truck in the backyard, and live music is back. This is a one of kind experience and is easy on the budget.

                Also, Eat restaurant in the Quarter is cheap and fun. I like their brunch.

                If you have a smartphone, download the Gambit Weekly's happy hour app. There are a ridiculous amount of restaurants in town with food and drink happy hours. One Restaurant & Lounge is the best, with Domenica a close second.


                1. There are many places to go on a budget, the first that pops into my head is Verti Mart

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: stvtunlvzn

                    I'll second Verti Marte. Just remember it's take out only, so you'll have to find a nice spot to eat or take it back to your hotel. Get the ALL That Jazz sandwich. Actually you might be fine getting just 2 of them and a couple of sides for all four of you. Here's their menu: http://vertimartemenu.com/ The sandwich is listed under Verti Marte Originals. Open 24/7 and they deliver.
                    I would also suggest The Three Muses on Frenchmen. Excellent food with the added benefit of live entertainment. Cafe Negril is host to what was formerly a Taco Truck that now operates indoors.
                    Other great delis include Matassas Market and Quarter Master. For a sit down place I would recommend Cafe Maspero. Not the most gourmet food in the world, but decent food with plentiful portions.
                    Also Lil Dizzy's at 1500 Esplanade. we're going for their Sunday brunch on our next visit because a friend spoke very positively about their bread pudding.

                    Now, I haven't personally eaten here, but I was recently looking at places on Dauphine and ran across Moon Wok which has some pretty positive reviews and some pretty inexpensive food. http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/57/621324...

                    I'm not sure how soon you're visiting, but sign up for New Orleans Living Social and Groupon emails because they sometimes have great deals on good restaurants.

                    1. re: Soulcat

                      The Moon Wok isn't bad but it's not really a Chinese place as their sign says, it's Vietnamese (though, admittedly, with a few Chinese dishes). I prefer the little place in the back of the Lost Love Lounge, partially because it's without stumbling distance but also because the LLL runs pretty good drink specials ($3 Covington brews last week). I suspect the LLL might be 21+ only, if that's an issue.

                      Up the street from there on Burgundy there's a new place, Suis Generis, that has a reasonable menu that's mostly under $20 but on Thursdays has taco night for cheaper money. I've eaten there a couple of times now (though not for the tacos yet) and recommend it both on the strength of the food but also the absurdly cheap bottles of wine (the bottles start at $12!) and cool atmosphere. They have the best cheap solution to sound dampening I've seen (hint: look up). And although not necessarily relevant: a damn fine bloody mary.

                      Soulcat's recommendation for Verti Marte is a good one, but note that wait times around lunch can be long (like 90 minutes long the last time I ordered ... call ahead). As noted, one sandwich for two people is a reasonable amount of food.

                      I agree with teachergirl, below ... a $20 lunch for two is close to $60 by the time you're done with tax and tip (and that's if you don't drink anything). I think a meal always tastes better when you're not worried about the cost; I remember the days of being awfully worried.

                  2. I think some of these responses are misguided. A $20 lunch isn't cheap for a college student. I would recommend to eat one big meal a day and then snack for the rest of the time. Cafe Reconcile has great food, good portions, it's cheap and it's an amazing cause. Young adults who are seriously at risk work there learning all aspects of hospitality. The goal is to get them into the work force with viable jobs.

                    1. Wow I gotta admit I'm surprised by a lot of these answers, I am a broke college student and while I'm no local, I love good local food, so please, check out the cheap yet delicious eats I found last june when I was there:

                      Coop's Place- Really good food, really cheap food, just get there early, they don't bother with reservations and there is a line of locals going out the door and down the block every night.

                      Camellia Grill- For breakfast especially but also good for lunch or a cheap quick dinner this place is tasty and cheap. We went there for breakfast everyday in the quarter, the waffles are the best I've ever had. 540 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA

                      Somethin' Else Cafe- Excellent for lunch (try the boudin balls and cochon de lait). You know you're in a local's restaurant when the only other people there are the police and business people on lunch.

                      Daisy Dukes- This place has mixed reviews, it's a definite dive restaurant with staff who don't give a damn if you're not polite. I certainly wouldn't say it's the best restaurant in the quarter or anything, but for what you pay, the food is far better than some of the chain/tourist restaurants in the quarter. I would however recommend avoiding the breakfast, the lunch and dinner was decent, the gumbo was surprisingly good, but the breakfast was very depressing

                      Three Muses- Very tasty NOLA style tapas

                      The French Market- Is it a tourist trap? ABSOLUTELY! Does it have a lot of really good, really cheap food? DEFINITELY. We found one place that sold a manchego and chorizo panini made with a croissant, one of the best meals we had the whole trip.

                      1. Cafe Maspero's on Decatur does a capacious muffaletta for $9 that should feed two.

                        Red beans & rice most places is good and cheap.