Review: Check out top 5 inclusive foodie spots in New Orleans

Vegetarian columnist ranks local Louisiana cuisine


Illuminated against the night sky, the St. Louis Cathedral stands proudly in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. It’s known for being the oldest cathedral in the United States. “The jewel of the South, New Orleans is known for its live music, great food, and ghostly places to visit,” reporter Kalyani Rao said. “It’s a great destination for those in the South who want to experience a mix of a European and American town all in the United States, with Spanish architecture and original buildings carefully preserved.”

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The jewel of the South, New Orleans, is known for its live music, great food and ghostly places to visit, as it’s considered one of the most haunted cities in the nation. New Orleans is a great destination for those in the South who want to experience a mix of a European and American town all in the United States, with Spanish and French architecture and original buildings carefully preserved.

However, the food and live music are what New Orleans is really famous for. Even in COVID-19, restaurants and musicians are doing their best to continue what they were doing beforehand. Here are some of the best places vegetarians and meat-eaters alike can eat at during these times.

1. High Hat Cafe

High Hat Cafe offers salads like this one, ordered by Kalyani Rao on March 14th. (Kalyani Rao)

The High Hat Cafe is a casual neighborhood dine-in cafe serving local cuisines from Louisiana. If you’re looking for a cozy, nostalgic 60s vibe, this is the restaurant for you, with a neon sign illustrating the doorway and waitresses dressed in old-fashioned diner gear. Catfish and other meats may be the star of the menu, but there are plenty of vegetarian options that are well known for being the best in the area. Most notably spoken of are the salads, mac and cheese and cheesy french fries!

High Hat Cafe also offers more indulgent dishes like french fries with cheese. (Kalyani Rao)


For those who eat meat, the catfish is only sourced from U.S. farms, and the gulf fish are locally sourced. Owners Adolfo Garcia and Chip Apperson opened High Hat Cafe on June 6, 2011. The High Hat is located in the old Long’s Bakery building at the corner of Freret and Jena, one block uptown from Napoleon.

2. Kilwins Ice cream


Kilwins ice cream offers chocolate-dipped cones for only $1.50 extra. The ice cream being held in the picture is cookies and cream. Kalyani Rao

Kilwins may be a chain, but it’s a staple for locals and tourists alike in New Orleans. They offer everything from candy apples to macarons, but the main menu is ice cream. Kilwins boasts ice cream from an “original recipe” written in 1985, the most notable qualities being “a creamy consistency and a delicious, rich texture, using only fresh milk and cream from family farms.”  Their ice cream is also Kosher certified.

They also offer cold drinks straight from the fridge, which is a great cure for the humid weather of Louisiana. Located in the heart of the French Quarter across the Saint Louis Cathedral, Kilwins is a convenient and cold place to stop on the way in or out of the French quarter.

3. Tavolino Pizza and Lounge

The Tavolino Pizza and Lounge offers the perfect quiet, late night atmosphere to eat dinner. Dimmed lights and wooden accents highlight the homey environment, and a section of the restaurant is a bar. They are definitely a local spot, with waiters who grew up on Opelousas St. just across from Tavolino’s.

The menu is a mix of local and worldwide cuisine, offering many unique courses. For example, the “Funghi” pizza, consisting of fonduta sauce, roasted mushrooms, fontina, truffle oil and arugula. Other more familiar options are offered like the classic margarita pizza. They also have cheesy fries, risotto bites and arugula and caesar salads to choose from.

3. Meals From the Heart Cafe

Located at the Historic French Quarter’s Farmers Market, Meals From the Heart Cafe’s mission is to offer and to prepare foods that are lower in sodium, lower in refined sugars, no trans-fats and no GMO’s. Before their opening, no known restaurants were offering gluten-free and vegan options in the city of New Orleans.

Gumbo, a traditional creole dish, has been made vegan at the Meals From the Heart cafe. Kalyani Rao
Meals From the Heart also offers more standard Western foods, like grilled cheese sandwiches and pancakes. Customers have the choice of whole grain or white bread for their sandwiches, as well as type of cheese. Kalyani Rao

While they are not solely vegan, their menu is significantly vegan and gluten-free. Their signature menu includes blue crab cakes, okra gumbos and pancakes. All of these are offered with vegan and gluten-free options.

4. Cafe Du Monde

Reporter and sophomore Kalyani Rao is pictured holding a beignet and smiling. Beignets are French donuts with powdered sugar, and a staple of New Orleans cultural foods. Kalyani Rao

From beignets to café au lait, Cafe Du Monde represents New Orleans tradition. The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the French Market. Uniquely, Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is perhaps the most well-known global tourist destination in New Orleans.

Powdered sugar on the floor of the Du Monde cafe is pictured. Beignets are known for having excess sugar in the paper bags they come with, and when they’re eaten, powdered sugar starts flying. Kalyani Rao

The Original Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop. Its menu consists of dark roasted coffee and chicory, beignets, white and chocolate milk and fresh squeezed orange juice. The beignets are the most famous item on the menu, and the most liked, which is obvious by the powdered sugar remaining on the ground from visitors eating the beignets as they stroll the square.

5. Tommy’s Cuisine

Spaghetti with Alfredo sauce from Tommy’s Cuisine is pictured. Kalyani Rao

For a luxurious dining experience, check out Tommy’s Cuisine, which offers homestyle Italian Creole in the heart of the Warehouse District. They’re open for dine-in, take-out and delivery via DoorDash.

Reporter Kalyani Rao is trying the crème brûlée at Tommy’s. (Tracey George)


Appetizers include garlic rolls, fried calamari, Louisiana blue crab cake, and spinach and artichoke dip. The star main courses are chicken and andouille gumbo, pasta, pizza, duck tchoupitoulas, grilled filet mignon and gulf fish capri. The desserts on the menu most worth trying are the crème brûlée with fresh cream and berries and the refreshing tiramisu cake.


The vegetarian options in New Orleans were not as diverse as they are in Texas. Coming back, I had a new appreciation for vegetarian cuisine in Dallas, including but not limited to all sorts of vegetarian asian food, western food and Mexican food. A lot of these just weren’t available in New Orleans. But, it’s definitely still possible to travel to New Orleans and eat great food, whether one is a vegetarian, vegan, or has no dietary restrictions. It’d be best to plan ahead for which restaurants have food that matches your dietary needs. New Orleans remains one of the most unique cities in all of the United States, and it’s a worthwhile destination for everyone. See if there’s something about it that interests you!