Curious where New Orleans's insiders are eating and drinking? It's easy to spot lines out the door, but some underlying trends are harder to see.
We took a data-driven look at the question, using Yelp and SafeGraph, a dataset of commercial points of interest and their visitor patterns, to discover which restaurants have been getting extra attention this month.
To find out who made the list, we first looked at New Orleans businesses on Yelp by category and counted how many reviews each received. Rather than compare them based on number of reviews alone, we calculated a percentage increase in reviews over the past month, and tracked businesses that consistently increased their volume of reviews to identify statistically significant outliers compared to past performance. Then we analyzed foot traffic data from SafeGraph to validate the trends.
Read on to see which spots are worth exploring, right now.
Paddlewheeler Creole Queen
Open since August 2009, this popular Cajun/Creole and tour spot is trending based on local foot traffic data.
While Paddlewheeler Creole Queen stayed on par with the median 1.1% increase in new reviews for Cajun/Creole spots on Yelp over the past month, maintaining a superior four-star rating, the number of visitors to Paddlewheeler Creole Queen more than tripled over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
Here's more about the business, from its history section on Yelp: "Constructed in Moss Point, Mississippi, the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen took her maiden voyage on October 1, 1983. She is an authentic paddlewheeler powered by a 24-foot diameter paddlewheel and the most modern, fuel efficient GE diesel-electric system ever installed in a boat of this class. The Creole Queen holds weddings, daily cruises, private parties, and special events. Step Aboard the Creole Queen and Enjoy the Mississippi River at its finest."
Located at 1 Poydras St. in Central Business District, Paddlewheeler Creole Queen offers classic New Orleans cocktails, such as the Hurricane and Cajun braised beef brisket. Ready for dessert? Try the Paddlewheeler White Chocolate Bread Pudding.
Paddlewheeler Creole Queen is open from 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and people visit Paddlewheeler Creole Queen most on Saturdays and Fridays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Tuesdays.
Fiorella's the Original
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Gentilly Terrace's Fiorella's the Original, the New American and Italian spot, which offers seafood and more, is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as "American (New)" on Yelp saw a median 1.2% increase in new reviews over the past month, Fiorella's the Original bagged a 2.9% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a sound 4.5-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.5 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance. As for foot traffic, Fiorella's the Original saw visits more than triple in the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
There's more that's trending on New Orleans's New American scene: Borgne has seen a 0.4% increase in reviews.
Open at 5325 Franklin Ave. since February 2016, Fiorella's the Original offers fried chicken with sides and fried catfish. Also sample the seafood platter, with shrimp, oysters, fish and soft shell crab from the menu listings.
Fiorella's the Original is open from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. on Monday-Saturday. (It's closed on Sunday.) According to SafeGraph, it usually gets busy at 11 a.m., 12 p.m. and 1 p.m., and on Saturdays and Fridays, with a slowdown on Thursdays.
The Governor Seafood & Oyster Bar
The French Quarter's The Governor Seafood & Oyster Bar is also making waves. Open since April 2018 at 301 Chartres St., the well-established Cajun/Creole and New American spot, which offers seafood and more, has seen a 12.9% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.1% for all businesses tagged "Seafood" on Yelp. Moreover, on a month-to-month basis The Governor Seafood & Oyster Bar's review count increased by more than 230%.
Behind every business are the people who make it happen. Here's more on the owners from Yelp: "One of the many great Creole Cuisine properties, come try them all!"
Regarding specialities, "The Governor is a restaurant on Chartres Street in New Orleans' famed French Quarter providing a friendly, fun, and relaxed place for locals and tourists alike. The Governor specializes in creative interpretations of the classic Cajun and Creole dishes of South Louisiana made with fresh Gulf seafood, as well as handcrafted specialty cocktails. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner, and brunch menus, in addition to offering an oyster bar with raw and baked varieties. Reservations and walk-ins are accepted." — that's from its its Yelp page.
The Governor Seafood & Oyster Bar offers fried alligator for an appetizer and crawfish boil soup. Also try the baked Louisiana oysters and blackened redfish on the menu. Over the past month, it's maintained a convincing four-star rating among Yelpers.
The Governor Seafood & Oyster Bar is open from 8 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday and Friday-Sunday and 9 a.m.–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday.
Lower Garden District's Galliano Restaurant is the city's buzziest Southern spot by the numbers.
The popular Southern and Cajun/Creole spot, which opened at 200 Julia St. in December 2016, increased its new review count by 2.4% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.2% for the Yelp category "Southern." As for foot traffic, Galliano Restaurant saw visits double over the past month, according to SafeGraph data.
If you're curious about specialities, "Located on the corner of Fulton and Julia (200 Julia), Galliano Restaurant is the rustic, casual cousin of Restaurant Rebirth. Chef Ricky Cheramie twists traditional homestyle Cajun creations in a contemporary fashion to create a taste and feel of the bayous of Louisiana. This new menu features swamp favorites such as alligator, frog legs, crawfish, and raw oysters; from the flatlands they deliver wild boar sausage, duck, Cajun marinated prime rib, and of course chicken--Chef Ricky style. Beers will be imported from local sources and will be served in bottles and on tap. And for our wine lovers Manny Pineda has developed a list exclusively for this menu." — that's from its its Yelp page.
Galliano Restaurant offers catfish creole and country fried filet mignon, along with fried oysters on the menu.
Galliano Restaurant is open from 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30–9:30 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and Sunday, and 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30–10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 6 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., and people visit Galliano Restaurant most on Saturdays and Fridays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Thursdays.
Audubon's popular Tartine is currently on the upswing in the breakfast and brunch category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as "Breakfast & Brunch" on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, this French and breakfast and brunch spot, which offers sandwiches and more, increased its new reviews by 0.8% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars. The business saw visits nearly double over the same time frame, according to SafeGraph's foot traffic data.
Open for business at 7217 Perrier St. since August 2010, Tartine offers salmon rilette tartine, which is capers, egg and onion marmalade on a toasted baguette. The tuna nicoise salad and grilled steak sandwich is also featured on the menu.
Tartine is open from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sunday. According to SafeGraph, it's usually busiest at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., and people visit Tartine most on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you’re planning your visit, you may want to try its slower periods on Mondays.