Curious where New Orleans's in-the-know crowd is 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 analyze which restaurants have been most discussed 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.
True Food Kitchen
Open since 2008, this New American, vegan and vegetarian spot, an outpost of the popular chain, is trending compared to other businesses categorized as 'American (New)' on Yelp.
Citywide, New American spots saw a median 1.5% increase in new reviews over the past month, but True Food Kitchen saw a 38.9% increase, maintaining a solid 4.5-star rating throughout.
This location of the chain is not the only trending outlier in the New American category: The Elysian Bar has seen a 16.4% increase in reviews.
Located at 801 St. Charles Ave. in Central Business District, True Food Kitchen pairs dining and nutrition. Expect to find roasted Brussels sprouts and a butternut squash pizza on the menu. Also look for the Unbeetable burger, as well as grilled salmon.
True Food Kitchen is open from 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
Whether or not you've been hearing buzz about Central City's Nolé, the well-established Latin American, Mexican and Cajun/Creole spot is a hot topic according to Yelp review data.
While businesses categorized as 'Cajun/Creole' on Yelp saw a median 1.4% increase in new reviews over the past month, Nolé bagged an 11.1% increase in new reviews within that time frame, maintaining a healthy four-star rating. It significantly outperformed the previous month by gaining 1.8 times more reviews than expected based on its past performance.
There's more that's trending on New Orleans's Cajun/Creole scene: Mahony's Po-Boys & Seafood has seen a 7% increase in reviews.
Open at 2001 St. Charles Ave. since March, Nolé offers Latin inspired dishes, such as blue crab street corn and pecan smoked carnitas tacos. Also try the fried catfish and red beans among the menu items.
Nolé is open from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. on Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday. (It's closed on Monday.)
Mr Ed's Oyster Bar & Fish House
The French Quarter's Mr Ed's Oyster Bar & Fish House is also making waves. Open since 2013 at 821 Iberville St., the seafood spot has seen an 11.1% bump in new reviews over the last month, compared to a median review increase of 1.4% for all businesses tagged 'Seafood' on Yelp.
In terms of specialities, 'Seafood & Cajun Cuisine' — that's courtesy of its Yelp page.
Mr Ed's Oyster Bar & Fish House offers crawfish crab cakes and pepper jelly shrimp on the menu. Also try the Fish House Seafood platter, with fried jumbo shrimp, Louisiana fried oysters, Southern fried fish and a crab cake. (Check here for the full menu.) Over the past month, it's maintained a healthy 4.5-star rating among Yelpers.
Mr Ed's Oyster Bar & Fish House is open from 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and Sunday and 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Lower Garden District's Gris-Gris is the city's buzziest Southern spot by the numbers.
The popular Cajun/Creole and Southern spot, which opened at 1800 Magazine St. in August 2018, increased its new review count by 7.4% over the past month, an outlier when compared to the median new review count of 1.6% for the Yelp category 'Southern.'
Gris-Gris offers shrimp and fried green tomatoes and an oyster and Cajun caviar po'boy on the menu. Also try the sugarcane seared duck breast.
Gris-Gris is open from 11 a.m.–10 p.m. on Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Sunday.
The French Quarter's popular French Toast is currently on the upswing in the breakfast and brunch category on Yelp.
While businesses categorized as 'Breakfast & Brunch' on Yelp saw a median 1.8% increase in new reviews over the past month, this breakfast and brunch spot increased its new reviews by 6.7% — and kept its rating consistent at 4.5 stars.
Open for business at 1035 Decatur St. since 2014, French Toast offers a King Cake stuffed with cinnamon cream cheese and topped with Mardi Gras sprinkles. Also look for traditional omelettes and savory crepes, including one with gruyere and herbs, on the menu.
French Toast is open from 8 a.m.–3 p.m. daily.