I know, people don't travel to Louisiana to not partake in the famous local cajun and american south cuisine. They have crawfish on every street corner, 'gator on a stick in every market and gumbo and jambalaya are on every menu. However, New Orleans has a lot more than *just* the food to offer, so this list is for anyone who's drawn to the music, the art, the carnival and more; but wants to know there's options out there for some plant-based goodness. Believe me, there are many!
You'll find newly reopened Seed on Prytania St, just down from Coliseum Square park. It's not far from the WWII Museum, if that's on your list of sights to see. They are 100% plant-based and the food is delicious! Not only that, but the idea is to offer 'a taste of New Orleans' so it's your chance to try local specialities like gumbo and po'boys. Seed has a good breakfast menu, including pancakes, as well as lunch and dinner. It's a chilled but well organised vibe and their gumbo was my favourite meal of our trip.
2. Breads on Oak
I'm so glad Breads on Oak expanded to a second store at the start of this year, because their new spot on Corondelet St. was just a few blocks down from our hotel. Firstly, it's true, theirs is the best bread in NOLA. The good news is that their cafe's are also both 100% vegan. Offering snacks like sandwiches, cakes and salads to go, they also do breakfast biscuits, burgers, quiche and even 'crab' cakes. I just wish I could've brought their blueberry tea biscuit home with me *drool*.
3. Girls Gone Vegan
Not strictly a place you can go into, but absolutely in need of a shout out is Girls Gone Vegan: Stocking NOLA with all the vegan (and GF) King Cake you could possibly want, we were sure to pop into every Nesbit Market we came across to check for cakes by GGV. All their products are completely VE/GF and there are birthday cakes, to brownies, to cheesecakes and a personal favourite - their sweet potato bread. Loads of cafe's and markets around town stock these stars of the veeg scene, so be sure to check them out.
Whether you're in a good cat or a bad cat kinda mood, Bearcat has you covered. One of the most extensive menus we found covering both Vegan and Gluten Free, without sacrificing on choice or portion size! We headed to the newly opened one in the Central Business District for breakfast and had one VE Bearcat Breakfast and one GF. That black bean sausage was banging, and the crispy potatoes will satisfy and salty cravings you might have but I'm glad I didn't order the pancakes on the side like I wanted to as the portion was huge.
5. Green Fork
There are three sites of this trendy juice bar Green Fork in NOLA, we headed to the Prytania St. one, right opposite Seed (above). It's a great spot for some feel-good healthy smoothie blends and a slice of raw vegan carrot cake. They do food to go like soups and salads too, all freshly prepared in small batches in house, so you know what you're getting is super fresh as well as nourishing. Great spot for a hangover cure after a late-night parade! Just note that not everything on the menu is vegan, I almost got caught out on that one.
6. Ace - Josephine Estelle
The Ace Hotel was not just a great hotel to stay in because of the central location and the excellent live music venue Three Keys, but it has great connections too. The coffee house on the ground floor, Stumptown Coffee serves all kinds of milk alternatives at no extra charge, plus every day they had a fresh little bake of some kind that was cruelty free too, the chocolate coconut slice was my choice. On the other side of the Ace is award winning restaurant the Josephine Estelle, which although not 100% plat based, it does offer a choice of dishes that are suitable. The vegan oatmeal with steel cut oats was delicious, or if you're heading that way in the evening there's an acorn squash dish waiting for you.
7. Dat Dog
On the famous Frenchmen St. is Dat Dog who serve no less than four vegan sausages for you to create your own concoction of hot dog goodness. Or you can go for their House Special like I did, the 'Vegan Banger' which comes with sauerkraut, creole mustard, onions and dill. It was so good! Note that they do a happy hour every day 4-7pm which includes a selection of dogs for just $5. They actually have three other locations too, on Magazine, Lafayette and Freret so keep an eye out and know that they welcome vegans, despite the name!
This cute little family run authentic NOLA cafe serves a mean Vegan plate and a vegan chilli, plus the staff are lovely and it's a perfect spot to sit out on the street in the Louisiana sunshine. We spent a whole afternoon at Horn's whiling away the time on the street petting dogs and chatting away to the locals. They offer GF options on their menu too, but note that they are closed Wednesdays and they close at 3pm through the rest of the week too; we did go back for a second round another day but were caught out by that so bear it in mind.
In the trendy Warehouse district sits Carmo, a tropical Haitian art gallery come restaurant serving food from all around the world. The serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as freshly pressed juices and smoothies to keep cool in the southern heat. We had the Acarajé which was like a black bean falafel served with the most amazing coconut, peanut and chilli paste that left me wanting more. I couldn't resist the Pão de Queijo too, a cheese bread that reminded me of our trip around Brazil a couple of years ago - they were spot on!
Sitting unassumingly in the centre of downtown on Canal St. is Amorino, the best vegan gelato in the game. They have lots of flavours, including an incredibly rich and luxurious chocolate sorbet, and it's all vegan certified. Perfect for a much needed sugar fix after a night out, as they are open late! Here's my chocolate, mango and passionfruit delight!