With over 1,000 restaurants in New Oreans, it’s hard to choose where to eat. Places are constantly opening and keeping our taste buds on edge. Whether you’re a repeat traveler or you’re visiting New Orleans for the first time, below are some of the best new restaurants that opened in the Crescent City in 2019. Dine around town and see for yourself why they are so buzzed about.

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Denny Culbert, photo courtesy of Justine

This lavishly decorated French brasserie immediately inspires a good time. Hand-painted murals, antique brass and smoked-glass mirrors will make you feel like you’re at the hottest restaurant in Paris. A nightly DJ and roaming burlesque dancers add to the vibe. Power couple, Mia and Justin Devillier (James Beard’s Best Chef South: 2016), are well-known in New Orleans as the owners of La Petite Grocery, which made Justine a highly anticipated opening. The menu includes French classics such as onion soup, foie gras, fish amandine and duck confit, as well as their mpressive offerings for plateau des fruits de mar.

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Justen Williams

Coquette’s award-winning chefs, Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, opened their second restaurant, Thalia, in August 2019. This casual, family-friendly eatery is off the beaten path in the Lower Garden District. The menu includes creative alterations on known dishes, as well as blue plate specials various nights of the week.

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Sarah Peters, Romaguera Photography

Local produce and seafood meets Spanish cuisine at Costera. Located Uptown, Costera was opened by two former Donald Link veterans, Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieri. The menu is very shareable and is heavily rooted in rice and seafood, hints the seafood paella.

Mid-City gained former Gautreau’s chef, Sue Zemanick, with her first bistro, Zasu. The Top Chef star chose a menu inspired by her Solvak heritage and local seafood. The small dining room has remained buzzing since it’s opening in January 2019. Showstopper dishes include the saltine crusted grouper, wild mushroom pierogies and grilled baby octopus.

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Augusta Sagnelli, Barracuda

A much needed taco stand landed on Tchoupitoulas in the Spring of 2019. The kitchen is the size of a food truck, but the outdoor eating space is quite large. The menu is simple, but tasty, and offers great vegan options as well. Everything is made from scratch with local ingredients.

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Gianna, Chris Granger, Lin Restaurant Group

James Beard Award-winning chefs, Donald Link and Rebecca Wilcomb, are the faces behind this new Warehouse District hotspot. Italian cuisine is served in an open, rustic space, with a unique wine list as well. Favorite dishes include ricotta lemon ravioli, blue crab spaghetti and oyster and artichoke gratinata. Switch things up and pair it with some orange wine. You can also put your meal in the chef’s hands and choose the “feed me” menu.

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Prince Alem, Addis NOLA

Ethopian food is sparse in New Orleans, making the opening of Addia Nola on South Broad warmly accepted. Traditional East African dishes such as injera, sambusa and rice are paired with beef, lamb, fish, chicken or vegetarian options.

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ImTrav Photography, Palm & Pine

An open kitchen was an important concept for the owners of Palm & Pine. The staff includes various veterans from the local service industry, who happily mingle with customers while cooking. The menu is inspired by southern classics with a hint of Latin America. The mussels are prepared with fried chicken skins, and the blistered shishito peppers with queso fresco. Find other exciting dishes like boiled peanut salad, goat curry and bbq shrimp.

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Courtesy of True Food Kitchen

This Oprah-backed healthy restaurant is a chain with more than 30 locations nationwide. New Orleans got their own in September 2019 and added organic, sustainable meals to the downtown food scene, and right on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. Cocktails are prepared with fresh juices and homemade ingredients, and the menu will make you feel great lunch to dinner.

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Justen Williams

Part wine bar, part restaurant, this newly opened French hotspot only holds 16 seats in their dining room, making reservations hard to come by. The menu constantly changes to include fresh ingredients and innovative dishes. Dinner is only offered Thursday through Saturday, so make your reservation now.

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Courtesy of Sofia

Julia Street gained delectable wood-fired pizza and homemade pastas with Sofia. Whether you’re dining alone at the bar or with a large group in the open space, Sofia is cozy and inviting. Italian small plates are offered as well.

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Bonnie Ceng, Photo courtesy of Dian Xin

Chinese dishes make up the menu at this laidback spot near the French Market. The soup dumplings have been talked about across New Orleans since their opening, causing quite a stir for dim sum lovers. The large menu is overall very flavorful and offers authentic Chinese to the New Orleans area.

Lagniappe: Cocktail bars with great food options

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Courtesy of Jewel of the South

Legendary bartenders, Chris Hannah and Nick Detrich, opened Jewel of the South in March 2019 on the edge of the French Quarter. Sitting in an 1830s Creole cottage, the space resembles a tavern with a private courtyard. The drinks are naturally outstanding, and the dinner menu offers a contemporary variety of snacks and small plates. It includes ten options such as boudin, gumbo, bok choy and bone marrow.

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Belle Epoque is an absinthe-focused cocktail bar with a killer food menu as well. French onion pot pie, foie gras-stuffed chicken lollipops and coq-a-vin fried chicken keep things interesting in the French Quarter. The beautifully renovated lounge is an expansion of the historic Old Absinthe House. Former head bartender at near-by Sobou is the owner, so you can expect topnotch cocktails as well.

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Rush Jagoe, Maison de la Luz

Perhaps the most swanky lounge in the city opened in the new Maison de la Luz Hotel. Red walls, velvet seating and filled bookcases transport you to France in a romantic and eccentric way. Sophisticated cocktails keep the place moving, while their bar menu appeases the stomach. The pommes marliou are a crowd favorite consisting of crispy potatoes, creme fraîche and bowfin caviar.

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Sam Hanna

Claret

With a lengthy menu of wine, cocktails and small plates, Claret has become a popular gem for locals. The outdoor patio tucked away on Magazine Street is ideal when the weather is nice, while the dim-lit, inside bar is great for a date night. Enjoy delicious charcuterie, cheese, vegetables and dips while you drink.