1. Cafe Du Monde - French Quarter
The best beignets. Central location. Cheap and quick service.
Although Cafe Du Monde is on every person's list of places to visit, after eating at various beignets places across the city, I think they still make the best beignets. Big statement, I know!
There are several Cafe Du Monde locations, but I recommend the one in the French Quarter for the excitement. It's popular, it's touristy, and it's like that for a reason. I love a good off-the-beaten-track cafe, but Cafe Du Monde is a classic.
Part of the fun at this particular location is how busy it can be! There is a small inside area and a large outside area and the key is not to wait to be seated, but to enter and find your own table. Many tourists wait in line only to realize that the line is usually for take-out.
The service is quick as well. As with most places in the United States, Cafe Du Monde runs on tips which means the servers want to get visitors in and out as quickly as possible. Each group gets a freshly wiped-down table because there is truly no way to eat a beignet without spilling half of the powdered sugar in every direction.
One order of beignets comes with three hot, doughy, sugary fritters and a price tag of $2.75. Pair that with a steaming cup of cafe au lait and you have yourself a perfect breakfast, snack or dessert. Pro tip: don't wear black!
2. French Truck - Uptown
Great playlist. Carefully crafted coffee. It's yellow.
I immediately fell in love with French Truck after I walked through its doors. The Uptown location is set in an old New Orleans house. First, it's painted yellow on the outside so seeing it makes happy, automatically. They do a great job of keeping with their yellow aesthetic on the inside as well with their yellow chairs and coffee cups.
They have a variety of seating options that cater to all scenarios. Whether you want to sit at a high table or at a bar ledge to work, at a four person table for brunch or outside to enjoy the sun, there's something for everyone.
The baristas and staff have been warm and welcoming at every occasion. You can also tell that the food and the coffee is made with care. Pro tip: they have a loyalty punch-card that provides a free drink after the purchase of eight French Truck coffees.
For work purposes (like if you're a digital nomad), this location only has two outlets which are on the porch of the cafe. I usually come to this location with my laptop fully charged if I want to work. In a way, it provides me a good excuse for a break when I literally cannot work anymore and have to go somewhere else to charge my computer! Otherwise, you can relax on the porch rocking chairs with your latte while you charge up.
3. The Vintage - Garden District
People-watching. Incredible vintage vibe. Specialty beignets.
The Vintage is a relatively new coffee shop, opened in April 2018, on busy Magazine Street. The interior is painted dark blue, has gold mirrors on every wall and floor to ceiling shelves behind the bar. However, I think my favorite part of the whole cafe interior is the decorative piano centerpiece.
There is seating outside under a wooden overhang with classic hanging ferns which provides a great spot to sit, work, sip a cappuccino and people watch. It makes you feel as if you're in a European cafe!
Inside, this particular coffee shop is long and narrow with an open seating area in the front with a long brown bench and two cozy chairs. The rest of the place is two to four person tables that stretch along the long bar. Once you pass the bar, you'll find the barista coffee station. If you can't tell already, The Vintage is a place that you can easily stay from morning to evening! They have both deliciously-made coffee and champagne bubbles when it's time to switch from work hour to happy hour.
Although you can get beignets from a lot of different cafe's that have perfected the recipe, The Vintage has specialty beignets in various flavors. Here, you can find beignets filled with matcha, coffee, s'mores and raspberry. The perfect addition to either a coffee or a sparkling drink!
4. The Bearcat Cafe - Freret
It has healthy and vegan options. Open, airy interior. Seasonal menu.
The Bearcat is located on trendy, Freret Street. Folks who have lived in New Orleans for years have told me it looked completely different just a few years ago (especially after Hurricane Katrina). This cafe makes its home underneath a yoga studio which is very fitting with their healthy, fresh menu items. On top of vegan options, they accommodate different dietary preferences including vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free. If you're a fan of matcha latte's you can find one here!
The interior is bright and airy with plenty of square tables and large windows against one wall. There is a small patio with a few tables and a lounge area with a few couches. The kitchen is open and you can see the chefs preparing all the nourishing plates and goodies.
It's quite popular so, on the weekends, the wait to be seated for brunch can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
5. Rue de la Course - Oak St
Classical music. Beautiful architecture and tall ceilings. Frothy lattes.
Rue de la Course is the kind of coffee shop you want to go on a Sunday morning with your dog and hang out in the sun with a frothy latte. It's the kind of coffee shop you want to eat a toasted bagel with your journal and ruminate on life.
In addition to outside seating, inside, Rue de la Course has three rows of tables and chairs that make up the cafe. If you want more privacy, you can head to the second floor on the right hand side. There is always classical music playing creating a relaxing, casual, yet elegant atmosphere. It helps that this New Orleans coffee shop is housed in an old historic bank with big arch windows, tall ceilings and giant chandeliers.
It's right on the cable car line so you can easily jump on the trolley in the French Quarter and ride up to Oak Street or the other way around!