Magazine’s Magnifique Miles
A trip down the multicultural culinary abundance of Magazine Street
It’s hard to believe now, but Magazine Street was not always known for restaurants. Sure, there are the old standbys such as Bon Ton Café downtown, which dates to the 1950s, and the century-old Casamento’s off Louisiana Avenue, along with the odd pizzeria or poor-boy joint.
But today, Bon Ton and Casamento’s are joined by an extraordinary list of restaurants. Magazine’s culinary offerings are not only numerous, they’re wide-ranging. In fact, Magazine Street showcases almost every type of cuisine imaginable. You can travel the culinary world in the distance between Canal Street and Audubon Park.
Naturally, Magazine has its share of New Orleans-style fine-dining establishments. Some of them rank among the city’s most celebrated. They include Chophouse in the CBD, Peche in the Warehouse District, the multi-course specialist Square Root in the Lower Garden District and Coquette in the Garden District. Farther Uptown, there’s La Petite Grocery, Lilette, Apolline, Bistro Daisy and the bourbon-themed Kenton’s.
Others fit into a more casual category, including the American Sector at the National World War II Museum, the Red Dog Diner, Basin Seafood and Joey K’s in the Garden District. Uptown, there’s Slim Goodies and Saucy’s barbeque.
No other street in New Orleans is as well represented at breakfast time. Surrey’s has both ends of the street covered, with locations at both 1418 and 4807 Magazine. Ditto the Ruby Slipper, with locations at both 200 and 2802. Just a little farther lies Another Broken Egg and GG’s Dine O Rama.
Traveling up Magazine, you cross the continent of Asia. Nirvana, near Louisiana, represents India, while SukhoThai covers Thailand. Several restaurants represent Vietnam, including Lilly’s Café and Pho Noi Viet in the Lower Garden District, and Magasin’s, whose name gives you a clue as to its location. Sake Café in the Garden District, Haiku Sushi, and Noodle and Pie Uptown represent Japan. Little Korea occupies a spot just down the street. Also nearby, veteran Jung’s Golden Dragon represents China.
At the fine-dining end of the Middle East category is Israeli restaurant Shaya. On a more casual note is Mona’s across the street and Tal’s Hummus at the intersection with Bordeaux. At the fast-food end of the category is the Pita Pit at Nashville.
Magazine houses a big batch of mainly new Latin restaurants. In the Lower Garden District alone there’s Rosa Mezcal and Mayas Nuevo Latino Cocina. In the burrito category are Juan’s Flying Burrito and Izzo’s. Also along the way Uptown are the Caribbean-themed Rum House, Arana Taqueria, Taqueria Corona, Del Fuego Taqueria and the Colombian tapas place Baru.
Baru’s owner, by the way, has also opened a more New Orleans-esque place on Magazine called Basin Seafood.
All of a sudden Magazine street has a couple of Italian places: Amici Ristorante near Louisiana Avenue and Avo — where the beloved Martinique used to be — between Nashville and State.
On an island of its own at Louisiana Avenue is Hawaiian restaurant Poke Loa.
Burger joints? Check. There’s Charcoal’s, Smashburger and Bayou Burger. For good measure, there’s a Dat Dog, too. And to complete every child’s dream diet, there’s a large collection of pizzerias: Magazine Pizza, Theo’s Pizza, New York Pizza, Slice, Pizza Domenica and Reginelli’s (twice).
On Magazine, even vegan and raw foodies get their refuge at Superfood Bar and Fresh Bar Uptown.
Finally, Mahony’s off Louisiana joins the proud poor-boy tradition of old-timers such as Guy’s near Jefferson.
How many streets in New Orleans compete with all of that? Which is to ask: How many streets in the world?
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Peter Reichard is a native New Orleanian who has written about the life and times of the city for more than 20 years, including as a former newspaper editor and business journalist.