If you’ll be in town for this year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, you’re likely looking for food options outside of the festival grounds. For a delicious meal of French and Creole cuisine in a charming, cozy spot near the Fairgrounds, Café Degas on Esplanade Ave is a sure bet. They serve up lunch Wednesday through Saturday, dinner Wednesday through Sunday and Sunday Brunch (just call ahead for hours), so you can enjoy their cuisine either before or after your Jazz Fest experience.
The restaurant is named after the 19th century French impressionist Edgar Degas who lived down the street in this quaint Creole neighborhood. The building itself houses tables both indoors and outdoors in a covered space that is pleasant even while it’s raining. You can enjoy the pleasing atmosphere of the restaurant against the lush, historic backdrop of Esplanade Ave while dining on splendid Creole-influenced French fare. The inside is small but cozy and intimate with the feel and appeal of a French bistro.
The lunch menu includes such hors d’oeuvres as pates, cheese plates and to-die-for escargot and entrees like quiche, veal stew, yellowfin tuna, sautéed calf’s liver and seared hanger steak. For dinner, you can expect similar appetizers and entrée offerings in larger portions plus extras like a pan-seared rack of lamb. Their brunch selection includes crepes au crabe, grillades and grits, eggs benedict and Belgian waffles. They post their lunch and dinner specials on their website if you want to plan ahead. They are also open for drinks and small plates in between lunch and dinner services, and they boast a fine, varied wine list.
Café Degas is located at 3127 Esplanade Ave, which is down the street from the Fairgrounds, the host of Jazz Fest. Reservations are suggested for parties of three or more, and you’ll especially want to make them sooner than later considering the volume of restaurant traffic from Jazz Fest crowds and city visitors pouring in.