Take it outside: 18 great spots for outdoor dining

As spring nears, great weather presents a good opportunity to check out the New Orleans outdoor dining scene. Here's a list of great spots to eat al fresco while taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Cavan

Magazine Street near Uptown has a plethora of outdoor dining venues. Cavan is one of the newest restaurants in that category.  Situated in a former private residence, Cavan’s front patio overlooks Magazine Street on  a nice little strip between Louisiana and Napoleon. Photo courtesy: Cavan

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Lilette

Take in the smells of jasmine and honeysuckle at Lilette’s charming, outdoor patio space. Strings of lights illuminate this quaint spot while providing a romantic ambiance.  Make sure you request an outdoor table when making reservations as it can get filled up fast on a beautiful evening. Photo courtesy: Lilette

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Photo courtesy: Bouligny Tavern

Bouligny Tavern

Lilette’s sister restaurant, Bouligny Tavern, also has a great outdoor area.  Sandwiched between the two buildings, the side patio is great all year long as heat lamps are provided when it’s gets chilly outside. Photo courtesy: Bouligny Tavern

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Baru Bistro and Tapas

This Latin-inspired restaurant serves up great food in an excellent location right on Magazine Street. Diners have the option of outdoor seating downstairs, where they can watch people stroll on Magazine Street or on the upstairs balcony.  You can’t go wrong either way. Photo courtesy: Baru Bistro and Tapas

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Dat Dog

The gourmet hotdog spot has a large, colorful outdoor space on Magazine Street near Louisiana Ave.  Order at the counter, and grab yourself one of the many picnic tables to enjoy your meal.  If you’re looking to catch a game, TVs are located around the outdoor area as well. Photo courtesy: Dat Dog

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Station 6

The newest spot of local restaurant veteran Alison Vega, near the Bucktown marina, offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Check out the restaurant’s great happy hour with half dozen local oysters, a Cajun caviar tasting and a glass of champagne for $15. Photo courtesy: Station 6 via Instagram

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The Blue Crab

Head out to the Lakefront area for views of Lake Pontchartrain from the Blue Crab’s downstairs bar or upstairs balcony.  If you have a boat, no problem. Park it at their dock, and enjoy the views and entertainment. Photo courtesy: The Blue Crab via Instagram

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Brisbi's Lakefront Restaurant and Bar

Located just around the corner from the Blue Crab, Brisbi’s offers a similar experience with Lakefront dining and outdoor seating. Take in the sunset from one of their many outdoor tables. Photo courtesy: Brisbi’s Lakefront Restaurant

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St. Roch Market

The revitalized market has outdoor seating along St. Claude Avenue. Purchase food inside from one of the vendors. Then, grab a table outside, and watch the neighborhood residents pass you by. Photo courtesy: St. Rich Market

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The Delachaise

This wine bar located on St. Charles Avenue has a uniquely-shaped outdoor space with a good amount of seating. Order food and drinks at the bar. A server delivers it to you when it is ready.  Watch the street car pass while sipping on some bubbly. Photo courtesy: The Delachaise

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Chais Delachaise

The Delachise’s sister restaurant on Maple Street offers a different experience than its older counterpart.  The two level front patio comes with servers who will provide you with some of the best food served in the neighborhood. Photo courtesy: Chais Delachaise

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Tableau

Head to Tableau for the best views of Jackson Square while dining. The upstairs balcony wraps around Chartres Street to St. Peter Street. Get a glimpse of the street performers while noshing on some bites. Photo courtesy: Tableau via Instagram

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Green Goddess

You’ll find this quaint little restaurant with outdoor only seating nestled in the French Quarter down Exchange Alley. You feel like you’re dining in an Europeon Alley.  There is not a lot of seating at this restaurant. So, there my be a wait during busier hours. Kill some time by watching the craftsmen make those signature gas lamps next door at the Bevolo Gas and Electric Lighting Company. Photo courtesy: Green Goddess via Facebook

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Audubon Clubhouse Café

Sit at a table on the veranda of this casual restaurant while taking in views of the golf course and golfers.  The restaurant is located just off Magazine Street in the middle of Audubon Park. It’s open to the public seven days a week. Photo courtesy: The Audubon Institute

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Bacchanal

For a good wine selection, great bites of food and one of the largest outdoor areas in the Bywater, head to Bacchanal.  Located right along the river, the casual wine store and eatery has live music almost every night.

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N7

One would venture to bet that numerous people have passed this neighborhood restaurant without every realizing it was there.  Enter the gate, and you’ll discover a little backyard oasis in the middle of the Bywater.  The restaurant got rave reviews when it first opened, and the setting is precious. Photo courtesy: N7

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The Blind Tiger

The Blind Tiger got its start in Bay St. Louis and had immediate success. Its newest waterfront location is in Slidell. The food is fresh and never frozen.  Try the Royal Red Shrimp or the Fish Tacos. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

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The Chimes

The Covington location of this popular beer bar and restaurant sits on serene Bayou Falaya. Boardwalks wind around the property leading to the water. Pull up to the restaurant’s dock by boat, kayak or paddle board. Get yourself some good grub with a great view. Photo courtesy: The Chimes

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See also: Get a View of New Orleans From These Rooftop Bars | Great Spots for Waterfront Dining Near New Orleans