If you’re somewhat familiar with the history of New Orleans, you know that the beignet plays a major part. Originally brought to Louisiana in the 18th century by French colonists, beignets are squares of fried pastry dough traditionally served with powdered sugar on top, although some variations contain meat, vegetables and fruit. You can get this piping hot delicacy all over the Big Easy, so check out our list of the best places to enjoy beignets and a café au lait in New Orleans.
Café Du Monde
The infamous Café Du Monde is world renowned for its chicory blended café au lait and hot, fresh beignets generously covered in powdered sugar. Its original location was founded in 1862, and as such, it has become the standard by which all other beignets are measured. Open 24 hours a day seven days a week, no trip to New Orleans is complete without checking out this iconic landmark.
Where: There are many locations throughout the city, but the original can be found at 800 Decatur St., New Orleans,LA 70116
Much smaller than Café du Monde, Café Beignet is tucked into the happening and picturesque French Quarter. You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see its signature green and white striped awning. The beignets here are cooked to order, so the wait is a bit longer, but the beignets arrive warm, moist and dense, covered in a moderate dusting of fine powdered sugar. If you want to avoid the crowds of Café du Monde but still get quality beignets, this is the place to go.
Where: 311Bourbon St., New Orleans,LA 70130
Located in the sleepy New Orleans suburb of Metairie, Morning Call is a favorite amongst visitors and residents alike for its fresh and dirt cheap coffee and beignets. Although it’s about a 15 minute drive from downtown New Orleans, the trip is worth it, as you’ll avoid the throng of tourists at Café du Monde while getting to explore a different area of New Orleans. The beignets arrive at your table without sugar, so you can add it on your own if you don’t like the heaping mound that usually accompanies a plate of beignets.
Where: 3325 Severn Ave., Metairie,LA 70002
When you think of beignets you probably think of powdered sugar covered pastries, but the swanky and hip Restaurant R’evolution takes this traditional dish and turns it on its ear, earning it a spot on our list. Enter the Beer Battered Crab Beignets, a savory dish that will leave you rethinking the whole powdered sugar thing. If you’re still not convinced, try the elevated Coffee and Beignets dessert, which features a chicory mocha pot de crème, coffee-infused beignets and a black fig jam.
Where: 777 Bienville St., New Orleans,LA 70130
Lighter and fluffier than your average beignet, the beignets at Coquette approach cream puff territory in both shape and texture. Served with two dipping sauces, coffee chocolate and salted caramel, each order comes with five round pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Where: 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans,LA 70115
Photo credit: iStockphoto/DianaLundin