New Orleans is so much more than tacos, y’all. I love a good tac as much as the next basic babe and there’s nothing wrong with getting your weekly Juan’s fix, but if you’re looking for authentic Latin food, you may be looking in all the wrong places.
Since it deeply, deeply pains me to see lines wrapped around the Rum House every #TacoTuesday, I’m dishing out a list that will guide you to the best authentic NOLA alternatives.
Mexican: Casa Borrega
This awesomely off-the-wall house on O.C. Haley comes alive with live music, dancing and decor and serves up some of the most authentic Mexican food in the city. But the mezcal-infused magic is only a fraction of why I love it so much.
Owned and run by Mexico City natives, Casa Borrega is true, true Mexican street food at its best. Can’t understand the menu? That’s a good thing. Maybe you should learn some Español, gringos. They also serve up a damn fine spicy margarita — sorry basics, no syrupy, sweet frozen margs here. Plus,…BRUNCH. A little tequila in the morning never hurt no’body (that’s a lie). But really, my best Saturday’s start out with brunch at Casa B, and that’s not a lie.
Casa Borrega is a long-time Nola essential, so if you haven’t been you need to get there asap, get drunk, eat some Mexican food and leave with a Lucha Libre mask. If this place ever changes, I’m giving up on life. Period. #VivaLaFrida
Honorable mention: El Pavo Real
Peruvian: Cuzco Peruvian Cuisine
What the hell is Peruvian food? Okay, I thought the same thing to be honest. But the answer is, REALLY, REALLY TASTY South American food with Spanish and European influence. Think rice, fish, potatoes, salsa.
One of the new kids on the Freret restaurant scene, Cuzco opened quietly in 2016 but has been killin’ it ever since.
One word. Paella. (Pronounced PIE-AYE-YUH). Lola‘s is your go-to for this classic Spanish dish.
Colombian: Maïs Arepas
Maïs specializes in authentic Colombian cuisine including the popular Bandeja Paisa and a wide array of arepas stuffed with flavorful, fresh, local ingredients.
Cuban: El Libre
Sometimes you just get the hankering for a good ole savory pressed Cuban sandwich. Tucked away in the Quarter, El Libre happens to be Nola’s only Cuban cafe and serves up hearty breakfast, lunch, dinner and fantastic Cuban cocktails.
South American: Carmo
Vegans and vegetarians rejoice! On top of really, really delish South American (and SE Asian) food, Carmo has a menu full of veggie-friendly options. Don’t worry meat-lovers, they have food for you too. Great food. This CBD joint is a favorite lunch spot for anyone in the mood for something a little different.
Oh, Barú, I do love you. This is my go-to for a girls night out dinner. Head up to Baru’s balcony for fun Magazine Street views, sangria and tapas that are actually shareable.
In conclusion, I’m not hating on your basic #TacoTuesdays, I straight up LOVE being a basic. I’m just saying there’s way more authentic Latin cuisine worth exploring in the Big Easy.