Follow along for a day-long Northshore itinerary that a local chef might create.
The pace slows down as you cross Lake Pontchartrain into New Orleans Northshore, located in St. Tammany Parish just outside the city. Exchanging the flurry of city life for laid-back charm doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice dining options. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. New Orleans Northshore is a vibrant destination comprised of small towns with lots of personality. Each is buzzing with chefs, craft brewers, seafood purveyors and makers ready to share their gifts with you.
No Better Way to Eat Local
Spend Saturday morning in Slidell at the Camellia City Farmers Market. Drop by from 8 a.m. until noon and browse farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, artisan goods, locally roasted coffee, fresh-squeezed juices, delicious baked goods and ready-to-eat food for breakfast or lunch. Located in historic Olde Towne Slidell, the event also celebrates the local art community with dozens of artists’ work on display and for sale.
For another local shopping experience, head to Kenney Seafood Market. Oysters, shrimp, crab and a variety of fresh- and saltwater fish are all available at this Slidell institution. Brian Cappy, Kenney’s general manager, believes that the Northshore is one of the best places in the USA for seafood thanks to its location at the confluence of the Mississippi River, Lake Pontchartrain and Gulf of Mexico. Kenney’s fosters strong relationships with local fishermen, shrimpers and crabbers enabling the market to offer an extensive bounty to its customers. If you’re not looking to make your own meal, you’re in luck as Kenney’s has a café as well. In the dining area, plates of oysters on the half-shell, platters of crab and heaping po’ boy sandwiches are served to eager diners. The shrimp po’ boy gets a lot of credit, but the soft-shell crab version is an under-the-radar favorite too.
Platters of fresh shrimp, oysters and crab from Kenney Seafood Market
Craft Beer with a View
Take a break from eating to sip some beer at The Barley Oak in Mandeville. Sit outside on the second-story veranda for a casual atmosphere with Lake Ponchartrain views, or venture indoors for a traditional pub feel complete with wide-plank wood floors and a cozy fireplace. Featuring more than 100 craft beers and a lineup of bar food meant to complement the beer, this place celebrates Northshore’s craft beer roots. Try the sampler and ask the bartender for local selections. You might fall for Chafunkta Brewing Company’s Bayou Blaze, an Irish Red, or its Old 504 robust porter. You can always fall back on an Abita Brewing Company classic, The Boot, a lighter brew named for the shape of Louisiana that’s exclusively sold in the state.
Flowers outside The Barley Oak adding to its casual, neighborhood appeal
Dinner on the Bayou under the Stars
For dinner, head to Palmettos on the Bayou, which – tucked away from the road in Slidell – feels a bit like a secret. Inside, the dining area is an intimate, welcoming space with a modern bar – the perfect spot for a cocktail or a shrimp remoulade appetizer. Outside, towering cypress and oak trees surround the wooden patio that overlooks a dock along Bayou Bonfouca. Under the stars and strings of glowing lights, settle in for an elegant meal: Order the crispy catfish served with Gulf of Mexico blue fin crab, or the sweet tea-brined pork chop paired with crab and grilled corn orzo. The smoky, hearty andouille gumbo is a must-eat too. It’s served with potato salad – a nod to the German immigrants who settled in the area. It’s a meal that tells you a lot about New Orleans Northshore cuisine, taking prompts from the land, waters and its people.
Dining in the treetops at Palmettos on the Bayou
Fly into Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans, and rent a car for the 40-minute drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.