Women's History Month may be March, but why not support these women-owned dining establishments all year round?
The Best Woman-Owned Dining in NOLA
The food and drinks they're serving up will absolutely have you coming back for more.
The champagne bar that's got the whole town bubbling is Effervescence from Owner/Operator Crystal Hinds. Located on the edge of the French Quarter, Hinds' space offers more than 200 sparklers by the bottle and 30 by the glass. Half pours are available for the by the glass options allowing guests to travel the terroirs of the world via flute glass. For those that can't make up their minds, there are several flight options to take the guesswork out. There's a bubbly for every budget on the Effervescence list from affordable sparklers to the greatest champagne houses of France. The bar is also pouring champagne topped cocktails, still wines, ciders, sherries, and "The Champagne of Beers" (naturally). The food menu contains small, shareable bites that pair exquisitely with champagne. Oysters and caviar are some of the more luxurious menu items, but frites, olives, and Marcona almonds are also choices.
Chef/Owner Sue Zemanick worked in fine dining establishments in high school and knew she had found her calling. Her passion for seafood spearheaded her move to New Orleans and, after years and accolades earned in other kitchens, she opened her own space, Zasu. Start your meal with the grilled baby octopus served with a Korean scallion pancake, pickled shiitake mushrooms, and a kimchi aioli or the tuna crudo with nori, puffed wild rice, celery root puree, and a sultana-caper vinaigrette. Oceanic entrees include sauteed American red snapper which is served with roasted fennel, pink-eyed peas, citrus, and Calabrian chili butter. Guests that prefer terrestrial proteins can opt for the seared duck breast with oyster mushrooms, Swiss chard, and "cacio e pepe" polenta finished with a sherry-duck reduction. Every Saturday, Zasu offers "Family Meal," a meal packages that feed two to four people with customizable add-ons.
The philosophy behind Compère Lapin is that food should remind you of home and also have the ability to transport you somewhere new. It doesn't need to be flashy or opulent. Chef Nina Compton, with that philosophy and the inspiration of Caribbean folktales in mind, won a James Beard Award for Compère Lapin. Wet your palate with conch croquettes with pickled pineapple tartar sauce to start. For the next course, the West African peanut soup with sweet potatoes, mirliton, and jasmine rice is a must. For the main course try the curried goat with sweet potato gnocchi and cashews or the pork belly with braised kale and black-eyed peas. Don't skip dessert. The soursop cheesecake with guava and a white chocolate crumble is a tart and perfect way to end an unforgettable meal.
Dim sum is popular all over the United States but New Orleans didn't have its own spot until Chef Judy Ceng and her family opened Dian Xin. "To touch the heart" is the literal translation of dim sum and Hong Kong-born Ceng's food does just that. The basil popcorn chicken is a popular Taiwanese snack. Boneless chicken is fried until golden, sprinkled with fried basil leaves, and then tossed in a secret blend of seasonings. It's crisp, salty, and very addictive. The crabmeat and crawfish baos are a fun New Orleans play on the classic dumplings. The jianbing (a Chinese-style crepe) is filled with scallions, hoison sauce, crunchy wontons, chili paste, and your choice of fillings like crawfish, char sui, and stewed beef.
Chef Vyoone Segue Lewis is many things. She's an accomplished musician, a pediatric geneticist, and from a long line of Afro-Creole and French ancestors. She opened her eponymous spot, Vyoone's, to bring French fare to the Warehouse District. The escargot de Bourgogne is a classically French way to start off the meal. The snails are swimming in delicious garlic butter that absolutely must be sopped up with crostini. Next, try the le crabe softshell, Italian whaler crabs served over corn maque-choux and topped with a crawfish cream sauce. At brunch, go for a classic crab benedict or skip the eggs and get the mussels finished in white wine and a dijon cream sauce. Stop by between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday for a l'aperitif happy hour.
Chef/Partner Kelly Fields had her life changed by a chocolate chip cookie in San Francisco. She then spent the next two and a half years baking cookies every day and until she arrived at the perfect chocolate chip cookie she now serves at Willa Jean. Her recipe uses five different kinds of chocolate and gets a sprinkling of sea salt across the top. It's then served with an egg beater of cookie dough and a shooter of Tahitian vanilla milk. The crowd's don't just come for the cookies. The full-service restaurant and bakery have an incredible menu showcasing Southern fare. The griddled banana bread with whipped butter is decadent and sweet perfection. There are several biscuit options for both sweet and savory-leaning palates. The beverage menu includes (but is not limited to) a brandy milk punch made with brandy, amaretto, cinnamon, and vanilla cream, a bloody mary with Willa Jean pickles, and a maple whiskey sour.