Kirbie's Cravings

Cafe Du Monde (New Orleans)

One of the classic foods of New Orleans are beignets, and Cafe Du Monde is the most well-known place that serves them.

I recently returned from an amazing New Orleans trip where I managed to eat at nearly 20 places in a span of 3 1/2 days. I’m excited to share my adventures, starting with the spot I was most anticipating: Cafe Du Monde.

They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I originally had planned to visit the first morning we’d be in town, but once I realized it was open all day I couldn’t wait. Just a mere few hours after we got off the plane and had some dinner, I dragged Mr. K to Cafe Du Monde for a late night snack. We ended up loving the beignets and cafe au lait so much that we visited 3 times over our short stay. The beignets were that good.

The large cafe is bustling no matter what time of the day. Once you enter, you find a seat and shortly after a server with a paper hat will approach you. You place your order and a few minutes later, they bring it to you and you immediately pay the server. The cafe’s menu is simple: beignets, coffee, hot chocolate and a handful of other drinks.

On our first night, we ordered the beignets and cafe au lait.

Before my visit to New Orleans, I’ve been quite curious as to what a proper beignet should taste like. Many restaurants offer it and it’s described as a French doughnut, so I imagined it was supposed to be a light, fluffy donut cut into square pillow-shapes. But if that’s all it is, I didn’t understand why people rave about beignets. It turns out, they are not quite the same as a donut, which is where most restaurants that serve beignets get it wrong.

The beignets at Cafe Du Monde are indeed light, but they also have more substance and chew than a traditional fried donut. The inside is almost bread-like, but with large pockets of air which keeps it fluffy. One order of three will set you back a mere $2.42. They are topped with copious amounts of powdered sugar, and it’s almost a skill to learn how to eat them without accidentally inhaling and choking on the sugar or getting it all over your clothes. It took the third visit for me to successfully eat one without looking like a complete amateur. (I don’t recommend actually eating all the sugar.)

I enjoyed my beignets so much, we ended up ordering a second order that night. I think I could eat about a hundred of these.

The coffee at Cafe Du Monde is made with their signature blend mixed with French chicory. The Cafe Au Lait consists of the chicory coffee and hot whole milk. It’s extremely creamy, rich, and is the perfect accompaniment to the beignets. You can even dip the beignets in your coffee!

The next morning, we were back at Cafe Du Monde again, enjoying an early morning breakfast, just as I had pictured. During our visit, the cafe was completely tented and enclosed, making natural daylight ridiculously hard to find. We finally snagged a table with a little bit of natural light seeping in. Of course, these beignets were not nearly as pretty as our previous orders, coming out more like oversized long pillows rather than perfect square ones.

However, they still tasted amazing. When we bit in, you could still see the steam releasing into the air. The beignets are best when still hot.

Our final visit was again a late night one. The beignets this time weren’t as good, coming out a bit too doughy. We soon figured out that it’s best to come in the morning and/or daytime.

The cafe also sells a lot of merchandise as well as their signature coffee and beignet mix. We packed our suitcases with the mix so I can try to recreate the beignets at home. I miss them already.

Tips: Arrive in the early  morning to avoid crowds and have very fresh, hot beignets. This place is also cash only.

Cafe Du Monde
Several locations, but we went to the original
800 Decatur Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

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14 comments on “Cafe Du Monde (New Orleans)”

  1. Mmm. Beignets! I can only imagine the real thing is better than everything else. Must get to New Orleans someday. 

  2. I can’t wait to go in Oct. Hopefully I will be able to visit it before then. But in the meantime, we are using the Cafe Du Monde beignet mix and making our own.

  3. I love the beignets there. No other place makes it quite like it.

    • I know I probably should have tried more places in NOLA, but I didn’t want to go to somewhere else and be disappointed! with such a short amount of time, I wanted all my meals to be good. but when i asked around the locals, they all said Cafe Du Monde which is why i didnt try any other cafes

  4. Bert has been here before and swears these are the best beignets ever. We tried a version at the now defunct Cafe Fanny in Berkeley and he said it wasn’t even close (although I liked it).  I definitely want to visit New Orleans in the future; it’s such a great food city. 

    Can’t wait to read your posts on your 20+ stops! 

    • I’ve had beignets several times at places in SD. They always tasted like fried square donuts to me. good, but not anything special. But I haven’t had anything like the ones at Cafe Du Monde. I really loved them!

  5. Right down from Cafe du Monde is Central Grocery. It’s a little Italian grocery that claims to have invented the Muffaletta. They’re premade, wrapped in paper, and amazing. Even the half sandwich is huge, easily enough to share. 

    • Yes we had that too! We went right after our morning at Cafe Du Monde and it was delicious and I don’t even like olives normally.

  6. did you get a chance to try cafe beignet? i liked cafe beignet more, i thought the dough was a bit fluffier and had a touch more of sweetness.

  7. Great description! I find that each version I’ve had is widely different at other places and more like replicating a square doughnut hole. I guess I have to put New Orleans on my must-visit list now!

    • The square donut holes I’ve had previously were good, but nothing really special. But Cafe Du Monde’s definitely have a different texture. I was having such a hard time describing it! You should def visit New Orleans, I think you would really enjoy it.