Before visiting New Orleans, I had researched a storied bar owned by famous Tiki historian, Beachbum Berry. I didn’t research quite hard enough though! I was surprised to find that right around the corner was yet another tiki bar. A little hard to find in that you have to pay attention to the signs that lead you to the top but once you navigate the sets of doors and stairway, Tiki Tolteca greets you with an open, inviting, and well decorated environment.
Yes, it’s easy enough to find. Around the side from a Mexican restaurant is a door labeled for Tiki Tolteca. Following the staircase up it leads you right in where there is a small horseshoe shaped bar under a palapa. Everyone likes a palapa! A quick glance and you may think that this is an Indian restaurant., what with the mass of fabric and the couches that are synonymous (to me anyway) with several Indian restaurants I have been to. There is plenty of room here and in the couple times I have been here, there were plenty of places to sit. Don’t ignore the second room around the corner from the bar for more space.
Small but gets the job done. All the drinks are made with care and they have all the right ingredients. The Mai Tai and Zombie are great. The bartenders are happy to make you something off menu as well and make them really well (Three Dots comes to mind). Their original menu also deserves notice as well. There is a certain latin flair to some of their originals which I’m guessing stems from the fact they are related to the Mexican restaurant, Filipe’s, downstairs.
I really found Tiki Tolteca to be such a nice surprise! On my first trip to NOLA, I wasn’t looking for this place at all and we just sort of accidentally found it. My second trip I had wanted to bring some new blood to a tiki bar in the area. My intention was to hit both Latitude 29 and this, but the latter was undergoing renovations at the time. When I brought the whole crew to here, it was a perfect introduction to all that I love about great Tiki bar! Make time in your schedule to visit both Tiki bars in the french quarter. Make sure you don’t miss Tiki Tolteca.