Poke has been trending for quite a while now– it’s basically sushi in a bowl, what’s not to love? As an added bonus: it's healthy too!  For those who don't know, poke is any meat or seafood (usually raw fish) cut up into cubes and marinated. It's typically served with rice or greens, along with a variety of other toppings.

Poke in New Orleans is a hit, as the city offers several places to indulge in the Hawaiian cuisine. There’s Poke Loa on Magazine Street, where you can spot an average of 10-15 Tulane students per day. And to everyone’s excitement, one of the vendors in the newly opened Auction House Market, Aloha Lei, serves poke as well. I went ahead and compared the two poke places in New Orleans based on price, options, appearance, and taste so that you don't have to.

Price: An Important Factor for College Kids on a Budget

At Poke Loa, a two scoop bowl (two scoops of protein: tuna, salmon, tofu, etc.) costs $11.50, and a three scoop bowl costs $13.50. Certain toppings like avocado and crab salad cost $1.00 extra.

At Aloha Lei, a bowl costs $16. 

Options: For the Pickier Eaters Out There

Both Poke Loa and Aloha Lei have signature bowls that contain specific ingredients. However, building your own bowl is encouraged at Poke Loa. There is a huge variety of toppings you can add to your poke bowl, and being able to see the options through a glass display definitely helps when deciding what you want. At Aloha Lei, you can also customize your own bowl, but you have to specifically ask to do this, so it’s less common.

Tali Green

Appearance: Crucial for Snapchat Stories

Poke is a pretty photogenic food, as can be seen from nearly every form of social media. However, Auction House Market’s marble countertops and ceramic bowls, compared to Poke Loa’s plastic containers, will definitely spice up your Instagram feed.

Talia Abed

Last But Not Least, the Poke Itself

At Aloha Lei, I got one of the signature bowls, which contained: tuna, rice, mixed greens, pineapple, mango, avocado, edamame, orange slices, and a vinegar based sauce. Although the quality of the fish was 10/10, I felt there was way too much vinegar; it was hard to finish the bowl. Additionally, there are some foods that just do not go with poke – orange slices being one of them. 

Poke Loa never disappoints, and although the quality of the fish may not be as spectacular as Aloha Lei’s, that isn’t to say the fish isn’t fresh. The topping selection is on point and you can never go wrong with some extra wonton chips. 

Final Decision: 

I wouldn’t say I’m opposed to going back to Aloha Lei. I’m sure if I ask to make a custom bowl, I’ll be more satisfied. However, it’s pretty safe to say I’ll be sticking with Poke Loa. 

Something to Note...

Whereas Poke Loa is solely dedicated to poke, Aloha Lei also offers a few different sushi rolls and twists on both Japanese and Hawaiian cuisine– such as Creole-inspired redfish. Aloha Lei is one of many vendors in Auction House Market, and Poke Loa is its own restaurant.