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Tony Angelo's

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No one talks about Tony Angelo's on this board, and I must admit it always slips my mind when I come around to recommending restaurants. The fact that it's a bit out of the way might have something to do with it.

Anyway, this was one of my favorite restaurants growing up. I always imagined I was eating in a room full of mafiosos, and there definitely seemed to be a few who fit the bill. Seemed also that a lot of Metairie Italians ate here.

Has anyone been to Tony Angelo's recently who can give us a report?

My one beef with the place was that even when you had reservations you often faced an epic wait for a table, and the maitre'd did nothing to appease you, even when you pointed to the picture of your grandfather on the wall :) (I think too many people can claim that distinction for it to be worth something.)

Though the wait was always worth it for the "Feed Me" special--and the amazing lobster cup! Though the real star here is the atmosphere--a split-level metairie cottage that feels like you walked into someone's (noisy and crowded) home. Everyone dresses up. It truly is a special place. I'd love an update.

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  1. went there in the fall and it was great. like you said, the atmosphere really takes this place to the top, but the food is good and seemed reasonably priced. I think maybe one of the reasons it isn't discussed here is people kinda want to keep this place a secret, and also they really aren't doing anything remarkable with the food. but for italian I must say it's leaps and bounds ahead of a place like Vincent's.

    1. I went in February with a big group. We did the Feed Me. We did indeed wait more than an hour past our reservation time, so I was somewhat liquored up by the time we got to the table, so yes, the food was indeed fabulous. I remember in particular the osso buco (most people were grossed out by the marrow, so I got a lot of it) and some sort of soft shell crab in tomato sauce.

      1. I have been three times since Tony Angelo's reopened. It looks the same. It feels the same. It tastes the same. There is one difference I have found. It is not as busy. I haven't had to wait for table and one of the nigts I went was New Year's Eve.

        1. Going back pre-K, we dined there a handful of times. My step-FIL was a good friend and sang the praises. Do not recall dining there, when we lived in NOLA.

          On the pre-K visits, we were less than impressed. Nothing really caught our attention in a positive way.

          Once, they may have been great and we missed that. Now, they could be great, and we have not returned.

          I'll wait for more contemporary reports.


          1. A group of 6 of us went there recently for my husband's 31st birthday. We had a 5 minute wait. We did the Feed Me and the food was great.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nolalawyer

              This chowhound just returned from her first trip. The atmosphere is sublime, the food pretty good, and no wait whatsoever. We'll be back and recommend to others. It's a quintessential New Orleans restaurant but on a different wavelength.

              1. re: dookie_doo

                That is good to know. It WAS some time back, that we dined there. Much could have changed. Also, many family members loved it, so our venture was probably atypical.

                Thanks for reporting. Maybe we can fit them in on the next trip.


            2. Always have liked it although I know lots of people who say they are underwhelmed. It's not a foodie destination, like, say, Gautreau's, which is also tucked away in a residential neighborhood. It lacks glamour, hipness, youth. And, indeed, sometimes it misses.

              For me , it serves what your Italian grandmother, if she was an exceptional cook, may have cooked for Sunday dinner and other special occasions. Exquisitely prepared, occasionally luxe, comfort food. I love the tomato sauce, which manages to be light and bright and still homey. I would kill for the recipe for Eggplant Tina. How they make eggplant both ethereal and soul satisfying is one of NOLA's culinary mysteries.

              Sometimes, going to dinner in a big, low lit Lakeview ranch house filled with folks who've been going there forever is good for what ails you. Not many restaurants like this, anywhere.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                Now, I am probably the last person looking for "hipness," etc., and must confess that my best friend's family, growing up in MS, was first-generation Italian. I was fortunate to have dined with them on many Sundays. My wife is one-quarter-Italian and then French, with a bit of Cherokee and Cajun mixed in. She also grew up with Sunday meals in an Italian household.

                We probably hit them on some bad nights, though family-members sang the praises and loved it very much. We gave them several opportunites to shine, and just flat missed it.

                Maybe we wanted too much, or just hit them when the kitchen was off. We could also have ordered the wrong dishes. This can easily happen.

                You have to also remember that we dined there pre-K, so very much has likely changed, and hopefully for the better.


              2. We dined there last Thur (7-2-09). No wait. If you're looking for great Italian, this isn't it. I'm assuming their popularity is due to the inexpensive price points rather than the food. The red gravy/sauce is on the sweet side. We each had the 8 course (app. portion size) dinner, $30pp. While nothing was bad, nothing would bring me back. We had: angel hair w/crab tomato gravy, a brothy artichoke soup, lobster cup (mostly bechamel), broiled, stuffed shrimp , veal and peppers, thick piece of breaded veal, redolent of garlic, topped w/ mushrooms and a slice of raw bell pepper on the side. (this tied w/ shrimp as best dishes.), spinach salad, canneloni, eggplant Tina. FWIW, none of the pasta is fresh.

                5 Replies
                1. re: JazzyB

                  You nailed my last (pre-K) experience. I'd guess that what we encountered was Chef Boy-ardee. Nothing special. I do not care about the price-points, as it's about the full dining experience, especially the food.


                  1. re: JazzyB

                    No, it's popularity is due to the fact that it's been a Lakeview institution for years and years. It's older than many of the restaurants mentioned on this board. I haven't been back since the storm, but I remember the walls were covered in faded black and white photos of people who had dined there. My grandfather loved this place, and was friends with Mr. Tony.

                    Sad to hear the food wasn't up to par. I always thought it was delicious, but it's been a while.

                    1. re: HalfShell

                      I loved the private dining room w/the naked light bulb hanging on a wire over the table. and yes, it is an institution. many good memories were made there.
                      when I was gutting my Lakeview home, I would see Mr. Tony out there every day in his white t-shirt, white shorts and white shrimp boots cleaning out the kitchen and pots and pans.

                      1. re: edible complex

                        Ah! I ate in that room before a high school dance, some 13 years ago!

                        1. re: Vivi Doom

                          I grew up 3 blocks from T.A.'s and was a regular. I last went weeks before the hurricane of 05. But I doubt it has changed. I TOTALLY disagree with the chef boy r dee comment. The food certainly has a place, and it was always good. It is more old school then modern but IMO classic in its own way. Great stuffed shrimp, eggplant, the ambiance etc and the homemade lemon icebox pie...

                  2. My husband and I just ate there this past weekend and I hate to say that I was so disappointed. Tony Angelo's used to be one of our favorites before the storm and this was the first time we were back since. Unfortunately, our experience was bad from the start. From the moment we sat down we had a waiter that just wouldn't leave us alone. Within the first five minutes he asked us 3 times if we had any questions about the menu - we hadn't even ordered our wine. We had company with us and we all ordered separate from the "Feed Me" menu. It took a long time for the bread to reach our table and the two rolls we got (for 5 people) was the last of any bread we'd see that evening. When the appetizers came I was actually in shock. I had ordered the stuffed shrimp which before the storm were the size of my palm and filled nicely with their stuffing. What I was looking at were three shrimp barely the size of my pinky and a little stuffing laying next to them. Our appetizers were served on plates the size of coffee saucers. The other appetizers at the table were just as bad in portion size. By the time our entrees came we were starving. Our entree sizes weren't any better and the side of pasta seemed like a bad filler at this point. I don't understand why when you order chicken parmisane they can't put the pasta on the plate with the chicken. It really would make for a nicer looking entree. By this time our hovering waiter had actually disappeared so we weren't able to ask for more wine, bread, anything. Our table was full of crumbs that were never cleaned from the bread and a shy bus boy delivered the dessert selections barely above a whisper. I ordered ice cream - and if I had put the whole thing together would have barely make a single scoop. My husband ordered the icebox pie and was served a small 2x2 square of something that did not remotely look like a piece of pie. Our waiter reappeared in time to serve us the bill.

                    At roughly $50 a head I cannot in good faith suggest this experience to anyone else. When you think of Italian dining you think of hearty meals and good food. While the food was edible we left hungry. I don't want to spend that kind of money to go home and fix something else to eat. I'm sad that an old favorite has seemed to slip a bit but I think Tony Angelo's has gotten so used to it's "Feed Me" portions that it forgot what it was like to serve a real sized entree to a customer.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bkatv33

                      Sorry you had a bad experience. I went there (before the hurricane) most of my life and the stuffed shrimp (which was my favorite) were never the size of my palm, as an adult or child. They were the size you described or a little larger than that at most. And they always serve the pasta on a seperate plate. And the portions entree or app were never jumbo size. And the icebox pie was always a smallish square....

                      That said, an overly attentive or vanishing waiter is very annoying. Usually the busser brought the bread (in the past) I don;t know if Jerry is still there, but he was a great waiter. I last went about a month before 8/05.

                    2. Pleased to find that my neighborhood restaurant Tony Angelo's had been completely restored and looked exactly like it did before Katrina. Everybody seemed to know each other quite well and the feel of the place was extremely warm and inviting. Even with the bar blasting out the Channel 4 News, the banter was lively. The well-seasoned staff quickly made us feel at home upon being seated in the cozy main dining room surrounded by robust family gatherings and a few date tables.
                      After fumbling with the menu for about two minutes, we decided to go with the "Feed Me" menu. I'm pretty sure my host requested a few adjustments, so we had a couple of special items. The first round included an incredible steamed artichoke with a delicious vinaigrette spiked with garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. A cold dish of boiled shrimp topped with a drizzle of horseradish dressing was satisfying. The salad of slice button mushrooms flecked with salami was extremely old school...and demonstrative of the kind of unlikely and unpretentious food prepared here for decades. Perhaps the kind of dish once found at Uglesich's, Mosca's, some mom and pop place or most likely in your Italian grandma's kitchen...I know, because that was the kind of dish my Italian grandparents prepared and also recall that when they went out to spend their hard earned money and let somebody else cook for them, their destination was without question Tony Angelo's. Each dish reminded me why.
                      The hot crusty Italian bread was perfect for dipping into the garlic butter served with the sumptuous dish of sauteed frog legs. The paneed flounder was simple but flavorful. Eggplant roulade was outstanding. Impeccably fresh and stuffed with a heavenly tuft of ricotta and a tomato sauce sweetened by simmered onions...this was as good as anything that ever came out of my grandparent's kitchen and they'd say so themselves. The seasoning was so restrained, the dish just seemed to be a revelation with every bite.
                      As I became acclimated to the dining room I began to notice all the little quirks that defined Tony Angelo's. Sodas served in little glass bottles; an expensive detail..the cost of maintaining a tradition. Quirky small water glasses that constantly needed to be refilled. Clunky wine glasses. The occasional chipped plate, and one pet peeve...no effort was made to replace silverware...which would have been a nice touch given that so many different dishes were served.
                      Just outside the restaurant a large cucuzza vine provided for one of our favorite courses for the evening. The squash-like vegetable was coarsely sliced and simmered with tomatoes, baby shrimp, and served over a slow cooked egg that resembled custard. Unusual, unexpected, down home and delicious. The creamy bechemel enriched Oysters Bienville hit the spot as did a simple dish of shrimp scampi.
                      The next round was another curve ball. Shredded brisket garnished a mixed green salad with a tart dressing spiked with red wine vinegar and garlic. Good but, not something I'd ask for again.
                      By now, we were starting to express signs of fatigue. One last savory course nearly did us in. A dish of "Rosemary Chicken" proved to be a humble offering of small chicken pieces with a garlicky jus. Good, but, not something I'd order again...the Eggplant Nina was pretty good though...layers of perfectly cooked eggplant smothered in a classic slow cooked red sauce. Our waiter also served us sides of noodles tossed with butter, parsley, and Parmesan. As we dined Tony Angelo himself made the rounds and visited with every single table in the dining room. That never gets old.
                      In lieu of dessert a plate of watermelon flecked with citrus proved to be a perfect finishing touch.

                      Mosca's Restaurant
                      Hwy-90 W, Westwego, LA 70094

                      1238 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA 70113