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First Post - First Time in NOLA - Give me the Scoop, Please

My wife and I are taking a three day trip to New Orleans, coming up the first weekend of November and would love opinions on picks for the following:

Best Breakfast
Best Brunch (Jazz)
Po' Boy (where and what kind)
Dinner Spot - Old School and Newcomers
Cocktail Purveyor
Place not to miss (no matter what!)

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions-

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  1. Since it is your first time, hit the classics:
    Muffaletta--Central Grocery

    1. Sorry, I hit the wrong button. To continue:

      Cocktails--Napoleon House, Pat O'Brian's in the courtyard, then any of the bars across the street from Pat O's for real, real locals (Johnny White's or Yo Mama's)

      Breakfast--Brennan's for fancy or Petunia's for dressdown

      Dinner--Galatoire's or Antoine's

      Place not to miss--beginning of Bourbon St. later at night

      Dessert--Bananas Foster at Brennan's

      Now, this is just my neighborhood, the French Quarter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Panama Hat

        I'll make some suggestions for my neighborhood, Uptown:

        Best Brunch (Jazz): Commander's Palace
        Po' Boy (where and what kind): Roast Beef at Parasol's, shrimp at Domilise's, oyster load (not a po-boy) at Casamento's
        Gumbo: Casamento's
        Dinner Spot - Old School and Newcomers: Upperline (Taste of New Orleans menu is a steal at $38), Delachaise (upscale bar; also consider for cheese or dessert snack after dinner)
        Dessert: Stella (in FQ, but I can't leave it out)
        Cocktail Purveyor: Columns; also, don't miss for Swizzle Stick in Warehouse District for great modern cocktails

        1. re: Frolic

          And here are a few more:
          --dessert: gelato and a cannoli at Angelo Brocato's on Canal St. (101 years old this year and recently reopened post-K)
          --po-boys: garlic oyster poboy at Luizza's By the Track on N. Lopez St., hot sausage poboy at Parkway Bakery on Hagan near Toulouse
          --gumbo: duck & andouille at Herbsaint

      2. And here are mine, from all over the city:

        Best Breakfast - No opinion

        Best Brunch (Jazz) - Commander's Palace

        Po' Boy (where and what kind) - Parkway (shrimp or roast beef); Domilise's (shrimp); Mandina's (not open, but I have to mention it; meatball!)

        Muffaletta - Central Gro. No contest here.

        Gumbo - Brigtsen's

        Dinner Spot - Old School and Newcomers - Galatoire's (Old School, must sit downstairs); Stella! (newcomer)

        Dessert - Bananas Foster anywhere you can get it. Brennan's originated the dish. Also, Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce at Commander's. Gelato/cannoli at Brocato's is another winner.

        Cocktail Purveyor - Porch of the Columns Hotel. Still will be temperate enough to sit outside.

        Place not to miss (no matter what!) - Gotta go to Galatoire's, sit downstairs, drink a healthy amount, and let your waiter order for you. Also, please go to a casual restaurant outside of the French Quarter. A place like Domilise's, Parkway Bakery, Drago's, Bozo's, Parran's, etc. are out of the tourist trail and are REAL New Orleans. Mandina's was my favorite of these neighborhood places, but it suffered flooding in the storm. I hear they're working to return, though.

          1. re: Panama Hat

            We'll be staying at the Sheraton, on Canal I think. I wish I would have found this forum prior to making the reservations because I've received better information here in 5 replies than I got in any of the books or articles that I read. It is supposed to have a pretty good/central location though and we did get a good package deal. I'd rather spend my money on the food than the room anyway, as I'm sure most here would. I love this site though. Thanks to all for the responses thus far, I'm feeling hungry already!

            1. re: Agent_Chef

              Then you absolutely need to walk across the street to the Palace Cafe to get the most wonderful appetizer of crabmeat cheesecake and dessert of white chocolate bread pudding.
              Also not to be missed are the cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde and the bread pudding souffle at Commander's Palace. Bon Appetit!

          2. Palace Cafe is good and right across the street-- and Restaurant August and Bon Ton are in the blocks right behind the Sheraton. We were there in June and found everyone in the hotel and restaurants so helpful and inviting....

            We went for early 1130 lunch to Galatoires, loved the duck (and the service) at August and have to wait to visit Commanders. I love jazz brunch and that bread pudding souffle and have to go to my closer spot in Vegas to tide me over until I return to NOLA.

            1. The crab au gratin at Bon Ton is one of the best things I've ever had.

              1. These are further out from where you're staying, out in the Garden District / Uptown area, past Tulane & Loyola but worth checking out if you have time:

                For a fun dinner / fun night out, head to Jacques-Imo's on Oak Street for fantastic fried chicken & eggplant Jacques-Imo's. The single best I've ever eaten was here: the panéed rabbit over pasta shells in oyster-tasso cream sauce...yum! Then go next door to the Maple Leaf for a great music - it is crowded & there is a cover but it's a blast!

                Also try La Crepe Nanou on Robert Street, around the same vicinity, for lovely atmosphere & french food - then head across the street to the Creole Creamery on Prytania for delicious homemade ice cream - Honey Lavender was one I tried there!

                2 Replies
                1. re: sophaloaf

                  Jacques-Imo's is terrific! A fun spot! Classic NOLA but in a different way than Commander's. No reservations however, and now with the schools back in full swing and the area truly coming back hard to say how long a wait may be.

                  1. re: Jesdamala

                    I beg to differ on the characterization of Jacques-Imos as "classic NO" in any way. But this is a debate for another thread...

                2. Let me recap, but Panama Hat & Frolic steered you very good...............

                  Best Breakfast - Brennan's

                  Best Brunch (Jazz) - love Court of Two Sisters but have heard wonderful things about Commanders Palace

                  Po' Boy (where and what kind) - Absolute have to - Mother's on Poydras Street (anything, but I prefer oyster or shrimp) but Panama is right on about Parasal's roast beef.

                  Muffaletta - Centra Grocer (we grab one for the plane ride home just to torment the other passengers)


                  Dinner Spot - Old School and Newcomers - We love any of Emeril's places, love eating on a balcony overlooking Boubon street watching the crowds at night, Antoines, etc.

                  Dessert - Bread pudding at Bon Ton's

                  Cocktail Purveyor - Ha ha - anywhere but you do have to go to Pat O'Brian's

                  Place not to miss (no matter what!) - We can't miss Mother's or Central Grocers or ............. the list is tooooo long - we eat our way through New Orleans everytime we go - we just lost our timeshare unit in Katrina - that was our ticket to New Orleans to eat for a week once a year in a place that you can't get the food anywhere else.

                  Enjoy enjoy.

                  1. All the places above are great! It may not be as much WHERE you eat but WHAT you eat.
                    Why don't you try some comparisons? Eat the same thing at different places on this trip and see which YOU like best. Next visit - different local specialties.

                    Eat a roast beef po'boy at Mother's. Locals don't get downtown unless they work in the CBD so swear by places all over town such as Parasol's (my fave) or Domolise. Or a dozen other places. Taste testing will NOT be a chore.

                    Eat Gumbo Ya-Ya at the Jazz brunch at Commander's. Then that or a different gumbo at the Bon Ton (before your crawfish etouffee.) You can eat it a third time at Galatoire's or someplace else.

                    Try a Sazerac, an incredible cocktail, first made in New Orleans in the 1870's. Most bars serve good versions.

                    Bread pudding is taken to new heights in NOLA. Commander's does a great version as does Bon Ton and many other places. It can be humble or grand - from the most elegant restaurants to your Mama's kitchen.

                    There ARE the originals that you should NOT miss:
                    Go to Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait. Forget black coffee. Load the beignet with powdered sugar. Like the locals have for generations.
                    Everyone is right about the muffaletta at Central.
                    Thank God Brocato's on Carrolton at Canal survived Katrina! This is a piece of old New Orleans and don't you dare miss it!
                    Time your meal at Galatoire's for Friday lunch because that is still a NOLA tradition. Nobody goes back to work. You'll see the City that Care Forgot!
                    Uptown locals eat raw oysters and "oyster loads" at Casamento's on Magazine off Napoleon. Not sure they take credit cards.
                    If it were summer, you would have to have to go to Hanson's for a Snow Blizzard or someplace else for a snowball. The local version is nothing like snocones that you get anywhere else in the US.

                    Please let us all know where and what you ate when you get back and recover. I'm counting the DAYS until I head down to visit all my family for Thanksgiving!

                    1. Two places not to miss: Galatoire's and Brigtsen's.

                      1. Cocktails: different bars for different drinks. Napoleon House for a Pimm's Cup; Arnaud's French 75 is the best place for a Sazerac I've found. And let's not forget Columns . . . .

                        Muffaletta -- yes, there IS only one place: Central Grocery. But beware of two things: a) they are addicting, and b) they are closed Sunday and Monday -- meaning we couldn't grab one for the flight home.

                        Oysters -- uptown, Casamento's, but let's not forget that Acme is a great place for a couple of dozen and a pitcher of Abita Amber!

                        Cafe du Monde is a must -- places survive this long MUST be doing something right, and it's NOT "fleecing the tourists." This is THE place for beignets and cafe au lait. Other places in the Quarter pale by cmparison (though I've heard there's a place out near the airport that's really good, but I can't remember the name of it).

                        There is no place for Friday lunch except Galatoire's. There are no reservations for the main dining room -- get there early, about 11:00 a.m., and get your name on the list. Come back at 11:30-11:45 and be prepared to eat! (If you show up at 12 noon to give them your name, you'll be faced with a two our wait for a table.)

                        And on and on and on . . .

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: zin1953

                          Re: Friday lunch, several high-end places open for dinner only also do a Friday lunch. Peristyle, Restaurant August...a couple others, too, that aren't readily springing to mind.

                        2. Perhaps Zin meant that there are plenty of places that serve lunch, but only one place to be.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: fl bob

                            Nah, ya think? (eyeroll) I think Galatoire's is certainly great, but many other spots also deserve our patronage in these post-K times. AND a good opportunity to visit spots usually open only for dinner. A nice way to squeeze in another "dinner" spot, whereas G's is open all day, every day but Mondays.

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              No argument, just yanking your chain.

                          2. I want to thank everyone who has replied to this thread thus far. My wife and I took our kids to trick or treat tonight. For the past few years we have done so with a group of friends but tonight, by chance, there was a new couple from Baton Rouge. They echoed many of the sentiments and suggestions given in this thread. Being tonight is just a few short days from our departure, I am having a hard time concentrating on anything other than the aromas that are entering my subconscious. I will most definitely provide a report upon my return detailing my experiences at the local establishments. I only wish I had the time to visit all of the places suggested. But the next trip is already in the works ;)

                            1. Best Breakfast - betsy's pancake house on canal st. pretty basic but classic new orleans. also try elizabeth's in the bywater, bluebird cafe on prytania.
                              Best Brunch (Jazz) - people seem to like commander's a lot. i dont brunch much.
                              Po' Boy (where and what kind) - crabby jack's is amazing. my husband loves the smothered duck. also, anything fried, and the fried green tomato and remoulade po-boy is cool. get the oyster loaf at casamento's. debris at mother's. fried shrimp at domilese's.
                              Muffaletta - central grocery. its the ONLY muffaletta.
                              Gumbo - i like gumbo shop, as trite as that sounds.
                              Dinner Spot - Old School and Newcomers - love jacques-imo's, clancy's, brightsen's, mosca's, irene's, drago's, dick and jenny's, bayona, morton's.
                              Dessert - bananas foster at brennans, chocolate souffle at morton's, banana cream pie thing at emeril's, white chocolate bread pudding wherever you can find it, gelato at angelo brocato's, snoball at plum st. snoballs, beignets at morning call (preferred) or cafe du monde.
                              Cocktail Purveyor - columns hotel (bloody mary), napoleon house (pimm's cup), pat o's (hurricane), lafitte's blacksmith shop (ambiance), cooter brown's (beers of the world).
                              Place not to miss (no matter what!) - jacques imo's

                              1. You may want to consider the Gospel Brunch at Praline Connection..

                                Gospel & Blues Hall
                                901-07 South Peters
                                New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
                                (504) 523-3973

                                It had the feeling (I say 'had' as my experience is pre Katrina) of a church social, buffet with a vast array of food, and much of it good, carving stations, etc. By the end you will be on your feet clapping, swaying, singing. I honestly cannot say what it is post Katrina. This post probably comes too late for your trip, however, for someone else.

                                1. I absolutely loooove N.O.'s food, so I had to note my picks. You can't beat The Big Easy for a decedent, belly achen' good time! I will never pass up an opporunity to visit! Cheers.

                                  Best Breakfast - It's a given, Cafe du Monde!!
                                  Best Brunch (Jazz)- Not sure.
                                  Po' Boy - Desire. (fried oyster & shrimp extra spicy)
                                  Muffaletta - Napoleon House.
                                  Gumbo - Coop's Place. (and gotta have cornbread with it!)
                                  Dinner Spot - Dicky Brennan's Steakhouse, Dominique's (wow), & The Marigny Brasserie (fantastic!)
                                  Oyster - Acme for raw & Desire for 3 way's
                                  Dessert - Bananas Foster @ Louis XVII & Double Dutch Chocolate Bread Pudding @ Red Fish Grill
                                  Bloody Mary - ?? Can't remember the name they were so good! (pepper & garlic infused jug of vodka at the bar served w/ pickled green beans)
                                  Upscale Lunch - The Rib Room (best prime rib ever, great wine list)
                                  Cocktail Purveyor - Pat O's, obviously! The Wyndam Hotel has great martini's and an awesome bar.
                                  Place not to miss - Remoulade's (fun & tasty apps)