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2 nights in NOLA

OK, 2 nights in NOLA with my girlfriend. Cost is no option. We want the best.

Criteria: Ideally less tourists, but in a fine dining atmosphere this shouldn't be as much an issue. Great service (I'm known for pulling a manager over if the service is shoddy), solid wine list, ideally a full bar but this is negotiable, and romantic.

We both eat just about everything, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Dates are 12/8 & 12/9 so we've got enough advance to get reservations.

What would you do?


Thanks in advance!


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  1. If you're willing to drive a bit outside of downtown, the buttery BBQ shrimp at Pascal's Manale is really something. I would've licked the bowl afterward if there weren't other diners present. The restaurant itself has alot of red-tinged Nawlins hometown ambience, too. Here's a good source: www.neworleansrestaurants.com/pascals...

    1. Friday afternoon should be spent having lunch at Galatoire's - all afternoon! That's what the locals do and nobody goes back to work. Lunch lasts for hours. Let the waiter help you order the best of what the locals are ordering that day from the fresh catch. Then you can walk off the fabulous meal in the French Quarter. Have coffee and beignet at Cafe du Monde. A little jazz and drinks here and there. Make sure to have a Sazerac. A late night snack if you are actually hungry. Maybe even a Lucky Dog from a street vendor - at your own risk of course - depending on how much you've had to drink!

      On Saturday, Commander's Palace. Tourists go there but so do locals. I love their gumbo ya-ya. The oysters 2-2-2. The Bread Pudding Souffle. I'm hungry thinking about it. I lived near there and we were regulars so we would pop in for snacks - just a single appetizer or bowl of soup. I never tired of it.
      I loved to watch the cocktail trays go out - every one in the perfect, proper glass - something you rarely see anymore.

      If you don't already have a hotel, the Monteleone has December specials. Great historic hotel in the French Quarter.

      1. We are going to stay at the International House- it's where I stay for every Jazzfest. I was thinking about Commander's for Saturday, though for Friday we won't be in until 5 and change, so I think we are stuck with just dinner.

        1. So you're just in time to hit the town like locals on Friday night!
          I'm from NOLA but have lived in DC for a long time and see that you post often on that board. Since you get lots of upscale restaurant experience in DC, why don't you do some of the other side of life on Friday? Especially since you're a JazzFest regular. Check http://www.offbeat.com/listings/index... for live music for Friday night. Most of the December listings aren't posted yet.

          How about heading out to Casamento's for raw and fried oysters and then the Rock 'n Bowl? Or if you want to stay in the Quarter, try some raunchy blues by Big Al Carson at the Funky Pirate after dinner at the Bon Ton?

          If you have a car, try Deanie's or R&O in Bucktown. Plain, but local Lakeview favorites that survived Katrina. Celebration in the Oaks will give you a chance to drive through City Park, decked in sparkling mini-lights for Christmas once again. Brocato's for an espresso, spumoni, cassata or cannolli. Then back to the Quarter for a little music and a nitecap before bed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: MakingSense

            I know for sure we want to hit the Mapleleaf for a show- that and Tips are my favorite smaller venues in the country. Seen many a good show at each of them. For what it's worth we are staying at the International House and I'm still in the debate as to whether or not it's even worth it to get a car. I figure we can cab it just about wherever we want and I know that we'll be out drinking a decent amount.

            I know it's not on your more locals list, but what do you think about doing a romantic evening at Brigsten's? I've also heard a ton about August.

            1. re: jpschust

              I'm not sure I'd classify Brigtsen's as romantic, but the food sure is good. Also in the neighborhood of the Maple Leaf are Iris, One, Mat 'n' Naddies, and, as noted before, Jacque-Imo's right next door. I'd choose Iris or Brigtsen's out of that list.

              Near Tip's is Dick and Jenny's, and you don't need to dress up too much, so that would be a good pairing. Or there's Casamento's on Magazine at Napoleon.

              Since you're staying downtown, you should take advantage of one of the great restaurants down there (like August), then hoof it through the quarter to Frenchman St. Lots of good music over there.

          2. Brigsten's, August both great.
            How about Jacque-Imo's and Mapleleaf since they're both in the same neighborhood. Check Offbeat's links to what's live at Mapleleaf that night. (see my post above. Offbeat has a pretty comprehensive list of music venues and an email newsletter on the local music scene.)
            NOLA has good public transportation. And pretty easy cabs. Stay out of the car if you're drinking!!! The police are regulars on that TV show COPS.
            Things are still rough since Katrina and you don't want to risk getting lost. NOLA has always been dangerous for tourists who get off the well-traveled path.

            1. I am assuming from your post that you are looking to dine rather than eating a signature dish at a New Orleans institution. The service at Jacque-imos and casamentos will certainly not be up to serious dining standards. And neither is remotely romantic. Both are great restaurants however. I would also throw out Deanies, R & O, and I have never been to pascals manale but I doubt they fall into the posters criteria. All three restaurants are good places to eat and you can get a tasty meal, but not right for what the lucky chap is seeking.

              Dick and Jennys is a GREAT restaurant but its cramped and no reservations.

              Brigtsen's I think qualifys as its atmosphere is very comforting and the food is superb. Service is also totally professional.

              Galatoires certainly qualifies in all areas. I have only eaten there once and cant recall if its cramped? But the atmosphere is total New Orleans and the food is delicious.

              Commanders might be a risk because of the 14 month layoff? If it is as good as before then its a winner.

              I have not been to August but I have seen the inside and it is beautiful. The food is being marveled by the local and national press. I have a feeling this is the exact restaurant the poster is looking for.

              Bon Ton is just wonderful. I love the place but I am slightly apprehensive about recommending it. I just dont know if the atmosphere is up to snuff?

              Broussards and Arnauds look good to me but I have never had the pleasure of dining at either.

              Lilette looks neat but I havent dined there?

              Any time I hear of someone going to NOLA looking to dine I get very envious. You are lucky indeed.

              The Indywaiter

              3 Replies
              1. re: indiwaiter

                On our last trip we ate at Brigstens on Thursday and really enjoyed it. The cab is high. We chose August for Friday for our anniversary and loved it- fantastic food, service, room-- just great. August has a nice bar also. I love the front room at August with all the chandeliers. There were many other special occassions at tables near us. The service was a step above most places we went when we were there.

                1. re: indiwaiter

                  I love Lilette, but it is more of a neighborhood bistro, and I have been there many times. I am thinking this original poster should look into August, which has garnished much respect. Commander's is the NOLA institution, which will not disappoint. The standards have always been so high, I just cannot see them opening on anything less than a fabulous note. Also, it may be an option for a Sunday Jazz brunch if this is up and going. Galatoires for Friday lunch, without a doubt! I have not been at K Paul's since Katrina...anybody??? I have never been disappointed in the past. Have a fabulous trip! I had one of my great NOLA dinners at Stella. Again, pre Katrina.

                  1. re: Jesdamala

                    K Pauls is open and serving great chow. Chef Paul is a bit bummed that business is down as there are few tourists. Same great food, just easier to get in now. A great choice.

                2. I adore Brigsten's but wouldn't classify it under the heading of romantic - it certainly is everything else you desire and is reasonably close to Maple Leaf..

                  In the Maple Leaf 'hood, I'd choose Iris over Jaques-Imo in a heartbeat. Iris is about a year old and not on a lot of out-of-towners' radar. The chef/owner is from Lilette.
                  Which brings me to Lilette, it meets all of your criteria and is not too far from Tipitina's.

                  Other places I'd consider are Upperline, Martinique, La Petit Grocery and Table One.

                  1. Brightsen's is solid. If you like duck, I'd order that. If you want great service and a killer wine list check out Emeril's. Emeril's is not what Id call romantic... loud noise level (but less than before Katrina) and busy busy, but the food is still great and the wine list is amazing, served properly. Emerils gets a lot of arrows slung at it, but its still one of New Orleans' best spots. One idea is to experience Emeril's for lunch, when its very laid back... same great chow and vino.

                    Comander's Palace is always a treat. Go for lunch or brunch if you can. Just reopened a few weeks ago... so very busy as there's a lot of people who've missed it. Anxious to see the place after they've spruced it up after Katrina.

                    1. I think I'd like to skip Emeril's for anything but lunch.

                      The list is set now for August for dinner for one night, Commander's for either breakfast or lunch on Saturday, Cafe du Monde for sunday before we go to the airport. So that leaves me still up in the air for one night .

                      After reviewing the above posts and sorting through some of my own here is what I see the formidable options to be:

                      Mat & Naddies

                      I need your help in debating which way we should go on this :) Thanks already for all the help!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: jpschust

                        While Mat & Naddies is fun and a nice neighborhood option, it is not in the same category as Galatoire's. Nor would I recommend spending cab fare from the Quarter to eat there. Lilette would be a good option if you plan to spend any time shopping along Magazine Street...but if you're sticking to the Quarter, it's Galatoire's all the way.

                        1. re: jpschust

                          If you are going to the Maple Leaf, go to Brigtsen's. If you are going to Tip's, go to Lilette. Staying in the Quarter, Galatoire's. You can always hit the others when you come back. :)

                          1. re: JGrey

                            Very good advice - pick your music and go from there - you won't go wrong with either Lilette or Brigsten's.

                          1. ok on Saturday night we are going to go to Howlin' Wolf for our show. Now where to for dinner? :) Guys you all have been great on helping out with this. She is going to be so surprised.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jpschust

                              I'd go to Rio Mar, or La Boca, or Cochon, or La Cote Brasserie.

                            2. If you want to dine nearby then these are some of your better options:

                              7 On Fulton. 700 Fulton. 681-1034. Contemporary American.

                              Cochon. 930 Tchoupitoulas. 588-2123. Cajun. Southern.

                              Emeril's. 800 Tchoupitoulas. 528-9393. Contemporary Creole..

                              La Cote Brasserie. 700 Tchoupitoulas. 613-2350. French.

                              RioMar. 800 S. Peters. 525-3474. Seafood

                              1. I don't mind taking a cab. Emeril's is out, though.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jpschust

                                  You could have your August dinner on saturday night because that is pretty damn close to the Howlin Wolf (5 or 6 blocks tops). Another place that gets glowing reviews is Clancy's. I have never had the pleasure of dining there but it is definitely on my hit list. Its not close to the Howlin Wolf but you could have dinner there on the night that you arent going to be at the Wolf. Another one close to the wolf is Cuvee. I havent dined there but its respected by many serious diners.

                                  I am gonna throw in my .2 cents on where you should have your dinner. I personally wouldnt have two "special occasion" dinners in NOLA. I would have one of course and August will probably fit the bill perfectly (never dined there). Your second dinner should be had in some crowded, loud, delicious dinner house at some New Orleans institution. Come to think of it I think I read in one of your previous post you always come down for Jazzfest. You have probably dined in many NOLA institutions. If not then lets talk about it.

                                  Oh if you are out late you should eat a Coops. Their Jambalaya Supreme is my favorite. They have a bunch of great offerings ESPECIALLY considering its late. A total bargain as well.

                                2. I would absolutely recommend Rio Mar or La Boca near Howlin Wolf before Cochon, Emeril's and most definitely before La Cote. I haven't tried 7 on Fulton but would like to throw out Wolf's in the Warehouse as a suggestion in the area. Anyone eaten there yet?