First timer hoping for some help...
Hello foodies... I've been to New Orleans a number of times but this is the first that I'll really be wanting (able) to dig in to the best food the town has to offer. I'm staying near the Quarter (Int'l House) but getting in late Fri night and leaving Sun around 6. I love Cajun but am open to whatever. Also, it's my birthday and I'm coming with my girlfriend so looking for something romantic. Hoping you guys can help me figure out my food plans (and any other tips, recommendations yall have would be great too!) Here's what I'm thinking so far:
Fri late - Coops if we're hungry?
Sat or Sun Jazz brunch at Commanders, Cafe Du Monde on the other day
Sat dinner - Leaning toward Galatoires - mostly looking for a classic NOLA experience that's romantic to boot
And I'd love to fit in Mother's for lunch either Sat or Sun.
Whaddya think? Thanks so much for your help...
If you "love" cajun, then you need to go to K-Paul's, Cochon, and also try the Bon Ton for lunch.
For romantic in/near the Quarter, consider Irene's. I haven't been there in a couple of years, but I remember it being quaint and good. A good "couples" place. I also like Stella for food and atmosphere.
I second the endorsement of Cochon. In my opinion a very unique restaurant. The food, the location, the decor.
Consider Broussards. It is very pretty and romantic. Fellow chowhounds have mixed opinions of the food, but I have always had a good meal there.
Personally, (and I'm sure others think way different) I think Mothers' is yucky and quite frankly The CBD tourist trap. I have also seen things in their kitchen. For Po-boys etc try Domilisie's, Parasol's (roast beef is damn good, plus boudin balls) or perhaps Parkway Bakery as its cutesy and near the bayou. For "uptown creole" Upperline and Dante's are a couple favs of mine. For a grourmet snack with a nice glass of wine try Delachaise. Romantic... Bayona (Susan Spicer joint), Martinique (French-Tropical with a wonderful interior and patio, Ralphs on the Park (beautiful redone interior of an old mansion house, classic Brennan's-esque grub) or GW Fins (private-ish booths, excellent service and IMO some of the best seafood in the city. Hope you already booked the lunch at commanders, have run into some road blocks with the booking of lunches in the last few weeks...
Ahh New Orleans... That's where I fell in love. (As much with the city as with my SO!) If you're looking for romantic, in my experience, I don't think you'll do much better than Bayona. Very cozy, unpretentious, and of course the food is amazing. The service is what makes it exceptional, though.
Galatoire's, on the other hand, was rather... uncomfortable. Granted I went when I was much younger, but I felt as though I was being made to feel I didn't belong there. Plus the atmosphere isn't very ummmm... personable. I felt like I was eating in a cathedral.
Some other thoughts for "romantic" -- Bacco would be a nice alternative if Bayona didn't work out. Also, if your pockets are feeling somewhat deep, you might try Arnaud's (or was it Antoine's? No, I'm pretty sure it was Arnaud's...). Very classic NOLA, if that's what you're after, and I remember the service being great there as well. (Remember, I said I was young -- I ordered 'cog-nack' (cognac) with my dessert, and the dear gracious gentleman who was serving us didn't even bat an eye...)
And I thoroughly enjoyed Brennan's (dinner or brunch).
Recommendation: Even though you're only there for a brief while, you should consider leaving the French Quarter at least once. I recommend a restaurant on Magazine such as La Petit Grocery or Lilette. Or perhaps Brigtsen's which is at Riverbend.
As a native of South Louisiana, I can tell you that New Orleans is NOT Cajun; it is Creole. For true Cajun food you need to venture out of New Orleans perhaps to the River Road or Lafayette area. One of the main differences between Creole and Cajun is that Creole cuisine uses tomatoes in gumbos and jambalayas. Cajuns do not put tomatoes in these dishes. Cajun dishes are one-pot meals whereas Creole, the more common way to eat in New Orleans, are several courses. Try both; they are both wonderful Louisiana cuisine. Galatoire's is not really "romantic." It is brightly lit and somewhat loud but a great experience. The food is authentic French Creole. Enjoy!