HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >


Help in New Orleans

I am going to New Orleans for the first time ever with my wife over the Christmas Holiday.

All I keep hearing is that this is one of the best cities to eat it, but I only have recommendations for a few restaurants.

I've been told we have to go to NOLA and Commander's Palace, but I'm looking for 1-2 other nice places to eat. They can be in that price range or a little less, as long as they are good.

As for breakfast or lunch during the week, any suggestions? Nothing fancy,just good food is fine with us.

We're staying right by the French Quarter (Ritz Carlton) so anywhere around that vacinity works.

Thanks for any help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not a NOLA local, but have been visiting frequently for the last ten years, and looking forward to the next Jazz Fest (dates just announced). The misses and I have a our favorite places, but always commit to trying something new (to us). Current favorites include;

    Dick and Jenny's - New Favorite

    K-Pauls Kitchen - Always a must

    Cooter Browns - Oysters and Good Beer

    Galitoire's - Friday Lunch, might be passe for the locals, but we enjoy it, has become a tradition.

    Hope you have a great trip, and I'm sure the locals will chime in and help you out.


    1. I'm no huge fan of NOLA. If you're determined to stay in the French Quarter, add Bayona, Galatoire's, and K-Paul's to your list. If you are willing to expand to the CBD & Warehouse District, you might also enjoy Restaurant August, Cochon, Herbsaint, La Boca, La Cote Brasserie, Tommy's...For lunch, try RioMar (see recent post on "best lunch") or the Bon Ton, plus some of the other places I just listed also do lunch too. Read down this board a bit and you'll find lots of recs that are NOT NOLA or Commander's.

      1. I think Emeril's is better than Nola. Emeril's is very good.

        I just had a great lunch recently at the Gumbo Shop. The chicken/andouille gumbo was great. FYI - someone at our table did not like the seafood gumbo.

        Mother's is also ok for some cheap local food.

        Outside the french quarter - the following are outstanding:
        Dick & Jenny's
        Ye Old College Inn
        Jacques Imos

        1. oh yea - and i forgot to mention that the muffaletta (sp?) at central grocery in the quarter is amazing.

          1. Have lunch at Galatoire's for sure....ask for Richard......nice waiter. I love Bayona and Peristyle. The food is outstanding and both are in the Quarter. Bayona is a 5 minute walk from the Ritz. Peristyle is another 5 minutes away. Emeril's is one of the best restaurants in the city for food, service, atmosphere. Delmonico's just opened back up and Emeril runs it too. Go to the FQ Bar in the Ritz and listen to Jeremy Davenport and some nice jazz........Bon appetit.

            1. My first 3 picks would be Brigtsen's, Brigtsen's and Brigtsen's. Any first-time foodie in NO should start at the top.

              1 Reply
              1. Susan Spicer's Bayona is a short walk from the RC. Then just on down a little futher is Peristyle. Have a drink in the FQ Bar in the RC and listen to Jeremy Davenport play a little Jazz. Galatoire's is my all time favorite for lunch and/or dinner but lunch is special. I ate lunch there this past New Year's Eve. Ask for Richard. He's a great waiter. My all time favorite NO restaurant is Emeril's but I have friends that work there. Delmonico's is special also. Ask for the GM Saleem who is a friend also. Brigtsen's is high on my list and Clancy's too. Commander's very nice a probably the most "stylish" or "upscale" NO restaurant. My wife loves to dress up and have dinner there. Bon Appetit.

                1. To see a little of the City, catch the Magazine bus to Casamento's for raw oysters and great oyster sandwiches. The driver will tell you where to get off. They're just open for lunch during the week right now (night hours Fri and Sat)as they recover from Katrina. Magazine Street is full of interesting shops and sights. You can cab back to Canal Street.

                  For breakfast, Cafe du Monde at Jackson Square if you want coffee and beignet. We've also enjoyed breakfast at Cafe Beignet next to the Vieux Carre Commission Headquarters in the 300 block of Royal. In nice weather, there are tables in the Commission's patio.

                  The Bon Ton is wonderful for Crawfish Etouffee and bread pudding but only open weekdays.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MakingSense

                    I was disappointed with Bon Ton. I loved Acme Oyster house for their chargrilled oysters and Coop's (which has their own smoker...turning this seedy looking bar into an amazing culinary spot).

                  2. Forget NOLA. Do a search here and find out why. Emeril spends time at Emeril's these days so it is much more likely to be good. Restaurant August is probably the best restaurant in the city and is absolutely wonderful on all levels. Cuvee is fantastic (so extravagent that the amuse bouche is a creative foie gras surprise!) Upperline is a wonderful take on local fare with a very cordial owner who truly cares about pleasing you. I go whenever in town. Brightsen's should not be missed and I hear great things about Vizard's and Alberta (in that order.)

                    1. Since you'll be there for Xmas, take advantage of the Revillion dinners, a holiday tradition. Prix fixe dinners, usually well under regular prices. A lot of the better restaurants do them. Google it or ask the Ritz's concierge to help you out.

                      For breakfast, do what you can to hitch a ride (cab) to Elizabeth's in the Bywater. Call to verify when they're open for breakfast, I'm not sure if it's every day or just weekends nowadays. Everything is good (including the Bloody Marys) but the duck hash kills.

                      I don't think anyone's mentioned Irene's yet, it's in the Quarter. No reservations so plan to spend a bit of time waiting but it's worth it. Also I have had several wonderful meals at Cafe Adelaide (also in the CBD) recently.

                      For old line French, I think Arnaud's is fantastic (and underrated). Get tableside flambe'd stuff -- bananas foster and cafe brulot.

                      Also recently enjoyed a very good meal at Meaxbar up on Rampart, my first time there. It's small and a bit loud when full, but the food was quite excellent. Leave room for the homemade ice cream.

                      Keep in mind that some places are still having staffing issues. I've found in a few recent trips that the food quality is back to great, but on occasion the service is still a teensy bit under the usual par (especially at newer restaurants). You might not even experience this but hey it just means you might have to enjoy your meal at a bit more leisurely pace. So try to be a bit forgiving. It's great that you're going, the tourist areas are in great shape and they need tourists. Have a bons temps!

                      1. I just got back and highly recommend the Pelican Club Revillion dinner. The menu is somewhat more limited than it was in the past, but still very good. I ate at August the night before, and must say, for the money, I enjoyed the Pelican Club much more. Totally different atmosphere though...one is more fine dining (August) and the other more down-to-earth.

                        I agree with those who recommend Brigtsen's...while I was there I took a cooking class with Frank and it was great!

                        In the past, Bayona was one of my favorites, but I didn't make it there this time. Sometimes I've had a late lunch there before I leave for the airport, so I can have even one last great meal.

                        Since Central Grocery isn't open on Sunday or Monday now, I bought my muffaletta on Saturday and asked them to freeze it for me (like they do when they are sending them FedEx). I picked it up Saturday afternoon, and hoped for the best since my flight wasn't until 6pm Sunday. I put it in my suitcase, and ate half of it for dinner last night...yum!

                        1. Eat in the French Quarter is good for breakfast and the Palace cafe has a really good Jazz brunch on Sunday.

                          1. Bayona and Brigtsen's are both terrific, but there is another little gem in the French Quarter called The Bistro at Maison de Ville. It's a rather intimate and quaint with a lovely courtyard and it does fill up quickly, particularly on weekends so do make reservations in advance. The food is French influenced with a New Orleans twist and it simply delicious.

                            1 Reply
                            1. Just say "no" to NOLA. My last two meals there have been hugely disappointing.

                              I LOVE Brigtsen's. Make reservations well in advance.

                              Clancy's is boisterous, noisy, and fun. The food is good, and the clientele is 99% Uptown New Orleanians. Reserve well in advance.

                              Casamento's (Uptown, at Magazine and Napoleon) serves up some of the city's best oysters. My favorite oyster po-boy" in the city isn't a po-boy at all, but Casamento's "Oyster Loaf," served on toasted pan bread. Order it "dressed," and get yourself a frosty Barq's root beer in the bottle to wash it down. http://www.casamentosrestaurant.com/

                              Gotta stop into Napoleon House for a sazerac or a Pimm's Cup. You might want to try their good muffaletta, too, especially since Central Grocery's muff has been getting slammed lately. To beat the crowds, go between 3:00-5:00 p.m., or after dinner, if it's open. They've kept erratic hours since Katrina, so phone ahead to confirm.

                              I second MoonpieLover's vote for Arnaud's as a solid choice for an old-line meal in the Quarter. Cafe Brûlot is a beautiful presentation, and something you won't see outside New Orleans. After dinner, ask to see Germaine Well's spooky Mardi Gras exhibit on the second floor!

                              Hope you two have a wonderful trip.

                              Brigtsen's (Uptown
                              )723 Dante St.
                              Closed Sunday and Monday

                              Clancy's (Uptown
                              )6100 Annunciation St.
                              Closed Sunday

                              Casamento's (Uptown)
                              4330 Magazine St. (at Napoleon)
                              Closed Monday

                              Napoleon House (French Quarter
                              )500 Chartres St. (at St. Louis)
                              Open 7 days

                              Arnaud's (French Quarter
                              )813 Bienville St. (btw. Bourbon & Dauphine)
                              Open 7 days

                              1. I can't beleive out of all of these postings, no one has suggested Ralph's on the Park, though it is not super close to the Ritz, a cab ride will definately get you there and the food is great. But the best part of Ralph's on the Park during X-mas is its proximity to City Park (across the street) You can request a carriage ride from Ralph's thru City Park, decorated for X-mas with thousands of X-mas lights. The carriage rides offer hot chocolate, VERY romantic. You would score some serious brownie points!

                                1. Add another Skip NOLA vote to the discussion. And add a HUUUUGE vote for Brigtsens. It is a can't miss place.

                                  Jfood may be in the minority on this next vote but he had an awful meal at K-Pauls'. Reminded him of a high end McD's. Barely finished the meal so after dropping little jfood back at clollege M&M jfood went to Brigtsen's for a real dinner.

                                  1. A great place to try, would be Luke. It's John Beshs' third restaraunt in the Central Business District (333 St. Charles Avenue). They've been open since May 1, 2007 and was voted best new restaraunt in the Gambit Weekly reader poll. The menu is French and German influence. (Make a reservation!)
                                    Also the Riverview restaraunt in the Marriot (I think!) on Canal Street. They have an amazing Jazz Brunch on the weekends and a fantastic view of the river. (The restaraunt is on the 50 something floor.)
                                    Have a great trip, the weather is beautiful right now!


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: AsuraSkyy

                                      Unless something has recently changed the Riverview at The Marriott never opened after the life upheaval. Used as convention entertainment space as I recall.

                                      But I agree with you, they had a great view.

                                      And views are hard to come by in this city.

                                    2. Definitely bypass NOLA. Galatoire's is great for lunch but don't plan anything big for dinner. I actually prefer lunch at CP rather than dinner. Great Bloody Marys and 25 cent martinis. Brigtsen's and Herbsaint are both shining examples of local cuisine. K-Paul's used to be. We now go only to accomodate our guests. It was a favorite of one since it first opened, and a MUST on every trip. After his last visit in Nov., he said he won't go back. The food just doesn't have its old zip. Cafe Giovanni is in your neighborhood. Have one of Chef Duke's "feed me" dinners if you go. BTW, we also have a great local beer, Abita Amber (most bars have it on tap).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: JazzyB

                                        Not sure if it's recommended often by the locals, etc., but my sister and I had a fabulous lunch at Palace Cafe...we just happened to be passing it and decided to go in and were glad we did! She had the Shrimp Trifuncte and I had the andouille crusted fish, both fabulous...

                                        We had a wonderful dinner at Cochon. I highly recommend it and can't wait to go back there my self for the oven roasted redfish!!

                                        Enjoy! I stayed at the Ritz a few times several years ago and they offered quite a nice (though not included in price) continental breakfast!

                                      2. Commander's is it, hands down. NOthing even comes close. Antoine's is too touristy, as is Arnaud's. Emeril's is too. Look for the smaller, cozier places on side streets in the quarter and yo'll find good, inexpensive authentic food. And you have to try a muffaletta from central grocery for lunch one day. I defy you to not go back and get some wrapped for the trip home! Oh yeah and the Gumbo Shop. Get the combo platter.

                                        1. Anyone heading in to New Orleans for New Years should check out the NOLA New Years Party @ Rosy's Jazz Hall. There will be lots of young locals there.
                                          This is a great New Years Party to really experience New Orleans and have a great time.Here is a link to more information about the party: