Best in NOLA
We are chowhound couple from Chicago visiting New Orleans for 5 days next week. The last time we visited your charming city was 10 years ago, and we have many fond memories of the great restaurants we visited. Had the pleasure to enjoy Galatoire's, Commander's Palace, Bon Ton Cafe, K-Pauls, Acme Oyster Bar, Brennans, and Cafe Du Monde. Are these restaurants still good choices, and what other spots are recommended for a couple of yankees that want to soak up a truly New Orleans Experience? We are staying in the French Quarter, but are willing to cab it to any place that will knock our socks off. Thanks for your assistance.
I love Stella!, and go there frequently. That being said, it, like GW Fins, is a restaurant not typical of New Orleans, and one that you could equally well find in Chicago. It remains amongst my favorite places to go to personally in the city, but if you are looking for local dishes, local flavor, and a New Orleans experience, Stella! is not typically of anything classically New Orlinean. To a lesser extent, the same could be said about Cuvee, given it's original CIA roots, although I like their inventive takes on some classic local fare
The single best meal I have eaten in New Orleans was at Herbsaint, and while not as elegant a setting, is comfortable, fun, and spot on if your priority is the food.
Couchon is also extraordinary, and a perfect place to truly sample the best of Cajun (as opposed to Creole) cooking.
Dick and Jenny's also has a much more relaxed atmosphere, but remains a favorite place locals and visitors return to as often as they can (only down side is, they don't take reservations).
I had the pleasure of going to Iris a few weeks ago, and it is a real jewel box, tiny, young in spirit, and inventive, although a more limited menu as a result of its small number of tables.
Clancy's s a terrific place, off the beaten path Uptown, but well worth the hike. the clubby feel this place engenders makes you feel like a local, regardless of your origins and pedigree.
August is just too snooty for my taste, and personally, I just think John Besh is not a great guy, and so I can't bring myself try his other establishment, nor recommend his flagship..
Commanders, K-Pauls, Brigtstens, and to a lesser extent Bayona, are tried and true - they are standards. They will not knock your socks off, but they are seminal restaurants, worth trying to see the best of what established New Orleans as the food mecca it is.
Peristyle used to be in the pantheon, but after being sold, has yet to rise to the level of it's prior glories.
Upperline is a love it or leave it kind of place. I have only eaten there once, and to me, I must say, I found both the food and the ambiance uninspired.
Just one man's clearly very subjective opinion. Hope it helps.
One man's clearly very subjective opinion, perhaps, but ones with which I wholeheartedly agree. Stella!, Dick & Jenny's, and Clancy's, in particular, are all at the top of my list. If I had to choose just one, it would be Dick & Jenny's, not because it has the best food of the three (and in fact I'd probably rank it #3 in terms of just food, but overall it's a wonderful New Orleans experience. No reservations? No problem: just sit on their patio and enjoy a few drinks or a bottle of wine while you wait for your table to become available.
emeril's is good for some dessert and coffee, the rest of the food not so sure about.
kpaul's great, but you can probably skip dessert unless you want something truly sweet.
cochon is great for cajun and has some nice drinks (think catdaddy moonshine with abita amber root beer and mint juleps, along with other drinks in hi-ball glasses). don't miss the egplant with shrimp dressing nor the grilled shrimp with chow chow. and the buttermilk pie with strawberry sauce and fresh whipped cream is pretty darn good to boot.
Brigsten's in Uptown is very good, the duck dish especially.
Places that I have come to love over the years...
For an extremely fun atmoshpere with deliscious food that you can't replicate, Jacque-i-mos cafe is top notch, only warning is that the food is on the heavy side, but definitely worth the calories. that is uptown on oak street.
My favorite seafood restaurant of all time would have to be GW Fins in the FQ.
If you're dying for foi gras being from chicago, cuvee's on magazine street near the quarter is second to none.
For a big name chef pick, just recently ate at Emeril's NOLA and was nothing short of exceptional.
Upperline has a great menu with an art packed atmosphere which constantly brings me back. They also claim to be the first restaurant to have combined fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade and from my experiences...they also perfected it.
For very fine dining, you cannot go wrong with Restaurant August just below the FQ. Havent been there in about 4 years but am chomping at the bit to go back which luckily will be in 2 weeks.
Iris, another restaurant uptown just past carrolton has been open for about a yearish now and has not wasted any time impressing. A very small restaurant with friendly and attentive staff, chef Ian combines his Food and Wine's, Best New Chef cooking ability with a very inventive and delicious drink menu.
I have not been to all the places you have but Commanders and K-Pauls are still terrific.
In response to steveds... Bayona is amazing (get tuna if they have it on the menu that night) and have not yet been to Stella!
Other places I would consider for a great meal would be Brigtsens on Dante Street uptown, or Dick and Jennies down Tchop Street.