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Top French Restaurants please

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Hi all!

I'm so excited to have found this board. Many users and their posts have been insightful as to where to eat next.

Recently, I've gotten into cooking French cuisine (although I've never even been to a true French restaurant). Therefore, with all the expert tastebuds out there, would you guys/gals mind to list the best french places that I should dine at next time? Please list your favorite dishes as well.

I tried to google this information but I came up with mostly creole,cajun french mix, if you know what I mean. After cooking some trial and error dishes, I just want to see what the actual food tastes like.

Does New Orleans even have any "just French" restaurants? Forgive me for being new.

Thank you for your time.

^_^

P.S. On a side note, do you think Commander's Palace is overrated? Yes or No, and Why?

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  1. There is a place in Culver City called L'Hermitage. Great ambience (patio), big menu, reasonably priced and the food is excellent. Not sure how authentic it is b/c I'm not a French food expert. But I've always had a wonderful experience there (and the house white wine is good too!) And most of the waitstaff is french, so that tells you something...

    1. I think all restaurants here will have a little local flavor, just because of using fresh (and therefore local) ingredients. But the most straight-up french restaurants I've been to are Lilette and Cafe Degas. I haven't been to La Provence on the Northshore, but I think that would fall into this category as well.

      I haven't been to Commander's post-K, but I don't think it's overrated. I've always had outstanding food and a fabulous time there.

      On my own side note, have you seen the Julie/Julia blog from a few years ago (she has since put it in book form)? She cooks all the way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year and blogs about it. Very entertaining.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JGrey

        I can vouch for La Provence being full fledge french. I worked there years ago, under chef Chris that unfortunately died just recently but a recent chef who worked with Chris bought and has continued with his traditional french cousine - heard is doing very well.

        http://www.laprovencerestaurant.com/

      2. Here is a video about La Provence:

        http://youtube.com/watch?v=LNZ5oqHyxAM

        and as for Commander's being overrated... I would have said yes before the storm, but everyone I talked to who said they went after ( I havn't been yet) has given it rave reviews.

        1 Reply
        1. re: iknowwhatitmeans

          I'd recommend Lilette or Le Petit Grocery if you are looking for a place in New Orleans proper.

        2. I love Lilette - you will not be disappointed. I do *not* love Le Petit Grocery and I gave it 3 tries. I do not think Commander's Palace is overrated. It is a wonderful dining experience, but not really intimate because it is so large. I will say that I would go there for lunch or brunch as opposed to dinner to get more bang for your buck. They do an awesome Sunday brunch.

          1. I would suggest Le Parvenu in Kenner. Its not in New Orleans proper, but it is well worth the short drive. I find the food to be outstanding. People in NO forget to recommend it because its not in the Quarter or Uptown, but it is well worth a visit and is one of the top restaurants in the New Orleans area, in my opinion. Has nice ambiance as well.
            Commander's is better than it was before Katrina, in my opinion. It is back at the top of my list. I highly recommend it. They did a great job renovating after the storm. I'm not a big fan of going there for brunch, though. I much prefer lunch or dinner.

            9 Replies
            1. re: calliope

              We've dined at Le Parvenu on several occasions and the food and service have been great. Wine/glassware are another issue, but I will not dredge up older reviews. It is very good food with a NOLA/French take, but I'd hesitate to place it as a French restaurant.

              I'm doing a search for a spot in Metairie (behind Lakeside Shopping Center), that was as close to actual French, as I have had. Someone will chime in, and help me out, I am sure, as the searches are not working right now.

              It has been good, albeit not great. The potential is there, but I have just not hit them on the right night, I guess.

              If I am successsful, I will post the link. When I think French, outside of France, I think La Gavrosh, Mayfair/London, Le Boudin Blanc, Mayfair/London, the old, and since gone, Tante Louise, Denver, Vincent's on Camelback, Phoenix (with a take on SW cuisine) or Le Paradou, Washington DC.

              Will be back on this thread,
              Hunt

              [EDIT] Andrea's Restaurant,
              3100 19th Street at Ridgelake
              Metairie, Louisiana 70002
              Tel: (504) 834-8583 | Fax: (504) 834-6698
              http://www.andreasrestaurant.com/

              I think that it could be great, but so far, it has only been good.

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I find Andrea's to be just okay. On at least one occasion, it was not even okay. I didn't bother to eat my entree'. The only times I've eaten there is when a companion selected it. Its off my list for return visits. There are too many other far better options.

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Bill, one of my friends told me it was overrated for italian food. I know I made this a french cuisine thread, but what are your best recommendations for Italian places? (non-Bravo type) Not that I have anything against Bravo, but it just didn't do *it* for me.

                  I've heard about this really small mom and pop place somewhere in new orleans, but I don't know the name... my friend said it was very very authentic and goooooooooooooooooooood.

                  1. re: Strangette

                    I wouldn't be able to tell if something were authentic Italian, but my fave Italian in New Orleans is Adolfo's, upstairs from the Apple Barrel on Frenchman St. Then I like Irene's and Tommy's and Vincent's (in that order), but I'd classify those as "New Orleans Italian".

                    Never been to 1179, but a lot of people I know think it is great.

                    1. re: Strangette

                      The menus that we ordered from were definitely French in base. I do agree, regarding the over rating, though. We've done two meals and one event there, and were underwhelmed, but all were well pre-K.

                      [EDIT] Well, HungryCeleste has done it to me again. I was confusing the cuisine of E'tienne's (probably long gone) with Andrea's. Sorry about that. The dining, that I referenced was at Andrea's, including the event, and the food WAS underwhelming.

                      As for Italian in NOLA, I do not recall any spot that did a worthwhile job. Had one good Italian meal in Metairie, but that was far, far too long ago to comment on. Heck, back then, the fans were wearing paper bags on their heads... Sorry, no IT recs, that I can think of.

                      Hunt

                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                      HI Bill--Andrea's is italian, you're probably remembering La Rivieria, which was on Shores not too far from the mall. It is closed now.

                    3. re: calliope

                      Hi Calliope,

                      I live right around the fat city area, so definitely if you ever find out I'd love to know!

                      As to Andrea's, isn't that italian cuisine or am I mistaken? Just wondering. I've always droved by it but never tried.

                      1. re: Strangette

                        Not French, but Belgian: Clementine's on Whitney Ave. in Terrytown, right by Oakwood Mall.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          Just went to Clementine's on Saturday night. I always forget about them (maybe its something to do with the Westbank). Service can be a little slow, so if you're not prepared to spend a leisurely evening eating, it might not be the best spot. The food, though, is fantastic. If they were located uptown, I think there would be a line out the door most nights.

                    4. We really enjoyed a meal at The Flaming Torch. It might not be as hardcore-French as some other places around town, but the service was delightful and the French onion soup was spectacular, arguably the best I've had in the city (I would rate it higher than the onion soup at Cafe Degas, though I love their version as well).

                      Edit: Wanted to mention that the restaurant touts itself as French Continental.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: kmnola

                        Thanks to all who responded. I think I will try Cafe Degas first - I've already checked the menu out and it looks great.

                        1. re: Strangette

                          Cafe Degas has lovely atmosphere and delicious food.

                        2. re: kmnola

                          The Flaming Torch is absolutely French; chef Barreir is from Provence.

                          The metairie French restaurant someone mentioned earlier was likely Crozier's, which closed prior to the Hurricane.

                          Apart from the Flaming Torch, the most traditionally French restaurant you're going to find in New Orleans is La Crepe Nanou. We do not have a haute cuisine restaurant in New Orleans currently.

                          1. re: Robert Peyton

                            And even Crepe Nanou is pretty Americanized. The closest to France is Chateau du Lac in Kenner.

                            1. re: Frolic

                              It will be interesting to see how Rene Bajeaux handles the menu at La Provence....might end up being the "frenchest" place around in a little while.

                        3. I find the most authentic French food at the following:

                          Cote Brasserie
                          La Cote Sud on Maple St.
                          La Crepe Nanou
                          Chateau du Lac in Kenner
                          The Bistro at Maison de Ville (is it open?)
                          Lilette

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: mikey

                            Yes, the Bistro has been open since May. Certainly worth a visit.

                            1. re: mikey

                              How could I forget Cote Sud and Crepe Nanou? Thanks. Plus, Cote Sud has the best pizza in town.

                            2. Jfood is a newbie to NOLA restos and this board has been wonderful.

                              To post the jfood opinion of Commander's.

                              It's FANTASTIC. They spent millions fixing up post-K and the rooms are georgeous. The staff is incredibly competent and overly friendly and the food is perfect. Jfood was there for a second time last week and has already made his reso for the end of September. The bread pudding souffle may be the single-handed best dessert jfood has ever eaten. This is a must-have when you go.

                              1. Bistro Daisy on Magazine got a great write up in today's Times Pic. I'd give it a try.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Jodie

                                  I would say Lilette and Crepe Nanou, as have others. On the other hand, even though it is definitely a New Orleans rather than Paris restaurant, I feel Antoine's to be very French. The menu is all in French and the place has the ambiance of a French Restaurant. Louis XVI was very French but is no longer going, I don't think.

                                  1. re: bronwen

                                    Here's a list of French Restaurants from NOMenu.................

                                    FRENCH
                                    Bistro 38. Metairie: 3838 N Causeway Blvd. (Marriott Hotel). 832-3838.
                                    ««««Bistro at Maison de Ville. 733 Toulouse. 528-9206. French.
                                    Bistro Daisy. 5831 Magazine. 899-6987. French.
                                    «««Cafe Degas. Mid-City: 3127 Esplanade Ave. 945-5635.
                                    Cafe Lynn. Mandeville: 3051 East Causeway Approach . 985-624-9007 .
                                    ««««Chateau Du Lac. Kenner: 3901 Williams Blvd. 467-0054.
                                    «««Flaming Torch. Uptown: 737 Octavia. 895-0900.
                                    ««««Herbsaint. CBD: 701 St. Charles Ave. 524-4114.
                                    «««Jasmine. Slidell: 1768 Front. 985-645-9700.
                                    «««La Cote Brasserie. Warehouse District: 700 Tchoupitoulas. 613-2350.
                                    ««««La Crepe Nanou. Uptown: 1410 Robert. 899-2670.
                                    ««La Madeleine. Elmwood: 5171 Citrus Blvd. 818-2450.
                                    ««La Madeleine. Riverbend: 601 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-8661.
                                    ««««La Petite Grocery. Uptown: 4238 Magazine. 891-3377.
                                    ««««Lilette. Uptown: 3637 Magazine. 895-1636.
                                    Luke. CBD: 333 St. Charles Ave. 378-2840.
                                    Rene Bistrot. Riverbend: 817 Common. 412-2580.
                                    Riche. CBD: Harrah's Casino Hotel, Poydras at Fulton. 533-6117.

                                    1. re: Littleman

                                      Let's apply a little thought to that list: La Madeleine is a chain of quick-service restaurants with a french "concept" (though one of their best sellers is a roasted chicken caesar salad). Rene Bistrot is closed (oh, some remnant of a hotel-lobby restaurant might still have the name, but the real-deal french chef is long-gone & now cooks at La Provence in Lacombe). Herbsaint isn't french; more like Louisiana-inspired, modern American.

                                      1. re: Littleman

                                        I moved away from Slidell a year ago but still like to haunt the boards for this area occasionally.
                                        Jasmine in Slidell is a wonderful restaurant. Small, decently priced, great service, and outstanding food. It's on Front Street across from the railroad tracks with parking on the side and behind the building. That was definitely my "special occasion" restaurant while I lived there and next time I go home for a visit I plan on stopping by. The atmosphere is comfortable and relaxing without being pretentious. You can dress up a little if you want, but I've stopped by in jeans and a nice shirt and felt right at home. The wait staff is very knowledgeable and always willing to answer questions if you haven't tried a dish or even this cuisine before. Some nights there is a piano player.

                                        What I've eaten there:
                                        Crab bisque: good, but not what I expected based on the crab bisque I grew up with. This is not as sweet as a crab and corn bisque and has quite a bit of sherry in it. Still great.

                                        Caesar salad: Super fresh greens and super fresh, made just for you dressing. You can really taste the fresh garlic and anchovies.

                                        Pate: This was always one of my favorite things to get. Wrapped in bacon so there's a little on the edge of the slices. Black peppercorns are dotted throughout. It's made in-house and served with toast points (more bread is always needed and readily provided), thyme mustard, and cornichons. No foie gras here, I believe it's made with liver and pork.

                                        Steamed mussels: served in a bowl with a bit of spicy broth, sausage, and tomatoes. This really is quite tasty and the slices of bread that are put on every table are great for dipping into the broth.

                                        Beef tournedos: small medallions of filet mignon with a mushroom or bearnaise sauce. Completely amazing. Comes with that day's version of potato and vegetable.

                                        Roast orange duck: a favorite of mine. The skin was super crispy and the meat was wonderful. Very juicy and rich without being as fatty and greasy as duck can sometimes taste. The orange sauce is fantastic and tastes as though there might be a bit of lavender in there as well.

                                        Rack of lamb: Also amazing and cooked to order. Seasoned very well and served with mint jelly.

                                        Creme brulee: The first time I had it there, the sugar was overly burned and it tasted like a marshmallow. But the other times, it was perfect. Very smooth custard, very rich, and they use a mix of brown and white sugar on the top.

                                        Really, check them out. When my girlfriend and I used to go there, we would pay about $100 after tip. Which seems expensive but that paid for appetizers, soup, entrees, and desserts for the both of us, along with an after-dinner cocktail or coffee.

                                        1. re: MyySharona

                                          This is an old thread.

                                  2. The Flaming Torch is one; good, true French. Most others have Creole flair.
                                    Commander's food is NOT overrated, but the service always sucks. Still, worth
                                    it every time. The bar has best cosmo in town at lunch.

                                    1. I totally recommend Cote Sud - it's in a tiny house between uptown and the Riverbend. It's incredibly reasonably priced and the food is just gorgeous.