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Best food in New Orleans?

Travelling to New Orleans in October and am looking for restaurant recommendations (places that are actually open again, of course). Is Commander's Palace really worth it? Is there any place to get good fried chicken if Dooky Chase is still closed? How about the best gumbo, po boy, muffuletta and beignets. Feedback on recent experience there would be greatly appreciated. I don't really care about price (in either direction), just looking for some really good dining experiences. Thanks!

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  1. I've lived in New Orleans my entire life but I have traveled to some major cities to try out their food as well. As much as I love NY and Chicago and LA, I can tell you that for the price you pay in N.O., you can't complain about the amount. It's as if every restaurant is trying to make you not finish your food. But for your question, I truly do not feel Commander's Palace lives up to the hype. It's like the Empire State Building. You feel like you have to go to it because you hear about it, but once you do, you tell yourself, " Well, we had to try it out, right?". Palace Cafe on Canal Street has incredible food and service and the prices are a bit lower than most fine dining places (It's still fine dining though). I would have to say that Popeyes will always reign supreme as the chicken king. Vietnamese food is extremely popular down here due to densely populated areas randomly spread around the city. If you have the time, head to the westbank to try either Tan Dinh (Lafayette St0 or Nine Roses( Off Westbank Exp. near Stumpf blvd). Tan Dinh is very modern, young staff, and they focus on vietnamese dishes that are extremely hard to find anywhere else ( Their curry is a juggernaut). Nine Roses is a bit americanized, but instead of looking at the chinese section, ( which is mediocre in my taste), look at the next table to see what the Vietnamese family is ordering. I mean, you can get crab rangoon anywhere. As far as overall incredible dining, stick to uptown New Orleans. Magazine St., Prytania St, and St. Charles has both homely places as well as fine dining that will surprise you in both your stomach and your wallet. Examples would include The Flaming Torch Restaurant an Lillette's for French ( that was featured on the Food Network), Cafe Rani, Mikimoto has the best and cheapest sushi, and Ignatius is a hidden hotspot for locals.I may be pretty young but I've been working in restaurants for over 7 years, so I think I know something about eating well. Hope I've helped you.

    1. Oh yea, Camelia grill uptown is a beast. You will not find better service anywhere. I've been going there since I got into high school.

      1. For contemporary fine dining, I would not miss Restaurant August, Delmonico, Cuvee, Ralphs on the Park, or Brightsens (in that order).

        For Old Line New Orleans fine dining- Galatoirs, Antoine's, or Commanders (I think they are well worth it)

        More moderatley priced- Cafe East has great Chinese, Taqueria Corona for Mexican, Rio Mar for Spanish/Tapas (best for lunch), Mandina's for classic New Orleans, Mona's for Middle Eastern, Cassamentos for the best oysters, period and Nor Joes for the city's best Muffaletta.

        Camelia Grill is good for late night eats or breakfast (pecan waffle, hmmmmm).

        Agree with Popeyes for fried chicken, but non-locals never believe it.

        If you would like more specific info (locations of these places), or more info on a specific place/cuisine, I would be glad to post more.

        5 Replies
        1. re: jessepilot

          Wow, two votes for Popeyes... I may have to go and just not tell anybody here. Thanks to all for the information.

          1. re: bnemes3343

            I was there in March for the Research Chefs Association Conference and had two amazing dinners. Bayona on Rue Dauphine and GW Fins on Bienville St both in the Quarter.

            1. re: bnemes3343

              Yeah, yeah, yeah Popeyes has good fried chicken, but it's definitely a deep-fried, battered, fast-food kinda chicken. Not the thinner crusted, lightly floured but well seasoned chicken served by Dunbar's, Lil Dizzy's, Fury's, or any of a host of other places around town.

              For other examples of fast-food style chicken, try Chicken Box or McKenzie's chicken (which I think is pressure-fried, but somebody out there probably knows better than me).

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                There is (was?) a tiny, fantastic take-out only fried chicken place on the Uptown river side of Washington Ave. & S. Claiborne that my friend Andaiye always jokingly calls "Gunshot Chicken." Just a hole in the wall, in a very, very sketchy neighborhood, but the chicken is amazing, and you get two pieces and a roll for like $2.39. As good as the old Eddie's on Law St., if not better, and better than Austin Leslie's. Not sure if they are still there post-K, but if you dare, slip on your Kevlar and make a quick run.

                I also always really like the fried chicken at Two Sisters on N. Derbigny & Bienville, not to mention the neckbones & rice. Yeah, you right!

                1. re: funkjester

                  Hey "funk"-If I was'nt so set on experiencing Willie Mae's--we'd join you for neckbones & rice and then for 2w/a roll--enjoy your post's---We will be in Nola for 5 days in early October-when I post our itinerary-I am looking forward to your input----this is such a special trip for us, not only is it our first since K, it's my 60th bd and our 39th anniversary---our visits span over 30years-each one memorable and left us wanting more----there is truly nothing to compare to the magic of this wonderful city--Cheers!!!!

          2. I'm with JazzyB.

            Brigtsen's is the best Modern Louisiana cuisine to be found, and that is what you want to eat in NO, yes? Can't imagine a trip without a visit there...next time I'm shooting to go twice!

            2 Replies
            1. re: GroovinGourmet

              the roasted duck with tart cherry sauce and veggies and mashed potatoes is one of the best if not the best dish in town.

              don't miss that, you'll have to take taxi Uptown though, and there's not much around there for entertainment, not sure if the Maple Bar is within walking distance (it's pretty much near Jacque-Imo's but you don't want to eat there).

              Defintely heat up Cafe du Monde and also Kpaul's is great too.

              1. re: kevin

                Brigtsen's changes up the sauce on the duck as well as items on the seafood platter.

            2. Restaurant August gets my vote for contemporary N.O. cuisine over Commander's Palace, and Cochon in the Warehouse District can't be missed for more hearty, soulful Louisiana fare. As for the chicken, Popeye's is good but you can get Popeye's at home, no? If so, try Crabby Jack's for lunch. The fried chicken is phenomenal -- it's basically the same as Jacques-Imo's, but it's a great place for a casual lunch . I think you'll find that most of your favorites will still be there (there are more restaurants open in N.O. now that pre-K).

              5 Replies
              1. re: rapunzel

                crabby jack's is still open? I drove by it yesterday around 4 and it looked like it hadn't been open for a while.

                1. re: Troika

                  Oh, dear baby Jesus, you just almost broke my heart. I am a castaway, but was just there a month or so ago and business was booming! I called the phone number and it says they were closed for Labor Day, but hours are 10-5 M-Sa.

                  Oh, the fried chicken, the potato salad, the po-boys, the fish tacos, the communal tables! Please, please don't let them be gone!

                  1. re: rapunzel

                    i think crabby's closes at 4pm so there you go.

                    1. re: kevin

                      Yes, it's open 'round lunch time only.

                      1. re: Hungry Celeste

                        The Gumbo at Jacks is top notch. A pick at any of the po-boy specials on the back board is usually a good accompiament.

              2. Commander's Palace is absolutely worth it and is, in fact, better than its ever been. If you've not dined there, I'd put it on your list. The food has been outstanding since it reopened after Katrina. The renovations are very nice as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: calliope

                  i wholeheartedly agree. I feel like people write off commanders as 'overrated' because it is insanely popular. The fact is, it's popular for a reason. I've NEVER had a bad meal there or a meal I felt wasnt worth it. I recall fond memories of 25 cent martinis at lunch, eating wonderful food with a pleasant jazz trip playing in the dining room. Go to commanders if youre visiting for a short time.

                  also, if youre looking for a hole-in-the-wall with wonderful fresh shellfish, hit up Casamiento's.

                  1. re: batdown

                    I couldn't agree more. I was there about a month ago for lunch and it was the best meal of our trip. The food was superb and the 25 cent martinis are always welcome. Service was wonderful, and the turtle soup was simply amazing.

                2. ALSO, anyone who tells you popeyes is the best fried chicken is dead wrong. Head to Chickenbox.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: batdown

                    I am assuming that the chicken at my local Popeyes is the same as that in NO. If that's the case, I will give the one here a try (never been there), but will probably not waste one of my NO meals there. I only have 3 days, so can only fit so many in...

                    1. re: bnemes3343

                      I've never done a taste test or anything, but most people swear the Popeyes in New Orleans have better chicken. I think maybe they just move so much product that it's always fresher, but who knows.

                      Also, to batdown, I don't think a single Chicken Box franchise is open post-K. McHardy's is similar though, and great.

                      1. re: Chris Martel

                        that is terrible news about chickenbox

                        1. re: Chris Martel

                          Never had Popeyes elsewhere that was as good as in NOLA. I only eat the spicy and in other areas it's not (spicy).

                          1. re: JazzyB

                            where's mchardy's? am i mistaken in thinking it's only a takeout operation?

                            1. re: kevin

                              Mchardys is in Mid-City near the track. The only plus is that it is ridiculously cheap. Chickenbox is also terrible. I can't believe anybody would recommend it. Fiorellas or Jacks for chicken! Coops also aint bad.

                              1. re: mythomane

                                i had fiorella's last time i was there.

                                missed mchardy's and is mchardy's an ok walk (like 35 or 40 or so from the marigny) or is it kind of a dodgey area to get there.

                    2. The best green fried tomatoes I've ever had in my life was at a 'dive' near the highway that was only open for lunch. It was called YOU-gah-LITCH-es I can't figure out the spelling now, but it started with a U. Ugahlitches? Ugilitches? Anyone know if it's still around. It was astounding and a nice counterpoint to Jacques-Imo's Cafe, Commander's Palace and other places.

                      We sat near a bunch of construction guys who were on their lunch break -- totally true, totally amazing NOLA food. I have no idea if it survived Katrina

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Feastradio

                        Uglesich. It closed prior to H Katrina. You can buy the cookbook written by Anthony, Gail, and son John if you want to cook their food at home.

                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                          *tear* I don't think I could replicate it, but maybe will get the cookbook for moral support.

                          1. re: Feastradio

                            I love that cookbook, even though my arteries clog with merely looking at some of the recipes - I think one calls for 1/2 lb of butter and 6 large shrimp. Sure is tasty, even if it isn't healthy.

                            1. re: mhiggins

                              Ugelisch's is now long gone (at the corner of erato and barrone) if i'm not mistaken.

                              Anthony actually kept his liquor license and renewed it pre-K so that he might have the option of opening up again. i also had the fried green tomatoes and felt it was way overrated. Great divey shackey atmosphere though. and Barq's in the bottle is always a plus. But i didn't really get the big deal about the food there.