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Ethnic Foods in NOLA

I was recently conversing with a person who loves ethnic eateries (as do I) and was complaining that New Orleans lacked in that department. I agreed to an extent and then listed a few of my favorites places. He had no idea some of these existed. So I thought I would list a few here and also get some more suggestions:

Hong Kong Market- on the Westbank, one of the largest Chinese markets I have ever been too (this includes NYC and DC).

Pho Bang, Tan Dinh, and Nine Roses- all wonderful Vietnamese restaurants that compare favorably to what I've eaten in NYC, DC, and Paris.

Horinoya, Kanno- great sushi, not quite as good as either of the coasts, but better than most cities our size.

Taco San Miguel- if you haven't tried this place, you should. It really is that good, if you can get past the neighborhood. El Gato Negro I would also say is very good.

Jamelia's- great Morrocan/Tunisian food on Maple.

Byblos Market- on Vets, great ethnic groceries.

Siamese- my favorite Thai, their curries and soups are amazing, but their pad thai is just okay.

Bennachin- wonderful African food.

Carnaval- I lived in Brazil for a bit, and this place is authentic, and is comparable to most "kilo" eateries in Rio. I was told they are importing Copine soon for those who know how delicious this cut of meat can be.

Baru- great central american food.

La Boca and Rio Mar- grouped here due to a common owner, these are must visits in my opinion...Rio Mar has the best cevishe I have ever had.

I would love a reccomendation on real Italian- Eleven79 and Giovanni are good...Mosca's and Tony Angelo's are better, but none compare to East Coast Italian. Sandro's is pretty good too.

I feel we lack in Chinese too..my favorites are Five Happiness and Royal China on Vets.

Although not ethnic, I felt obliged to include Stein's Deli on Magazine for a great NY jewish deli, and St. James Cheese Co. on Prytania for a wonderful assortment of cheese from around the world.

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  1. Can you give some more details on Carnaval, i.e. what to expect in terms of food, prices, and atmosphere? I have been curious and excited about this place ever since I saw them start working on it this past winter.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chris Martel

      There are quite a few middle eastern restaurants, the Mona's, Lebanon Cafe, Nile, there are a couple more scattered about, and then there is Nirvana for Indian, and Sarah's if they are still open. Also there is an Argentinian steakhouse in the FQ newly opened.

      1. re: Tonto

        Unfortunately, there are no authentic Greek restaurants here. There are a couple of middle east/arabic joints that try to pass themselves off, but Greek food is way more than Greek salads and gyros.

        1. re: crazy4eating

          Well, I agree with you partially...Acropolis on Veterans is the closest to real Greek cuisine...the family is from Greece, but they are not very adventurous in their offerrings...I think that they don't beleive the market is there for true Greek food. I usually just wait until the Greek Fest and eat way too much.

      2. re: Chris Martel

        Unlike Fire of Brazil and other chains, this is a by the weight kind of place which is the most common restaurants in Brazil. They have a buffet (which could be better, but realistically it is very much like the places I encountered in Brazil). The real deal lies in the meats that you order at the back and are weighed by the pound as well. The porkand pichanna (sp?) were great...and the sausage was pretty good too. And hopefully they will have copine soon which is the meat located on the back of a cow's neck ...imagine the juciest most tender roast you have ever had and multiply it by 1,000.

      3. Don't forget about our native ethnic cuisines....cajun, creole, creole-italian,etc.

        There is a universe of central Am places out there, including Pupuseria del Divino Corazon, Pupuseria La Macarena, etc.

        We also have some Cuban joints, incl. Liborio, Garces, Norma's bakery, Christy's on the westbank....

        For "real" italian, try Restaurant da Piero on Williams in Kenner (near the river).

        8 Replies
        1. re: Hungry Celeste

          I have been putting off da piero for too long...I am going soon, thanks!

          Cuban- I have been frequently to the first two, but the last two I have to plead ignorance on, where are they and whaqt should I expect...is one better than the other?

          You list cajun...is there a place in NOLA that is along the lines of Prejeans or other Breaux Bridge/Lafayette establiishments...brown jambalaya, etc.....Uptown Cajun is okay on its very best day. I am embarrassed when friends come to visit and want real cajun food, and I have to steer them toward creole/cajun restaurants like jacquesimos.

          1. re: bbares81

            Where's Uptown Cajun? If it's the place by starbucks on Maple, it's gone. I don't understand why that is the location of death when all the other restaurants on Maple seem to do just fine. Maybe a landlord issue?

            1. re: JGrey

              Maybe Uptown's Finest, in an old teal and white snowball stand near Harry's Ace on Magazine? I really like that place.

            2. re: bbares81

              Not like Prejeans or other SW LA places, but still essentially cajun in a bayou, seafood-heavy way: Bon Ton. Please don't send anyone to JacquesImos if you consider 'em a friend.

              Norma's is a a little cuban bakery out on Williams; Christy's is a cuban joint masquerading as a poboy shop on Stumph--good oxtail soup on the weekends.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Sometimes I hear bad things about Bon Ton....I have always wanted to go...it is maybe one of three or four New Orleans restaurants I have never been to.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  Why do you say that about Jacque Imos? I haven't had a bad meal there, am I missing something?

                  1. re: sirvelvet

                    IMO Jacques-Imos is popular due to large portions (of mediocre food) and its funky ambience.

                    1. re: sirvelvet

                      I dislike JI's. In my experience, the dishes are often ill-conceived, disharmonious, or just plain gross...often too heavy, un-subtle, or poorly prepared. The decor is bad, the place isn't exactly clean, and the whole vibe is silly (dining in the back of a truck parked on Oak Street...what the hell is that?) Go eat somewhere else for the same price...

              2. Where are Taco San Miguel and Carnaval?

                9 Replies
                1. re: mikey

                  San Miguel is right of the corner of Elysian Fields and Claiborne. It is next to a dollar store and a Urban clothing place...Urban Apparel or something like that. Carnaval is in the run down area of Canal near Galvez...not far from the Deutches House, which is about to have the best German cuisine around for Oktoberfest.

                  I should also mention that the Brazilian soda is there (it is good if you enjoy very sweet soft drinks), and they are getting some Brazilian beers in soon (Brahma, Antartica, etc.).

                  1. re: bbares81

                    I've heard that San Miguel is moving uptown...maybe Frolic has the 411 for us?

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      Just got off the phone. It's opening "el mes que viene." He couldn't tell me the exact address, because the "patron" wasn't around. I'll call back "mañana."

                          1. re: Frolic

                            I'm happy they're moving uptown, too. Now, I'll be ecstatic if it's w/in walking distance of campus...that would just be too much to ask, huh?

                            1. re: Hungry Celeste

                              I thought the word was a location on Oak St? Walking distance for me, too. Yay.

                              el mes que viene means next month?

                              1. re: JGrey

                                Yeah, sorry. Literally "the month that's coming up."