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Recs for FQ and City Park Area

I will be in town with husband, 2 year-old and 7 month old. We're staying in the quarter, and first would like to know of a decent pizza place there. We ate at Lousiana Pizza Kitchen on our last visit in July, and won't go again (the restaurant smelled terrible inside and out, and the food was just okay). We have a car, so a trip outside the French Quarter is a possibility. We used to live in New Orleans, so we are farmiliar with alot of different places - just want to know of any recent favorites or new places of interest. Also, any recs for a place with food that does not suck, where we can take our kiddos in the FQ (we eat early, too - say 5ish). Oh, and we are also going to Celebration In The Oaks while we're there. Any ideas of places to eat that are family friendly around there? I sure miss the food in New Orleans. We are definetly hitting Brocatos and Central Grocery - I wish Stanley was open...

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  1. NOLA does not do pizza well so I wouldn't even bother trying.
    Ralph's on the Park across from City park would be my suggestion.
    I have heard that Zea's and Andrea's are child friendly.

    1. I second the idea that NOLA has NO good pizza.
      If I were you, I'd walk over to Frenchmen St (over in the Marigny, which is just adjacent to the quarter, and take the kiddies to Praline Connection (soul food). My son (toddler) loves almost everything they have there and its less packed with tourists than everywhere int he middle of the quester.
      There are also take-out options like you've mentioned. You could add Johnny's Po Boys (in the querter) to your list- they have some limited seating inside and would be fine for kids.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mgarland

        Hey, now, don't be hatin' on the NOLA pizza scene. Brooklyn Pizza on Metairie is quite good, I dig NY Pizza on Magazine, and Sugar Park Tavern's pie isn't half bad either. Slightly more upscale in toppings is Slice....

      2. Venezia, just a few steps toward canal from Brocato's, has some pretty good pizza. Some say it's the best in town. I don't agree with that, but I agree that it's pretty darn good. Other good italian food, too. Also, when my brother- and sister-in-law were in town with their three kids recently and asked about a good, casual, inexpensive place to bring kids in the French Quarter, I suggested Johnny's on St. Louis. They didn't follow my advice and instead went to Port-o-Call on Esplanade. Both parents and kids absolutely loved it. I stand by Johnny's for poboys. But maybe Port-o-Call would be good, too, if you're in the mood for burgers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Shiloh

          I second Venezia - they have pretty darn good pizza there.
          Ralph's on the Park - is beautiful and before the Oaks could be a nice dinner for family.

        2. For good pizza in the FQ try Mona Lisa (1212 Royal). The atmosphere is warm/quaint & the walls are covered with images of the Mona Lisa. The place (owners & staff) is also kid-friendly. Besides the usual shakers of grated cheese & hot pepper flakes, each paper-covered table has a cup of crayons for the artist &/or 2 y.o. in the party. Enjoy!

          1 Reply
          1. re: philmaur

            Mona Lisa is so cute - i love that place!

          2. Cote Sud on Maple St. has fantastic pizza, and french food to boot. I also like Pepporoni's ok, a new-ish place on Hampson in Riverbend.

            Up by the park, there's Figaro's on Carrollton, or Cafe Degas on Esplanade. There's a new Italian place where Gabrielle used to be on Esplanade as well, can't remember the name. There were lots of families in there when we went.

            3 Replies
            1. re: JGrey

              The new place on Esplanade is called LaVita. Been there a couple of times and thought it was nice...nothing spectacular. Didn't have pizza but it is on the menu. It is very casual and family friendly. However, I like Venizia better...just seems more traditional New Orleans neighborhood Italian. Another place just opened across from the cemetery on Esplanade where the pet store was...Pa Pa's Pizza...or something like that. Haven't tried it, but it looks like a pizza buffet type place from the front through the big plate-glass windows.

              Don't forget Crescent City Steaks as a good pre-City Park visit. Family friendly as long as the family likes good meat!

              1. re: NOLA_BnB

                La Vita is kid friendly with mediocre pizza. Brooklyn Pizza on Vets is much better.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  Oh yes, I remember Brooklyn Pizza well. We used to go there often before Katrina. I forgot to think of that one. Will try on next visit. Glad to know it is still around (moved location though, right?)

            2. We got back yesterday, and I wanted to thank everyone for the recs and report back. We met old friends at Mona Lisa for pizza on Saturday. The pizza was better than I expected, the pepperoni had a kick, and the crust was nice and bubbly. Service was very friendly. My son loved it. We wanted to try a gnocchi appetizer, but they didn't have it at that time. We split a cannoli for dessert, it was very tasty.

              We ordered room service for dinner, from 5 fifty 5, the restaurant in the Marriot on Canal. We split lobster mac-n-cheese with wilted escarole, and a Point Reyes Blue Cheese Burger with sea salt fries. It was all good. The lobster mac was very rich, and a HUGE New Orleans portion. Lots of nice meat in there. We loved it. The burger was well done, which I usually like, but this mother was scorched. Too much of a hassle to send back, so we ate it. Wish I'd asked it to be cooked medium....the fries were nice, the blue cheese on the burger was excellent.

              Sunday morning we met other friends at Riccobono's Panola St. Cafe. It was as good as ever. I had the most incredible banana nut pancakes - they were fluffy, hot and deserved alot of butter and syrup to complement them. My husband had eggs and grits, and my son had a little helping of oatmeal that the waitress offered. I love this place.

              After a long run/walk with the babies through Audubon Park, we ate some Middle Eastern food at Pyramids. Its off Claiborne near where the old Bayou Bagelry was. We'd eaten here during our summer visit and loved it. This visit did not disappoint. My husband and I split the gyro platter, and a veggie platter. The baba ghanoush was the best I've had in years. Smoky, and just perfect consistency. The hummus, pita, gyro meat, grape leaves, and everything else was tasty. The staff is very nice and the place is very clean, too.

              On the way back to the hotel, we had to make a commando mission to Brocato's for the Pannacotta. My son was asleep, I asked him twice, "do you want some ice cream?" No movement. My husband went in, and came out with two cones, and we sat in the car and enjoyed it while the kids slept!!

              We decided that we had to indulge in at least a bit of fried seafood - what would a trip to New Orleans be without fried shrimp, right? So, later in the evening we headed over to Mandinas. Turtle Soup, Crab fingers in wine sauce, fried shrimp, fried oysters, and bread pudding....whoa. It was great to go back there, the food was excellent. The renovations post-K look terrific, and the staff was as nice as ever. My son had spaghetti with a huge meatball on top, and he was happy.

              After a very long walk through the Celebration in The Oaks, we thought we better give our stomachs a rest, and headed home.

              Sadly, Monday morning we were too full to eat. We were going to take our son on the Algiers Ferry just for fun, but it was closed (very windy yesterday morning). So we strolled from that area all the way towards the French Market - running after the toddler. We regained our appetites, and went to Cafe Du Monde for some hot chocolate and beignets. Later in the morning, we tried to go to La Boucherie on Chartres for some breakfast, but they only serve it on Sat/Sun (we ate the in the summer also and liked it alot). We went a few doors down to Cafe Fleur de Lis, right across from The W Hotel. It was pretty good. My husband had a huge omelette, and I had a muffaletta. It was pretty good, but too light on the olive salad for me.

              Great visit. Good to see things looking up in the city. The people are just so welcoming and friendly. Looking forward to a visit in the spring!

              5 Replies
              1. re: geegeeTX

                Thanks for the update! I'm definately checking out Pyramids and Mandinas from your post. Do you know the address or website for Pyramids?

                Did you enjoy the Celebration in The Oaks? I was thinking about going when I'm in NO next week. Where is the entrance? Are there activities, or is it just strolling through the park?

                Thanks!

                1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                  Pyramids Info:

                  http://listings.bestofneworleans.com/...

                  Celebration in the Oaks was great. I am not sure how we got to the entrance, it is so dark over there!! We started out by the museum, but that was not the right spot - we weaved around and got in somewhere else. Its mostly strolling, a restored carousel, some rides for the kids, singing, a laser show. Don't miss the "Cajun Night Before Christmas" display when you're there. Its the story told in a Cajun accent with an accompanying light display following the storyline. There are also concessions if you're hungry. :)

                  1. re: geegeeTX

                    Would you say it's mostly for kids, or do you think three adults (albeit silly, immature adults!) would have a good time, too?

                    1. re: christina_hunnicutt

                      Its totally not just a place for kids. It seems to be a neighborhood place. Its not packed with kids, I promise. In fact, when we've been there, there's only been like maybe one or two other people with young ones.

                      1. re: geegeeTX

                        Thanks, geegee! I'm getting really excited about my trip.