Lunch/ Dinner recommendations for tourists?
My family is heading down to New Orleans for the 2nd weekend in August, coming from Ontario (Canada). It's a pitstop on the way to Florida, so we're only staying for two days essentially, arriving Saturday midday and leaving Monday midday. I know people hate these kinds of threads, since it's hard to capture the best of a city in a short period like this, but I would love to know where to eat! We need the top two restaurants for dinner and a few lunch suggestions. We tend to eat lighter for lunch (ie/ we cant do a 3 course meal at both lunch and dinner). Ages are older, with the youngest being 18.
Any cuisines will do, we'd like to just try the best of what New Orleans has to offer. We were thinking Emeril's Restaurant? No allergy restrictions/ picky eaters, we'll likely be able to find something at any resto we visit, ethic food or tapas style doesn't matter, but 2 are males, so hopefully no places with tiny tiny portions. Also, we would PREFER to keep it more casual (ie. no dressing up if possible), but if there is a not-to-miss place, we'll make an exception. Budget is hopefully in midrange, no $400 dinners please (100-200 for four people is what we'd like to aim for). Two big wine drinkers are coming along, if that makes a difference in places to visit.
Thanks so much for any advice you have!
For fairly casual dining that's still good, hit cochon, Mandina's, Franky and Johnny's, or Cafe Bon Ton. Cochon can be pricey and the portions tend to be small, however. Parkway bakery for lunch.
Emeril's is good, but you'd have trouble getting out of there for less than 200 bucks, it's not casual, and it's not the best in town by a longshot. If you want an alternative to Emeril's, try Commander's, Galatoire's, Brigtsen's, August, or Cuvee, etc. They're all pretty formal and they're all expensive, but those type of restaurants are the best new orleans has to offer.
Enjoy your stay!!!
Cochon, Mandina's and Bon Ton are great recs for dinner. You are right about portion size though. Can you do Muriel's for the price range they are suggesting? I've only been there for lunch. Skip Emeril's and please don't go to Mothers or Mulate's. Lunch spots I like are Parkway, Liuzza's by the Track, Cafe Adelaide, Lil Dizzy's and Creole Skillet. The service can be a bit slow at Creole Skillet but it is good, well it has been for me anyway.
look at the Summer Menu thread for dinner specials. GW Fins has a 5 course wine pairing dinner w/ food and wine from Aussie/New Zealand for $50pp sometime in August, Martinique has a 3 course for $28pp (Tuesday is no corkage), and there's lots more like these during COOLinary. You might also check with St. James Cheese Company, as they may be serving their Thursday dinner w/guest chef for $40pp and you get your wine next door at the Wine Seller. You might also want to check out Bacchanal on Friday and Sunday nights when guest chefs (like Ian from Iris) cook in the wine shop's courtyard. A great little find in Mid-City is Arabesque, and well there is Cafe Minh too in that hood. They will not disappoint.
And do try our tomatoes. I know Ontario is tomato central, but we have some mighty fine ones here too! cheers!
New Orleans has become a more "casual" town, with regards to attire for dining. (See some of my other threads/replies for comments on how it *used* to be.) That said, a jacket/blazer for the gentlemen is always a good thing, though few spots will dress them in paper jackets and ties - nowadays.
OK, at the upper end of your budget, but well worth the $ (remember the CA $ IS strong now, so it's not THAT expensive):
Galatoire's for the quintessential New Orleans meal. Go lighter on the wine, if the cost gets up there too quickly. Note: you can make reservations for upstairs, but must wait in line for downstairs. Yes, downstairs is where the locals will be, BUT for the food, and a bit of the flavor of the NOLA dining experience (think about the NY Stock Exchange - viewing from the mezzanine is good, but being on the "floor" puts you right in the heart of the action). I am not much of a "line-stander," but you do miss a bit of the show.
Brigtsen's for a great meal with strong NO elements from a great chef. It's a bit less "old-school," and a tad more casual, but the food is great. The general prices are a bit lower, but not by much. The wine list is good, but nothing like Galatoire's.
Those are true must-dos.
I've had very good to great meals at Emeril's (NOLA, plus several other cities) and a very good meal at Delmonico. Others are less of a fan, than I am, but they have always delivered for me. Never been to NOLA, the restaurant, so cannot comment.
Other spots worth a good, long look:
Commander's Palace (Uptown)
You'll get plenty of great recs. here, so it will be a tough call for you. Once you get your short-list, do a search of this board for details.
Enjoy, and thanks for coming,