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K Pauls or Irene's?

Which would you choose? I know there are many fabulous restaurants, but both have been on my "to-do" list for quite some time and I decided to knock one off on my next trip. K Pauls, I've wanted to try for the tourist factor. I feel like after 16 overnight stays in NOLA, I should have tried it by now. Irene's, I walked by one day and was taken with the fabulous aroma wafting to the streets. They weren't able to seat us that night and I wasn't able to make it back there.

So, which would you choose if you were me? Thanks in advance for your help!!

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  1. K-Paul's, without a doubt. As both a resident and later, a visitor, I have always found there is an underlying, genuine culinary backbone here. Sure, there is a tourist factor; however, my recent experiences find the kitchen is not just getting by on empty reputation.

    I like Irene's...but I love K-Paul's. I do hope my reply was not too subtle :)

    1. While Irene's is certainly nothing to sneer at, as I like it alot, you have a hole in your New Orleans Culinary Map if you haven't experienced K-Paul's. It's a standard bearer that carries it off virtually every single time. The food is remarkably good and, happily, since the storm many locals who had stopped going, for years, because of the fact that it was usually chock full of tourists seeking blackened redfish and also the fact that they used community seating, which can be kind of fun, but not always what you are in the mood for, but are now marching back on a regular basis. Have fun, take your time, don't order any doubles (get as many things as you can) and you will truly have a great meal.

      1. I take out of town guests to K-Pauls always. It is so New Orleans! Irenes is another wonderful choice...either way you cannot go wrong...but I love the fresh bread at K-Pauls, especially those brown molasses rolls! Enjoy!


        1. You are kidding right? You should try both. Why trouble yer'self!
          If however you only have a short time left to visit, I would go for Irene's. While I agree Hadacol about K-Pauls, I know more locals that consider Irene's more "local" than "tourist". Having done both, I say Irene's now K-Paul's some other time. After you get through at Irene's you can go around the corner on Decatur to Angeli for a late night milkshake made with Hagendaz (sp) at Angeli (corner Gov Nichols). I like to have the bartender add Baily's too. And make sure to sit at the bar, although if you can get a seat by the window it is great sidewalk view of that street at night which can get pretty funny on that end of the Quarters.

          Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

          1 Reply
          1. re: New Orleans News Ladder

            OMG, that milkshake sounds awesome!! Plus, it assists with my goal to have alcohol with every meal when on vacation=)

            I would love to try both, but am only there for two days and have other favorites that we have to hit. So I figured one night's dinner was open for a new spot.

          2. K-Paul's with the caveat that the food is a mere shadow of that which made it famous. When Paul ran the show, the food sang. It seems to have been reworked to suit the tourist palate. Although I don't miss the days of standing in line and shared tables, I do miss the food. Irene's is very good but hardly what I'd call a NOLA (foodwise) experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: JazzyB

              HA! Not to put to rude a point on it, but why don't we just discount half the restaurants in the city? I think that the moment something is referred to as a Quintessentially New Orleans Experience---it's NOT!
              That said, I forgot about the food singing. Right on the money there.

              My apologies in advance for my mumbo gumbo.
              Editilla~New Orleans Ladder

            2. I won't make a recommendation, I'll just say:
              Irene's- Italian Creole fare w/ a cozy, dark, romantic atmosphere
              K-Paul's- Cajun fare w/ a nice atmosphere
              Also consider Irene's doesn't take reservations.

              3 Replies
              1. re: johnnyforks

                Interestingly, these two are my Friday night and Saturday night choices for an upcoming trip. Does K-Paul's take reservations (for a party of 2)?

                1. re: ClevelandRandy

                  Yes, K-Paul's does accept reservations for a party of 2. You can do this via their website or by calling. Have fun!

                2. re: johnnyforks

                  Irene's has been taking reservatons for quite s a while.

                3. BOTH!
                  Irene's...either when they open or go late. 504-529-8811; they do take reservation on a limited basis or until they book is full; you could go by at 7pm and put your name on the list and go have fun about the QTR until your name is up.

                  K-Paul's...call for reservation 504-596-2530

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: edible complex

                    Thank you, thank you! I now have reservations at both, about which i'm very happy, since I was under the impression that neither place accepted them. Chowhounds always come through! Would love to hear what people recommend are the quintessential dishes at each place (like Bataille's description of the stuffed pork chop and the creole cheesecake -- yum!).

                    1. re: ClevelandRandy

                      K-Paul's quintessential dishes: open with the chicken and andouille gumbo. It is a classic executed with rich, adroit excellence.Current favorite entrees include blackened drum (a thick, succulent piece of drum, topped with sweet crab and a chipotle compound butter; the exterior spice crust enhances and elevates the drum, never overwhelming it) or the blackened stuffed chop (the quatro cheese interior most sublimely compliments the pork; the mushroom zin sauce is decadent...in a very good way). Noteworthy is the beef tournedos; sure, tenderloin may bring a little yawn but K-Paul's debris sauce will make you see tenderloin in a very naughty, meaty way from now on. Finish as you began...with a classic- bread pudding. Perfection. Creme brulee fans will enjoy the Custard Marie, served warm with a hidden praline at the bottom of the bowl.

                      Check out the daily special, too. I always hook on the chicken with sticky gravy when it is the nightly selection. The specials are an insane value with a gumbo(or salad) first course, an entree second course and a third course of bread pudding (or key lime mousse, I believe) for under $30!

                  2. i agree that both should be experienced if you can swing it. i WILL say that i had a very very good(not great, tho it had it's great moments)meal at irene's late june. we had the oysters irene(just ok), creole tom/buffalo mozz salad(if that was buffalo mozzarela, I'M a buffalo), shrimp bisque(excellent). main courses: i had a HUGE double cut pork chop stuffed w/pecans, apples, chorizo & accompanied w/a sweet potato gratin & macque choux(this was excellent also: pork still juicy & flavorful & the stuffing & the sides all complimented the delicious piggy goodness of the chop). my partner had a very good beef filet. the high point was the special dessert: creole cream cheese cheese cake w/louisiana strawberries. wow! this was amazing, fluffy & creamy, the pecan crust perfectly holding up. i had one two nights later at commander's palace & it didn't come close to this. btw, the service was terrific & irene was there to greet & say goodbye when we were done.

                    whichever you pick, have fun.

                    1. I'm flying in on Saturday and so excited i could burst!! I figured I'd resurect this thread to see if any opinions had changed..... Thank you!!

                      1. I say split the difference and go to Brigtsens

                        1. Irene's, hands down. Make sure you ask for the Parmesan Potatoes. They usually accompany the steak, but they will substitute them if you ask. Out of this world.