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Jul 30, 2008 10:10 AM

K-Paul's or Palace Cafe

I have guest coming in this Saturday who have never been to New Orleans. My normal go-to place is Jaques Imo's but I have heard from reliable sources that the quality has slipped in the past few months while the prices have increased.

Given that they want a more New Orleans like experience, they are staying in the Warehouse District and we will be going into the Quarter/Marigny after dinner, I was thinking someplace in the area would be good. Of course White Linen threw a wrench into my intitial plan - Cochon, so now this is where I am.

I have eaten at both K-Paul's and Palace, but it has been over a year on each. Has anyone been recently?

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  1. K-Paul's. Simple as that. I had a great dinner there last week; without fail, K-Paul's sets the perfect tone for a night out.

    In all honesty, I do not consider K-Paul's and Palace Cafe to be in the same class. Admittedly, I am not a fan of Palace; I will slink by for dessert on rare occasion, yet I find their food to be substantially less-inspired and more weakly prepared than K-Paul's.

    Only caveat about K-Paul's: I do not like the vibe of the upstairs dining room. Opt for downstairs dining room (if weather is comfy, try balcony or courtyard).

    4 Replies
    1. re: powderhound

      Another (at least 1 other) Dickie Brennan place is better than Palace Cafe and that would be Mr. B's at Royal and Iberville. Gumbo ya-ya, BBQ shrimp, and bread pudding are all ridiculously good and represent the best Creole meal in the city IMHO. They would display New Orleans very well to any out-of-towner. Had that meal last Friday and it still kills. Also they're open for lunch Monday-Saturday, which is very nice.

      1. re: johnnyforks

        i have to agree. i had a great brunch on my last trip: gumbo ya-ya(still definitive, still fantastic), eggs w/pork debris(delicious but dangerously rich)& hot buttered pecan pie(this sounds better than it is: the butter is hot but the pie itself was cold). anyway, i've been eating here for years &, as w/most brennan's restaurants, it's been consistently good(if not, great)for all those years. certainly, when it first opened it was ground-breaking & very influential. they're upholding their solid tradition at this point quite well. as i mentioned in my earlier post, palace is NOT doing the same as far as i'm concerned(tho i still love the interior space of the restaurant...).

        1. re: johnnyforks

          I'm with ya, but make my dessert the profiteroles!

        2. re: powderhound

          I am a fan of Palace Cafe, based on earlier visits, but do agree completely, that these two restaurants are not in the same class. This is not meant to detract from Palace Cafe, but I think of it as nice down-scale from K-Paul's

          Were these my two choices, it would be K-Paul's, even though it's been a long time, since we dined there. I do not recall anything negative about the upstairs dining room, but obviously much has changed. Thanks for that tip.


          Palace Cafe
          605 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

          K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
          416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA

        3. i had lunch at palace cafe in late june. it was mediocre at best. the much lauded crabmeat cheesecake was more quiche-y & almost sponge-like(held too long under a heat lamp perhaps)than rich & creamy. i've had this before & it was good. not this time. there was a competent fried oyster salad(if a new orleans restaurant can't fry oysters properly it should just be closed, imo). the highlight WAS dessert: the white choc bread pudding was as good as i remember.
          way back when, in another life, i worked 2 winters for k-paul's. they are a fundamentally sound restaurant(first & foremost)that still puts out very good to excellent food(depends on exactly what you order). i'd have to agree: k-pauls w/o hesitation.

            1. re: edible complex

              Definitely K-Paul's over Palace Cafe.

            2. We're visiting NOLA next week. During our last visit about 5 yrs ago, we loved Palace Cafe and had lunch there every day for 4 days. We had dinner at other restaurants, but we liked Palace Cafe best.

              Has the food gone downhill or did y'all never like Palace Cafe???

              While we'll be visiting new restaurants like Cochon this time, we were looking forward to returning to Palace Cafe.

              8 Replies
              1. re: kuidaore


                I have not been recently enough to answer your question. On all of our visits, the food was very good, as was the service, and one of these was an event on the mezzanine, which presented some logistical problems. My comments, in another reply, were predicated on the level of a culinary experience and on an overall experience. They were not meant to disparage Palace Cafe in any way. They were only meant to point out some major differences between these two venues. Others, especially locals, will have to fill you in on what the food and service are like now. Please do not take any of my comments to be negative towards TPC.

                BTW, we had a great meal at Cochon, a few trips back. Though not all THAT recent, you might find some of those observations useful:



                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Thanks. We've made a reservation with both as well as Cochon (and Bayona, Bon Ton, CP). Our food binge is starting with Drago's (in Metairie) on our way from MSY to FQ tomorrow :-)

                  1. re: kuidaore

                    Glad to see the paranthetic comment, "Metairie," regarding Drago's. Otherwise, I'd have said a prayer to St. Jude...

                    Please report, when you have time.


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      We dined at Palace Cafe tonight (6 years after our last visit). The food was still good, though it was not as spectacular as we remembered.

                      I enjoyed my Seafood Au Gratin--it wasn't seasoned just with salt as it tends to be at every other place (I'm looking forward to comparing it with Crabmeat Au Gratin at Bon Ton).

                      My companion thought his duck was pretty good, but was disappointed with the taste of fois gras. He liked fois gras at Emeril's (in Orlando) much better. He didn't find the crabmeat cheesecake as mind-blowing as it was 6 yrs ago.

                      The highlight of the dinner was the dessert. Their cheesecake might be the best cheesecake I've ever had.(I'm not even a dessert person.) You can actually taste the cheese instead of sugar! I'd go back there just for the cheesecake (without caramel). In fact, there were a number of people who were there just for the dessert, though they seemed to order Bananas Foster.

                      The service definitely deteriorated, compared to 6 yrs ago. The wait staff was more professional and sophisticated back then. The current staff tries hard, but seems like graduates of IHOP or TGIF without retraining! (We're into the food so we couldn't care less about service or atmosphere.)

                      As for Drago's, we were disappointed with their oysters. (Bill, we went to the Metairie location because of your review on the other location.) They didn't have a taste of sea, or a taste. We had both raw and charbroiled. We're thinking of trying Acme where we saw a huge line outside tonight before we give up on gulf oysters altogether. (We have been disappointed with gulf oysters in general).

                      1. re: kuidaore

                        Thank you for the reports. Sorry about the service at Palace Cafe. It has been too very long ago, and most of that staff is likely gone forever. Service seems to have been a problem in NOLA, post-K.. Professional servers just seem to be a bit fewer and farther between.

                        I am sorry that the Metairie Drago's was not better. Based on several reviews, I was looking forward to Drago's, even if it was going to be the location in the Hilton. Still, we were horribly disappointed. I'm not sure if our guest from Transylvania knew the difference, but I did. They dropped so many "balls" that night, that I have completely written them off. They are NOT ready for prime-time.

                        Relative to Acme, my family was split 50-50 between Acme and Felix's. It only depended on which "side of the family" was dining. Now, I have never had "charbroiled oysters" at each. Acme still seems to have a certain panache. Still, if my late mother was choosing, it would be the other...

                        Let us know how it goes. I'm always ready to learn, familial ties, or not!


                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Bill, you and we are on the same page about Drago's and maybe Palace Cafe.

                          Here's a question for you:
                          We're debating whether to have lunch at Bayona or Galatoire's on Thurs. We have a reservation with Bayona, but my companion really wants to go to Galatoires. (It's hard to squeeze Galatoires into our schedule for dinner unless he is willing to give up on K-Paul on Thurs. Bayona's dinner menu isn't appealing to us so we'd go there only for lunch.)

                          1. re: kuidaore

                            I have not done lunch at Bayona. Our last dinner was very, very good.

                            With a little trepidation, I'd go for Galatoire's though. I base this on the food and on the "show." Still, diner at Bayona was very good.

                            I feel your pain. There are just too many good restaurants in NOLA, and I always have too little time. One cannot do them all. Even as a local, we still missed many of those days.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              We read this and will have to pass on Galatoire's this time unfortunately. (Next time we'll go there for dinner).

                              I really wish we didn't waste a lunch at Drago's! Then we could have had lunch at Bayona AND Galatoire's...

                              Cochon was very good! I like PC's Seafood au Gratin slightly better than Bon Ton's Crabmean au Gratin. My SO liked their red fish a lot.

                              We need at least two more days to cover the restaurants we want to try, but then we'll spend over $1K on food. We're spending $200/day on food alone (we don't even drink!)

              2. K-Paul's, hands down. When you make a reservation, mention that you're local and would like to sit downstairs. I don't mind the upstairs, but it's far less lively than the first floor.