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Oct 8, 2008 09:35 AM

First Trip to New Orleans - Recommendations?

My fiance and I will be visiting New Orleans from October 19th-25th. We will be staying at the International House and are looking for some nearby recommendations as well as any other suggestions you may have about where we should try! We definetaly want to try all of the local food (we are coming from Los Angeles), we are open to upscale and casual recommendations, anything romantic (we are newly engaged!!).

I have been doing some research on the Boards, so far I definetaly want to try August, and am interested in: Cuvee, K-Paul's, Herbsaint, La Petit Grocery, Cochon, Cafe du Monde...

We are also interested in good bars and jazz clubs/lounges with good food, I was thinking about: Polo Lounge, Snug Harbor, Columns Hotel Bar, Spotted Cat...

Please let me know what you think about the places I have listed so far or if you have any other recommendations! Also, what kind of apparel is appropriate in the more upscale restaurants? I'm not sure what the weather will be like, so if anyone knows, let me know!
Thank you so much in advance, I can't wait to visit your beautiful city!

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  1. The guys from Cuvee (a personal fav.) have just last week, a tapas rest "Rambla" in the International House. I will probably try it this weekend. Go to Commanders ( reserve the garden room) for lunch M-F. Love August and Herbsaint (although in our experience they have not been consistent). Cochon for an all app. meal (their best offerings).Haven't been to La Petit in a while. K-Paul's is not the same as when Paul was in house but still offers a good example of local flavor. Cafe Du Monde's beignets are quite similar to zeppolis. Cafe Giovanni has a "feed me" which is quite good. Opera (think Broadway) singers on Wed, Fri. and Sat. add a nice touch. Food is Italian with a distinct local twist. Check for weekly music listings, for 5 day forecast.. Get some cocktails in a go cup and enjoy a private carriage ride. Ride the streetcar uptown for a glimpse of the garden district, uptown mansions, Audubon Park, universities and Riverbend. The Canal St. line will take you to the art museum in City Park Congratulations and thanks for coming!

    1. Although I live in San Francisco, I visit NOLA once a year...mostly to eat. I would add One Restaurant and Lounge and Brigtsen's to your list. If you're interested, One has a food bar where you can eat and talk to the chef(s). Frank Brigtsen is a great guy and his restaurant is well known. Both places are in the Riverbend area. I usually take the streetcar back and forth from the FQ.

      I loved Cuvee last year, especially the spiced shrimp napolean appetizer and the cornbread. (However, if you're into wine, Cuvee's wine list was quite overpriced.) I was very disappointed in K-Paul's and would not go back.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Lives to Eat

        Go to to purchase ($10) a $25 gift certificate for ONE. Lives to Eat has good recs. although ONE can get loud and Brigtsen's is in an old has which has seen better days. Not a concern for me but some have complained.

        1. re: Lives to Eat

          Thank you all so much for the recommendations! Lives to Eat, what did you find dissapointing at K-Paul's? I love the streetcar and private carriage ride ideas! JazzyB, please let us know how you like "Rambla," if you go this weekend! Are any of these places (besides Rambla, obviously) within walking distance of my hotel? Thanks again!

          1. re: gourmetgal1

            Not walking distance. I can see what Eats means re: K-Paul's especially if you had ever experienced it when Paul and Kay ran it. Many dishes do not come close to the originals. Food sang. It seems to have been touristized. Many "wow" meals. Not so these days. You will still get a taste of local flavor but there are better choices. Same with Emeril's rests. I guess there are some things you just have to do when visiting.NOLA.

            1. re: gourmetgal1

              Like "Lives to Eat," I, too, live in the San Francisco Bay Area and go to New Orleans at least once a year, mostly to eat . . . always stay at the International House (both pre- and post-Katrina). Anything in the Quarter -- even Cafe du Monde, on the far side of the French Quarter from IHouse -- is walking distance from where you're staying, as is Restaurant August and Herbsaint.

              I would pass on K-Paul's, and I was a bit disappointed in my last visit to La Petite Grocery. I'd definitely do August, Herbsaint, Cochon (to which we generally take a cab), and, of course, Cafe du Monde is a must. I'd think about adding Bayona to your list (n the French Quarter), as well as Lilette (on Magazine).

              Brigtsen's was very good when we were there, but to be honest, that was before Katrina (so many places, so little time!) so I don't know how they are now.

              Restaurants I'll be visiting for the first time next month include Gautreau's, Iris, MiLa, and possibly Patois.

              And don't forget to stop at Central Grocery and get a muffaletta for the flight back to LA!

              Iris Restaurant
              8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

              Restaurant August
              301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

              930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

              430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

              Brigtsen's Restaurant
              723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

              701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

              Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand
              800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

              817 Common Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

              International House Hotel
              221 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA

              Gautreau's Restaurant
              1728 Soniat St, New Orleans, LA 70115

              6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 70118

              1. re: zin1953

                Zin, be sure to call ahead about Iris; not sure if they will be open in their new location in the Bienville House. Iris was one of the best, if not the best, food I had locally in the last year. I hope you get to experience it.
                If they are not open yet, check Bacchanal's guest chef schedule, as Chef Ian often cooks there on Sunday nights.
                You may want to try Martinique Bistro as an alternative as well.

                1. re: edible complex

                  We've really enjoyed Martinique Bistro in the past -- glad to know it's still worthwhile!

                  1. re: zin1953

                    I went to Brigsten's for the 1st and only time after Katrina and it was great.

          2. Petite Grocery lost its chef a while back, and they revamped the menu into a more casual type place. Not as good as it used to be, in my opinion. Still decent though. The chef is currently at Bistro Daisy, fyi.

            1. you may not be able to get there for a sunday brunch, but by all means have a lunch at commander's palace. it is divine! don't miss napoleon house on chartres in the quarter for a pimm's cup or bloody mary. (their food is nothing special.....) and central grocery on decatur for a muffaletta. have a wonderful trip!! i'm sure it will be the first of many!

              1. I would definitely add Bayona to that list. Try their staple Goat Cheese Crouton appetizer, it's my favorite. And listen to their waiters if they recommend something - they know what they're talking about. I think they know my husband better than he knows himself!