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Oct 14, 2008 10:17 AM

Status Check on French Quarter Favorites

Hi, all. I'm making my fifth or sixth trip to New Orleans, it's become a more or less annual thing, and wanted to check up on the status of some of my favorite French Quarter and nearby restaurants.

If you know a place has gotten significantly worse in the last year, or has closed, or significantly more expensive, please post your thoughts!

If you know a place has gotten better, is less expensive, or has better ambiance than before, I'd love to hear that too... also VERY welcome for any suggestions of other similar places that you personally think are not to be missed OR are better quality OR better value...

Without further ado, the list:

Coop's Place ("real" NOLA food)
Johnny's Po-boys (especially shrimp and catfish)
Verti Marte (mostly for po-boys, try the Royal Feast)
Mother's (Debris or Ferdi)
Mona Lisa (pizza)
Fiorella's Cafe (fried chicken, but haven't been there since 2006)
Leah's Pralines (pralines, duh)
Country Flame (mexican, steak good too)
Deja Vu (greasy American breakfast)
Clover Grill (greasy Southern breakfast)

I didn't find Fiorella's in the database, it's at 45 French Market Pl, near Coop's Place.

Chowhound has been very helpful in the past, and I appreciate your thoughts this time around!

-- Bob

Mother's Restaurant
401 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Coop's Place
1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Clover Grill
900 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Cafe Reconcile
New Orleans, LA, New Orleans, LA

Johnny's Po-Boys
511 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Verti Marte
1201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA

Mona Lisa Restaurant
1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

Leah's Pralines
714 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA

Country Flame
620 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Deja Vu Restaurant & Bar
400 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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  1. Not to be too snobby but couldn't you kick it up a notch, some of these places are downright dives (e.g. Deja Vu)!!! If you pick and choose you won't pay too much at Mr. B's, Acme, Felix's, Napoleon House, and they're all SO much nicer!!

    14 Replies
    1. re: bronwen

      I actually like the fried chicken, at fiorella's, call me crazy. Mother's not so much. The best use for Mother's is if your hotel is a block or so away and you can go at off hour. Otherwise, I still can't quite understand why the joint is so famous. It's definitely a tourist trap. some of the food there is not very good at all either.

      1. re: kevin

        Amen to that, Kevin.

        If inexpensive is what you're going for I'd add Napoleon House and NoLa Grocery. NoLa Gro. is in the Warehouse District and may be out of your walking distance but they have great poboys and andouille.

        1. re: mrsfury

          Another inexpensive joint would be the parkway bakery but alas it's outside the quarter. You can go to Central Grocery I guess. And the most inexpensive of the joints around town has got to be Cafe du Monde, basically for about a five spot you get a trio of beignets showered with powdered sugar and a hot mug of chicory-laced cafe au lait to wash it all down. That is probably the best cheap joint in the Quarter. Somewhat outside of the Quarter (all right actually pretty far outside the Qtr) is Port of Call on Esplanade for great messy burgers. And Clover Grill I actually like though it's not exceptional. Where else can you get a burger cooked under a hubcap???

          1. re: kevin

            Actually, POC is technically IN the FQ on Esplanade. A reasonable walk from anywhere else in the quarter (or a quick cab if you're near Canal and don't feel like the 13 block front-to-back walk.) However, I have a beef (pun intended) with POC lately. While I've always been a fan of the burgers, the last three times I've been there the place just smells foul. To clarify, it smells as if a crew had a few too many Monsoons, suffered the consequences while on premises, and the staff was too busy raking in the $$$ to stop for a minute and clean up. Frankly, the place could use a good internal pressure-washing. However, the incredible crowds (particularly post-K) are obviously sending the ownership the economic message that the registers will keep filling without regard to the stench. I say this with sadness, because it's been a favorite place of mine since I was a teenager, 100 years ago. Has anyone else noticed the same thing?

            1. re: jeffchow

              yes! POC *has* been smelly lately (like past few months). i asked a bartender about it once and he didnt seem amused.

              hasnt stopped me from grabbing a burger every couple weeks tho :)

              1. re: kibbles

                I have to agree about POC needing a MAJOR power wash. Rationally, I know most restuarants have some bugs; I just don't want to see them run across my table again......

              2. re: jeffchow

                Not at POC, but it has been some years. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens all too often, and NOT just in NOLA.

                One of our fav. higher-end restaurants in PHX developed a similar smell. It also did not help that the fish was horribly overcooked and that the server, no matter how much she tried, just could not get it right. We have since scratched it from our list, and I do not do CH recs. for it anymore. Maybe they had a bad spell (or would that be "smell?"), and things have gotten back to normal. Only another trip will tell, and now they're way down the list.

                To me, it's like seeing the "Dollar Store" move into a shopping center - the obituary is not too far in the future... Hope that it isn't so here. And yes, considering that they are on the Uptown (up River for those not in NOLA) side of Esplanade, they are in the FQ.


        2. re: bronwen

          Isn't that sort of the point of dives though? If they have good food, you simply eat to your hearts content and need not worry about checking the prices or picking and choosing to stay under a desired range. Now I'm all for nicer places most of the time, but sometimes dives have an ambiance all their own that can't be beat.

          1. re: gastrotect

            I think it's pretty easy to find amazing food at an expensive restaurant. The trick is to find it in a dive. Then you have something worth saving. And, of course, those expensive restaurants that have average food deserve to go away quickly.

            The Red Beans & Rice, the Debris, the Ferdi and the Ralph are all worth having at Mother's. I have a friend who says they also make the best Jambalaya in town. So, I would pick Mother's over Herbsaint any time. But, then, the small plates of Spaghetti at Herbsaint and the Short Rib there are quite good. But, because of pricing, I will take Mother's first.

            1. re: Hoc

              i do not find Mother's any kind of value.

              1. re: Tonto

                I made the mistake of ordering the debris at Mother's. Never again.

                1. re: Tonto

                  I'm with you on Mother's, but this goes back well pre-K. Though they were just down the street from me, I cannot recall any meal there, that I relish. It just did not do IT for me.

                  Still, others swear by it, so maybe it's a personal taste thing. I cannot say that they are wrong, only that I have yet to see the magic.


                2. re: Hoc

                  mothers is on the absolute bottom of my list. its 30-year-old hype, fumes, nothing more. the days when they served flavorful debris to longshoremen is long gone (so are the owners)

                  1. re: kibbles

                    I'm no huge fan of Mother's myself, but my friend got a whole ham from them for Christmas, and it was really good.

            2. You might want to add Yo Mama's on St. Peters for late night burgers/baked potatoes (and a great tequila selection)

              1. Mena's is also inexpensive. What about benachin?

                1. Mona Lisa's is still good, love their pizzas, but I was surprised at the hours of operation as they were closed on Wed for lunch...check before you go. LPK was a nice alternative that day.

                  1. I have a friend that was trying to buy Fiorellas because the current owners of the business, not the building have really run it into the ground, but due to legal issues the sale never went through- I have heard the food is just not very good anymore.