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Yet another visit to New Orleans: what am I missing?

zin1953 Oct 21, 2008 05:50 PM

I visit New Orleans at least once a year, sometimes twice, and dining is (of course!) an essential focus.

This year's visit had to get pushed back one month, so we're not arriving until mid-November and had to shorten the duration of our stay a bit. So, with seasonal cuisine being what it is, and certain dishes coming available (or disappearing), I hope no one will object if I put forth a rough sketch of our plans for your critique and suggestions . . . .

We arrive late in the afternoon on a Thursday . . .

Thursday dinner reservations are at Iris (in their new location at 321 N. Peters St. -- they'll open there in less than a week).

Friday lunch is at Galatoire's -- as always.

Friday dinner remains open . . .

Saturday dinner is Bayona.

Sunday dinner is at MiLa.

Monday lunch is at Herbsaint, and Central Grocery provides the muffaletta for the flight home.

Given that we've been to ____________ (see below) before, we were looking at some places that are NEW (to us) for the open lunch and Friday dinner slots, and are open to your suggestions . . .

Restaurants we have been to previously (and are therefore "off" the list for this trip) include:
La Petite Grocery
Martinique Bistro
Mr. B's
Restaurant August

I'm sure will hit Rambla at some point as we are (as always) staying at the International House. And at some point, we'll hit Arnaud's 75 for Sazeracs -- unless someone has a better recommendation . . .

But what are we missing???


  1. edible complex Oct 21, 2008 06:29 PM

    Maximo's, J'Anita's, Stein's Deli, il Posto, St. James Cheese Company, RioMar, Vizard's (new location), Patois, Bistro Daisy, Cafe Atchfalaya for lunch or dinner options. call first to see who is open for what you need to fill.
    come hungry!

    1 Reply
    1. re: edible complex
      zin1953 Oct 21, 2008 08:06 PM

      Is Vizard's all that different in the new location? We were there last year, and not impressed . . . .

    2. a
      adamshoe Oct 21, 2008 06:34 PM

      Skip jacques-imo's (at least, according to many posts on the N.O. boards) Try Dick & Jenny's out near Tipitina's; worth the cab fare. Also had an excellent meal at Luke. Try the po-boys @ Mahony's on Magazine St. Cochon: wasn't wowed by the chow. K-Paul's is awesome if you can nab a table for apps (and their bread basket!!!) Dinner prices there are a bit spendy. OOPS!! Just re-read your post; duh! Never been to Commander's? Truly over the top in a good way for dinner. Hear they do a great brunch, too. The Praline Connection is a funky and great soul-food type joint. Have always had consistently good chow @ Muriel's. The Bourbon House is fun for drinks and ersters; sit at the bar. Ditto the Palace Cafe, which has a gorgeous ambience, to boot. Just got back last week from an 8 nite food coma and I'm ready to go back. Bon Temps Roulez! Adam from Oakland

      2 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe
        Hungry4Good Nov 2, 2008 10:00 AM

        I took my group to Dick and Jenny's a year ago. We loved the food but, unfortunately, the feeling that you're eating in somebody's garage took the food down with it. I know it has the cutesy aspect, but does anyone else agree that the level of good food here needs an equally nice environment in which to enjoy it?

        1. re: Hungry4Good
          Honore Melmoth Nov 7, 2008 01:51 PM

          I'm with you all the way on this one. Unlike many New Orleanians, I'm not big on dumpy restaurants.

      2. mrsfury Oct 21, 2008 07:11 PM

        Bon Ton! Bon Ton salad with house dressing, crab au gratin & bread pudding.

        1. N.O.Food Oct 21, 2008 08:10 PM

          Agree with Bon Ton for old school cajun/creole. More of a home-cooked style than commander's, etc. Also agree that if you haven't been to commander's, go there for lunch. It's been really good since K. Also fairly new are Patois and Restaurant One. I've been to Patois once and thought it was good - very good. Haven't been to One yet but have heard great things. There's also Gautreau's. I haven't been since Katrina but they've been getting some great press lately. Lilette and Cuvee are excellent, too.

          1. n
            nola17 Oct 21, 2008 09:34 PM

            Chris McMillan is at the Renaissance Pere Marquette bar now (literally next to MiLa) - I don't think he works sunday nights, but you should pop in and get a sazera/mint julep/pimm's cup/anything before/after dinner if he is there.

            1. j
              JazzyB Oct 22, 2008 05:36 AM

              I'd go to Bayona for lunch and Herbsaint for dinner. Cuvee, One, Patois., Lilette. Shame you can't make it to Commander's for a weekday lunch. Garden room is delightful . 25 cent martinis as well as good food and service. Don't know if it matters but MiLa will probably be pretty empty on a Sun. evening.

              2 Replies
              1. re: JazzyB
                zin1953 Oct 22, 2008 08:18 AM

                It's not how crowded, it's how open . . . it's one of the few we are thinking about that is actually open on a Sunday evening.

                1. re: JazzyB
                  Produce Addict Dec 26, 2008 05:14 AM

                  I'll be in New Orleans on a Friday, but tend to save the fancier meals for dinner. What's the advantage of Commanders for a weekday lunch? thanks!

                2. BayouTeche Oct 22, 2008 06:31 AM

                  Some good suggestions. Would also add Bistro at Maison de Ville, La Boca and Tommy's.

                  1. m
                    mortalcoil Oct 22, 2008 08:24 AM



                    1. c
                      cereed007 Oct 22, 2008 08:53 AM

                      I wasnt really impressed with MILA when i went. actually very disappointed. There are some other great resturants: La Boca, Dantes Kitchen, NOLA. If you are trying to find something open on sundays, you could even do Bourbon House or Bacco

                      1. m
                        mikek Oct 22, 2008 09:39 AM

                        Lola's in mid-city does amazing Spanish cuisine and is BYOB. Incredibly delicious Paella. You could also look into renting a car and doing one of the North Shore restaurants or La Provence.

                        1. steve h. Oct 22, 2008 10:51 AM

                          hi zin,

                          deb and i returned home yesterday after five nights in new orleans. we ate at cochon (good), brigtsen's (very good) and galatoire's (very good).

                          dinner at bayona was a disappointment. mona lisa was my marginally acceptable antidote to "fine dining fatigue." central grocery remains a goto place before heading out somewhere (plane, boat, whatever).

                          acme gets my comeback player of the year award. i really grew tired of this place over the years but a late lunch restored my confidence: we shared a half dozen good oysters before striking up a conversation with the shucker behind the bar. we discussed oysters from the east coast, west coast and florida. we also got in some serious character assassination vis-a-vis politicians! anyway, i said i'd like another six oysters the size of my very large fist. i got back seven superb oysters that were fresh, chilled to perfection, expertly shucked and as huge as blue points in march. acme is back on my list.

                          modest observation: very low markup on wines these days.

                          1. z
                            zin1953 Oct 31, 2008 01:22 PM

                            OK, here's the line up with two weeks to go . . .

                            Thursday dinner: Iris
                            Friday lunch: Galatoire's (it's a tradition for us)
                            Friday dinner: Patois
                            Saturday (or Sunday) brunch: Surrey's
                            Saturday dinner: Herbsaint
                            Sunday (or Saturday) brunch: open
                            Sunday dinner: MiLa
                            Monday lunch: Commander's Palace
                            . . . and a Central Grocery muffaletta for the flight home!

                            Any thoughts . . .


                            18 Replies
                            1. re: zin1953
                              edible complex Oct 31, 2008 02:02 PM

                              I'd definitely hit J'Anita's either Sat or Sun for brunch. last I was there, they were discussing beefing up some of the brunch items for the cooler weather...sounded tasty!

                              1. re: edible complex
                                N.O.Food Nov 5, 2008 03:07 PM

                                We went to Janita's a while back, and it was awful. I actually heard a lady at the next table ask the waitress what was wrong with her grits. Waitress gets the cook who comes out and tells the customer, "those were the last of the grits, so I just scraped the bottom of the pan." He shrugged and went back into the kitchen. None of our food was any good, either. I thought it was on par with a waffle house breakfast. Actually, waffle house is usually better than this was. The service was bad, too. If being waited on by a bunch of uninterested, tattoo covered, hipsters is your idea of service, this might be the place for you.

                                1. re: N.O.Food
                                  edible complex Nov 5, 2008 03:38 PM

                                  that's too bad, because that is the complete opposite of my experience. I'm sure if you were to chat with the Dukester or Kimmie, they would want to make sure all was well.
                                  the Best Fish Sammich is just that...

                                  1. re: edible complex
                                    Isabella Nov 7, 2008 03:25 AM

                                    I'll have to 2nd EC's reply as we've always had a great time at J'anita's.

                                    EC, I love that Best Fish Sammich too, and I'm not a big fish eater to begin with. The guacamole is always so fresh.
                                    Next time I am going to get some of the Crawfish Lasagna tho.

                                    1. re: Isabella
                                      N.O.Food Nov 7, 2008 02:09 PM

                                      I'm not aware of any of the dishes ya'll are referring to. All they had when we were there was breakfast. Guess we need to give them another shot. The cook telling the lady he scraped the bottom of the pan still gives me the heebie jeebies though. That's one of the worst things I've ever heard a restaurant hand tell a patron.

                                      1. re: Isabella
                                        edible complex Dec 6, 2008 05:40 AM

                                        Isa, the gauc was way good, as were the sides of tater salad, bbq beans, and macque choux. my friend had the pulled pork, which was great.
                                        next time, I'm in for their gumbo and hopefully the crawfish lasagna, if you leave me any.
                                        breakfast menu is supposed to be beefed up for winter too.

                                    2. re: N.O.Food
                                      scrumptiouschef Dec 5, 2008 03:55 PM

                                      Last month as we approached Janita's I asked a scruffy young girl smoking outside"are they open?" her response;"yeah,and I was really getting tired of that cigarette"[which had just been lit].She then attempted to usher us inside but upon realizing she was a waitress and we were interrupting her break we respectfully declined and kept walking.Her response"hurry back",which brought peals of laughter.

                                      1. re: scrumptiouschef
                                        N.O.Food Dec 7, 2008 01:03 PM

                                        That was pretty much our experience as well. Mediocre to bad food and staff that could care less.

                                  2. re: zin1953
                                    steve h. Oct 31, 2008 02:27 PM

                                    i know you know brigtsen's. still, there is something cool about taking the street car up to maple and walking the two blocks to the restaurant. catching the car back to canal, walking home to our little hotel in the fq was pretty romantic. we had to stop at a bunch of places we had forgotten about.

                                    good times.

                                    1. re: zin1953
                                      Bill Hunt Nov 4, 2008 06:36 PM


                                      For brunch, I'd like to recommend Ralph's on the Park. Only caveat would be to request that you are NOT seated in the back room (with the bar and the piano player, as he's playing to the whole house from that room). They have become our "go-to" before we fly out to PHX. Great style and equal food. If you have not done them, you owe it to yourselves.

                                      I'm just sorry that we cannot join you guys.


                                      1. re: zin1953
                                        Bill Hunt Nov 4, 2008 06:40 PM

                                        Since CH seems to kill any attempt to edit a post, I'll do a second, instead. MiLa was very good, though a bit loud. I'm finishing a review of my last trip down and MiLa is a highlight. If only they had walls in their "behind the wine wall room." Food, service and wines were good, but OMG, there was a party through the beaded curtain that was way over the top. We could not converse with the people next to us, due to the level of noise and those folk were 25' away. Too bad, as it spoiled an otherwise perfect evening. Maybe ask for a "quiet" table.


                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          Hungry4Good Nov 5, 2008 12:04 PM

                                          Suggest Luke for Sunday lunch. Central Gro. is closed on Mondays; my second choice is Nor-Joe on the way (sorta) to the airport. Be sure to ask them to put some olive salad juice on the bread or it'll be dry.

                                          1. re: Hungry4Good
                                            zin1953 Nov 5, 2008 01:09 PM

                                            >>> Central Gro. is closed on Mondays <<<

                                            Oh $#!+ -- we'll have to cancel the trip!

                                            1. re: zin1953
                                              Bill Hunt Nov 5, 2008 04:07 PM


                                              You might want to give an old haunt of mine a try for muffs. Two - three doors down (River) from CG is a restaurant, Frank's. It used to be a small shop, called Frank's Deli. Going back to when Frank and Phylis Gagliano ran the shop, Phylis' mom was the muff-chef. Her's were better (back when), than CG's.

                                              Now, the kids have expanded Frank's to a two-story restaurant. Still, if you go in and tell Little Frank that you want a muff, just like his grandmother used to make, when they were just a little deli on Decatur. If he doesn't "get it," tell him that the photographer, who used to shoot his dad and spend hours in the shop, told you to get the "best muff" in NOLA, he should fix you up. If any bit of his grandmother's spirit still exists in that spot, you'll likely get the best sandwich that you have ever had. If not, tell me, and I'll refund your $.


                                          2. re: zin1953
                                            The Chowfather Nov 8, 2008 05:04 PM

                                            When did Patois open? It wasn't on my list when I went last year.
                                            Did Stanley re-open yet?

                                            1. re: The Chowfather
                                              N.O.Food Nov 8, 2008 07:58 PM

                                              Patois has been open probably a year and a half, maybe close to two years. Don't think Stanley's open yet.

                                              1. re: N.O.Food
                                                miacalamia Nov 30, 2008 09:51 AM

                                                Patois opened a year ago september and stanley should be opening next year.

                                                1. re: miacalamia
                                                  Steve Simpson Dec 21, 2008 06:38 PM

                                                  Just had dinner at the NEW Stanley Thursday night. Nice looking joint right on Jackson Square. I understand that Boswell kept $tarbucks from taking the property. I miss the old French bakery that was there years ago, and sure prefer a local place to $tarbucks.

                                                  We were surprised at the quality of the food. I also like the nice, clean decor.

                                          3. m
                                            mpost Nov 8, 2008 11:58 AM

                                            Ignatius on Magazine street near Napolean Avenue is a great spot for lunch or dinner. They are closed either Tuesday or Wednesday. But great, small, inexpensive wonderful food! We love it, Great roast beef poboys and red beans and rice. I have tried everything on the menu and I can't say that there is one thing that I didn't care for. Cute atmosphere. Very casual

                                            1. pikawicca Dec 5, 2008 04:13 PM

                                              I would NEVER take a muffaletta on an air-plane! I love to eat them, but cannot imagine subjecting fellow passengers to the smell. Eat this puppy before you board.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: pikawicca
                                                Hungry Celeste Dec 8, 2008 06:52 AM

                                                Amen, sistah! I don't want to smell anyone's olive-salami breath while stuck in coach. Feel free to stink up first class, as I can't smell you from where I'm sitting in the back.

                                                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                                                  Pigeage Dec 13, 2008 02:18 AM

                                                  Yes - Italian cold cuts mean muffaletta's are not "eat-on-the-cramped-plane-make-friends" food - but then they beat the offerings at Louis Armstrong Airport (and ANY airport for that matter!) hands down - so I wouldn't discourage someone from buying one in town to enjoy once through security waiting for departure!

                                                  And incidentally - on a Monday, with Central closed and not an option, the nice barman at Napoleon House will pack you a heated muff to go wrapped in a hot bag and then in plastic with nappies and a hot peppah to boot! Quite respectable! (I think it's a toss up for me as a serial visitor whether I'd rather eat a sandwich there in their garden area with a properly made Pimms Cup or a muff from Central al fresco on a bench or wherever. :-) )

                                              2. t
                                                threalReginald Jan 21, 2009 07:38 PM

                                                Has any one eaten at Dookie Chase recently?

                                                I want to eat there one day but I'm trying to find reasons to talk my mom out booking (or trying to book) a rehersal dinner for my wedding party of 25. Based on everything I have heard and read this is not the kind of place for a rehersal dinner. Am I mistaken? If not what can I say about this place to change her mind.
                                                She is not from here and I'm sort of new to the city. I'm pretty sure that the historic value of the place is her main motivating factor for wanting to dine there.

                                                My fiance and I are pushing for Rio Mar which was highly recommended to us.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: threalReginald
                                                  Tonto Jan 21, 2009 09:08 PM

                                                  And maybe because President Bush had a meal there, but absolutely not unless you are the President. I don't think they would do it anyway, but I may be wrong about that.
                                                  That said Rio Mar is a much better choice.

                                                  1. re: threalReginald
                                                    Bill Hunt Jan 24, 2009 07:42 PM

                                                    OK, it's been some time, but it is a great lunch place. The food is very good, and possibly as close to 100% authentic, as you are likely to find. The place is funky, but filled with charm and wonderful people.

                                                    However, I cannot imagine a rehersal dinner there. Maybe I have missed something very important, and if I have, I pray that others will correct me.

                                                    Go for a wonderful down-home, comfort-food lunch with a marvelous "local" New Orleans flavor, but I'd look elsewhere for that sort of occasional dinner.

                                                    I do not believe that Dookie Chase's holds itself as an event restaurant. It is, what it is, and excels in that.

                                                    I'd look elsewhere. There are many other restaurants that are set up better for such an event. New Orleans is full of them, and most will do a fabulous job of hosting you.

                                                    Good luck with the discussion with your mother. Cannot help you with that, but then you know her better, than I do.


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