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Restaurants outside of New Orleans

We have been visiting New Orleans for one month now (with one more to go). I have eaten at great restaurants Brightsen's, Cochon, Herbsaint, Stella, August (not great but very good) etc. and not such great restaurants - Luke for us was not very good but maybe it was an off night.

We would like to get outside of New Orleans to try something different. What are the places that we should try? We would like to go to the bayou. Is there any there that you would recommend? We have a car so we could travel most anywhere.

By the way Brightsen's is on fire right now. The food is the best I have ever had there and to me it is always good!!


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  1. Native New Orleaneans travel to the MS Gulf Coast to eat all the time, especially Vrazel's on the beach in Gulfport, Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House, and the many restaurants we have situated on bayous, lakes, and rivers. Suggest you start with Vrazel's and ask the chef/owner where to go next. Vrazel's itself is worth the drive - food is wonderful and the view is magnificent. Owner's name is Bill, I think. Great place!

    1 Reply
    1. re: bayoucook

      Oh, and there's a fabulous French restaurant in nearby Lacombe, LA called La Provence - tel. 985-626-7662 for directions - And Sal and Judy's is nearby, too.
      In our experience (my husband is from NOLA) it's almost impossible to find anything bad to eat in south Louisiana. Just take off and head for Lacombe, Lafayette, even Baton Rouge - good eats all around!

    2. Palmettos in Slidell is on the Bayou and it's great for Sunday lunch and eating out on the deck.


      Also there is Restaurant des Familles in Crown Point.


      1. There is always la Provence across the Lake..word of late is that Joe's Dreyfus Store in Livonia , near New Roads, is back up and quite good but I have not been yet...it would give you a nice run about in the country and you could swing down to Cecilia, henderson and Atchafalaya country.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hazelhurst

          We ate at Joe's Dreyfus Store about a month ago, and it was excellent. Since it was our first visit, though, I have no basis for comparison.

        2. Middendorfs's in Manchac has wonderful catfish. Go over into Mississippi and eat at Trapani's in Bay St Louis, Ricky's (around there somewhere- I think they just reopened after Katrina), Blow Fly Inn in Gulfport, the White Cap is supposed to reopen there within the next week or two(!), Lil Ray's for poboys, etc...

          7 Replies
          1. re: Clarkafella

            Chester's Cypress Inn in Chacahoula (just past Houma, off of 90). Fried chicken, frog legs, seafood, and onion rings. Place has never changed. It's like walking back in time.

            1. re: BayouTeche

              Have you been in recently? I haven't, in several years. I would be very happy to know that it's still the same old place.

              1. re: Hungry Celeste

                Last time was probably this past fall. I guess I generally make it about once or twice a year. But no, absolutely nothing has changed. Same mustard yellow walls, starched napkins, highball glasses for your can of beer, menu, humming window units.......same customers, too.

                1. re: BayouTeche

                  I might have to drag my daddy there for lunch on Friday!

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste

                    Update: dad says it's only open in the evenings.

                    1. re: Hungry Celeste

                      hmmm.....that's odd. I've only eaten there for lunch.

                      Just googled it. Evidently only open for lunch on Sundays. Guess that explains that. I usually stop on my way back home from a weekend in NOLA.

            2. re: Clarkafella

              I'll second Middendorf's & while you are there check out the new deck as well as the chicken coop and albino catfish pond. Some of the rescue kitties will let you pet them too, especially Midnight and Dog. The gumbo, remoulade, bbq shrimp and even the burger are all great. Many love the thin fried catfish but I'm a broiled kinda person. Broiled softshell crabs are heaven. Stay away from the stuffed crab or shrimp, IMO. The newer restaurants in LaPlace on the lake are Frenier Landing and Crab Trap. If you go be sure to get a snowball in the spot above the Crab Trap. We really like Frenier and have only had top notch food and service (get the crab au gratin). You can dine outside on the second floor and have a beautiful view of the lake and fishing community. The Crab Trap is mostly boiled seafood. They have no a/c so if it's 90 degrees out you're relying on fans to keep you cool.

            3. Thank you all so much for your prompt response. Will post full report on all restaurants soon.

              1. You might want to venture up to Baton Rouge. For fine dining there Mansur's on Corporate Blvd, try the chargrilled oysters. For a high decibel LSU experience try Chimes near the LSU north gate, lots of fun appetizers and a great pint of Abita Turbodog.
                Downtown, the Capitol Grill has good food in a pleasant setting. Have a drink or two across the street at the recently reopened refurbished hotel (name escapes me!).
                Check out the Shaw Center for Performing Arts. Always something interesting in a terrific venue.
                Enjoy your stay. I lived there 5 years and miss the people and the place.

                1. The Dakota in Covington is a wonderful spot to try. Kim Kringlie puts out a great product and they have a nice wine list. Also, Del Porto in Covington serves great Italian fair... not Americanized Italian, but very traditional. Both are worth the 45 minute or so drive across the bridge.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Samuel Smith

                    Dakota is wonderful...especially the crab and brie soup! I've never been to Del Porto but I've heard nothing but raves and it's on my list of places to try.

                  2. Some of these are not exactly in line with Brightsen's, Cochon, Herbsaint, etc. but they are great nonetheless:

                    Within 1 hour and heading toward "the Bayou" (Lafourche that is!)
                    - Mosca's in Avondale for Chicken Grande and Oysters Mosca
                    -Spahr's in Des Allemands for fried Catfish
                    -Chesters Cypress Inn for the fried chicken (great call by the way Bayou Teche)
                    -Big Al's in Houma for boiled seafood
                    -Fremin's in Thibodaux

                    Within one hour
                    -Middendorfs in Manchac for the BEST thin fried catfish
                    -Dakota in Covington
                    -La Provence in Lacombe for EVERYTHING
                    -Sal and Judy's in Slidell
                    - Jacob's in Laplace for andouille and boudin
                    -Roberto's River Road Restaurant in Sunshine
                    -Juban's in Baton Rouge

                    Within 3 hours:
                    -Catahoula's in Grand Coteau for brunch especially
                    -Ma Mama's in New Roads
                    -Cafe des Amis in Breaux Bridge for zydeco brunch
                    -Mr. Lester's Steakhouse at Cypress Bayou
                    -Joe Dreyfus' in Livonia

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: thecajunfoodie

                      As many items that would be on my list, had a kid at Tulane for 5 years, is on your list. The only glaring omission is Black's in Abbeville. Along with Cancale in Brittany the best oysters have ever had. Sat there for hours eating dozens and dozens. When we ordered they pulled them out of the water.Hopefully they are still there.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        Don't know how long it's been since you've been to Black's, but it's not like it used to be. I believe the current owner is struggling. Funny hours, limited beer/wine selection, sub-par food. I go about once every couple of weeks for my oyster fix, simply because I like the bar. The oysters are pre-shucked and refrigerated. And they are shucked poorly (i.e. the eyes aren't cut from the shell and an abundance of shell fragments and grit on the oysters). When you ask for horseradish for your sauce, they bring you about a half a teaspoon. Amateur service. I only pray things improve.

                        1. re: BayouTeche

                          I am sorry to confirm this sad state of affairs that dates back to the Big Cleanup of some years ago. Perhaps the recent re-opening will improve things but we just default over to Schuck's nowadays and I don;t like the setting over there as much as the Old Black's. It reminds me, sadly, of such things as Doe's Eat Place, an institution that an attorney foolishly thought could be cloned. You'd think an attorney would know the meaning of sui generis.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            BT and HH, you have ruined my day. Why can't perfection be left alone, please let me know if situation improves. Thanks for the news, even if bad.

                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              I have heard that Phares in Lafayette is affiliated with the previous owner of Black's. I haven't been there or to RiverFront in Abbeville, which I've heard is quite popular.
                              Along the Bayou Teche, I would recommend Cafe des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Cafe Vermilionville in Lafayette, and The Yellow Bowl in Jeanerette.

                              1. re: cajungirl

                                Dupuy's in Abbeville is picking up Black's slack now I guess, and cajungirl, I second Cafe des Amis and Cafe Vermillionville and hope to hit The Yellow Bowl soon!

                      2. re: thecajunfoodie

                        + 1 Sal and Judy's...it's in Lacombe

                      3. If you tour the River Road plantations, Hymel's Seafood in Convent (East Bank) is not to be missed.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Big Easy

                          Hymel's in Convent has been going downhill for years - the last 3 times I've visited, the food was abysmal. The only thing worth ordering is boiled crabs - everything else is prepared way in advance and frozen. The gumbo is like dishwater. Don't waste your time.

                          1. re: Sallieb190

                            I would say it's one of those places where you have to know what to order. I'm quite sure, as you said, many items are prepared in advance and frozen. I've had a good burger, stuffed pepper and fried shrimp but there are too many items on the menu to be made fresh daily. I had the gumbo once. I didn't make it a habit. The stuffed shrimp or crab I had once was definitely frozen - but I can't say I have had any good stuffed seafood anywhere, except my house, in a long time. My friend loves the crawfish bisque. Thanks for the crab info, I know what I'm having on my next visit.

                            1. re: Sallieb190

                              That is distressing news..I've not been there in a few years but friends in Lutcher--who are, or were, regulars--have not warned me off it, There was much speculation that the family just didn;t want to put in the effort when they were going to get rich selling the land to the Krupp steel plant (it went to Alabama). There are still rumors of land sale down there...

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                if you venture to Baton Rouge check out Louisiana Lagniappe on Perkins Road, Jubans, Parrains, Portobellos. Chimes is owned by the same people as Parrains. Parrains is quieter. Also Donaldsonville has the Grapevine Restaurant and it is fabulous.

                          2. Two weekends ago, my sister, her two visiting young granddaughters and I, drove to Livonia to Joe's Dreyfous Restaurant and had a great meal. I have always wanted to go since reading the reviews in our local lagniappe and decided this was a good time to go. The drive is about 30 minutes west of Baton Rouge, and was oh so well worth it!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: noodles213

                              Joe's is back and is very good. Just did a review on my blog as well!

                                1. re: cajungirl

                                  On this last trip, we had the gumbo, marinated crab claws, and deep fried almond cover crabmeat stuffed shrimp. All were good, but the best dish of the night was a special appetizer they did tableside, shrimp sauteed in garlic and butter then flamed with brandy. Excellent!

                                  Went there about a month before and had a shrimp poboy too which was enormous and VERY good. Combined that with a heaping mound of homemade onion rings that had the whole place ordering them after we did.