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the quest for the best in new orleans

I'm coming to New orleans at the end of April. I've heard you all have some of the best food in the entire country. I'm a serious foodgeek who is very adventurous and has a sharp palate. tell me where you'd go that showcases the best of the city! I've heard of all of the usual suspects (cafe du monde, central grocery, mulate's, maspero, galatroire's) but would love to hear of the secret hideaways. Thank you in advance!!

(p.s. really looking forward to crawfish, oysters, gumbo, and beignets.)

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  1. Just a few suggestions.....Parkway Bakery and Tavern or Parasols for po boys, Bayona-fabulous courtyard in FQ. Chef Susan Spicer is awesome., Casamentos on Magazine St for Oysters, Petunias in FQ has awesome crepes for breakfast, Willie Mae's for rice and beans, chicken fried porkchops, and traditional New Orleans food (a personal fave) Dick and Jennys, Jaques Imos, Lil Dizzy;s for creole favorites, Liuzza's by the Track for BBQ Shrimp Po Boys and Mat and Naddies Uptown has a great patio during warm weather and for snowballs try Hansens or Queen of The Ball. Desserts and Italian Pastries-Brocatos. Enjoy!

    7 Replies
    1. re: ScarlettNola

      +1 Parway, Casamentos, Petunias, Jacques-Imo, Hansens

      Additional suggestion: Lola BYOB fantastic, neighborhood atmosphere...Paella and the grilled lambchops are yummy.

        1. re: nikinik

          Is Lola still BYOB? I thought they served beer and wine when I went last year.

          LOVE the cold almond soup.

        2. re: ScarlettNola

          thanks for the recommendations!!! I went to Bayona-awesome louisiana crab salad and veal sweetbreads. i'm still here....can you give me a recomendation for gumbo?

          1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

            I like the brick red seafood gumbo at Casamentos, the Gumbo Ya Ya at Mr. B's is also very good, and you may want to seek out a bowl of gumbo and a cocktail at the bar at Vizards.

          2. re: ScarlettNola

            OK, following several recommendations here, we went to Liuzza's BTT yesterday for lunch, fried pickles and bushwhackers (about 4 pm). It was closed down and deserted. No furniture inside, and the smell of varnish coming out. So, I don't know if it's closed down for good, or only for spring cleaning. But it is closed down.

            1. re: Hoc

              They remove everything during JazzFest. They are probably doing a post JF deep cleaning.

          3. You've gotten a good list of "hideaways." I'll add a few more places, that deserve your attention, and your palate should benefit greatly.

            Restaurant August (Chef Besh specializes in local ingredients done correctly)
            Stella! (elegant little restaurant with a good little wine program)
            MiLa (fusion cuisine - OK, it's Mississippi & Louisiana cuisine that is fussed)
            Bayona (Chef Spicer is a gem and the courtyard is great fun. Decent little wine list too.)

            Judging by your handle, I'd *think* that you might be a wino, like me. That would have kept Restaurant August off of my list in the past, but they have a new sommelier and some have reported good things on this board, on their "new" wine program. Not sure if they feature any GR Pinot Noirs, but were I a new sommelier, I'd certainly look at adding one, or two, just to expose diners to them.

            The above list, thought typed out in a Joyceian fashion, is probably also descending by cost. All are worth the visit.

            In case you are interested, I've done reviews of all four over the last two years, and they are still up on CH. Since each review has many other restaurants, I will not bore you with links. Each should come up with a search, should you be so inclined.

            Most of all, enjoy and dine well,

            Hunt

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            Restaurant August
            301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Stella Restaurant
            1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

            Bayona
            430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

            Mila
            817 Common Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Herbsaint, Brigtsens, Cuvee. Emeril's has been excellent. So good we go regularly. Perhaps Rambla for snacking (tapas). Commander's is fun for lunch m-f... reserve the garden room.

              1. re: JazzyB

                Gotta' add Rambla in June. Too many good recs. on this board, and we've never been. Plus, we're "small plate" folk by nature, so it should be a "slam-dunk."

                Thanks for mentioning this spot. Hope to have a review, soon after our trip over.

                Hunt

                1. re: JazzyB

                  went to commanders...loved the fact that they take you through the kitchen to get to the bar. it seriously stimulates your appetite

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    Had a horrible meal at Cuvee the last day of Jazz Fest. It was truly horrible. I am still getting over it. I think the chef is just way too ambitious at the expense of taste. Either that or they ran out of half the ingredients of the dish and substituted things that made it taste bad instead of just saying they were out of it. It was a train wreck.

                    Go to Stella, Herbsaint or any of those others instead.

                  2. re: Bill Hunt

                    i went to both bayona and stella....stellar choices. stella is so cute, excellent wine list. next time you go if they have the 230day old kobe beef tenderloin with homemade kimchi..order it. bayona was delsih, just had a louisian crab sald with mixed lettuces and heirloom beets. going to august tonight for a dirnk and some noshes.

                  3. Do yourself a big favor and stay away from Mulate's! Strictly a tourist trap.

                    1. Praline bacon at Elizabeth's in the Bywater. It's like bacon candy.
                      7 course tasting menu at Stellas! Expensive but amazing.
                      French Fry Po Boy at Johnny's. Add brown gravy and cheese and you won't be able to move out of your chair.
                      Camellia Grill - just about everything there is good. Word!
                      Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé at Commanders Palace.
                      Breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe. Go before it closes so you can say you ate there! the Big Bird breakfast plate and the praline waffles are really good.
                      Chicken and sausage gumbo at The Gumbo Shop. Touristy, yes a little, but great atmosphere and I gotta say the gumbo is damn good.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: jreedtattooer

                        Whoa! Is the Bluebird going away? Please say that it is not so. So many memories, so many 2:00AM breakfasts, but that was long ago, when I was young, full of vigor, could stay up late (and arise early), and did not need Tagament® after most meals.

                        Hunt

                        PS will second the Camellia Grill (the old one that I knew), for almost anyting. They are still the paradigm for "Nutty Waffles," and I judge all others, based on their's.

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Hunt: They close at the end of April. Their lease does not permit them to transfer ownership apparently. When I am back for FQ Fest, I will have to try the buckwheat pancakes once more. So sad!

                          1. re: ScarlettNola

                            thanks you to all who posted..i'm leaving monday morning for a week, and have comprised a huge list. i'm going to have to eat one breakfast,2 lunches and two dinners in order to go everywhere. Def going to:Iris, Camellia Grill, Stella and August fro wine(thanks so much Hunt!!! at every website I looked at, nothing mad mention of wine lists except for a handful. what else do you drink in NOLA? i've heard of the hurricane and mint julep), Bayona, Jaqcues-Imo, Parkway, Commander's Place, Cafe du monde, central G, and Bluebird. Can't wait to eat and report!!

                            1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                              We drink beer, sazeracs, blood marys, pimm's cups, I personally don't drink hurricanes, never did like them, even when I was 16, tasted like hair spray.
                              I don't really consider the mint julep a new oreleans drink, but I drink them the weekend of the Kentuck derby.

                              1. re: roro1831

                                the bloody marys down here are spicy and perfect...

                              2. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                An excellent list, but it's incomplete without two more items: 1) the fried oyster po boy (dressed, of course) from Crabby Jack's. Owned by Jack Leonardi, of Jacques-Imo. Make this your first stop when you leave the airport, because it's on the way to the Quarter and it's the best oysters in town (OK, the world). 2) cheeseburgers at Port of Call. I know, you must be thinking, "WTF? I'm in N.O. and he says eat a burger?" Trust me on this. And don't consider it lunch or dinner -- just get one as a snack at midnight. Kitchen open till 1. Tip: order them 1 click more done than you like, because they under cook. I like my burgers medium rare, so I order medium at PoC and they're perfect. Best in the world, based on extensive personal research ;-) Bon apetit!

                                1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                  Try some of the Abita beers while you're there.

                                  1. re: LuLuBlaubugunder

                                    What do we drink?
                                    EVERYTHING!
                                    Kidding. It's mojito season, but if you want to say you ordered a real New Orleans drink, have yourself a Sazerac. Depending on where you are, you might want to order an Abita Amber to wash that down with. ;)
                                    Bloody Marys for brunch or earlier, definitely.

                              3. re: jreedtattooer

                                the chocolate pecan pie at camellia's was kickass.

                              4. Oysters: Casamento's

                                Crawfish: Frankie and Johnny's

                                Po Boys: Parasol for Roast Beef, Domilise's for oyster/shrimp.

                                Modern Southern/Cajun: Cochon

                                Classic New Orleans: Brigtsten's

                                Breakfast every day: Cafe Du Monde

                                Drinks: Napolean house, Jean Lafittes Blacksmith Shop

                                Gumbo: Olivier's on Decatur. Try their gumbo sampler. It includes the three major styles (thickening agents): File (sassafras), Roux, and Okra based.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Debrouillard

                                  Eat Zaps chips with your Abita beer.

                                  1. re: Cameraman

                                    I LOVE Zapp's after throwing a couple dashes of hot sauce in the bag and giving it a shake. Any flavor will do, although Cajun Crawtators plus hot sauce is a little overkill...

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                                    www.thecajunfoodie.com