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May 6, 2009 06:29 PM

Where would you take Angela Lansbury for tea?

Hello, N'awilins--

I have looked forward to visiting you for years.

I'm going to be in the French Quarter for a wedding, and will be entertaining my elderly parents for part of the time. They are lovely people, but very MidWestern, coming from Wisconsin. They have rarely been to the South, but did enjoy the charm of Charleston when they had a chance to visit years ago. I'm convinced that they'll love New Orleans' charms also.

Where can I take my parents to eat to enjoy old-school Southern ambience? Mom is like Angela Lansbury or Julie Andrews...where can I take her for tea or a ladies' lunch?

My parents are not gastronomes who are into nouveau cuisine...they got their fill of stylish interiors and big-name chefs back when Dad was on the executive expense account. What oozes charm and old-school service, or family-owned or home-style cooking?

I'll take recommendations for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Thanks, New Orleans!

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  1. Windsor Court does tea. Ritz Carlton may do one as well, but can only comment that the WC does it right.

    1 Reply
    1. re: edible complex

      Beat me to the punch, or tea, as the case may be.

      Bourbon Orleans did have a tea, but am not sure that they still do.


    2. The Windsor Court hotel, which is one of the ritziest hotels in the city that isn't the Ritz, has high tea. Never been to it but I've heard it comes with all the accountrements and is quite nice.

      As for the most charming restaurants that would appeal to a couple of classy old folks: My first thought is the jazz brunch at Commander's Palace. (Or dinner, but brunch is better.) It's a very lovely restaurant in an old, gorgeous Garden District mansion. The food is good but not so innovative that it wouldn't seem somewhat familar to them.

      In the French Quarter, my favorite traditional place is Galatoire's -- but it is somewhat bustling and dinners here tend to go fast if you don't insist on lingering. A more relaxed meal would be had at Arnaud's, another of the old-line gems of the Quarter. Reports I've gotten from Antoine's -- the oldest of them all -- say the food there is still not up to the standard of the others.

      I'll mention two others: Lilette on Magazine Street, which is really lovely, with a warm atmosphere, though with a more contemporary feel to it than Commander's. The chef there was just nominated for a James Beard award. Finally, Upperline is in a converted home Uptown, decorated with lots of colorful but tasteful art, and last time I went there the food was excellent. It's like eating in someone's home.

      If you need to imagine your mom and dad at any of these places, most or all of them have web sites where you can look at pictures.

      1 Reply
      1. re: HalfShell

        Speaking of the Ritz, I believe that they also offer an afternoon tea. We did not avail ourselves, due to schedules, but that *should* be a good candidate too.


      2. Tea at Windsor Court is charming....she'd love it.....beautiful atmosphere. And for lunch I'd do Bon Ton Cafe (week days only).

        1. I've a friend that flies for American Airlines, and he has said that he prefers the Windsor Court's tea service to many in London. I unfortunately do not have the ability to make that comparison, never having traveled to London personally. I can however compare it to the Ritz Carlton. The Windsor Court beats the Ritz hands down.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Rich on Bourbon

            Windsor Court is fabulous! Just thinking about those cucumber sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries takes me to a heavenly place. As for charm and old-school service, if price isn't a problem I would suggest Antoines. They are about as old-school as you can get.

            1. re: briox

              I did not realize that Antoine's had a tea event. That is good news.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                he asked about breakfast, lunch and din recs, too. that was a dinner rec. i don't know of tea at Antoines.

                1. re: briox

                  My mistake. Thanks for the clarification. I thought that I had missed something with Antoine's



            2. re: Rich on Bourbon

              In the London vs NOLA situation, I agree that Windsor Court is right up there, and does blow the doors off of several - The Park Lane, and The Chesterfield come immediately to mind. They are almost on par with the Dorchester and Claridge's. The Savoy House and the Ritz (London) are the winners in my experience, but Windsor Court is not THAT far behind.

              Now, the Ritz-Carlton (NOLA) did look good, but as we did not have the time, I can only go on "looks."


            3. Thanks for the recs...HalfShell, I looked them all up online and looks like you hit the target right on the spot with your recs...I'll report back after the trip!