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May 11, 2009 09:42 AM

Help Me Add Balance

Coming soon for a long weekend. We have reservations at Cuvee for Friday night and August for Saturday night. But we need to make a selection for Thursday that would be perhaps a bit different. We would like to select somewhere with a stylish, upscale, and comfortable atmosphere and were thinking about italian---but it doesn't have to be. We've never been to some of the following, but they are under consideration. Eleven Seventy Nine, Tommy's, Maximo's, Pelican Club, (Bayona or GW Fins---been to these two). A varied menu would be terrific and so would any advice offered! Thanks.

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  1. I would recommend either MiLa or Stella, with MiLa being the front runner per your requirments of a stylish, upscale and comfortable atmosphere. (If you are looking at asthetics specifically)MiLa is a new twist on New Orleans classics such as Oysters Rockefeller "Deconstructed" and an excellent choice of sweet tea brined duck. MiLa makes good use of fresh and organic produce on their menu making it good and good for mother earth. I do love Stella, however. The tasting menu is out of this world. I absolutely LOVE the duck 5 ways, the foie gras won tons, and the gnocci appetizer. MiLa is a bit more stylish and modern but to me the food at Stella! soars a bit above MiLa. Be prepared to be wowed.

    4 Replies
    1. re: ScarlettNola

      You stole my rec.! For the "style," I'd choose MiLa. Really good food, but the architecture and ambiance steals the show a bit. For more substance, and a nice "style," but not what one would write of as "stylish," Stella!.

      Recent reviews, with Stella! and MiLa:



      Stella Restaurant
      1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

      817 Common Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

      1. re: Bill Hunt

        Sorry Hunt! I thought Stella is stellar was catchy and creative. I was not on the board in 08 so I missed that review but just had the pleasure of reading it tonight. I will give you the trademake on it. : ) I also had the pleasure of dining there a few weeks ago and was wowed once again. I do enjoy MiLa, but I will stand by Stella as my new #1 choice in NOLA.

        1. re: ScarlettNola

          Just tonight, my wife insisted that we book Stella! again, for our June trip. Right now, we're going to add Commander's, as it has been since Chef Jamie Shannon died, that we've been back for anything, but an event. They dropped the ball, big-time on that night, but did have a lot on their minds.

          Because this is both buisiness plus family, I have yet to fill in the blanks. We'll see how it shapes up. There are many places, both new and old to us, that we'd love to get to. Unfortunately, as always, we never have enough time. Some day, my wife and I will sneak down, not tell a soul, and spend a month. Until then, we have to fight the shrinking calender and familial duties.

          Glad you liked the review. I never quite thought that I captured the decor. Eclectic, some old Southern "tradition," but with some very modern touches. A bit of a "mixed bag," but very comfortable for us. We find ourselves in many "happening" venues around the globe, and leave wondering, "what the heck were they trying to do?" Stella! brought out all sorts of memories, and all were positive. I've been in that room many times before - in many other places. It was an amalgam of so many room in the Deep South, that I felt at home immediately. "Happening?" No. Comfortable? Yes. Familiar? Yes, again. I almost expected my long deceased Great Aunt to show up and offer us a glass of Madiera. As a child, I sat in that room, while my mother and some older relative had tea. It was just in a different state, and at another time. Though it is a new restaurant, I felt a sense of place and also time - quite in keeping with the location, New Orleans, Louisiana.

          For us, MiLa was good. Had the folk, just a few tables over, had any sense of decorum, it would have been nearly outstanding. I, too, would rank Stella! ahead, on both the food and wine.


      2. re: ScarlettNola

        For Debbie,

        I can easily see MiLa configuring the area behind the "wine wall," or the front dining area, to accommodate nine. We had eight at one table, right behind the "wine wall."


        1. re: edible complex

          Have heard great things from that part of my wife's family in the "business" in NOLA, but have not had the opportunity to dine there.


          Irene's Cuisine
          539 Saint Philip St, New Orleans, LA 70116

        2. For Italian my order would be....

          Eleven 79
          Cafe Giovanni (they have opera singers!)

          1. I guess I missed the part that said Italian! +1 on Irene's and Tommys. But Stella is stellar!

            5 Replies
            1. re: ScarlettNola

              Thank you all for your responses and suggestions! ScarlettNola, I too LOVE Stella! We come to NO often---and the only reason that we didn't select it for this particular trip is because we will be dining with 9 people and I believe they won't take more than 7 at a table there. In fact, I wrote a "stellar" review on Stella! awhile back on the board....We're still "stewing" about this decision. What's the atmosphere at Tommy's and 11-79 like? We've got one or two older relatives and then a group of 20 year olds so we'd like to stay comfy and "upscale" but not too formal. A French Quarter location (or not too far bc we're staying at the Windsor Court) would probably be better for this night because we'll just be flying in at 5:30 ( and have to make an airport pick up at 11 PM) so that's why I didn't go with Vincents. Also, didn't choose Irene's because I would prefer having a reservation. MiLa's menu looks ok but it seemed a little limited....Like I said, still undecided!

              1. re: Debbie

                last I checked, Irene's was taking reservations. They also offered to take your name and call you on your cell when you table was ready, so you could walk/shop around the Qtr or get a drink before dinner.
                Eleven79 reminds me of a place in Little Italy, NYC. Great atmosphere.
                Could not be bothered w/Tommy's. Disappointed at every meal there.

                1. re: edible complex

                  If Irene's is taking reservations, then go with the original. Sorry Edible Complex, I was dealing with kids and left my post midway through and did not see yours stating that Irene's is taking reservations. I just remember standing in line for a looong time the last time we were there.

                2. re: Debbie

                  I have not been to 1179, so I cannot speak for that particular restaurant, but Tommy's is upscale, quaint, and has a fabulous wine list! It is classic Creole Italian Cuisine and I belive is quite reasonably priced for the quality of food. I particulary like the seared lamb chops and the veal marsala. I think it would work for everyone in your party. Irene's is also great Italian. (Irene's longtime partner Tommy opened up Tommy's so you will see a bit of similarity of the menus) Irene's does not take reservations as I remember. I enjoyed the soft shell crab pasta-a whole fried soft shell crab atop pasta mixed with tomatoes, crawfish, and a creamy garlic sauce. Delicious! There are probably more meat and fish entrees than pasta, but it is excellent. The service is friendly (as is the service at Tommy's) and I have never had a sub-par meal in either place. Consistently excellent. Tommy's atmosphere may be a bit more upscale but IMHO the food is equally good and wonderful at both places. Irene's may be a bit closer, but Tommy's does take reservations and has a similiar menu and has equally excellent cuisine. so the choice is up to you. (Tommy's in Warehouse District and Irene's in FQ) Good luck. Hope this helped

                  1. re: Debbie

                    If you are staying at the Windsor Court, then do consider the Grill Room. It was called the New Orleans Grill, when we were there, and it's "stylish," plus the food and wine service are great. Now, there have been some changes, since my review - above in another reply, but reports on the new chef have been very good. Unless they have completely redecorated with the new (actually the old) name, spend some time with the murals. You will not regret it.


                    New Orleans Grill
                    300 Gravier St, New Orleans, LA 70130