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May 11, 2009 08:26 PM

1st timer

Hey everyone. My husband and I are going to be in NOLA in July for a 3night/4day long weekend and we looking for great food and an real NOLA experience. We would like to mix it up a bit and plan to do the fine dining thing atleast 2 of the nights and more casual laid back dining during the day. My only problem is narrowing my lists!
Fellow foodies...please help!!!!

GW Fins

Day chow:
Willie Mae's
Central Grocery
Acme Oyster House

also....any advice on the best brunch?

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  1. For dinner, I prefer Bayona, Stella!, Restaurant August, and Brigtsens and Commanders Palace. I have picked my favorite choices on your list as well as adding a few of my own. The only places I would tend to steer away from on your list are Antoines and Emerils (both have been frequently hit or miss to me) Cochon and Boucherie are good. but I would not do both and if given the choice would pick Boucherie for lunch. For more casual, but equally delicious options for dinner, I LOVE Madinas, Nat and Maddies and Joey Ks and Jacques Imos.

    For lunch I like Coops Place, Casamentos, Parkway Bakery and TAvern, Liuzzas by the Track, although Central Grocery is a must do even if for a mid-day snack. (I also think that they are closed Monday) If you will be in for lunch on Friday, you should consider trying Galatoires(A lot of postsrecently regarding Friday lunch at Galatoires and as I am no expert I will leave it to the gentlement such as Hunt and Hazlehurst and a few others to explain) Of all of your great choices Mothers is my least favorite although many folks insist on checking it out. I am stil not certain exactly what the hype is surrounding the place although their roast beef debris po boy is pretty good. After recent visits to both I would recommend Felix's Oysters (FQ) over Acme, but it is a toss up.

    The best brunches are at Commanders Palace, Petunias, EAT, Lil Dizzys, and Elizabeths.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ScarlettNola

      Any suggestions for what to get at Coops?

      1. re: megany09

        Absolutely! To me the jambalaya is some of the best in the city (sorry Grandmere) and the crawfish and tasso pasta is great as well. There is some sort of sampler plate that has jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and rice, fried chicken and maybe shrimp creole(not sure) just in case you can't make up your mind. The vibe is very laid back and casual and the food is outstanding.

        1. re: ScarlettNola

          Thank you Scarlett Nola! This helps a lot. We like to eat lighter at brunch but plan to do a Sunday brunch. Should we stick with Commanders?
          Everyone else...please keep the opinions coming. Thanks!!!

          1. re: tschaf17

            Sunday Brunch and Saturday lunch are two of my favorite meals at Commander's. I prefer those times to dinner, as things are a little more laid back and the quality of food and service (while always excellent) seem to shine through a little more brightly.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              I prefer Commander's for lunch M-F in the garden room. 25 cent martinis, limit 4. Definitely Emerils for dinner. Andouille crusted redfish, Niman Ranch pork chop, Abita Rootbeer glazed bacon (pork belly)salad, banana cream pie. The small/not so small plates menu is nice to order several plates for sampling as apps. August is open Fri. for lunch. Not a fan of Coops. Willie Mae's chicken is excellent. Get there at 11am when they open. Perhaps Herbsaint for dinner. Galatoire's for Sat./Sunday brunch. Jackets for gents on Sun. You can pick up a muff. at Central and stash it in your mini frig. for the way home. They hold up well.

      2. re: ScarlettNola

        While I have dined at most on your dinner list, and enjoyed them all, I would find a way to work Galatoie's into the mix, even if it means moving your departure by a day. For a "fine-dining, New Orleans experience," I dobut that you can surpass it.

        That said, I am a big fan of Chef Frank Brigtsen's, and would rank it at, or very near the top, for the food alone. Nice venue, with gracious service, but the big draw is Chef Frank's food. I have never been disappointed.

        Though one is getting a bit long in the tooth, and the last trip to Galatoire's was immediately prior to Katrina, so it does not figure into this group, here's a list of some of my restaurant reviews:

        Now, I'm more of a breakfast, then grand dinner sort, so we often do not even do lunch, unless we've been in training for our NOLA trips.

        Commander's is probably the #1 brunch spot, recommended on this board, and with good reason. I'll throw out two more choices, both of which are covered in the linked articles: Brennan's and Ralph's by the Park. On several recent trips, each has impressed us. Please read the preamble to the Brennan's reviews, as I was not a fan in the past.

        For what it's worth, on our trip in early June, we're doing CP's and Stella! Unfortunately, time will be short, as we have an event, and my wife has some heavy meetings, so the leash is short. We'll not get half of our normal restaurants in, let alone some of the great-sounding new ones from this board. Trust me, these guys and gals are my eyes and my ears, and I follow their recs. closely.

        Most of all - kick back, relax and enjoy all that the City has to offer.


        1. re: ScarlettNola

          I disagree re: Emeril's. We've been dining there on average 3 times a month since November and haven't had a bad meal yet. Casamentos will be closed. Cash only. at WM. You really need to get there at 11 when they open. .

          1. re: JazzyB

            Emeril's is fine, but I was trying to help in narrowing down the list. Emeril's is probably the best of the Emeril's restaurants in NOLA.

            1. re: ScarlettNola

              I agree. I don't like either of his otherr 2 rest.

        2. One note: Casamento's is closed in the summer.

          20 Replies
          1. re: hjacmc

            Okay, we have fine-tuned our list a little bit more. Let me know what you think...
            Sat (arrive 12pm)
            Willie Maes - lunch
            Cafe Dumonde - dessert
            deck on Omni hotel - pre-dinner drink
            MILA - dinner
            EAT - brunch
            either light seafood meal or poboys - late lunch
            look for good pralines
            Napoleon House - pre-dinner drink
            AUGUST - dinner
            Cafe DuMonde - light breakfast
            Cochon - lunch
            Jacques Imos - dinner
            break/lunch depends what we learn the first few days
            get a muff for the plane

            1. re: tschaf17

              Looks like a great plan, tschaf17. If I was going to make any changes, I would say skip out on Jacque Imo's, but I can see that it fills the "funky" dining experience role in your itinerary. Unfortunately, I am drawing a blank as to what could be your replacement.

              Here is a recent review from EAT:
              Good luck on your trip and enjoy.

              1. re: tschaf17

                The only two things that might trip you up are the hours for WMSH and Napoleon House

                WMSH sometimes closes at 2pm and Napoleon house was closed on Sundays and Monday nights for a while. Double check your times so you don't miss out on two of the best we have to offer.

                Happy eating!

                1. re: tschaf17

                  As a possible replacement for Jacque-Imo's, maybe consider Dick & Jenny's. It has a cool "locals" feel, festive atmosphere, no reservations and better food, IMO.


                  1. re: BayouTeche

                    Could consider Mat and Naddies as well to replace Jacques Imos. Since I last posted this I had a bad dining experience there and the fried chicken was horrible, and I generally LOVE it.

                    1. re: ScarlettNola

                      Fried chicken was the reason I'd go to Jacques. Hadn't been in a very long time. We went 2 weeks ago and my son and I agreed that it wasn't nearly as good as we remembered.

                      1. re: JazzyB

                        Did you notice the breading being a bit oily and not crisp and light? That was the biggest problem that I had with it. Maybe they are getting a bit heavy handed with the cooking oil. Hopefully they read the message boards and will take note accordingly. I know that if I were in the restaurant business, I would occasionally check the boards and take note.

                        1. re: ScarlettNola

                          It jwas crisp but really flavorless.. I plan to try Austin's (old Pampys) in hopes that they are using Austin Leslie's recipe. Have you been?

                          1. re: JazzyB

                            I have not. I just looked online and did not see his chicken anywhere on the menu, but perhaps I overlooked it.

                            1. re: ScarlettNola

                              According to Brett Anderson's article in TP(from Feb.), they have Pampy's last chef, staff and offer fried chicken. It's been awhile but Pampy's had some terrific fried chicken.

                    2. re: BayouTeche

                      D&J's is closed mondays. And they're closing from June 30 through July 6.

                      Mandina's is open Monday's though.

                      1. re: ScarlettNola

                        Thanks everyone for such great advice. I am really intrigued by Dick & Jenny's now - the only thing is we would have to go Saturday since they are closed Sunday/Monday. How long is the wait time on a summer Saturday...and worth scraping MILA?

                        1. re: tschaf17

                          Get there about 15 minutes before they open. Look for the drain pipe running down the middle or the building. If you are behind it in line, you will likely not make the first seating.Your wait will be approx. 1 1/2 hours. Ask to be seated in the main dining room (plate room). Just my 2 cents but MiLa is "not all that".

                          1. re: JazzyB

                            what about Irene? i love the fact that it is less of a touristy spot. besides, the food gets awesome reviews. i think we are gonna scrap MILA completely.

                            1. re: tschaf17

                              Not to be contrary, but I prefer Tommy's over Irene's.

                              1. re: tschaf17

                                I am a fan of Irenes, preferring it over Tommy's. You'll need resv. (ask for the front room). The broth/sauce w/ the mussels is so good, they should offer it as a soup. If they have the crabcake special, it is excellent. Softshell on linguine is good as well. Really no bad choices here.

                                1. re: JazzyB

                                  Hey everyone - so we went, we ate and we drank - and we will be back! Thanks to everyone for all of the great advice! A quick run down...
                                  Sat Lunch - Acme for chargrilled oysters (amazing!) and poboys (good)
                                  Sat pre-dinner drinks at Napoleon House - sat at the bar and had a few Pimm's - LOVED this - we would have returned but this was their last night before closing for vacation
                                  Sat Dinner - Patois in uptown - nice hidden spot, relaxed atmosphere, food was good but nothing too memorable. server was very friendly but we definitely felt like outsiders
                                  Sat late-night - Cafe Dumonde (buzz + fried dough and sugar = happy)
                                  Sun Brunch - Johnny's - poboys (best shrimp per hubby and a very stuffed oyster for me) with a bowl of rice and beans (delish)
                                  Sun pre-dinner champagne at Rib Room bar - bartender was in a bad mood and mumbling things under his breath at his about buzz kill...
                                  Sun Dinner - Restaurant August - FABULOUS service from beginning to end, everything was delicious from the amuse to dessert but my softshell dinner was what i will dream about for weeks...i could swim in the sauce. wine list was very reasonable - big price range for a higher-end place
                                  Mon Breakfast - benedict poboy and gumbo at Stanley - suprisingly good benedict - eggs were perfectly poached and gumbo had some good seafood in it
                                  Mon late-lunch - Acme again - raw oysters for me (I took the risk and I am still alive!) and softshell poboy for hubby (he loved it)
                                  Mon pre-dinner drinks at Omni roofdeck - fabulous views and a pink cocktail (grapfruit something)
                                  Mon dinner - Irene's - Irene is awesome!!! we chatted about Chicago's hidden little Italy (we are from the Chit) and she gave us hugs and wished us a happy marriage...a total sweet heart. We had the creole tomato caprese to start (tomatoes so sweet i could have easily just had another order for my entree) and cioppino for my entree (fresh yet very satisfying and comforting dish) with softshell pasta for the spouse (stunning dish - i made him share). this is place is a definite repeat for future stays in NOLA
                                  Cafe Dumonde to go on the way back to the Omni - nothing like a little powdered sugar in bed;)
                                  Monday brunch - we walked about 1.5 miles to Willie Mae's - chicken was worth it, but we are little rougher around the edges coming from the city ourselves. probably not a good walk for most people. chicken was crispy and light and butterbeans were creamy. no room for dessert and we were glad for the walk back.
                                  before leaving for out 7pm flight, we picked up a muff to go at Central Grocery - we ate half at the airport and the other halt on the plane. soooooo good. my husband hates olives and ate every single morsel. hahahha....another food hate checked off my list.
                                  Thanks again everyone! We cannot wait to return!! SO much more to eat!

                                  Willie Mae's Scotch House
                                  2401 Saint Ann St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                                  Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
                                  500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  Restaurant August
                                  301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  Acme Oyster House
                                  724 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  Johnny's Po-Boys
                                  511 Saint Louis St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 70118

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

                                  Stanley Restaurant
                                  547 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA

                                  1. re: tschaf17

                                    Thank you so much for the comprehensive report.

                                    Sounds like most places scored with you, and that is good.


                                    1. re: tschaf17

                                      Wonderful report. I am happy y'all had fun and good dining experiences.