New Orleans Newbie
After years of procrastinating, I'm finally getting down to New Orleans. I've read and heard about tons of great eateries. But, you know what they say...the best recommendations come from peers. Does anyone have any suggestions for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? I'm open to all local flavors, prices and locals in and around the French Quarter. Much appreciated!
New Orleans is a wonderful place to visit, but not necessarily easy, or cheap, to navigate from uptown to the quarter without a car. So going from the quarter to uptown for dinner and back again for lunch the next day isn't necessarily a good use of your time. Unless, of course, you really enjoy the schlep back and forth. My DH would strangle me if I set up that type of schedule on vacation.
I suggest you pick which restaurants, in which areas, you really want to visit and create a schedule that will accommodate your limited vacation time. We've had reservations uptown and been much to tired to schlep all the way up there again, and opted to walk a couple of blocks in the quarter to get dinner.
Always have a back up plan, and make sure you hit the places you really want to visit. Nothing is worse than leaving town and thinking "I really wish I'd gone to..."
That being said, here are my favorites by locale:
Central Business District-
Casamento's (closed until Sept)
Dick & Jenny's
Upperline (not as good as it used to be but still solid)
La Petite Grocery
One thing I'd recommend is hitting Magazine street and seeing the wonderful shops and boutiques it offers. Some neat little pubs along the way too. If you're a cigar smoker there is an amazing cigar shop, Mayan Import Company. It's beautifully done in an old orphanage.
Have a wonderful time. I have no doubt you'll fall in love.
These are things things you absolutely MUST have (I mean, don't bother going if you don't do them)
Lunch at Commander's Palace. Make sure you dress up... You'll enjoy yourself more. Try to sit in the garden room if it's open when you're there. An amazing lunch can be had for well under $20, since there are app/entree combos for around $16-19 and martinis are 25c.
Lunch: BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro. The other food I had there was middling-good, but the BBQ shrimp is seriously one of the most incredible things I've ever tasted. The lunch portion is barely smaller than the dinner portion and a good bit cheaper. They also have lovely lunch cocktails for $1.50.
Dinner at K-Paul's. I was stunned by the food there. I'd had a lot of great food at this point (our last meal) but I still couldn't believe the flavors.
Drinks: Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone. Sit at the bar (it rotates) and order classic cocktails, not beers and wine. The Vieux Carre was invented at that bar. Also, Sazerac, French 75, Whoah Nellie, Pimm's Cup
If you don't do those things don't bother going.
Wow--our "don't bother" lists are wildly different. I certainly don't see Mr B's as essential, or K-Paul's, either.
Poboys, on the other hand, are bedrock NOLA food: whether fried shrimp, fried oyster, roast beef, or hot ham-n-cheese, they're ours alone, eaten by thousands each day across the region. Too many recs for tourists focus on the higher-end restaurant versions of local food, without any acknowledgement of how most people really eat, on a daily basis. I feel the same way about snowballs, raw oysters (okay, fried ones too), gumbo, red beans and rice, beignets, fried chicken, and lots of other non-haute foods.
I do feel that Commander's is key, so we agree on one!
re: Hungry Celeste
Yeah, a po-boy is required, but I didn't want to say where since there are so many options. Mr. B's as a restaurant may not be required but the BBQ shrimp... MY GOD THE BBQ SHRIMP!
Honestly you could split a portion at the bar with a cocktail for a snack just to try it out. It's worth it. And K-Paul's really wowed us. I'm prepping my mega-long trip report right now.
I finally ate at K-Paul's in June, with 3 friends. We all thought the food, minus the desserts, was fantastic. Service was great. Two of us ordered from the specials @$32 for app, entree, and dessert. Both desserts were really bad. But the app and entree was worth the price paid.
The gumbo is the best I have eaten in any restaurant. My steak was great. And even the mashed potatoes were just wonderful. I will return as often as I can.
Didn't have dessert at K-Pauls but I agree with the rest of what you said. We were straight-up astonished with the flavors and, frankly, considering that we were ready for a swanky night out, with two apps, two entrees and four glasses of wine I thought the fill was very reasonable.
See my 7 Days in NOLA thread for my full, lengthy thoughts on K-Pauls.
You may want to consider venturing past the Quarter. Uptown or even Mid-City are an easy streetcar ride away and it is also a great way to see the city.
FQ Recs: Bayona-Fabulous local cuisine with an international flavor with a beautiful courtyard and ambiance. Upscale
Stella: Try the tasting menu. It will probably run about 250 for two people. There is a lot of discussion on the board about it. Upscale
Cafe du Monde: A staple for beignets.
Port of Call: Some of the juiciest and thickest burgers you will find.Casual
Central Grocery: Muffaletta
Napoleon House: Try a Pimms Cup and a hot muffaletta or po boy Casual
Ruby Slipper Cafe: A great breakfast spot Casual
Mandina's: Creole/Italian comfort food at a great price. Casual
AngeloBrocatos: Italian Baked goods and gelato
Parkway Bakery and Tavern: Wonderful po boys. Try the fried oyster dressed and drench with Crystal sauce,
CBD: Restaurant August: French inspired cuisine with a local twist. Chef John Besh Upscale
Luke: Great bistro for Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Casual
Uptown; Brigtsens: Great dinner spot. The duck is delectable. Upscale
Commander's Palace-A must do lunch or dinner Upscale
Joey K's: Casual Uptown eatery
Jacques Imos: A funky vibe with good food. Try the alligator cheesecake/ Casual
Hope this helps!
Your recs are perfect, I think...but how-in-hell do you "teach" our food? I think your list is terrific...but how-in-hell do we teach the broad version of our food? (And, as a quick comment, how does Phildelphia "teach" it's chese-steak?)
My point is that no one--anywhere--can gain the measure of a food, or people, by a single visit to a restaurant. It is all about culture....keep ears and eyes open and your taste-buds wil reward .
Hazelhurst; I heard someone mention on this board that the ability to eat certain foods is part of the DNA code in Louisiana. How funny and how true! In this particular post they were referring to BBQ shrimp, but consider such things as soft shell crab (Mr. B's), Crawfish, (Get a boiled bag of em and heading to the Fly) My kids can go to town with an entire bag of crawfish each, boudin, daube glace, and I am sure there are hundreds of other dishes. I try to think each time of the best places to represent NOLA food to visitors and still scratch my head from time to time.