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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!

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  1. 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
    Mid City:
    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
    Cochon: Yummy!
    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!

    2 Replies
    1. re: ScarlettNola

      Scarlett,
      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 .

      1. re: hazelhurst

        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.

    2. 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.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kukubura

        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!

        1. 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.

        2. re: kukubura

          We've never eaten at K Pauls. I've always been leary due to the reviews I've read...overly salty, high priced, and poor service. A part of me has wanted to try it purely out of respect for Chef Paul Prudhomme, but fear of a not-so-great evening has kept me from it.

          1. re: FoodChic

            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.

            1. re: southerngal

              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.

        3. 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:

          French Quarter-
          Galatoire's
          GW Fins
          Stella
          Bayona
          Mr. B's
          Coops Place
          Acme
          Cafe Giovanni
          Palace Cafe
          Eat
          Napoleon House

          Central Business District-
          Luke
          Restaurant August
          Herbsaint
          Cuvee
          MiLa

          Warehouse District-
          Cochon

          Garden District-
          Commanders Palace

          Uptown-
          Clancy's
          Casamento's (closed until Sept)
          Dick & Jenny's
          Lilette
          Upperline (not as good as it used to be but still solid)
          Patois
          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.

          3 Replies
            1. re: ScarlettNola

              Wow. Did I tap the right people or what!?!? Thank you so much. If anything else comes to mind, do share! And, I promise to report back on my journey after July 12!

              1. re: sternm1

                I forgot two on my list.

                Brigtsen's and Dante's Kitchen. Both are uptown.