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Help build our dream restaurant weekend in New Orleans. Please.

Hi. My boyfriend and I, both foodies from NYC, will be staying in the French Quarter mid-August from Thu-Sun... for an "all expense paid trip" by his company... and we're planning to spend almost every dollar on FOOD :) But with so many great places, not sure where to start?!

We would love suggestions for the can't miss, best-of-the-best places to eat in New Orleans and experience the culture. Everything from hole in the walls, historic landmarks to 4 star restaurants... only requirement, EXCELLENT FOOD! We're huge fresh/raw seafood and wine lovers, but would try pretty much anything (although not too big on fried food).

Where should we go for....
- Dinner (two hi-end places where we can dress up, mid-priced local fave, and a historic location)
- Lunch (oysters/ seafood)
- Breakfast/Brunch (rather do local faves for this meal)
- A glass of wine (somewhere with some ambiance or character)

Help. Thank you!

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  1. Heres two high ends you will like Galatoires and The Palace Cafe

    8 Replies
    1. re: joedontexan

      I haven't been there but I've read ALMOST universally negative things about the Palace Cafe on here and when I peeked in a couple weeks ago I decided to go elsewhere.

      Galatoire's I've actually been to and had a bad experience but most others on here love it. Depending on how chaotic you want your experience to be I'd suggest either going there on Friday night (extremely chaotic) or Saturday night (more relaxing).

      For awesome food and a dinner that you'll be proud to dress up for (even if some of the other diners won't) I'd DEFINITELY suggest K-Paul's. (I have a ton of thoughts in my '7 Nights in NOLA (looooong trip report)' thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/633414


      I also really like the Pelican Club for a dressy dinner.

      For brunch I have two suggestions, both will be memorable experiences:
      -Commander's Palace. I've only be for lunch (I went to their late restaurant in Las Vegas for brunch) but it's seriously one of my favorite places on Earth. Get all dressed up and ride the St Charles Streetcar to it.
      -Lil Dizzy's, the one in Treme, not the hotel location. A really great local brunch joint with astonishingly high food quality.
      -For a regular breakfast I'd suggest omelets at Clover Grill, a Quarter greasy spoon that makes insane pillow-like omelets.

      -Napoleon House is a great inexpensive place with a ton of history and character. Plus they are known for their Pimms Cup drink.
      -Mr. B's Bistro- Not everything on the menu is good but, for real, go and both of you order the BBQ Shrimp. It's a shockingly good dish. Go for that and for the $1.50 lunch cocktails (although be warned: The bloody mary has beef broth in it, in case you don't eat beef)

      -Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone (also in the Quarter)
      But don't get wine, get a real NOLA cocktail: Vieux Carre (invented at Carousel), Sazerac, French 75

      Also, not food but find out what night the Preservation Hall Jazz Band or one of their combos is playing at Preservation Hall and go there.

      1. re: kukubura

        Palace Cafe is a solid place to dine. I had great expereince there, but it doesn't really fall into the category of "Dream Dinning."

        I'd look into Stella, very upscale and phenomenal food.

        Galatoire's is absolutley lovely, but I'd go with Commanders over it. Commanders is an expereince in every possible way. Food is excellent, the service is outstanding, and it doesn't get anymore traditional New Orleans than Commanders!

        Here is a recent thread with some good info:

        Avoid Felix, NOLA, Antoine's, and Mothers.

        1. re: FoodChic

          Oddly enough, I don;t think of Commander's as being as traditional as I do Arnaud's , galatoire's or Antoine's--although I agree with you that Antoine's is shaky...but I still love the place for lots of good memories and wonderful parties and they are great folks,too. I recall Commander's before the Big Whoop of the 1970's and the so-called "haute creole" stuff. It has, for me, run hot-and-cold. regardless of kukubura's bad experience, I stilla rgue for Galatoire's as The Classic. It is not innovative..it is simply good food prepared in teh basic way. As Ihave implored before, if you want to be amazed at your ability to discern the one cumin seed in a gallon of exotic soup, go somewhere else.

          I think I'd suggest Brightsen's , too.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Yeah Commander's is operating on a slightly different time-stream from Arnaud's, Antoine's and Galatoire's. Since I've been to all four here's how they shake out for me:

            Commander's: I will go there for lunch every time I'm in NOLA and if I'm ever lucky enough to move to the region I'll go there at least once a month.
            Arnaud's: I went for brunch once and thought it was absolutely fantastic. It's expensive, but I thought the food was worth the price. I do go to their cheapee branch Remoulade more regularly.
            Galatoire's: I had a bad experience that we discussed in great detail (and then Chowhound thoughtfully deleted the entire discussion) HOWEVER I would give it another chance for lunch. Just not on a Friday. They need to earn my Friday business back again.
            Antoine's: I'm really glad I went for the history etc but afterward I found myself kind of wishing I could have put that money towards two or three other meals elsewhere.

            1. re: kukubura

              Just ignore Friday--that's what I have done for years.

              1. re: kukubura

                "Antoine's: I'm really glad I went for the history etc but afterward I found myself kind of wishing I could have put that money towards two or three other meals elsewhere."

                I agree on those exact sentiments, and I hate it. I knew them "way back when," but they have not delivered for me on two pre-K visits. It saddens me more than I can express. I will go back on the next trip and my hopes are with them. I'd love to recapture that forgotten charm and cuisine. I hope that I can find it again, Thomas Wolff be damned. Still, I cannot recommend them - yet.


              2. re: hazelhurst

                I do agree. We just did CP and it was good, but lacked the charm that we once found. Things went well, but not to the level that I expect from them.

                While we've had great meals (some rather private and intimate, and some with larger groups) at Arnaud's, I left them off my list down thread. They would make my Top 20, but not my Top 5.

                Galatoire's did make the list, but then everyone on this board knows my feelings. I hope that history and my experiences from decades, are not tainting my objectivity. I do not think they are.

                As for Antoine's, well I wish they were in the Top 5. They are not, and it's based on the last few (pre-K) trips there. It's time to get back and keep an open mind. Still, I cannot recommend a place that has let me down, regardless of how they performed 30 years ago.

                Chef Frank Brigtsen made my list, but this should surprise no one here.

                I tried to put together a list of different dining establishments, that would, en toto, capture the essence of dining in NOLA, at a "white linen tablecloth" level.

                I omitted many great, funky and lower-scale places, as I am not current on these. Once, I could name dozens, but not any longer. I kept my recs. to the upper-end of things, and at places that have impressed me on several levels.

                Hope that what I offered will help the OP. Mine is not the ultimate list, other than for me.

                I also tried to make recs. based on our dining in NYC at Per Se, Le Bernadine, etc., but with a NOLA influence and ambiance. Each was different, in its own respect, but with great food (and wine) in mind.


                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  Now, I readily admit that it has been awhile since I've been to CP; however, I have a coworker that just had is first trip to NOLA and CP was his favorite meal of the trip.

        2. Skip Palace Cafe. Commanders for lunch in the garden room m-f. Fine dining: August, Cuvee, Emeril's Herbsaint Iris, Coquette. Most are open lunch/dinner. Lunch at a better rest. with quality ingredients is usually far better than what a hole in the wall puts out. Many offer sandwiches in addition to regular entrees. K-Paul's has a self serve lunch Thur, Fri., Sat. Gumbo and po boys are good. Oysters 1/2 shell, Felix's. Stand at the bar and wash them down with an Amber.

          1. My recommendations:


            Bayona (everything is good but I am partial to the goat cheese crouton with mushrooms in madiera creme as an appetizer and the salmon with gewurztraminer sauce as my favorite main course)

            Galatoire's - Go heavy on appetizers and salads, skip or share an entree and save room for cafe brulot

            Lunch -
            Johnny's po boys for oyster and or shrimp poboys
            Central Grocery for muffelatas

            Breakfast or snack
            Cafe Du monde for beignets and cafe au lait

            1. If you have a car or don't mind a $20 taxi fare, I would suggest Drago's in Metairie for the chargrilled oysters. They are phenomenal!! There is a Drago's in the Hilton downtown but I have not heard good things about the oysters cooked at that location. You need a really hot grill to perfectly cook them. The raw oysters are good too, but August is not the best time to eat oysters. Check with the server before ordering any because in the summer the oysters are sometimes milky and not as salty.

              7 Replies
              1. re: foodophyle

                since you havent heard anything....i think the chargrilled oysters at the hilton's Drago are identical as the metry location :). there is fire, butter, garlic and cheese.. a dozen w/ bread are damn tasty at either spot.

                1. re: kibbles

                  I pray to God that Metaire is better. We did the Hilton and were 100% disappointed. It was a very bad joke on tourists, and we had two NOLA natives returning, plus me, from the Coast. Our fourth was from Transylvania, and she agreed on how bad they were. It could have been the "night from hell" for them, but they missed on every count, including their oysters.

                  Though we stayed at the Hilton last month, we refused to even consider the Hilton location, and wheeled M-I-L's wheelchair 10 blocks to keep from dining in the lobby of our hotel. That is how dreadful they were. I was so embarrassed that I had chosen this restaurant on a previous visit.


                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    interesting. what specifically about the oysters was different than the metry location? i make no claims to the rest of the restaurant or service, because i only eat the oysters at either.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Sorry that you have missed it, though I think I have now said it at least a dozen times over several threads. Here it goes again. Please pay close attention: I have never dined at the Metairie location. I have no earthly idea how they compare. I have only been to the Hilton location and everything about that meal, especially the oysters, was horrible with a capital H. I would not return under any circumstance and would have to be dragged to the other location, predicated on my one excruciatingly bad experience at the Hilton. I know good food, and I know bad food. Drago's married bad food with bad wine service and no more than mediocre service.

                      There are just too many restaurants in NOLA, and I love many of them, if not most where I've have had the pleasure to dine.

                      Some seem to prefer one location to the other. You will have to ask them, as I have, and will have, only one excursion. With zero to redeem themselves, there is just no reason to darken their door again.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I've never had anything other than the Fat City location oysters and they can vary wildly..BUT, if not cremated, they can be decent...I have been there on occasion when Ebehardt-Faber pencil erasers would have been better but, in the Pre_k days, there were guys grilling who knew their timing. They are NOT as great as Antoine's Rock always were---that is a separate category---but they were fun.. I would not drive out-of-my-way to get them, though.(I used to get more garlic added...I wonder if they do that anymore?)

                2. For dinner, I would either do Brigtsen's or Gautreaux's; both uptown. If you want to stay downtown, I highly, highly, highly, highly recommend Restaurant August. Cuvee is also phenomenal. The Upperline is also really nice and often overlooked, and you can get there by streetcar; super-cool artwork on the walls; locals only; very friendly owner who makes the rounds during dinner. Feelings is also very good, and it's near the Quarter. For Brunch, I would either go to Cafe Degas (mid-city; off Esplanade) or Patois (secretly tucked away in uptown). Mandina's is a good place for hearty Italian fare, but it's cash only; however, someone will call you "dahlin'." If you're into desert, check out Brocoto's for some truly fantastic Italian pastries and gelato (also on the streetcar line).

                  Drinks: Napoleon House, Preservation Hall and Lafitte's Blacksmith's Shop. Maybe Pat O'Brien's just to say you did.

                  Tip: IF you go to Commander's ask for the Garden Room. They put the tourists downstairs.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: CL10

                    Regarding Pat O'Brien's: since this trip is being planned for August, It might be important to note that Pat O's has some of the best air conditioning in the French Quarter. Fortunately, the bar serves drinks other than Hurricanes. One of those per lifetime is plenty.

                  2. Thanks for all the recs, they’re great! This is what we’ve planned so far….

                    We’re staying at Hotel Monteleon, so we’ll definitely stop by Carousel Bar for a drink, also to Preservation Hall. Still looking into the other rec’d places.

                    Thursday (arrive at 6pm)
                    - Dinner: Stella! (7 course tasting w/ wine pairing)

                    - Lunch: Galatoire’s (yes, we've been warned)
                    - Dinner: (? undecided)

                    - Lunch: (? undecided)
                    - Dinner: August (John Besh’s “Degustation” Tasting w/ wine pairing)

                    Sunday (depart at 5pm)
                    - Jazz brunch: Commander’s Palace (in the Garden Room)

                    CONSIDERING THESE….
                    Dinner: Brigtsen’s, Bayona or Gautreaux's
                    Lunch: K-Pauls or Mr B’s?
                    Po Boys: Crabby Jacks, Parkway Bakery, or Parasols
                    Oysters: Dragos, Felix, or Acme
                    Breakfast: Elizabeths, Mother’s (… but is it worth spoiling my appetite for lunch/dinner?)

                    Any feedback on these places or other suggestions??? Thanks!

                    15 Replies
                    1. re: viniferaNYC

                      I've not had lunch at K-Pauls but I can't imagine that it will give you the full experience. You can get great PoBoys at places that are all about Po Boys. I'd do Mr. B's for lunch (again, the BBQ shrimp specifically) and K-Paul's for dinner, when their menu opens up to its full glory.

                      Here are the other dishes we had at Mr. B's:
                      -creole tomato salad, which was simple and very nice (but might already be out of season)
                      -catfish fingers, which was tasty and soft
                      -seafood gumbo, which was not good. Others have said their Gumbo Yaya is really good but it has ingredients that we don't eat.

                      Glad to hear you're staying at Monteleone. You will be at Carousel Bar more than once, that's for sure. Also, Wed-Sun they have a piano bar performer, which is fun.

                      1. re: kukubura

                        Do not do K-Paul's for lunch. I am a local and went for my first time. I was very disappointed in the "service" which was non-existant, and having to eat off paper plates with plastic utensils. One in our party broke a knife, which was pretty funny. The food was great but everyone working definitely did not want to be there. You order at the bar, then wait for them to call your name to pick up your food from the angry chef.

                        1. re: mrsfury

                          Is the dress code relaxed for lunch? We were there this weekend and wanted to try it for lunch, but there was a sign on the door that said no flip-flops. I was wearing a summer dress and flip-flops. My husband wanted to go in anyway, but i felt weird. The dress code was listed on the dinner hours sign, but i still didn't feel right going in...i don't know. I guess i wasn't missing much for lunch, though...

                          1. re: iluvtennis

                            Can't speak with authority but I doubt you need to dress up for their self-serve styrofoam plate lunch when (unfortunately) a lot of people dress like garbage there for dinner. Sad fact is that in this economy I think very few restaurants can afford to be real sticklers for their dress code. But, as you already know, it's best to get lunch elsewhere and go to K-Paul's for dinner and do it right.

                            1. re: iluvtennis

                              I was wearing capri pants and sandals. I doubt they would notice flip-flops.

                              1. re: iluvtennis

                                I had dinner at K-Paul's on the spur of the moment in June. We were looking to leave Harrah's to eat. We called K-Paul's to see if we needed a reservation and ask about the dress code. Didn't need a reservation that night. They mentioned that flip flops were not allowed. One of our group was wearing leather flip flops...we had not even thought about eating at K-Paul's before leaving the house. Anyway, they said the flip flops would be okay. We went. Had a great meal. There were lot's of people casually dressed.

                                If we had planned to eat at K-paul's, we would have all dressed up. I'm thankful that they welcomed us. We had a memorable meal.

                          2. re: viniferaNYC

                            I would do Friday dinner at Herbsaint, which in my experience is always a solid choice. Saturday I would do Po-Boys at Crabby Jacks. I've been to August three times now, and have never been that impressed. We have always left very underwhelmed and always wished we had gone elsewhere. I would substitue August with Bayona.

                            1. re: viniferaNYC

                              I would go to Bayona for the Saturday lunch and either Brigtsen's, Patois or Coquette (sorry for adding more options, but these should certainly be considered!) for the dinner. I wouldn't waste your time on Mother's.

                              1. re: mortalcoil

                                I agree with Bayona over August and Brigtsen's is always a good choice. I'd swap the Galatoire Friday for Saturday though, and go at about 2:30. But if you want noise, Friday is your day.

                                1. re: mortalcoil

                                  +1 Bayona for lunch... some very interesting items, and i believe they have a nice saturday lunch special. the sweetbreads are perhaps the best ever.

                                2. re: viniferaNYC

                                  +1 Brightsen's for dinner.

                                  roast beef poboy is usually very good at Parasol's, but you will find more unusual items at Crabby Jack's.

                                  1. re: viniferaNYC

                                    Obviously everyone has offered up some great suggestions, but I shall put my two cents in.

                                    Overall, your choices look very solid, but in regards to your questions...
                                    Dinner: Bayona or Brigtsen's. You may want to consider Bayona for lunch and Brigtsens for dinner. The duck is excellent.
                                    Lunch: Mr. Bs BBQ shrimp is great, as is the Gumbo ya-ya. I am not a huge fan of K-Paul's.
                                    Oysters: Drago's in Metairie for Charbroiled oysters, I would tend to steer you away from raw gulf oysters. A lot of people do fine with them, I simply don't enjoy the taste of warm weather oysters.
                                    Po Boys: Parkway Bakery for fried oyster, Parasol's for Roast Beef, Crabby Jacks for both
                                    Breakfast: Elizabeth's is excellent for breakfast. Try the praline bacon. I would tend to steer you away from Mother's. The quality is not there, and it is not worth the wait.
                                    Hope this helps!

                                    1. re: viniferaNYC

                                      I have only been to Gautreaus once. The plates were poorly composed and bland. I can't figure out the raves this place gets. I have absolutely no desire to return. K-Paul's is self serve, styro plates for lunch. Nothing at all like the evening dining experience. The food at Brigtsen's is good. However, nearly every entree is plated with the same mashed potatoes and sauteed veg. vs well composed sides with complimentary flavors. My preference is Emeril's flagship where every element on the plate adds to the overall flavor. The food here just tastes good.

                                      I am not a breakfast person. When traveling I always have an early fine dining lunch, then a fine dining dinner. This allows me to try twice as many better rests. I'd rather not waste a meal on breakfst or a sandwich I can get anywhere. (The exception being a NY deli and pizza). IMO, a poboy is a merely sandwich on French , dressed w/ iceberg, tomato, pickles and usually mayo. Not even close to a Jersey sub. RB poboy is sliced or shredded stew meat w/gravy. IMO, poboys are an ok lunch for us (locals), but with limited meals in NOLA, that wouldn't be my choice.

                                      1. re: viniferaNYC

                                        We never do breakfast while in NOLA. Too many choices for lunch and/or dinner. We save our appetites for them : ). We have an early lunch at 11:30 and then dinner around 8PM.

                                        You can do breakfast any time anywhere!

                                        1. re: viniferaNYC

                                          Looking good "dawlin," and I would make sure to put Brigtsen's into the mix. I have to admit that I've not dined at Gautreaux's, but it gets great recs. here. Bayona was very good for us, but it would be in the bottom half of my Top 20. Good, and worthwhile, but not a total "must do."

                                          For po-boys, I'd easily spend the $ for a cab to Parkway Bakery and Tavern. I've dined at the other two and they are very good, but...

                                          For oysters, I am a fan of Felix (a family thing), with ACME coming in second. Have not dined at Drago's Metairie, but the Hilton was absolutely horrible for us.

                                          For breakfast, I would suggest that you think about The Old Coffee Pot [nee Maxie's Coffee Pot]. For me, it's a NOLA institution. A second breakfast rec. would be Stanley! (sister? restaurant to Stella!). Different, but both very good. Each is great for "people watching" depending on where one is seated (go for the windows at Stanley! and the windows at Coffee Pot, or better yet, the first table in the courtyard).

                                          Over the last three years, I have done reviews of most of my recs. (recent trip is in the works, but got side-tracked by family issues).

                                          Enjoy, relax, get on "Southern time," and let your cares blow away in the breeze.


                                          Coffee Pot Restaurant
                                          714 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                          Parkway Bakery & Tavern
                                          538 Hagan Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

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

                                          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                          Stanley Restaurant
                                          547 St Ann St, New Orleans, LA

                                          Felix's Restaurant & Oyster
                                          739 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        2. Thanks again SO much for ALL of your suggestions!! Here's our latest agenda... and a final question.

                                          Carousel Bar, Preservation Hall, Lafitte, Chat Noir.

                                          Thursday (we changed our flight, to arrive earlier to get more meals in)
                                          - Snack: Cafe du Mode (beignets & coffee)
                                          - Lunch: Mr B's
                                          - Dinner: Stella! (tasting menu w/ wine pairing)

                                          - Snack: Elizabeth's
                                          - Lunch: Galatoire’s (yes, we've been warned)
                                          - Dinner: Brigtsens

                                          - Lunch: Bayona
                                          - Dinner: August (John Besh’s “Degustation” Tasting w/ wine pairing)

                                          - Jazz brunch: Commander’s Palace (in the Garden Room)

                                          MY LAST QUESTIONS ARE... OYSTERS...
                                          1. Where is the best place to get RAW oysters (ideally somewhere in the FQ or walking distance).... Felix's? Acme? Elsewhere??
                                          2. And is Drago's worth the trip for their charbroiled oysters?

                                          Thanks :)

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: viniferaNYC

                                            If I had to pick I would say Felix's. I just never eat raw this time a year. A lot of people do and have no problems, but because of health concerns regarding the warm weather ersters as well as the fact that the taste is not quite the same in the warm months, I tend to steer clear. A lot of people in NOLA are in agreement with this, but some don't mind. There is also a Drago's in the Hilton Hotel. I don't notice a difference, but a lot of people prefer them in Metairie. I would stick to the Charbroiled, fried, broiled, baked etc oysters and stay away from the raw variety. We jsut dined in an upscale restaurant in Mississippi and even they did not serve Gulf oysters. Theirs came from the North Atlantic. Only my opinion......If you come back again in cooler weather try Casamentos. It is the absolute best spot for any type of oysters, but they close from June through August if that tells you anything. Your dining itinerary looks great. You will have to let us know what you though about Stella v. August. That tends to be an ongoing debate on this board.

                                            1. re: viniferaNYC

                                              I wouldn't eat raw oysters in august either. Also, Mr. B's is just okay. Consider Herbsaint, Bon Ton Cafe, Cuvee, MiLa, Cochon, Rio Mar, etc for lunch. Just go to the Drago's in the Hilton. The oysters are exactly the same as they are in metry.

                                              1. re: N.O.Food

                                                I dont think they are "worth driving for" and I get them in met'ry only b/c I am passing through at 5:00-ish and it is a nice place to wait out taffic. The hotel ones are probably bout the same but I believe that certaini items are peculiar to a locale. PSycological, of course. The oysters are more fun for me at the bar where I can look at the mural.

                                                I agree about raw oysters in summer--I just never do it in fairness to the oyster

                                              2. re: viniferaNYC

                                                fyi - Preservation Jazz Hall doesnt do drinks, last time i was there. listening only.

                                                oysters... recently i had an relative in and i took him on what i called an "oyster crawl":

                                                Red Fish Grill - 6 raw, 6 buffalo fried w/ blue cheese (damn fine)
                                                Bourbon House - 4 rockefeller, 4 bienville, 4 fonseca (all baked)
                                                Drago's - 12 chargrilled (sopping bread in browned butter)

                                                ...it took some time, and afterward we suffered from an oyster hangover, but totally memorable!

                                                Drago's Seafood Restaurant
                                                2 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                Red Fish Grill
                                                115 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                Bourbon House
                                                144 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                1. re: viniferaNYC

                                                  Wow, looks great, (though I haven't been to every place) and Phew! this is a very ambitious dining plan. You are going to need two stomachs each. I seriously wouldn't worry about the oysters, as I cannot imagine how you would have room for one more bite of anything. Remember, we are not a "light dining' place. Heavier foods and larger portions.

                                                  And certainly don't waste your time leaving the area, except for Brightsen's and Commander's, both so worth it. (both uptown, Commander's in a great place to walk around) I wouldn't even worry if you have to scratch something off the list because you just couldn't do anymore. Remember, we want you to have a great time, and things do pace things slow (especially in the summer). We don't want you to explode!!

                                                  To note, your list is very fine dining heavy, which is fabulous as long as that is what you are going for. On a scan, Elizabeth's (and CDM, of course) are the only casual eating establishments.. So you'll be dressing up a lot. It's really hot down here, be ready with cool clothes. You might need to do a lot of walking to ready for your next meal.

                                                  Drinking- you might want to swing into the Napolean House (for it's old world charm and a Pimm's Cup) and maybe check out the just re-opened to much ballyhoo "Sazerac Bar" in the Roosevelt Hotel. It's high on my list of to-do's. There is more than one Laffite's, I presume you are speaking of the Blacksmith Shop down on bourbon. It has a piano bar in back. If you want something more casual, with music, you can try DBA (there's one in New York as well, but this location gets a lot of interesting local music acts) +1 for Rock-n-Bowl, though bowling isn't exercise, and for me it depends on who's playing. I don't think you'll have the time or capacity, but of course there are scads of neighborhood/dive bars that you cannot help but run into. But also, you will have such delicious cocktails at the Carousel, and if you are friendly and open to it, you will find yourself adjusting your drinking (and maybe even eating) plans after talking to a particularly knowledgeable bartender or recommendation-rich local. That's part of the fun.

                                                  I hope you have a fantastic trip and do report back!

                                                2. Predicated on our dining in NYC, but baseing things on NOLA, here are my recs:

                                                  Stella! This is a fun, and slightly quirky restaurant that offers great food and wines.

                                                  The Grill Room (nee, New Orleans Grill) at the Windsor Court Hotel - great food, with a NOLA tradition, with the best wine list that I have encountered in NOLA.

                                                  Galatoire's - great traditional NOLA food, with a "tableau" of service and NOLA traditions. Not the most contemporary cuisene, but the penultimate NOLA cuisine example.

                                                  Brigtsen's - few chefs are at the level as Frank Brigtsen. OK, the service is a tad "homey," but the food is great and heavily influenced by the location. The wine list is a tad weak, but adequate.

                                                  Restaurant August - innovative cuisine from a top chef, featuring ingredients from very nearby. New sommelier, who seems to be scoring well, but this was a weak point some time back.

                                                  The list is in no particular order, and I would not hesitate doing any/all on my next trip over. Each has a unique perspective with many regards. None should be missed for myriad reasons. They all will reward you.

                                                  Enjoy and get into the spirit of NOLA. It is unique and should be viewed as such. Get into the history, the culture, the mood and the cuisine. Throw away preconceptions and just enjoy.

                                                  There are many others, but this is my list of the quintessential NOLA experience, based on my personal palate. None should be missed, regardless of what one has to do to fit them all into a trip to the "City."

                                                  Travel safely, and dine well,


                                                  Restaurant August
                                                  301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                  Stella Restaurant
                                                  1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                                  Galatoire's Restaurant
                                                  209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                  Brigtsen's Restaurant
                                                  723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

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

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt



                                                    One wonders....

                                                  2. Here are a few of the reviews, that feature some of my recs, plus others:


                                                    There is "chaff" in these posts, but also some gems, IMHO.


                                                    1. We really loved lunch at Herbsaint. Upperline was good, and a great art experience, too.

                                                      1. For fancy dinner at a historic location- Commander's Palace.

                                                        For another fancy dinner, I recommend Restaurant August, Bayona, or Gautreau's (a cab ride Uptown).

                                                        Bayona would be great for a fancy lunch too. The duck sandwich with cashew butter and pepper jelly is delish.

                                                        For a more moderately priced dinner, I highly recommend Cochon, in the Warehouse District. Cochon does a modern interpretation of Cajun and Southern dishes. They have great small plates, if you want to try a lot of things (and maybe split an entree). Cochon would make a good lunch spot too, as would its neighbor, Cochon Butcher. Awesome sandwiches.

                                                        For a casual brunch, go to Elizabeth's in the Bywater. Praline bacon. Need I say more?

                                                        There are lots of great bars (with ambience/character) in the French Quarter, but not great wine bars. For a great wine selection, you need to go to outside the Quarter, to WINO or Delachaise. DBA (in the Marigny) has an ok wine selection, great beer & liquor selection. DBA and the Marigny in general is great for people watching. Bacchanal (in the Bywater) has tons of character (very casual ambiance)- a few wines by the glass and tons of bottles. Orleans Grapevine (in the Quarter, close to St. Louis Cathedral/Jackson Square) may be a good choice- I'm not sure what ambiance you're looking for, but it does have a courtyard. There lots of great cocktail bars in the Quarter (other posters have already listed many good suggestions). Bar Tonique is my favorite- they make great cocktails.

                                                        Hope you have a great visit!

                                                        1. I should add one more- if your day gets turned around and you end up having a huge lunch, Green Goddess (across from the Pelican Club) would make for a nice light dinner. It's VERY casual, and they just got a liquor license, but very good. Great small plates (big enough to share)- wedge salad with crabmeat, crawfish cakes with wasabi caviar, shrimp in a grass skirt. Not traditional New Orleans food by any means (and not much ambiance either) but good food with relaxed atmosphere and casual yet personal service.

                                                          1. Thank you ALL, again for your suggestions, thoughtful feedback and tip on the spot with good A/C!! And for the backup restaurants in case our days do get turned around.

                                                            I realize that our itinerary is a bit… (ahem) ambitious, but I just want every bite I can get of NOLA! My boyfriend fainted when he saw it. He loves it. He’ll wear a fig leaf if that’s what it’ll take to shlep from one restaurant to the next in the August heat. He’s been before, it’ll be my first time. He also informed me that other than our wine pairings, I should plan on mostly drinking the local cocktails. Done. Thanks for the additional bar recs.

                                                            Point well taken about the raw oysters, thanks! Will stick with the cooked ones this time around.

                                                            Thanks again, I’ll be sure to report back!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: viniferaNYC

                                                              Be ready for extreme intense heat like you have never felt before drink lots of water as you walk. I love extreme humidity and heat but people not used to it well it can over whelm quickly. good luck.

                                                            2. I do not live in New Orleans but visit quite often and one of my favorite lunch spots is located in Metairie right across the street from Drago's. The name Crazy Johnnie's Steakhouse. I'm surprised by reading all the NOLA boards that it never get's a mention. What do the local's think about this place? They have the best Filet Mignon Po Boy I have ever put in my mouth and their Dippin' Bread appetizer and BBQ Shrimp are fantastic. Add to it some of their Crazy Potato's as a side and it makes for one heck of a memorable lunch. That being said, I've eatten at many excellent restaurants in NOLA including most of the ones listed so far but I always visit Crazy Johnnie's every time I'm in town.

                                                              Some of my favorite all time spots:

                                                              Breakfast - Mother's, The Fat Hen, Cafe Du Monde, Camillia Grille, Elizabeth's, Petunia's
                                                              Lunch - Crazy Johnnie's, Parasol's, Central Grocery, Port of Call
                                                              Dinner - K-Paul's, Mr B's, Commander's, Tony Angelo's, Jacques Imo's, Red Fish, E-meril's
                                                              Bar's - Laffitte's Blacksmith Shop, Pat O's, Carousel Bar

                                                              Will be visiting next week and hope to try some spots I have not been to yet! Can anyone tell me about the Mid City Lanes Rock and Bowl? Is it a fun place?

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Jeeper

                                                                Yes, Rock and Bowl is definitely fun.
                                                                I can agree with many of your restaurant choices, but not Crazy Johnnie's (though I've only been there once, several years ago). But if you love it, you should definitely go there. Here's another excellent po-boy place--Parkway bakery. And if you like Jacques Imo's, you'd probably like Crabby Jack's (po-boys). For breakfast, try The Coffee Pot (Quarter) or Ruby Slipper or Huevos in mid-city. Lunch or dinner, you might like Cochon. Dinner--Brigtsen's, August (high end but way worth it, imo), Eleven Seventy-Nine (very good Italian--most people I know prefer it over Tony Angelo's but I still like TA's once in a while. Nostalgia.) And you should definitely have a drink at Napoleon House.

                                                                  1. re: roro1831

                                                                    Lunch - moderately priced - For down home old style southern 'soul' food with a heavy cajun influence = PRALINE CONNECTION - on east end of the quarter on Esplanade - just up the road from the flea market on decatur. great ribs, beans & rice, sweet potato pie, etc. - nice simple old style traditional atmosphere, and good polite service.

                                                                1. Hey, ViniferaNYC, are you back from your trip? Would love to hear your feedback because I have a trip to New Orleans coming up soon and have many of the same food interests!