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First Timers to NOLA rate my plans so far.

My wife and I will be travelling to NOLA for the first time in two weeks. We are staying at the Windsor Court hotel. Here is what we have planned so far. The only thing that's untouchable is that we will definitely be going to Restaurant August Thursday night, and we do want to eat at Commader's Palace (currently we have a dinner reservation for Saturday, but would be willing to change it to a lunch reservation).
All other reservations can be changed. Two questions in addition to more suggestions. Is Parasol's close enough to where we'll be to go to, and if not where can we get a good roast beef po'boy closer? If Commader's is better for lunch where would be a nice place for dinner that night as it is our anniversary. thanks in advance! Looking so forward to visiting your fair city.

So far this is what we have:
9/10 Thursday

Lunch: Parasols?

Dinner: Restaurant August @ 7:30

Friday 9/11
Breakfast: cafe du Monde
Lunch : Herbesaint @ 1PM
Dinner: ?

Saturday 9/12
Breakfast: ?
Lunch: ?
Dinner: Commander's Place @ 7 PM

Sunday 9/13
Breakfast: ?
Lunch: ?
Dinner: Luke @ 7:30 PM

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  1. I definitely suggest Mother’s for a roast beef po-boy. It is absolutely delicious. Mother’s is touristy, but the “debris” po-boy is worth the wait. It is the debris that falls off the roast while it is cooking. You won’t be disappointed.
    I also have to recommend Brigtsen’s for dinner, possibly Friday night. Other options are Pelican Club, Galatoire’s (one of my personal favorites), Jacques-Imo’s and Cuvee.
    I think your anniversary dinner at Commanders is a lovely idea. I think you will also enjoy Luke. Looks like you have a nice weekend planned. laisses le bon temps rouler!

    7 Replies
    1. re: mississippigirl

      I personally do not care for the debris poboy at Mother's. People either swear by Mother's or could care less for it, I fall into the latter category.
      Parasol's is good, is it the best roast beef in the city, that's open for quite the debate as a search on the board will show you. If you saw it on DDD on the food channel, one of my friends was interviewed while eating the roast beef poboy there. She absolutely loves it and eats there at least once a week. It's a short cab ride to get to from the quarter, so very easy to get to.

      1. re: mississippigirl

        Let's clarify so kimfair1 will know: Jacques-Imo's is not in the same category of the others in your list, much more casual, on some nights even tending toward rowdy (fun-rowdy, but definitely not intimate or romantic). The place is always mobbed and they don't take reservations for only two people; a wait on a weekend night could be hours. People either love or really dislike this place. I'm not sure it would be a good choice for a first-time visit. I like it fine (hubby hates it), btw, but I think Cochon's food is much better--and it takes reservations.

        1. re: nomadchowwoman

          Jacques-Imo's is a must if you are ok with casual and having a few drinks while you wait. The owner, Jack, is quite a character and committed to make sure people are having a great time. The street outside was closed and under major construction a/o spring-09 and he had temporary tables set up on the street. But as the person above stated, this is a CASUAL place and very different fromt the other spots on your dinner agenda.

        2. re: mississippigirl

          mississippigirl - I almost thought you were me (haha) - read your info and I can't sew or grow things, either! At all. The debris po-boy at Mother's is the best, tho' we haven't been back since Katrina. Galatoire's and Pelican Club were two of our faves, too. And Bayona.
          We've got to take that trip more often! - Paula from MS coast -

          1. re: mississippigirl

            Couldn't disagree more about Mother's.

            1. re: nikinik

              I've had Mother's several times (had no choice, had to serve my federal jury time). I had dry roast beef, greasy jambalaya and a very forgettable debris poboy.

              1. re: mrsfury

                I have never had a good meal at Mothers. I truly do not get what the hype is all about and why there is ever a line to get in. I found the roast beef to be try as well (worse than Domilises) and nothing up to par. Do they pay Fodor's or other travel books to report how great it is?

          2. I would do a lunch at Commander's or, better, Sunday Brunch there. Some will call me a heretic but I think there are much better places for dinner: Coquette, Brigtsen's,Gautreau's, Bistro Daisy (all would be cab rides as would Commander's) or Iris (walking distance); these are all, in my opinion, charming and romantic as well as fabulous foodwise. I've also heard good things about the upscale restaurant in your hotel (but I've not eaten there in its latest incarnation so it's definitely hearsay).
            You are right: August is an absolute must! Enjoy.
            Parasol's is not in walking distance, but Johnny's Poboys is, and the poboys there are excellent.
            I love Herbsaint, lunch or dinner, but a lunch possibility would be Donald LInk's other restaurant, Cochon, which does what I might call refined Cajun (which is, of course, an oxymoron--but the food is good). Another place we love for lunch is Bacco, in FQ, walking distance.
            If you're looking for a casual lunch or snack on a day when you're having a lavish dinner, and you like oysters, Drago's is in the Hilton right near you. Now, this restaurant lacks atmosphere and is not a fine dining spot, and I don't recommend anything but the oysters--raw or char-grilled (and my husband loves the fried oyster brochette; good plain boiled lobster, too, but presumably, you aren't coming to NOLA to eat Maine lobster). The char-grilled oysters are divine. Lots of hounds hate Drago's for lots of obvious reasons, but Drago's set the standard for char-grilled oysters, imho. I've taken or sent many visiting friends and relatives, with the same disclaimers, and they always love the oysters.
            Eat, at the corner of Dauphine & Dumaine in the Quarter does a nice breakfast. It's a good walk from the WC, but very do-able. And Luke does breakfast as well. If you're coffee and beignets kind of breakfasters, Cafe du Monde is one of those experiences that every tourist should have (and most do). But lots of locals frequent the place as well, because the experience is a good one. (But if you want a real breakfast, this isn't your place because beignets is it here.)
            Hope this helps.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nomadchowwoman

              Can't say I'm a fan of Mother's. I think Johnny's Po'boy (French Quarter), Parkway, Parasol's, or Domilese's (a cab ride away) have Mother's beat.

              Chargrilled oysters at Drago's are delicious, although the original Drago's in Metairie is superior to the Hilton branch. But if I were y'all, I'd focus on shrimp and fish. Oysters are smaller, softer, and not as flavorful in the summer as they will be in a couple of months.

              I second the suggestion that you do Commander's for lunch or Jazz Brunch instead of dinner. (When you make your reservations, ask for a table in the Garden Room.)

              I can't vouch for it, but Stanley, in the French Quarter, gets great reviews for breakfast.

              If you can stop by in the quiet post-lunch hours between 3:00-5:00, Napoleon House is a lovely place to sit, have a drink, and cool off. It's old New Orleans, and feels like it. It'll be too hot to sit in the courtyard, but have a look at the two main rooms, and make yourselves comfortable.

              Have a wonderful visit!

            2. Another vote for lunch at Commander's. One of my favorite things to do is get all dressed up and ride the streetcar out to Commander's.

              Of the other older restaurants, my favorite experience was brunch at Arnaud's. Antoine's and Galatoire's were not great experiences for us, although we'll give Galatoire's another shot someday.

              Do dinner at K-Paul's instead. Or Pelican Club. We had an anniversary dinners at both and love them both. K-Paul's is a little casual in atmosphere but the food is out of this world. Pelican Club has a real classic feel and they treated us extremely well. That's a very solid restaurant.

              And do a lunch or a snack at the bar at Mr. B's but SPECIFICALLY order the BBQ Shrimp. They have it for lunch and dinner but it's much cheaper at lunch and is stlll a very nice portion. Plus at lunch there are $1.50 cocktails. NOLA is filled with great restaurants, but this particular dish stands out for me as one of the very best plates of food I've had in the city. Don't miss it. The other dishes on the menu ranged from not great (the seafood gumbo) to very nice (creole tomato salad, catfish fingers) but the BBQ shrimp is worth a trip just by itself. Very memorable.

              Make sure to have drinks at the Sazarac Bar at the Roosevelt (which I haven't been to since it reopened) and the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone (which I've been to waaaaay too many times).

              And, as I always warn, if you find yourself hot and tired and just looking for a pleasant place to eat lunch and you're standing outside Pere Antoines on Royal DO NOT EAT THERE. You'll regret it.

              1. Thanks for all the great ideas! I think we're going to go to Cochon for the last dinner, and definitely will hit up Mrs. B's for the BBQ shrimp for lunch one day.

                I know that Commander's is a jacket and tie place, but would I be out of place in any of the other places in a nice pair of jeans and button down shirt? I'm not a huge fan of getting all dolled up to eat. I'll gladly do it for Commander's, but what about the other places?

                And we have three bars on our list. Carousel bar, Sazarac Bar, and Cure.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kimfair1

                  I'm one of the apparently few in the "emperor is less than fully dressed" camp when it comes to Cure. I don't think the cocktails are so great that they're worth the prices. You can get better cocktails at Bar Uncommon or Iris, and you won't have to deal with Cure's frankly bad techno music and the see and be seen beautiful people crowd. It seems to me that most if not all of the glowing reviews I've read of Cure include the caveat that the reviewer is friends of the owner or one of the bartenders.

                  1. re: kimfair1

                    I would usually say Commander's lunch but for an anniversary dinner I think it would be perfect. They know how to treat a person right and make it an experience. I doubt they will do anything special at Cochon. Stick with Commander's and make sure you tell them it's your anniversary.

                    Cure is ok. I hear Tonique is same vibe but better. Haven't been to Tonique yet though. The drinks at Cure are teeny-tiny. I appreciate an artisan cocktail a great deal but have had better and bigger at One or Coquette. Do drinks and dessert at the bar at Coquette one evening or afternoon.

                    1. re: lawstudent

                      On our anniversary we went to Commander's for lunch and Pelican Club for dinner. When lunch at Commander's is so ridiculously inexpensive, why choose? :)

                    2. re: kimfair1

                      I love bayonna 4 star food but they dont take the service so seriously. Great dinner could get by with nice jeans and button down. Lunch is a steal....


                    3. I recommend the Old Coffe Pot for breakfast. It's in the French Quarter, so an easy walk from where you are staying. Don't get put off by the line if there is one. It tends to move fast and it's well worth the wait. The restaurant is cozy and cute, but most importantly the food is FANTASTIC!!

                      Have a great trip!!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JFarah

                        I'll second that; I always forget about it.

                        1. re: JFarah

                          After the "old" Camilia Grill, Coffee Pot is my fav. Have not been to the new Camillia, so Coffee Pot is now in the top spot. I've been going, since it was "Maxie's," and try to get there each trip. I must go early, and on off days, as I have never stood in a line and this goes back to the late 70's. Still, I would stand in line, and that is definitely NOT my thing.



                        2. You did great with August--the worst part for my wife and I (first time at Restaurant August) was that we ate the first night at Restaurant August, and then everything was compared to that fantastic meal--so unfair to the rest!

                          I would add:
                          Mr B's for BBQ shrimp (Lunch is great)
                          Cochon for Lunch or Dinner
                          Palace Cafe is also a great lunch place (could be a casual dinner)

                          You might want to change Luke to lunch (which is fantastic) or even breakfast (which looks great) and take dinner at a non-Besh restaurant.

                          Let us know what you think of your adventure...

                          1. our 10th anniversary is on 9/12 as well. Congrats! Brigtsen's is a must for dinner one night and Mr.b's BBQ shrimp is another. Enjoy your trip!

                            1. Thanks for all the replies...
                              So which is best Brigsten's or Cochon?
                              Sounds like Commander's Palace for Brunch but if you can't get in which is best Elizabeth's or Luke ?
                              What do you recommend to have at August (yes we snagged a rez)
                              Po boys--- that's oyster po-boys Parkway Grill or Johnny's or ?????
                              Spotted Cat for late night jazz or????
                              A crazy honky tonk?
                              Best place for a cool pre-dinner cocktail by a mixologist (no canned juices please) and a relaxed vibe- perhaps a porch?
                              Finally a place next to Hilton "Garden Inn" near the Convention Center?
                              Beignet rhymes with cliché or MUST HAVE....
                              Best breakfast during the week for just a tasty down home meal just in case we wake up hungry....
                              Best gumbo - we like it spicy.
                              Finally where can three girls go hang out and chat that plays good music
                              Thanks in ADVANCE.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: haveforkwilltravel

                                Spotted Cat is no longer. New place there called jimbeaux's. not sure if it's as cool as spotted cat was. carousel bar is my must for a cool pre-dinner cocktail or check out the new Sazerac in the Roosevelt. You should see Magazine street for your breakfast and spend some time shopping where the locals shop. slim goody's and surrey's are my two favorites. I would suggest Bristen's over Cochon and then check out Cochon's sister spot- The Butcher- which is very close to your hotel.

                                1. re: shanefink

                                  Brigtsen's over Cochon.
                                  Elizabeth's and Luke are not really comparable, but both are good. Just depends on what you're in the mood for.
                                  Parkway is good for poboys but Johnny's is fine if you are in the Quarter.
                                  Jimbeaux's is closed now too.
                                  I don't know of any crazy honky tonks. There's a place called Bourbon Cowboy that I think has a mechanical bull, but I don't think it's really a honky tonk.
                                  The Columns has a nice porch, but definitely not fresh juices. Cure on Freret has a patio and "mixologists."

                                  1. re: shanefink

                                    I just wanted to say thank you to you all you made our trip to NOLA a great time!

                                  2. re: haveforkwilltravel

                                    Brigtsen's over Cochon....hands down.
                                    Luke over Elizabeth's
                                    Gnocchi w/ crabmeat & truffles at August
                                    Parkway for poboys
                                    dba or Snug Harbor for music (the Cat is no longer)
                                    Can't think of any true "honky tonks" in NOLA. Snake and Jakes is interesting.
                                    Cure, Bar Tonique, Delachaise, Coquette
                                    Near CC, La Boca for beef or Rio Mar for seafood
                                    There's no one MUST HAVE. It's an entire experience.
                                    Favorite breakfast place is Blue Plate Cafe on Prytania
                                    I don't generally get gumbo in restaurants. Can't comment.
                                    dba, Chart Room, Flanagan's, Lucy's, Vic's, Bulldog, Parasol's......that's where I'd be anyway.

                                    1. re: BayouTeche

                                      I second the recommendation for DBAs - was there in July and absolutely loved it. They have a great beer and whiskey selection.

                                    2. re: haveforkwilltravel

                                      "Crazy honky tonk" probably isn't the best description, but for a funky New Orleans, decidely un-FQish, bar and music experience, Vaughn's Lounge in the Bywater, when Kermit Ruffins ia playing, can't be beat. A definite cab ride.
                                      A great little bar--cool and jazzy--but also off the tourist track is Clever, in the American Can Company complex in mid-city. Great "mixology" happens at Clever, where the cocktails are delicious and almost nothing is pre-mixed or made. On weekends, there's music, sometimes really good jazz. But it's always a low key, quiet place. Great for chatting.
                                      August--my husband loves the oyster appetizer that's often on the menu. I almost always order duck; every prepartion has been divine. And Bayou Teche is right about the gnocchi.
                                      BT also reminded me about the Blue Plate for really good breakfast, with a wide and interesting selection. It's a short (but probably necessary, definitely unscenic) cab ride from the CC . Uptown Librarian is right about Luke and Elizabeth's. They're totally different.. Luke is "upscale," nicely decorated, in a hotel. Elizabeth's is a Bywater neighborhood joint (just so-so these days, imho, but lots of folks love it) .
                                      Gumbo--almost everyone serves gumbo; few are special. That said, I love the Gumbo Ya Ya at Mr. B's. The gumbo at Gumbo Shop is pretty good. Gumbo at either Brigtsen's or Cochon has always been superb.
                                      Johnny's Po-boys are good, but if you don't mind cabbing it, go to Parkway Bakery for what are arguably (I said, arguably!) the best oyster, shrimp, and roast beef poboys. (Closed Tuesdays.) And just so you can get your bearings, it's just across Bayou St. John from Clever.
                                      Have a great time, and be sure to let us know how your trip turns out.

                                    3. August is offering a COOlinary special 4 courses $40. I prefer Commanders for lunch, in the garden room. Herbsaint for dinner. Emeril's is excellent lunch (M-F) or dinner. Cuvee for either as well. They also offer a COOLinary. Skip breakfast one morning and head to Galatoire's for an early lunch 11:00. You won't be ready for dinner that evening earlier than 7:30 or 8. Johnny's in FQ has a good RB po boy. http://www.nomenu.com/summer/ for COOLinary menus