HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >


First night in New Orleans—seeking atmosphere, great food and drinks, out of doors preferably…

Hi all…my first post. We are a group of food nuts about to land in New Oreans—not for the first time, but our first time together. On our first night (Thursday, Oct. 1) we are hoping the weather will be good enough to eat out doors, and we're looking for a place with excellent food, not necessarily fancy, but a pretty location—something that embodies a romantic vision of N.O. We will proceed to more high- and low-end options over the next few days and much of that is figured out, but we want a great recommendation for a place where we can immediately get in the mood and have great cocktails and food…hopefully outside, and hopefully not super super expensive. (Sort of expensive is fine.) Thanks in advance for your kind advice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Bayona and its courtyard is exactly what you are looking for...food is fabulous, the atmosphere is adult but not overly stuffy, and the courtyard is to die for...romantic, elegant, and pure New Orleans.


    2 Replies
    1. re: FoodChic

      These all sound great and I'm calling Bayona for a res.

      1. re: ianrjohnson

        You'll love it. Report back and let us about your trip.

    2. check out Martinique Bistro
      start w/the jumbo lump crab cobb salad! it's all good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: edible complex

        cafe amalie on royal, Old New Orleans cookery if they are still open has a great courtyard to dine in a pretty casual place.

      2. +1 on Cafe Amelie (most beautiful couryard in Nola (IMHO)
        +1 Martinique Bistro

        Also suggest Feelings Cafe

        Have heard mixed reviews of late on Bayona.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nikinik

          feelings is a great choice your right niknik

        2. +1 Cafe Amelie. not world-class food but a gorgeous courtyard.

          1. 1. Bayona
            2. Cafe Amelie

            1. I'm guessing you want to stay in the Quarter/downtown area, is this correct? (note-Martinique is way uptown) and though this might not be your ultimate food destination, having a cocktail or three in the Napolean House Courtyard is about as old school New Orleans as it gets, and would be a perfect place to set the mood for the trip. Their food isn't write-home-worthy in my opinion, though they have a few options to tide a hungry crowd over, but for drinks it's an absolute classic. Lots of options are easy to get to from there, you could walk over to the Green Goddess just a few short blocks away, I haven't been but it's getting some great buzz, and you can sit outside in Exchange Alley, another spot with arguable ambience.

              5 Replies
              1. re: swampsue

                This is a great idea. I went to Green Goddess for lunch the other day and it was outstanding. If they have the sweet potato biscuits - get them.

                1. re: lawstudent

                  I've never been to the Green Goddess, but this is the third time in a week I've heard about those sweet potato biscuits. I must try these on my upcoming trip.

                  1. re: lawstudent

                    +1 Green Goddess. have been for dinner and it was amazing - creative, new & old flavors worked in interesting ways, and an incredibly gracious owner-chef.


                    1. re: kibbles

                      I'll be in town in two weeks for vacation. I cannot wait and I will definitely give this a try.

                      1. re: FoodChic

                        The crab sandwich and cuban are wonderful. Try one of the creative drinks. I love the blood orange mimosa. I have not been for dinner yet unfortunately but will when I can. A warning, it's small and they don't take reservations.

                    1. re: Ambiance

                      wasn't sure if they had reopened since then or not.

                      1. re: edible complex

                        I just checked it - since my husband and I had dinner there the night before we got married in Jax Sq - 8 years ago next week. Wanted to go back. They were so cool that night - since it was totally dead due to 9-11, they locked the doors and served us alone. Dug in the cellar a pulled out old favorite wines.

                  1. You can eat out at Commander's Palace, of course, it's pretty fancy. Also very nice is the little courtyard at the Bistro at Maison de Ville. I hope it's still open.