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Looking for feedback on our NOLA dining plans - 5 days late September

Greetings - I've stalked this board for a couple of weeks now, and have my "spreadsheet" started to make the most of our 5 days in New Orleans at the end of next month. It will be our first trip, just my husband and me, both late 40's. We enjoy a mix of activities and dining levels; not ashamed to enjoy some of the classic tourist experiences but very appreciative of your advice to avoid the bad ones!

Here's how our trip looks at this point:
Saturday: Flight arrives 9:25 a.m. Staying at Omni Royal Orleans - no car
Lunch - Mr. B's Bistro
Walking Cocktail Tour of Quarter - 4:00 p.m.
Dinner - Open to suggestions - please help - We will have a few cocktails in us, so we'll probably save our nicer dinners for other nights!

Sunday:
Jazz Brunch - Commander's Palace 11:00 reservation made - requested Garden Room
Dinner - K-Paul

Monday:
Breakfast - Café du Monde early
Swamp Tour - early pickup at hotel
Lunch - Coop's place or Clover Grill
Dinner - Redfish Grill

Tuesday:
Lunch: 10:00 New Orleans Cooking School (is this a bad idea?)
Dinner - Bayona

Wednesday: (flight leaves at 2:20)
Late Breakfast - Stanley!

Thanks so much for the advice.

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  1. If you're looking for a casual dinner spot on Saturday I suggest Napoleon House (get a muffuletta and Pimms cup...so good), Liuzza's or Casamento's. I'd try and fit Napoleon House in at some point even if you just go for a drink.
    K-Paul's is closed Sunday and Monday so maybe you could move that to Tuesday night and do lunch at Bayona instead of dinner.
    Between Clover Grill or Coop's Place for lunch I'd do Coop's and save Clover Grill for a late night snack just because the people watching seems to be better at night. :)
    Before heading home you could get a muffuletta to go at Central Grocery to take on the flight.
    Croissant D'or has good croissants and baked goods if you need a light snack at some point. Hope you have a wonderful time!

    1. Seconding Napoleon House for a casual dinner. Good choice.

      (deleting the rest because I can't read)

      1 Reply
      1. re: kukubura

        Look a little closer at her Sunday plans...

      2. Thanks for the suggestions. I went on the websites for my top picks to confirm when they are open for dinner. We'll likely plan for Napoleon House for dinner on Saturday, Redfish Grill on Sunday, Bayona on Monday, and K-Paul's on Tuesday.
        I love the idea of taking our muffuletta to go as we head out of town...

        3 Replies
        1. re: STL James

          Go to Emeril's for Sunday dinner. Redfish Grill is mediocre at best. If you haven't already, join Omni"s "Preferred Guest" program. This will get you a complimentary carafe of coffee (or tea )and juice as well as a free room upgrade (if available) plus, a coupon good for either 50% off a weekend stay or 1 weekend night free (can't remember which, it's been awhile). Thanks for coming. Enjoy!

          1. re: JazzyB

            Good choice of Hotel, Omni Royal Orleans, right in the heart of the FQ. My favorit Hotel to stay in when I am in NOLA. Emerl's other restaurant NOLA is right across the street from Napoleon House as well as Johnny's Poor boy, these three place to eat are right outside your hotel door on St Louis Street. Enjoy your vacation in NOLA

          2. re: STL James

            We were just there last weekend and had a great trip! Check Napoleon House's hours, they are a little inconsistent. Every time we went by to get a cocktail they were closed. We didn't check the hours carefully enough! We did like Tujague's for cocktails too, the bartender was a little gruff at first, but warmed up to us. He made a great Sazerac and Ramos Gin Fizz! Also, the new Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt is beautiful!

            We didn't go to K-Paul's this time, but when we went a year and a half ago I loved their crab corn bisque. This time we went to Mr. B's and had the BBQ Shrimp which was delicious! My husband had the Lobster Risotto and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful and well made it was. I liked the seafood gumbo better than the yaya, it seemed to have a richer flavor. We love Galatoire's for the atmosphere! Also, had my b-day dinner at Stella! and really enjoyed it. If you want one high end place to go I would recommend it. The presentation and flavors of the Kobe beef app was spectacular and the service was wonderful. Chef Boswell is very innovative with his creations. I wanted to try the shark fin, but it is off the menu because of all the controversy. Had a really good soft shell crab po-boy at Johnny's. I wish that Casamento's was open which it will be for you and I wish we had gone to Parkway Tavern for a Roast Beef Po'Boby

            Which swamp tour company are you going with? I would suggest going on an Airboat which has less people on it and is more intimate and they can take you into tighter spots in the bayou. We went on AirBoat Adventures and loved it! It is more expensive than the bigger boats, we paid $62 per person, but it was well worth it. It's pretty amazing how fast the boats can go! We even got to hold a 6 day old baby alligator in the wild! It was a 2 hour tour and was less than an hour away from the French Quarter.

            Enjoy your trip...I'm jealous...I want to go back soon! It sounds like you have a pretty good start with where you want to go. The only bad thing is that there is never enough time to go to all the places you want!

            We picked up a Muffeletta from Central Grocery for our plane ride home. We bought 1 whole one, but I wished we had gotten 2 for leftovers the next day!

          3. I would go to Coop's for an oyster po boy or Fiorella's; get the fried chicken, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes.... (across the street from Coop's) for lunch over Clover Grill....I think of Clover for late night. Excellent hangover prevention. Must have a Pimm's at Nap House, and a Sazerac at the Carousel Bar at the Monteleone Hotel. And a French 75 at Arnaud's!!!!

            Why not go to Acme for oysters for a casual dinner....sit at the bar and have some raw half shell as well as the yummy grilled ones. Or try EAT, they are BYOB, so an excellent deal if budget conscious. Try the butterbeans and shrimp. Stanley has an outstanding reuben, grab a window table for great people watching.

            Enjoy...and check the hours of the places you are considering, lots are closed on Mondays.

            I have not been hearing good things about Bayona, and with so much wonderful food in NO I would hate to waste a second on anything not top notch. Ditto Redfish. Why not Stella! or August instead?

            1. When you say "Cocktail Tour of Quarter" are you talking about an actual tour that you have a guide or just going out on your own? I would suggest venturing out on your own...

              11 Replies
                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                  Thanks for all the input! Bombay - we do have a reservation with Airboat Adventures for our swamp tour. It IS a bit more expensive than the other tours, but we like the idea of the smaller, faster boat! Our Cocktail Tour on Saturday afternoon is a walking tour with Grayline. We have gone back and forth on this one. Having never been to the FQ, we wanted some sort of orientation on our first day to get our bearings. We considered a carriage ride, but after reading a lot of negative reviews (can't often hear the "guide", highly dependent on who you get, etc.) and positive reviews of the Grayline tour, we thought we'd give this a try. Hope to meet a few people, learn a little bit, and try a few signature drinks.

                  Anyone have any feedback on the "Coolinary" menus at Redfish Grill and Bayona?

                  We are considering NOLA or Stella! in place of one of these two. So nice to have so many good choices...

                  1. re: STL James

                    You are going to love the Airboat Adventure tour! It's not something I'd want to do every time I was in the area, but I had the best time! They feed marshmallows to the alligators...LOL

                    Re: the cocktail tour, it sounds like it could be fun. Does the cost include the cocktails? But as a side note, it is very easy to get around the French Quarter and get your bearings. Just have a map and plan out your route. ALL the bartenders are pretty friendly once you get them talking and they would give you suggestions on what to get. I personally think it's more of an intimate way to get to know the city instead of having 10 people or more with you and getting the "conveyor belt" treatment. However, getting the back of the scene tour of some of the places sounds neat! Also, if you decide to venture out on your own, you need to sit at the bar, not at a table getting waitress service. We've had good conversations with the bartenders at...Nap House; Tujague's; Carousel Bar (when it's not crowded); we sat at a table at Sazerac, but the bartenders looked like they would be nice to talk to; Mr. B's bartender during a late lunch was clueless...he didn't even know what a Negroni was(I know, it's not really a local drink, but still...) To put it in a nutshell, almost all the local people are very friendly and talkative and will answer any questions you have! It also could be that I can be quite the talker and am very inquisitive;o)

                    Have you been to the www.nomenu.com site? It's all about the restaurant scene in NOLA. I think it would be helpful to you. He lists a lot of the Coolinary menus there. He has both a free site and a "pay however much you want to pay" site.

                    Again, I really enjoyed Stella!, I would highly recommend it!

                    Good luck making your decisions...it makes your head spin with all the suggestions.

                    BTW, my in-laws are in the St. Louis area!

                    1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                      I am excited about Airboat Adventures too! I found a coupon for $10 off per person that is like icing on the cake.
                      I just spent about an hour on the www.nomenu.com website - thanks so much for including it!
                      Also, I really appreciate your guidance about sitting at the bar when we visit your fine drinking establishments. We LOVE to chat up the locals but probably would have sat at a table instead of at the bar without thinking twice. Great advice.
                      BTW the cocktail tour includes only one drink in the tour price - the rest are up to you. We are thinking hard about whether we want to keep this on the itinerary. I've done so much reading on these forums I think I could probably come up with a good self-guided "tour". We have until that day to decide.
                      With your in-laws in the St. Louis area - hope you have had a chance to sample some of the wonderful restaurants here. Really great Italian on "the Hill" in addition to some awesome newer places in the city...

                      1. re: STL James

                        Trattoria Marcella and Adriana's are not to be missed in STL!

                        1. re: STL James

                          That is so great that you found the $10 off coupon..that's a pretty good discount...wish I'd found that!

                          It sounds like you have done a lot of research and I think you'd be fine doing the cocktail tour on your own! One thing I don't like about the guided tour is that you have to go by their time. There may be places you don't like and have to stay longer OR you do like and have to leave for the next place...

                          Please be sure to report back after your grand trip!

                          I have gone to "the Hill" and love it there. I love the Volpi store for their salami!

                          By the way, I'm in the Los Angeles area:)

                          1. re: STL James

                            STL, Can you tell me where you got the coupon. I just landed in NO last night and this list has been quite helpful. I'm leaving Thursday so if you can get back to me before then, much obliged.

                            1. re: bobjunior

                              Bobjunior - go to www.neworleansonline.com/tools/coupons and you can download printable coupons. If this link doesn't work exactly, once you get to "neworleansonline.com" you can type "coupons" in the search field and it should come up. The Airboat Adventure $10 small boat coupon is on the first page. Good luck and have a great trip!

                              1. re: STL James

                                thanks! i did it. paid the discount rate for the medium airboat and got upgraded to the small one. it was fantastic. also ate like skinny was going out of style in new orleans.

                        2. re: STL James

                          When playing tourist at home and when hosting guests, we take a private carriage ride. $60 + tip. Bring along your favorite libation. Drivers will stop along the way for you to pick up refills. We dined at August last weekend and will again this weekend. Their 4 course tasting COOLinary w/ wine pairing was outstanding. Menu changes every few days. $60pp w/wine, $40 without. You will need to resv. now. Skip NOLA, Emeril's flagship is much better. nomenu site is down. Try: http://www.nomcvb.com/restaurants/ind...

                          August, Emerils, all Brennan and most hotel restos. are open Monday.

                          1. re: JazzyB

                            you can get bottles of whatever at Vieux Carre' Wine & Spirits.
                            422 Chartres St
                            New Orleans, LA 70130-2102
                            (504) 568-9463

                            if bubbles are your thing, they have go flutes that you can take for your carriage ride. born n breaded in nola and only just took my first carriage tour about 3 yrs...was great fun!