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Sep 16, 2009 04:39 PM

The "perfect" sampling of New Orleans restaurants

A recent post got me thinking about eating itineraries in New Orleans and the notion of the "perfect" variety of cuisines, neighborhoods, settings.

For example, a visitor might want to go to Galatoire's or Arnaud's, but you probably wouldn't send them to both if they wanted a cross-section of styles.

Obviously it depends how long the visit would be, but how would you divide places up for a perfect itinerary? Let's say five days and five nights.

how about

- at least one visit to Cafe du Monde

po'boys in or near FQ - Mother's or Johnny's
po'boys farther afield - Domilise's, Parkway, Parasol
muffulettas - Central Grocery, Napoleon House
other local specialties - charbroiled oysters at Drago's or Acme; what else?
bar food? hamburgers?

dinner -
old-school Creole - Galatoire's, Arnaud's, Clancy's, Commander's?
contemporary La. - Emeril's, NOLA, Herbsaint, Brigtsen's, Mr. B's
Cajun - Cochon, Bon Ton
fine dining (non-La. specific) - Stella!, August
uptown bistros - Patois, Lilette, what else?

This is just food for thought. Have I categorized improperly? What might other categories be? What about chefs with multiple restaurants? Keep in mind that visitors (like me!) often want to Isample a diversity of cuisines in a variety of settings - from a cottage Uptown to a fancy restaurant in the CBD.

Hope you find this interesting!

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  1. I completely agree.

    I would add Mat & Naddie's and Coquette to your "Uptown Bistro/Cottage" list.

    Green Goddess is also a brunch must. I have only been for lunch so far but will be going back soon for those sweet potato biscuits! Yum. It is also right in the Quarter so perfect for tourists.

    1. One more thing, if I were recommending a poboy place I would pick Magazine St. or Guy's above all. I haven't had one in the Quarter before so I don't know how Johnny's of Mother's is - but Guy's shrimp or catfish is the bomb! I also feel like Marvin (the owner/cook) is a stand up guy and like giving him business.

      1. Hmm, I'd have to add Creole Italian (Mandina's, Mosca's, etc), plus a Vietnamese place or two, and how about something from the fried-seafood-joint genre?

        1. Add R&O's to the poboy list away from the quarter

          Martinique for another bistro

          1. Very interesting - I would only add two more catagories (or 3) : 1) mid morning snack 2) mid afternoon snack 3) post dinner/pre bedtime snack. :-) It's really bad but I love grazing through New Orleans. Like - have a nice breakfast somewhere and leave Cafe Du Monde for your after dinner snack. You can always fit oysters into an afternoon snack. Unfortunately, weight gain is inevitable in this wonderful city!!!!

            5 Replies
            1. re: lexpatti

              I totally agree with you on that one. When I moved away three years ago, my drinking was cut back as was my eating. I lost 30 pounds just by moving.

              1. re: roro1831

                I can vacation anywhere and do well (eating and excersizing - primarily walking everywhere) but not New Orleans - every corner I turn and I'm drooling for oysters, shrimp, crawfish, a po-boy, beniets, red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, muff, etc. - even if I just finished a meal. I wonder if it has something to do with not being able to find this great cuisine anywhere but New Orleans. It's like making up for lost time. I'm in the Northeast, but I did find a wonderful festival in NJ where New Orleans comes up for 4 days with awesome food and music:

                1. re: lexpatti

                  I have to disagree with you on the food at the crawfish fest, nothing I had was good, the crawfish were decent.


                  1. re: roro1831

                    that's really too bad, we've been 3 times and unfortunately not consistent with the food - last years mudbugs were awesome but the year before not so. I've always loved their jambalaya. Maybe it is time to get in new vendors. We missed it this year, too close to when we went to New Orleans for a trade show and I knew I'd get my fix of the fabulous stuff.

              2. re: lexpatti

                One good mid- afternoon or mid- morning snack is a crepe from crepes a la cart, though the setting is not very charming (next to the boot on broadway), but you can take it to audubon and stroll.