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Spending a 3-day weekend in New Orleans, Looking for great restaurant

My husband and I will be in New Orleans with another couple for his 27th birthday next weekend (Sept 25-27), and are staying right off the French Quarter. I am looking for some great restaurant recommendations and some fun nightlife suggestions in that area. Specifically, I am looking to reserve his birthday dinner on Friday night around 9pm. I have been to New Orleans once before during the tomato festival a few years back and loved it. I have already been to NOLA before, so I would like to try something new. And I would prefer something that is not too expensive. NOLA range is good.

Looking forward to reading everyone's responses. Thanks!

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  1. Herbsaint is probably in the same range--and it's really great for a celebratory dinner.
    I also love Donald Link's other restaurant, Cochon, which is more casual. Luke is also good and pretty reasonable.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nomadchowwoman

      I was actually considering Herbsaint! Will look into it!

      1. re: jenna131

        It's one of my favorites--and I love a whole lot of them! Have a wonderful stay.

    2. right off the Fr. Qtr. could be either the CBD or the Marigny.
      will you be on foot, renting a car, or cabbing it?

      10 Replies
      1. re: edible complex

        We are planning to be on foot, but don't mind walking further than most. Staying at the InterContinental.

        1. re: jenna131

          for your Friday night: Luke, Cochon, Mila, RioMar, La Boca, Rambla, Domenica and August are in that vicinity. as is Herbsaint.

          and you could hop on the streetcar and head Uptown for Casamento's, Pascal Manale's, Commander's Palace, Brigtsen's, Boucherie, and too many others to mention. you could also stop at the Avenue Pub and eat inside at J'Anita's. Cafe Granada is also on the streetcar line on Carrollton, and they have outdoor seating if weather permits.

          1. re: edible complex

            Also consider Lilette and Stella

            1. re: knowsthejoints

              Thanks May do Lilette for Saturday night dinner!

              1. re: jenna131

                my faves at Lilette:

                Braised veal cheeks with mixed greens and horseradish vinaigrette

                Braised pork belly with tomato-cucumber-basil salad and garlic bread

                Coq au vin with mushrooms, red wine, bacon and croutons

                Quenelles of goats cheese crème fraiche with poached pears, pistachios, and lavender honey

            2. re: edible complex

              Thanks for the great suggestions! I think we would prefer to go to a restaurant thats not inside a hotel, although Luke looks great!

              1. re: jenna131

                My wife and I just visited recently (see my trip report) and we had a wonderful dinner at Luke, and a great lunch at Herbsaint. Couldn't recommend either enough. Stay away from dinner at Commander's (also see my report), though folks seem to appreciate lunch there.

                1. re: kimfair1

                  Lunch at Commander's Palace is one of the gret pleasures in life.

                  I haven't had dinner there but I can easily believe what I've read here. It's really a destination lunch (and brunch) place. Not to be missed for those meals.

                  1. re: kukubura

                    I was there this weekend and ate at Galatoire's for Friday lunch and Cochon for dinner. Galatoires is a nice classic New Orleans experience, slow paced, and service will help you with your celebration (they get the whole dining room to sing Happy Birthday to patrons). But you will pay $$$$ for Galatoire's.

                    Most of the time hotel restaurants stink, but in NOLA it isn't necessarily the case... don't rule something out if it's attached to a hotel.

                    I used to live here and didn't think Commanders was ever that great, but perhaps I didn't order the right things the times that I ate there.

                    Cochon is more casual and was incredibly delicious. Try getting several small plates/boucherie instead of a main dish. My favorites were the boucherie plate and the roasted corn cava w/heirloom tomatoes (probably seasonal). You could reasonably eat at Cochon, ordering 4-5 small plates and a few drinks, for $65-75.

                    1. re: mb123

                      I am leaning towards Herbsaint for dinner Friday and Luke for dinner on Saturdat night. I can see that NOLA hotel restaurants are better than most. Any other recommendations? For lunch/brunch?