HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >

Discussion

boston chef wants to know top 5 fine dining restaurants to visit in NO

tops 5's are always tough on chowhound, but I'm in the early stages of planning a visit and want to know whats hot on the culinary scene there.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. brigtsen's, herbsaint, stella, august, gautreau's, commander's, emeril's, galatoire's. Some of these aren't "hot" but odds are you'll have a great meal/experience at all of them. They are in no particular order. I stuck to "fine dining" places, too. There are also a few newer places, but I haven't been to any of them yet: Le Foret, Le Meritage, and Besh's new italian joint in the Roosevelt Hotel. For a few casual places: Green Goddess, Cochon, Boucherie.

    1 Reply
    1. re: N.O.Food

      will add Iris and MiLa (fine dining), and a Mano and Domenica in the Roosevelt (what's hot).

    2. Five hottest restaurants in New Orleans are...
      Cochon
      Green Goddess (I haven't been yet, but this is based on Chowhound reviews and the fact that Chris DeBarre (sic?) is an amazing chef)
      Dominica
      Luke
      Rambla

      1 Reply
      1. re: shanefink

        Having recently dined at both I concur regarding Cochon and Green Goddess. Commander's Palace belongs on any Top 5 New Orleans restaurant list.

      2. If money were no object, in no particular order

        Restaurant Patois
        Stella!
        Restaurant August
        MiLa
        Herbsaint

        and for lagniappe, Commander's Palace

        1. What does "hot" mean? ANd what does "scene" mean? Often I encounter mixing of varied ingredients to Make Something New...leaves me puzzeled, dismayed, and usually unhappy. What is "hot" cools down, it seem to me.

          11 Replies
          1. re: hazelhurst

            Here is this week's Times Picayune's fall 2009 dining guide recommendations, "4 chefs to watch"

            Michael Farrell, Le Meritage
            Erick Loos IV, La Provence
            Scott Maki, Rambla
            Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar

            and the TP food critic Brett Anderson's top ten restaurants, and their chefs

            Commander's Palace (Tory McPhail)
            Emeril's Delmonico (Spencer Minch)
            Ristorante del Porto (David & Torre Solazzo)
            Galatoire's (Brian Landry)
            Gautreau's (Sue Zemanick)
            Herbsaint (Donald Link)
            Lilette (John Harris)
            MiLa (Slade and Allison Vines-Rushing)
            Restaurant August (John Besh)
            Stella! (Scott Boswell)

            -----
            Restaurant August
            301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Stella Restaurant
            1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

            Commander's Palace Restaurant
            1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Emeril's Restaurant
            800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Galatoire's Restaurant
            209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

            Herbsaint
            701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

            Lilette
            3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

            Mila
            817 Common Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

            Gautreau's Restaurant
            1728 Soniat St, New Orleans, LA 70115

            1. re: mimadeli

              Interesting list. Since I am no longer a "local," I have to admit that top set is new to me.

              Of the latter, I have not made it to:

              Gautreau's
              Lilette
              Hersaint (in too long to comment)

              Based on my last trip, I'd put CP's at the bottom, though we tried to love it again.

              I do agree with the others, though Delmonico's did not make my Top-5 list for the OP.

              Gotta' spread myself on the next trip! Too many new, good-sounding places and chefs.

              Thank you,

              Hunt

              1. re: mimadeli

                I read that restaurant section (at lunch) and was surprised to see Delmonico's that high up. When the Big Rush from this edition dies down, maybe I'll wander oveer there and see What Gives. I suppose I should branch out more but, then, I do not get excited about goat-cheese-stuffed figs and other things that could be had almost anywhere. It might be a rut, but it is a pleasant rut.

                Was good to see Mosca's get a nice comment or two. At the end, though, I found myself wistfully thinking of so many good places that are gone....function of age.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Delmonico has been in his top ten for about a year now.

                  1. re: N.O.Food

                    That escaped me....bt I so liked the Old Place when the ladies had it that it is hard to be in the precincts without shedding a tear

                    1. re: N.O.Food

                      I could agree with that. Unfortunately, you guys and gals get to do so many more spots, than we do. Still, as I commented to Hazelhurst, Delmonico would be about #8 for me.

                      Gotta' do a full list, just to see where they place.

                      Hunt

                    2. re: hazelhurst

                      When you say "that high up" do you mean it literally? The list is alphabetical and in no particular order. I'm only chiming in because at the office on Friday when this came out folks were commenting on the fact that Stella and August "just made the top 10" and they went on and on for hours until someone looked at it and pointed it out.

                      Anyway... that is all.

                      1. re: haywire

                        Just the notiojn of the Top Ten..I do not follow Brother Anderson that closely.

                      2. re: hazelhurst

                        Hazelhurst,

                        Check out my review about 1.5 years back, and you'll get an idea of Delmonico. We loved the meal, and most of the service (except for the wines) was very good. I did not read the listing, but I'd put them about #8 on my list.

                        Enjoy,

                        Hunt

                        PS - my Panama just got a bit darker on my recent Hawai`i trip - thinking of you!

                      3. re: mimadeli

                        Let me chime in, if I may . . .

                        re: "4 chefs to watch" -- I've been to two of the four:

                        a) Rambla was quite good, but I didn't think it was great. Perhaps that's due to a number of similar places I've been to in the SF Bay area, or perhaps it was the hour (6:00 pm). Very enjoyable, just not "special."

                        b) Coquette was wonderful.

                        As for the "Top Ten," I've been to seven for lunch and/or dinner . . .

                        -- Commander's Palace (Tory McPhail): only been there for lunch, but have always had a wonderful experience with marvelous food.

                        -- Galatoire's (Brian Landry): again, lunch only -- Fridays, whenever we're in town -- and we've never seen a menu, but it's always been good food and lots of fun! Disclaimer: "our" waiter has come to stay with us in California and we've wined-and-dined together out here, having some truly incredible meals, among the best I've ever had, any time, anywhere.

                        -- Herbsaint (Donald Link): this was another meal I'd be hard-pressed to find anything to complain about; we had a great meal here.

                        -- Lilette (John Harris): ditto! In fact, I think it was Donald Link who suggested we go here.

                        -- MiLa (Slade and Allison Vines-Rushing): missing any sort of special "spark" to make it memorable. It was NOT a bad meal at all, just "good." In the restaurant's defense, we were there on a Sunday, so perhaps the "B" team was in the kitchen. But one waiter loudly complaining to a second waiter about a third in the middle of the dining room wasn't a good sign.

                        -- Restaurant August (John Besh): Been here 3-4 times, and each time the food has been spectacular! Service was off once.

                        -- Stella! (Scott Boswell): I'll keep quiet on this one, and presume I was there on an off night; and Scott Boswell was having an off day when he read my letter.

                        Other highly personal recommendations of mine would include

                        * Patois
                        * Lüke
                        * Cochon
                        * Bayona

                        Cheers,
                        Jason

                        -----
                        Restaurant August
                        301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Cochon
                        930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Commander's Palace Restaurant
                        1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Bayona
                        430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                        Galatoire's Restaurant
                        209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Herbsaint
                        701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Lilette
                        3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

                        Rambla
                        217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                      4. re: hazelhurst

                        You know, I really read over those terms. I stick with great food from fun chefs, and let the adjectives sort themselves out.

                        In PHX, some of those terms turn up some of the worst food in the Vally of the Sun. For me, it's about the dining, and I do not care about the "buzz." Of course, I'm "old-school," and many younger folk are looking for something else entirely.

                        That's why I listed my reference for this Chef. If he/she hated Excalibur, then they would likely not like my recs.

                        Hunt

                      5. These are my Top-5, and in no particular order:

                        Galatoire's
                        Brigtsen's
                        Stella!
                        MiLa
                        Restaurant August

                        As a bonus, I would add Bayona, and also Cochon.

                        Now, you have to realize that many, many great restaurants have not made my list. Also, not all fo my choices are pure "New Orleans," though I feel that all are great restaurants.

                        As a frame of reference, I really enjoyed Excallibur, last time in Boston. If you hate that one, please disregard my recs.

                        Enjoy,

                        Hunt

                        1. Check the Times Picayune's restaurant guide http://www.nola.com/dining-guide/inde...

                          1. My favorites, at the moment, are Patois, Coquette, Del Porto, Stella, Iris, August (great lunch special on Friday's), and Cochon for lunch. I also like to go to Domenica for small plates and pizza.

                            1. thank you everyone...just to clarify, when i said hot i didnt men to imply trendy or hip, just what is the best of the best food and service wise. of course i'll want to try the old new orleans landmark restaurants (commanders, etc...) but i want to know who i want to pay attention to now. what excites me the most are (in no particular order) locavore restaurants, refinement, experimentation and fearlessness (as long as there are delicious results), rare and artisnal ingredients, beautiful and inventive plate presentation and fun. i like to have fun at restaurants. too many of the restaurants with great food in boston have an uptight attitude. thanks again for the tips and ill be sure to report after i visit!

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: chefbrendan

                                we're not uptight here. cheers!

                                1. re: chefbrendan

                                  You just described Green Goddess. Call ahead and let Chef Chris you're on the way. They don't take reservations but he's always really interested in sharing his inspirations. It's a tiny place so you can't help but get a really personal experience. If you go for dinner, I would not be surprised if you enjoy yourself so much that find yourself back there for brunch the next day.

                                  1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                    i read up on that place last night, i recognized his name from the back sleeves of my poppy z. brite books...sounds reallly cool. im also looking forward to herbsaint, stella! and august.

                                    1. re: chefbrendan

                                      go to Iris! their new location is in the Qtr.
                                      http://www.foodandwine.com/bestnewche...

                                      and if you are here on a Sunday, Bacchanal Wine has guest chefs doing the cooking in the courtyard. great opportunity to taste some great food by some great chefs.
                                      http://bacchanalwine.com/

                                      and if you're here on a Tuesday, check out Clever for Tapas Tuesdays w/guest chefs:
                                      http://www.cleverwines.com/home/

                                      or on Tuesdays and Fridays, Swirl Wines has guest chefs:
                                      http://www.swirlinthecity.com/

                                      1. re: edible complex

                                        1. Stella
                                        2. Brightsen's
                                        3. Iris
                                        4. Rambla

                                        For the most part the New TP dining guide is right on. There are a few that I think were over rated.

                                        Not So are;

                                        Coquette - The menu is very limited and the service is hit or miss

                                        Galatoire's - the food is average, it's all about the drinks and the atmosphere

                                        MiLa - the dining room is very cold.

                                        Domenica - high fashion, all about the looks. We have been several times for lunch and dinner. Some dishes are good. Others are just average.

                                        August - used to be spectacular. Was in last week. I think he has too much going on. The food was decent but, over priced for what else NOLA has to offer.

                                        1. re: d.lish

                                          Interested to hear about August..so many good reports here of late, so say nothing of recent remarks by friends.

                                          I respectfully dissent regarding Galatoire's but my views on that subject are well-known

                                          -----
                                          Galatoire's Restaurant
                                          209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                            Yes. They are. It's kind of like me and Stella!

                                      2. re: chefbrendan

                                        his food is much better than her books. :)

                                        1. re: mortalcoil

                                          Honestly I've only read "liquor" as far as the chef inspired books go...havent started "soul kitchen" or "prime" yet. but when i was a 15 year old goth boy i sure did love "lost souls" and "drawing blood"!

                                    2. re: chefbrendan

                                      I meant to inquire earlier--and perhaps any reply would best posted elsewehre--just what ARE the Boston places with the uptight attitude these days. I donp;t get to town that often these days but I always stop at Locke's anyway and have no problem with them..but the newer places are mostly foreign to me.

                                      1. re: chefbrendan

                                        Responding to your "experimentation and fearlessness" request, I have always heard chef Vizzard's creations described with those terms (I have never been, so I can not give that my personal recommendation)

                                      2. Hi Boston !!!

                                        Worst, IMHO......
                                        Mr B's Bistro
                                        Stella! (food ok - but the atmosphere is so stuffy you feel you have to whisper of get kicked out)
                                        GW Fins
                                        Gallatoires (not what it used to be)
                                        Maximos

                                        I absolutely love

                                        emeril's Nola (but only on a weeknight - Garlic Encrusted Texas Redfish with bacon butter sauce is so incredible you will want to lick the plate). Go on a week night and sit at the cook's bar and watch - great theater ! Ask them for the Rocket Science cab - boutique vineyard out of CA. Talked them down from 120 a bottle to 85 - who knew wine was negotiable.

                                        Louisana Bistro on Dauphine in FQ - small intimate hidden gem - no tourists - great food

                                        Dante's Kitchen on the riverbend (not formal but every ingredient on the board is local) - Incredible dish - petite filet mignons with three different sauces

                                        Emerils - filet mignon in demi-glace with fingerling potatoes cooked in bacon - outstanding. once again, week night best - too touristy and crowded during weekend

                                        Of course, you can not come to nola without Commander's Palace - pinnacle

                                        -----
                                        Commander's Palace Restaurant
                                        1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        Emeril's Restaurant
                                        800 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        Gw Fins
                                        808 Bienville St., New Orleans, LA 70112

                                        Dante's Kitchen
                                        736 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118

                                        Mr B's Bistro
                                        201 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        15 Replies
                                        1. re: Ambiance

                                          Most of the menu at Mr. B's is more in the "ok" category and can be had better elsewhere, but their BBQ shrimp is a destination dish. I'll give you my stock suggestion: Go at lunchtime and sit at the bar. The lunch portion is plentiful and cheaper than the dinner portion (and you can split it) and there's a nice $1.50 cocktail menu at lunch.

                                          Seriously, this dish is not to be overlooked.

                                          1. re: kukubura

                                            I spoke to a demi-regular there who said that his wife is a great devotee of the BBQ shrimp and prefers it over Manale's. This is a High recommendation with Oak Leaf Clusters

                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                              I've only had two other BBQ shrimp dishes (three counting my own) and Mr B's certainly towers over the rest (although mine was damn good)

                                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                                I guess I consider my self a "demi-regular" at Mr. B's as I eat lunch there once or twice a month, and in addition to BBQ shrimp I tend to like their soups. Last week I had a really good cream of cauliflower. I also love the duck spring rolls. I don't remember ever having anything that wasn't good, if not necessarily great. Mr. B's would certainly be nowhere near my worst of NOLA list, but then neither would any of the places on Ambiance's above worst list.

                                                But I wouldn't recommend Mr. B's to the OP, just because I don't think it fits his criteria.

                                                1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                                  Mr. B's does a mighty fine burger, believe it or not.
                                                  And if they have the braised lamb shank as a special, GET IT!

                                            2. re: Ambiance

                                              "ella! (food ok - but the atmosphere is so stuffy you feel you have to whisper of get kicked out)"

                                              Personally, being one of those old, Deep South guys, I find no problem with ladies and gentlemen speaking in quiter tones. We have found Stella! to be excellent on many visits, and my wife (a NOLA native) rates it near the top. Maybe we just enjoy being able to converse at our table, and not having to shout over folk, who feel the need to scream and be heard. Personally, I do not feel that an enjoyable dining experience needs to be shared with people two blocks away. It's personal.

                                              With your moniker, I am surprised a bit, but then I am an "old guy," who enjoys genteel conversation with my guests, and feels no compunction to share my life with others.

                                              Hunt

                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                Oh, don't get me wrong...I love restaurants with quieter tones too. But, personally I find a difference between quiet and relaxed and quiet and stiff and uncomfortable. Just me. Maybe I should try it again - but guess there are too many choices to do so.

                                                1. re: Ambiance

                                                  Now, I found Stella! to be relaxed, yet still formal enough that one could enjoy their food, which has always been great for us.

                                                  I guess that I have been to some "stiff" restaurants, but not many, even the ones with 2-3 Michelin stars.

                                                  Now, I have to admit that I am probably the oldest contributor to this thread, and my dining experiences harken back to a totally different time. Still, I love to be able to speak to my guests in normal conversational tones, and also to hear them, without them having to shout over the din.

                                                  For bars, and the like, loud is OK. I've spent many nights in these, but when I'm dining, I want something a tad more genteel.

                                                  I'd urge you to give Stella! another try.

                                                  "guess there are too many choices to do so." On this point, I could not agree more. We only get back to NOLA about twice per year, and are often forced to dine at events, when we're there. Too many great restaurants, and too little time. We need to do a "dining month," and get a cottage in the FQ. We'd not tell any family that we were there, and just dine. While I try to hit a few favorites on each trip, I try to add a couple of new ones too. Just not enough time!!!!

                                                  Hunt

                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                    I want to go on a "double-date" with you, Bill. I have a feeling it would be a great experience.

                                                    1. re: kukubura

                                                      make a triple! cheers!

                                                      1. re: kukubura

                                                        For me, it always is!

                                                        Most of all - just enjoy!!!!!

                                                        Hunt

                                                2. re: Ambiance

                                                  i have to disagree (and question why one is posting their personal least favorites when the original poster clearly asked for favorites. but i digress..)

                                                  Mr B's has perhaps the best bbq shrimp in town, and while the rest of the menu isnt mind-blowing they offer many classics done well. add in the prix fixe menus and whats not to be appreciative of?

                                                  Stella has some of the best food in the city. sure its formal fine dining but big whoop, im not there to watch tv.

                                                  GW Fins is often rated some of the best & freshest seafood in the city, albeit less traditional preparations. service is outstanding.

                                                  Galatoire's has never been about the food, but rather the experience paired with reliable food. while there are those who feel its now too noisy or whatnot on fridays, there are 6 other days of the week.

                                                  Maximos's is okay. not the best, but not the worst in town either.

                                                  1. re: kibbles

                                                    Actually, there are five other days of the week as regards Galatoire's. And I see the point but the stuff they do well is in the comme il faut tradition. It may not be in fashion, however. Whatthehell?

                                                    -----
                                                    Galatoire's Restaurant
                                                    209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                    1. re: kibbles

                                                      sorry, was "outside the box" about my warnings. I value warnings as much as recommendations. You disagreed with every single one of my least favorites. Maybe I'd listen if you hadn't batted 1000.

                                                      1. re: Ambiance

                                                        listen to what?

                                                  2. What Chef Link is doing with Cajun food at Cochon is exciting and groundbreaking.
                                                    I don't know if you're interested in the cocktail side of things, but Green Goddess has an amazing drinks list, and a very inventive menu.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: AnneBerryWrites

                                                      I concur. Cochon is awesome. When I dined at Green Goddess it was lunch on a hot day so I wasn't in the mood for booze. However, I did notice they had Barrilitos 3 Star Rum- seldom seen outside Puerto Rico. Very cool.

                                                      -----
                                                      Green Goddess
                                                      307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                    2. It's tough to winnow it down, but I'll throw in my current Top 5, in no particular order: Restaurant August, Herbsaint, Coquette, MiLa, Boucherie. OK, I can't do it. Also love Restaurant Patois, Cochon, Iris, Domenica.
                                                      Have not been but am dying to try: Green Goddess, Le Meritage.

                                                      -----
                                                      Restaurant August
                                                      301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                      Cochon
                                                      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                      Herbsaint
                                                      701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                      Green Goddess
                                                      307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                      Le Meritage
                                                      1001 Toulouse, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                                      1. chefbrendan, have you made your trip yet? would enjoy your feedback if you have. thnx!

                                                        1. If money is no object- spend it at the "usual suspects." If you put a value on dollars and need to balance it with value-here are some thoughts
                                                          Commander's Palace for lunch is the best deal in NOLA
                                                          We were blown away by Dante's Kitchen. Just great from start to finish.
                                                          Green Goddess was a well prepared meal but ambiance is an issue. We ate on the alley which is fine but you have to decide if the alley works for you.
                                                          Muriel's on Jackson Square-great locale, great atmosphere, great service, great meal,nuff said

                                                          Part of the joy is not only meals but special foods/guilty pleasures at special places- such as broiled oysters at Acme or the long trip across the Ponchitrain to Abita