Native NY-er coming down to New Orleans - Please help!
I'm coming down to New Orleans for the first time around late summer for graduate school. My campus is downtown (at LSU Hospital) but I'd like to know where would you suggest for places to eat?
Price ranges can vary, as long as it's worth my time and money (or lack there of, once I start school). I don't mind going to "hole-in-the-wall" spots to upscale places.
Some main questions in mind now:
- Who has the best muffaletta? (I know there's a lot of opinions like pizza in NYC).
- I have an awfully big sweet tooth and if anyone who knows a good bakery? I know beignets are a "must get" at Cafe du Monde. Is there a certain baked good that's traditional or originally from New Orleans?
- Is there a Chinatown in New Orleans?
I know some questions sound naive but I'm pretty much going there relatively blind. If you have any questions to ask me, please shoot away.
Thanks in advance!
--My favorite muffs are at Central Grocery, but different people will recommend different places.
--I like Gambino's bakery. As far as specialty baked goods, king cakes are a big deal when they're in season [Carnival].
--There's no Chinatown, but there are lots of Chinese restaurants. We also have a sizable Vietnamese American population, so there are great Vietnamese places on the Westbank and in N.O. East.
Of the Chinese restaurants that do exist in NOLA, which do you recommend? What kind of Chinese food do they specialize in (if they do)? Same questions apply to the Vietnamese restos.
If you have to pick a splurge restaurant (tops at $100 w/tax & tip), where would you recommend?
I moved down here from NYC with my wife about 8 months ago. Sorry to disappoint, but you wont find anything which even remotely resembles a decent Chinese restaurant here .
The good news is there is a sizable Viet population on the Westbank and you will find better Vietnamese food here than you do in NYC. No contest.
Regarding Vietnamese: If you are like most New Yorkers and are (or recently were) obsessed with banh mi then definitely find a good rec for banh mi in NOLA on these boards. NOLA bread is the best and coupled with banh mi fillings it must be incredible (I haven't had it yet, but everyone goes on and on...)
For sweets you might want to check out Sucre on Magazine st. They make very beautiful little truffles and chocolates and macaroons etc....
And your two big muffaletta options are Central (room temp) and Napoeleon House (warm with melted cheese). Some love Johnny's as well. I haven't heard as many muff suggestions (a la NY pizza) as I have po-boys. That's a more direct comparison I think.
I agree with other posters, look towards Vietnamese rather than Chinese while in New Orleans. There is a lot of it and it is good. I second both the Sucre and Angelo Brocato's recs. Excellent places for sweets. La Boulangerie is an excellent bakery as well (Uptown on Magazine). Highly recommended.
I loudly second gastrotect's reco of La Boulangerie. it is an absolutely beautiful French bakery and worth the drive uptown. For muffs, hands down Napoleon House. The warmth of the sandwich makes all the flavor components come through beautifully. Their perfect Pimm's Cup doesn't hurt either.
one of my favorite bakeries is Croissant D'or in the french quarter. they have the single best croissants in the city (and in my mind, one of the best outside of europe). the frenchmen in the kitchen knows what he is doing.
they also bake traditional french style king cakes during carnival.