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New Orleans for Four Days - help me make my ultimate dining itinerary !

Hello New Orleans Chowhounders! First of all, I'd like to thank y'all for the comprehensiveness of this board. It has been VERY helpful.

We are foodies from Austin who love to eat, drink, and listen to live music. We are hoping to do all of the above during our four nights in New Orleans. We want to have some of that delicious cajun food (gumbo, po boys, etc.) but not for every meal. Austin is severely lacking in good Italian and Spanish food, so any places with that would be nice. We are also serious cocktail drinkers and would like suggestions on the best places for New Orleans specialties -- especially Gin Fizzes and Sazeracs.

We'll be staying uptown, FYI, but we'll have a car and are willing to use it. I would love your feedback and suggestions:

* dinner - not sure where, suggestions? I'm not sure when we are getting in, but it will
probably take us til 9 PM or so to get settled. Anything open late would be helpful


* breakfast - la boulangerie (croissants)
* lunch - shrimp & oyster poboys @ parkside tavern
* dinner - August
* drinks and music - Les Bon Temps


* lunch - galatoires
* dinner - Brightsens ? Cochon?
* drinks & music Maple Leaf Bar OR Tipitinas Uptown


* lunch: mr b's? (bbq shrimp) or Domilise's (poboys) or brunch @ commander's
palace?? or, is there a nice restaurant with great lunch specials that we should try?
* cocktails: Napolean House (FQ) &/or Old Absinthe House
* snack: cafe du monde
* dinner: Mimis (Marigny)
* drinks/music: Preservation Hall

* sunday brunch -- is there anywhere particularly special?

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  1. Be patient. You will get more good advice than you need. NOLA has the finest food in the USA. Brigtsens, Galatoire's, Mr. B's, Commanders Palace, Gautreau's, Clancy's, Jacques IMO, Elizabeth's, Domillese's, Antoine's, Stella, Bayona, Irene's, Cochon and Dick and Jenny's are just the start. Bon Appetit.

    1. Looks like you have good instincts and have made good choices. Here's my two cents.

      On Wed, you can eat after 9 at Domenica, which does excellent Italian food--small plates, entrees, salumi and cheese, fabulous pizza. Domenica's in the Roosevelt, where you'll also find the Sazarac Bar, where you can get that--you guessed it-- Sazerac (as well as a Gin Fizz).

      I wouldn't do Galatoire's (Friday lunch at G's can last a very long time!) and Brigtsen's on same day unless you have very big appetites; if so, go for it. Otherwise, you can get small plates at Cochon or next door at (Cochon) Butcher.

      I would do brunch on Sunday at Commander's and Sat. lunch at one of your other choices (or at Bayona, which has great lunch deals).

      Another drink/music options: Clever in Mid-city @American Can Company complex. Fantastic cocktails; excellent selection of wines by glass; cheese and pate plates; free music on weekends--great jazz quartet plays often (but not every weekend).
      And there's always Vaughn's, esp. when Kermit Ruffins is playing.

      Sounds like you'll be having a really good time.

      1. wed. nite try Boucherie -also uptown. call ahead to reserve

        1. +1 for Vaughn's on Thursday night.
          They don't serve adult beverages at Preservation Hall. That said, it is still worth stopping in. You might also try Hermes, the new bar at Antoine's. Glen David Andrews has been playing a regular gig there on Saturday nights. He's an amazing trombone player/vocalist and its a great only-in-NOLA show. Als no cover, just hit the tip jar accordingly.
          I would also recommend stopping by French 75, the bar at Arnaud's. The bartender, Chris Hannah, is pretty much the best in the city.
          Lastly, check out the Gambit (kind of like the Austin Chronicle) for music listings. Website: http://bestofneworleans.com/gyrobase/

          1. I'm going to chime in with my own upcoming (short visit) itinerary to compare/contrast, and maybe we can get some weigh-ins as well. I have explanations beside each on why I chose the places that I did and not others from a much lengthier list of worthy destinations. Of course, insight onto where I've been led astray is also appreciated.

            *Dinner - Cochon. A good introduction to the casual New Orleans vibe in both cuisine and atmosphere. I chose this over Dick & Jenny's even though this means I won't make it there because after a cross-country flight we'll be too tired to wait in line for a walk-in-only restaurant. If this is a "deadly" decision, let me know.

            *Lunch - Boucherie - I chose this over Mr. B's because besides the BBQ shrimp, I hear the menu is lackluster. Seems a good variety of dishes at Boucherie and not too pircey. I chose it over Commander's Palace because I'm not really a fan of sweet desserts (as their famous bread pudding is) or drinks (and the brunch is known a lot for the cheap Bloody Mary's). Also, I'll get to experience Commander's style cooking at Dante's Kitchen (see below).
            *Dinner - Parkway Tavern Po Boys OR Charlie's Seafood OR Crabby Jack's. I really want soft shell crab at some point at my visit, and the latter is more likely to have it. However, I want to beat the Preservation Hall crowd and showing up at opening time at 5:30 at Charlie's, not sure I can make it in time. Chose these two over Casamento's because I want the option of getting more than just fried oysters (I don't like raw or steamed), and if I didn't want that option, the po boys at Parkway are supposed to be better than the same at Casamento's. Also chose Charlie's over Crabby Jack's because I just haven't heard enough about the latter.

            *Lunch - day trip outside of N.O.
            *Dinner - Dante's Kitchen - seems to be getting all-around stellar reviews, and I'll get a taste of what a Commander's Palace interpreter is doing.

            *Lunch - one of the places I wasn't able to hit up previously. Cochon if I end up doing Dick & Jenny's on Friday. Crabby Jack's to compare against the po boys at Parkway. or Charlie's Seafood if I did Parkway on Saturday. Or Parkway if I did Charlie's or Crabby Jack's on Saturday!

            Crabby Jacks
            428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

            930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

            Casamento's Restaurant
            4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

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

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

            Preservation Hall
            726 St Peter St, New Orleans, LA

            Dick & Jenny's
            4501 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70115

            8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

            1 Reply
            1. re: mikeh

              Here's a vote for Crabby Jack's. They know how to fry seafood properly and they give you a ton of it - much more than the others mentioned - all very fresh (as with the others mentioned. Iw oudl rate Domolisi's #2 for po boys.
              I can't imagine going to New Orleans without going to Central Grocery and Commander's Palace.

              Crabby Jacks
              428 Jefferson Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70121

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

            2. I think Domenica and Boucherie would both be awesome choices for your first night. Domenica has small portions, so you can order a few things and get a variety. They have really great pastas. Boucherie has really creative small plates that are nicely priced as well.

              I think Friday lunch at Galatoire's is an experience not to be missed, but you probably will still be full come evening. Nomadchowwoman is right on with Butcher for a meal that night. They have the most delicious sandwiches and small plates, and it's also a really fun place on the weekends. Very, very hip.

              For Saturday, I would skip mr. b's, dom's, and commander's, and just have a meatball sub or muffaletta at napoleon house. They also make awesome red beans and rice. This is my favorite place in the quarter by far. I can see you already know the Pimm's Cups are not to be missed.

              Another really cool cocktail place is Bar Tonique on Rampart, right across from Louis Armstrong Park. Their sign was destroyed, so it's a little challenging to find, but well worth the hunt. All of their mixers are made in house, and I once overheard the owner and a bartender discuss the subtleties of martini mixing for an hour straight. They take cocktails very, very seriously.

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

              8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

              123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

              1. Parkway for sure, best po-boys, esp shrimp, oyster or 1/2 and 1/2

                Mandina's on Canal for a lunch would be good too, awesome turtle soup.

                Jacques-Imo's could be good for Weds arrival, wouldn't be too busy then, and you can catch music at Maple Leaf afterwards.

                Boucherie rocks any night. Ask for the lovely and talented Hope for your server.

                Be SURE you spend time on Frenchmen St for music, The Maison, Blue Nile, Spotted Cat, dba, Snug Harbor, are some of the best music venues in the city, many with no cover so you can wander back and forth from club to club. www.frenchmenst.com has a lot of info on that.

                Have fun!

                Mandina's Restaurant
                3800 Canal St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                Blue Nile
                532 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

                Mandinas Restaurant
                4240 Highway 22 Ste 2, Mandeville, LA 70471

                8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                6 Replies
                1. re: kpsoundadvice

                  I just returned from several days in the quarter so most of my foodie experience was there as I was on foot. I am normally not one to wander about and find places in high traffic touristy areas as the food might be good but is normally over priced. With that said, I did find some wonderful spots that i would like to recommend.
                  Best Gumbo - Coops...I noticed in my gumbo debauchery tour that most places were very watery and thin...Coops was the best imho due to it's authentic 'dirty' flavor. It was thick with a great flavor and I was bummed that I could only eat a cup since I had been searching all day for one to finally satisfy me. My friend sampled the jambalaya here as well it was top notch. Now it is more of a bar and very tiny so if you are reluctent to sit in a place like this i would not recommend it.
                  Best BBQ oyster po-boy - Redfish. This is on the end of the quarter near Canal and was the only place that served it. Ask for extra blue cheese dressing as they went very light on it at serving.
                  Royal House - honorable mention for their chargrilled oysters on the half-shell. The taste of the char on the shell as you suck the oyster into your mouth is an experience that is still stamped in my brain. Don't miss it.
                  Best overall meal - Muriels...we stopped in here cause it was raining the last eve and was close to our hotel. Is a fancy place so was not on my original list of stops...glad i did.
                  they had a price-fixe meal for $30 and it was mouth watering. The beet salad was something I would not have thought to order but my buddy did and i think I ate more of it than he did!! lol. I had the crawfish and goat cheese crepes and OMG I was in heaven! (recipe is on their site) The double cut pork chops were my main and it was so good but to be honest the 2 sides won it for all. the sauteed greens and sweet potatoes were so good I couldn't stop eating them and before I knew it they were gone and I hadn't eaten a bite of the chops! The dessert was par for course comparatively but never have been a big sweets fan.
                  i hope that you take some of my suggestions and if anything please stop into Coops for the gumbo!!
                  In reply to the above post...I concur on the music scene...although Maison was a bit old style for my taste the day that we went in. mostly foxtrot music and folks in around 60+ dancing it up. Was fun but had to move on after a drink ;)

                  1. re: kscant

                    wait, blue cheese dressing on an oyster po boy? That's something I've never experienced. Remoulade is what I envision for po boys.

                    1. re: mikeh

                      The fried oysters are tossed in buffalo sauce hence the blue cheese dressing. I've only had remoulade on a shrimp and fried green tomato po boy (combo is much better on a plate than a po boy).

                      1. re: mikeh

                        That oyster-blue cheese po-boy is one of RG's specialties and it's very popular, but I find the combination completely unappetizing although I love both oysters and blue cheese, just not together. (A close friend, however, absolutely loves it.) I also had an oyster po-boy w/melted brie on it a few months ago; didn't like that either.

                      2. re: kscant

                        Yeah, Coops rules! Fried chicken is amazing there too, and if the Crawfish Beignets are on the menu, they are a must. Their homemade green goddess dressing is also a winner, and if you're in the mood for pasta, they do a fine job on those too, I'm partial to the crawfish tasso one myself.

                        1. re: kpsoundadvice

                          Gotta say, I really don't like Coops. Fried chicken was pretty greasy. Tasting their gooey, tomatoey, jambalaya brought me close to gagging. Just my 2 cents.

                    2. You are in for a treat! New Orleans has great Italian food in addition to creole, cajun, etc. Irene's and Maximo's in the French Quarter are great for Italian. For lunch, check out a muffuletta at Central Grocery which also has Italian goods. Though not Italian, I will also recommend Cochon. Drinkwise try some Sazeracs. Cochon makes a great one, but so do many other joints. For a unique experience hit the Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone and have a Vieux Carre Cocktail. And while you're at Napoleon House have a Pimm's Cup or Ramos Gin Fizz. Most of all, have fun!

                      Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
                      500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

                      Vieux Carre Restaurant
                      201 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130