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Hey everyone,
I'm visiting New Orleans for the first time for four days in a couple of weeks and want to start thinking about some food destinations. I am a professional chef from Boston and am traveling for my thirtieth birthday celebration. I will eat anything, as will two of my friends, but my girlfriend is a vegetarian, so finding things she will eat is my biggest challenge. Other than that, we are staying in the French Quarter but am completely open to traveling outside of it to experience all of the city, I would love to know the go-to places that I shouldn't miss, as well as where we could all go for a nice birthday celebration dinner (John Besh?) I also write a hamburger blog here in Boston, and am always on the lookout for the best burger in other cities. Thanks!

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  1. As far as the hamburger is concerned Port of Call is probably tops in the city. On esplanade in the quarter.

    -----
    Port of Call
    838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

    1. Port of Call is the best known burger place in New Orleans. But I prefer Yo Mama's. Both are in the quarter.

      -----
      Port of Call
      838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

      1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/690510
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/575980
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/662022

        1 Reply
        1. re: speyerer

          nice.

        2. In what price range are you interested in? Port of Call on Esplanade is worth the walk. Another good place to look is http://www.nomenu.com/open/index.html

          -----
          Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
          3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

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

          Restaurant August
          301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Cochon
          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

          Stella Restaurant
          1032 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

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

          Bayona
          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

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

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

          Herbsaint
          701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

          Lilette
          3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

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

          Rambla
          217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

          Green Goddess
          307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Le Meritage
          1001 Toulouse, New Orleans, LA 70112

          17 Replies
          1. re: speyerer

            any price range is fine. does vegetarian food exist in new orleans??

            1. re: rchudy

              Any menu usually has some vegetarian options, just ask.
              Back To The Garden. Lee Circle Area: 833 Howard Ave. 504-299-8792.

              -----
              Praline Connection
              542 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              La Peniche
              1940 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              Lebanon's Cafe
              1500 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

              Eat Restaurant
              900 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              Gumbo Shop Restaurant
              630 Saint Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              Bennachin Restaurant
              1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116

              Mimi's In the Marigny
              2601 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70117

              Praline Connection
              630 Mandeville St, New Orleans, LA 70117

              Cafe Bamboo
              435 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

              1. re: speyerer

                Tho some like it for breakfast, I would stay far away from EAT:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/698182

                ...nothing special and far too many better restaurants in this city.

                I think Patois is very good. Coquette is also good and owned by a young chef entrepreneur. August, Stella, both very good. Galatoire's is good but also a fun experience. Same with Commander's Palace and its jazz brunch.

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

              2. re: rchudy

                MiLa recently had a meatless dinner with wine pairings. You may want to give them a call.
                MiLa Goes Meatless for Wednesday Market Dinner
                http://nola.humidbeings.com/posts/det...

                -----
                Mila
                817 Common Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

                1. re: speyerer

                  Thanks!

                2. re: rchudy

                  You should look about for stuffed artichokes. Once upon a time I'd have said that these were not vegetarian but recent efforts I have seen have been breadcrumbs,garlic and cheese which would be fine for the girlfriend. The rest of us like the ones with salami and olives and pieces of shrimp or what-have-you. Used to be a place on Metairie Road with pretty good ones but since my friend near there moved I haven't been by that route. No doubt someone will know of a place making decent ones these days.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    re stuffed artichokes, some places, not all, (R&O doesn't) use cheese with rennet which is made from cow organs as an fyi This also applies to cheese in general.

                    1. re: Suzy Wong

                      That is a fair point--I confess to not thinking about the vegetarian aspect there but, rather, items that are not generally found elsewhere. Of course, my stuffed artichokes wouldn't fit thebill anyway since I put all kinds of meats in. Most commercial ones nowadays, though are some cheese, garlic powder and enough breadcrumbs to plug a levee breach.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        hazelhurst,
                        I wasn't aware of the rennet untl recently and I never heard of meat in stuffed artichokes either before this past year. My maternal grandmother made excellent!!! stuffed artichokes. But I love artichoke any way.

                        1. re: Suzy Wong

                          I don't "do" those ones with half-a-shrimp in 'em..to hard to cram it in. But I like to use salami or any variety of italian meats and lots of chopped olives and some anchovy..and maybe just a little bit of garlic. OK... more than a little bit. I love the things but I usally have to boil a bunch cuz I'll eat two for each one I stuff.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            Yes! You've got that right! They (artichokes) are great boiled or steamed plain or with a vinegarette type dip. (Your recipe sounds very flavorful).

                      2. re: Suzy Wong

                        Rennet isn't always made from animal products; there is vegetable rennet, and also other animal rennet substitutes. Frankly I think it's a stretch to ask your server whether the cheese in your stuffed artichoke is or is not made with animal rennet.

                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                          In most (not all) cheese it is animal rennet/rennin unless noted otherwise (usually specific gourmet cheeses made by small companies not large ones most restaurants use). Then you would be surprised, my sister did call around, and each place she called knew right away whether it was used or not. R&O's does not contain it. If it mattered to you, it wouldn;t be a stretch. No different than inquiring what kind of oil (animal fat or non animal fat) something is cooked in. Not asking someone to juggle with their eyes closed on one foot. To each his own.

                          1. re: Suzy Wong

                            By any chance did you ask what kind of cheese R&O uses, that isn't made using animal rennet? Did you get the impression that they use a "specific gourmet cheese," by which I think you probably mean an artisinal or farmhouse cheese? I ask out of genuine curiosity as a home cheesemaker, former cheese shop employee, and general cheese lover. I ask because R&O doesn't strike me as the kind of place that worries too much about the provenance of their cheese (Sysco?).

                            I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the vast majority of restaurant employees, especially at the R&O level, don't know what rennet is. I do think it's different than the oil that something is cooked in, because that cooking oil is on the premises and the container can be seen and read by any employee - Peanut Oil, Lard, whatever. Cheese packaging, especially the big bags of pre-shredded cheddar or parm used by most places at the R&O level and below, might list rennet as an ingredient in the fine print, or they might not. If it's some kind of processed cheese, it very probably doesn't contain rennet at all - maybe that's the case at R&O?

                            Not busting on R&O here, they're fine. But I really think the chances that very many restaurant employees know the truth about what kind of rennet is in their cheese are slim. It's simply not common knowledge, even among restaurant people. If it is a serious issue to you, you would want to ask a few searching questions to expose ignorance or knowledge. What brand of cheese, what kind, where from, etc. Don't just accept the word of the person who answers the phone.

                            1. re: uptownlibrarian

                              Your input is appreciated. It's (rennet) even on the label of the locally made stuffed artichokes. Not all restaurant employees are dim, and where did I say anything about taking the word of whomever answered the phone? (I am curious as to where you grew up. Part of the country)

                              As I stated previously my sister called different places in re to that issue, I wasn't on the line with her. She's just an attorney. She probably doesn't know how to ask questions...

                    2. re: rchudy

                      Green Goddess is a must for veggies.

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

                    3. re: speyerer

                      Thats a good link. I havnt seen that compendium before. Thanks

                    4. After perusing your blog, I am of the opinion that you would find Port Of Call to be overrated. Another one of those situations where they became famous, and then kind of stopped caring as much, maybe? Not sure, but they do not melt their cheese and there are no french fries in sight. Two downers for me. I agree Yo Mama's is a better burger, though there is still the lack of fries... Camellia Grill uptown I think does the best one in the city, but it's a diner griddle burger, and not a big monster like the previous two places. Just depends on what you're looking for. Camellia Grill is worth a visit just for the chili cheese omelets, the chocolate freezes, and the hot pecan pie, though.

                      -----
                      Camellia Grill
                      626 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: figndate

                        Sure, no fries, but a delicious baked potato on the side at Port of Call!

                        -----
                        Port of Call
                        838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                        1. re: figndate

                          Not caring? Has never been my experience there, I go a a couple times a month. I prefer the unmelted shredded cheddar, it's a texture thing. They also have premium meat delivered daily. Potatoes are a great spectacle of spud.

                          Have had Yo Mama several times and while i enjoy the peanut butter bacon burger, their buns have been stale and the potato unremarkable. Plus it's harder to get a spot in, louder, and no Monsoon's to pass the time with.

                        2. It may be heresy to recommend a chain on this board, but I am surprised that no one has even mentioned the New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood Company, especially since it meets all your requirements. They serve a variety of burgers (my favorite is the Rajun' Cajun burger) including a couple of vegetarian ones which I admit I have never tried - a black bean veggie burger and the bleu-shroom burger. Also plenty of salads and yeah, seafood. Go figure. Lots of locations around town.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hjacmc

                            Interesting. Have never seen it mentioned before on chowhound; id always assumed because it was just another burger fast food joint. It isn't?

                            1. re: kibbles

                              Wow, shows what I know, I thought the only location was the one on Vets by Dorignacs and Martin's. I haven't eaten at that one in years but I recall it being good. They did just win an award at the poboy fest for some shrimp poboy, so maybe they are a step up from the normal national chain.

                          2. If you can, head to metairie and get a burger at Martin Wine Cellar. Best in town imo. Still waiting for the uptown location to reopen, but I know they're moving forward with the demolition/rebuild. Apart from Martin's, I think port of call has the best burger these days.

                            -----
                            Martin Wine Cellar
                            3827 Baronne St, New Orleans, LA

                            1. I have never been, but I have been told that Yo Mama's Bar and Grill in the quarter on Saint Peter has a fantastic burger.

                              24 Replies
                              1. re: FoodChic

                                I promised myself I would only do one burger place, as tough as it is for me, I really want to experience things I can't find in Boston.

                                1. re: rchudy

                                  You can't experience raw oysters for $10.99/doz n Boston.
                                  Acme Oyster House - 724 Iberville St New Orleans, LA
                                  http://www.acmeoyster.com/images/pdfs...

                                  -----
                                  Acme Oyster House
                                  724 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                  1. re: speyerer

                                    oh so true.

                                    1. re: speyerer

                                      As a Bostonian myself I love the oyster prices in NOLA and for the record I had one heluva burger po'boy at Acme, my buddy thought so too and we're no burger virgins. Saved some for the airport wait and it was even good cold!

                                      1. re: mprubin52

                                        I missed the burger po'boy...
                                        www.bostonburgerblog.com

                                        1. re: rchudy

                                          My DH cannot get enough of the hot sausage po boy.

                                    2. re: rchudy

                                      Okay, but you asked for burgers too so I gave you burgers.

                                      I suggest you also try Emeril's, Casamento's, K-Pauls, and Luke for thier happy hour of 25 cent local oysters and 1/2 price drinks.

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

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

                                      K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
                                      416 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA

                                      Luke Restaurant
                                      333 St Charles, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                      1. re: FoodChic

                                        burger suggestions are perfect, just want to make sure I hit some other spots too:)

                                        1. re: rchudy

                                          The Bon Ton is an old cajun place I believe on magazine its pretty good dont make the mistake of thinking of new orleans in terms of cajun food but this place is an exception.

                                          -----
                                          Bon Ton Cafe
                                          401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                          1. re: joedontexan

                                            are any of Emeril's or John Besh's restaurants worth a trip? Where would you suggest if we wanted to "splurge" for one meal?

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

                                            1. re: rchudy

                                              As a fellow Boston hound, I can recommend Besh's Restaurant August (we had an amazing tasting menu there), as well as Luke (I had an amazing duck dish there). We really enjoyed Herbsaint, and the BBQ shrimp at Mr. B's. We went to Commanders Palace for dinner, but the general concensus is that it's better for lunch. I wouldn't recommend it for dinner. Make sure you get a muffaletta at Central Grocery as well. I miss NOLA! We had such great food there!

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

                                              Herbsaint
                                              701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                              1. re: kimfair1

                                                one more request. I'm a huge Celtics fan and the playoffs will be starting while I'm still on vacation. Any half-decent places (doesn't have to be a "sports bar") that will be showing NBA games??

                                                1. re: rchudy

                                                  Acme. You can sit at the counter watch the game and throw back some oysters and some damn fine fried shrimp.

                                                  1. re: FoodChic

                                                    They do have great fried shrimp! Yummy!

                                                    1. re: KateMW

                                                      My list is overwhelming. Help me break it down, I leave tomorrow!!

                                                      1. re: rchudy

                                                        Well, er..maybe it is just me but...what IS the list?

                                                        1. re: hazelhurst

                                                          Port of Call
                                                          Camelia Grill
                                                          Yo Mama’s
                                                          Acme
                                                          Antoine’s
                                                          Mena’s Palace
                                                          Two Sisters Kitchen
                                                          Stanley –
                                                          Cochon Butcher/Cochon
                                                          Herbsaint
                                                          Stella
                                                          Bon Ton
                                                          Parkway
                                                          NoLa Grocery
                                                          Jacques-Imo
                                                          Feelings Café
                                                          Tommy’s Cuisine
                                                          Eleven Seventy-Nine
                                                          Vincent’s
                                                          One
                                                          Green Goddess
                                                          Dominica
                                                          Luke
                                                          Rambla
                                                          Le Meritage
                                                          La Provence
                                                          Coquette Bistro and wine bar
                                                          GW Fins
                                                          Dante’s Kitchen
                                                          Emeril’s
                                                          Bayona
                                                          Patois
                                                          Mila
                                                          August
                                                          Casamento’s
                                                          K-Paul’s
                                                          Herbsaint
                                                          Central Grocery
                                                          Voodoo Barbecue

                                                          -----
                                                          Cochon
                                                          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

                                                          Bayona
                                                          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

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

                                                          Herbsaint
                                                          701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                          Bon Ton Cafe
                                                          401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                          Rambla
                                                          217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                          Port of Call
                                                          838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                                          Green Goddess
                                                          307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                          La Provence
                                                          25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445

                                                          Le Meritage
                                                          1001 Toulouse, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                                          1. re: rchudy

                                                            Ah...this will take a minute or two....

                                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                                              I figured. four nights/5 days, breakfast not as important, definitely want local cuisine more than anything, one nicer meal to celebrate my birthday and one place with vegetarian options (if that exists)

                                                              1. re: rchudy

                                                                I vacillate between vegetarian and pescetarian and live in New Orleans. There are many vegans in NOLA also. Countless topics on vegetarian options in N.O. are on this forum if you do a quick search.

                                                                I never have a problem dining out re choices. I know Bayona has a vegetarian dish daily. Bon Ton is truly a classic N.O. experience.

                                                                Stella! and August can do vegetarian tasting menus (I'm sure others will also. Just call and ask)

                                                                Vegan Orleans:
                                                                http://www.veganorleans.com/
                                                                Happy Cow:
                                                                http://www.happycow.net/north_america...

                                                                -----
                                                                Bayona
                                                                430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                                                Bon Ton Cafe
                                                                401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                                1. re: Suzy Wong

                                                                  thank you so much! The gf will be happy.

                                                              2. re: hazelhurst

                                                                Some wuick comments on a rather overwehlming list....I have not had a burger (anywhere, New Orleans, new York, etc) that made me sit-up and take notice in awhile--though I've plenty of perfectly good ones. I'd default to Port of Call on that but I have not tried Yo Mama's so you're gonna need others for that. It is hard to find quality chopped--not ground into a zillion pieces--beef of decent quality that is mixed up with egg and goodies and cooked right and, to boot, put on a solid bun that does not wilt (or, worse, taste like a packing crate).

                                                                Camellia grill is always god for breakfast. right on teh streetcar line..same meal after a late night, too.

                                                                Of your higher-ends on there, I'd go with Bayona. Personal reasonsaffect that choice. Certainly I think PArkway is your po-boy stop and Casamento's is a don't miss. La Provence got raves last week from a friend who went for his anniversary and it is a solid source. Bon ton is essentially "cajun in New Orleans" --when they started, there was not such thing. It is fine and I like to go for soup and salad on a regular basis. I was Domenica a couple of weeks ago: it was fine and is a welcome place but I don;t think it is going to provide you with anything you cannot get in Boston.(the brussels sprouts were very good, though. Remind me of some we used to make at home) Tommy's? Well, last time I was there is was OK but I still wished I were spending the money at Galatoire's. Cochon is, to me, like Bon Ton...it is good and is great for people who cannot get out of the city.

                                                                In the end, you may want to consider what you can get here that you cannot get in Boston--or, at least, a facsimile in Boston. So many places are now being known for concoctions that are wonderful but which employ all kinds of things that are flown in...that's fine, but our native cooking did not have lobster coming in all the time years ago. A local guy can possibly out-do someone who lives in lobster territory (this is where the Food Writers start using B.S. terms to describe a cook's talents) but I'd try to stick what the area is known for. Years ago, in Boston, I was offered soft shells at my favorite place. I knew that (a) they were trucked up from the Gulf and that (b) I'd be back in New Orleans later that day. So I stuck to bay scallops.

                                                                -----
                                                                Cochon
                                                                930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

                                                                Bayona
                                                                430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

                                                                Port of Call
                                                                838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                                                La Provence
                                                                25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445

                                                                Domenica
                                                                123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                                    2. re: rchudy

                                                      Haven't been (and not a sports fan), but heard the bar in Ruth's Chris at Harrah's is great for that, viewing sports on tv.

                                                      As a ps Here is Bon Ton's web site, not what you'd find in Boston (I would think) hazelhurst made a good point about places that has food you wouldn't normally get (on a regualr basis) in ones hometown.

                                                      http://www.thebontoncafe.com/

                                                      -----
                                                      Bon Ton Cafe
                                                      401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                  2. re: rchudy

                                                    Emeril's flagship on Tchoupitoulas and Besh's August. If you want to keep the cost down, both offer lunch specials: 3 courses around $20. August's tasting menu w/ wine pairing (dinner only) is very good.

                                                    MiLa , Cuvee, Coquette 3 course lunch specials: $20-$25. Coquette has creative cocktails, $5 all day Thurs.

                                                    La Provence is on the north shore,( across the causeway) so if you won't have a car, forget it.

                                                    If you have great Italian in Boston, skip Vincent's and Eleven79.

                                                    Go to Antoine's Hermes Bar...good cocktails and you can get a sampler plate (or anything off their menu).

                                                    Irene's instead of Tommy's. You'll need a resv.

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

                                                    Cuvee Restaurant
                                                    322 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                                    La Provence
                                                    25020 Highway 190, Lacombe, LA 70445

                                        2. Back from NOLA and I pretty much ate my way through the city.
                                          Highlights: fried chicken and waffles at Luke
                                          the service at Emeril's (food was good, not mind-blowing, but good)
                                          Muffuletta at Central Grocery
                                          the coffee every place I went (loved Community Coffee)
                                          every piece of shrimp I tasted
                                          The lower points:
                                          disappointed with Acme, Po Boy was okay, felt rushed the entire meal
                                          Port of Call and Yo Momma burgers; decent, not memorable, although the mushrooms at POC were amazing

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

                                          Port of Call
                                          838 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: rchudy

                                            Happy to hear you passed a good time in New Orleans.

                                            1. re: speyerer

                                              Having NOLA withdrawals already...