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How touristy are these restaurants?

belma79 Apr 27, 2010 12:40 PM

Hello. I'll be coming to Nola in early June for a few days and I'm so excited at the prospect of eating all the great food city has to offer. I usually do a lot of research and tend to plan most of my meals - all your reviews on Chowhound have really helped, thank you.
At the moment I'm thinking of going to Boucherie, Emerils, Coops (late dinner, on the night we arrive) and Elizabeths (brunch). My question is, how touristy are these places? Not that I mind sharing space with other people like me but it would be nice to be around locals too and feel like I'm leaving in New Orleans for a few days (I hope you know what I mean!). So, are my choices somewhere a local would go to as well, or will they be dominated by tourists?
Thank you!

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

8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

  1. belma79 Apr 30, 2010 12:41 PM

    Okay, I've got one more question (even though I feel like I've already asked enough!). I've been studying EC's wonderful list and realised I wouldn't have a single meal in the FQ - so I thought we could perhaps also go to Muriel's for dinner - it seems charming and I like the look of the menu. So I guess my question is how 'touristy' is Muriel's and is it a good choice for that 'local' food and feel? Thanks again everyone!

    2 Replies
    1. re: belma79
      N.O.Food Apr 30, 2010 01:09 PM

      I'd pick Bayona or Galatoire's before I picked Muriels. I consider it touristy - mainly because of its location. But more importantly, i've never much cared for the food.

      430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

      1. re: N.O.Food
        Bill Hunt Apr 30, 2010 08:56 PM

        I will second those recs. I must add that my Muriel's experiences have been related to "events," but culinary and wine events. I have been less than impressed by the food, the wine, or the service. The view from the balcony was nice, but not enough to get me back. Maybe they have changed.


    2. edible complex Apr 29, 2010 07:30 AM

      Here's what I send to friends looking for good eats around NOLA.

      My favorite restaurants in the French Quarter are:

      Galatoire's (jacket required for men at dinner): oysters rockefeller, oysters en brochette, seafood stuffed eggplant, lamb chops béarnaise, crabmeat au gratin, fried soft shell crabs w/crabmeat, godchaux salad, soufflé potatoes.
      Mr.. B's: great gumbo Ya-Ya, BBQ shrimp, any fish of the day plank grilled, and profiteroles for dessert.
      Irene's: the duck is amazing, and the chicken rosemarino is a classic Creole Italian dish.
      Muriel's at Jackson Square: good gumbo, goat cheese and crawfish crepes, puppy drum, and double cut pork chops.
      Iris in the Bienville House for veal cheek ravioli, mussels, foie gras, duck confit, sunchoke and cauliflower soup, scallops and skate wing.

      Go to Cafe du Monde (riverside of Jackson Square) for beignets and coffee any time of day.

      Check out Stanley on Jackson Square for breakfast or lunch. Scott Boswell also has Stella!, but this is his casual restaurant that cranks out some good food too:

      For raw oysters: Desire Bar in the Royal Sonesta, Bourbon House, Acme or Felix's in the Qtr., Luke in the CBD on St. Charles Ave., Pascal's Manale and Casamento's Uptown.
      For good drinks: Carousel Bar at the Monteleone (a must visit), French 75 Bar at Arnaud's, Lafitte's Blacksmith, Absinthe House, Napoleon House, Hermes Bar at Antoine's, Chart Room on Chartres, Sazerac Bar at (recently reopened) The Roosevelt.
      Central Grocery for muffalettas. These are great for the plane ride home. Be sure to check their hours, as they may be closed when you fly home. They pack well, so you can buy a day before flying. If you like your muffalettas warmed (which I do), then eat at Napoleon House or heat up the CG when you get home. I find it opens up the flavors of the meats, cheese and olive salad.

      Green Goddess is in the Qtr.
      Menu looks amazing:

      If you have a car or will take the streetcar, head Uptown for J'Anita's, Martinique, Clancy's, Patois, Coquette and Boucherie.

      J'Anita's in the Avenue Pub on St. Charles Ave. for great BBQ for lunch. They also have the best fish sammich ever and the St. Chuck Duck po boy!

      Martinique Bistro on Magazine has great food and a beautiful courtyard.
      Clancy's on Annunciation is terrific; get the oysters w/brie, sweetbreads, the smoked soft shell crab and the veal chops. and their frozen Brandy Alexander's are good for dessert.
      Patois on Laurel for rabbit, moules frites, and pork belly. This has become one of the best new restaurants and well worth trying. Open also for Friday lunch and Sunday brunch, if that fits in your schedule.
      Coquette is on Magazine St. and is open for for both lunch and dinner. The menu changes, but if they have the cod, get it. They have a great drink list, and I love their French 75's. There is also a great Pinot Noir from Melville which compliments their food.
      Boucherie is on Jeanette just off Carrollton. They are open for both lunch and dinner. Get the Mussels w/Collard Greens, Fries w/Parm, Boudin Balls, Pulled Pork Cake, Brisket, Smoked Scallops and the ChocBacon Brownie. The Cote du Rhone works well here.

      Or, head to Mid-City for Mandina's on Canal St. for turtle soup, oyster po boys, and trout or Parkway Bakery and Tavern for the best roast beef po boys.
      (Mandina's is cash only

      In the CBD, across Canal St from Fr. Qtr., try Rambla in the International House Hotel for great tapas, Luke on St. Charles for oysters at the bar, duck and rabbit pate, choucroûte maison, and moules and frites, Domenica in The Roosevelt for goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms, grilled radicchio, and any of the pastas and pizzas. If you are in town for lunch Friday, Restaurant August has a 3 course for $20.09 that is stellar. Other places: Herbsaint and Cochon (both Donald Link restaurants), Rio Mar, La Boca, a Mano (all Adolfo Garcia's restaurants).

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

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

      Avenue Pub
      1732 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Restaurant August
      301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

      930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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

      Rio Mar Restaurant
      800 South Peters, New Orleans, LA 70130

      J'Anita's Restaurant
      1906 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA

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

      701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

      La Boca Restaurant
      857 Fulton St., New Orleans, LA 70130

      International House Hotel
      221 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA

      217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Green Goddess
      307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Bourbon House
      144 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Chart Room
      300 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

      8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

      123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

      9 Replies
      1. re: edible complex
        kevin Apr 29, 2010 03:54 PM

        wow, that is an excllent comprehensive list, but what about Brigtsen's , the best duck i almost ever had was there.

        also, cochon is good, i don't think ti's a tourist trappe.

        Brigtsen's Restaurant
        723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

        1. re: edible complex
          Bill Hunt Apr 29, 2010 06:14 PM


          Still love the list! I've probably complimented you a dozen times, and that is 100 times too few.

          Either you have added to it, or I missed the Melville PN at Coquette (a restaurant that we have yet to do). Like the Brewer-Clifton PN at Cochon, when we last dined there. IIRC, it was from the Melville Vineyard.

          Keep up the good work. We frequent tourists will benefit.


          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            belma79 Apr 30, 2010 01:34 AM

            Yes, wonderful list. I am studying it at the moment! Thank you.

            1. re: belma79
              paz5559 Apr 30, 2010 06:41 AM

              Emeril's is a wonderful restaurant. That being said, so is August, Patois, Coquette, Galatoire's, Mila, Herbsaint, Lillette, Brightsen's, Le Petitte Grocery, Bistro Daisy, Stella!, Commanders, La Foret, Le Merigtage, The Grill Room, and a host of others I am not thinking of. K-Paul's and Couchon if you are looking for truly local flavor.

              Everyone goes to Emeril's. It is very good. However, there are tons of great places. So don't feel obligated to pay homage at Chef Lagasse's establishment just because the food network says you should

              1. re: paz5559
                nomadchowwoman Apr 30, 2010 07:27 AM

                You're right--there are many, many great restaurants here, several I'd personally choose over Emeril's if I had to choose one. But why assume the OP is influenced by the Food Network, or hold it against the restaurant that Emeril used to be on the FN? BTW, I'm not a great fan of the Emeril schtick myself, hated his shows, but the quality of the food at Emeril's is pretty great.

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

                1. re: nomadchowwoman
                  Bigrayok Apr 30, 2010 10:35 AM

                  To me, most of the locally owned non-chain restaurants are not "touristy" as far as New Orleans goes. Touristy in New Orleans to me includes Margaritaville, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., and Ralph and Kacoo's. Cafe Du Mond, Brennan's, and A Court of Two Sisters are somewhat touristy locally owned places to me. I would go to Emeril's original location before I would go to NOLA which is kind of touristy. K-Paul's became popular with tourists and many locals stayed away after their prices went sky high a few years ago. Paul Prudhomme even took out a newspaper ad discussing the issue. Although this occured, K-Paul's is one of my favorite New Orleans restaurants. I always have a good time there and I love the food.

                  New Orleans is a tourist city. A large portion of its economy is based on tourism. Most restaurants have a combination of locals and tourists as customers. One thing I do not like are places like Antoine's which appear to give better service to locals than tourists. They stick the tourists in the front room and let the locals sit in the cool back rooms. The game they play with what waiter you have determines where you sit is kind of ridiculous. If a tourist wants to sit somewhere besides the front room, let them without playing games with them. I think this hurt Antoine's repeat business from tourists over the years. That is why I did not feel sorry for them when they made a big deal about their post Katrina lost business on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show.

                  If a place looks good, try it. New Orleans is a great city to chow in.

                  Bigray in Ok

                  1. re: Bigrayok
                    Bill Hunt Apr 30, 2010 08:54 PM

                    Interesting observation regarding Antoine's. I dined there many times as a child, and then as a young adult, after moving to NOLA. Once gone, it was some years, before we got back. By then, just pre-K, things were nothing like I remembered - the food, the service, the ambiance. Just not a good time, but I was living in Phoenix by then, so maybe they knew? Anyway, the experience was anything but positive. Maybe I needed a secret handshake, or something. I will never know. OTOH, they left a very bad taste in MY mouth, and I had decades of fond memories to look back upon. Tears were in my eyes, but then Thomas Wolfe had already told me that "You Can Never Go Home Again," so I should not have been surprised.

                    I can see a restaurant offering "specials" to their great clients, but these should not be at the expense of other diners, whether local, or tourists. No one wishes to be made to feel like a second-class citizen. I am usually greeted as "Mr. Hunt," or similar, around the globe and hate the thought that I would be shuttled to "steerage," especially in a restaurant that is practically in my "home town," and one that I have dined at over 50 years. Bad move, from my perspective. There are dozens of restaurants around the world that know my likes, and dislikes, plus my wife's food allergies. They keep good notes, and I appreciate that. Maybe Antoine's should rethink their policies a bit?


                  2. re: nomadchowwoman
                    Bill Hunt Apr 30, 2010 08:41 PM

                    I agree with regards to Emeril Live. I did like his earlier programs. That said, I do enjoy, and have from his "beginnings" in NOLA, his food. Have not made it to NOLA (the restaurant) yet, but must do it, though it gets mixed reviews here.

                    Have not been to his eponymous restaurant post-K, but had many great, and fun meals there, earlier on - regardless of how I felt about the TV shows. Wife still looks past the showmanship on Emeril Live, but I am less enthusiastic about it. Too much TV and too little cooking, but that is just me.


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

                  3. re: paz5559
                    Bill Hunt Apr 30, 2010 08:37 PM

                    That is the wonder of dining in NOLA - choices, choices, choices! There is always too little time. Heck, there seemed to be too little time, when we lived there.

                    Need to just devote a month to visiting and dining, and not letting family know that we are in town, until the last few days.

                    While I know, and have enjoyed many on the list, there are others, that we have just not made it to. Next month, there will likely be a few additions, worthy of a dinner. That is the way that it is in the City.


            2. belma79 Apr 29, 2010 04:17 AM

              thanks everyone, this is really helpful! i definitely didn't mean to make the word 'tourist' sound bad (as after all i will be a tourist myself!) but i guess i just wanted to get an idea what's a bit more local.
              would anybody recommend dante's kitchen? it would be our last meal on a monday night. it's either that or emeril's (which perhaps is somewhat less 'local'). which would you go for as your last meal in NOLA?
              thanks again!

              7 Replies
              1. re: belma79
                nomadchowwoman Apr 29, 2010 07:42 AM

                Yes, Dante's is more "local" in that fewer tourists frequent it than do Emeril's. (It's a good ways from the hotels.) And it's quite good, but Emeril's is a (deservedly) top-tier restaurant, where you will almost certainly have an extraordinary meal. Emeril came to NO as a very young man, developed his career here. His food is very much "local." Despite all his empire building, Emeril's flagship is still excellent, every bit as good as when he himself was in the kitchen. (Emeril's was heavily featured--very positively--in a NYTimes article about New Orleans restaurants yesterday.)

                So it depends upon what you want your last food memory to be. Dante's is smaller, cozier, with very good, interesting food. And there will be fewer tourists. Emeril's has a definite upscale enery, big city vibe, fabulous (but approachable) food. Its always full of tourists and locals alike.

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

                1. re: nomadchowwoman
                  belma79 Apr 30, 2010 01:25 AM

                  Thanks for this reply, it's really pinned down what I was wondering about. It looks like i should give Emeril's a go (and squeeze in Dante's Kitchen if possible too!). Thanks also for mentioning the article in NYTimes - I looked it up and read it with great interest.
                  My only remaining question on Emeril's is - as excellent as it is, is it also uniquely a NOLA experience, or is dining there pretty much the same as being in any other top, slick restaurant in NYC, SF etc? I guess I'm looking to feel like I'm in New Orleans and nowehere else! I feel that often in top restaurants everything is good and polished and great, but kind of in a same way. Although I note that you did say Emeril's food is still very much 'local'. Thanks again!

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

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

                  1. re: belma79
                    nomadchowwoman Apr 30, 2010 05:55 AM

                    Foodwise, Emeril's is a very New Orleans restaurant w/Cajun inflections: you'll find BBQ shrimp, gumbo, crawfish, andouille, lots of spicy food on the menu. Emeril was one of the first to put a contemporary spin on--and bring culinary school influence to--New Orleans (and Cajun) food; his dishes, while "inventive," are anchored by traditional local ingredients and flavors. But the menu also offers many (delicious) items that aren't particularly New Orleans-y; you'll see Italian influences and hints of his own Portuguese heritage.
                    BTW, the dessert menu is amazing (and I'm not much of a dessert person, myself); the banana cream pie--nothing particularly local about it--has been on the menu since the beginning, and I can't ever go there and not order it.
                    As to the ambience/atmosphere/overall experience--it is slick, hiply elegant, not unlike upscale restaurants in NYC, SF, Chicago: If you didn't know where you were, you might not know where you are. But, once you start eating the food, you'll know you're not in [fill in the blank] anymore.

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

                    1. re: nomadchowwoman
                      belma79 Apr 30, 2010 09:55 AM

                      Wonderful reply, just what i wanted to know. You really explain things very well and seem to know what you're talking about too! Thank you again. I think i will go to Emeril's, simply because the food gets such a strong endorsement from everyone, and that's what matters (I'm definitely not influenced by the Food Network, I'm from the UK, we don't have the channel here!).

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

                2. re: belma79
                  Bill Hunt Apr 29, 2010 06:09 PM

                  The "tourist" category is a tough one. Most of us understand, or work to understand, the differentiation. There are plenty of restaurants in NOLA, that cater heavily to the tourist trade, and do not seek the patronage of the locals all that much. Others serve a dual role. It can be a bit of a fine line to walk. If some great restaurant gets a great article in Departures, or similar, then there are likely to be tourists there, though the experience should not be detrimental - so long as both the locals and the tourists behave themselves.

                  As for Dante's Kitchen, I agree that they are very good, though probably off the radar screen of the majority of the tourists. We've had several great dining experiences there, but also had true locals (actually friends of the kitchen and FOH staff) to "vouch for us." [Grin]

                  To me, an ideal restaurant experience in NOLA, SF, NYC, would be such that one could not tell who was a tourist, and who was a local - just great food, enjoyed by all diners.

                  Your question is a very common one. It is oft repeated on many boards, where the culinary-tourist business is active. Many have asked, and many more will do so in the future. Hopefully, at the end of the day (or evening), the food and service will prevail and great fun will be had by all.



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

                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                    belma79 Apr 30, 2010 01:33 AM

                    Thanks for your insight Bill Hunt, I fully agree with what you're saying. Thanks also for your comments on Dante's Kitchen.

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

                    1. re: belma79
                      Bill Hunt Apr 30, 2010 08:34 PM

                      You are most welcome and please ENJOY!

                      Travel safely,


                3. l
                  LisaDenise Apr 27, 2010 08:20 PM

                  Another non-touristy restaurant is Clancy's. They serve a wonderful Fried Oyster and Brie dish. Reservations are very likely needed on just about any night.

                  1. r
                    rneeno Apr 27, 2010 06:00 PM

                    Something off the beaten path, and exceptionally good is Dick & Jenny's. It has to be about the furthest thing from touristy this side of Parasol.

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

                    1. nola79 Apr 27, 2010 03:41 PM

                      Coops is in the quarter, so tourists do find it. It's not a tourist trap though, and both locals and tourists eat there.

                      Elizabeth's is probably mostly local, but there are a few tourists that cab it out there as well. I've always enjoyed my brunch there. If you like bacon I'd recommend trying the praline bacon. I usually order the duck waffles or eggs florentine.

                      I enjoy EAT for brunch. I usually get the chicken fried chicken. The butter beans are good too. Others like the shrimp and grits here, but I found them a bit too watery/soupy for my tastes... I prefer mine with a bit more of a solid consistency.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nola79
                        kevin Apr 29, 2010 03:53 PM

                        what are duck waffles?

                      2. h
                        hazelhurst Apr 27, 2010 01:05 PM

                        Emeril has a fairly good local trade as do most of the established places. Depends on the night of the week and the event schedule. Just now, during Jazz Fest, lots of locals are laying low. I stick to Uptown places and get in early or go to mid-day lunch while the hordes are away. In early June you should be OK...

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

                        1. l
                          latasche Apr 27, 2010 12:57 PM

                          Generally, not very touristy at all. I have not been to Coops, so can't comment there. My only issue is with Elizabeth's. I am somewhat baffled by the positive press it gets. I was thoroughly disappointed when I went - almost inedible in my opinion. I wouldn't waste a meal there, but others, perhaps, can give you some reasons why it is good. Otherwise, Boucherie and Emerils will be great. Enjoy.

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

                          8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: latasche
                            kibbles Apr 27, 2010 01:16 PM

                            im also a bit perplexed as to Elizabeth's popularity. as a local who lives nearby, i think its nice to have it as a breakfast option, but its nothing id brag about to visitors. my friends from San Diego have some amazing breakfast restaurants that simply put it to shame, often for less dough. thus we stick to Croissant D'or, Nola Cake Cafe, or something they cant get like Commander's or Patois.

                            that being said -- the Praline Bacon is a thing of wonder.

                            1. re: kibbles
                              belma79 Apr 27, 2010 02:00 PM

                              Thanks for that, I may have to rethink Elizabeth's! how about Eat? That was also on my list. Thanks again everyone, very reassuring replies!

                              1. re: belma79
                                gastrotect Apr 27, 2010 03:10 PM

                                I love EAT for brunch so I always recommend it, but I also really enjoy Elizabeth's. It's not out of this world good, but I have never been disappointed and I feel that, while a bit pricy, you get a lot of food for what you pay. (Actually, the same can be said of EAT in many ways.) For what it's worth, I say you can't go wrong with either one.

                                1. re: belma79
                                  nomadchowwoman Apr 28, 2010 10:12 AM

                                  EAT for breakfast/ brunch, but not so great for dinner.

                                2. re: kibbles
                                  nomadchowwoman Apr 28, 2010 10:09 AM

                                  Add me to the list of those who don't get Elizabeth's as a list-topper. Agree, breakfast is ok, esp. if one just wants a basic bacon-eggs plate, but there are better breakfast spots around town, and there was definitely nothing special about the lunches I've had there.

                              2. r
                                roro1831 Apr 27, 2010 12:45 PM

                                Boucherie is the furthest from the Quarter so that would be your best bet for the least amount of tourists. In today's world of internet and sites like these, there is no longer a place that is locals, everyplace has a mix.
                                Elizabeth's is pretty local as well , but strangely I had never been until I came back for a visit once.

                                8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: roro1831
                                  Bill Hunt Apr 28, 2010 09:03 PM


                                  You make a great point. Probably, a good percentage of posters here ARE "tourists," at one level, or another, and the duty of CH's is to steer them to the good food in the City.

                                  On one hand, that might dilute them a bit for locals, but that they are busy with patrons, who respect and enjoy their cuisine, regardless of their home town, is a great thing.

                                  Now, there are some restaurants that are firmly geared toward the tourist, and usually tourists with families. Places like Bubba Gump come to my mind here, plus some others. However, the CH regulars are not too likely to recommend those, based on just the food. While not bad, they are not worth missing any of the gems that the City has to offer.

                                  Location, as mentioned, can contribute to a higher influx of tourists, just because of proximity. This is not a bad thing, as if the food is good, the locals will be there too.

                                  I always feel a bit uncomfortable answering in a thread like this, as I no longer live in NOLA, so I am nothing but a tourist, though I try to not "show it... "

                                  Good luck, and enjoy,


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