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Need recommendations for large party this weekend

I have done a search which was helpful, but quite honestly it is also a bit overwhelming!

We will be 12 guys (it's a bachelor party), looking for a good place for dinner on Saturday night. We had settled on Jacques-Imo's but when I called to make a reservation, was told that it was graduation weekend for Tulane and they couldn't seat us before 10pm. So now I am back to the drawing board and looking for help.

We are staying in the Quarter, but would be willing to cab it somewhere within a reasonable distance. Looking for a casual/fun atmosphere, nobody will be bringing nice clothes. Not more expensive than $20/plate (though with drinks and apps, we expect the end result to be much higher!). Some place that takes reservations (at least for large groups). And we're not just looking for good food, but food with local flavor. I can get a steak anywhere.

I see a lot of the fancier restaurants discussed all the time in my searches, but they seem too expensive and/or require a certain level of dress that we don't plan on bringing.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Domenica would work but it's not local food. Cochon fits the bill, too. It's going to be tough though with the graduations this week.

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    Cochon
    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    Domenica
    123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

    4 Replies
    1. re: N.O.Food

      tough, indeed!

      Just a handful of restaurants on OpenTable that have any availability (of course, many restaurants are not on OpenTable, which is where hopefully the Chowhounds come in!).

      These are the ones that have availability:
      Bacco
      Byblos Restaurant
      Catch - Seafood Restaurant
      Cristiano Ristorante
      The Italian Barrel
      Maximo's Italian Grill
      Ralph & Kacoo's
      Rambla
      Royal Palm
      Vincent's Italian Cuisine

      I know most of those aren't even "local" food, but I suppose if it was otherwise awesome, we'd consider it. Ralph and Kacoo's is the only one that seems local, but know nothing about it otherwise.

      1. re: LurkerDan

        I don;t see anything in there that I would recommend, really...and good luck finding something. Not only the usual Tulane graduation etc but we also have rooms filling up with people down here to report or remark on the increasing disaster in the Gulf which likley will have an effect on your food this weekend. If the oil keeps moving west, it will be a very bad summer.

        1. re: LurkerDan

          Rambla's ok on that list. It's tapas. If that's the only options online, try Domenica or Cochon. GW fins is a big place, too. It might work.

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          Cochon
          930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

          Rambla
          217 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Domenica
          123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

          1. re: N.O.Food

            Thanks. Domenica seems all booked. I am looking into Cochon. I think GW Fins may be too expensive.

      2. Just managed to get a reservation at 9pm at Cafe Atchafalaya. Reviews seem to be good, and at this point I feel real lucky to have it!

        Will post a review when we get back. Thanks!

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        Cafe Atchafalaya
        901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

        5 Replies
        1. re: LurkerDan

          Excellent, I haven't been there in quite some time but it has been getting some good write ups here

          1. re: LurkerDan

            Went about a month ago and the food was great. I think this will be a good fit. Also, it's about 3-4 blocks from a good strip on Magazine street with lots of bars. Might be worth it after dinner to walk down Magazine and hit some of the bars.

            1. re: latasche

              since our reservation is so late, maybe we'll hit the bars first! Any specific recommendations of places to check out, or a particular stretch of Magazine St to walk?

              1. re: LurkerDan

                On Magazine between Washington and Louisiana Ave. (Atchafalaya is on Louisiana) there are several places. Bulldog - good beer selection, nice outdoor patio provided the weather isn't miserably hot and humid, casual and fun. Balcony Bar is essentially across the street from Bulldog (about 1/2 a block away). The upstairs can be fun later at night. Downstairs is pretty seedy. Its a younger (22-30) crowd. The Rendevous is a couple blocks closer to Washington Ave. and is also a bit seedy, but kind of fun later at night. For a slightly nicer atmosphere, Coquette is on the corner of Magazine and Washington and has great cocktails. It's slightly more upscale, so I wouldn't go there if your party is very casual and in shorts. Close to Louisiana and St. Charles (about 8-10 blocks from your restaurant) is Delachaise (actually at the corner of St. Charles and Delachaise St., but only a block from Louisiana). Delachaise is a great bar with a good mixed crowd. They specialize in off-the-radar wines, liquors and imported beers. The french fries are excellent and they have a menu with some other small plates in the event the guys need a pre-dinner snack. A couple of blocks down St. Charles from Delachaise is the Columns Hotel which has a fantastic big porch. You can have drinks on the porch. The drinks aren't special, but it's a fun old place and great for people watching. If you end up at Delachaise or Columns, I would consider taking a cab to Atchafalaya since the walk is probably about 15 mins. Also, while not a horrible neighborhood, I would just keep your wits about you since it will be later at night. A group of 12 guys shouldn't have any problems though.

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                Columns Hotel
                3811 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

                Delachaise
                3442 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

          2. Update from someone in LurkerDan's party: the info y'all provided was priceless, thanks a ton! We had fantastic meals at Coop's Place, Stanley, and Cafe Atchafalaya, and did some great bar sitting at the Columns. I'll let LurkerDan provide details if he's so inclined, but wanted to thank the Chow boards for helping make this a great trip.

            One particular thing stood out that I have to mention, though: the fried chicken at a 24-hour gas station right next to our hotel (the French Quarter Suites, on North Rampart). Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever. We ate it every six hours or so for three days. There was a line at 3am for it.

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            Coop's Place
            1109 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            Cafe Atchafalaya
            901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

            2 Replies
            1. re: monopod

              Yep, thanks to the Hounds!

              Friday night we hit Coops. And I can understand why there are mixed opinions on the place, maybe it has to do with expectations. It's a divey place with reasonably priced food, so I didn't expect fine dining. But the jambalaya supreme was really tasty, the crawfish beignets (really more like crab cakes) were delicious. A good, reasonable meal that we were all quite happy with.

              Saturday I had a breakfast sammich at the Verti Marte, and also some delicious pastry and coffee at Croissant D'Or, 2 places I ate frequently at the last time I was in New Orleans some 18 years ago. I love the timeless nature of the Quarter, it was like I never left.

              Saturday afternoon we headed to Acme for some oysters, but they had a huge line, so we hit Felix's across the street. I recalled reading here how they pre-shuck oysters for those sitting at tables, but shuck to order for those bellying up to the bar. 6 of us walked in and there was space for 6 at the bar, so we bellyed up! Great advice, great oysters.

              We then headed towards the bars near our dinner reservation. We went to the Columns, which was just perfect. Got a huge table on the porch that fit all of us, and it was a great place to sip drinks, feel cultured, and pass the time till dinner.

              Atchafalaya was just fantastic. The service had a few hiccups, but the food and atmosphere were great. We ordered 4 appetizers for each group of 6. The crabcakes were just amazing, and the fried oysters, fried green tomatoes, and sweet/spicy shrimp were also quite good. I had the Boudin-Stuffed Quail for my entree, which was delicious, so many great flavors that you could mix and match. We had most of the entree choices represented in our group, and every plate was practically licked clean, coupled with superlative exclamations. We shared the bread pudding for dessert, and it was similarly stellar. Really, I can't say enough positives about Atchafalaya. Great cocktails too. The mint julep and the pimm's cup were highlights for me.

              Sunday, we had brunch at the counter at Stanley, which also was a great meal.

              And of course, we had a couple of stops at Cafe Du Monde!

              And I was able to avoid eating at Montrel's Bistro (we were walking by and considering lunch spots) based on the description here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/706482

              Thanks again for the advice!

              1. re: LurkerDan

                Glad you enjoyed the trip! I'm going to have to make it a point to hit up Atchafalaya again after your review!