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New Orleans for a Week in July

My wife and I are coming to New Orleans for a week in July. I know it will be very hot :-), but I have always wanted to see New Orleans and eat my way through it.

I have already reserved a jazz brunch at Commander's Palace on Sunday, but I was wondering if you guys could tell me some other can't miss places. We will be there for a full week, so plenty of time to try different places.
1) we like authentic places. if locals would not go near it, then we probably won't want to either. I'm sure there are a couple of places that are touristy but are also important parts of New Orleans culinary history (like Commanders palace, arnaud's, etc). For the most part we would like recs for local places.

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

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  1. "Unbearable" more accurately decribes our summer heat. Humidity is a huge factor. Most likely within 5 minutes outside, you'll be scurrying for some ac. Plan excursions accordingly. Oh, and it really doesn't cool off at night. You'll find Pimms Cups quite refreshing.

    COOLinary specials should be available in July. Check w/ nocvb.com Their site usually posts the participating restaurants with menus.

    1 Reply
    1. With a week there are a handful of places I would make sure not to miss:

      Drago's - in Metairie, convenient if you are driving to or from the airport, worth the extra cab ride if you are not. Their charbroiled oysters are amazing... easily in my Top 5 hot oyster preps, maybe at the very top. They have a 2nd location at the Hilton (I think), but I have not been there.

      Brigtsen's - my fave restaurant in town. The finest Modern Louisiana cuisine, in a lovely setting with warm, unpretentious service. Frank Brigtsen was Paul Prudhomme's exec chef at K-Pauls many years ago, and the student has far surpassed the master IMNSHO

      Joey K's - great place for lunch while cruising Magazine Street. As it is bound to be hot and sticky during you visit you should know they have the frostiest goblets of Abita Amber I have yet to enjoy.

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

      Joey K's Restaurant & Bar
      3001 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

      1 Reply
      1. re: GroovinGourmet

        +1 for Drago's charbroiled oysters. you can save yourself some time & effort by getting them at the downtown Hilton location, altho the atmosphere is just a big generic hotel feel. but me, i dont go to Drago's for the atmosphere...!

        i think Brightsen's is solid, but i prefer August or Coquette for the finest modern LA cuisine since Brightsen's is heavy-handed for my tastes. i insist on taking all of my guests to one lunch at August for their 3.5 course prix fixe lunch special, its usually pretty amazing (i liked the autumn menu the best so far) and a steal at $20. Coquette is wonderfully fresh, graceful food in a handsome setting w/ wonderful cocktails -- plus its near your hotel.

        id also be sure to get a poboy someplace. as a local i like Johnny's in the quarter just fine for seafood, but if its roast beef im after then it's Parasol's in the irish channel, also near your hotel.

        if you have a week then i would definitely put on a jacket and head to Galatoire's for a long lunch, enjoying as much crab as possible while putting back a couple sazeracs.

        BBQ Shrimp (not what is sounds) at Mr. B's is also a requirement for my visitors, great lunch option one day.

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

      2. Where are you staying? Will you have a car. Getting Uptown to Brigtsen's, Patois, Clancy's, Dick and Jenny's, Commanders, et al will require a car or cab unless you don't mind the street cars.

        I always recommend Galatoire's on Friday for lunch. They will not take reservations so just go about 11:45 and you should get in at 12. Friday is a day of celebration at Galatoire's so be prepared for fun time. Just stick with your waiter and he will take care of you. Also in the FQ/CBD/Warehouse area you could walk to I like Emeril's and NOLA. Stella is outstanding. I like Bayona also. Mr. B's is very nice for lunch when you want to shop in the FQ and I like Brennan's also. Bon Ton is nice but they are not open on weekends. I like August and Luke both owned by John Besh. August should be one of your night meals for sure.

        When you leave the FQ Clancy's, Patois, Cafe Atchafalaya, Upperline and Coquette are nice. Casamento's would be nice for lunch. They may close during July though.

        Have a nice trip. Good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Littleman

          thanks for all the replies so far. Yeah we know it will be unbearable, but plan on taking it slow and easy. To me it will be worth the sweltering heat and humidity. As a chef and food nut, I am absolutely extatic about coming to New Orleans!!!!

          We are staying at the worldmark new orleans (part of our time share network) on St. charels ave. We won't have a car but are not opposed to renting one if there are places you reccoment outside of the city...

          1. re: Littleman

            oh and one other question: is seafood still an option now? i know the oil spill has impacted fishing, but are items still available, just at a higher cost?

          2. Here's what I would do. I would have lunch at the following:

            Parkway Bakery & Tavern @ 538 Hagan Ave., New Orleans, LA 504 - 482 - 3047.
            Bon Ton Cafe @ 401 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 3386.
            Domenica @ 123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 648 - 6020.
            Galatoire's @ 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 2021.
            Mr. B's Bistro @ 201 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 2078.
            Brennan's Restaurant @ Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 9711.
            Commander's Palace @ 1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 899 - 8221.

            I would have dinner at the following:

            Emeril's @ 800 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 528 - 9393.
            Stella Restaurant @ 1032 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 587 - 0091.
            Patois @ 6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 895 - 9441.
            Coquette @ 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 265 - 0421.
            Dick & Jenny's @ 4501 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 894 - 9880.
            Restaurant August @ 301 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 299 - 9777.

            The reserves would be:

            Boucherie at 8115 Jeannette St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 862 - 5514.
            Cafe Atchafalaya @ 901 Louisiana Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 891 - 9626.
            Drago's @ 3232 North Arnoult Rd., Metairie, LA. 504 - 888 - 9254.
            httpCochon @ 930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 588 - 2123.
            Cuvee @ 322 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 587 - 9001.

            But I could not make it a week without a break along the way. 4/5 days and I need to come home to Mississippi for some pork chops, gravy and biscuits.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Littleman

              Nice list with the exception of Brennan's, which I would skip. Reserve the garden room at Commander's. Oh, and Le Foret boasts NOLA's only certified master chef.

              You can get by just fine w/ cabs and streetcars although the St. Chas. line is not air conditioned.

              Le Foret
              129 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. re: JazzyB

                Jazzy I guessed Brennan's would cause a little stir. I always stay in the FQ and I have found Brennan's to be convenient. I admit the food is not super outstanding but average. My wife likes the atmosphere, the room and service. I have known several waiters there including the Maitre D and received excellent service. She gets excited when they make flaming deserts for her. You are right though most locals would skip it I just like it because it's close to our hotel most of the time. I usually get a gallon of gumbo for the ride home the day we leave and they have been very helpful letting me pick it up out front early before lunch when leaving town. And their gumbo is good IMO. I want to think their chef has been there quite some time.

              2. re: Littleman

                Good list ! You know, everyone raves about Stella!, my husband and I hated it -- not because of the food - good not great - but the atmosphere. It was SO stuffy - it was like a place you felt like you had to whisper. I guess we just like more comfortable, happy places.

                During the week (not on weekends) I still love NOLA. The garlic crusted TX redfish with bacon butter sauce is to die for.

              3. Seafood supplies are fine. You won't miss anything. There could be times when a special might run out as supplies are lower I'm sure but NOLA restaurants are getting good seafood from areas not affected by oil. I wish it was not like this but this is the world we live in. There's plenty of shrimp and fish west of LA.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Littleman

                  you have all been very helpful! I have plenty of choices to starting making reservations, etc.

                  couple other questions:
                  1) can you tell me eateries to absolutely avoid either because they stink or they are tourist traps (or both)
                  2) places where locals would go to listen to music. I know jazz is the thing down there, but my wife also loves zydeco music. I think zydeco is typically more of a country thing, but there must be places in NO that feature it.
                  3) bayou tours. I know it will be effing hot, but I have always wanted to see the bayou. Will probably have to leave the wife in the hotel for this one, but 'ive always wanted to do it! can you recommend any reputable tour groups.
                  4) any other must see attractions either in NO or within a day trip away.

                  1. re: mwbachta


                    Weather permitting, grab a libation or 2 (Pimms cups would be perfect) and take a private carriage ride...ask your driver to stop along the way for refills...btw, you can opt for the "shut up and drive" tour.

                    IMO, Commander's is the best (good, not great) of the Brennan rest. I would not bother with the others except Mr. B's (bbq shrimp and gumbo ya-ya).

                    Char grilled oysters at Dragos for a snack (other items are just ok)

                    1. re: mwbachta

                      One of my favorite bars is Jeremy Davenport's Lounge in The Ritz Carlton Hotel on the lobby level. The hotel is one block N of Bourbon. Davenport starts around 9 PM I think and plays some outstanding music. His website will give you the times. Have dinner at Stella or August both in/near the FQ then walk to Davenports for drinks and music after dining then catch a cab from the Ritz back to your hotel.


                      The Carousel Bar at The Monteleone Hotel in the FQ is fun. There's a pianist there TFS and the bar is open 7 days/week.


                      The Napoleon House in the FQ is nice for lunch. There's an outdoor seating area. This building dates back to 1800. The food is medium but not above average but the atmosphere is outstanding and you are in the middle of a lot of bars with music all day.

                      Napoleon House Bar & Cafe @ 500 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 524 - 9752.


                      I just now noticed you are staying on St. Charles. I have passed the sightseeing age but I always have fun strolling down Magazine in the Uptown District while my wife shops. If you rent a car you can go SW of St. Charles 5 blocks and ride down Magazine to the 6000 block area where you will run into Audubun Park and Tulane U Campus. This is a very beautiful area if you have time to ride around there after which you can have a few drinks at some of the great bars in that neighborhood.

                      Your hotel is in the 2100 block of St. Charles. Since you don't have a car why don't you walk down St. Charles one day before lunch to Washington which is about 7 blocks take your left there. When you turn on Washington off St. Charles you will immediately run into a neat neighborhood shopping place on the left which your wife will enjoy called The Rink. There's a book store, gift shop and children's shop if I remember correctly. You will pass Commander's in the next block on the left. Then walk 3 more blocks on Washington to Magazine and have lunch at Coquette @ 2800 Magazine which is outstanding and highly recommended. After lunch head SW on Magazine St. about 17 blocks to General Taylor. There are a lot of nice ladie's shops, antique shops and restaurants in this area all the way out to Audubun Park in the 6000 block. If you feel like walking some after lunch then walk 17 blocks up to General Taylor and take a right go 7 blocks back to St. Charles. You will pass a lot of places on Magazine your wife will stay in a while I'm sure. This may get you over close to 5 PM. If so when you reach St. Charles you will run into The Columns Hotel which was built in 1883 which is a great place for a drink at their Victorian Lounge which is one of the top 100 bars in America. You will be about 17 blocks from your hotel. You may want a cab. While walking down Magazine you will pass Lilette in the 3700 block of Magazine which is a nice restaurant open for lunch/dinner. The chef was a James Beard nominee and the restaurant rates in the top 10 in NOLA. You may want to have lunch there rather than Coquette but both are outstanding. Regardless stop and take a peek when you pass by.

                      Coquette Bistro & Wine Bar @ 2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 265 - 0421.


                      Lilette @ 3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 895 - 1636.



                      A place I really like is Martin's Wine Cellar if you like wine. They have a place in Matairie as well as one on Magazine you may pass if you go down that way. The one in Metairie is outstanding and has a great deli if you want to have lunch there. Ask for Cedric Martin if you need some help. Have lunch and take a few bottles of nice wine back to your room. Now I realize you won't have a car but you will pass one of Martin's stores on Magazine if you take my walking advice.


                      Have a nice trip.

                      1. re: Littleman

                        mwbachta, I just came in from doing a very small amount of yard work ( like 5-10 minutes) and thought of your wife. Two words: waterproof mascara.

                      2. re: mwbachta

                        A great stop that will get you out of the heat is the Aquarium. It's really fantastic and you won't find more powerful air-conditioning! During the cooler months, I would highly recommend the zoo, but in the summer it can be too much.

                        1. re: mwbachta

                          you should be able to arrange for a swamp tour at night/sunset. the temperature doesn't go down too much, but it should be more comfortable than being out in the sun. Arthur Matherne in des Allemands used to do great tours, but I haven't been since before Katrina. You will definitely need to rent a car to get there, unless you sign up for one of the organized tours that has a bus/shuttle from the hotel.

                          1. re: latasche

                            I was going to suggest Syney torres' swamp tour down by Kraemer (des Allmans) and checked with a friend from there who said torres _is_ still running. Visitors have always enjoyed that ride in my experience. It will, in the words of one of them, "be a helluva hot."

                        2. Since you will be there in July, it might be good to remember that Pat O'Brian's has some of the best air conditioning in the quarter. I dont recommend it for any other reason, but if you need a place to cool off quickly, drop in for a club soda or something.

                          21 Replies
                          1. re: Fydeaux

                            It's not bad for a scotch n' water or such, IF you go before teh Mob shows up. Used to be you could fins some real tonic for teh G&T instead of the tank tonic that is an affront to God & Man

                            1. re: hazelhurst

                              you guys and gals are all AWESOME!!! Thanks so much- these are so very helpful. I plan on taking some time this weekend and setting out a schedule and making reservations for where I want to eat.

                              I heard somewhere that the shops and stuff in the FQ are all connected and airconditioned. Is this true?

                              1. re: mwbachta

                                No, not true. There are two malls near the Quarter. Canal Place at the foot of Canal St. is more upscale, and the Riverwalk Marketplace at the foot of Poydras St. has more souvenir shops in addition to regular stores, as well as a Cafe du Monde and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

                                1. re: uptownlibrarian

                                  I gotta say that the "air-conditioned French Quarter" is one canard I have never heard...although years ago I am sure someone would have thought of it as a good idea. No, better scotch that one right now before it grows.

                                  1. re: noradeirdre

                                    haha. silly me. oh well, i'll stock up on dri fit shirts and a headband. I don't care how hot it is i am still gonna love New Orleans!

                                  2. re: mwbachta

                                    The French Market is all connected, but far from air conditioned.

                                    1. re: roro1831

                                      what about a crawfish boil? an recs for places for an 'authentic' louisiana crawfish dinner? not even sure if they are in season or if crawfish boils are 'authentic' in louisiana.

                                      1. re: mwbachta

                                        what about arnauds? also, wondering if anyone has any recs for nice cigar bars? do most bars and stuff allow smoking? up here in boston, it is a no-no wherever you go (that rhymes). sorry for asking so many questions but I am so excited!!!!!!!!!!

                                        1. re: mwbachta

                                          I spoke to a friend who attended a small bash at Arnaud's back in April and he said that it was very good but if he had been spendingt his own $ he'd rather have been at Commander's or Galatoire's. In this case, I think it is an issue of being more "at home" at those institutions.

                                          Crawfish season is over---a couple of weeks ago the shells were as hard as steel. You can still get some but it is like oysters in August...why bother?(With the oil spill, places are substituting mussels and scallops for oysters.) As far a cigar bars? I don;t even bother with that sort of thing anymore and just have my cigars at home or on the golf course. Bars that do not have food (or much food receipts) often allow smoking but it is usually just cigarettes in my experience. (Hell, you can't even smoke in Fenway anymore and Locke's just doesn;t look right without the businessmen and stogies. Tant pis.....)

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

                                            1. re: BayouTeche

                                              Hadn't been there in ages and am glad to hear they are still running....I was hesitant to mention it lest they were gone

                                            2. re: mwbachta

                                              MW, be sure to go into the New Orleans Cigar Factory on Decatur. You can watch them rolling their own handmade cigars there, and walk into the humidor for a purchase. Hubby bought a few different varieties while we were there and was satisfied with all. The people there are friendly and knowledgeable and you can take a load off your feet and sit a spell there and enjoy your hand-rolled cigar! I believe there is a second location on Bourbon perhaps, but the one on Decatur is larger. Enjoy!

                                            3. re: mwbachta

                                              End of July the crawfish season will be or should be over.

                                              Not sure if crawfish boils are authentic in Louisiana? What is an authentic crawfish boil to you? If you eat crawfish in a restaurant it won't be an authentic boil, you will sit down and they will bring crawfish to the table and you will eat. That's about as authentic as you will get in a restaurant. The crawfish are boiled in seasoning and water with potatoes, corn, mushrooms etc (anything that will absorb the seasoning) and then they soak for 30 minutes. If you are someplace and they put the seasoning on after the crawfish come out the water, run away. Your best bet for crawfish is to the search the NOLA board for crawfish, lots of recs of seafood places serving them.

                                              A true crawfish boil is at someone's house, and half the fun is watching the process, which you don't get to do at a restaurant (unless you happen across a bar/restaurant that happens to be boiling).

                                              1. re: roro1831

                                                I just meant that all I see about crawfish boils is on TV, you never know how accurate it is to the truth. example- boston baked beans. no one really makes them anymore, and you can only find a handful of places that do make them.

                                                1. re: mwbachta

                                                  Gotcha, well it is no myth. Most restaurants don't serve crawfish, except for bars and the seafood places and more neighborhood joints like Frankie & Johnnies. Some places will have a AYCE, which is pretty authentic as they boil on premises, but if you ever are lucky enough to get an invite to someone's house for a boil (and most people I know boil every weekend during season) that's the way to do it.

                                                      1. re: roro1831

                                                        thanks everybody. I will probably try one of these places that have crawfish boils even though they are out of season. just to say that I did. i wont be able to tell the difference between a hard shell or otherwise anyways sicne I have have never had them in season. anyways, I would much prefer fried catfish anyways!!!!!! i am not a huge fish guy, but I do love me some catfish. only two weeks left! I am sooooooo excited. New orleans is my american dream trip! followed by lexigton, NC, memphis and anywhere in texas. You guessed it, I am a BBQ nut as well!

                                                        1. re: mwbachta

                                                          I am always envious when I hear of someone going to new Orleans for the first time; going for the first time is something I will never be able to do again.

                                                          Be sure to take time to just ramble (the heat will discourage a lot of rushing around anyway) perhaps with no particular place to go. The sites, sounds, and smells (pleasant and otherwise) taken in at a slow pace are the best way to experience N.O.

                                                          And while you ramble, if you happen to run into a small black lady carrying a basket or pushing a small cart and yelling out "PIES! I GOT PIES!", be sure to buy a couple. Her name is Pearl and the sweet potato pie is what they serve at the end of every meal in my version of heaven.

                                                          1. re: mwbachta

                                                            Take a trip to Middendorf's for catfish, especially if you like it thin. That may have been mentioned before, but I didn't feel like opening up all the old posts

                                      2. (These may have been mentioned already, I just scanned the replies)

                                        Both streetcar/bus unless you have a car. I have gone to both since I was a kid:
                                        Mandina's in Mid-City, classic neighborhood place, consistent, tasty food, all good.

                                        Brocato's for dessert, gelato, Italian ice etc:

                                        Downtown New Orleans, very old school, authentic Cajun, Bon Ton:

                                        Croissant D'Or for french pastry and coffee in the French Quarter (good quiche also


                                        August is the most humid and hot month IMO anyway...Besides, you are a chef, you are used to heat! Don't over consume alcohol and drink lots of water, you will do fine.

                                        The New Orleans Museum of Art in City Park

                                        Historic New Orleans Collection

                                        A cemetery tour, a plantation tour if you've never been....

                                        The main shortage re seafood seems to be oysters, but they can still be found, that is as of now, July may be a different story. nola.com and I'm sure there are other sites that have updates on the status of oysters, shrimp, etc

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

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

                                        Croissant D'Or Patisserie
                                        617 Ursulines Ave, New Orleans, LA

                                        Brocato Angelo Ice Cream & Confectionery
                                        214 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119

                                        1. The Bulldog on Magazine is a nice bar with outdoor seating. There's a crawfish joint across the street from the Bulldog. You can buy a big sack full and eat em at the Bulldog outside drinking some good cold beer.

                                          The Bulldog @ 3236 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 891 - 1516.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Littleman

                                            But in July? You'd need a jackhammer to get into the crawfish. Just the thought of sitting outside at that time of year is enough to get me light-headed without even the beer.

                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                              thanks all. somewhat ashamed to say that i am not really an oyster fan anyways. If they were available and fresh I would eat them, but I can definately live without.

                                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                                Bulldog has fans outside, though, and with the shade and a cold drink, can actually be pretty pleasant

                                                But, yeah, I wouldn't do crawfish in July. They may still have crawfish pies over at Big Fisherman, though, if you wanted to grab something to eat at Bulldog.

                                                1. re: MeMyself

                                                  so i am a big beer guy and it seems there are 2 major beers down in Louisiana- Dixie and Abita. Is this right? Any other suggestions? I remember having a Dixie beer when i ate at Emeril's Orlando several years ago and also remember loving it. What are some of the other drinks down there and places to get them. I have seen a lot of talk about Pimm's Cups. what are they?

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

                                                  1. re: mwbachta

                                                    Dixie is no longer brewed in New Orleans, the brewery flooded during Katrina. The beer is now brewed up north if I am not mistaken, but it is still sold in NOLA.

                                                    A Pimm's Cup is a very refreshing summer drink made with Pimm's No. 1 gin, 7 Up, maybe some lemonade with a cucumber spear for garnish. A great drink.
                                                    Other New Orleans drinks.. The Sazerac, Brandy Milk Punch, Ramos Gin Fizz.

                                                    1. re: mwbachta

                                                      There's a burgeoning microbrew scene going on:

                                                      NOLA Brewing (brown, blonde, ipa, and a saison... also a wheat coming out next week) - http://www.nolabrewing.com/

                                                      Heiner Brau (german style, really excellent)- http://www.heinerbrau.com/

                                                      Bayou Teche (very small, but they have a great beer out called LA 31) - http://bayoutechebrewing.com/

                                                      Also a great beer bar (with awesome food), The Avenue Pub: http://theavenuepub.com/

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