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Jun 7, 2010 05:18 AM

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/ 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."