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Oct 12, 2010 09:39 AM

New Orleans - 3 nights: which 3 restaurants would you go with?


We're heading to New Orleans early December for 3 nights. Would be grateful for any suggestions for must-try restaurants! I've perused some sites and have found a list of restaurants that seem to be highly rated (Boucherie, Cafe Adelaide, Antoine's, etc.) but wanted to get some thoughts and insights from people who have been or live there. So if you could plan out 3 nights to show the 'best of' New Orleans, which places would you go to? Thanks in advance for the tips!

Cafe Adelaide
300 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. I think it is fair to ask (a) if money is a major issue; (b) your mobility; and (c) if lunches are also in play (although from the way the post is posed I would presume not). Also, the days of the week may come into play depending on a restaurant's "dark" days.

    1. Hazelhurst is correct. It really helps to know where you are staying and whether or not you have a car. Boucherie and some fantastic restaurants are located Uptown which is 15/20 minutes by cab from the FQ. If you don't have a car and you are staying near the FQ I would concentrate on restaurants in the FQ and CBD. Those would include Antoine's, Arnaud's, Galatoire's, August, Domenica, Luke, Bon Ton, Mila, Cochon, Stella, Mr. B's, Bayona, Irene's, Tommy's, Emeril's, K Paul's, Brennan's and Nola. Feast is a new restaurant that I have not been to but I hear it's nice. The above may be too upscale for you. Please let us know if you are interested in inexpensive places.

      If you don't have a car you might consider riding the streetcar to Commander's Palace for their prix fixe lunch and 25 cent martini's in the Garden District which is a great area of NOLA along with the Uptown area which includes Boucherie, Patois, Coquette, Lilette, Clancy's, Dick and Jenny's, Brigtsen's and Dante's Kitchen.

      Please help us out. Thanks.

      1. I just arrived home (Dallas) from a trip to NOLA this weekend. Personally I can vouch for several of the aforementioned restaurants. We dined at Bayona and Gautreau's and have previously been to Stella! as well.
        Since you are arriving on a Friday, I would HIGHLY recommend the $25 three-course "light" lunch at Bayona, which is only available on Saturdays. The selections this past weekend included a plate-licking-good braised rabbit and a deliciously earthy porcini and polenta dish. They will also do extra courses a la carte if, like me, you must sample more of the menu. Gautreau's was also excellent for a nice dinner. It's in a little house, so it feels very cozy and intimate. Everything we ate there was perfectly executed and the service was crisp and friendly.
        As an aside, I would also recommend a couple of additional lunch/brunch spots: Stanley, Stella's "brother" restaurant (the eggs Benedict po' boy will help your hangover and the Stella Uptown sundae is to die for), and Coop's Place. Coop's is a real dump, across the street from Margaritaville in the FQ. They have the BEST rabbit and sausage jambalaya I have ever eaten. It's so good I order an extra couple of bowls before I go home and pack them in a cooler. Seriously, go there.
        And we would have also gone to Stella this past weekend, but I was late on the reservations and we couldn't get in. It is one of my top faves.

        Happy dining!

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

        430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

        3 Replies
        1. re: tonybites

          It's a mystery to me how you divined that they are arriving on Friday....

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Hi Hazelhurst,

            Thanks for taking budget and days into consideration! We actually are arriving on a Friday and just staying for an extended weekend. Lunch is definitely in play. We haven't booked our hotel reservations yet but we're likely going to stay around the FQ but we're willing to hop in a cab for a 15/20 min. ride if the restaurant is really worth it. In terms of budget, I don't know what's realistic for New Orleans. I'd say we'll go to at least one of the higher end restaurants...otherwise, I'm a huge fan of good hole-in-the-walls where the food is delish but still I guess my budget would be $50 for dinner and one dinner for $150+ (for two). Or will I need to re-adjust my expectations? Thanks again for the responses so far!

            1. re: jlwong

              You will definately save $$ hitting the higher end restaurants for lunch. It won't cost you much more than a hole in the wall, plus you'll dine far better. Coquette has a 3 course prix fixe lunch around $24, available Wed.- Sat. Brunch Sun. Food and cocktails are creative and excellent. Commander's Fri. lunch (garden room) prix fixe in 20s plus 25 cent martinis. It is always fun and memorable. August's $20 lunch (weekdays only) is truly a steal. I'd skip Adelaide. Antoine's Hermes bar for cocktails (terrific bloody Mary) and a tasting plate (snack or lunch), rather than dinner. Folks either love or hate Coop's. I fall in with the latter. FWIW, you can take the streetcar, get off at Washington and walk a couple blocks (toward the river) to Commander's. Continue on a few more blocks and you'll run into Coquette (corner of Washington/Magazine).

        2. Not knowing of your particluar constraints, I would do these: Restaurant August for a high-end dinner; for a great "relaxed upscale" dinner w/menus reflecting New Orleans and other influences--Herbsaint or Coquette; for one focused on "Louisiana flavors"--Patois or Brigtsen's or the less expensive Boucherie (which really is wonderful despite a pretty limited menu).

          If you really want a New Orleans experience, in which sometimes the spectacle is more spectacular than the food (IMO) but which is worth having anyway, try Commander's for brunch or Friday lunch at Galatoire's.

          I agree w/the poster that Bayona lunch is fabulous (and relatively easy on the pocketbook). I also like Gautreau's but it wouldn't be one of only three if I were choosing only three.

          Restaurant August
          301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

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

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

          8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

          4 Replies
          1. re: nomadchowwoman

            If they are on a budget, a Friday lunch at August is $20 per person. An incredible bargain for the amazing food Besh and his staff serve up.

            1. re: FoodChic

              It is a fantastic deal, and I'm pretty sure it's available M through F (unless something has changed recently).

            2. re: nomadchowwoman

              Bayona is always a good choice and I think JazzyB is spot-on with the lunch special ideas. Something on the order of Liuzza's or Liuzza's-By-The-Track would give a neighborhood feel. Take a cab to/from either.

              For decent, and not expensive, there is always Tujaque's. Herme's Bar give you a chance to drink and try some of the famous appetizers.

              I'd counsel against Friday at Galatoire's. It is possible to have a good time on Friday but, even as a regular, I try not to go then or, at least, until about 3:30. I think Friday at August is probably a better deal if you are not in-on-the-show (and even if you are) at Galatoire's. Save it for Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon/evening. (But then there is always Commanders Sunday brunch and, although I have done it, I don't recommend a Commander's/Galatoire's double-header to the faint (or clogged) of-heart or those unaware of the New Orleans way of eating/drinking)

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

              430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Not happy to say I've been disappointed by my much beloved Liuzza's BTT on a few dishes. The garlic oyster po-boy can have a bitter, not-fresh garlic taste (possibly food-service crushed garlic from the jar) and the roast beef po-boy left my companion high and dry, being not really tender nor tasty with horseradish-less horseradish sauce. And, while I love the preponderance of black pepper in the signature BBQ shrimp po-boy, I would love to detect some butter and maybe (fresh) garlic and Worcestershire in the sauce to add a little bit more interest to it. That said, the place is still precious.

            3. If you are arriving the first weekend (Dec 3) be forewarned that a very big convention will just be ending (International Workboat Show). Reservations may be difficult on Friday, particularly for the FQ, CBD and Warehouse District. Also, corporate parties can drain wait and kitchen staff.

              Get reservations early.

              Things should be returning to "normal" Saturday

              1 Reply
              1. re: collardman

                Thanks for teh warning--I did not know that myself (I just never pay attention to the billboards and such)