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One Day in New Orleans - what to eat, somewhat on a budget?

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I'll be in New Orleans on Dec 27 for one full day. I'd love to get three good meals that day. Unfortunately, I'm somewhat on a budget. I can do one somewhat pricey meal, but the rest needs to be somewhat on the cheap. So what do you recommend? I always prefer stuff that samples what is good in a particular region, so unique to New Orleans is a plus. I have no problem going to delicious dives. I also tend to eat lighter breakfasts - so something quick and easy is a plus there. And finally, I'm staying in a hotel just outside the French Quarter, so nothing obscenely far away, please.

So, if you had one day to sample New Orleans cuisine, what would you do (on a budget)?

(Also, I'm a big fan of cocktails. Any truly oustanding bars I should check out at night?)

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  1. Mena's Palace is a local's favorite that serves NOLA comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They serve 25/30 different po boys. Johnny's Po Boy's is in the FQ on St. Louis and has outstanding po boys. Felipe's has great Mexican food using local ingredients. Clover Grill is open 24/7 for breakfast and good burgers and it's inexpensive. Rampart Food Store has good po boys. Antoine's, Mr. B's and Luke both have a 3 course prix fixe lunch for $20.00 if you want to step up a notch. Antoine's has 25 cent martini's at lunch. Luke has 50 cent oysters and half price drinks each weekday from 3 PM to 6 PM. Dine at the bar if you like.

    Domenica in The Roosevelt Hotel has half price pizza and half price drinks between 3 PM and 6 PM every weekday. The Trolley Stop Cafe on St. Charles Avenue has outstanding breakfast and lunch that's inexpensive. Go for the early bird $2.99 special. Angeli on Decatur has cheap late night eats such as pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pasta with a Mediterranean flair. Cafe Maspero serves very good reasonable NOLA cuisine also.

    Mimi's in the Marigny and Port O Call are fine places for inexpensive dining. The burgers at Port O Call are outstanding. Buffa's Lounge has good tamales.

    Mimi's in the Marigny @ 2601 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 872 - 9868.
    Port of Call @ 838 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 0120.
    http://www.portofcallneworleans.com/
    Buffa's Lounge @ 1001 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 0038.
    http://www.buffaslounge.com/

    Mena's Palace @ 200 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 0217.
    http://www.menaspalace.com/
    Johnny's Po Boys @ 511 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 8129.
    http://www.johnnyspoboy.com/
    Felipe's Taqueria @ 301 N. Peters St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 267 - 4406.
    http://www.felipesneworleans.com/inde...
    Clover Grill @ 900 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 598 - 1010.
    http://www.clovergrill.com/
    Rampart Food Store @ 1700 North Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 944 - 7777.
    Antoine's @ 713 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 581 - 4422.
    http://www.antoines.com/
    Mr. B's Bistro @ 201 Royal St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 523 - 2078.
    http://www.mrbsbistro.com/index2.php
    Luke Restaurant @ 333 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 378 - 2840.
    http://www.lukeneworleans.com/

    Domenica @ 123 Baronne St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 648 - 6020.
    http://www.domenicarestaurant.com/
    Trolley Stop Cafe @ 1923 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 0090.
    Angeli on Decatur @ 1141 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 566 - 0077.
    Cafe Maspero @ 601 Decatur Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 504 - 523 - 6250.
    http://www.pierremasperosrestaurant.com/

    Here's a link to cheap drinks in NOLA.

    http://www.neworleansdrinkspecials.co...

    Go to Lucy's Bar on Tchoupitoulas for a good 4 to 7 happy hour and $2.50 beer. You can walk there. Tell your wife to wear comfortable shoes.

    Lucy's Bar @ 701 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 8995.
    http://www.lucysretiredsurfers.com/ne...

    2 Replies
    1. re: Littleman

      Just one comment: we went to Cafe Maspero on Saturday with some friends from out of town. Agree that it was very reasonable, but it was not very good. I won't go back if I can help it.

      Note that this is about Cafe Maspero on Decatur, not Pierre Maspero's on Chartres, which is the link provided above. The Chartres St location is where Maspero's used to be, when it was still good. They moved to a larger location on Decatur, and somebody else opened a new restaurant in the old location.

      -----
      Cafe Maspero
      601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

      1. re: expatorleanian

        I haven't sampled myself but have heard the same comments about the Maspero's from several people

        -----
        Maspero's
        601 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130

    2. What do you have in ind for your pricey dinner?

      1. Restaurant August has a $20 pre-fixe lunch. Some of the items have a global influence, but others are refined Louisiana dishes. I had pork belly and grits the last time I was there- I had never had grits that were as good! They give you an amuse bouche and a little after dessert treat. You will have a very filling and special meal!

        A lot of the "fine-dining establishments" have $20 three-course lunches. I know Coquette has one and it's great. Antoine's had one over the summer- I'm not sure it's an all the time deal.

        You should consider coffee and something light for breakfast, an elegant lunch, and something casual for dinner. You can get a po-boy anytime of the day if that's what you are looking for.

        -----
        Restaurant August
        301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

        3 Replies
        1. re: jenn2083

          This light breakfast/elegant lunch/casual dinner seems like a good plan. I have a couple concerns though. What are the dress codes at the nicer restaurants (August, MiLA, etc) for lunch? I'd like to explore the area a bit between meals, and really dressy attire isn't ideal for that. Also, do they take lunch reservations? And of the $20 prix fixe menus, which should I try since I can only try one?

          And as for the more casual meals, what do you guys think of somewhere like Mena's for breakfast? It has mixed reviews on Yelp and the like, but it's been suggested as a local favorite. Any particular suggestions for a casual dinner?

          And what about cocktails or something else in the evening? Is there anything particularly special out there? I'm a bit of a cocktail geek, but I don't know if there's anything worth pursuing in that regard. Other nighttime suggestions?

          1. re: emtilt

            I don't know Mena's but Croissant d'Or is a good place for an inexpensive, tasty, and light breakfast before digging into a big lunch (August and MiLa are the best, but if I had to choose one, I'd go with August.) I think if you are wearing something neat (nice pants or jeans, a shirt with a collar- uh, are you a dude or a lady?) you should be fine. Just not shorts, or a T-shirt with stuff on it, flip flops, ripped jeans.

            Cocktails: check out the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone or Hermes Bar for classic New Orleans cocktails, and Bar Tonique for more cutting edge mixology. If you are in the mood, check out Cure- it's a cab ride away though. I think that Bar Tonique (on N. Rampart) will fill that niche more locally. If you want absinthe then check out Pravda, which is a fun time. Then you can cruise up Frenchmen for great live music.

            Casual Dinner: Coop's (also close to Pravda and Frenchmen St.); grab a muffeletta earlier in the day and apply that as needed; Three Muses on Frenchmen,

            Other thoughts for dinner: po'boys at Parkway, Tracy's, or elsewhere.

            -----
            Tonique
            820 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            1. re: noradeirdre

              The lines at Coops remained crazy while we were in town three weeks ago. I'd consider Felix's for an Oyster Bar, Elizabeth's for a down home breakfast/brunch (about a 2 mile cab ride from the Quarter to the Bywater), and Camelia Grill on Chartres for a sweet snack. Also have heard great things about Adolfo's in the Marigny for a budget option.

        2. Sazerac Bar at The Roosevelt.