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My Wifes 40th Birthday trip to NOLA. Recomendations please.

My wife and I, and another couple, are traveling to NOLA Feb 17th to 20th. No one in our group have been before as adults. We are staying at the Ritz Carlton. Can I get some advice on restaurants and bars. We are arriving on Thur. and leaving Sun. Also, some must see's would be nice. The four of us like to eat and drink well. I cant wait for this trip. Thanks in Advance.

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  1. Thanks for the tip, on where you will be staying. That helps more than you can imagine.

    Now, is there a particular cuisine that you are seeking? For instance, does each meal need to be 100% New Orleans, or just great?

    Is there any particular price point, that you would like to hit?

    For some NOLA classics, I would look to:

    Galatoire's just behind you in the FQ.

    G W Fins, also close by, but less NOLA-centric, a tad more casual, and mostly seafood.

    Stella! guessing about 8 blocks away, and less NOLA-centric, but great, fine-dining, none the less.

    Bayona, again close to you, with a strong NOLA influence, and lovely patio.

    Restaurant August - across Canal St and then a few blocks, and up-scale, with NOLA-influence, and local ingredients.

    MiLa - about the same distance, as Restaurant August, in the same general direction (CBD), and an interesting mixture of Mississippi and Louisiana cuisine, in an up-scale location.

    Arnaud's - in the FQ, and not far away. It is a traditional NOLA restaurant, and has been good for me, but maybe not all other posters here.

    NOLA - by Emeril Lagasse, and just down the street for you. We had a wonderful meal there, and all was great, but again, not a restaurant, that gets the top reviews of all here.

    Dominicia's at the Roosevelt - excellent Italian themed cuisine, just across Canal St., and a few blocks Lakeside. It's by Chef John Besh (Restaurant August) and is very good.

    As for bars:

    Carousel Bar, at the Monteleone
    Sazarac Bar, at the Roosevelt
    Any number of other bars, and too many to even think about.

    For the B'day dinner, how many in your group? I would think about either Galatoire's, or perhaps The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel, across Canal St., and a few blocks toward the River. The latter is very elegant and very quiet, with great food, service and wines.

    Enjoy,

    Hunt

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

    Bayona
    430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

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

    Windsor Court Hotel
    300 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

    4 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      Thanks for the fast reply Bill. We do want to experience real New Orleans food. Price is not an object but we would prefer not to have to wear coats and ties to every meal. We were considering August for birthday dinner. What are the best places for jazz?

      1. re: leftyp

        I'll let others (especially the wonderful locals) handle the jazz aspect.

        I'd take a jacket to NOLA, as it will be appreciated at many venues. A tie is not really necessary any more, but some places still require that gentlemen wear a jacket, and even in those restaurants, that do not, one will be more comfortable with a blazer, as many will likely be wearing suits.

        Though not as formal (with strict dress-code) as it once was, it is all about fitting in with all the other diners, at least to me.

        As for the recs., you are most welcome. Though we no longer live in the City, we do travel over, and especially for major events, and doubly, especially for my wife, the "local."

        Enjoy,

        Hunt

      2. re: Bill Hunt

        Skip breakfast. Have an early "fine" dining lunch: Emeril's(M-F), Commander's ( lunch specials/25cent martinis M-F), Galatoire's or Coquette (specialty cocktails 1/2 price all day Thur). Dinner: August, Herbsaint, Le Foret, Patois, Lilette. FWIW, I would classify Jeremy Davenport as lounge music. Go to Snug Harbor on Frenchmen for jazz.

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

        Herbsaint
        701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Lilette
        3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

        Le Foret
        129 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          add Chart Room, Hermes Bar at Antoine's, and French 75 Bar at Arnaud's to your adult beverage list. I would also go to Napoleon House for a Pimm's Cup.
          for dinner, I'll add a window table overlooking Royal St. at the Rib Room at the Royal Orleans.
          and go to Vieux Carre Wine & Spirits for some champagne and go flutes and take a carriage ride around the Qtr.
          cheers!

          -----
          Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
          500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

          Chart Room
          300 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

        2. They sang Happy Birthday to me at Galatoire's. It was awesome!! Go Thursday for a late lunch - around 1 or 1:30. It will still be crowded and all those celebrating lunch will still be there and be very happy by then :-)

          Don't miss Mr. B's bbq shrimp and if you can get out to Metairie, get some chargrilled oysters from Drago's. Yum Yum!!

          We had a $220+ dinner at August and were sorely disappointed. The only thing even worth mentioning was some kind of curry bisque. Everything else was blah.

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: texasredtop

            I just had a fantastic lunch at August. Never disappoints me. The OP might want to consider August (and other fine dining places) for lunch instead.

            1. re: noradeirdre

              Are you kidding? After having a $220+ dinner that wasn't worth $50 IMO, I'm not ever going back. I've heard stories of that famous gnocchi for years and one taste of it and I just couldn't believe it was so tasteless and mushy. I would never drop another dollar in there for any reason when I can go on the other side of Canal and have some fabulous bbq shrimp for $18.

              I have to tell you that I was quite shocked that in all the appetizers, entrees and desserts we ate there was only one dish that was memorable. It was nowhere near the best bisque I've ever had but it was good. The rest of the meal, not so much.

              I'm happy that you had a great lunch there, I hope my experience was not the norm but I have heard others say they were not impressed lately. It actually has made me consider not ever visiting any of Besh's other restaurants either. The jury is out on that one.

          2. Hunt gave you some great advice. Galatoire's is a great restaurant. I also like Emeril's. Be sure to visit the WWII DDay museum in the CBD. You can have lunch at American Sector in the museum. Have lunch at Commander's Palace in the GD on Friday for their $20.00 lunch special and 25 cent martini's, After lunch walk two blocks to Magazine St. and browse the many fine shops and stores in the 3,000 to 5,000 block area. Coquette, Lilette, Clancy's, Patois and Brigtsen's are fine restaurants in the GD and Uptown. You can ride the SC streetcar easily.

            For good jazz go to the Davenport Lounge in the Ritz Carlton on Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 9 PM to hear Jeremy Davenport's outstanding jazz. Bayona, Mr. B's and Irene's are excellent choices in the FQ. Have fun. Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Littleman

              See, I told you that the locals would have jazz covered! [Grin]

              I second Brigtsen's at the River Bend (nice streetcar ride from the FQ/CBD), and will also add that the Davenport Lounge does a great job, right in the Ritz.

              Enjoy,

              Hunt

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

            2. Im realizing there are too many outstanding dinning options in your great city. Here are our plans so far.

              fri
              Cafe du Monde for breakfast. Tour the garden district by street car. Can I get a recomendation for a casual lunch? Dinner at Emerils.

              sat
              Croissant D'or for breakfast. Parkway Bakery for Po Boys. Mister B's for Barbeque shrimp then
              August for dinner.

              sun
              brunch at Court of Two Sisters. Is this a mistake?

              Thanks again for the help.

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

              Mister B's
              210 Crescent Ave, Lockport, LA 70374

              33 Replies
              1. re: leftyp

                RE: brunch at Court of Two Sisters - YES! Mistake! Do not eat here.

                1. re: leftyp

                  I agree with Lilette for the Uptown lunch..it is dandy for your purposes. August has been getting slammed by a few folks lately.

                  Court of Two Sisters would be a good idea if (a) you were not concerned about wasting money and (b) wanted to see what the Other End of teh Scale is like when confronted with the same ingredients--and an undeniably lovely setting. It is not gonna kill you but....

                  -----
                  Lilette
                  3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    Ok...Officially looking for Sunday Brunch advice.

                    1. re: leftyp

                      What time are you leaving? If you are under the gun then I'd opt for Commander's--you might not have trouble with a reservation. You can takea cab up there, stow the luggage and then get a cab to the airport.

                      If flight is late enough then do Galatoire's...just tell the waiter you need to be out by what-ever-o-clock.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        Our flight leaves at 2:00mon Sun. I read Galatoires opens at 12:00 on Sunday. Any brunch options open at 10:00? Is it too much to tour the GD and do some shopping on Magazine?

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

                        1. re: leftyp

                          Sunday @ Commanders starts at 10:30 I think...that is probably your best bet but I think for a 2:00 flight you'd better be out the door at11:45 which will give you the required 90 minutes of airport aggravation to erase most of your vacation glow. Earlier thqan that? Something at a hotel, perhaps...I usually have brunch at Carnival time and other than Commander's I can't thinkof the last one I did at a restaurant

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            believe Luke opens early on Sundays

                            -----
                            Luke Restaurant
                            333 St Charles, New Orleans, LA 70130

                          2. re: leftyp

                            An early brunch reservation at Atchafalaya might work for you. There should be little wait and you can't beat their Bloody Mary bar. And the food is good and very much in the Creole/Cajun vein

                            1. re: collardman

                              i'd get a reservation for Atchafalaya -- they were pretty slammed when we were there for brunch; had to wait even with a res.

                        2. re: leftyp

                          Commander's or Coquette for brunch.

                        3. re: hazelhurst

                          Just to stick up for August, I still love that place. Just had a fantastic lunch there on Friday. I don't know if it's a few folks slamming August, as much as one person slamming it at every opportunity.

                          1. re: noradeirdre

                            well i can pipe in and im not the other guy. on our last two August visits the food was excellent on one, but on another one entree (a rolled chicken thing) was terrible.

                            what bothered me more tho was the sloppy service (empty wine and water glasses, amuse bouche served after apps), and the patron attire -- t-shirts, ladies in jeans & tank tops, and one dude in a baseball hat.

                            i wrote August about the lack of enforcement of their dress policy, and they said its something they wrestle with, but in the end decided that they wish to welcome any and all that come thru their door because they want everyone to be "comfortable". when i said their comfort in tees and hats came at the price of my discomfort, they didnt respond.

                            1. re: kibbles

                              Turning away business in this economy must be a very difficult thing to do. Unfortunately the places that stop doing it ultimately suffer. Interesting that they were so open about having made that compromise.

                              1. re: kukubura

                                The right thing to do would be to not tell a customer that calls and asks that "coats and ties are HIGHLY recommended" (at dinner) so you dress to the nines and sit next to people in sweat suits and khaki's that look like they'd been slept in.

                                I really could have overlooked all of that had the food been decent. My main objective was the gnocchi and it looked really good. That is the best thing I could say about it.

                                1. re: texasredtop

                                  texas, I think the issue others might have - and it IS something I've noticed myself reading this board for the past few weeks preparing for an upcoming trip - is that at seemingly every mention of August you jump in to slam it.

                                  I've only been once before, and while not the same terrible experience you so clearly had, it certainly was not otherworldly. It fell into the middle-lower end of the spectrum. Nevertheless, I don't bash it at every opportunity.

                                  Anyway, take this for whatever you think it is worth, just wanted to jump in and let you know why I think others have made the comments they have.

                                  1. re: a213b

                                    I have also jumped in and praised way more than one place. Should I only praise? I'm just being honest about my experiences. I would hope no one has the same experience I have and no, I have not jumped in and slammed August at every mention of it. I would have to be here 24/7 as it is mentioned a heck of a lot. :-) There are just so many better places to eat in the area that are good year after year after year that I hate to see anyone waste the time and effort.

                                    I get your point though and will not comment further on August. Thanks.

                                    Edit to add - I tried to delete my previous posts on this thread but was able to only delete one.

                                    1. re: texasredtop

                                      Cool, I'm glad you didn't take that to be a slam on you ... I am fine with people posting whatever they like (within CH guidelines), but just thought I'd point out what I thought others were trying to say, that's all.

                              2. re: kibbles

                                "and the patron attire -- t-shirts, ladies in jeans & tank tops, and one dude in a baseball hat."

                                I am afraid that this is becoming a "sign of the times." When we last dined there, I was one of the only gentlemen in a blazer - all the rest were in suits.

                                Soon, sweaty running shorts and flip-flops will be considered within the "dress-code." Most posts here have a "husband," or similar, who refuses to wear a jacket, and wants cut-off Levi shorts. Guess that they are getting their way?

                                While I do not understand that choice, I guess that many like to assume that a fine-dining restaurant ought to be like a neighborhood sports bar. Maybe Restaurant August can serve peanuts in the shells, which one throws onto the floor?

                                From the "comfort" standpoint, maybe Chef Besh should install some soiled sofas, and everyone could then lounge and dine from plates in their laps.

                                Some claim to desire a "classless society." I think they are close, as we now have a society with no class.

                                Hunt

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

                                1. re: texasredtop

                                  I don't think that's the case, I've seen several unprovoked comments about August. And I don't think anyone would dare say that you're not being honest, I believe that you had a disappointing meal there for a lot of money and it stinks. I think the point above was that the repetition about the experience has been... significant. Which is certainly your prerogative, just as it's the prerogative of others to be annoyed by it.

                                  1. re: noradeirdre

                                    Yeah, it did stink and I'm sure I'll get over it but I guess it's still fresh in my mind :-)

                                    I've also lavishly praised a few places to the point of annoying my own self. lol

                                    1. re: texasredtop

                                      Heh.

                                      Edited to add: funnily enough, I did not care for Mr. B's BBQ shrimp! Just goes to show, there are all kinds of tastes in the world... :-)

                                      1. re: noradeirdre

                                        And every year, my first bite just sends my taste buds to a whole new level. I was hooked on Pascal's bbq shrimp for years but after K, they just couldn't always get it right. One year good, next year not good so I tried Mr. B's. I doubt they get better every year but it sure seems like it after the first taste. Mr. B's isn't the only place I raved about on my recent trip.

                                        1. re: texasredtop

                                          Yeah, I wanna give the BBQ shrimp another try for sure.

                                          1. re: texasredtop

                                            Everyone's an expert regarding their palate. Not every place is for everyone. One bad meal is just that. I can certainly understand your reluctance to return. Harping on it will not sway those who have had exceptional meals. Who is right...everyone.

                                            1. re: JazzyB

                                              No one that I know is harping on it. No one is right. You can be wrong.

                                              1. re: JazzyB

                                                You will not draw me into another conversation about it. Like I said earlier, I will not mention their name again.

                                            2. re: noradeirdre

                                              We are close to that too. Mr. B's is good, but we've both enjoyed the Emeril version at two different restaurants. Along those lines, we both enjoyed Pascale's Manale for many dishes and over the decades, but are not real fans of their version (some say "original?"). It depends on one's taste. Some love a dish, and others are left scratching their heads. Happens all the time.

                                              Hunt

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

                                          2. re: noradeirdre

                                            Yes, disappointment can happen. While we have had great meals there, I have panned the wine service heavily. Changes have been made, but we have not fit them back into the rotation yet.

                                            Others have indicated that there have been some changes in the kitchen, and they have not been for the better.

                                            Great restaurants can slip. Mediocre restaurants can rise. It happens.

                                            As an example, Brennan's was off my map for a very long time. Then, much later, we were surprised, and in a very good way. Went back, and things were even better. Went back one more time, and everyone was hitting on "all cylinders." Same thing with The Grill Room at the Windsor Court. Went early on, when every magazine in the US was touting them. Everything was more than horrible. No way was I ever going back. Well, a decade later, we did, and they impressed on every aspect. In that review, I recounted my first experience. While I stood by that first review, they had done a complete turnaround, and were excellent. Had a similar experience with a restaurant on Waikiki. First visit was the "meal from hell," but after a decade, we went back. Things had changed greatly, and they assumed about the #4 spot in Waikiki for us. Then, their slide began. Now, they are something else (a steakhouse in Hawai`i, of all things), and we have not gone back.

                                            Yes, the great can fall, and the lesser can rise up. What was, might no longer be - good, or bad. [However, there are a few restaurants, that I just cannot bring myself to ever revisit.]

                                            Hunt

                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                              Mr. Hunt, you are my inspiration for keeping an open mind about restaurants!

                                              1. re: noradeirdre

                                                Well, there are many, where I can. However, had this been another thread, you'd likely have said, "don't you think you should give them another chance?"

                                                Glad that it was this thread! [Grin]

                                                Thanks for the kind words,

                                                Hunt

                                    2. re: leftyp

                                      Martinique Bistro for lunch on Magazine St.

                                      -----
                                      Martinique Restaurant Bistro
                                      5908 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                    3. I want to add one suggestion that is not in the Quarter for you.

                                      Magazine Street is a great little street - lots of local retail of all sorts. It is a fun stroll and is full of good restaurants and bars, too. My particular recent favorite in the bar category is Bouligny Tavern. It's right next door to Lilette, which is (not coincidentally) owned by the same person and is (also not coincidentally) one of my favorite restaurants. Bouligny is a grownup feeling spot, with a good crowd, pleasant service, yummy little bar snacks (marrow toast! marrow toast!) and a nice wine list. Lilette is just a delightful restaurant, and has a very small, but nice, outdoor seating area too.

                                      I highly recommend spending one afternoon strolling/shopping (take a cab or streetcar up and stroll down) and then going to one of these two places. :)

                                      -----
                                      Lilette
                                      3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: anneson

                                        2nd that emotion for Magazine St. Joey K's is a great neighborhood eatery. Always make a point of visiting if I am on that stretch of Magazine. I also 2nd the Brigtsen's rec, but cannot 2nd a rec for Arnaud's. Total tourist trap...

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

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

                                        1. re: GroovinGourmet

                                          With respect, I differ about Joey K's. Not a fan. For casual dining on Magazine Street I would recommend, from farthest downtown to farthest uptown:

                                          Ignatius - 4200 Magazine
                                          Casamento's - 4330 Magazine
                                          Guy's Po Boys - 5257 Magazine

                                          If you want a break from NO cuisine, Cafe Abyssinia is a newly-opened hole in the wall with very good Ethiopian food at 3511 Magazine.

                                          I have heard great things about Bouligny, per anneson's recommendation, at 3641 Magazine but have not yet gotten there.

                                          -----
                                          Ignatius Eatery
                                          4200 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                                           
                                          1. re: erikschwarz

                                            How did Casemento's turn into Ignatius (or the other way around)..not that he wouldn't have eaten there...(referring to photo)

                                            1. re: hazelhurst

                                              Unfortunately the "edit" functions on this website just will not behave, rather like Mr. I. J. Reilly, Esq.