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Jan 13, 2011 07:00 PM

best cheap eats in New Orleans

I am coming to New Orleans for a meeting and have reservations at Bayona for dinner and Cochon for lunch. I need a recommendation for one additional dinner. I want local food and don't want to spend a fortune. Suggestions?

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  1. Gumbo Shop in the FQ

    1. Mena's Palace is a local's favorite that serves NOLA comfort food for breakfast and lunch. They serve 25/30 different po boys. Johnny's Po Boy's is in the FQ on St. Louis and has outstanding po boys. Clover Grill is open 24/7 for breakfast and good burgers and it's inexpensive. Rampart Food Store has good po boys.

      Mena's Palace @ 200 Chartres St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 0217.
      Johnny's Po Boys @ 511 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 524 - 8129.
      Clover Grill @ 900 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 598 - 1010.
      Rampart Food Store @ 1700 North Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 944 - 7777.

      Commerce Restaurant is a couple of blocks W of Canal in walking distance of FQ and has good inexpensive lunch. Daisy Dukes serves good breakfast, lunch and dinner open 24/7. Yo Mama's Bar and Grill has good inexpensive food and great burgers. 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. Coop's is a great NOLA dive joint that serves outstanding comfort food and cold drinks. You can also watch the game there on their many TV's.

      Commerce Restaurant @ 300 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 561 - 9239.
      Daisy Duke's @ 121 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 561 - 5171.
      Yo Moma's Bar and Grill @ 727 Saint Peter St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 522 - 1125.
      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.

      Coops Place @ 1109 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 525 - 9053.

      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.
      Buffa's Lounge @ 1001 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA. 504 - 949 - 0038.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Littleman

        i see someone flagged my post for removal. interesting.

        anyway, again there are some errors in Littleman's post that the OP should bear in mind -- some of his suggestions are not open for the dinner meal youve requested, such as Mena's or Johnny's.

        also keep in mind that if you are looking for "local" food experience, as in "local to the region", you will be disappointed with bar or burger suggestions such as Yo Mama's, Daisey Duke's, Port of Call, Clover Grill, Buffa's, or pizza joints such as Angeli. (as a local who hits POC on a weekly basis im a big fan, but its not what youve requested)

        a suggestion that meets your request (dinner, local, not super expensive) is a restaurant like Boucherie, check it out.

        8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

      2. I like Mandina's.

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

        1 Reply
        1. Mr. Bs on royal would be a nice choice, outstanding bbq shrimp.

          1. I recommend Coop's. If there's a line, get a bloody mary from Molly's next door to drink while you wait. Great fried chicken, and great crawfish fettucine [a local potluck favorite, although Coop's version is even better].

            21 Replies
            1. re: midcity

              any idea how quickly the line moves? I now routinely see 20-30 people standing in line, and knowing how small the dining room is I have to wonder how long a wait they are in for?

              1. re: kibbles

                Someone on another thread referred to Coop's as " slop". Made me lol. I agree.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  I go to Coop's for dinner at least once on every visit I've made in the the last seven year, and often more than once. I have never had anything less than a fabulous meal, and never anything less than excellent service, certainly never rude service. And it was never expensive.

                  Slop, my Aunt Fanny!

                  1. re: Fydeaux

                    actually i think it was me that called it slop. sorry dude, but im with JB on this one. i enjoyed the duck quesadillas, but as far as cajun goes, its kinda mush. i know its popular w/ the kids today, but i think its because theres little reference point.

                    1. re: kibbles

                      Well, count me and my hubby as fans of Coop's. Granted, we only ate there once a couple years ago, but we loved everything from the jambalaya, fried oyster and shrimp platter, to the fabulous duck quesadillas. We found the service just fine, considering how busy they are, and I love their little grey kitty, too. Two thumbs up from us. We'll be back oh-so-soon again in February, and we are meeting up with a couple friends who've never been to NOLA before. We might just have to drop by Coop's again and let them try it as well. I'll say this: we loved Coop's much more than Jacques-Imo's for instance. In fact, we didn't love J-I's at all.....

                      Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                      8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                  2. re: JazzyB

                    JazzyB why do you always go out of your way to put Coop' down when so many people love it? Please try it one more time. I will pay for it! No, I am not affliated with Coop's I just cannot believe that you would say the fried chicken is dry.....it is juicy and flavorful. Come on! I'll set up a tab for you there and you give ti one more shot! If you still hate it then I give up but maybe you just had a few bad experiences...........

                    1. re: mcegielski

                      I believe I said the fried chicken was greasy. The jambalaya is a goopy mess that literally made me gag. Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass. Now, if you'd like to set up a tab at August.... Seriously, think people either love or hate Coop's. Folks should know this. With over 1000 restarants, I see no reason to return.

                      Christine, Re jacques: Great for the funk, not the foodt

                      1. re: JazzyB

                        Hey, the funk was not enough to make us want to come back for anything at J-I's. In fact, I would say it was not even funky, but sorely lacking in it. Just a lot of young hipster wannabes (or at least the night we were there for 3 1/2 hours, so we had plenty of time to observe). Now if you want to talk funky, I'd say Coop's has got Jacques-Imo's beat six ways to Sunday. Plus, (and I know your opinion varies), the food AND atmosphere was much more to our liking at Coop's. I can take the attitude much more at Coop's where at least it's all out there, not trying to hide behind a "cool tourist" vibe. Of course, just my 2 cents worth... :)

                        Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                        8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                        1. re: Christine

                          disagree. the "funk" at JI's isnt about the crowd, whatever hipster-wannabes may mean...in fact the crowd is very similar to Coop's. rather, the funk at JI is the atmosphere. its a creative fun space. who else has a table in the back of a pickup on a great little street? on our first visit a brass band walked thru the cozy small restaurant, was a blast. when a friend was there w/ a large table the owner asked if he could table-dive on their finished meal -- they obliged and he did! we've always had good, memorable moments like this. things you really cant get elsewhere.

                          order the fried chicken (which i think is the best in town), and some alligator cheesecake, or the deep-fried roast beef po-boy, some butter cornbread, and youre set.

                          1. re: kibbles

                            Jacque-Imo's for what it's worth is awesome. A good old funky fun new orleans time. fine dining it is not but they serve some tasty dishes. fried chicken great. appetizers were always good shrimp and ground beef stuffed pork chop was nice as well.....alligator cheesecake? oh yeah! JI is a good time. Best food in city? Not even close but a great experience and a must see for visitors.....

                            1. re: mcegielski

                              My husband and I had lunch at Coop's Sat. First off, folks should be aware that it is a bar that serves food, not a restaurant. No one under 21. They were ejecting a rather disgruntled family with their kids as we arrived. In that context ( bar food) it is better than average. We ordered "very" spicy Bloody Marys. They were very good. I had the fried chicken with red beans. My husb had an oyster poboy with fries. The fried chicken was good. It was nicely seasoned and relatively grease free (unlike before) and moist. Although the red beans were not to my liking, there was nothing wrong with them. They looked and tasted canned, no creamy sauce, loaded with pulled pork. My husband's poboy was average. He said the fries really tasted like potatoes, unlike the bland frozen variety most bars serve. Portions were large and my pooch was welcome.

                              1. re: JazzyB

                                I am happy to hear that Jazzy B! You hit the nail on the head-it is a bar that serves food. I'm not crazy about their poboys either. Glad to hear that the chicken was good and glad to hear that the pooch was welcome! He/She should be, there's usually a huge bulldog walking/laying around by the pool table that I guess belongs to the owner. I forgot about the bloody mary's! Yes, they rock. I always like to get a frozen Irish Coffee next door at Molly's after.

                            2. re: kibbles

                              Oops, sorry, it's just not my bag. Having somone table-dive on my meal, whether finished or not, just is not my idea of entertainment. And the table in the back of a pickup truck is quite kitschy and look-at-me pretentious (does anybody but tourists sit there?), but in fact, I wouldn't mind all of that quaintness if the food had been kickass good, but it wasn't. The gator cheesecake, cornbread and other food was barely warm when served and quite bland, although in fairness, I will say my hubby liked his BBQ shrimp (think that's what he had). A 2 1/2-hour wait for a table is just not worth it (serving stronger drinks would have helped). Disappointing, but true. Seems like J-I's has its hardcore fans, but also detractors, too. And hipster wannabes is a phrase that means whatever you want it to mean, and my definition perfectly fits the folk that were at Jacques-Imo's the night we were there: young, dumb, and full of themselves, but then table-diving and sitting on the street in the back of a pickup sounds like the place to be! :)

                              Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                              8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                              1. re: Christine

                                i am neither young nor dumb, nor are my dining companions -- so i think your definition is absurd to the extreme. "wannbe" what, exactly? you cant knock customers for being young and having fun. well, you can, but that doesnt say much...

                                as for the pickup truck seat -- if its the only seat available between me and a two-hour wait, i would gladly take it and not think twice. but personally, i wouldnt wait two hours. ive never waited two hours to eat anywhere, including JI. eat early or eat late, and spend your time waiting at Maple Leaf.

                                as for the table dive -- didnt suggest it as something you would enjoy.. rather, i cited it as one bullet point in a list of things that uphold the "funky" vibe at JI which you simply cannot get elsewhere. perhaps being w/ boisterous, spur of the moment people isnt for you and thats cool. as you said, the place isnt your bag.

                                1. re: kibbles

                                  Hey, cool down, wouldja? I wasn't implying anything about you personally, because I don't know you and you don't know me. I can only report what our experience at J-I's was that particular evening. In fact, we did arrive early that evening and had heard there would be a long wait at J-I's because that's typical, so we knew what we were in for before we arrived. The back of the truck was not offered to us so we didn't have a chance to be on display or dine sooner. We were told originally the wait would be an hour, then when an hour had passed and we saw other people being seated who had arrived after us, and we inquired about it and were told it would be another hour, we just decided to wait it out. OK, that was on us because normally we would not wait 2 1/2 hrs. for a table either, but that's unfortunately what it turned out to be. Just as you pile on people for liking Coop's atmosphere and food, don't be surprised or defensive when people pile on Jacques-Imo's for whatever reason they don't like it. My experience at JI's is that the "food was mush and it's what the kids seem to like nowadays", which is how you described Coop's. Our takes on these two places are obviously different. And BTW, "doesn't like to have fun" doesn't describe me or my DH at all. I've read of other people who are not that whoopie on J-I's either. Out of all the places we've dined in NO, it was the only place in which we've been disappointed, and feel it did not live up to the hype. I'm glad you like it.

                                  Jacques-Imo's Cafe
                                  8324 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                          2. re: JazzyB

                            While I don't agree with one of your choices above which I will not mention for fear of being run out of town on a rail, I CERTAINLY agree with you voicing your experience at restaurants that were not to your liking. I also agree wholeheartedly with your refusal to return to somewhere that wasn't to your liking especially if it was more than one dish that displeased you. This site is supposed to help others make decisions about where to eat and whether the experience is good or bad, it needs to be heard. I feel after paying more than a couple of hundred dollars for a meal for two, I have the right to put a restaurant down if it was bad. If they want a good review they have to earn it. If they want my repeat business, again, they have to earn it.

                          3. re: mcegielski

                            In the end, it is about one's preferences, one's palate and tastes. A restaurant that appeals to you, or to JazzyB, might not make my top 1000 list, and vice versa. It is what we, as individuals, like, or dislike.

                            On this board, I get flamed (though mild and usually friendly ones) for some of my choices. Some are NOT mainstream for the recs. on this board, but I have had enjoyable meals, and with some, on many occasions. They suit me, and in many ways. Some of the favs. here leave me wondering - "what's the deal here?" It just happens.

                            Same with various other boards. On my "home" Phoenix board, a certain steakhouse, and their sister seafood restaurant, garner great reviews from many locals. I will not dine at either, as the food, the service and even the ambiance is horrible, in my estimation. Even as a guest, who was pressed to order the wines with not limit, things were were not good. Same for Hawai`i, and London and Paris. Places that the general board folk might love, just do not do it for me. While my favorite places will often get panned. It happens.

                            Have not dined at Coop's, so cannot comment directly, but different folk have different experiences and judging criteria will yield different reviews. Here, it pays to know the reviewer, to try and judge if you are on the same page, as they are. That is one of the best things about CH, in that one can do a bit of research on particular posters. If one does not agree, then they should discount that poster's comments. If they like the recs. from another, then follow those leads.

                            In the end, it is all about individual and personal tastes.

                            Just offering some personal observations here,


                        2. re: kibbles

                          The line moves fairly quickly, in my experience--we were once in a line of about 30 and got in within 30 minutes. But I was drinking a bloody on an empty stomach, so my memories are a little fuzzy.

                          1. re: midcity

                            I'm not really a fan of JI's or Coop's- only been once to each place though, so can't be too harsh on either of 'em.

                            But I did want to add that the thing to do if there is a long line at Cop's is to go into Molly's next door, grab a table, and phone in a to go order at Coop's. Pick it up and bring it back to Molly's and enjoy the food while salivating over bartenders with some of the most beautiful body art I have ever seen (not normally a tattoo fan either!)...

                            I've never actually done this, but I have a friend who swears that he has many times...