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Where to eat/stay in NOLA?

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My boyfriend and I are visiting New Orleans in mid-April (before JazzFest) for our anniversary. He grew up 2 hours away so has been several times; it's my first trip. He's insisted on hitting up Cafe du Monde, which sounds great, but he doesn't have much experience with the more fine dining options. We would like to go someplace nice for our anniversary and would be fine with spending up to $100 for the total bill -- however, if we spend that much, we want it to be totally worth it! Any suggestions of venues that fit the bill?

Also, we haven't booked our hotel yet. We've checked out all main travel sites and they seem to only list chain hotels and fancy four-star places that we can't really afford. We'll do a chain hotel if that's all we can afford, but we'd like to stay somewhere with a little bit more local flair (even if it's not super-fancy). We're looking at spending up to $100 a night. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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  1. look for a hotel in the french quarter, rather than the CBD or warehouse district for a local flair. check out frommers.com, then look up the hotels in the quarter to see what the prices are. the prices change radically in new orleans from week to week. $100 a night might be a liitle low, depending on the time you are going. for researching restaurants, i use urbanspoon/new orleans or nomenu.com. let us know what you like to eat and we can make some suggestions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: califkatie

      As far as what we like to eat . . . pretty much everything! We both love seafood, particularly shellfish, and he's a huge sushi fan. Steak, chicken, or vegetarian dishes are all equally welcome, though. We're pretty adventurous eaters and will pretty much try anything once. Our favorite place in our city is an excellent asian fusion place, but I personally am looking at this trip as an opportunity to experience authentic cajun/creole food. Spicy is not a problem for either of us. Pretty much the only thing I absolutely will not eat is sweet potatoes (I've tried many times and many different preparations to like them, and the smell/taste/texture of them just puts me off).

      1. re: smk5815

        well, in the greater new orleans area there are over 1100 restaurants. wheew. in the french quarter, i like a couple restaurants that might be something you are looking for. check out their menus online. mr. b's bistro, palace cafe, red fish grill. these are what i would consider midpriced places. but an appetizer,entree, dessert and drinks would take you over your price limit.

    2. Is there something going on the weekend of April 15? Everything in our price range on Frommer's is booked! It's looking more like we'll be staying at a Best Western . . .

      Thanks so much for your help, we'll check these places out!

      3 Replies
      1. re: smk5815

        move your hotel questions over to tripadvisor/new orleans forums for help.

        1. re: smk5815

          Probably French Quarter Fest....... happens weekend before Jazz Fest usually. Fun time.

          1. re: masnole

            FQ Festival is weekend of April 9 not April 15.

        2. Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will be removed.

          1. Book your hotel ASAP; April seems to be a very popular month, even before Jazz Fest. I booked Easter rooms 2 months ago and things were getting a little pricey. Check out Hotel Provincial and Le Richelieu in the Quarter. Both full of local charm, not super fancy but not grungy either.

            For amazing meals on the cheap, consider some of the $20 lunches as Restaurant August and out in the Garden District at Coquette. We LOVED both. Also don't miss Cochon in the CBD or, for less $$$ Cochon Butcher next door.
            Acme in the Quarter is good for your cheap meals; grilled oysters, poboys, etc.
            Also Coop's has an amazing array of great food in a divey atmosphere but you won't regret it. Great pastas, red beans & rice and jambalaya.
            Have an amazing time !!!!!!!

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

            Cochon
            930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

            Cochon Butcher
            930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130

            1. DO NOT go to Gallatoires. Go instead to Bayona, ask for Chris to be your waiter, and tell him Suzette sent you. Ask him about his cat named Ass. If Chris isn't there ask for Brian to give you a waiter up to his standards. Seriously, Bayona is one of the top tables in NOLA, and that is saying a lot for such a foodie town. You will eat well there, thanks to amazing chef Susan Spicer, and be well cared for thanks to the very attentive staff. Here's the info - 430 Dauphine Street, New Orleans, LA 70112-3406, (504) 525-4455. My second suggestion is brunch at Commander's Palace. Chef Tory's kitchen is run with the hush of a church, and with equal reverence for the food that comes out of it. I enjoyed the Garden room for brunch - it felt like I was in a very fancy tree house, despite the tornado warnings and waterfall effect the rain made on the window glass. Despite all this, the jazz trio played on, they serenaded, and very well dressed people at every table were getting very, very tipsy. If it's your anniversary, let them know, and they will take special care of you. My final suggestion is August, where John Besh presides as chef. Loved the atmosphere, sommelier, food, all of it. The chef sent us 5 desserts last year - I guess he was in a good mood! Laissez les bon temps roulez!
              PS - The ONLY place to stay is the Hotel Monteleone. I hope you don't mind that it is haunted! It's in the Quarter on Royal street - walking distance to everything except Commander's.

              -----
              Commander's Palace Restaurant
              1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

              Bayona
              430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

              5 Replies
              1. re: nosquidfood

                I regret to say that I think they'd have a difficult time staying within the budget at any of those places..although teh Monteleone does offer specials that might just make it...

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Realistically, rates don't drop that low till the summer (July/Aug). If you are paying $100 now, be wary: it's either not a good area or it's not in NOLA proper.

                  $100 for a fine dining dinner can be done if you forgo either appetizers or dessert as well as alcohol. As mentioned upthread, take advantage of fine dining during lunch. Try Commander's, August, Emeril's (all M-F,) Coquette (W-Sat), Patois (F). Domenica happy hour (daily 3-6) 1/2 price specialty cocktails, wine, beer, pizzas. Luke (daily 3-6) 50 cent oysters, 1/2 price libations. Le Foret Fri. lunch special.

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

                  Domenica
                  123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 70112

                  Le Foret
                  129 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                  1. re: JazzyB

                    That's true about rates but I have a friend who is a coompu-whiz and is terrific at getting cheap-o rates, even at qig-wams like the Ritz. He's always getting these under-$100-rates..damnfino how he does it, tho. Anyway, i agree that the Monteleone for $100 is not generally realistic.

                2. re: nosquidfood

                  lunch at Mr. B's is a good time to go. The BBQ shrimp lunch portion is cheaper and there's a nice $1.50 cocktail menu.

                  (I was going to suggest Commander's for another lunch but I see you've booked it for brunch)

                  Check out Lil Dizzy's in Treme.

                  1. re: nosquidfood

                    What's wrong with Galatoire's. I have not seen anyone comment's saying don't go there.

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

                  2. We went to hotels.com and got an amazing deal at the Hilton on St. Charles, it averages out to $109/night for our stay April 10-19! It's beautiful, close to everything and Luke restaurant is downstairs. I don't know if you'll still get that sale though. Another tip: New Orleans has some great B&Bs. In particular, I would recommend that you call Russell at Oakview Bed and Breakfast. I believe his rooms are only $99 during off-season and he cooks an amazing breakfast daily including the biggest, best biscuits ever! They're on City Park Avenue, right across from the park. It's a quiet part of midtown, but you can easily take the streetcar from Carrollton a block away to get to the French Quarter etc.

                    As a few folks have said, you might want to consider a fancy lunch for your anniversary celebration on $100 budget. A few other tips: Commander's Palace has $0.25 martinis during lunch, Antoine's has a 3-course lunch for $20.11 that's an amazing value. Emeril's lunch could be done for $100, and the menu is virtually the same as dinner but cheaper.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: bogie

                      Emeril's has a 3 course lunch $19.50 M-F.

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

                      1. re: JazzyB

                        I only had it once but I really wasn't wowed by the "crunch lunch" at Emeril's. It was fine, but 2 out of 3 courses were bland and fairly standard. I think the lunch deal at August is MUCH better for a similar price.

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

                        1. re: bigfish813

                          Perhaps it was poor menu selection on you part. Items on the crunch lunch change. Nothing bland about Darian's fried chicken and waffles with Crystal syrup (unfortunately now ala carte) or smoked exotic mushrooms with tasso cream on angel hair. Compared to a po boy ,or a burger at POC, it is a steal. However, August's 3 courses 2 $20 is THE best deal in town. It just depends what you're in the mood for.

                      2. re: bogie

                        The B & B route is the way to go. There are a bunch of super B & Bs in Marigny, most within walking distance of the FQ and Frenchmen Street.
                        The Garden District also has some fine B & Bs but there is little night-life in that area, so you will spend some time on the streetcar or hoofing it back and forth from the FQ

                      3. Boucherie is a great little spot that will keep you well under a $100 total, even with three courses and drinks. It is not nearly as fancy as, say, Commander's Palace, but the food is always delicious and the atmosphere elegant but relaxed. Their menu changes every month, but two standouts were the tamarind lacquered scallops and the duck confit.

                        -----
                        Commander's Palace Restaurant
                        1403 Washington Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Boucherie
                        8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

                        1. Thanks so much to everyone for all the awesome advice! We booked our hotel last night (Le Pavillon), and we're looking into all the great restaurant suggestions from here and from a friends in the area. Hopefully we'll pick a place and make our reservations in a few days!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: smk5815

                            I just made reservations for the jazz brunch at Commander's Place on the day before our anniversary, and dinner at Delmonico for our actual anniversary. It's a little more than we had originally planned on spending, but I'm getting brunch and he's getting dinner so I think we'll be good.

                            Thanks again for all the feedback!

                            1. re: smk5815

                              please let us know how your meal at delmonicos is. i was wondering about going there.

                              1. re: califkatie

                                We were in NOLA the last weekend in February.....stayed at Hotel Maison Dupuy on Toulouse....2 blocks off Bourbon and had a nice stay......Rooms were decent...not great....clean.....They had a very nice hotel bar.....and their concierge "Sarah" got us into anywhere we wanted to be.....She has connections!......It was "pre mardi gras".....Mardi Gras without the crazy crowds.....and still 3 parades per day.....I've been to NoLa many times and always take a tour to do and see something and have never been disappointed.....

                                Nobody mentions K-Pauls Kitchen much but we included it this time and it was EXTREMELY good.......and will surely go back again.....We got a table in the back that look right into the kitchen and had a blast watching those guys work!......

                                Can't wait to go back....

                                EMac
                                Ft. Pierce, FL