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Mar 17, 2011 02:34 AM

Where to have a NOLA May Rehearsal Dinner?

I'm a NOLA girl living in Paris now but am having my rehearsal dinner on a Friday in May. We are about 25 people and many are from out of town so I want to be able to feature the great food! I was originally thinking Jacquimo's but they won't give us a private room. Everyone will be paying for themselves for dinner so I also don't want it to be too expensive (that rules out Commander's). I also don't want a room fee if I don't have to or at least a small one. I'm stuck. Suggestions?

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  1. KPaul uses upstairs for events like this and with the balcony for drinks, its a great venue. BonTon is another option. Otherwise for New Orleans food, you are somewhat limited, Red Fish Grill, one of Emerils restaurants, or the old line places. Joey K's maybe, Calcasieu, although, you probably need a bigger group. For something different maybe Bachanal.

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

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

    Red Fish Grill
    115 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

    1. Mandina's on Canal Street is Oh So New Orleans and it has a private room upstairs. If you are staying in the FQ or CBD, it is accessible by the Red Lady street car...that is a fun ride.

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

      1. First, congratulations! Second, glad that you are coming back to NOLA.

        Now, let's talk about the dinner. The other recs. sound great. I have no fault with any. One restaurant, that I would explore, is G W Fins in the FQ: They "fly under the radar" of many, but are excellent. They feature fresh, local seafood, and the preps are heavy on the "local" aspect, though not all would be considered "pure" NOLA Cuisine, by a purist.

        I've hosted dinners for about 16 out in the main restaurant dining room, and my wife has hosted a party of 20 in their private room, just off the main dining room. I cannot recall any of the particulars of that room. Going totally from memory, I think that 25 would be about the max, as our party of 20 seemed to be about 80% comfortable capacity. We did the full menu for that last event, but it was about 4 years ago, so things might have changed. I just looked for the contact person's card, but could not find it. A telephone call should get you in touch with them though. Cannot recall the lady's name, but she was a delight to work with. Now, we hosted, but that should not be an issue.

        Good luck, and hope that helps,


        1 Reply
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          I will 2nd GW Fins..... I got married 2 years ago (we live in Los Angeles) and we go back for Jazz Fest every year, and when we got engaged, we were thinking of a very small wedding in NOLA, and one of options we looked into was GW Fins... we go there every year, and they have a very pretty private room just off the dining room. The staff there are absolutely wonderful, and the food is simply delish... we already have our reservations for this year...

        2. Another place to look into is Cafe Atchafalaya - we've enjoyed our meals there recently and I believe they have a private room upstairs. While not 100% nola cuisine, I think they would fit the bill based on your Jaques-Imo's suggestion.

          I think Acme and Mothers both also do private rooms. I work in the CBD and have never even been to Mother's and I know people on this board aren't typically fans of those places, but they are reasonable and serve seafood so they might be a good choice for you.

          Congrats! We just had our rehearsal dinner in February at Muriel's and it was fantastic but we hosted and it was a huge amount of people so it sounds like you're looking for a different type of venue.

          That being said, other places I looked into with private rooms not mentioned here were: Tommy's (while typically Creole Italian, they do have a lot of local seafood dishes), Zea's, Ralph's on the Park - just to give you a few other ideas.

          Cafe Atchafalaya
          901 Louisiana Ave, New Orleans, LA 70115

          7 Replies
          1. re: Paisley16

            We have had a party of 15 or so twice at Zea's on St. Charles. While it is not a fine dining restaurant I think the food is very good for the price.

            Also, both times the single server pulled it off very well, even to separate checks. There wasn't 15 checks but were about 5.

            It has become our choice for large groups when some have cost concerns.

            1. re: collardman

              I don't know the price, but Arnaud's has several private rooms and handles groups very well.

              1. re: pizzajunkie

                Came in to say that I am invited to a rehearsal dinner next month at Arnaud's.

                1. re: pizzajunkie

                  Good call. Though Arnaud's does not get lot of love here, in the past, they came through for us. Fairly recently, we hosted a group of about 12 in one of their private rooms, and they were great. All guests (plus the host and hostess) loved their meals and the attentive service.


              2. re: Paisley16

                Would love to know how many people you hosted at Muriel's, whether it was a seated meal or reception style, and approximately what the charge was per person. Thanks.

                1. re: Mamacat2

                  We had the largest number they could seat all in one room - 78 and we did passed hors d'Ĺ“uvres and cocktails and then a seated dinner.

                  I know we had their 2010 prices since that's when we booked and they did go up in 2011.

                  We also chose to pay an extra fee to have a choice of entrees at dinner as opposed to all having one selection.

                  I honestly do not know what the final bill was, but our estimation was that it would cost about $125 per person, that included an open bar for the 3 hours we were there.

                  I emailed numerous places for prices and to be honest most venues don't even follow up afer sending them so I would recommend contacting as many places as you're interested in exploring.

                  In the end I think there were places that were less expensive on the food for a seated dinner but because we wanted cocktails before and an open bar Muriel's package ended up being on par or even a little less expensive than some of the other places we considered.

                  Overall we were very pleased and still have guests that are commenting on the food and atmosphere.

                  Hope that information helps!

              3. I think the OP lost interest.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CharlieH

                  Yeah, sometimes that happens, but then with a wedding, this is but a step in a long set of stairs.