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NOLA Trip Eating Itinerary

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I'll be traveling with my family for a long weekend in New Orleans in a few weeks. As always, I've been put in charge of the food itinerary. We'll be staying in the French Quarter, but happy to travel by foot or cab for dinner. Lunch location is a little less flexible as it will be determined by our daytime activities. I've read through a bunch of threads, so I know some of this has been covered, but any comments or suggestions would be appreciated, especially with regard to Sun brunch and Mon dinner, but overall as well:

Sat
Lunch in Garden District: Parasol's
Dinner: Acme Oyster House (want Oysters, seafood)

Sun
Jazz Brunch: a friend of a friend suggested Court of Two Sisters, but have read mixed (at best) reviews. Thinking Arnaud's or Mr. B's instead
Dinner: Galatoire's

Mon
Lunch - Family wants to do touristy stuff outside of NOLA, so probably just find something convenient
Dinner: August or Commander's Palace.

Tues
Lunch in French Quarter: Central Grocery

Thanks!

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

Acme Oyster House
724 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

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  1. You'll get a lot of 00 buckshot at the Court of Two Sisters idea...although t here are some folks who say the brunch is fine. Certainly a lovely spot. Commander's will be highly touted and it really is The Standard in town but then you'd have to change your Monday plans unless you care to double dip. Arnaud's as a replacement would be more elegant that Mr B's but as I have said on here before I have not been in some time and don't know who is running the show over there. No matter where you are (other than Mr B) remember that Sunday is the dressiest day of the week.

    I will say that I am on the verge of completely discounselling Acme except, perhaps, for raw oysters. Both in New Orleans and at their satellite shops I have had consistently depressing stuff. Perhaps I am being too harsh but the fried stuff is only passable..barely..the roast beef po-boy is enough to create a brigade of vegetarians. They've been using some kind of sausage that, I am told, "corporate" switched to a few months ago. If I saw it on the highway, I'd swerve to hit it. I've tried to be fair but I've just about had it. And I cannot speak to whether Felix is any better. I just go to Casamento's or fend for myself.

    -----
    Casamento's Restaurant
    4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

    8 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      Thanks for your reply. For Sunday dress, would a tie be required, or is Jacket and slacks dressy enough?

      A friend whose opinion I trust thought that Commander's brunch was overrated, which is why I was thinking possibly dinner there and brunch elsewhere. But, if common thought is that it's the standard, maybe brunch at Commander's and dinner and Restaurant August is the way to go.

      The thought for Sat dinner is heavy on the raw bar, so maybe Acme will be ok? Will do some research on Casamento's though.

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

      Casamento's Restaurant
      4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

      1. re: glutton08

        Jacket and slacks are fine most places but regulars would appreciate the tie. Your Sunday choices, no matter what, are going to be VERY rich back-to-back.

        I don't thank Commander's is over-rated for bruch at all. It is not Thermo-nuclear micro-bionic quark-level fusion alchemy...it's just good ingredients in classic forms. There's not much to egg dishes with compound sauces on them..and its great when the stuff is good quality.

        You won;t be disappointed with August...even there I'd still have a suit on but that's me.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          I plan on doing A LOT of walking between those two rich meals. But these are the sacrifices I'll make to fit lots of good eating into a short trip!

      2. re: hazelhurst

        Not that it might matter to the OP, but we had a lovely lunch at ACME at MYS. As we are not big ACME fans, this came as a bit of a surprise.

        Using the Way-back machine, there was once great airport food in that general location, but times have changed. Still, we were surprised, and in a good way.

        As we seem to live in airports nowadays, we DO seek out good food, whether in the main terminals, or out on the concourses, and have only found a very few, we were happy to report that the MSY location of ACME was surprisingly good. So far, the only others, that beat it out, are the Yankee Pier at SFO and Pour La France at DIA.

        Hunt

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Shocks the helloutta me but I am certainly glad for you. Maybe you are dressed better....2 buttons and all that (BTW, saw some recent 3-button jobs..you are right..they are awful)

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Yeah, tried a 3-button in London, but passed. Just was not MY look. Maybe if I'd loose 20 lbs? Tailor told me that he could work miracles, but went 2-button at the end of the day.

            Hunt

            BTW - thanks to you, we did Wilton's, and it was very good. I did the fried flounder, and while all else was great, let's just say that GB does does not have a Brunings!

          2. re: Bill Hunt

            i visit Minneapolis fairly often and theyve gotten in on the good-dining-in-airport act, by bringing in a favorite downtown establishment and opening a real restaurant in the terminal. an alternative to the "Chilli's Too" variety slop usually found.

            it's always amazed me that MSY doesnt have a favored chef's joint in operation, and a great poboy bar, and a real jazz club. what better town *should* there be to kill some hours in the airport?

            maybe with the upcoming renovation...

            1. re: kibbles

              I agree with you, but will say that the ACME (though not my fav. in the FQ) was pretty good. The menu was limited, and the wine list almost non-existent, but the food, especially for airport grub, was good, and the wine serviceable. Unlike some spots at MSY, the service was top-notch. I worry about what tourists think at some, but then, when they dine, they are on the way home, and NOLA has gotten their $'s. Still, were I head of NOLA Tourism, I would roll some heads at MSY. There is just no excuse for rude, inattentive service, but that is fodder for another thread.

              Probably before your time, there WAS a good restaurant, and in the same general space as ACME. It was very good, the wines flowed well into the AM, and the servers were kicks - think Camellia Grill in the "good ole days." There were times, when I'd fly in and actually dine there, rather than just on my way out.

              I've actually seen some threads on Chilli's Two, so it must be good. At PHX (Sky Harbor), we had a great burger stand in Terminal 2 (United, Alaska, Continental), but it bit the dust with a redo. Now, nibbles at the Red Carpet Club are as good as it gets. In Terminal 4, we have a satellite to a great little neighborhood Mexican cafe, but it is not even a shadow of the real El Bravo.

              Good dining,

              Hunt

              -----
              Camellia Grill
              626 S Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

        2. I think you can do as well or better for oysters/seafood at Felix's or several of the other FQ seafood places. Drago's @ Hilton has certainly gotten mixed to negative reviews but his oyster sources are great so raw oysters there should be good.

          7 Replies
          1. re: collardman

            Thanks. Sounds like Acme is out. Will have to look into Felix's and Drago's.

            1. re: glutton08

              Commander's has never disappointed me for brunch. Highly recommended. Also, I've come to enjoy Bourbon House for their raw bar and the atmosphere, although I have seen them pre-shuck their oysters when they're really busy, which seems a little unsafe to me. Am I wrong, Chowhounders? I've been wondering this for a while.

              -----
              Bourbon House
              144 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

              1. re: shanefink

                There's nothing wrong with shucking them ahead so long as they are on ice and are going to be used rather quickly. I say this as a veteran shucker myself. The big problem is that they will dry out if left too long. I have shucked for parties where we'd have a rush then a lull so we, the shuckers, just ate the lonely pre-shucked oysters ourselves.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  your sacrifice has been noted. :)

            2. re: collardman

              I may well be the "odd man out," but Drago's at the Hilton missed on every element of our one experience. Nothing was good, nor right. Could have been their "night from Hell," but we should not have experienced every element. In the next two trips, we have wheeled M-I-L to elsewhere, right past Drago's,and no one in the family has ever commented that it was right there.

              Many sign the praises of the Metairie location, but we have never dined there.

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Agreed, Bill. I think Acme has much better chargrilled oysters than Hilton's Drago's.

                1. re: FoodChic

                  That is one dish, that I have yet to try at ACME. My family was split, almost 50-50 between ACME and Felix's, and I leaned towards the latter. Next time in the FQ, I will "cross the street" and will try the chargrilled at ACME. Though I tried to describe the Drago's Hilton dish, in my review, I think that I failed. It was a very, very bad joke, IMHO. Have never done the Metairie Drago's, so might have a totally different opinion of theirs.

                  Hunt

            3. Thanks for all the help. After talking to the family and taking all the feedback into account, I think I've settled on:

              Sat
              Lunch in Garden District: Parasol's
              Dinner: Felix's or Casamento's, probably game-time decision since we won't be making reservations

              Sun
              Jazz Brunch: Arnaud's
              Dinner: Galatoire's

              Mon
              Lunch - Family wants to do touristy stuff outside of NOLA, so probably just find something convenient
              Dinner: Restaurant August

              Tues
              Lunch in French Quarter: Central Grocery

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

              Casamento's Restaurant
              4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

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

              5 Replies
              1. re: glutton08

                Sounds like a great plan, but how are you going to eat that much?

                1. re: wgivens

                  Ha. Big appetites, lots of walking around between meals, and probably not eating for the week to follow.

                2. re: glutton08

                  Though I do enjoy Felix's, I would opt for Casamento's for dinner, but that is just me.

                  Other than that, looks good, and I am envious.

                  Enjoy and travel safely,

                  Hunt

                  -----
                  Casamento's Restaurant
                  4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    I love Casamento's. Mmmm.

                    -----
                    Casamento's Restaurant
                    4330 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115

                    1. re: noradeirdre

                      Gosh, I have not been in so many years. Still, they do get a lot of love here, so I need to rectify that situation - so many great restaurants, and so very little time.

                      Thanks,

                      Hunt

                3. Just got back from the trip, and everything was fantastic, though I feel like I've eaten a month's worth of food in the past 4 days. Thanks to everyone for the recs.

                  Parasol's: Split a oyster and roast beef po boy. A great start to the weekend. They're so simple, it seems like it should be easy to reproduce, but nothing up here in NYC compares.

                  Felix's: After a long day of traveling and walking, decided to stay in the FQ for dinner, so Felix's it was. Char grilled oysters were rich and great. Had not had oysters prepared in that way before, as I usually prefer raw on the half shell, but was happily surprised. The raw ones, on the other hand, seemed fresh enough, but were not shucked with much care. Shells were not cleaned off at all and there were bits of shell in the oyster, plus the "juice" had been spilled out of several.

                  Arnaud's: Did the Jazz Brunch. Was expecting more a set Jazz band playing in the background rather than the small three-person band going table to table, but was a cool, if touristy meal. Boudin Cakes were great and also got to try the Grillades & Grits, which were good as well.

                  Galatoire's: Best of both worlds, made a reservation to ensure a table / minimal wait, but got seated downstairs. Loved the ambiance. Had an amazing duck and andouille gumbo that was the best of several soups I had over the weekend. Main course was sauteed soft shell crabs with crabmeat yvonne added as a garnish. In a word, amazing.

                  Gumbo Shop: Went for lunch on Mon. Seemed more touristy than great food, but was convenient, and I enjoyed it. Satisfied my crawfish etoufee craving. It's not a dish a can find in NYC, so even what I assume to be a mediocre version of it was great to me.

                  Restaurant August: In a trip of amazing food and all around great meals, this may have been my favorite. Of four appetizers, four entrees, dessert, wine, and cocktails there was not a single miss. The gnocchi, p&j oysters, and foie 3 ways especially stood out as appetizers. Breaded speckled trout and a lamb saddle w lamb sweetbreads were my favorites of the entrees. But, really, I would have been happy with any combination of the dishes that were ordered for the whole party, which is rare to say the least.

                  Alpine: Tried to go to Yo Mama's for crawfish boil lunch in the FQ, but they were done for the season, so the helpful bartender sent us a couple of blocks away to Alpine. As with the etoufee, I don't have much of a basis for comparison, but could not have been happier with it.

                  Central Grocery: Grabbed some muffalettas and zapp's chips to go for the flight home. Best airplane meal in a long time. Was actually surprised at how well the sandwiches traveled.

                  All in all just a great trip. I'm still stuffed, but very happy.

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

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

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: glutton08

                    Great reviews! Thanks so much for taking the time to put it all together.

                    Sorry that my Felix's comment came so late - after you had returned home.

                    Never done Arnaud's Jazz Brunch, so thanks for that. We have only hosted dinners, and they have always come through for us.

                    We have loved Restaurant August, and glad that you did too.

                    Again, thanks for the time and the reviews,

                    Hunt

                    PS - when we return, we normally do not eat anything for almost two weeks. You are better, than we are!!!!

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

                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      Two things have come to mind reading this thread - I am a Gulf Coaster and lifetime N.O. visitor. Drago's roasted oysters are amazing and fairly consistent - I have had one overdone trip that would be a turn off but just speak up. I eat oysters routinely here in town and it is clear Drago's even at the Hilton know what to do with them and you can ask for a redo if need be. As for my second comment, I did Arnaud's recently and while it was not quite Court of Two Sisters heat lamp food, it was close. At this moment I will stick to their adorable little intimate bar and forgo the food.

                      1. re: rtbotts

                        Out of curiosity, did you read my review of Drago's Hilton?

                        The reason that I ask is that they did nothing at even a base level - nothing.

                        If a restaurant cannot serve a signature dish, a clean, fresh wine glass, or any other item on their menu, I am not sure that I would ever consider going back. The got a zero for a meal for four, where nothing was good, and no one cared, though the place was almost empty, and there were a dozen "servers" on cell phones, just standing around.

                        We've been back to the Hilton four times, since that, and we'll wheel M-I-L to the back of the FQ, rather than dine there. We have done just that, passing Drago's on every evening.

                        Now, had anything been edible, or had the service tried to make up for the issues, maybe I would feel differently. As it is, I do not.

                        I can find no reason to ever try them again, though if the timing is right, I might try the Metairie location.

                        As for Arnaud's, my first trip there was probably in about 1959. They came through then. My last trip was just before Katrina, and again, they scored about a 95%, on all accounts. I only speak of what I have experienced, whether it flies against the board, or not. Have not been post-K, so things could well have changed?

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          It is amazing how people can have such different experiences at a restaurant. It always makes me wonder when I have an "I will not go back" experience if it is truly a terrible restaurant or just the worst night that staff, chef, etc. has ever had.

                          I have been to Arnaud's twice since Katrina and once to their off shoot (Remoulade's?) post Katrina, as well, and the food has been cold, he shrimp has not been peeled, the wait staff waited 25 minutes to take our drink order and on and on. I hope that I am alone in these experiences but I gave them three shots.

                          1. re: rtbotts

                            Well, I have to report that as of this weekend you are unfortunately correct about Drago's. The other couple we met in N.O. had an awful meal there Friday afternoon. In light of my above theory, I went on Saturday and had an "I will not go back" experience. Rats.

                            1. re: rtbotts

                              Sorry to read this. Sometimes we just have to experience thingsourselves to form an educated opinion. Hope the rest of your trip went well.

                            2. re: rtbotts

                              I completely understand. Different nights, and for different folk, and there can be little to relate those different experiences.

                              Just did Michael Mina's in San Francisco, for wife's birthday. We'd done it many times, when it was located at the St. Francis Hotel (Union Square), but it has now moved to the spot, occupied by Aqua.

                              Well, in the old location, it came through 100%, and when Aqua was up and running, that was great too. Now, the experience was less than spectacular. Wife says that she'd never return, but I would give it one more go. Nothing to recommend it, and it WAS a fav. of ours, and even the previous restaurant got very high marks.

                              What was different? Well, now the menu was totally uninspired. The wine list was still good (and friends had ordered a bottle of nice white Burg, which was waiting for us), but nothing seemed quite right. We ended up doing the chef's tasting, with the sommelier's pairings, and again - nothing to recommend it. How could a combo of two of our favorite restaurants in San Francisco fail so badly? I cannot say, but they managed to do so.

                              Different nights, different folk and maybe the "phases of the Moon?"

                              On this board, Arnaud's does not get a lot of love. However, I feel compelled to "call 'em, as I see 'em," even if that flies in the face of many trusted respondents.

                              Same with Drago's at the Hilton. I will never return, though the majority of NOLA board folk love them.

                              I grade hard, but feel that I am fair. How could I be so wrong? Well, different nights, different tastes...

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                I haven't been to Arnaud's since we had a horrible experience at their jazz bar. I do remember thinking our dinner in the dining room was fabulous. We may try that again.

                                (Off topic) BH, you were absolutely correct about Nick's Fishmarket on Maui. It was the best meal of the trip.

                                1. re: FoodChic

                                  Our experiences at Arnaud's go back a bit, but they never dropped the ball anywhere. We used to dine there much more often, when we lived in NOLA.

                                  I am trying to pencil in Muriel's, due to a CH's response on how things have changed. Our experiences were pre-K.

                                  As to Nick's, that was another poster. I just asked some questions, as the only Nick's Fish Market, that I knew was on O`ahu. The Maui one seems to be very different. I've not dined there yet.

                                  Enjoy,

                                  Hunt

                                2. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Bill which spot is best for a Sunday brunch?

                                  1. re: Jquemichele

                                    If you want music then the overwhelming favorite will be Commander's. As with any of the classic places, you can keep costs down without booze. Of course, the rpice question will have a lot to do with what you are used to and we have generally much kinder pricing than the rest of the nation...at least, I think so

                                    1. re: Jquemichele

                                      The Sunday Brunches, that have impressed us, have been Brennan's in the FQ and then Ralph's on the Park. Both have been very good to great.

                                      Enjoy,

                                      Hunt

                          2. re: glutton08

                            What can I expect to pay per person at August? Excluding wine.

                            1. re: CMinPGH

                              I don't really remember because I didn't pay that bill, but my recollection is appetizers in the $10-15 range, entrees in the $25-35 range, and desserts in the $5-10 range. So, figure $50ish pp before tax (9%, I believe), tip, and drinks.

                              1. re: CMinPGH

                                I did a full review, some years back, and think that I broke out the food (chef's full tasting menu) from the wine. That should get you close.

                                Enjoy,

                                Hunt

                                1. re: CMinPGH

                                  My bride & I were there last week and had an outstanding meal.

                                  We had (2) sazeracs each, my wife had an app, entree & dessert, and I had the 5 course degustation menu; Including tax, the bill was $217.

                                  Our only complaint was that the service was overly formal and stuffy (well, that and there was a fruit fly in one of our sazeracs! All we got from the waiter was an "oh sorry"). We had been to Commanders Palace a few days prior and thought the service there to be pitch perfect.

                                  The food was beyond reproach though.

                              2. i prefer august to commanders - but august is very much more my style of eating. commanders was a bit too old school for me. the food was prepared well, very tasty, no complaints, but it just was all about looking backwards, and i prefer the view in the other direction.

                                i had excellent grilled oysters at acme. also great raw. i've eaten nothing else so, so i cannot comment.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: thew

                                  Good comments on the differences between CP's and Restaurant August. Now, I can look in "both directions," but prefer Chef Besh's take, at least now in my life.

                                  Still, I recall enough of NOLA culinary history, that I do give a few points to the "past." [Grin]

                                  Hunt

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

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    the nice thing about besh - he is fully immersed in a modern aesthetic, but he is firmly rooted in the flavors of NOLA.

                                    1. re: thew

                                      Well-said. I agree, and appreciate those elements.

                                      Thanks,

                                      Hunt