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Itinerary for budget-minded vacationer-Galatoire's vs. Commander's Palace

t
teachergirl23 May 15, 2011 09:16 AM

I will be in New Orleans for three days starting May 30. I am a single, budget-minded traveler. I plan on having one big meal each day, probably supplemented by snacking on beignets in between. My big meal will come at lunch. What do you think about these three places for my lunches? I plan on going to Mr. B's and Mandina's. On my third choice, I'm torn between Galatoire's and Commander's Palace. Would you replace either Mr. B's or Mandina's with Rocky and Carlo's if you were me? Thank you. I'm praying for your city and its people right now as the flood waters come closer.

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

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

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

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  1. TaTee RE: teachergirl23 May 15, 2011 03:11 PM

    With the criteria you have set out, I would choose Commander's for a weekday lunch. Ordering a lunch entree entitles you to $0.25 martinis and the lunch specials are delicious and fairly priced. My favorite dessert is the Praline Parfait, unless the strawberry shortcake is on the menu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TaTee
      kukubura RE: TaTee May 15, 2011 03:49 PM

      Commander's lunch is one of the best deals around. You can have a lovely soup and a terrific entree for as little as 16 plus the .25 martinis. Although we always end up with other drinks, since their bar is so creative. Commander's is such a great place!

    2. b
      Big Easy RE: teachergirl23 May 15, 2011 10:37 PM

      Mandina's food is pedestrian at best. I've never understood the popularity of a place that serves canned peas as a side. If you do go get the trout almondine (sic).

      Commander's would be by far your best value, particularly if you have a few drinks with lunch.

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

      1. c
        collardman RE: teachergirl23 May 16, 2011 11:55 AM

        Mandina's over R&C

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

        1. Bill Hunt RE: teachergirl23 May 16, 2011 08:04 PM

          While I like Galatoire's over CP, for a brunch (depends on the day), then CP's might be the better deal.

          That does not address the food, but more the budget.

          Most of all, enjoy,

          Hunt

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

          1. k
            kibbles RE: teachergirl23 May 17, 2011 12:56 PM

            do not waste a lunch meal on R&C's by any means. it's a good enough joint for people near it, but as a traveler w/ a limited ability i simply cant recommend it. if you want cheaper youd be better off going to Parkway Bakery or Tracy's or what not for a poboy.

            1. s
              savory south RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 06:32 AM

              IF you could possibly come in a couple of days earlier you might be able to do some of the New Orleans Food & Wine Experience events. Look into that as the event is filled with deals/$$,
              especially the Wed night vinter dinners. The grand tasting is too much of the human car wash for me but most just LOVE it.

              B's Mandina's & R&C are miles away from each other....do you have a car? If not you'll have to take a cab to R&C which would be better spent on meals or drinking. OF the 3 I'd do B's. I too don't understand the allure of Mandina's, it's great for a midweek lunch if you're in the CBD and
              you meeting someone coming from Metry or Jesuit, but nothing to go out of the way for.

              One suggestion is to take the Canal Streetcar line all the way to NOMuseum of Art and walk through the K & B sculpture garden (free and fabulous) and then walk over to Ralph's on the Park. It's a Ralph Brennan Group restaurant and they do a lovely job and it's very NO, zinc bar. Not too big and they will make solo diners feel special. Ask if you can go to the upstairs balcony to see the park from there - gorgeous.

              Also there is NO flooding in NOLA or big Baton Rouge or the refineries along the Mississippi.

              I'd pick CP for lunch - a better deal $$ wise. Also you can walk over to Magazine St and go to Sucre, or La Divina Gelataria or a ton of other places within 5 - 6 blocks of CP.

              If you need a truly upscale special gift to take back, a box from Sucre is it.

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

              1. Suzy Wong RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 07:59 AM

                As a native and lifelong resident of NOLA. I say skip Mr B's altogether (but that's just speaking for myself), don't skip Mandina's it's a true neighborhood New Orleans bar/restaurant in evry way that is great, Rocky&Carlos is good and very unique, but I assume you have a car? It's nowhere near the F.Q. or Downtown...

                I strongly suggest you consider Bon Ton weekdays lunch or dinner, for classic cajun cuisine in a great old school atmosphere. excellent crabmeat au gratin and bread pudding and I normally don't like bread pudding:

                http://www.thebontoncafe.com/

                Galatoire's and Commander's Palace are both superb for dining and atmosphere. Hard to choose.....

                If you are not drinking alcohol that always lowers a bill. I'd go over the menu's to give you a general idea, again IMO depending on what one orders it does not have to be pricey.

                http://www.galatoires.com/

                Summer lunch menu:

                http://www.galatoires.com/html/summer...

                http://www.commanderspalace.com/

                I'd order less and go to more places if that makes sense? Just to have a taste and the experience itself. Have a safe and wonderful trip!

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                Bon Ton Cafe
                401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                1. marthasway RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 08:47 AM

                  Mr B's is my favorite, and you will be well treated as a single diner. I love the room, the service is good, and as I've posted before, have had some great meals over the years. My mother and I had such a bad experience at Commander's once that I will not return. Mandina's does indeed served the abominable canned green peas, they also serve delicious shrimp remoulade. You can there by taking the Canal St streetcar; after you finish, walk up to Carrollton for Angelo Brocato's gelato, Italian pastries, including filled to order canolli and espresso. And to crown your visit to our unique city: the classic Creole charm of Galatoire's, where I went to celebrate when I signed my lease when I first moved here in 1987. Don't be embarrassed to tell your waiter you are on a budget; he can guide you through your dining experience. I won't even make any recommendations, since there are plenty of threads for that. Enjoy your visit!

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

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

                  1. t
                    teachergirl23 RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 04:10 PM

                    I love all the information, you guys. I'll be driving there so I will have my car. So, going to Rocky and Carlo's wouldn't be so bad, but based on your recommendations, my guess is that I won't be driving out to Chalmette. My choices are being revised as we speak. Now I have my eye on Cafe Reconcile (because I love anything with a community-minded mission). I am going to read about the restaurants suggested below and then make my decision. I would welcome any additional suggestions. I'll probably stick with Commander's also. Any thoughts about Liuzza's by the Track? Thank you again, you guys. Can't wait to get to the city I LOVE so much.

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                    Liuzza's Restaurant & Bar
                    3636 Bienville St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                    Cafe Reconcile
                    1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: teachergirl23
                      Bill Hunt RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 05:56 PM

                      Though OT for the food aspect, when parking, be very sure to read all parking signs carefully, make sure that you are within any painted spaces.

                      Drive safely, and most of all, ENJOY!

                      Hunt

                      1. re: teachergirl23
                        marthasway RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 07:02 PM

                        Cafe Reconcile is a perfect choice, since you seem to be mission as well as culinarily oriented. glad you have a car, because that means you can go on a snowball quest! Hanson's on Tchoupitoulas is my fav; they open at 1pm.

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                        Cafe Reconcile
                        1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

                        1. re: marthasway
                          t
                          teachergirl23 RE: marthasway May 19, 2011 05:20 AM

                          Martha-That was definitely on my agenda too. Those were going to be my snacks. :)

                        2. re: teachergirl23
                          c
                          collardman RE: teachergirl23 May 22, 2011 10:10 AM

                          I'm glad Cafe Reconcile fits. Certainly away from your original heading of Commanders and Galatoire's but a great choice for a budget meal with a side order of good deed

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

                          Cafe Reconcile
                          1712 Oretha C Haley Blvd, New Orleans, LA 70113

                          1. re: teachergirl23
                            c
                            califkatie RE: teachergirl23 May 28, 2011 06:18 PM

                            i like liuzza's by the track. it is one of my favorites. i go there every trip i make to new orleans. i like the gumbo, the bbq shrimp po-boy and the roast beef po-boy. the adress is 1518 n. lopez. out by the fairgrounds racetrack.

                          2. twyst RE: teachergirl23 May 18, 2011 04:32 PM

                            I don't get all the gallatoire's love so many poeple express. I think the menu is boring and the place looks like an old folks home every time Im there :(

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: twyst
                              Bill Hunt RE: twyst May 18, 2011 06:10 PM

                              This comes down to individual tastes. Some folk love it, and some do not. It depends on the reviewer's perspective, and also their individual palate. I really like it.

                              Same for Mr. B's. One poster in this thread is not a big fan. Right below, another responder is. I enjoy it, but do not rate it in the stratosphere, as some do. Good and consistent, but not the best BBQ Shrimp, per my palate.

                              Now, I do not dine at Galatoire's for an "innovative" menu. I dine there for good food, and food that I grew up with. When I am looking for foams, molecular-gastronomy, or maybe cryo-creations from the kitchen, I dine elsewhere.

                              I can easily understand why many might not enjoy a meal at Galatoire's. The menu is a bit heavy, and the dishes have not changed much over the last half-century - about when I began dining there.

                              On the trip, which was our last Galatoire's dinner, we had done a lot of very heavy dining. My poor wife (the NOLA native in the family) pulled our server aside, and asked, "can you recommend some wonderful dishes without so much butter?" No sooner asked, than delivered. Though maybe not up to California standards, her meal was much lighter, suited her well. No additional questions asked, and totally seamless. Not many restaurants could have stepped up, like Galatoire's did. If one does not want rich, then the server can probably get some alternative preps through the kitchen.

                              Will never forget hosting 13 of my wife's senior management team at Commander's Palace. I managed to pull many strings and get this group a table, during a major event weekend. Her CFO was from Boulder, CO, and was far out in left-field, regarding his cuisine. Normally, he dined only on twigs and bark, but only those items harvested by a level-9 vegan, on the night of the full Moon. When presented with the CP menu, he pulled our server aside and asked for a certified Healthmark menu. Without missing a beat, she answered, "Dawlin', you're in New Orleans now. We don't have anything that is Healthmark." I took the menu, and ordered for him.

                              While some kitchens do turn out lighter fare, NOLA cuisine will seem heavy to many. In restaurants, such as Galatoire's, or Antoine's, they may seem even heavier. Butter, lard and thick sauces are the norm.

                              Hunt

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

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

                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                twyst RE: Bill Hunt May 18, 2011 06:18 PM

                                Without missing a beat, she answered, "Dawlin', you're in New Orleans now. We don't have anything that is Healthmark." I took the menu, and ordered for him.

                                As a former employee of CP back in my college days Im saddened and quite shocked to hear that. When I was there it was drilled into our heads that we were to bend over backwards to satisfy any request and we were told to NEVER tell a customer we couldnt do something for them. If someones request was going to have to be denied a manager was going to handle it, and requests that were denied were few and far between. I have noticed a decline in the level of service in a lot of the better known New Orleans eateries since the storm though.

                                1. re: twyst
                                  Bill Hunt RE: twyst May 18, 2011 06:44 PM

                                  In this case, all worked out well, as I ordered for him.

                                  From my standpoint, I ended up with a good story, plus there is more to it, regarding the dress-code, but I'll save that for later.

                                  I think that I used up all of my "points" getting that crowd into CP's, as on the next trip, things went horribly wrong. If I'd have known that, the group would have dined elsewhere. CP's went from the top tier, down quite a few notches, and for us, has not yet recovered. Such is life.

                                  Hunt

                                2. re: Bill Hunt
                                  Suzy Wong RE: Bill Hunt May 19, 2011 12:59 AM

                                  If your wife is interested in lighter fare a salad and an appetizer is the way to go IMO A few of their salads are like a meal as well.....

                                  1. re: Suzy Wong
                                    Bill Hunt RE: Suzy Wong May 19, 2011 08:41 PM

                                    Suzy,

                                    She'll often go with two apps., and enjoy her meal. That trip was to the NOLA "Grand Dames," and the dining was "over-the-top." I think that she, the "native," had just OD'ed on butter, and needed a bit of a break. Too bad it had to come on Galatoire's Night.

                                    BTW - especially at lunch, she IS a big salad eater, though some can be enough for 4 hungry longshoremen!

                                    Thank you for your concern and the recs.

                                    Hunt

                                    PS - On that particular trip, I think that I was downing the Tums, more that normal...

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

                                  2. re: Bill Hunt
                                    t
                                    teachergirl23 RE: Bill Hunt May 22, 2011 07:18 AM

                                    I don't have to worry about any of this, Hunt, because I AM NOT afraid to eat. I never met a meal I didn't like. As a matter of fact, I've never even heard of Healthmark. :)

                                    1. re: teachergirl23
                                      Bill Hunt RE: teachergirl23 May 24, 2011 09:04 PM

                                      Insert a great big GRIN here!

                                      Enjoy,

                                      Hunt

                                3. j
                                  JazzyB RE: teachergirl23 May 22, 2011 10:32 AM

                                  Emeril's, August, Coquette (W-Sat) all offer 3 course lunches $19.50, $20.11, $23 respectively. IMO, all are far better than Mandinas and Mr. B's. Commander's for lunch is a "must do". Enjoy!

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

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

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: JazzyB
                                    t
                                    teachergirl23 RE: JazzyB May 28, 2011 03:28 PM

                                    Jazzy B-Do any of your mentions have 25 cent martinis at lunch? ;) I just have to have that experience, so I can brag about it later.

                                    1. re: teachergirl23
                                      c
                                      califkatie RE: teachergirl23 May 28, 2011 06:03 PM

                                      i like cafe adelaide and the swizzle stick bar for the 25 cent lunch. i usually eat at the bar, it is part of the Brennan family. the menu is very new orleans in an over the top way.

                                      1. re: califkatie
                                        s
                                        savory south RE: califkatie May 30, 2011 06:14 AM

                                        Remember, the Brennan family has many different restaurants not all related: you have the Family of Restaurants - Commander's, Cafe Adelaide, Mr. B's (Cindy & Ralph), then their off-shoots - Ralph Brennan/RBRG's Bacco & RedFish Grill & Raph's on the Park and then Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse & Bourbon House. Palace Cafe I think is shared cousin ownership. Ralph's group is looking to buy LePetit Theatre, so that will be another one within his group. You really can't go wrong with any of them.

                                        On a whole other family track is Brennan's of Royal St.

                                        -----
                                        Cafe Adelaide
                                        300 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        Bourbon House
                                        144 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
                                        716 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                        1. re: savory south
                                          j
                                          JazzyB RE: savory south May 30, 2011 06:40 AM

                                          Bacco closed.

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                                          Bacco Restaurant
                                          310 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

                                          1. re: JazzyB
                                            s
                                            savory south RE: JazzyB May 30, 2011 07:14 AM

                                            Yes but it still exists as a business entity. Pretty sure all the Bacco signature items, like the light fixtures, are stored at Second Line Stages waiting for the new space.

                                      2. re: teachergirl23
                                        j
                                        JazzyB RE: teachergirl23 May 30, 2011 04:06 AM

                                        Commander's. Reserve the garden room.

                                        1. re: JazzyB
                                          s
                                          savory south RE: JazzyB May 30, 2011 06:04 AM

                                          Realistically, GR for solo diner w/out connections or being a known entity isn't likely. Could but probably not. Kinda like asking for Richard to be your waiter at Galatorie's

                                    2. e
                                      emu48 RE: teachergirl23 May 30, 2011 06:15 AM

                                      Is Bayona still operating? A year or two before the flood, was in New Orleans, and my local friends suggested I dine at Bayona rather than the places talked about here. It was sensational. Especially the sweetbreads.

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                                      Bayona
                                      430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: emu48
                                        j
                                        JazzyB RE: emu48 May 30, 2011 06:42 AM

                                        yes.

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