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First time in New Orleans - have three days - hidden gem suggestions?

I'm looking for the best, not the fanciest, of local food and drink: from po'boys, muffaletta and beignets, to everything else in New Orleans that I should be eating. For drink, hidden gems bars that are a must see. I'd love to get an insiders point of view and stay away from the big tourist traps...

Thoughts and suggestions are appreciated!

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  1. I don't know what you consider "tourist traps." The best restaurants in the city are well-known, and out of town visitors are savvy enough to do their research before they come, so places like Commanders, Gallatoires, Cochon, etc., are full of tourists. Full of excellent food, as well.

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    Cochon
    930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Thank you. I'm certainly not out to offend the well known, but rather looking for a local point of view on where those who live in the city go to eat and drink their favorite meals. Great food, regardless of audience is something I'm certainly up for. Research is always something I like to have time for before departure, but this was a last minute trip and I thought I'd turn to Chowhound for last minute suggestions.

      1. re: pikawicca

        And also full of locals. I would wager that the average New Orleanian eats out (in non chain restaurants) far more often than elsewhere.

        1. re: JazzyB

          I think you'd win that bet. And I have been told that research bears that opinion out ,although I could not give you a citation. Leaving aside "Events" which alter the balance for a few days, I almost always see local people when I am out. There are times when Commander's will be 75% local..and not just for Xmas. Of course, the smaller Uptown places are usually heavily local, at least in my experience.

      2. have a lunch @ Sammy's on Elysian Fields, just lakeside of the 610 interchange - purely home-cookin' in quantity at reasonable rates. (I'm loopy for the seafood/mirliton soup)

        1 Reply
        1. re: brucec

          Sammy's serves workman's lunches. The food can be decent . Personally, I wouldn't tout (or recommend ) it . Went the first time and had a very good RB poboy. Returned to sample more of the menu. The food was a 1 (and that's being kind) scale 1-10 . Soft-shell po boys smelled foul. Burger was dry and about as flavorful as a piece of cardboard. We left full plates minus a bite.

        2. Katie's on Iberville, Cowbell, Boucherie, Crescent Pie, Mandina's, J'Anita's at the Rendon Inn, Rivershack Tavern...to name a few.

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

          Rendon Inn
          4501 Eve St, New Orleans, LA 70125

          Boucherie
          8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

          2 Replies
          1. re: edible complex

            Thanks - much appreciated. Cowbell and Boucherie sound amazing!

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            Boucherie
            8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

            1. re: jgrunberg

              the St, Chuck Duck at J'Anita's and the Boudreaux at Katie's were my most memorable dishes last trip.

          2. Thanks all for the tips... i'll be arriving just in time for lunch and am going for po' boys. I was told to check out Tracey's. If you have any other suggestions please pass them on!

            6 Replies
            1. re: jgrunberg

              Im not a fan of traceys. The best in my opinion for roast beef at least is r&o's or parkway.

              1. re: roro1831

                We had outstanding po-boys at Parkway a few weeks ago -- roast beef, fried shrimp, and (sacrilege!) caprese.

                1. re: Bob W

                  Surrey's, Green Goddess, Patois, Coquette, Dominiique's, La Boca, Mimi's (yes, it's worth the schlep), Rue 127, Cowbell, Meauxbar, and Herbsaint are my top places tourists rarely go. As for po'boys? get a Ba Mien instead.

                  1. re: paz5559

                    Ba Mien - as in Bahn Mi? Those are my favorite's in NYC... next time you're up there give Nicky's Vietnamese a try. It's awesome.

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                    Ba Mien Restaurant
                    13235 Chef Menteur Hwy, New Orleans, LA 70129

                    1. re: paz5559

                      I will also chime in for The Green Goddess...

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                      Green Goddess
                      307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

                2. re: jgrunberg

                  I think Tracey's is good. Large space, equipped kitchen.. great place to grab a RB and shrimp to split. the RB is a little salty tho.

                  Parkway remains my fav for both tho.

                3. Walk across Canal on N Peters and go W on S Peters 4/5 blocks to the corner of Lafayette and S Peters to Ernst Cafe which is over 100 years old for good happy hour and crawfish. They have outdoor tables. Then go W a block to Girod and go N 2 blocks to Lucy's Bar on Tchoupitoulas for a good 4 to 7 happy hour and $2.50 beer.
                  Lucy's Bar @ 701 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 523 - 8995.
                  http://www.lucysretiredsurfers.com/
                  Ernst Cafe @ 600 South Peters Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 525 - 8544.
                  http://www.nomenu.com/reviews/ErnstCa...

                  Roosevelt Hotel Bar is a cool spot with great upscale bar food. Long drinks are well made and tasty. I would not stray too far beyond the list. It has no connection to the Roosevelt Hotel next door.
                  Roosevelt Hotel Bar @ 116 University Place, New Orleans, LA 504 - 566 - 9444.
                  Sazerac is an amazing restored art deco bar inside the Roosevelt Hotel. The Sazerac is done well. there are some serious bartenders here.
                  Sazerac Bar @ 123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA 504 - 529 - 4733.
                  http://therooseveltneworleans.com/blo...
                  Twelve Mile Limit in Mid-City is a great place. It's a dive with excellent cocktails. Cole Newton is the bartender and owner. He started at Coquette in the Garden District. His drinks have well balanced flavors and run $6-$7. The kitchen also turns out good barbecue. It's far from the tourist zones and also near Finn McCool's which is one of the best sports bars in NOLA.
                  Twelve Mile Limit @ 500 S Telemachus, New Orleans, LA 504 - 488 - 8114.

                  Finn McCool's Irish Pub @ 3701 Banks St., New Orleans, LA 504 - 486 - 9080.
                  http://www.finnmccools.com/

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                  Finn McCools
                  3701 Banks St, New Orleans, LA 70119

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Littleman

                    Awesome - I was thinking of hitting Twelve Mile Limit and definitely will be now... cheers.

                    1. re: jgrunberg

                      As a first time visitor it will be very easy to get "stuck" in the French Quarter. I suggest taking the streetcar up St. Charles Line to see one of the most beautiful streets on the planet. There are plenty of good places to eat and drink uptown.

                      Don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the French Quarter. However, taking the streetcar will afford you the opportunity to see and enjoy a different part of the city.

                      1. re: Ross B

                        As a multiple visitor, I wholeheartedly agree on streetcar idea.

                        Double/triple agree with above reccs for Patois and Coquette. Worth the cab ride. (Or if you are lucky the Magazine street bus.)

                        In FQ, I love the drink at the Pelican Club called Exchange Alley; and in Marigny at Three Muses love their signature cocktail, The Muse.

                        You will be blown away; I have become a foodie thanks to NOLA.

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                        Pelican Club Restaurant & Bar
                        312 Exchange Alley, New Orleans, LA 70130

                        Three Muses
                        536 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116