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Returning to NOLA after falling in love with it 2 years ago. 7 days, No budget, Looking for just the BEST!

So I am coming back to my second favorite city, behind my hometown NYC after being away for 2 years. I came to NO two years ago with my dad to see the Giants and Saints and we had an absolutely fabulous trip. It was easily the best vacation I ever had in my entire life (aside from the fact that my beloved Gmen lost) and from the day I left I could not wait to come back.

This time I will be on business, which means I won't really be able to do much during weekdays, however after 5pm I will be going all out! I will be here for 7 days and will be once again striving to have the 7 best dinner experiences possible- no budget, no holds barred. But again, in this great food city there are so many choices and I again find myself inundated with options. There are certain restaurants I KNOW I definitely want to return to, as they were so unbelievable my first time around that I do not want to pass on them. Those include Galatoire's, NOLA, Emeril's, Commander's, and Antoine's. Those were the 5 I went to last time and I wouldn't mind repeating all again... but this time I get THREE more incredible meals to plain! Lucky me! Oh yeah and I will be with 1 other guy I work with who has never been so I'd love to take him to some great spots. We will probably go out for a few dinners, but not every night.

I have become infatuated with NO after visiting, so I tend to monitor the foodie scene there. I have done my share of research over the past few years, but of course I would love to hear more from the locals, regulars, visitors who have been to NOLA numerous times to offer up their advice on the best of the best of the best.

I am a New Yorker who absolutely has a passion for great food. Obviously, looking for quintessential New Orleans dinners that I can get only there. The great thing about NO is most of the great restaurants have wonderful history and ambience that adds to the overall experience. Nothing Italian or steakhouse as I can get the best of that at home. I should include that on my last day I will be having lunch before my flight on Saturday. My preference would be to order off the dinner menu during lunch time at the restaurant I choose. For that I plan on either going to NOLA or Restaurant August. I do not think either would deny my request to order off the dinner menu at lunch (did it at Emeril's on my last trip). I'd tend to think NOLA would be more open to it though. One other option I was considering is Willie Mae's for lunch. Are they open on Saturdays? Is it still worth it since they have garnished country wide acclaim and fame? Should I ditch a top-notch restaurant for WMSC? I have a 6:45 flight so I would have to be out of there by 3:45 or so to get back to the hotel to get my bags.

So for the other three meals here are the options I am considering:

Brigsten's, Stella!, Upperline, K-Paul's, Emeril's Delmonico, Mr. B's, Clancy's, Bayona

Here's my thinking. I am a HUGE duck fan so Brigsten's or Upperline are probably going to be on the list. I don't know if I would do both because I would wind up getting the duck at both and want to have something different each night. I know Brigsten's gets incredible praise on this board. Upperline does not really get much press, although the press it has gotten is pretty good. Overall though, who has the better duck? Upperline's was voted on that show "Best thing I ever Ate" and it looked amazing. Brigsten's sounds/looks amazing too. Cornbread dressing and tart cherry sauce? Sign me up.

Is Stella! all hype? All bark no bite?

I'm sorry for the boatload of questions but I am really excited about my trip and once the juices get going it's tough for me to stop typing!!!

So, the days are pretty interchangeable but I think right now it is looking something like..

Saturday- Galatoire's

Sunday- Restaurant August

Monday- Emeril's

Tuesday- Not sure

Wednesday- Antoine's

Thursday- Not sure

Friday- Commander's Palace

Saturday- Lunch at NOLA or Restaurant August (whichever permits me to order off the dinner menu). If not, then Willie Mae's.

Thoughts?

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Restaurant August
301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

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

Bayona
430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

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

Upperline Restaurant
1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

Emeril's Delmonico Restaurant & Bar
1300 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. Cmon guys the recs are appreciated big time!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to re-visit any of the previous restaurants. They will never match up to the first time. We have 1200 restaurants in New Orleans, you should visit all new ones. Here’s my recs. Dominique’s, Coquette, Herbsaint, Clancy’s, Brigsten’s, Bayona and the best of the best from your last visit. I’d probably go with August for the lunch over NOLA.

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      Bayona
      430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

      Herbsaint
      701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

      1 Reply
      1. re: shanefink

        +1 for Coquette, Clancy's and Herbsaint.
        Adding Lilette and Domenica.

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        Lilette
        3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

      2. Also consider Herbsaint, Cochon, Coquette, Boucherie, or Patois for your open spots. Personally, I wouldn't spend a meal at Nola or Antoine's if I had other choices. They're not bad, I just like other places better. Otherwise, looks good to me.

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        Cochon
        930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130

        Herbsaint
        701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130

        Boucherie
        8115 Jeannette St, New Orleans, LA 70118

        9 Replies
        1. re: N.O.Food

          Thanks to both of you this is what I am looking for. As many recs as possible over the next 2 weeks before my trip.

          What are your thoughts on Upperline and Bayona? Have you ever had the duck? Where is the best duck in NO?

          Also what are your opinions on Willie Mae's?

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          Bayona
          430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

          Upperline Restaurant
          1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

          1. re: steakrules85

            I love Willie Mae's fried chicken. It has a crisp shattering crust but unfortunately is not spicy. They are open on Sat.

            I am not a fan of either Bayona (Imo, the food is bla) or Upperline. Herbsaint is a much better option.

            Brigtsen's appetizers are where he shines. Many swear by his duck.

            Emeril's flagship is his best.

            August lunch is m-f.

            Want steak....go to LaBoca. Order the skirt and fries. Outstanding.

            Bistro: Coquette, Lilette (truffled parm toast with marrow could be the best thing in town),
            Patois.

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            Bayona
            430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

            Brigtsen's Restaurant
            723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

            Lilette
            3637 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115

            Upperline Restaurant
            1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

            1. re: JazzyB

              I don't want steak because I get that home in New York.

              I've been to Emeril's and am definitely going back this trip.

              Thanks for the other recs. I will look into the others... Coquette seems to be getting a lot of mentions lately and honestly it wasn't on my radar.

              Seems like a lot of people have the same feeling about Bayona being run of the mill these days. After looking at the menu, nothing really stands out to me as "must eat". However, Upperline's menu looks outrageously good and Brigtsen's is also very appealing and has gotten raves. I think I may sneak both in, and do the duck at Upperline and the signature "shell beach diet" at Brigtsen's so as not to repeat having duck twice.

              Willie Mae's is a definite possibility for Saturday lunch.

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              Bayona
              430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

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

              Brigtsen's Restaurant
              723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118

              Upperline Restaurant
              1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

              1. re: steakrules85

                Don't bother w the shell beach diet. The best thing on the plate is the cornbread w roasted corn butter, ask for it as a side, it is excellent. The platter is very bready...a couple of oysters topped with heavy bread cumb toppings, a piece of fish that seems like an after thought. Many entress come with the same mashed potatoes and sauteed veg. Really, his app his best, and some are outrageously good.(the bisque is not one of them, so thick you could stand your spoon up, like a cup of reduced cream).

                Forgot to mention Dick and Jenny's (instead of Upperline).

                1. re: JazzyB

                  If not the shell beach then... the duck? I love that in NO restaurants they have no problem with you taking something you find interesting from a dish , sich as the cornboread and asking for it as a side.

                  Here in NYC restaurants are so rigid they would rarely permit this. My thought is if you have it in the kitchen why not?

                2. re: steakrules85

                  It's been a while since I've been to Upperline, but just so you know, they're on their fourth chef in little more than a year.

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                  Upperline Restaurant
                  1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

                  1. re: BayouTeche

                    I read that they changed chefs recently but didn't know there was so much turnover. What's the reason does anyone know?

                    Of the recent reviews I have read it doesn't look or sound like the quality has suffered but it does make me a tad weary.

                  2. re: steakrules85

                    If you go to Willie Mae's get there as soon as they open. The service (not the wait for the food to be cooked, the actual service) was extremely slow when I've eaten there.

                    1. re: rouxdauphine

                      I can't see a meal there lasting more than an hour and half. If I got there around1-1:30 I'd hope I would be out by 4 the latest.

            2. It's been a while for me but the duck five ways at Stella was excellent.

              1 Reply
              1. re: stevuchan

                When I think of duck in New Orleans, duck five ways is what I think of.

                Haven't been to Upperline since the former chef left, so no comment there. I haven't eaten at Bayona in a while either (last summer), and even then it was one of their 20 dollar fixed price lunches, so I don't really have anything to add on the Bayona front. That said, I've never had a bad meal at Bayona.

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                Bayona
                430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                Upperline Restaurant
                1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA

              2. It is just a gut feeling from your posts over the years but I think you'd enjoy Clancy's. I have a soft-spot for Bayona but I admit that there is a family association there. I'd still give Clancy's the nod over Bayona, though. It's a fun place. I usually eat at the bar.

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                Bayona
                430 Dauphine St, New Orleans, LA 70112

                1 Reply
                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Clancys has been a strong consideration. Definitely on my to try list. Problem is there's just not enough days to try all these terrific restaurants. As of rght now it's pretty much set to be the following:

                  Galatoires, restaurant august, emerils, brigtsens, antoines, commanders palace, Upperline, lunch at nola or Willie mae's

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

                  Upperline Restaurant
                  1413 Upperline St, New Orleans, LA