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Restaurants to AVOID

I feel like a list of places that no one should set foot in would be helpful to visitors. I don't mean a place with a good reputation where you happen to have had a singular bad experience: Every decent or even excellent restaurant can have an off night and frankly, sometimes a bad experience is as much the diner's fault as the business. I'm talking about places that straight up don't give a sh*t about their food, their customers and, frankly, their hygiene.

My top pick it PERE ANTOINE'S (not to be confused with the classic Antoine's, although P.A. would certainly like you to!) On an earlier trip we were exhausted and dazed after a swamp tour and just wandered in there for dinner based on the lovely facade. What we discovered was a disgusting pit of improperly cooked food and dirty tableware. Granted, the Keno machine in the front room should have been a sign to leave immediately but we were exhausted. Since the outside has a nice architecture it's a magnet for tourists who haven't done their homework. Also, I think ghost tours and stuff stop there for drinks. I'll actually steer people away if I see them standing outside looking at the menu. Just awful. I wish Gordon Ramsey would set that place straight but I doubt the owners would care.

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  1. not including chains and fast food?

    6 Replies
    1. re: edible complex

      I'm not making hard rules here (I just didn't want to muddy it up with people saying "I went to August and it was TERRIBLE!!" since that's not relly helpful advice.)

      Yeah, if there are chains that visitors to NOLA get steered towards then might as well shout them out. I just think it's good for visitors to be able to be spontaneous and not follow a hard itinerary but still be able to recognize traps. Pere Antoine's is treacherous because the outside and the location scream "local classic restaurant" but what's inside couldn't be more wrong. I've never been to Mother's or Mulate's but to hear people in here tell it those aren't places to go. But I can't say that they're on this level. Someone recently told us that Court of Two Sisters is one of the best restaurants you could ever eat at anywhere and we were like "uhhh...."

      1. re: kukubura

        That's a tough call. A place to avoid. There are places that are way way down on my list but if others wanted to go to them i would probably hang in and do it. Most of those fit under "fast food". They aren't bad but it's edible. And yes there are better choices for quality and price.

        Mulate's is a great example. As are the places in the Riverwalk. I've eaten at those places when working a convention and time is short or others want to go to them. But I wouldn't urge someone to go there. Court of Two Sisters has an entertaining brunch with an acceptable buffet. If you want an outing it will fit. If you are after good food there are better choices.

        I think CH agree that you do have to look askance at any place with a barker or one that hands out coupons when you pass by.

        1. re: collardman

          2nd on Mulate's for a waste of time and money. One of my worst dining experiences ever. I'm also not a fan of Arnaud's... totally overpriced tourist trap. Fine dining on wooden ice cream parlor chairs? Pass...

          1. re: kukubura

            I've only eaten at Mulate's in Breaux Bridge and it was really good (this was about 10 years ago). I've never had a desire to try the one in NO knowing it probably wouldn't be the same. And August is the only restaurant I've eaten at in NO in the last 20 years that I wouldn't return to. Or at least the only one I can remember at the moment. There are places I didn't care for but wouldn't have a problem returning and trying something else. August is not on that list.

            1. re: kukubura

              If it is going to include chains I would say avoid House of Blues, at least as far as a meal. What a mistake, what was I thinking. Still, it was better than Mother's lol.

          2. haha that's unbelievable

            1. Mothers. Tourist trap. When we went the garbage was overflowing the buckets onto the floor and the tables were covered with garbage. The food tasted rancid, and it was like 20 bucks for that rancid sandwich. Top that off with incredibly rude staff and a long line and you have Mothers.

              So many better places in New Orleans to get a Po Boy.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PenskeFan

                I wish I could tell every tourist in the world not to go to Mother's!!!!! So agree.

                1. How did they not just turn around and leave? Friday's bloggle:

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: JazzyB

                      I can’t believe this. Are you sure there wasn’t a hidden camera? This place was so good a few years ago. Glad I read your review.

                        1. re: shanefink

                          I can completely believe it. The last time I was there, it was on the cusp of their transition, and it was weird. Nowhere near that weird, but very weird. I wish we know how much they'd paid.

                      1. Probably 50% of the restaurants in the French Quarter are tourist traps and to be avoided. If the restaurant has a barker, avoid. If it has the word "Nawlins" in it or has jambalaya for more than $10, avoid.

                        I live here and think Mother's is OK. Not great, but not the worst.

                        1. I think that the choices will be personal. Also, even locals, if one has a really bad experience, where everything is bad, how likely will they be to go back and give it another go, or maybe two more.

                          The concept of dining three times, before forming an opinion is probably a myth, or at least only for those on an expense account, and with an editorial timeframe, to accommodate multiple visits.

                          If one has a horrible dining experience in a city, like NOLA, what would prompt them to return? Too many great restaurants, just to be able to write a report of three horrible visits on CH, at least in my book.

                          Now, I have had bad experiences (though never at all levels), and then had good return visits, but those have been after many years, and possibly many new chefs, and even directions for the various restaurants. When that happens, I write a review, and also either link to, or post some of my bad experiences there.

                          Not exactly sure how this thread differs from an older one: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/128285

                          If one needs three visits, before they can pass muster, then only about 20 of my restaurant recs. would hold up:
                          Ralph's on the Park
                          The Old Coffee Pot
                          G W Fins
                          Camellia Grill
                          Cafe Du Monde
                          Restaurant August
                          Pascale's Manale
                          K Paul's
                          Bon Ton
                          Central Grocery
                          and a few more.

                          However, then one could rule out many, since a lot of those visits were pre-K, so do not count. Then, some would have been, immediately post-K, but not recent, so they are out too. Some CH's feel that if the review was not done the night before a poster asks for the rec., it is not worthwhile - only immediate reviews, done in threes, and on the three nights preceding the poster's visit, can ever be useful. To them, no CH review is worthwhile, and useful, as things change day by day. What happens if I have just done three meals, on the three nights before the poster shows up, but then they hit the "bad night?"

                          Sorry, I do not see much use here.


                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            I see it as somewhat useful in that there seem to be certain people that have the same tastes therefore I would give their "avoid" list consideration if they were the ones I relate to as far as what is good. There are some people that I realize we just aren't after the same things in dining.

                            1. re: texasredtop

                              Yeah, I mean that other thread was good but it was filled with people saying they wouldn't recommend places like Bayona, which are certainly NOT off-the-list type places. I thought a single source for unqualified disasters and traps that a weary tourist after a day of sightseeing should avoid sleepily wandering in to would be useful. I'd love to think that the future version of me who, exhausted from a long day and hungry for dinner, might stop in front of Pere Antoine's and say "I think I remember something about this place being kinda terrible" and then wander up to the next spot. Afterall, I can't stand outside the place all day every day waving people away! (Although someone should!)

                              1. re: kukubura

                                I think we should leave the haters to Yelp. This board is more about positive recognition. Most of the places in the FQ that make this list, I feel sorry for them. The staffs they have to work with are so bad. Anyone decent that works in the FQ works at a top-tier restaurant, leaving the bottom feeders to places like Maspero’s. Plus it's so hard to staff for seasonal restaurants. ie. You might need 100 employees for Mardi Gras through Jazz Fest and 40 for the summer. How do you get those temporary employees. You hire what you can.

                                1. re: kukubura


                                  You make a good point, and maybe one that I missed.

                                  Just to get it out of the way, my five, "would not dine there again" are"

                                  Drago's Hilton
                                  Mr. B's Steakhouse
                                  Tony Angello's

                                  But, that is just me. There are specific reviews on four, of that five. The last visit to Mothers was pre-CH.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Is "Mr. B's Steakhouse" Besh Steakhouse or Mr. B's?

                                    1. re: fat harry

                                      Oops, sorry about that. I should have been Dickie B's Steakhouse. My bad, and thank you for asking.


                                2. re: texasredtop

                                  Well, I would have a list, that included several "sacred cows" on this board. The majority here extols the virtues of them, though I do see one getting a bit of a panning above.

                                  I'm still at a bit of a loss, as to the usefulness of such a thread, but might just be missing something. Heck, in that referenced thread, I took major exception with many of the "Do Not Dine There" recs., as did many others. It comes down to personal tastes, and the experiences, that one encountered. However, it seems that many others do not agree, which is perfectly fine. There are several folk, who have mentioned their "least favorite," or maybe worse. What do I know? [Grin]

                                  However, I will refrain from my short list, as each of those restaurants have been hashed about, and about and about. If someone from ____ wants to know how I feel about them, and why, they can certainly Search this board and find the comments, plus the reviews.

                                  I'll keep reading, but will most likely keep my typing to myself.


                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    what happened at Tony Angello's? That "feed me" dinner is to die for!

                                    1. re: mcegielski

                                      You meant to die "from", right? The McDonalds of Italian.

                                      1. re: mcegielski

                                        We had two horrible experiences, though my late F-I-L was a great friend.

                                        Not sure why it happened, but it did, and on two visits.

                                        Would take a major reversal in the "stars," to go back.


                                3. well, it seems what most of us always knew about Mother's have been confirmed:


                                  ...watery, possibly boiled RB masquerading as gravy debris. when talking w/ visitors this remains my top-pick for places to avoid, despite the line of hopeful tourists.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: kibbles

                                    I just read this, too. Confirmed everything I've experienced at Mother's, and is the very reason I always tell others to avoid.

                                    1. re: FoodChic

                                      Well, at least they actually got someone there to answer a question with something other than screaming, so maybe the place is improving ;)

                                  2. We just got back yesterday. The best food we had was at Cochon and then at Herbsaint. Herbsaint also had the best Sazerac on the planet.

                                    We tried a new Chef's place out in Bywater by the name of Maurepas Foods. It was more casual, more hipster, more affordable and also very good -- try the sausage and calamari sandwich and the mussels with stilton are not to be missed. Another good spot in Bywater is Elizabeth's -- we went for brunch. It was great. The pulled pork hash was great. Park on the levee.

                                    NOT TO BE MISSED: The Zydeco Breakfast Dance at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge. I've never seen or tasted anything like it -- and that was just breakfast. Totally worth the drive. Only on Saturday mornings, 8:30-11:30. Get the Bloody Mary.

                                    Clancy's -- stuffy but who thought of baked brie on fried oysters? BriIliant. Though the 14 year tenured bartender was painful. But best smoked deck we've ever had.

                                    Luke's had a nice afternoon happy hour -- oysters on half shell for 50 cents. Half priced speciality cocktails to go with.

                                    Where can we find this food in New York? Help!