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Good Restaurant to Propose At?

Later this year, my girlfriend and I will be spending a few days in New Orleans. Unbeknownst to her, I am planning on proposing while we are there.

My original plan was to make reservations at Commander's Palace in the Garden District (a establishment that seems to continually get rave reviews and also seems to be regarded one of the most romantic restaurants in NOLA), charter a private carriage to take us to the restaurant, and then propose during dinner.

However, that does not look like it will work out as planned.

After contacting the carriage company, I found out that it would be $250 to take us from our hotel in the Central Business District to Commander's Palace. Unfortunately, as a poor student who is struggling just to buy the ring, that is not going to work. Even if I decided to do dinner in the French Quarter, it was still going to be $150+ to rent a carriage. Thus, it does not look like I am going to be able to swing that.

I am left with a few different options:

1) Keep my reservation at Commander's Palace and proceed according to the original plan, except for method of transportation. I Guess I would have to taxi or streetcar it from the Central Business District.

2) Choose a restaurant nearby the Central Business District, within walking distance of our hotel. Two nearby options are Restaurant August (my g/f is a huge Besh fan and has always wanted to go to one of his restaurants) and Le Foret (another place I see continually regarded as extremely romantic) - both would be about a 5 - 10 minute walk.

3) Choose a restaurant in the French Quarter, which would be a 15 - 20 minute walk. Two options there would be Muriel's Jackson Square (I keep hearing about some amazing balcony table) or Bayona (another restaurant that seems to be frequently recommended)

What do you think? Any ideas or suggestions?

While I would love to go all out, it is going to be hard to do financially. We are both food lovers and I am really trying to create a special, romantic, and memorable proposal dinner.

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  1. Every place you mentioned has nice atmosphere and decent to very good food (depending on the reviewer). Maybe one step up from a cab (but several steps down from a carriage) are the pedicabs. You might be able to make arrangements in advance for one to be a little more dressy (and its peddler too).

    Another place for atmosphere is Feelings Cafe.

    1. I would definitely do Commander's It is beautiful. The food is good. AND the sevice is wonderful. I'd do the taxi.

      1. I'd opt for the streetcar to Commander's....it's a lovely ride, the cars are historic, and the price is right: $1.25 per person, one way. The short walk from the streetcar route to the restaurant is pleasant.

        1. I would opt for the streetcar and walk to Commander's...unless, what exactly do you mean by later this year? I'm trying to decide if she would feel too mussed for celebratory photos if you walk to Commander's in the August heat. It's not that it's a very far walk, but she'll begin to "glow" just stepping outside.

          Maybe since she's a huge Besh fan, do the pedicab to August? There are some nice places for an after dinner cocktail stroll in the CBD area as well - Loa at the International House hotel and Bar Uncommon at the Pere Marquette especially.

          4 Replies
          1. re: uptownlibrarian

            My first thought was Commanders as well...However this:

            "my g/f is a huge Besh fan and has always wanted to go to one of his restaurants" changed my mind!!

            it's a NO Brainer!!! Take her to August!! ~~ Will be a perfect setting for her...one to always remember and cherish!! ~~ She can't say no!! :)

            Luck and Fun!!

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              Thank you for all the response so far.

              As for what time in the year, we will be going in late March, if that makes any difference.

              Honestly my girlfriend is a huge Food Network/Top Chef/Anything-of-that-Sort fan and Besh has made many appearances to the point that we have always said we would like to go to one of his restaurants. As we're traveling to his part of the world, it definitely seemed like something to look into. However, we both just love great food and if Commander's Palace is head and shoulders above other restaurants in terms of romance/atmosphere/food, maybe Commander's would be better for the proposal and August would be better another time (ie. during lunch to take advantage of the $20.11 prix fixe)?

                1. re: Harrison486

                  Well, I'm the rare bird who doesn't think Commander's is head and shoulders above the rest--it's probably the most popular; it's good; it's fun; it's lovely. But it's also big and generally rather noisy (in a nice way, but not a place I would think of as ideal for proposing; to me, CP= Jazz Brunch). However, if you do decide on CP, take the streetcar, which has its own kind of romance, particularly when the weather is nice. It is sooo New Orleans.

                  I personally love the food at Restaurant August and to me it rates up at the top, and since your GF loves, Besh, I agree w/Uncle Bob that it's a no-brainer. And the restaurant itself is lovely and quieter. (So, yeah, if you decide on CP, do have lunch at RA, one of New Orleans's great bargains.)

                  Another beautiful romantic spot, though not as grand, with fabulous food (that I prefer over CP's any day) is Coquette.

            2. I found the service at August to be very cold and it put me off. Commander's has always been very warm and welcoming and has a more southern traditional feel where August is more big city fine dining. To me August could easily be in NY or LA and didn't really fit NO but that was my personal experience. Others have found the opposite. Our meal for 2 at August was about $240.

              As for the carriage ride, you can hire one of them right in front of Jackson Square and they'll ride you around the Quarter and give you some of the history. I have no idea what it cost but I'm sure it's not near what they quoted you for a planned destination. So you could always do that before or after your dinner.

              Also, the beautiful homes in the Garden District are really something to see so don't miss that. You will see a snipet of it on the street car getting to Commander's. Even if you don't eat there, don't miss taking the street car down St. Charles.