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Best Places without Reservation During Jazz Fest

Am looking for a decent place for dinner on Thursday during 2nd weekend. We already have reservations other nights at Emeril's, Luke and Commander's. I assume we will be relatively full from the great fare at Fest, so am looking for something at around 9 for 5 people. I have been scouring Open Table for something, but 5 people seems to be the challenge.

I've been to Gumbo Shop several times on past trips but would like something else. Have also been to Deenie's and Acme.

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    1. Do you have a car or are you willing to take a $25 cab ride? There are lots of decent places in Metairie/West Bank/Lakeview etc. that you are far more likely to get into without a reservation than the usual suspects downtown and uptown. Also, are you willing to think outside the box a bit into maybe a Vietnamese or Mexican place? I'm thinking something like Salsas por el Lago (Lakeview), 9 Roses or Tanh Dinh (Gretna). Or if you want to stick with (big finger quotes) local food, Drago's, R&O's, and Bozo's are all options within reasonable cab distance that aren't as crowded with Jazz Fest people.

      1. Where are you staying. Napoleon House is fun. Coop's is good. Maspero's and Original French Market Restaurant are good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Littleman

          Coop's is a dive bar with an extensive menu. Three Muses is a far better option should you want to dine on bar food.

        2. If you're hungry when leaving the fest, walk across Esplanade to Lolas. You can dine as you are in a funky, inexpensive, little mediterranean resto. Get a bottle of the housemade red sangria to go with your paella (ask for some mojo on the side). Shrimp/pasta is enough for 2. Good garlic chicken as well.

          6 Replies
          1. re: JazzyB

            "If you're hungry when leaving the fest ...."

            I've been attending Fest for 25 years and have never once heard of anyone being hungry when leaving the fest!!

            1. re: Blumie

              Not just that. But at and during jazz fest you have the best food in the city for a few days. The worlds greatest food court if you ask me.

              Rosemint tea.
              Strawberry shortcake
              Soft shell crab po boys.
              Alligator sauce piquante
              Crawfish enchiladas.
              Merguez sandwich
              Coconut custard pie
              Fried green tomatoes with crawfish sauce.
              The liar goes on and on and on.

              1. re: kevin

                You left out Cochon de Lait Po Boys and Pheasant Gumbo.

              2. re: Blumie

                Now you have. Lola's is a regular post fest stop for us. It's called pacing yourself. Besides, we get tickets for the entire jf. Believe it or not, the food gets old.

                1. re: JazzyB

                  I go all 7 days too, and I still enjoy the food on the last day. I don't get everything I love on the first day, or even the first weekend, pacing myself, but I will repeat some favorites. I've been out to eat with out of town friends following jazz fest in the past, but last year I put my foot down and excused myself from going out afterwards. They are free to go without me. All I want is a shower and to rest up for the next day. Not interested in crowds, waiting, or rushing to get home and ready to go out again. I like to stay until the last minute.

                  1. re: expatorleanian

                    That's why Lola's works well.. No going home to shower. Everyone else has wandered over from jf. Lola's or Venezia's straight from the fest is all I can manage. If I went home, I'd never make it out again. Besides, big
                    events are the worst times to dine out. The tourists can have the restaurants then, we have them the rest of the year.

              1. Just FYI, some restaurants limit the party size on opentable so that you have to call to make the reservation. This is usually done because space is limited for large(r) parties and they need to make sure they can accomodate you. Although it takes from the ease of using opetable, it might not hurt to call the restaurant if you find one you have your heart set on.

                1. 2nd that emotion for Drago's. I stayed in West Bank for my 1 trip to the Fest. Walked into Semolina's and had a more than decent meal with no wait.

                  Of course, none of that is any good depending on where you are staying and your transportation setup.

                  So... as others have asked, where are you staying and what's your transportation situation?

                  1. Thanks all. We are staying in the CBD with no transportation but are very willing to take a cab somewhere. I did call Dante's Kitchen (one of our party had previously been there and loved it) but they couldn't accomodate 5. I had gotten a res there for 4 people and the restaurant said they will try to squeeze five into a 4 top. I'd like to try Domenica. Is it possible to walk in?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: mkleinbart64

                      Most times, yes, but if it's a weekend and jazz fest....who knows??

                      1. re: mkleinbart64

                        I've not had good luck walking into Domenica on weekends at dinner. I predict a wait there during Jazz Fest.

                        1. re: uptownlibrarian

                          We went the first Friday this month at dinner, walked in around 8:30 and two people left the bar as we walked up, worked out perfect but I would agree that during JF that will probably not be the case.

                          1. re: uptownlibrarian

                            If Home Saints games (with a mere 70k folks) is any indication, Domenica will be slammed. We make resv every home game, allowing extra time for their usual slow service. Even with resv, we've had to wait for our table. (post 12:00 games is less problematic). These folks are clueless in staffing for event days. In addition, most of the front of the waitstaff doesn't seem to give a crap.

                            1. re: uptownlibrarian

                              I have stayed at the Roosevelt the past two year for Jazz Fest and have never had any luck just walking in at Domenica.

                            1. Satsuma, Maurepas Grocery, Bachanal, maybe the Cake Cafe pop up.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: CharlieH

                                What about fried chicken durIng jazz fest???

                                1. re: kevin

                                  IMO, Willie Mae's and Emeril's (lunch only m-f) have the best fried chicken. Unfortunately, you'll miss a big chunk of a fest day to get it. IMO, third best ...Popeyes' spicy wings. FWIW, Popeye's outside greater nola is not the same.