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Feb 26, 2012 09:09 AM

Marathon Meal--A Mano, The Italian Barrel, or Cafe Giovanni

Hello All,
I am heading down to NO next Saturday for the Rock N Roll Marathon and need a nice carb loaded Italian meal for the evening before the race. Unfortunately I have waited too late, it seems, to make a reservation at my choice of restaurant as 14,000 other people have also decided to eat the same type of food! The choices I have left are A Mano, The Italian Barrel, and Cafe Giovanni. Which of these should I go with? I have read all the mentions of the above restaurants on this board, but there wasn't alot of info. We won't be able to induldge in wine, creamy sauces, etc., that we normally do, so please consider that when making recommendations. Thanks and we can't wait to get the race over with so we can properly revel in all that New Orleans has to offer! :)

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  1. Are you looking more for a real, nice meal that happens to be Italian or more for large quantities of pasta? I don't really think A Mano when I think carbo loading.

    If it's more about carbs for your buck, look into Angeli or Reginelli's, or maybe Mandina's. I can only speak with experience to A Mano (where the pastas are more of an appetizer or small entree size with proteins listed as the mains), but the restaurants you listed are places where you're going to be paying for the quality of the food more than the quantity. Again, not knowing exactly what you're looking for or your transportation situation, you might also look into Andrea's in Metairie.

    5 Replies
    1. re: culinas

      We are looking for a nice meal that contains light pasta options. We don't eat large volumes of anything the night before a race, but rather something light on the protein and creamy fats. We will be in the Quarter and don't want to venture far out and we want to get to sleep early. We also want a reservation because we don't want to stand on our feet or get caught with nowhere to eat late Saturday. Most Italian places are booked up so the three I mention above still had reservations earlier than 9pm. We are normally foodie-type eaters but this is the one time we can't get a tasting menu or wine pairing.

      1. re: charliebear2

        So you're running for real? :) (I know a few folks who like to use the carb loading excuse just to eat an entree and a half of fettucine alfredo the night before a 5k).

        Personally, I recommend A Mano just as a great New Orleans restaurant, not only in the "Italian restaurants" category. They're very into authentic central/southern Italian food as well as what's in season here.

      2. re: culinas

        Squid ink pasta with tuna conserva at A Mano!

        1. re: rouxdauphine

          So, which one of the three would you guys pick? One vote for A Mano it seems...

      3. Italian Barrel has been a disappointment for the past year. Wish they would get back on track.
        In the FQ, I would suggest that you check into Mona Lisa...good lasagna and spaghetti. Another good restaurant is Red Gravy on Camp...just across Canal Street. Cafe Giovanni is always good. Good luck with the race :-)

        Red Gravy
        125 Camp Street, New Orleans, LA

        4 Replies
        1. re: TaTee

          Thanks everyone. I just scored a reservation at Maximo's. Anyone been there? Seems they have quite a selection of homemade pastas which seem to fit the bill. Can't wait to head down and for the race to be over! :)

          1. re: charliebear2

            Maximo's is a solid pick. If there are just a few of you, request the dining bar overlooking the kitchen/grill.

            1. re: charliebear2

              Had a fabulous dinner there last night and ate the rest of my husband's veal saltimbocca for lunch today. If it is not on the menu, ask if they can make the grilled asparagus wrapped with prosciutto. Really good. Good luck in the run.

              Maximo's Italian Grill
              1117 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116

            2. re: TaTee

              Red Gravy is not open for dinner. I second Italian Barrel. And Adolpho's is nice too.

            3. I read the thread title and assumed you wanted a meal that lasted a really long time like you were going to the chair...hope you're having a good time!