Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >
Apr 16, 2012 12:12 PM

First time to NOLA, 3 day trip, need some feedback on the not to be missed stuff

Hi everyone!

I'm visiting the USA from Berlin, Germany in May and am very excited to spend 3 days in a city whose culinary delights are legendary.

I already did some research but would appreciate some feedback and maybe more tips.

Before that i have a question regarding reservations: are they necessary for most restaurants in NOLA?
How hard is it for two people to get a table for lunch or dinner at the best places in town?

Now for my culinary prospects.
I would like to concentrate on stuff that's unique to NOLA and i couldn't get elsewhere.
I have a sweet tooth and am a big fan of pecan pies but i also love spicy hot food.
I prefer to go to the more expensive places for lunch and to the cheaper ones for dinner, don't care too much about setting and fancy stuff as it's all about the food.

Here are my candidates so far, not sure how many i can squeeze into 3 days without busting an artery...

Cafe du monde: seems like a coffee and beignets here is a must.
Commander's palace: bread pudding souffle, pecan crusted fish, foie gras, strawberry shortcake if available, pecan pie, any real good deal on lunch menu?
Brigtsen's: pecan pie, seafood platter.
Casamento's: crab claws.
Camellia Grill: Grilled Pecan Pie.
Where to for bread pudding and banana foster and wht's a good place for a po'boy?

Let me know what you think and which unmissable dishes i am missing.

All the best

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm not much on sweets, but I had a lovely bread pudding at Pascal Manale's recently. They also have a great oyster bar, if you like raw oysters.
    As for po'boys, there's a lot of good places and you should likely choose one by where you are going. If in mid-city - Parkway, FQ - Johnny's, Uptown - Guy's, Maloney's, Tracy's or Parasol.

    Good choice on Cafe du Monde - its an experience not to be missed. The cafe au lait is the best of the coffee selections.

    I would include Bayona for lunch just because its so good, but admittedly its not unique to New Orleans.
    As for reservations, you can usually get a table for 2 anywhere if you don't mind really early or later reservation times.

    1. I wouldn't miss Commander's Palace's turtle soup. The oyster dome is good,, too.

      Casamento's has great oysters, raw, fried,.,.you name it.

      I'd put Galatoire's on there (dress up) because it is a true New Orleans restaurant that wouldn't exist anywhere else. Oysters en brochette, crabmeat Yvonne (they will add anything you want such as extra garlic), shrimp remoulade.

      1. First, welcome to New Orleans. From a culinary stand-point, it is unique on the globe.

        As for reservations, much will depend on the exact days, that you plan on dining. Personally, I always make reservations, even during "down times," as I hate to have to make last minute changes. I would make them.

        Cafe Du Monde IS an experience, but as it is open for extended hours, do not hesitate to include it, after a meal. No need to stand in line behind dozens of folk, during he day. Late night is just great.

        For the restaurants, here are my suggestions:

        Galatoire's (reservations are for upstairs ONLY, but that is not bad. Food and service are the same, but the "show" is downstairs, and ONLY for those, who stand in line). Do not hesitate to make reservations, just for the food.

        Restaurant August - Chef John Besh does a great New Orleans twist with local ingredients. Again, make reservations.

        Chef Frank Brigtsen brings his personal touch to many New Orleans favorites, at Brigtsen's. It is smallish, so again, make reservations.

        Commander's Palace is a legacy, and can do some fabulous items. The Turtle Soup is usually near the top of the heap. Book early.

        I also recommend the Emeril Lagasse empire, with either his NOLA, or his eponymous Emeril's. Both are fun, and feature NOLA cuisine. Either would be worth the time to make a reservation. I would not do both, unless one has many, many days. Either will do.

        As for Camellia Grill, it is a "diner," or an "American Bistro." I do like their Pecan Pie, plus their Nutty Waffles (Pecan Waffles), for breakfast. They are NOT "fine-dining," but are fun, and the fare is good, for what it is - bistro food. No reservations required, and now, the coffee is much better, than in the past. Just expect laid-back, with an interesting wait-staff, rather putting on a "show," just for you. Play along.

        Have not been to Cassimento's, in too long to comment. Others can help there.

        For the ultimate "Banana's Foster," I would do brunch at Brennan's, and let your server do "his thing," with the flames, etc. He will have fun, and so will you.

        For po-boys, I rather like Parkway Bakery, but it is out just a bit. Next to them, I like the Shrimp Po-boys at Felix's, right in the French Quarter.

        For some local seafood, with local recipes, I recommend G W Fins, also in the French Quarter, and probably not requiring reservations, but those will not hurt.

        Most of all, enjoy,


        1. Casamentos for oysters (1//2 shell and loaf), softshell. Brigtsen's for an all appetizer meal. Seafood platter is just ok, too many bready items. Best deals for fine dining lunch: August, Commander's, Emeril's (all m- f). Coquette (wed.-sat).
          Make reservations.

          1. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

            I booked lunch for Commander's palace and will book one for Brigtsen's soon, will improvise and decide on other places when i'm in NOLA.

            All the best

            2 Replies
            1. re: lriemann

              My niece thought she would improvise once she got here. Turned out many places she chose were full. Make reservatioms with "opentable" a month in advance. You can always cancel.

              1. re: JazzyB

                Personally, I think that reservations are a very good thing.

                Thank you for mentioning it.