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May 15, 2012 11:31 AM


My husband and I are going to New Orleans this Friday-Monday to celebrate our 1st anniversary. I have been doing research on where to eat and what to do, but there is so much information out there I am more confused now than when I started. A friend suggested I try CHOWHOUND, so here I am pleading for help :) We are staying in the French Quarter. Here's the thing, we are not real touristy people. We like to try more of what the locals do, but still keeping ourselves safe. We are in our mid 30's and from the south. Also, it doesn't all need to be, but it is our 1st anniversary and we would like to have a little romance involved. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Can't say just why but the two first thoughts I have are Bayona and Irene's. If you want to dress up then Commander's, Galatoire's are obvious choices. Lots of folks whoop for Mr. B's and if you like butter...whcih we do...that's a good, casual choice. A friend ate at GW Fins recently and was heaping praise on them. MiLa is a good choice and I have heard that Emeril has been on his game of late.

    8 Replies
      1. re: hazelhurst

        Good selection for a weekend and all but Commanders and Emeril's are walkable in the Quarter. In the Quarter tho you can substitute Emeril's NOLA for the flagship with NOLA being a tad less expensive and a tad less formal.

        1. re: collardman

          nola is probably my favorite restaurant. i try to get there whenever we go to the area. i stayed right across the street a couple of times which worked out very well.

          1. re: collardman

            Hadn't thought about teh walkability factor..thanks for pointing that out.

            NOLA just falls off my radar. A freind who owns several restaurants always liked it, pointing out it was run well BUT those comments are a few years old. someone..was it Bill Hunt?...had some trouble with them.

            1. re: hazelhurst

              From the FQ, we find Emeril's walkable, but others might not.

              As for NOLA (the restaurant), we have had very good experiences there.

              Have not been to Emeril's (the eponymous restaurant) in too long - gotta' fix that.


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Thanks for the correction on NOLA. Never want to give a dog a bad name...and I like dogs, too. My apologies to Emeril's Empire.

                1. re: hazelhurst

                  Here, there are many NOLA detractors, but few ever step up with reviews, or details, so I cannot comment on their dining there.

                  I have ONLY dined there twice, but with a group, that presented issues. All was good, and the service was excellent. While everything was not perfect, it was very, very good.

                  Need to get back to Emeril's, as we have always enjoyed that restaurant too. The "fun quotient" was probably a bit higher, but so was the noise level, and a few other aspects. Still, we have enjoyed that one too.

                  When I support a restaurant, I try to have a review, or two, to support that. Doing so allows one to read what I liked. When I dis a restaurant, I try to do the same. Now, some feel that certain restaurants should be "off limits" to negative reviews, but if they fall flat, I will call it, as I see it. One can read my reviews (good, bad, ugly), to see where I am coming from. Then, they can make up their own minds.


          2. re: hazelhurst

            Yes, MiLa would definitely be a good choice, especially with a couple from the South.

            Good one!


          3. the court of two sisters right in the quarter does an amazing jazz brunch. it may be touristy but we always loved it.


            and don't forget to take a ride on the trolley to the garden district.

            1 Reply
            1. re: davmar77

              eek im not a fan of the Court of Two Sisters' brunch. maybe for a first visit.

              i much prefer Sylvain's brunch, it's very good and they have a nice courtyard. best grits in town.

            2. One thing to remember about dining in NOLA, is that many restaurants are frequented by both locals and tourists. That sort of thing happens, when folk from other parts of the country ask "where do we eat in NOLA?"

              On this board, you are very unlikely to get recs. for any "purely tourist restaurant." That is not the style of anyone here. That said, the recs. might well be ones, where tourists will be in attendance, though if they are well-behaved, you should never notice them.

              For the anniversary meal, and fine-dining, here is my "short list:"

              Commander's Palace
              The Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel
              Restaurant August

              I see that Hazelhurst has mentioned Irene's. We have never dined there, but many of my wife's NOLA family, some, who are in the business, recommend it highly.

              In very general terms, one would almost have to work hard, to get bad food in NOLA, and I feel that all recs. here will be good ones. They might not make MY "final cut," that is personal preferences.

              Most of all, enjoy, and happy anniversary.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Thanks so much Hunt! Things get really confusing when you try to sift through all the minutia on the internet. We really not pretentious like I kind of made it sound by us not wanting to be touristy. We just don't want that to be all we do. I also heard taking a cemetery tour with Save Our Cemetaries was a good idea. It would be not only fun, but supports a good cause. Any thoughts on that?


                1. re: oceanfish74

                  Do not worry. Many express similar preferences. I just wanted to point out that almost every really good NOLA restaurant will likely have tourists. I think that I know exactly what you mean, and also feel that most here "get it" too. With but a few exceptions, few here will recommend a "heavily, tourist-oriented" restaurant. There is a major difference between a great local restaurant, that might have a bunch of tourists, and a "touristy restaurant." Most here make that connection, as the majority of the respondents are locals - unlike me. Though I am now a "tourist," I know what you mean, and think that I know what you want. Just wanted to differentiate, and delineate.

                  As for the various "causes," I must defer to the locals, as they will know all the details.

                  Most of all, enjoy,


              2. My wife and I go to New Orleans for our anniversary and have made a tradition of dining at Galatoire's during our trips - see my review "Report from Baby's First Fest" - but we also dined at MiLa this year - as you'll see other recos for that here. On our first anniversary we tried Stella! and had a great experience. We may have been a bit overdressed but during Jazz Fest I feel that seems to be the case everywhere we go...

                We had originally intended to go to August this year but were unable to work it out. Others on this board recommend Commander's, Bayona, and Brigsten's - I would second all of those for an anniversary meal. The courtyard at Bayona is particularly romantic if it's not too hot.

                Have fun and happy anniversary!

                3 Replies
                  1. re: j.ho

                    While we have never done the patio at Bayona, many here have, and I believe yours, and their recs.

                    Restaurant August should be there for "Baby's Second Feast!"

                    As far as the "heat," and other atmospheric aspects (we call that "weather"), it goes without comment, that one might have a wonderful, or maybe not so wonderful, experience, due to the time of year, the particular day, or time of day. Weather happens.

                    As an example, we now live in Phoenix, AZ. If one wants "romantic," then it might depend on the time of year. The restaurants, or location, that would recommend for late Autumn, Winter, or early Spring, would definitely change, as Summer approaches. Come about mid-May, there are zero al fresco spots, that I would dare recommend, until mid-October. That is just the way that it is.

                    Thank you,


                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                      For the record - by "unable to work it out" - I should clarify that means poor planning on my behalf. The night that was meant to be dinner at August at 6:00 turned out to be dinner at MiLa at 9:00 since my wife wasn't comfortable leaving the baby with the babysitter while he was still awake. I thank you for your MiLa reco, Mr. Hunt and thankful that they still had an opening during the week of Jazz Fest.

                      So for "Second Fest" we now know to make a later reservation and have the babysitter come earlier.

                  2. Thanks for all the terrific ideas y'all! They are so much appreciated. By saying we are less touristy, I was not at all implying we were pretentious, we just don't want that to be what the whole trip is about. You know, like we could have done the same things at any vacation destination. Thanks again y'all!


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: oceanfish74

                      <<By saying we are less touristy, I was not at all implying we were pretentious, we just don't want that to be what the whole trip is about.>>

                      I doubt that any one took it to be negative, in any way.

                      I have seen only one rec., that would fit into the "tourist" folder, and then, I have not dined there in decades, so that particular rec. might well be spot-on now?



                      1. re: oceanfish74

                        I didn't detect negativity, either. To me, "touristy" implies places like Hard Rock, Bubba Gump, things that pop up like mushrooms in any heavily visited spot. In many cities, especially New Orleans, there are definitely destination restaurants that a traveler SHOULD go to -- Galatiore's, Commander's and others frequently mentioned on this board -- because it enhances the experience and gives insight into the city. If you hang around here a little, you get the feel for who's local and for the frequent travelers and you learn an awful lot before and after visiting.

                        I haven't been able to get back this year, but just checking in here gives me a little mini-vacation from my laptop. I have a feeling it's like that for many.