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Dinner recs near French quarter

  • m

I am traveling to NO with my husband, inlaws, and 3yo daughter in mid July. We arrive on a Thursday mid afternoon and will stay at the Hilton near the convention center. I needs suggestions for Thursday night early dinner ( 530pm) preferably in the French quarter. We are planning to drive from the hotel to dinner, and walk to cafe du monde for dessert beignets. Budget is not an issue, but my husband will not have a dinner jacket.

Although we will have a toddler in tow I think she does well in most restaurants. We don't want anything that requires a dinner jacket, and would like some place that will take a reservation or have no wait. I have been looking at coquette, cochon, and those types of restaurants look promising. Would prefer to try local specialties, especially seafood, and trying to avoid spaghetti, burgers, diners (we are en route to a family reunion where we will get plenty of that).

We have Friday lunch reservations at commanders, then friday dinner at August (just me and hubby). Then we leave Sunday morning. Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. I think I would do Muriel's Jacson Square. Just across the square for Cafe du Monde so it would be convenient.

    1. Muriel's looks pretty good. Am trying to decide between Muriel's and Mr B which I believe is also not too far from cafe du monde. Any thoughts on the food quality between those two? Is one more formal, more touristy, more authentic NO?

      1 Reply
      1. re: mlin1

        Muriel's, Mr. B's and NOLA are all in the area, as is Tujague's. They are all authenic and all will have tourists and locals. None are Formal.

        But as to ambiance, the most "formal" is Muriels, followed by Mr. B/NOLA in a tie (Mr. B being more traditional, NOLA more warehouse chic) then Tujague's. As for food I would recommend any of the first 3.

      2. I wouldn't try to drive from the hotel to the French Quarter. Traffic will be horrendous and parking even worse. Instead, either take a cab or the riverfront streetcar. The streetcar stop is at Canal Street, almost right outside your hotel door and it's a seven-minute ride to the French Market at Barracks Street. Stroll back to Jackson Square from there.

        1. Irene's (on the corner of Chartres and St. Phillip) opens at 5:30 PM and the food is delicious. I would make a reservation and arrive at 5:30 PM on the dot. That place fills up quickly.
          Second the suggestion of not bringing your car. Trying to find parking will put a damper on the evening.

          1. Now, when you mention "dinner jacket," do you mean no jacket of any type, or no white tux "dinner jacket?" There are many differences there.

            Pure "dinner jackets" are never required in New Orleans, though for a few events, I have worn mine. For a jacket, only a very few restaurants will require those.

            Thanks for the clarification, and enjoy,

            Hunt

            1. No jacket at all- just a golf shirt, and khakis. So we really need some place relatively casual. He has a jacket/sport coat and is saving that for our dinner at August. Also m in laws think muriels is too fancy, and Mr B too far of a walk from Cafe di monde. So it's back to square one. Might end up at Gumbo Shop if nothing else works.

              8 Replies
              1. re: mlin1

                The other place I mentioned, NOLA, seems to fit your in laws, less fancy than Murials, closer than Mr. B, and much better food than Gumbo Shop.

                1. re: collardman

                  I like the rec. for NOLA (the restaurant), in that it is not "fancy," at least to me, has good food, and is a bit more centrally located. However, even when we had M-I-L in a wheelchair, we never thought that Stella!, from the Roosevelt, was too far. Of course, our motto was "have hunger - will travel."

                  Hunt

                2. re: mlin1

                  Trust your initial instincts and spend your first night eating at Cochon - an exceptional restaurant (way beyond "promising"...) that specializes in one type of "local specialties", features a location near your hotel, and has a stylish but informal atmosphere where no jacket, white or otherwise, is required. Afterwards, ride the Riverfront Streetcar to the French Market for your dessert at Cafe Du Monde. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Quarter and either take the streetcar or a taxi back to your hotel.

                  Have fun.

                  1. re: mlin1

                    Muriel's is a classy restaurant but I would not consider it too fancy. I have not dined at Cochon, but I have at Mr. B.'s, Gumbo Shop, and Muriel's. While I am fond of the former two, Muriel's would be my choice. I, too, recommend not driving....take the streetcar, walk., or a taxi....a vehicle and parking adds stress. BTW, Muriel's is very near the Cafe du Monde for those dessert beignets.

                    1. re: lillidalla

                      Judging by the diners at Muriel's the one time we tried to eat there (and left) shorts, sandals, and hawaiian shirts are fine.

                      1. re: lillidalla

                        "Fancy" can be a very relative term. What is "fancy" for me, would be "way over the top" for some others. "Casual" for me, might well be "fancy" for some others. It all depends.

                        We have only done Muriel's for several culinary events, so most gentlemen were in jackets, however, I would not typify it as "fancy," but that is just me.

                        In New Orleans, I think of "fancy" as Galatoire's, Restaurant August and maybe even Stella!. Beyond those, not sure that I have come across "fancy" in the last 25 years. CP's can be for dinner, but not so much for lunch.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          i would definitely include Stella in that list -- anyplace where the servers wear white gloves to handle your silverware strikes me as fancy/formal. the times weve been it's probably the most formal, tho we've always been in the quite small dining room.

                          1. re: kibbles

                            I know that we have loved every visit, but many here give Stella! no love, and argue against it, as being viable. We disagree, and are fortunate to dine around the globe. They have never let us down, and when a dish is less than perfect, it has been very good.

                            Hunt

                    2. We have always had a good experience at Muriel's. Beyond well done cuisine, they honor their reservations promptly which my guess is important when dining with a young child. I would not call it fancy but rather upscale. Their interior is really nice and the bar area has a totally different vibe then then the main dining area. A question for you is how does your child hold up over time. Muriel's (and most other nice restaurants) are not time sensitive. We have never been rushed there and have comfortably lingered until they pretty much closed up around us.

                      We have dined but
                      once at Cochon and it was just lunch. We were in and out in about an hour.

                      1. We ended up at gumbo shop which was fine for a casual dinner. The BBQ shroud appetizer there tastes more like gumbo without the roux. The chicken Gumbo was fine, not anything amazing. We had Friday lunch at commanders palace which was spectacular. The garden room was lovely and since it was pouring down rain the staff met us at the curb when we pulled up and had umbrellas ready for us. They have a few unadvertised kids meals available so my daughter had a delicious fried shrimp basket with shoestring fries. I had the shrimp henican, braised rabbit on pastry shell, and we all shared several desserts. The creole pudding had an odd extra dense, grainy texture and was my least favorite. The praline parfait was delicious. We also had the strawberry shortcake and something else I can't remember which were tasty. The 25 cent martinis were awesome and our servers were so gracious! We capped the trip off with dinner at restaurant August where we had a great dinner. I think we ate too much at lunch and thus were not able to fully enjoy August. We will definitely be back. Thanks chowhound for all your helpful suggestions! What a fabulous city with character, amazing food and top notch service. Can't wait to go back.