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New Orleans for our 20th Wedding Anniversary

Hi All...

Never been to New Orleans before (I'm a CA boy) and I'm in the beginning phases of doing some planning...It will be a winter trip and we will arrive on a Friday mid day and depart on Tuesday morning. That gives me 4 dinners and 4 lunches.

So...I need some help here....any suggestions to other threads and/or names of restaurants would be terrific!

Here is what we like---I'm a vegetarian...but do eat fish...my wife eats everything except fish (she does eat shellfish) We love Asian...we love fusion...we love experiencing new things and foods...We enjoy local’s types of places as much as the “must go to” top restaurants…

I'm open to any price frame....the best food is sometimes the least expensive....although...I'm also looking for some fancy dinner ideas too...as we will be celebrating!!

Thanks for all the help upfront! I’ve used Chowhound for my 10 of our 20 anniversary trips and I have NEVER been steered wrong….

We are staying at Hotel Le Marais in the French Quarter...and not sure if I'm gonna need/want a car or can just get by with Public transportation....looking into that too!!

Here is what I have so far...can anyone add to it or (even better) comment on what I have thus far??

Dinner ideas:
Stella! ( I hear it's great but not really "New Orleans food")
Restaurant August
Commander's Palace

Lunch ideas:
Napoleon House


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  1. I have eaten at all of these restaurants & would highly recommend Emeril's and Clancy's. To those, I would add Brigtsen's for a dinner and Coquette for any meal. I love lunch & brunch there. There food is wonderful & the service is perfect! I also love Friday lunch at Galatoire's, but not sure you would be able to get in.
    I used to love August, but the last 2 times I have been, the food and service have really slipped, in my opinion, so I no longer recommend.
    Have a special anniversary!

    1. Skip Acme, stick with Felix's. Since I discovered Felix's, I haven't set foot in Acme.

      Love me some muffalettas at Central Grocer, but Napoleon's is a close second. Wash it down with a Pimm's Cup.

      I always go to Galatoire's early and have never had a problem. One of the few places I'll actually wait in line.

      A lot of folks like to hate on Antoines, but I've always loved the place, particularly the old school vibe, the waiters who've worked there for years, the broiled fish.

      3 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        Acme has gone so goddamn corporate it hurts to walk by there.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          The best part of eating at Felix's is relaxing over seafood and a beer while watching the line crawl at Acme across the street.

          1. re: monkeyrotica

            It should be mentioned that Felix's currently has no liquor license, so one should grab a beer (or other beverage) in a "go cup" elsewhere, and bring it along.

            Hopefully, as they progress in their reorganization, Felix's will get their license back.

      2. Had to look up your hotel...new name for Louis XVI...great location on Conti Street.

        Transportation: we now have pedicabs in the FQ and cabs are always plentiful.

        Also fun to take the St. Charles Avenue street car, see the lovely homes and stop at The Columns for a drink. Get back on the street car and go to Carrollton and St. Charles and dine at Brigtsen's on Dante St., go on to Oak Wine bar for a nightcap. Take a cab back to the hotel.

        For the anniversary itself, I would recommend Commander's...will be celebrating ours there in November. Let them know that it is a special occasion and you will not be disappointed.

        For Asian lunch or dinner:Tamarind in the Hotel Modern St. Charles Avenue at Lee Circle.

        Dinners: Uptown/Commandrs, Clancy's & Brigtsens
        FQ: Irenes

        FQ Brunch/lunch: Muriels' & Arnauds

        Bars and apps: Hermes Bar at Antoines

        Congratulations and enjoy your visit.

        1 Reply
        1. I live in Berkeley, but go to New Orleans 1-2x a year, and have since long before Katrina . . . nonetheless, I'm no expert -- take what I say with a grain of salt, compared to a local.

          I've been to *all* of the places you list, most more than once. From the dinner list, I'd drop Muriel's (wasn't impressed); same with Emeril's (mostly tourists, and sort of -- meh!). I'd shift Commander's Palace to lunch, and take advantage of their 25 cent Martini's, and consider doing the same with Galatoire's.

          I'd also look at Coquette and definitely go to Restaurant Patois.

          1. Commander's (m-f) for lunch in the garden room is a must do. 25 cent martinis, prix fixe available, a fun truly nola experience.

            August offers a vegetarian degustation around $60 . It is a lovely top tier restaurant with polished food and service.

            R'evolution, over the top touches, very good food.

            Gw Fins, fresh, perfectly executed seafood, many with an Asian influence.

            Emeril's is boisterous, large portions, very good Asian tuna app (enough to share), angel hair w smoked mushrooms/tasso cream sauce, bbq shrimp, g iant tamarind glazed pork chop with poblano mole (req. your doneness preference as it is so large they often overcook). Banana cream pie.

            Luke, daily HH 3-6 50cent oysters, 1/2 price libations.

            Domenica, HH 3-6 1/2 price excellent pizzas, wine, beer and well drinks

            Galatoire's has classic old school creole cuisine. You would be going more for the quintessential nola experience rather than the food, which may leave you feeling disappointed.

            Definitely skip Muriel's.

            Felix's only for 1/2 shell. They lost their liquor license so no beer with those cold ones. Perhaps they will get it back by the winter.

            Pick up a muff from Central Grocery to take home. Stick it in your mini frig. They travel well. Bring to room temp before indulging.

            Johnny's has good RB po boys but consider Casamentos for some 1/2 shell, an oyster loaf or softshell w butter, pickles, hot sauce. They also have charbroiled.

            Maybe Root for lunch. Molecular gastronomy abounds.

            Mr. B's for lunch, bbq shrimp, gumbo yaya, crabcake.

            Bon Appetit!

            1. I like your list. Unless you want to take a day trip outside the city, I'd skip the car. It's more of a hassle than it's worth. Walk or take the streetcar or avail yourself of a New Orleans treasure, United Cabs. They're inexpensive and will be there minutes after you call. Memorize the number 522-9771.

              2 Replies
                1. re: zin1953

                  Love the pedicabs ( especially when leaving VooDoo).

              1. Thanks SO much so far!!!!
                I've amended my list based on lots of great information from you all and lots of other Chowhound reading....whatcha all think??

                Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel (Dinner 1 night)
                Stella! (Dinner 1 night)
                Bayona (out)
                Restaurant August (out)

                Commander's Palace (Plan to go for LUNCH and eat in the Garden Room)
                Muriel's (out)
                Galatoire's (Dinner 1 night)
                Emeril's (out)
                Clancy's (Dinner 1 night)

                Lunch ideas:
                Acme (out)
                Felix's (Lunch here 1 day)
                Central Grocery (For a Take-To-Hotel-or Plane Lunch here 1 day)
                Coquette (Lunch here 1 day)
                Johnny's (Lunch here 1 day)

                Bars and apps: Hermes Bar at Antoines

                Use pedicabs in the FQ and make use of taxis…Don’t rent a car…

                14 Replies
                1. re: lv2eat

                  Ok, I just don’t get it. I’m a local and I kind of equate Felix’s with Messina’s, Maspero’s, Mother’s and lots of other tourist traps. Am I missing something? To me, it seems like there are lots of other more comfortable environments to eat raw oysters. And, to top it off, Felix’s has lost its liqour license. What’s there to like about this place? I’ve never had their chargrilled oysters, are they as good as Drago’s? Someone set me straight.

                  1. re: shanefink

                    I'll take a stab at this, although I suspect that hazelhurst would do a much better job.

                    To begin with, Felix's has been operating continuously for over 80 years. That means that for many (myself included) it is not only a place where I've enjoyed oysters, but so have previous generations of my family. So for some of us, tradition itself earns it a nod.

                    Yes, there are "more comfortable environments" for oysters. Felix's is not about luxury, in fact reviews often note that the place could use "a good scrubbing." But the somewhat time-worn dive-y atmosphere is part of its personality. For fans, it is "a feature, not a bug."

                    Tourist trap? Acme across the street "traps" many more tourists. Acme has an increasingly commercial/corporate feel, Felix feels far more relaxed with no line. And (at least until very recently) both oyster bars were serving exactly the same product, with virtually no waiting. Acme and Felix's share a great location in the French Quarter, but Felix's tends to be LESS touristy and more "user friendly" for anyone looking for good oysters with friendly service and minimal nonsense.

                    Obviously as they fight to regain their liquor license and get through the reorganization, Felix's will face some challenges. But speaking for myself, I hope that locals and visitors will support a long time tradition and that Felix's will be with us for many more decades.

                    In that part of the quarter, if I want "comfort" I'd enjoy some oysters at the bar in Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House. But for a quick "come as you are" old school dozen on the half shell, Felix's hits the spot.

                    1. re: Gizmo56

                      Well put. We have even grabbed a dozen with an amber (at the bar ) as a pre dinner app when dining in the quarter. Good shuckers , ice cold, no schmutz on the oysters, quick in/out.

                      1. re: Gizmo56

                        Looks like you did a fine summation. I admit that lately I have not been a once-a-week Felix customer as I was in my youth---and we vacillated between Felix and Acme in those days (Acme's bread was better)---but the news of the bankruptcy has scared me, for I see another institution that perhaps I have taken for granted being imperilled. Felix is the sole survivor in the Quarter of the old NOLA oyster bars. It looks just like what it is. Sure, it has lots of tourists...every place in town does...but it has its share of locals, too, and it is up to us to support it. One of my favorite things about the French Quarter is that it is our (meaning "natives") playground, too. It, and its restaurants, are part of our normal lives. We used to have lots of fun arguing over whose oysters were better, who was working private oyster beds, whether the Croation guy was better than the Canary Island outift and so forth. Felix is a link to the great tradition and it remains unaffected which is something rather hard to come by. I would hate for it to join the long list of lost loves: Maylie's, Kolb's, L'Enfant's, half-the-Lakefront, the real Ye Olde College Inn..even La Louisiane which was never great but a helluva lot of fun. Once these places are gone there's no recreating them and we do ourselves and our culture a disservice if we ignore them and then cry in our beer when they vanish into foggy memory.

                        1. re: hazelhurst

                          Beautifully put HH. Thanks for weighing in on this topic.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            After reading these threads, I feel horrible for not making it by on our last, abbreviated trip.

                            For my family, it was a real split - half went to Felix's, and half to ACME. This was a constant. I tried both, over the decades, and always gravitated to Felix's. Heck, that was MY side of the family. The other side was made up of mainly Yankees. I mean, what do Yankees know?

                            Glad that I got by Meyer the Hatter, as they might well be next?

                            Life, as I knew it, is changing all around me.


                        2. re: shanefink

                          Hm-m. Not sure that I see that about Felix. Yes, there are tourists, but those folk also dine at Bon Ton, Galatoire's, and almost everywhere, beyond some of the mom-n-pops out Chef Hwy. As Gizmo comments, I have known it from the 1950's, and my parents for years before. My half of the family chose it, over ACME, but then it was 50-50 between us. Over the more recent decades, ACME seems to have captured a bigger tourist following, but that is probably do to some episode of Diners, Drive-ins...

                          I have never had Felix's Chargrilled Oysters, but if one is comparing with Drago's at the Hilton, then I would say that Fancy Feast cat food would be better, and likely have more "meat."


                        3. re: lv2eat

                          I would skip the Grill Room at Windsor Court. It used to be really great, but not so much any longer. I would substitute Brigtsen's. The food, service & atmosphere are really excellent & it will be a much different experience from your other choices.

                          Glad to see you added Coquette to your lunch list. It's my favorite place for lunch or brunch. Excellent service & really yummy food. I love that they never rush you.

                          1. re: topeater

                            Go to the websites and read the menus. It's hard to take advice from folks without knowing their palates.

                            Sorry to repeat myself, but a meal at felix's will be a disappointment. You really need to add R'evolution. It has been open less than 6 months. In this short time it has earned a spot among our best. I'd also do a board search for Galatoire's. The experience is unique, the food less than stellar. Personally, I love it. Stella! gets lots of raves, as does Clancy's. Neither would make my top 10. Just my 2 cents.

                            Take a private carriage ride in the evening. Bring a bottle of champagne/plastic flutes or your favorite libation ((open containers are legal...must be in plastic cups). The driver will be happy to stop along the way for refills.. They will "shut up and drive" if you don't want the tour spiel.

                            1. re: JazzyB

                              For us, R'evolution was good, and showed great promise, but as of the end of July, still needed much work. Things were OK, but nothing to rave about - yet. I feel that in time, provided that they stay on track, they CAN be great. I still would give them the benefit of the doubt, as there were some fine moments, but just too few.


                              1. re: JazzyB

                                Agree on Stella!
                                "shut up and drive" is as goofy as it is cool.
                                I miss New Orleans.

                              2. re: topeater

                                Well, as of July, we found it to be great. Between R'evolution and August, then Restaurant August nudged it out of first place, and I rated it much higher than R'evolution, though that restaurant is still new.

                                Now Brigtsen's has always come through for us, and I could never recommend against it.


                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  It's probably smart to call ahead, let Frank Brigtsen know the occasion, and then kick back for a special meal. Taking the street car and then walking a bit makes it all the more special.

                                  1. re: steve h.


                                    That sounds like a grand plan!


                            2. No one has mentioned the po boys at Domilisi's or Crabby Jacks. Has something changed?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: dcbbq

                                OP will not have a car to get to CJ. Johnny's will be more convenient than Domilisie's ( imho, better as well).

                              2. Anybody add to this post by telling me about:
                                Cafe du Monde

                                Super excited....one Month away!!!

                                Looking at our 4 diners being:

                                But wanted to throw a few others (above) into the mix...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lv2eat

                                  Get your CdM fix after dinner, not for breakfast. It's absolutely not worth waiting in line (I can think of few experiences that are) but it is a place you should visit.

                                2. OK ALL...I'm all set for my trip in about 2 weeks! Dinners and lunchs planned out...

                                  Some music venues planned..
                                  Street Cars and Cabs only...

                                  How about light breakast ideas....we are staying in the French Quarter...so walkable places would be best.

                                  Ideas for breakfast or any other last minute hints??

                                  Thanks to all of you for helping to plan an amazing trip!!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lv2eat

                                    Red Gravy, just a half block across Canal Street from Chartres Street, is our favorite breakfast spot. It's a cute cafe with excellent food...some of the items have an Italian spin. It's very walkable from your hotel. Btw, it's closed on Tuesdays. Happy Anniversary and have a wonderful trip!

                                  2. Amazing experience!! Thanks to all!!!
                                    Brigstens, August and Stella were unbelievable....
                                    Galitoires was good and an experience....

                                    Headed to Comanders today for lunch....
                                    Have reservations tonight for Clancys...BUT...considering skipping it and heading somewhere for some traditional Po Boys instead.....problem is Johnny's closes at 4....

                                    ANYONE out there today in Chow land have an idea where to go for a good Po Boy for dinner???? Staying just off Bourbon on Coit.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: lv2eat

                                      Parkway for a shrimp poboy. IMO the rb is a flavorless, wet mess.

                                      1. re: lv2eat

                                        parkway is a great option for seafood - as is Domilese's - which should be open until 7
                                        Mahoney's is a little pricey, but very nice non-traditional options

                                        1. re: lv2eat

                                          Sounding good! Thanks for the update, and please keep us posted.

                                          Travel safely and enjoy,


                                        2. we stayed at Hotel Le Marais in november and loved it . great location . our favorite brunch was at EAT in the quarter . BYOchampagne. also really enjoyed Green Goddess for lunch right around the corner form the hotel.