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Which 4 of these places are best for breakfast for a first visit to New Orleans?

Hi NO hounds,

I am currently in the process of creating my itinerary for a visit in December. I've been enjoying reading through your threads and have come up with the following options for breakfast. Which ones would you pick if you could only pick 4? They will be for weekday early breakfasts. Cafe du monde will obviously be on the list - but do I need to go here at breakfast or could it be a snack later in the day?

Thanks in advance for any help!

Red Gravy, Mena’s Palace, Clover Grill, Commerce Restaurant, Daisy Dukes, Surey’s, Elizabeth’s, Stanley, Brennan’s, Camellia Grill, Coffee Pot (callas cakes), EAT, Café du Monde

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  1. I'm particularly a fan of Surry's and Elizabeth's (closed Mondays) and happen to like the Commerce (it's nothing particularly fancy but the service is old school).

    EAT doesn't do weekday breakfasts.

    Mena's is, in my opinion, not worth the time ... boring and shoddily prepared.

    I don't have a strong enough opinion to comment on the others.

    Although not everybody's been a fan, I still like the Cake Cafe (in the Marigny) and also the Ruby Slipper when they're not crowded ... early is good. (As an aside, It looks like the R.S. in the Marigny should be up and running soonish. Haven't read anything about it yet but the guys doing the renovation seemed to think they were nearing completion.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: montuori

      Do you mean Ruby Slipper on Magazine Street? That location is really close to our hotel.

      1. re: TeacherFoodie

        I visit the original up on Cortez in Mid-City (it's far easier to park the motorcycle). I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm way wrong but I can't imagine the two locations being vastly different.

        Likewise with Surry's ... I usually end up at the Lower Garden location and have never really noticed a difference between the two, aside for the perception that the Uptown locale serves bigger portions on occasion. The hash at Surry's is really, really good.

    2. Forget CDM and go to Cafe Beignet. They have a regular menu and much better beignets.

      2 Replies
      1. re: texasredtop

        Doesn't Cafe Beignet have you put on the powdered sugar yourself? I didn't like that about them and don't see any difference between the beignets.

        1. re: perrottwilliamson

          I got an order to go and the sugar was at the bottom of the bag. I'd rather dip my hot beignet and not get a mouthful of powdered sugar on some bites. I was the other side of Metairie before I could even handle them they were so hot AND so delicious! My husband had a breakfast sandwich on a croissant and said it was the best breakfast sandwich he'd ever had. From that point on I will not stop at CDM but instead go to Cafe Beignet. Wish I would have tried it earlier. I do love the frozen coffee at CDM but didn't try any drinks at Cafe Beignet.

      2. I've always regretted that I never ate at the Camellia Grill or Brennan's and I have always loved the Cafe du Monde so for me it would be one of the three.

        1 Reply
        1. re: perrottwilliamson

          I love Camilla Grill uptown. If you are hung over, nothing is better than a chili cheese omelet. In fact, if it's lat e at night, that's a good way to prevent a hangover!

          I would never go to Cafe du monde for breakfast. It's always been my late afternoon pick-up or late at night pick-up. Too much sugar that early in the day makes me shaky

        2. I don't think beignets and coffee a breakfast make. Ok to stop on your way to an actual breakfast (at Stanley, for example, which is just a couple of blocks away). Many prefer CDM late at night or very early in the morning, when it is not nearly as crowded.

          A big thumb's up from me for Elizabeth's. I would add Coffee Pot, Red Gravy, and Stanley as my 4. Brennan's gets little love on this board (generally considered mediocre and wildly expensive), but there are a couple of strong advocates here too, so if you have the budget and want one old school NOLA experience, it might be fun.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Gizmo56

            We're staying at the Hyatt French Quarter, so any of these great breakfast places close to there? I am sure my friends I am going with want to go to CDM, but I will try to convince them Cafe Beignet is a better bet.

            1. re: robinsilver

              robin,

              Stanley and Coffee Pot are in the French Quarter, so they would both be an easy walk. Red Gravy is only about half a block outside the FQ, just across Canal Street, so it is also a brief walk.

              Elizabeth's is in the Bywater, so that will be a cab ride, unless you have the time and inclination for a long walk across the French Quarter and through the Marigny.

              1. re: Gizmo56

                Thanks Gizmo. I was thinking Red Gravy was relatively close. There will be plenty of walking to do there, and we have 1 person who just had back surgery, and another one with a leg problem from a bad car accident, so we are going to have to take that into account. Thanks to mapquest, I can figure out how far each walk is.

            2. re: Gizmo56

              I agree with your comments on CDM. I love it, but only go early, or late. Often, if I want the beignets, I'll just pass on dessert, wherever, and head to CDM, especially if the fog has rolled in from the River.

              I like both The Coffee Pot, and Stanley.

              We are now (not always) fans of Brennan's, but have only done several brunches there - both Saturday and Sunday. When we lived in NOLA, many decades ago, we only went to Brennan's, when guests really wanted to go. Did not return for many years, and then, on a whim, did a Saturday brunch there. We WERE impressed, and enjoyed it greatly. Took an Eastern European guest there for Sunday brunch, and when we were back the next year, she insisted that we do it again. We have gone back once more. Each visit was very good to excellent, though the price tab (we usually do Champagne and a bottle of with Burg) is not cheap, in any way. I may be one of the very few, who do give Brennan's love, but over the last 6 years, they have not let us down at any level.

              @ TeacherFoodie - ENJOY!

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I also will recommend Brennan's. We have always had very good experiences here. Yes, it is pricey for what it is...but you're on vacation so it won't kill you. In fact I think you will enjoy yourselves very much. They are really good at what they do so we come back everytime we visit. Have a cocktail, the turtle soup, any of the egg dishes, and go for the bananas foster.
                I can also recommend the Coffee Pot - would make this a regular breakfast outing - and Stanely. Stanely is on the higher end of the price scale for breakfast (not as steep as Brennan's) but worth it for the eggs, fried oysters and bloody mary's with a view of Jackson Square.
                Save CDM for a late afternoon snack. And AVOID Daisy Duke's....bland soulless food...flithy restaurant.

                1. re: j.ho

                  Third Brennan's based on sheer consistency and quality of food and service.

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  What do you like at Stanley, Coffee Pot and Brennan's?

                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                    At Coffee Pot, I have enjoyed Pan Perdue (my normal order), at Stanley, I have enjoyed several dishes, but the Eggs Stella! have been a standout. At Brennan's, everything, including the Eggs Benedict, have been very good, up to great. Only similar dish, that has been better, has been Campton Place (San Francisco), with a Crabmeat Benedict, but that is a different dish. As for Eggs Benedict, we have tried the dish at some vaunted restaurants, only to cite Brennan's as the best, in our humble opinion.

                    Hunt

              2. Surrey's would be my number one choice on this list. The laid back atmosphere & delicious food always draw me back. Their hash is out of bounds, and their fresh squeezed juices are amazing. I also love the Camellia Grill, but usually when nursing a pretty serious hangover. Mena's is a fine place for a plate lunch, and some inexpensive grub in the quarter, but im not a fan of their breakfast. Old Coffee Pot has some nice breakfast choices, and Stanley's twist on Benadicts' are a nice change of pace as well.

                Although you may be a breakfast fan, its easy to over do it. Make sure to save appetite for many of the wonderful options for lunch/dinner.

                1 Reply
                1. re: GDPhalp

                  I’ve been a fan of Old Coffee Pot and have recommended it many times on this board, but my breakfast there with my wife for her birthday this morning was pretty bad. The service and atmosphere were still good, but we had the eggs sardou and the eggs creole. The sardou was $13.25 with no side of grits or potatoes. My eggs creole was the same price and included about two eggs scrambled wtih a little mushroom and peppers and a side of home fries that taste like they had been pre-cooked and microwaved. It was pretty disappointing. I wondered if on a Tuesday lunch, they are using their d-team cooks. As for your list, I like Surrey’s the best too although the waits can be very long, especially at the Uptown location. Eat and Elizabeth’s would be my next two choices. I’ve never been to Red Gravy.

                2. Thanks for all the great feedback! We will probably try both CB and CDM for snack beignets, and I'll try to select 4 other places from your suggestions for breakfasts.

                  Our hotel, by the way, is the Mariott at 555 Canal Street.

                  1. I know Brennan's is old school and expensive; but I thought it was elegant and the food was very good. I may never have the need to enjoy a breakfast like that again, but I am glad I had the experience of eating there once.

                    1. I like Stanley! quite a bit and recommend it. The food is traditional in terms of ingredients, but they are presented oddly, which makes it fun.

                      I very much like EAT especially the blue cheese with fig spread (yum!) but they have odd hours for breakfast and/or brunch, so likely will not work for you. Worth the effort if you are in town when they are open.

                      Clover Grill is just a wild scene, you don't go there for the food, IMHO.

                      I feel kind of similar for CdM, if you take their food over to Jackson Square and relax in the park, it can be very nice, but the food itself isn't anything super amazing, and doesn't rise to the level of "breakfast" for me, it's not enough. Definitely a better choice for a snack at some random point during the day (and you'll miss the AM and late night crowds that way, too).

                      1. Hi everyone,

                        Thanks again for the feedback. When you are referring to Surrey's, is it Surrey's Uptown?

                        1 Reply
                        1. CDM is a place I go when I have visitors or old classmates in town and it is a nice place to sit but their coffee hasn't been worth shooting in over thirty years. I drink mine black and theirs is awfully thin.(This comes from a man who still drips coffee a tablespoon at a time..very few places have properly strong and thick coffee to my taste.) I lost my taste for sugar when I was about 15 so the beignets hold no charm for me either. But, as I said, it is a nice place to sit.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            Now, and probably because we have not lived in NOLA for decades, I still enjoy the coffee - but that is just me.

                            Perhaps I have far too much "baggage," and cut them some unearned slack, but early, or late, I still enjoy CDM.

                            Now, I DO wish that they offered "raw sugar" from up River, but that is just me.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              You can find raw sugar all around Baton Rouge..I get it from friends in the business (I use a little occasionally in black coffee in cool weather just for tradition sake and some friends need it for baking) I'll look around to see who has it for shipping. Some mills sell it in Ye Olde Gifte Shoppe but when you see the price and compare to what the subsidized price per pound is, you'll faint.

                              1. re: hazelhurst

                                Back when we lived in River Ridge, we'd head up River, and buy a 50# bag, around Destrehan, and buy raw sugar.

                                Over the decades, we have found that the Hawai`ian raw sugar, is to our taste, and more readily available, to those not living in South Louisiana. We travel with it in our luggage, and use it from London to NYC, where it is not that common.

                                Hunt

                          2. We stumbled upon Stanley's after Mass at St. Louis Cathedral. Really good food and great service. It has been a couple of years since we went to the coffee pot and thought it was more of a tourist trap. Was $30 for breakfast for me and my wife and we did not have any alcohol (don't even know if they serve alcohol).
                            I had heard about Surrey's on Magazine a bunch and it stood up to its rep. Really crazy there. I don't believe we had the same server stop by out table more than once but we never lacked for anything. A real team there. The food was very good also. I agree with everyone else, as much as I like CDM, we don't consider it breakfast. Cafe Beignet has a good crafish omlette also. Another wrinkle is Daisy Dukes in the Quaters. Good food at a great price. The only problem with eating there is it is mostly a bar and you have some smokers there.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: ilikeNOLA

                              People are allowed to smoke in bars in New Orleans?

                              1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                Yes, it is still legal, although many have gone non-smoking voluntarily. If you want to avoid second-hand smoke, here is a very useful resource:

                                http://www.letsbetotallyclear.org/ven...

                                1. re: Gizmo56

                                  Thanks Gizmo! Is it allowed in restaurants as well?

                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                    I don't think so. My wife and I were there 8 weeks ago, and did not encounter any smoking in any restaurants. Thankfully all of the bars and music venues we visited were smoke-free as well.

                              2. re: ilikeNOLA

                                Which Surreys did you visit 1418 or 4807 Magazine Street? Does the location matter?

                                1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                  We had breakfast at 4807 Magazine Steet location. Magazine St. is a very neat shopping and restaurant location. Really cool.

                              3. We had b'fast 2x's last month at Jimmy J's cafe in the FQ.
                                Killer home fries and great omelettes.
                                Just off of Canal.

                                1. Thanks everyone for all your suggestions. I've narrowed it down to five (and am hoping one of them will be open on Christmas day. Here are the final contestants:

                                  Brennan’s
                                  Stanley
                                  Surrey’s
                                  Elizabeth’s
                                  Old Coffee Pot

                                  Would be great to know what everyone likes at these places.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                    While I have not dined at Elizabeth's, or Surrey's, I do read some great reviews from trusted folk, so would anticipate that they were great too.

                                    Most of all, ENJOY!

                                    Hunt

                                    1. re: TeacherFoodie

                                      Surry's -- the hash.

                                      Stanley -- the Breaux Bridge Benedict.

                                      Elizabeth's -- the bun o' fun (breakfast) or the french toast & praline bacon (brunch) (Or their excellent fried chicken at dinner.)

                                    2. There's also Satsuma- they have a Bywater location and a new Uptown location on Maple.

                                      1. I'd suggest knocking Mena's (if Mena's is a palace, then Verti Marte is the Taj Mahal), Daisy Dukes, and Elizabeth's off of your list. Mena's has some of the worst food and coffee in New Orleans, Daisy Dukes' name says it all, and Elizabeth's hey days are/were in the past.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: nolala

                                          We went to Elizabeth's seeking a Sunday breakfast rather than "hey days."

                                          Good thing, because the breakfast was excellent.

                                          1. re: Gizmo56

                                            Cafe Adelaide, ruby slipper and brennans are the best breakfasts in my opinion over all.

                                        2. Definitely check out Stanley . . .

                                          Some people prefer Café du Monde; some prefer Café Beignet -- for me, it's a matter of timing. For breakfast, Café Beignet is (always) much closer to where I stay (usually the Roosevelt), and it's easier to walk to, *and* it's faster. I usually hit CDM in the afternoons or late evenings . . . but I do hit it.