As a resident of Bywater, here is a list of neighborhood (with a few Marigny) restaurants, rated on a 5 point scale to encompass quality, service, and general experience. This is as comprehensive as I can recall, but what with so many pop-ups, it's not nearly so. Hopefully this will expose some of you to places that you've not heard of, and let me say without question that Frady's roast beef po-boy alone is enough reason to come to the neighborhood for lunch. Please feel free to chime in, particularly on those I've not included or haven't been to. Starting on the Poland Ave. end and working in:
Bacchanal: 3-4 (now is the perfect time to take avantage of the courtyard before it gets cold)
The Joint: 4
Pizza Delicious: new location open any day, but previously the pizza seemed solid but not incredible as some claimed
Country Club: 3, but erratic
Frady's: 3 (the roast beef po-boy itself gets a 4)
Prime Grill: ?
Pirate Unicorn Booty's: name says it all
Suis Generis: ?
Sugar Park: 3
Mariza: coming soon & should be promising...perhaps the Bywater restaurant all will be talking about in 2013
Pho King (in back of Lost Love Lounge): 3
Mimi's in the Marigny (upstairs): 3-4 (best tapas in NOLA?)
Fatoush (in Healing Center): 3
Ya know, I was actually a little disappointed. Space was beautiful, service was good, staff was friendly and the prices were very reasonable. But the food, which I found similar to Domenica, wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. We had the ricotta bruschetta, 1/2dozen oysters, gnocchi, short rib rigatoni, duck liver pappardelle and a special lardo pizza. The rigatoni suffered from lack of flavor (needed salt). I liked the duck liver spread on a thin toast point, but the rest of the pappardelle was also a little lacking in flavor. The bruchetta was tasty, but I would have preferred two smaller ones rather than one that we had to cut in half and all the toppings fell to the plate. I prefer the pizza at Domenica. This pizza was just too greasy. We heard the panna cotta was amazing, but we were full. I would go back here, but I wasn’t blown away like most.
This is a great thread, and I would love for someone to provide a comprehensive update, especially as so much has happened in the last three years. As for my own recent experiences (although I have a hard time assigning a numerical score), Bacchanal still wows (as much for the overall wonderfulness of the place as for the better-than-it-needs-to-be food), The Franklin was very good (and I loved their art collection), and Booty's Street Food was fun (and the food good, but not Bacchanal or The Franklin good). I haven't been to Elizabeth's in years -- there are other places that I like so much more -- but did note that the Saturday late morning/early afternoon line was pretty insane, so some people still like the place!
A list of restaurants in a well defined neighborhood seems so easy and yet even the list above misses Jack Dempsey's (and one should not miss Dempsey's).
I had a paneed rabbit at Elizabeth's recently that was pretty good along with a jumbo sized sazarac. (On the one hand, "jumbo sized" is almost always gauche but -- on the other -- I certainly didn't send it back.) The bar upstairs remains a decent place for a solo diner.
Although not in Bywater (and almost not in Marigny either) Seoul Shack in the Dragon's Den courtyard was spot on the other night. Although ultra casual (though there were tablecloths which seems almost quaint these days) the service was surprisingly attentive and it's a damn pretty spot.
The place that was the Joint and then Jughead's and is now some place who's name I can't recall has a good-for-New-Orleans cheesesteak and nice outside seating. Not a terrible place to stop in for lunch.
It might interest someone that the Three Muses is taking reservations now. I think that's a new thing and for people wanting to go there, probably an improvement over the line on the sidewalk.
Anyhow, I personally am looking forward to Red's Chinese version two.
I’ve been to both Horn’s and Cake Cafe recently. Both are good stops for breakfast, and IMHO, better than Elizabeth’s. Cake Cafe’s set up for ordering at the counter and then waiting for a table is a little disorienting, though. Horn’s has similar menu to it’s sister restaurant, Slim Goody’s for breakfast, but they’re putting out some nice looking dinner/lunch entrees as well.