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4 Lunches, 2 jazz brunches, 7 dinners with 3 pre-dinner bars.....first timer....comments/suggestions welcomed

Using lunches to "explore" NOLA and dinners for relaxation/dinners/drinking. Here's the itinerary:
Day 1: Check-in and dinner at Le Meritage
Day 2: St Charles Streetcar and lunch at Boucherie; dinner at Mr B's Bistro
Day 3: French Quarter/Royal St and lunch at NOLA; Drinks at Hermes Bar, dinner at Pelican Club
Day 4: Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace/explore Garden District; dinner at Herbsaint
Day 5: Jazz Brunch at Muriel's/explore Jackson Square; dinner at Emeril's Delmonico
Day 6: CBD and lunch at Bon Ton Cafe; Drinks at Carousel Bar, dinner at Criollo at Monteleone
Day 7: Magazine St and lunch at Atchafalaya; Drinks at French 75 and dinner at GW Fins

Being a first-time tourist to NOLA, I would like to avoid being treated like one; ie: getting seated next to the bathroom or losing my waiter for an hour. I have lived in NYC and now Las Vegas, understand the nature of the restaurant/tourism business and the downfalls of not being a "regular"...I also believe that great service can be a "crapshoot" and look to service as being less important than the quality of the food and the ambiance of my dining surroundings....With that being said, if someone would like to make a change to my food itinerary based upon all 3 qualities (not unlike a Zagat review), I would be grateful for the suggestions.

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  1. dont miss the napoleon house for drinks

    4 Replies
    1. re: joedontexan

      Thx Joe....I can do that after lunch at NOLA while exploring Royal & Chartres streets.

      Hazel....my thought about Criollo was the connection to the Carousel Bar.....I could easily do another nearby. Do you have a favorite that you would recommend?

      1. re: VegasGourmet

        Sylvain does a fine job of both food and cocktails and their bar staff is well versed in competent hospitality. One other FQ recommendation that I'd throw out is the Meauxbar Bistro. It doesn't seem to get talked about a whole lot but the food is consistently excellent, the service is fine, and the space (to my thinking) is just right for a Bistro.

        I'd be interested in hearing about your dinner at Le Meritage. I've never been -- I hate to admit it but the name completely puts me off (where, exactly, did the "Le" come from? Meritage is an Americanism!).

        1. re: VegasGourmet

          Well, lessee..you already have Mr B for another day..Revolution is staggering distance from the Monteleone although most everything apart from the Uptown places is quite walkable (well, not MAndina's). Everyone around here knows I'd just amble over to Galatoire's. Don't know that days of the week involved but recall that Bon Ton is available on weekdays only.

          I like collardman's remark on "Le Meritage." There is a lot of faux French about (see Le Creole in BAton Rouge which has an accent on the final "e" [I don;t know how to call those up on a computer....sorry]. A friend of mine gets furious on tis issue and threatened to take a marker to a place that used to have "elevateur" instead of l'ascenseur." And of course "Geaux" TIgers would not be pronounced "go."

          1. re: hazelhurst

            I had to re-read "staggering distance," to understand... OK, so I am slow tonight. Good call.

            Hunt

      2. Everything there is perfectly defensible except that I cannot think of anyone I know who has eaten at the Monteleone. Its menu blurs with so many others that I seem to think I am reading the same thing everywhere. (And it surprises me, with today's sensitivities to such things, that they are serving swordfish. The average weight per catch is down disastrously since my youth and I'd support a five year ban on fishing them just to improve the stocks. I love the stuff.)

        1. As hazel mentioned, most of your choices are perfectly fine. - As a first time visitor, what are you looking to accomplish with food itinerary? Are you looking for a "best of NOLA" restaurant experience with each meal? Are you looking for a specific cuisine? Are you hoping to eat foods that are ubiquitous to the area? There are several restaurants I would remove, and put others in their place on this list, but I typically come with a very specific strategy.

          26 Replies
          1. re: GDPhalp

            GD (and others)....I am, firstly, looking to eat (especially dinners) that I cannot get anywhere else. I can get superior food here in Vegas, so I am avoiding pure American, Continental, and, somewhat, what is now defined (by Fitzmorris and others) as "eclectic." I would like dinners, if possible be in the FQ and not taxi rides; lunches are to be more "explorative"....Riverbend/Carrollton, Magazine St, French Marketplace/Jackson Square...
            I am, actually, looking to drop Le Meritage because it is the first night and staying more casual...perhaps Desire at the RS.

            1. re: VegasGourmet

              I think any person wanting to "experience" the city is doing themselves a dis-service by not spending an afternoon for lunch @ Galitoire's - a restaurant can not come more quentessentially a city, than this restaurant. If you insist on "destination" lunches - outside of the quarter, I think you've done a fine job of making your meals revolve around your itinerary. I would not spend an "exploratory" afternoon in the CBD, nor would I waste a precious meal @ Bon Ton. Although it has a couple of noteworthy dishes, it is not good cajun food, of which there is very little in the city - and would not be on my list if I was visiting for the first time. Bon Ton has overpriced versions of "cajun classics", which neither taste/leave you feeling good about your decision to dine there. I am not trying to be overly harsh, so dont get me wrong, their crabmeat au gratin is good & I enjoy their bread pudding - if I were staying a couple of months, I'd probably hit it up for a change of pace.
              Same goes for Delmonico - were it me, I'd consider Restaurant R'evolution for a dinner & perhaps slate in Coquette for lunch.

              1. re: GDPhalp

                Thx GD....So, switch Bon Ton to Galatoire's and switch Delmonico to R'Evolution? If I switch to R'Evolution, I can tie that into the Monday night drinks at Carousel Bar and also eliminate Criollo....which then leaves me an opening for Wed night where Delmonico's was....thoughts on that dinner in the FQ?

                1. re: VegasGourmet

                  Delmonico is great for history, BUT the original offered more. Please do not get me wrong, but I knew Delmonico from an earlier era, and though a fan of Chef Lagasse, found it to be the weakest of his New Orleans restaurants - but that is just me.

                  R'evolution has great promise, and we hope to dine there, when they have had time for a full "shake-down cruise." Good, but potential not yet realized.

                  Bon Ton is great, and is unique, but so is Friday lunch at Galatoire's. They are very different, and in an ideal world, should both be experienced.

                  Now, it has been many, many years, since we ate at the Monteleon, but were underwhelmed back then. The Carousel Bar, well that is another story - we did our ":board meetings" there, every morning for Bloody Marys, for a full week, and loved every second.

                  Whatever you do, do not try to hit everything, and hate yourself, if you miss a great place, or two. I always feel that I need a full month, to revisit New Orleans.

                  Just did two spots in your city - Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy. We had done L'atelier Joel Robuchon, and filled in the only empty hole in that restaurant, in Paris, the week before, so we were glad to do his "flagship" restaurant. Even in Paris, the staff told us that Chef Robuchon's favorite was his spot in LV, and we understand why. While L'Atelier LV had been good (way better than Paris, and in a toss-up with London), his "big" restaurant, next door, was excellent. I only accompany my wife to LV, if there are at least two nights, where I get to pick the restaurants. I miss about 3 trips per year, but when I do go, I have greatly enjoyed myself there. I leave my $ on the tables - but they are the dining tables, and not those designed for gaming. Lovely restaurants!

                  Enjoy New Orleans, and travel safely.

                  Hunt

                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                    Bill.....Next time you are here, leave the main "strip" and venture to a "local" hotel/casino....The SouthPoint....and have dinner at Michael's. Nothing like it anywhere in this town....Michael Gaughan's homage to what was the best about Vegas years ago.
                    As far as my trip.....next summer, by the way,....I am completely happy if I have some 3-star venues along with those with more press releases, just as long as those restos are the best at what they do. I don't try to compare a great pizza with a great steak or a great tarte tatin....just as long as they are all great within their own domains. Sorry for the analogy; but hope that makes sense.

                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                      In that case, you may want to venture away from all the “New Orleans”-style restaurants and try our best steak house- Mr. John’s. I don’t know how it compares to steak houses in other cities because that not what I seek out in other cities, but it has awesome steaks and really good sides. Or you can try John Besh’s take on classic Italian pizzas, pasta and chacuterie at Domenica. You probably should hit one Besh restaurant while you’re here.

                      1. re: shanefink

                        I have read many very good reviews of Mr. John's, but have never dined there.

                        Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico (basically a steakhouse, from a chef, whose work I have greatly enjoyed, back to the Commander's Palace days) fell short, but then we both knew the old Delmonico, so my review was probably slightly tainted by those memories. Of all of his restaurants (even to the, now gone, MS Gulf Coast, and LV iterations) was the weakest, at least for me.

                        While I have never dined at Besh Steak, at the casino, I AM a big fan of Restaurant August, and openly give recommendations for it.

                        Hunt

                      2. re: VegasGourmet

                        Actually, we were just there. It was OK, but nothing exciting. I had received many great recs., so we booked, and cabbed down.

                        Now, I am not so much a "steakhouse fan," but find myself in them all the time. In Phoenix, we have lost 5 great, local, chef-driven restaurants, to be replaced by "expense account," absentee chef steakhouses. None has impressed me.

                        Now, our friends ARE steakhouse folk, and did like it, so it is a personal taste thing, no doubt.

                        When handed the wine list, I was thinking, "Hey, this looks like fun." Unfortunately, each page had only 3 wine labels on it, so there were not nearly as many choices, as I had anticipated. When we began ordering the wines, the first three selections were no longer available, but such is life.

                        The beef was good, but did not make my Top 20 list - not even close. At about US $68 per order, I sort of had expected more, and better. Not bad, but it did not wow me. I am not quite positive, but my wife's Dover Sole (at about US $89) was just OK. As we are in London 2 - 3x per year, she (and I) know Dover Sole, and even with the London "upcharge," and the exchange rate for $ vs £, we pay less, and get much, much more.

                        I would not head back, but think that my friends likely would. Just not my type of restaurant.

                        We have one restaurant in PHX, that is similar - old-line steakhouse, and I felt that Durant's blows the doors off of Michael's.

                        Back in New Orleans, I enjoyed the old Charlie's (might still be around?), but have not been to Besh Steak in the casino, however my wife, and my late M-I-L have. My wife also did a culinary event there, with Chef Besh, and both loved that. I have not been, so cannot comment.

                        Still, you have to remember that I am not a general "steakhouse fan," so my observations do not carry THAT much water.

                        In very general terms, I find that many restaurants in New Orleans, that do get the hype, live up to the press clippings. That has proven to not be true, in some other cities, at least for me. There ARE some, even in New Orleans, that seem to have PR crews, that do a better job, than the kitchen does - still, NOLA is MY culinary destination, and at many levels. While I love San Francisco dining, and am there 15 - 30x per year, I would choose NOLA over that city, per my palate.

                        Now, there are possibly great pizzas in New Orleans, but that is not what I head over, to dine on. We have one of the most celebrated pizzerias, in downtown Phoenix, and a half-dozen heralded ones in Scottsdale. I love a good "pie," but am looking for something else (even at Dominic's), when in NOLA.

                        I personally love the extremely broad range of cuisine, that makes up what I typify as NOLA Cuisine - a touch of the Caribbean, a touch of old Spain, some French influence, and then a hint of Cajun. Couple that with fresh Gulf seafood, and I am "home."

                        Still, I did enjoy Joel Robuchon (at La Maison), and Guy Savoy. Yes, neither chef was there, but it was not obvious from our meals.

                        Most of all, ENJOY!!!!!!

                        Hunt

                2. re: VegasGourmet

                  I don’t think you are going to have much trouble with the service or the level of the food quality with any of the places you selected, especially with the two changes you mention above. I think Sylvain or SoBou would be a nice choice for that opening on Wednesday. I was really disappointed with the food when I went to Vegas for my 40th. Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batelli and Emeril’s place in Vegas pailed into comparison to any of the places you are going to visit here. Of the three I went to, Puck’s Spago was probably the best, but they were all so generic.

                  1. re: shanefink

                    Shane.....I usually advise eating some meals away from the hotels/casinos when in Vegas. Our #1 off-Strip restaurant, Rosemary's, closed last summer because it is so tough to have a great resto away from the tourists...and stay in business. The great news is that it will be re-opening next year and adding to the amazing re-birth of downtown Las Vegas. Happy to help with recommendations if you plan to return. As to NOLA, Sylvain, Louisiana Bistro, and Broussard's all look interesting in both concept as well as their menus if I intend to stay in the FQ for dinner....do you have any thoughts/experience with the last two as comparison to Sylvain?

                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                      No, sorry, never been to LA Bistro and it’s been too long for me to remember much about Broussards. Sylvain is just much newer and trendier than the other two.

                      1. re: VegasGourmet

                        While we knew Broussard's, when we lived in New Orleans in the '70s, we have only been back once, since we moved away. However, that was an excellent experience, but it was an event for 250. Still, and considering the crowd, they impressed the heck out of us - really a class act, but not exactly a dinner for two.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Gosh...I havent been to Broussard's since Hector was a pup and, indeed, hadn't thought about it since the Battle of Manilla until I saw it here. I was thinking that Irene's might be a good substitute or, perhaps, Bayona. As to the latter, the weather right now is great for the courtyard (and you CAN get a table there if you know how to talk to people). I also---unsurprisingly--agree that Galatoire's is the perfect (and sole surviving) example of the classic Creole restaurant that made the city's name synonymous with good eating. It is my first stop home after long travelling, just to reassure myself that We Are Still Here.

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            Hazel.....Definitely will do Galatoire's...but lunch (and not Friday)...not looking to "compete" for a good table, just wanting the quality of food and ambiance without the stress of avoiding the "tourist floor"....also have a problem with Irene's, understand that reservations are limited (and I respect a reservation system rather than walk-in system) and from what I can see from the menu on other websites, I was not overly impressed. Two types of restos that I have no need to consider would be Italian and Steakhouses.....I would be comparing them to what I have here (and what I had, especially, for 40 years in NYC) and that would be somewhat useless. Susan Spicer's Bayona is an example of what happens when Napa Valley meets the Gulf Coast rather than having its own identity specific to NOLA.....also meets the definition of "eclectic" which I always avoid wherever I am....I prefer food that is straightforward and honest for what it is rather than it being a "chemistry experiment" in "taste explosions."...

                            1. re: VegasGourmet

                              Well, I don’t blame you for not wanting Italian or steak house. My point was that you may get tired of heavy creole food after 3 or 4 days and may want some alternatives. Cochon Butcher for a sandwich or Dong Phuong for Vietnamese. Plus Domenica isn’t really like New York Italian food at all.

                              1. re: shanefink

                                Good point. On our last trip, immediately pre-K, we did the "grand dames," and had a great time. However, on the last night, my wife (the NOLA native) requested, "Do you have anything that is not dredged in butter?" It was almost like hearing her ask for Vegan in a Dodge City steakhouse - but she had reached her limit. It can happen.

                                Hunt

                              2. re: VegasGourmet

                                Even NOLA Italian (a departure) is not what I would head for, and the same with a steakhouse, but that is just me.

                                Now, I do enjoy "eclectic," and often seek it out - within reason.

                                It has probably been mentioned elsewhere in this thread, but if you are not doing Chef Frank Brigtsen's, you should. Just a streetcar ride up St. Charles and onto Carrollton. Hope that the streetcar line is now open and running, but check.

                                Enjoy,

                                Hunt

                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                  Bill.....Brigtsen's is only dinner and I am centering all my dinners in the FQ...lunches outside.. taking the streetcars or buses during the late morning/early afternoon....returning to the FQ for late afternoon drinks...then dressing for dinner....then some jazz and more adult beverages.Going to Boucherie for lunch in that part of town after playing "tourist" on the streetcar...Another aspect that I am realizing as I do more research: I want to avoid restaurants (lunch or dinner) that are in hotels (possible exception is Windsor Court Grill Room or Polo Lounge)....

                                  1. re: VegasGourmet

                                    There is a recent "trip report," where Boucherie got high marks. I have not dined there, but that thread makes me want to include them.

                                    Now, along with The Grill Room, I would make an exception for both MiLa and R'evolution - both in hotels.

                                    I used to feel the same as you, until I moved to Phoenix, where many great, chef-driven restaurants WERE in resorts (though most are now absentee, TV chefs, and are "expense account" steakhouses. I also make the same exceptions in Hawaii, and Las Vegas, but I was not always of that mind.

                                    Brigtsen's, though a lovely streecar ride from the FQ, is well worth the excusion, at least in my humble opinion. However, I understand your desire to keep things closer, for the evening meal. I have done similar in the past. Keep them for your next trip.

                                    Most of all, enjoy!

                                    Hunt

                                2. re: VegasGourmet

                                  Well, you'll fit in perfectly at Galatoire's where I describe "the philosophy" as "Here's a ncie piece of fish..eat it." No PIcasso on a Plate nonsense, no fear of butter, cream, garlic...bistro food wiith the local stuff. I think you are wise to avoid Friday. I find it to be too "see-and-be-seen" and is is often packed with arrivistes. Any other afternoon (except Monday...closed) is fine. I always recommend dressing as if it were 1960.

                                  I've not done Mr John's yet but I don;t think, if you knew NYC steakhouses years ago, you'd find anything to take notice of. I still pine for Christ Cella and its been dead for almost 20 years (plus a horrible decline towards the end).

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    Hazel....Lived around the corner from Palm's Steakhouse...always was my fave in NYC (once I became a regular, however).....and still love Peter Luger's steak sauce (with that tinge of horseradish) on my steaks that I grill myself. As to FQ dinners, I might add K-Paul's to Broussard's and try both.

                                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                                      After Cella began to go, I transferred my flag to Luger's although I've had some good meals at The Palm in my time. The decline of chop houses in New York has been annoying but Luger still holds up well. I hear Gallagher's might be over, too.

                                      Be sure, on your Galtoire's lunch(or maybe lunches...) that you get there about 2:00 and then linger awhile. My gang just orders course-by-course rather than all at once. More liesurely. You'll spot the regulars pretty easily I think (like the fellow who always brings a pile of magazines with him and tears out the ads and those annoying little subscription cards and leaves them on the table when he leaves.)

                                      1. re: hazelhurst

                                        Yes, but you can’t dine with James and Mary unless you are at Mr. John’s on Friday nights.

                                      2. re: VegasGourmet

                                        Try Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill steak sauce recipe. Perhaps an acquired taste, it too has horseradish. It will keep for quite awhile in the frig. A schmear beneath your steak adds a nice hit of flavor.

                                        1. re: VegasGourmet

                                          We have had many lovely meals at K-Paul's, but that was some time ago, so things might well have changed. The only fairly recent excursion to Broussard's was very good (amazingly so), BUT it was for a large, catered event, so I cannot comment on dining there, outside of such a production. Still, they hit many "high-notes," and for a party of ~ 250, so if one could interpolate, they SHOULD do their regular meals well.

                                          Wish that I had something more current, or more suitable for individual diners to offer.

                                          Travel safely,

                                          Hunt

                                    2. re: hazelhurst

                                      Unfortunately, my Broussard's experience was for an event - but they handled things wonderfully, even to dinner service for ~ 250. I was expecting much less, and was impressed. It had been decades, since we dined there (not for any events then), but they impressed me.

                                      Now, Susan Spicer has always come through for me, at Bayona, and I have never had less than a "very good" meal there.

                                      I have not dined at Irene's, but my family (many in the business) sings their praises. Not sure why we have not made it yet, but probably had to do with "family events... ?"

                                      I side with you on Galatoire's, but that was a given.

                                      Hunt

                          2. That looks like a very nice selection. Only variations might be skipping Criollo, even though you are at the bar, and maybe trying seafood at the casual Borgne. Then possibly substituting one of the good uptown/Magazine street restaurants for Delmonicos.

                            1. Thx to everyone (so far).....This is the revised itinerary based upon the suggestions....also adding one thought that I would like to experience some of "Older NOLA ambiance/food" even if it is not as "trendy" as others (hence the addition of Broussard's & K-Paul's)....
                              Day 1: Check in at RS and fun food at Desire Oyster Bar
                              Day 2: Boucherie for lunch and dinner at Le Meritage
                              Day 3: NOLA for lunch, drinks at Napoleon House; dinner at The Pelican Club after drinks at Hermes Bar
                              Day 4: Commander's Palace Jazz Brunch; dinner at K-Paul's
                              Day 5: Muriel's Jackson Square Jazz Brunch; drinks at the Carousel Bar then dinner at Mr. B's Bistro
                              Day 6: Galatoire's for lunch; dinner at Broussard's
                              Day 7: Lunch at Atchafalaya; drinks at French 75 bar and dinner at GW Fins
                              Once again, days/lunches are for exploring NOLA (Riverbend/Carrollton/St Charles; Magazine Street; French Marketplace) and evenings are a walk to and from dinner from the RS in the FQ.

                              Thanks to everyone contributing...still happy to make changes (trip is next Summer)....

                              35 Replies
                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                Just my 2 cents but there are better lunch options. Emeril's ( m- f ) prix fixe lunch, ditto August and Commander's (25 cent martinis as well). Coquette prix fix lunch wed-sat.

                                1. re: VegasGourmet

                                  If my jazz brunch-math is right you're now planning for a Monday lunch at Galatoire's and that's a no go. You'll need to switch that up.

                                  1. re: kukubura

                                    You are 100% correct...and that presents a puzzle (and as Bill Hunt said..."can't do them all")....I still want Boucherie and Atchafalaya (they are also closed Mondays) and prefer to stay away from Galatoire's on Friday (which is the only lunch day available for NOLA)....I want to do Magazine St on Tuesday (day before leaving) for the freshest macaroons/et al from Sucre and need to fit in a lunch on the St Charles Streetcar line (Riverbend/Carrollton) also. I could always add another week to the vacation..lol.....Thoughts?

                                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                                      I think you did yourself a disservice by cutting out Herbsaint. Your original lineup was better. Change Desire Oyster Bar to Mr. B’s and get your BBQ Shrimp fill on arrival day when you probably won’t be seeking out a big meal. Don’t waste a whole dinner on Day 5 at Mr. B’s because, in my opinion, they’re a one trick pony. Galatoire’s and Broussard’s in the same day is too similar, I think. Work Herbsaint back in and add Restaurant August or Coquette to the lineup. Also, are you set on Pelican Club? It’s good, but as I mentioned, August, Coqutte, SoBou, Sylvain, R’Evolution are all significantly better. Also, you can do Boucherie on the last day when you hit Magazine Street.

                                      1. re: shanefink

                                        Could not agree more with shanefink!

                                        1. re: shanefink

                                          I agree, Shanefink. I'd also nix Atchafalaya, Muriels's, and Broussards , none of which are our best foodwise. K-Paul's used to be grreat, but hasn't been for a long time.

                                          1. re: JazzyB

                                            HI.....Wow!....Back to Square 1, eh?.....OK, happy to switch Boucherie with Atchafalaya (as long as I can easily navigate getting from Jeannette to Magazine to pick up stuff at Sucre. As to other suggestions: Gotta ask for logistical advice because I am (at least for this trip...my first) ONLY gonna have dinners in the FQ....walking distance to and from the Royal Sonesta. As far as Muriel's, that's for the Jazz Brunch on Sunday and not for dinner, I see no need to cancel that for a lunch somewhere. To reiterate, I am not looking for something "trendy" and/or in a large hotel....SoBou looks (on the website) as cold and impersonal as the W hotel chain....I realize that Broussard's and K-Paul's, as examples, might have been much better 10 years ago and are more for the tourist than the local; however, I can accept a 3-star resto as part of the vacation package as long as I am expecting a 3-star resto. I would rather eat at Broussard's with Tory Stewart in the kitchen for Gunter Preuss's creations than at a John Besh resto with "someone" in the kitchen. I believe that the comfort of Creole/Cajun cuisine is more the reason to experience NOLA, going hand-in-hand with the ambiance of the resto. As I mentioned earlier, I live in Las Vegas and spent my business life in NYC....I can get some of the best (and trendiest) meals in the country ten minutes from my home.....I want to "experience" NOLA for something that I have never had...I believe that food and it's history are more important than some Zagat rating. Sorry for the "editorial"....but "eclectic" is not a cuisine, it's a "press release" and more and more you find chefs going that route than creating/perfecting the great dishes.

                                            1. re: VegasGourmet

                                              I'm not sure what you consider easy to navigate, but if you're walking, Boucherie (Carrollton/Riverbend) is a very long walk to/from Sucre (Garden District/Irish Channel). I'd recommend having lunch at Coquette on the day you want to hit Sucre.

                                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                It matters not your choice of who is in the kitchen. It all comes down to which food is better. Hands down, August is superior to Broussards. Local ingredients meticulously prepared. Go for lunch.

                                                If you seriously seek something you haven't had, then Brigtsen's appetizers are a must. Creole at its best.

                                                Atchafalaya is merely ok.
                                                Emeril's flagship is his best.
                                                Real southern/ soul/comfort food...Dooky Chase's lunch buffet.
                                                Coquette does new riffs on classics. Open for lunch w- sat corner of Magazine/Washington.
                                                Although I much prefer Herbsaint, Link's Cochon will give you a taste of Cajun cuisine.
                                                Sucre's gelato is good however, the desserts look better than they taste.

                                                Why not brunch at R'evolution?

                                                I have not stayed in FQ hotels since rebuilding. Unless the Sonesta has refurbished since then, I'd stay elsewhere. In any case, the rooms are quite small.

                                                1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                  You are getting too hung up on the hotel/restaurant thing. It’s not the same here. Some of our finest restaurants are in hotels. Most of them are individually owned and not owned by the hotel. Luke, Domenica, R’Evolution and Mila are a few examples. JazzyB is right. Commander’s Palace, Galatoire’s and Mr. B’s are old school enough. You don’t need to stretch any further than that. Antoine’s, Broussard’s, Tujague’s are all merely average restaurants (not 3stars), whereas August, Coquette, Herbsaint, Brigsten’s, Clancy’s and maybe even Geautreu’s are all 4star restaurants worth your time and money. I'll put K-Paul’s as a 3star. Also, if you want something a little different, more quirky and fun, but still with great food, try Jacques Imo’s and follow it up with some live music at the Mapleleaf.

                                                  1. re: shanefink

                                                    Jazzy B, Shane, et al...I cannot express how much I appreciate your input....I will go back to Square 1 and dissect the diversity of information and see where to go from there...after all, the trip is next June (there is time..lol)....I intend to stay 7 nights and,Jazzy, I will be on the concierge floor at the RS, in a larger suite, which gets superior reviews (also had a friend stay in one particular suite with balcony on the Royal St side and she loved it). As to hotel restaurants (which, obviously, are the #1 revenue source here in Vegas), I am more into the "historical ambiance" of the resto than the over-the-top taste explosions of something no one else in the culinary world is doing. Call it old-fashioned, comfort food; but I find serious value in that cuisine than (as I have said before) eclectic menus (and, once again, I can get that here in Spades). I understand that the newer, trendy spots are outside the FQ (cheaper rent too) and I would go back and look at them for lunches and neigherbood; but still prefer eating dinner/drinking in the FQ...and with the exception, perhaps, of Le Meritage (which I intend to try) and, also, Louisiana Bistro, there are few "trendy" spots with "hot" chefs in the FQ; but that is fine with me...as I said before...for my first trip to NOLA.
                                                    Please feel free...everyone....to post your thoughts and what you would do....I'll give it a week of research and be back with an update.
                                                    Once again...Many thanks to everyone..
                                                    VG

                                                  2. re: VegasGourmet

                                                    As regards your interest in the food history, you should have the Oysters Rockefeller and, I suggest, Oysters Foch while at the Hermes Bar. They should not have much effect on your dinner capacity although they are both very rich.

                                                    1. re: hazelhurst

                                                      my best lunch started w/bbq shrimp and gumbo ya ya at Mr. B's, on to 6 pack of Rock and crabmeat Lorenzo at Galatoire's and finished w/oysters foch at Hermes...and with stops along the way for a spin an the Carousel and a Pimms at Napoleon House...cheers!

                                                    2. re: VegasGourmet

                                                      I got about half a dozen different flavors of macaroons at Sucre earlier this year and they were nothing special at all. In fact, I threw half eaten ones away. Their gelato was very good though. I think you can easily do a lot better than Sucre.

                                                      1. re: texasredtop

                                                        I know of Southern Candymakers and Evans Creole Candy Factory....where else that's convenient to the FQ??

                                                        1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                          These days I only go to the Quarter to eat and leave so I don't think I've ever tried those. We drive so we usually go to Angelo Bracato and I've been trying to go to La Boulangerie on Magazine but last December and this August they were closed both times for an extended period. I was there week before last but didn't make. Going again Sunday and will try again after eating at Casamento's on Monday. There's another bakery I've been wanting to try - Maple St Patisserie. Also, while there's not a huge pastry selection, they have some at Cafe Beignet. I love their beignets way more than Cafe Du Monde. I've gotten better ones at the location on Bourbon but both are good. My husband had some kind of breakfast sandwich croissant with egg, cheese and bacon and he said it was the best breakfast sandwich he's ever had.

                                                          As far as candy, can't say that I know of anywhere. It's not something I look for in NO. I would bet there's more than Sucre on Magazine though. I wanted to go to Sucre for years and everyone said to skip it. I finally went and was disappointed in everything I got there except the gelato. And the prices are way too high for it to be so-so.

                                                          I'm still half asleep so I know I rambled about bakeries, are you looking for something sweet or just candy in particular?

                                                          1. re: texasredtop

                                                            I prefer La Boulangerie over Maple St. Ditto Sucre.

                                                            1. re: JazzyB

                                                              Had two requests here...bring back macaroons and pralines. They're not for me, so if it's more a waste, I can use the Magazine Street day for something else. Perhaps Frenchman Street instead of Magazine St.....any good thoughts on lunch with early Jazz sessions on Frenchman?

                                                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                                I would call La Boulangerie and see if they have macaroons. They can't be worse than Sucre for sure. I don't buy pralines, too easy to make at home. There are lots of places that sell pralines though. One in the Riverwalk Mall on the first level and I've seen one around St. Louis Cathedral in the past. I remember someone talking about a place that has really good ones that a little outside of the Quarter if I remember correctly. Praline Connection maybe? I've never been there but maybe others know what I'm referring to.

                                                                1. re: texasredtop

                                                                  La Boulangerie does not have macaroons.

                                                                2. re: VegasGourmet

                                                                  Three Muses on Frenchmen has nice small plates and craft cocktails. I don't think any place on Frenchmen has live music at lunch time, but Three Muses does a happy hour set at around 4 pm.

                                                                  http://www.thethreemuses.com/

                                                  3. re: VegasGourmet

                                                    One option would be to do what we did: Lunch in the quarter and then stroll to Galatoire's for a leisurely "second lunch" of a few plates to share and some sazeracs. The room will be emptying out and the servers will be hanging out. Hazelhurst has waxed poetic on the pleasures of watching the room turn and it is true: It's a great place to just sit and chat. Sure, you wouldn't eat massive piles of food, but you'd be able to take in one of the key pleasures of the place: The atmosphere. We sat back for quite a while with oysters en brochette and shrimp remoulade, plus a few rounds of sazeracs. The server understood what we were after, checked in now and then, unobtrusively, and in the end got tipped for the time spent as much as for the food and drinks purchased.

                                                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                      Sounds like you need a spreadsheet - something that I often do, especially for a "culinary vacation."

                                                      While your itinerary sounds ambitious (I envy you, if you can manage it), you are younger, than I am, so it might be doable.

                                                      Not to diss the choices, but I agree with Kukubura, in that something from Emeril might be worth the effort. I like his eponymous restaurant, and also his NOLA, but we have discussed my "steakhouse" aversions, so Delmonico is not that high on my list. Also, Restaurant August (John Besh), is well worth a serious thought. We were just there in July, and it was excellent.

                                                      Too many great restaurants, and always too little time. I need to spend 3 mos. in New Orleans, to get my culinary "fixes," and to also try so many highly-rated restaurants, that are new to me. Maybe I rent a cottage in the Quarter, and have my wife fly down each weekend?

                                                      Enjoy,

                                                      Hunt

                                                  4. re: VegasGourmet

                                                    OK.....I believe that this 8-night itinerary combines the new with the old, the hip with the traditional, and helps to capture the culture of NOLA throught its cuisine.
                                                    Day 1: Long day traveling, casual dinner at the hotel at Desire Oyster Bar
                                                    Day 2: Late lunch (per Hazel) at Galatoire's, explore Royal St; Dinner at Le Meritage
                                                    Day 3: Lunch at Sylvain, explore French Marketplace, drinks at Napoleon House; Dinner at Herbsaint
                                                    Day 4: Jazz Brunch (Sat) at Commander's Palace, explore the Garden District; Happy Hour drinks at Antoine's Hermes Bar (Antoine's oysters); Dinner at The Pelican Club
                                                    Day 5: Sunday Jazz Brunch at Muriel's, explore Jackson Square; Dinner at Mr B's Bistro
                                                    Day 6: Lunch at Windsor Court Grill; maybe check out Harrah's (I am, afterall, from Vegas, baby). Happy Hour drinks and oysters at Arnaud's French 75; Dinner at GW Fins
                                                    Day 7: Boucherie and the St Charles Streetcar; Dinner at August
                                                    Day 8: Lunch at Coquette, explore Magazine St (macaroons from Sucre); Happy Hour drinks at Carousel Bar at Monteleone; Dinner at the hotel at R'Evolution..start packing!!
                                                    Day 9: Pick up muffalettas at Central Grocery then off to the airport.
                                                    I have left out much more than I have selected, Frenchman Street for one.....I would still like to have found a way to include some of the more unique (IMHO) restos like Le Foret and the "feed me" menu at Louisiana Bistro...also trying some of those that are a taxi ride away from the RS and only serve dinners such as Brigtsen's, Upperline, and Jacques-Imo to name only 3 of many.
                                                    Perhaps, there will be another trip, staying outside of the FQ, and exploring more; but, hopefully, this is a pretty good start.

                                                    1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                      Gosh, you're going to be full! One thing: while you've been pretty adamant about not dining outside the FQ, I'd like to mention that cabs are plentiful and cheap (aside from special events). Call (or have the maitre'd call) United. From the sounds of things, you'd be far more pleased with Brigtsen's than Mr. B's, which is--in its finest hour--merely passable. (Though absolutely fine for a midafternoon cocktail and BBQ shrimp.)

                                                      Also, you've completely missed out on a muffuletta (I don't subscribe to the notion they can be brought to-go) and a decent po-boy.

                                                      Oh, and a cautionary note: the chef at "Le" Meritage gave his notice. He seems a bit of a corporate stooge, so it may not matter much but it's something to keep in mind.

                                                      1. re: montuori

                                                        HI....I'm certainly not afraid of cabs (spent 50 years in NYC)....was more into the "feeling" of walking to and from dinner in the FQ...bars/jazz/people, and not just "going out to dinner".....hence, was not trying to compare restaurants against each other. If I go to a 3-star resto and get 3-star food and ambiance, then I'm a winner....I can spend $5 bucks to eat and have spent 200 times that on one meal, it doesn't mean that one is, necessarily, better than the other.....it's expectations and results that count. As to the muffaletta to go, the best "sub-hero-hoagie-whatever" that I have ever had is from a shop in Atlantic City, NJ that was started in 1946 called The White House.....and I can promise you, buy one of their original subs and wait to eat it the next day......let the oils and dressings fuse into the bread and mix with the meats and cheese....HEAVEN!!!..
                                                        As to Le Meritage, I am more interested in the concept; however, if reviews of the resto falter, I would be happy to substitute ( I do have a bunch of restos that could easily fit in my schedule)....This trip (my first to NOLA) is not about eating the "best food" (whatever that means).....it's about "feeling" the food and culture of a unique city; appreciating the range of that cuisine at different levels. I understand that I am being esoteric and not factual; hopefully there will be those on this website who can remember their first baked oyster (never had one yet) and appreciate why I am coming to New Orleans.

                                                        1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                          I'm Mr. Mr. B's and I agree with this: Sit at the bar some afternoon and split a gumbo yaya and BBQ shrimp and some cheap cocktail specials as a treat, maybe before your late Galatoire's lunch. Use that dinner for something outside of your current zones, like Brigsten's (which I haven't made it to yet) or Dante's Kitchen (right across the street, which I have done and found to be fantastic)

                                                          1. re: kukubura

                                                            Muffulettas keep just fine for several,days. Bring to room temp before indulging.

                                                            1. re: kukubura

                                                              I agree with everyone about Brigsten's - the cab ride is easy and the food is fabulous. I went there years ago just a few years after they opened and I still remember the experience as one of the best meals I've ever had.

                                                              I really do think you should fit it in somewhere.

                                                              1. re: Jeanne

                                                                I dined at Brigtsen's in Oct. and Frank is still hitting it. Started with the sweetbreads, rabbit tenderloin and the gratin of oysters and artichokes followed by the shell beach diet seafood platter. I only wish Frank had his oyster rockefeller soup that night. nice wine list and great service. you can't go wrong here.

                                                            2. re: VegasGourmet

                                                              I am with you on walking, when possible. Besides being able to take in the "history" along the way, it primes me for my food and wine. I often book in San Francisco, and London, so that I CAN walk. Just did a week in Paris, and we did not take one cab, or the Metro - we walked everywhere, and I do not regret one step.

                                                              In New Orleans, we try to walk, wherever we can.

                                                              While New Orleans is not NYC, one can find some wonderful, and memory-worthy food, almost anywhere in the city - just different than, say Restaurant Daniel, Per Se or such. NOLA is great, but different. Your itinerary, while ambitious, should cover many bases, and then, on your next trip, you can fill in any "holes."

                                                              Good luck, and great dining,

                                                              Hunt

                                                            3. re: montuori

                                                              Checked into the changes at Le Meritage...not only has Farrell left; but there is a new ownership. He says that he will be back....but looks like an elimination.

                                                            4. re: VegasGourmet

                                                              I'd find a way to hop a streetcar to Katie's on Iberville and their Boudreaux pizza. A recent brunch there found a soft shell benedict.

                                                              1. re: VegasGourmet

                                                                You might want to confirm that the St. Charles streetcar is fully operating when you are there. They were doing construction work on part of the track when we were there in late November, so the streetcar only ran to Louisiana Ave, and the buses picked up the rest of the route to Canal St.

                                                                If you're riding the streetcar as a fun tourist thing, the Canal St line has cuter cars. Otherwise, we found it to be like riding the bus in any other major city.

                                                                Boucherie was awesome, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

                                                                1. re: bharbeke

                                                                  When we were last over, the streetcar WAS doing an abbreviated route, but that was in July, so much has likely changed, but it would be good to check.

                                                                  Hunt