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Italian in N.O.

Would love to hear fellow Chowhounds' opinions on Italian (both Northern/ 'Trendy' and Traditional) restaurants. Not interested in predominantly Pizza restaurants. We love Domenica's, but would like to try someplace new on our upcoming trip. Thanks!

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  1. Irene's Cuisine in the French Quarter is a solid choice.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Gizmo56

      I found Irene's disappointing. With a reservation, we still had to wait a half hour. The menu did not offer many options: people looking for Italian pasta dishes will not find much on offer here. As seems to be the norm in New Orleans, there were no vegetarian options. The ravioli appetizer we ordered had a nice sauce but only 3 small ravioli. I ordered a chicken and rosemary dish: there was no chicken breast, just a wing and a couple of drumsticks. The sauce for the chicken was too salty and the chicken itself was not especially good meat.

    2. Maximo's is one of my favorites in the Quarter, ask for a seat at the counter and watch Thomas work his magic. Mandina's is another of my regular places. 1179, not been in a while but Joe S. is an old-time classic.

      1. If you have access to the Northshore, Sal & Judy's. Also Sal's brother runs Impastato's in Metarie. Avondale has Mosca's. All great!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ilikeNOLA

          These are all N.O. standard red sauce places, good for what they represent.
          The trendy place on the north shore is Del Porto, worth the trip. Another is Nuvolari's.
          I have not eaten at Gios Villa Vancheri but went there one recent evening to check out the menu as the web site was not working. That place had the best aroma of any restaurant ever and is now at the top of the list for the next Italian night out.

        2. We enjoyed Italian Barrel.

          1. Northern Italian is trendy? Well...Andrea's claims to be Northern (and Creole/American) Italian, but it's kind of the opposite of trendy. Also, Vincent's for Creole Italian.

            For more contemporary I like A Mano (central/southern focus).

            1 Reply
            1. re: culinas

              Having lived in Milan for a year I can attest to the fact that Andrea's serves really decent Northern Italian cuisine. At least as authentic as you will find in New Orleans, that is. Their osso bucco is quite good and they have several fine scallopine dishes. And a fair wine list. But it's not cheap.

            2. Thanks for all of the suggestions! I meant to separate "Northern Italian" from 'trendy'--just typing faster than my brain was working...Carol

              1. We have had great food at Tommy's in CBD

                1. +1 for Maximo's, Irene's, and Italian Barrel. All also in the Quarter. Maximo's is a great overall experience and is on the spicy side. Italian Barrel is similar to an Italian cafe experience, appetizers are great and main courses are large. For old-school Italian in NOLA, Vincent's or 1179. 1179 is more expensive but also more intimate and definitely quieter.

                  1. mosca's--across the huey p long bridge, may not be what it was ( by a long shot) but it represents 1920's gangland-chicago sicilian meets gulf seafood. it is a quintessential nola italian roadhouse...once a new orleans treasure, now faded but still remarkable in its way..
                    irenes in fq is great
                    mandina's on canal is sort of basic italian, but is a good example of new orleans neighborhood italian---good fried oysters, turtle soup, oyster-artichoke soup... etc.
                    no reason to go to new orleans for philadelphia/chicago red sauce italian--you can get that there---go to a nola italian oyster softshell crab turtle soup place.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: joeljcj2

                      +1. our italian is creole italian.

                    2. Oh, on Camp St. is a place called Red Gravy. Breakfast and lunch. We have enjoyed it a lot.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ilikeNOLA

                        Red Gravy is also open for dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings now. During our October trip, I had Tuscan Shrimp and Andouille served over Polenta and my husband had Veal Marsala....fabulous and served in a cozy setting complete with candelight and fresh flowers! We love the breakfasts and lunches there, too.

                        1. re: ilikeNOLA

                          i had a great meatball & red sauce poboy at Red Gravy for lunch one friday. good.

                          1. I grew up in RI, which is red-sauce central, but also has great seafood. Maybe that's why I love places like Mosca's and Mandina's.

                            While in NOLA for a dog show several years ago, we took a group of people to Mosca's. We got a bowl of crab salad that was so big each person at the table could have at least five servings. The crab salad is a must!

                            If you like that sort of thing, when in RI check out Mike's Kitchen, which is inside a VFW Hall in Cranston. The polenta is not to be missed.

                            Oh, one more thing -- I see that no one has yet mentioned another of our favorites, Rocky & Carlo's out in Chalmette, in "da Parish." (St. Bernard's.) It's actually just a short, easy drive from the Quarter if you rent a car. A truly unique eatery.

                            These are all great places for groups, so you can order more stuff, and share massive portions of food.

                            1. In the warehouse district, A Mano is wonderful. Had a squid ink pasta there with a tuna conserva puttanesca that I absolutely adored.

                              1. Irene's Cuisine has the best lasagna I've ever had, but I believe it's a special just on Monday night. Don't know the other nightly specials but I guess you could call them and find out.