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Need dinner rec near French Quarter for first-timers' first evening

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Hi all--we will be first-time travelers to NOLA this Memorial Day weekend. Needless to say, we are very excited, particularly of course for the food. So far I have made reservations at Cochon (Sat. dinner), August (Sun. dinner), and Commander's Palace (Sun. brunch).

I would appreciate a recommendation for Friday night dinner. We are looking for somewhere that would be a fantastic introduction to the city and its food, but because we will have just traveled for several hours (plane and taxi), we would like something a bit more "user friendly" -- not too formal or informal, and within easy walking distance of the French Quarter. Emphasis on seafood would be a plus (as none of our other restaurants is seafood-focused), but certainly not necessary. My wife will be about 2.5 months pregnant, so nothing raw or too upsetting along those lines.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Choosing restaurants in New Orleans is very overwhelming! No, we're not over-structuring our entire trip -- laissez les bons temps rouler, of course -- but I do want to get a few things in place, especially if they require advance reservations on a busy tourist weekend. Thank you!

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  1. Galatoire's. Depending on your arrival time you may even find a few members of the infamous Friday lunch crowd still there. It's a New Orleans institution not to be missed. Best of all, no reservations needed in the event that your flight is delayed.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Big Easy

      Galatoire's looks great, except (1) according to the web site, reservations are required (and they don't have any room that evening), and (2) jackets are required for dinner, which is a little more formal than we'd like for our first night after traveling.

      1. re: dcsells

        A sport coat will suffice without a tie. Regarding reservations:

        "While “no reservations accepted” was once the calling card to the restaurant, Galatoire’s now accepts reservations for dining in the recently remodeled second floor dining room, which is all non-smoking. Downstairs, the restaurant remains first come, first serve."

        You would want to eat downstairs if at all possible.

        1. re: Big Easy

          While I agre that it should not be missed, I don't think Galatoire's fits their particular bill. Few people travel in coat and tie now so the OP would have to change. And if the day is hectic, stopping in there for an hour or 90 minute dinner misses the spirit of the place. I'd steer towards Mr B's.

          1. re: hazelhurst

            Haha it's so true! "something a bit more "user friendly" -- not too formal or informal..." I would argue that Galatoire's is not "user friendly" and is both "too formal" AND "too informal" for this poster! Although I'm a big fan but we're talking about Friday night here... Definitely the wrong place at the wrong time.

            Remoulade could be a good pick but sometimes it's downright depressing looking in there. I'd say Mr. B's is the best pick. And you know how rare it is for me to recommend Mr. B's! ;)

            If you go there remember: It's ALL about the BBQ shrimp and the gumbo yaya.

            Speaking of gumbo, the Gumbo Shop could be a good choice too. Casual but still a nice room and very well located in the FQ.

      2. re: Big Easy

        What is it that makes Galatorie's on a Friday for lunch so special ?

      3. We have had this dilemma also.

        For our part, we have chosen Remoulade, to good results.

        Same kitchen as Arnaud's, nice bar, open/welcoming feel.

        Right on Bourbon.

        http://www.remoulade.com/

        1. I still have pleasant dreams of the BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B's Bistro.

          1. Depending on your definition of easy walking distance, you might want to consider Donald Link's new place, Peche.

            1. Have you checked out Bourbon House? It is in the FQ and fits in between formal and informal nicely. Also, might want to check into NOLA and SoBou. All of these are decent and do not require a lot of work.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chulacat

                +1 for SoBou for food/service (ask for Sonya, leave room for the chocolate coma) + 1 for Mr. B's for atmosphere/vibe/location in the heart of things.

                OP, I suggest reservations, even for a late dinner. Your other choices are well thought out Have a great trip.