HOME > Chowhound > New Orleans >


Foodies First Trip to NOLA

My husband and I are going to NOLA (he's been once years ago) for the first time. After researching restaurants I have found the following restaurants. Please advise me if any are overrated and if there are others that I have missed and would be better. I have trouble narrowing it down to four:

Cafe Du Monde
Fleur de Lis
Cake Cafe

Central Grocery
Cafe Amelie
Willie Mae's Scotch House
Camelia/NOLA Grill
Cochon Butcher

Commanders Palace

Any advice is immensely appreciated.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Nice selection you have here. I'd avoid Dragos for a whole meal; actually *I* would avoid Dragos entirely -- but it's been reported that when the servers deign to serve the chargrilled oysters aren't bad.

    CdM is fun but keep in mind that they only have one thing to eat (though that one thing is pretty good). I prefer them for a late night snack instead of breakfast: the lines are significantly shorter. It's not worth waiting.

    I haven't been to the Fleur de Lis. If you go, I hope you report back.

    1 Reply
    1. re: montuori

      Fleur de Lis is good, basic stuff. I believe they recently changed owners or at least change the ordering procedure. You used to order at the counter but now they take your order at the table.
      Personally I would skip Willie Maes, I just don't find the fried chicken that great.
      I would add Surreys into the breakfast discussion.
      I would pick Cochon Butcher over Central Grocery. My wife could eat the muffalettas from Butcher daily

    2. Hi JP,

      Breakfast: I would skip Fleur de Lis and Boulangerie. For an alternate in the FQ, I would sub a small place called Jimmy J's. We've had several delicious breakfasts there. Try the Monte Cristo. If you're looking for a breakfast in the Uptown area, instead of Boulangerie (basically a bakery), I concur with roro as to Surrey's. Great Shrimp and Grits and Banana Foster French Toast. Also look at Coulis, on Prytania Street. It's a fun, funky diner a couple of blocks off of St Charles street car line. If it matters, both Surrey and Coulis are BYOB.

      Lunch: Central Grocery is really a takeout only, although I think there may be a couple of tables in the back? If you're looking to try a Muffaletta in the FQ, we recently had a good one at Counter by Kingfish (the sandwich shoppe associated with Kingfish restaurant $$$ though, we split a half and it was enough). Skip the gumbo. Cochon Butcher is a given for DELICIOUS sandwiches, just expect a line.

      Dinner: I would move Commanders to a Jazz Brunch if you're there on the weekend or Lunch M-F. You can walk off the Kcal's in the Garden District (download the Frommer's self walking tour, must see). montuori is correct, skip Dragos except the char oysters. Better seafood to be had at GW Fins or Peche.

      1. Random thoughts¹ . . .

        Breakfast: I've never thought of Café du Monde as a breakfast place. Mid-afternoon or late-night snack, yes; breakfast, no. For breakfast, Stanley's is definitely my "go to" place, but if it's beignets you want at breakfast, I'd check out Café Beignet.

        Lunch: I'd drop Camellia, and add in Napoleon House and Galatoire's to the list of possibilities (if you've never been to New Orleans before, you really should try Galatoire's -- especially on a Friday). If the weather's warm, I'd add in the patio at Bayona. Central Grocery is worth it IF a) you're on your way to the airport, or b) you want to picnic in the park/by the river. Central Grocery is THE muffaletta, in terms of tradition; I love both Cochon *and* Cochon Butcher, and the sandwiches at Butcher are indeed excellent, but a slightly more modern twist on the tradition.

        Dinner: I, too, would drop Drago's. I would look at Patois, too. It's a trek by cab, being located waaaayyyyyyy uptown, but I love it there.

        Part of the issue is not knowing what you'll feel like eating, how fancy/casual you might want to be . . . make reservations, yes; but be a little flexible, too . . .
        ¹Disclaimer: I'm not a resident of New Orleans; merely a visitor who spends 1-2 weeks there annually. Take everything I say with as many grains of salt as you deem appropriate.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zin1953

          I know that we'll probably be up for 2 upscale dinners and the rest to be local favorites or must dine options. I'm going to check on restaurant locations in the Garden District to coincide with our tour there. That will help determine that day's schedule.

        2. So is it a good idea to do Cochon and Cochon Butcher? One for lunch and one for dinner? Plus I hear a lot about Herbsaint. Is that a good choice? I noticed on the site that all three, including Peche are part of the same family.

          Also, Frommer's gave a punishing review of the Court of Two Sisters. My husband went years ago and wanted to go back but I am hesitant. Maybe just for a drink and ambiance? Not sure.

          4 Replies
          1. re: JPFoodLove

            The Cochon Fan Club will insist on those operations...I am lukewarm on them but appreciate the work in the butcher even if I am somewhat put off by the whole show but that is my perspective. As to Court of Two Sisters, it is a lovely place and a drink would be fine--maybe even a bowl of soup if you felt like it. It isn't poison but it has had a bad name for SO long that I suspect were The Most Acclaimed Genius Chef to work there for a month it would still be derided.

            1. re: hazelhurst

              I received email notices of replies but they must have been deleted because they aren't showing up on this thread.

              Anyways, I have revised my list and am open to more suggested edits.

              Jimmy j's

              Cochon butcher
              Commanders palace

              Peche or patois

            2. re: JPFoodLove

              I know I've gotten derided here for stating this, and no one agrees with me, but we actually had a great meal at Court of Two Sisters last September. When compared with our experience at Muriel's, Court of 2 Sisters was leaps and bounds above it on all fronts...food, service, ambiance, everything. I know opinions vary, but I would recommend COTS based on our own meal time there. Is it the best in the Quarter? Absolutely not, but it is definitely not the worst by any means.

              1. re: Christine

                My husband went many years ago, at least 15 I think and remembers it fondly. I told him about the reviews and although disappointed he said we didn't have to go. I thought a good compromise was to have a drink and at least see the place. We'll be noshing everywhere we go each day so I don't think it will matter. Thank you for your advice.

            3. Central's muffs travel well. Stick one in the min frig for a snack or take bring home. Best eaten at room temp.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JazzyB

                Yea, I always get one to go for the plane ride. Gets great looks from other passengers and crew.

              2. If I were you I would go to Dragos for the oysters then go somewhere else later that night for dinner.

                1. I will give a +1 for avoiding Drago's (Hilton in the CBD), but it gets tons of love on this board.

                  Another +1 for perhaps doing CDM, perhaps after a meal, when the tourists are looking for booze on Bourbon Street, and not queuing up for a table. Instead, I would add the the Old Coffee Pot (nee Maxie's Coffee Pot) http://www.theoldcoffeepot.com/

                  I also did not see either Restaurant August (Chef John Besh), or Galatoire's for the dinners. Also, nothing by Emeril Lagasse, either Emeril's, or NOLA, and would consider those.



                  1. I would definitely add Mr. B's on royal street for lunch. The bbq shrimp is a must. you will thank me later.

                    1. i wouldnt spend a meal at Cake Cafe (despite loving their king cake) because i dont think the rest of the food is that special. likewise w/ Fleur de Lis, last i recall it was dinner-like. too many hot spots in the city to try before either.

                      1. I love Cafe du Monde and Elizabeth's. I will say that Stanley was disappointing. They served us eggs that I could tell immediately were from a prepared mix, not fresh eggs. When questioned, they admitted it was true. That's the kind of behavior I expect from a Holiday Inn Express, not a restaurant with their reputation.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lakshmidas

                          Thanks for the heads up! That would be very disappointing.