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Aug 13, 2014 06:02 AM

Seeking Recs for Business Lunches in French Quarter


I am coming to a conference in New Orleans in September. I need to book 2 lunches and 2 dinners where I will be entertaining business clients. I am looking for great food and wine lists and a la carte menus (not tasting menus). I am not looking for white table cloth steak dinners - looking for great, fun, local cuisine. My only point in noting that I will be entertaining business clients is that the places should not be so loud that I am unable to converse with my clients.

Conference is at the Marriott in the French Quarter - it would be really helpful if the suggestions were within a 7 minute walk for lunches and within a 10 minute cab ride for dinner.

Please help!


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  1. How large will your groups be? Do you have any budgetary constraints?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Blumie

      The groups are between 5-7 people each meal.

      Perhaps I am misrepresenting my need to have quiet. I would love to have places that have real New Orleans charm - boisterous, etc. I want to avoid places where there are live bands or music playing over a speaker that makes you feel like you are in a club.

      I have taken a look up and down this board now, and also at places online. I think that I am going to book Commander's Palace for a dinner. Is it overkill to also book Galitoires for another dinner? Can a group walk to Galitoires from the Marriott such that it can be a Thursday lunch (I read a threat which stated that Galitoire's is the place to be for a Friday lunch, but that might be more than I want for my group).

      Also considering Cochon, Peche, Coquette, August for dinners.

      I will look at Kingfish for lunch. What else is 3-4 blocks walking? And thanks for this help. I really appreciate it.

      Oh yeah - no real budgetary constraints - and I am entertaining different guests at each meal. Would love (for my own well being) to have some balance to the meals (ie not all fish places)

      1. re: glickjor

        You can easily walk to Galatoires from the Marriott although it is just not right to go at, say 1:00 and leave at 2:00. Thursday will be normal compared to Friday. If I were entertaining a group I'd leave early at, say , 4:00 and just go from there but doubtless you have meetings or events throughout the afternoon so that probably won't work. You CAN do an hour lunch--in fact, they advertise for it--but it just isn't the same.

        1. re: hazelhurst

          my conference breaks at 12 and is back up at 2. Would it make sense to do Galatoires for a 12:15-1:45'ish meal, or is that still a waaste and I should opt for the options below instead?

          1. re: glickjor

            Galatoire’s should not be an option for a quick lunch. It is a place to be savored and enjoyed at a leisurely pace. I think Mr. B’s, R’evolution, Mila, August, Herbsaint and certainly Coquette if you are willing to travel a little further.

            1. re: shanefink

              Even on an expesne account I wouldn't pay Revolution's prices for a hit-and-run lunch.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                You could do SoBou, but with the 25¢ Martinis -- there and at Commander's -- not sure how much work out-of-towners would get done afterwards . . . ;^)

                1. re: zin1953

                  That's not a bad thought at all...the place is used to fast turn-around and while I don't think of it as Classic New Orleans (and I admit I never liked the name) its stuff is respectable.

                  I always wondered what accommodation, if any, they made with Jean De Brunhoff's estate to use "BarBar."

            2. re: glickjor

              You could do it easily if you got a table right away and the waiter will have no trouble getting you in-and-out in that window. Regulars do it all the is a living, breathing real restaurant and not a museum..but its charms, apart from great crabmeat and rich sauces, would likely be missed on many first time observers who were eating en vitesse and chatting about building a new widget plant in Pantagonia.

          2. re: glickjor

            Two places that come to mind in the French Quarter for lunch and both walkable:

            Emeril's NOLA

            Mr. B's Bistro

            Make sure to make reservations

            1. re: glickjor

              If "boisterous" works then almost any of the good restaurants mentioned on this site (and in this thread)will fit.

              And, as also mentioned, Mr. B and NOLA are good although the latter does not have lunch Mon/Tue/Wed.

          3. I fight the business meal with quiet battle. There aren't too many great choices. That is there are many great choices for food but not so much for quite. And most of the good places are going to be white table cloth.

            For dinner I suggest MiLa and August. A little further afield is Coquette and possibly Ralphs on the Park. It is quieter than the old Tavern but we had dinner early so there was no crowd.

            For lunch Kingfish (now that it's back on my good list)

            1 Reply
            1. re: collardman

              Bayona is a great option for a quiet meal.

            2. Very convenient to the Marriott is Mr. B's. While I'll admit that it's not on the top of my list, it is a crowd pleaser. I might not book it for a night out with my wife, but definitely would for a night out with clients.

              Bayona, which I mentioned earlied, I'd book with either my wife or clients. Same with August, but it may be a little too much if you're looking to avoid a white table cloth atmosphere. (Bayona is on the fancy side, too, but it has a less formal feel, and a lovely courtyard for drinks if it's not too hot.)

              17 Replies
              1. re: Blumie

                Bayona is an excellent choice of a quiet business lunch; Galatoire's is an excellent option for a boisterous one.

                1. re: zin1953

                  Thanks for all of the comments - very helpful - 2 more follow-ups:

                  (1) is it too much (if there is such a thing) to go to Galatoires on a Thursday night and Commander's Palace on Friday? Would those be the first two places that I should go to - or should I sample Peche, Cochon, Herbsaint, Coquette?

                  (2) If I could only go to 1 of Mr. B's and Emeril's NOLA - which should I chose for a lunch? I am leaning towards Emerils only because I am very interested to try the "vietnamse po'boy". I love Banh Mi.

                  Once I make my reservations - I may circle back to aks about what I should be ordering at each place. So far, I have only booked Commander's Palace - which I did for a Friday night. I am leaning towards Galatoire for Thursday night, Kingfish for Thursday lunch and one of Mr. B's or Emeril's NOLA for Friday.


                  1. re: glickjor

                    For the lunch I would probably go to Mr. B's for the BBQ shrimp. I'm a fan of NOLA and have had their Banh Mi several times. It was influenced by a Vietnmese lady that has worked for Emeril for decades and is the source of the Ms Hays chicken wings (Do try them if you get the chance) and the bread comes from Dong Phoung bakery. Having said that the jalapeno peppers can have a big range in heat and I like my kim chee better than theirs.

                    NOLA's BBQ shrimp is good but it is a different base than Mr. B's. I like Mr. B's as it is similar to what I make, and I think both our recipes came from the same source.

                    1. re: glickjor

                      re: 1) Gallatoire's and Commander's are both old-time classic New Orleanian restaurants. Different, yes, but true classics. Depending upon your overall interest in food, you might want to do one "old-time classic" and one of the *new* "classics," such as Herbsaint, cochin, Coquette, or Pêche.

                      re: 2) go to Mr. B's.

                      1. re: zin1953

                        Good to know - if we HAD to chose one of Herbsaint, Cochin, Coquette or Peche - what would everyone recommend? (I imagine that decision is personal but still interested in getting everyone's take on the question)

                        1. re: glickjor

                          Highly personal, and no doubt everyone has their own preference.

                          NONE of these places are formal, in the way that Galatoire's and Commander's would both prefer men to wear a jacket/sports coat.

                          I love Cochon, but it's always struck me more as for lunch not dinner, (This has more to do with the interior design of the restaurant, and not with the menu or food itself.)

                          NONE of these places are formal, in the way that Galatoire's and Commander's would both prefer men to wear a jacket/sports coat. That said, Herbsaint is perhaps ever-so-slightly more formal (but -- again -- not really formal at all) than Coquette. Pêche is louder than the other two.

                          You won't go wrong picking ANY of the four.

                          1. re: glickjor



                   that order.

                            1. re: BayouTeche

                              Thanks - Coquette is closed for 2 weeks in september (unfortunately)

                              I now have Herbsaint booked for 1 night, Commander's Palace for a second night, Mr. B's for one lunch and kingfish for the second lunch.

                              Any changes that I should make?

                              I just realized that August is John Besh - I've never been to one of his restaurants - is it worth going? He has a Friday lunch - though menu is not online. It is really close to hotel though, and menu looks great.

                              1. re: glickjor

                                I loved August, my one time there; though it is sort of white table clothed, the service was friendly/not too formal and all the food and drinks were great.

                                1. re: glickjor

                                  I have loved August in the past, but was disappointed on my last two visits. The issue was service-related, not food-related.

                                  I still enjoy Lüke and Domenica very much . . . Borge, less so. Haven't been to La Provence in Lacombe, and I haven't bothers with Besh Steak.

                                  1. re: glickjor

                                    I'd definitely do August over Mr B's or Kingfish.

                                    1. re: BayouTeche

                                      Can you comment on what August is like for lunch? Is it the same menu? If so, it might be a little much, with Commander's Palace that night as well.

                                      I have actually booked it now, so I have both Mr. B's and August for the same lunch. Unfortunately, Mr. B's can't do the time that I need with my group size on the other day.

                                      1. re: glickjor

                                        They offer a three course prix fixe menu for $20.14.... probably the best deal in the city. Choose from three selected apps/entrees/desserts.

                                        There's also an abbreviated a la carte menu as well.

                                        1. re: glickjor

                                          Great but I think only offer lunch on Friday

                                        1. re: collardman

                                          Okay - final itinerary - I welcome comments:


                                          lunch: NOLA
                                          DInner: Herbsaint


                                          lunch: August
                                          Dinner: Commander's Palace

                                          I am hoping that Mr. B's will be able to accommodate lunch on Thursday and I would change out NOLA, but my group for lunch that day is for 8, and so it is a bit more challenging.

                                          Final comments?

                                          As well - what are the absolute standouts at these places?

                                          BTW - I really appreciate all of this attention to my post. I am active (though not as active recently) on the Toronto board and if any of you are ever coming to Toronto, our board is also quite friendly for visitors.

                            2. For an authentic local lunch, stroll up to the Bon Ton Cafe, corner of Magazine and Poydras. Wayne and Debbie Pierce continue his Uncle Al's tradition of the relaxed business lunch of New Orleans staples, full bar, and friendly service. No rushing here...checkered table cloths and waitstaff that is family! Be sure to save room for Al's legendary whiskey sauced bread pudding!Open only on weekdays. Reservations essential.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: AnitaOne

                                Agreed, wonderful place (but with a horrid wine list).

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  This may be heretical but somehow I don't think Bon Ton SHOULD have much of a wine list. It is, to me, akin to Peter Luger whih "gourmets" deride for poor wine selection: its a chop house of the old school. Of course, you can get a great (and expensive) wine at Spark's to go with a perfectly decent cut of beef and sometimes that is what I want.

                                  You suddenly put me in mind to go to Clancy's, select a bottle and have Brad whip up something to go with it.....

                                  1. re: hazelhurst

                                    Why would one ever get wine at the Bon Ton when there are Rum Ramseys to be had?

                                    1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                      Boy howdy, that is right! Still remember that deliciously strong Rum Ramsey I got there several years ago at lunch. Between that drink and the whiskey-laden bread pudding, both not to be missed, I was pleasantly saturated by the time we left... :)

                                      1. re: Christine

                                        we're heading there in a few weeks as soon as we get off the plane! :)

                                        1. re: Mr. Bingley

                                          Bon Ton for lunch sounds like a great place to start to me. Enjoy, and have a Rum Ramsay for me, wouldja? Also, have you had their crab au gratin? It may be too rich for some, but I thought it was decadently yummy, but could easily put you in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon....

                              2. Just as a follow-up, I would like to thank all of you for the wonderful recommendations for my two days. All of the meals went off well, and I was stuffed the entire time. Roster of restaurants that we went to, as well as highlights as follows:

                                Lunch 1 - Mr. B's Bistro - I had the shrimp and have never tasted a sauce over shrimp quite as rich. I could have bathed in that sauce, though it had the sheen that only a pound of butter and cream could bring out. Loved it. They had a special soup that was artichoke oyster that was also a huge hit around the table.

                                Dinner 1 - Herbsaint - food was impeccable but nothing stood out as being better than the rest. One of those high-end but somewhat forgettable meals - I would say that the desserts (molten cake with peanut butter ice cream in particular) were massive and undisputably crowd pleasing.

                                Lunch 2 - NOLA - this was a real hit (and surprising that it was so empty on a Friday lunch). stuffed chicken wings, barbecue shrimp, shrimp and grits and the Banh Mi were all big hits (for my group of 12). I thought this rendition of gumbo was my favourite of the trip as well.

                                Dinner 2 - Commander's Palace - iconic place, hit by lightning a half hour before our reservation put our dinner in jeopardy. However, they pulled through. Great service and drinks. I could've eaten 4 Shrimp Henican apps for dinner and been happy. In fact, all apps were great - most of my table had the fish for dinner which was a bit too heavy and not what any of us expected - knowhere in explanation does it say fried fish bathing in cream sauce. We all did enjoy the desserts as well with the souffle being a big winner.

                                Caught some live music on Frenchman street every night and really enjoyed my stay. Can't wait to return.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: glickjor

                                  dont worry, there's no cream in Barbecue Shrimp!

                                  1. re: glickjor

                                    Curious to know if all four of these place worked well for a business meal? Were you able to converse with everyone at the table? If you had to choose one strictly for the business meal as opposed to say a dinner with two couples, which restaurant stood out in that aspect?

                                    1. re: shanefink

                                      I would say that for a business lunch I would pick NOLA (with the caveat that it was not very busy when I was there - we were seated upstairs - if tables were more full, the feeling might have been different).

                                      NOLA felt very professional - white table cloths (which was unexpected for a restaurant that claims to be casual) good wine list, easy to converse, very roomy between tables - crowd pleasing menu.