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December 10, 2007

New Orleans Restaurant Recommendations

Some suggestions for places that I've enjoyed over the years. I assume they are all still open. You'll need to research dress codes and prices on your own. Unless I otherwise mention it, it's probably not a cheap place, and it's probably in the French Quarter. They are listed in no particular order (Image above: Crawfish Etoufee):
  • Muriels -- Jackson Square. Awesome Bar downstairs, séance room upstairs, and a balcony overlooking the square. I think they take reservations. I'd call it contemporary New Orleans cuisine.

  • K-Paul’s -- In a word....awesome. My dad and I ate there on a weekend evening, and they had a live band playing in the street outside. Occasionally, the band would come inside and start playing for a while. Another contemporary Cajun/Creole type thing. They are closed on Dec. 30th. Call for reservations.

  • Irene's -- This is what you get when you cross Italian and Cajun. Located well into the Quarter away from Canal. They don't take reservations, and the line is long. The Duck is the best I've ever had. I've also had a "sweet potato soup" which buckled my knees.

  • Palace Cafe - Located on Canal, this is a dressier venue than the above suggestions, but not a jacket required type thing. It's a more "accessible" place than it's big brother -- Commander's Palace. I've probably eaten here four times, and every experience was positive. Another Contemporary Cajun/Creole place. I'd get reservations if I were you.

  • Commander's Palace and Emerils -- If you're going to blow it out and go Jacket Required (or really close to that), these are two of your better options. Commander's is a massive old house in the Garden District. Take a cab over there. I wouldn't bother with lunch there. The drop-off in the overall experience is just too much. Emeril got his start at Commander's as a Chef (I think). I've never been to any of the Emeril's in NOLA. However, I've been to them in other towns. The service is usually off the charts, and the food is exceptional. Personally, I think the cost vs. the experience isn't worth the price difference between the other's listed. But the experience is more over the top from a service standpoint.

  • Breakfast at Brennan's -- There can't possibly be a more outrageous breakfast experience than this. It's obscenely expensive ($70 or so each), but it's a once in a lifetime type blow it out. When I went there this Spring, I looked at my dad and said, "Are they kidding with this meal? Damn." I'm sure the regular restaurant is awesome for dinner, too. But the breakfast is legen---wait for it---dary. If you want breakfast, you damn sure better get reservations.

  • Court of Two Sisters -- They are best known for their Jazz Brunch. However, I've always enjoyed their dinner more. The best Turtle Soup in New Orleans. If you've never had Turtle Soup try it. It's like better gumbo. This place is less dressy and probably less expensive than some of the other options listed above. It's on Royal Street closer to Canal.

  • Gumbo Shop -- Spectacular lunch place. Affordable, real New Orleans food. Actually, it's pretty damn awesome for dinner too, but it's best known for lunch. No reservations. Just a damn long line at times.

  • Dickie Brennan's - I think I've eaten a great steak here once or maybe twice. But my general rule of thumb is..."I can get steaks back home." Granted, I'm not going to get a steak topped in crawfish and some redonkulous sauce, but I can get a great steak elsewhere. Regardless, if you're dying for beef -- this is for you.

  • Mr. B's Bistro - This place took a very long time to reopen after Katrina, and I haven't tried it yet since the reopening. It's owned by the Brennan's so that's a good sign. From a cost standpoint, the menu was priced like Court of Two Sisters (ie: between K. Paul's and Gumbo Shop but closer to K. Paul's).
Places I hear raves about, but I've never eaten:
  • Arnaud's in the Quarter
  • ACME Oyster House - if you like Raw Bars and Cold Beer, this is for you. It's not really my bag, but tourists love it.
  • Mother's - Closer to the Superdome. It's an cheap/quality southern breakfast place. The line is very, very long.
  • Also our readers recommend -- Jacquimo, Petunia's, Camellia Grill, and Tujaques. However, I can't vouch for any of those because I haven't been.
Avoid Red Fish. It's the only restaurant in the Brennan Family empire that completely sucks hind teat. I wouldn't eat there again if they paid me.

Dive Bar to Close the Evening:
  • The Lafitte's Blacksmith Bar -- The oldest bar in New Orleans. It's on Bourbon Street past the college beer barns, past the Gay Bars and about 1 block past what you think might be safe at around midnight. Barely has electricity, but the piano bar is a blast.
What else am I missing?

See Also:
-- Sugar Bowl Tickets starting below face value -- Stubhub



ChicagoDawg said...

Camellia Grill for breakfast is a must....omelets the size of a rolled up newspaper...there will be a line out the door that runs about 30 deep, but it is worth the it is a nice excuse to ride the cable car to get to it...not in the Quarter

Hobnail_Boot said...

Fins has the best desserts in town and Pelican Club was also great a few years ago, no idea if Katrina affected either of them.

Anonymous said...

A couple more from some of my Bayou friends. These were amazing choices during our last visit.

Commanders Palace


Praline Connection - off the beaten path with absolutely amazing soul food. They are serious about showing you a good meal. Casual.

Pasqual's Manale - the original BBQ shrimp. The place feels like it is 50+ years old and yanked out of an Italian mob movie. (Both are probably true). It's a great place to go to get out of the Quarter if some of the other options are booked.

Camellia Grill - Amazing place for breakfast. Get some coffee first on the street, because there is going to be a wait.

Michael said...

I can't recommend Port of Call strongly enough. Best burger you'll ever eat. It's on Esplanade just outside of the French Quarter.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chicagodawg about the Camellia Grill. Best omelets EVER. Expect to wait, but they keep the line moving pretty well. It's worth waiting for, trust me.

you cant get there by the St Charles Streetcar any more, by the way (at least, you couldnt in August this year).

Just go out St. Charles, past Loyola and Audubon Park, past a bar called Fat Harry's (another local legend) to where the street car line takes a 90 degree right (which, I believe, is Carollton), and the Camellia is half a block or so up Carollton.

It's local color, and they have great waffles, too. Excellent fuel for soaking up hung over brain cells. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

The 2 times i have eaten at Redfish it BLEW away K-Pauls.

Barbecue Oysters are a must.

ChicagoDawg said...

Ironically enough, I heard a story on NPR this AM (no, I am not a Liberal, even though I drive a Volvo and listen to NPR :-) that the St. Charles line Streetcar is back in service for 6 1/2 miles, which may not get you all the way to the Camellia Grill, but they plan to have the entire line fully operational by end of year -- presumably with the Sugar and BCS CG in mind. It really is a great ride out there.

Anonymous said...

Both out of the Quarters BUT:

Pasqual's Manale is awesome. Good raw oysters and you have to have the heads-on BBQ shrimp. You know any recipe that starts with...Melt a pound of butter...has to be good.

Also try The Cigar Bar, great martini's and stoogies...

Donn said...

Camellia Grill is near the river, where St. Charles ends and Carrollton begins. Go for a chili-cheese omelette any time of the day and a chocolate freeze to accompany. And be prepared to be humbled by their infinitely cool staff.

I'd also recommend a muffaletta from Central Grocery in the Quarter for a real New Orleans treat. The restaurant next door used to be a favorite hangout of mobster-types during the Edwin Edwards administration. They're both across from the French Market on Decatur St.

Chris said...

Cafe du Monde.

The 31st Floor said...

Also here's a great bar that was shown to me by some locals:

Columns Hotel
3811 Saint Charles Ave
New Orleans, LA 70115-4681
Phone: (504) 899-9308

It's a great place to have a few drinks early in the evening. It's in an old house but it is easy to find and the bartenders are awesome

Anonymous said...

Good call on Mother's. If this year is anything like '02, you might spot an O-lineman or two downing ham and po'boys.

Don't forget the Wendy's on Canal Street. I'm not kidding. After the Sugar Bowl that year I went out looking for some non-bar chow, but everything was closed up...except for Wendy's. Turns out EVERYONE had the same idea I did: fans, the two marching bands, even the players. A surreal experience to be breaking bread with the enemy after whipping him all over the Superdome.

Anonymous said...

ACME Oyster House- Great Jambalaya and the best Gumbo I've ever eaten. Fried oyster poorboy. Skip the raw oysters- they are poison anyway.

If you go to either Brennans or Commander's- get the turtle soup. Both places get their turtle soup from the same central kitchen. Actually, I did Commander's five years ago and it was alright, but not worth a 2nd time.

S.A.W.B. said...

If you really have a hankering to drop some coin, head to Antoine's in the Quarter. Not quite sure it was 'worth every penny' but it was damn close.

While you're dressed for Antoine's, hit up the Bombay Club either before or after for martinis. They've got a leather-bound list of 100+, and no, they're not all neon-colored.

Outside of the Quarter, hit up either location of Juan's Flying Burrito for good, cheap grub.

In the warehouse district, try Cochon, which is a sister restaurant of Herbsaint. They smoke and cure all their own meats there, and it's an entirely worthwhile meal.

Anonymous said...

Hey - after katrina Irene's started taking reservations or at least they did in February.

Great restaurant - get the escargot to start!

Matthew Lawrence Woodwork said...

The Camellia Grill is worth the wait. I have eaten there the past three or four times I have been to N.O. Delmonico's is (or was) one of Emeril's signature restaurants. Everything is great except the entrees which were good. There is a place called the French Quarter Market (I think) on the corner of decatur and st philip which has great crawfish.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Good call on ACME, anon.. couldn't remember the name of it.

Anonymous said...

Johnny's Po Boys, just off Jackson Square. Hard to beat, and they're open earlier than you think.

Definitely Galatoire's, for a little bit of an old-school experience.

Dragos in the Riverside Hilton as well as ACME have the chargrilled oysters in butter. Dragos does lobster pretty well.

Brigtsen's in the Garden District is good, not great. Go with the soft-shelled crab.

Restaurant August is highly acclaimed, Warehouse District.

Why would you eat at Emeril's? You can eat at one of those anywhere in the country, these days.

Anonymous said...

Also try (in the quarter) Cafe Giovanni, Ralph & Cakoos, Palace Cafe & (Outside of the Quarter)Drago's, Jacques Imo's, and if you are coming through Slidell hit Young's.

My wife & her family are from NOLA, so they know all the little off the path spots too. But after katrina, they are spotty at best. If you follow all the suggestions on this post, you will go back 15 lbs heavier, but you won't care.

Anonymous said...

Felix's is a great oyster bar and po-boy place. It's on Iberville off of Canal Street.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I can't eat ANYWHERE named "Brennan" before we play Colt and the Rainbow Warriors!

TallyDAWG said...

What's a good place to eat crawfish? We order them during the year and have them shipped here. But I want to catch them at a bar/shack and have some th

Scott said...

Red Fish Grill is phenomenal! You have to go to Red Fish Grill. My mouth waters every time I think about the meals I've had at the Red Fish Grill.

For Cocktails, you need to go to Pat O'Brien's! There is no better experience than going to Pat O'Brien's for Hurricanes. It was more fun in 1980 when the Notre Dame faithful made it their unofficial headquarters!

Finally, late night cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. I just bought a can of their coffee and will be enjoying it with breakfast that morning!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, these places sound great.
Too bad I'm going to be stuck ordering from the McDonalds Dollar Menu because of my college student budget...

Anonymous said...

Last time we were at the Sugar Bowl I went to a place called Superior Grill...has a huge patio where you can eat or drink...GREAT margaritas and they serve them in a large togo cups. I went back three times! Fajitas were outstanding as well. It is located uptown on St. Charles Ave. A must for Sugar Bowl!!!

Anonymous said...

If you are looking for a great Bar in the French Quarter with lots of TV's and outstanding food I can only recomend the

MRB Sports Bar & Grill
515 St. Phillip Street
New Orleans, LA 70116

They have a bunch of Plasma's hanging on the wall and show EVERY bowl game. Prices are below average for the French Quarter. 16oz Draft beer starts at $2.00! Great draft and bottle selection. Menu includes burgers, steaks and daily specials.

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