New Orleans 2018

Could anyone please tell me about Gautreau’s? It looks and seems very similar to Brigsten’s in both setting and menu. Would that be a fair comparison? If so, how would you place them side by side one another? I can’t say that I was knocked out by the former, though it was certainly enjoyable. The level of cooking didn’t seem as refined nor the ingredients and preparation as local as Upperline, by comparison. I’m trying to gauge where Gautreau’s fits in with other NOLA eateries that we’ve been to before. It seems to be rated highly but reviews are also somewhat polarized. People seem to either love it or hate it; it’s the best meal in the city or completely disappointing. Some of the more consistent criticisms that I’ve read seem to suggest that preparation can be overly fussy with too many ingredients that often don’t work. Apparently some celebrity ‘Top Chef’ was in the kitchen for a while but has since moved on. If anyone has visited recently or during the transition, please share your thoughts.

I would also love to get some feedback on Bayona, which we’ve never been to before. I’ve read great things in the past on Chowhound; nothing recent. It has a lovely courtyard (most romantic in the Quarter?) and the social media/yelp photos that I’ve seen look pretty impressive. The cooking seems a bit more creative than a lot of the older more traditional places that we love in NOLA. Is it perhaps comparable to August or Coquette? Any thoughts on dinner here?

Also, if planning for Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, is it safe to assume that we’ll be writing off dinner that night? We’ve been many times before and know the ins and outs but we’d like to experience their famous Friday afternoon lunch and I’m just wondering if we should leave out food/dinner plans that evening and stick to bar menus?

Lastly, if planning a milestone 40th birthday dinner for two anywhere in the city, where would you choose to dine? We’ve been to most of the old landmark restaurants and institutions a number of times including some newer highlights (we last visited in 2016) so we have a pretty good idea of the restaurant scene but I’d really appreciate reading your opinions as I want to plan something very special for my wife’s birthday-it’s a big one!

Thanks very much for your input.

Galatoire’s Friday lunch is a celebration. Plan on a meal, not lunch; plan on getting in line to sit downstairs; order a meal, not lunch; trust the waiters and stay a long time. Check out Clancy’s. Any of Donald Link’s operations is worth a look.

Thanks, we’ve been to Galatoire’s many times before and as mentioned above, know the ins and outs. We have our preferred waiter and we know how to order; we’re definitely planning for a full half-day. What I was specifically asking about, for those who’ve been for Friday lunch (we’ve only ever been to Galatoire’s for dinner), is whether they had any appetite for dinner that same evening. In other words, would a Friday afternoon spread at Galatoire’s typically constitute one’s only meal for the day, or might one still plan for a light dinner that same evening? I’m thinking we would not make any reservations… maybe a po-boy at Parkway or one of the oyster bars. Is the food at Cane & Table worth ordering? Should we be looking in that direction; cocktails and bar bites? I just want to know whether a proper sit-down dinner would seem completely gluttonous and overkill after a Friday lunch at Galatoire’s.

As for Clancy’s, we’ve also been several times before and it’s my personal favorite restaurant in New Orleans. We’re definitely going back on this trip!

I’d really love to hear more about the places we haven’t been, particularly Gautreau’s and Bayona. I’m trying to decide where to celebrate my wife’s 40th and I’m having a difficult time choosing between an old familiar and trusted institution like Arnaud’s, which we both love, or some place we haven’t yet been, like Gautreau’s or Bayona. I want it to be really celebratory as it’s a huge milestone and this birthday is wrapped up in all the usual sort of mid-life anxieties, so I really want it to be a very special occasion. Nothing beats the setting at Arnaud’s (we’ve been to all of the New Orleans “culinary grand dames” over the years) but we’ll be spending the very next day (Fri. afternoon) at Galatoire’s, which might feel repetitive as the menus are so similar. Her birthday falls on a Thursday and we both want to experience Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, so I’m sort of leaning away from Arnaud’s. Strictly food-wise, I would say that my wife’s favorite meal in New Orleans to date, was probably Upperline. I would consider that as well, although I’m not sure that the setting really lends itself to the kind of special and celebratory dinner that I have in mind. Would Gautreau’s possibly fit this bill? We’re already going to Clancy’s another night and I don’t think she would want to celebrate her birthday there anyway. We basically have every meal planned except for her birthday dinner and one other night, and I’m trying to fill in both of those meal slots, which is why I would really love to get some feedback on Gautreau’s and Bayona… and anything else that seems fitting which might come to mind!

Thanks so much

Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is a big enough occasion for us not to plan on having any appetite after relaxing in the comfort of good company. Maybe some oysters and beer at Casamento’s or Camellia Grill for red beans and rice – don’t think that dish is still a Monday-only item.

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Do you have a preference between Bayona and Coquette for dinner?

Have you ever been to Mosca’s in Westwego, LA (approx. 35 min. drive from downtown NOLA) for dinner, and if so, is it destination worthy? We’re thinking it could make for a fun outing on our last evening.

Brunches: Is Dick and Jenny’s still good? I’d read overwhelmingly great reviews some years back but time seems to have lessened its esteem. What’s your opinion of D&J and what about brunch at Surrey’s Café on Magazine St?

Thanks again!

Our dinner at Bayonna was too long ago to be helpful for your planning. Mosca’s famous shrimp was on our radar a very long time ago too – our good Louisiana friends were amazed we’d asked about the restaurant when we were first becoming acquainted – but we sadly report we still have no report for now.

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Well thanks nonetheless and who knows, maybe I’ll end up reporting back on Mosca’s for you. :slight_smile:

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A couple more options…

  • Seaworthy
    Has anyone been? This is a possibility for Fri. evening (after full day lunch at Galatoire’s) cocktails and oysters. Their oyster menu looks fantastic. Bonus points for orig. flaming tiki cocktail recipe.

  • Cavan
    I’ve read extremely mixed reviews. Mostly interested hearing about their downstairs bar; is it destination cocktail worthy? What is the atmosphere like? I like what I see in photos… Is the bar accommodating to small plate orders and if so, what do you think of the food? Are cocktails strong enough to be main focus? For those who rate Cavan highly, would we do best to just plan for a proper dinner here on a future trip?

Lastly, what’s going on with the Caribbean Room at the Pontchartrain? Has it already closed for renovations or is it still open for now?

I went to Seaworthy this week for some late night oysters and a glass of cava from their late night happy hour menu (though I don’t believe oysters are discounted in HH) as it was a block from my hotel. They serve food until 1 AM. The oysters were fine - had a few murder points from Alabama and a few Louisiana gulf oysters - but like other gulf oysters I’ve had they needed some cocktail sauce/horseradish/vinegar to kick them up a notch. I’m just used to the more strongly flavored west coast oysters I guess. They did also have some west coast and east coast varieties on their oyster menu that night. Service was very friendly. Note that I’m pretty sure the selection available on a given night at Seaworthy is only a subset of the oyster menu online - there were only 3 types of gulf coast oysters that night, for example.

The oysters were kind of expensive. If I were going for (gulf) oysters earlier in the night I would have probably just went to Felix’s in the FQ and gotten a few raw and a few chargrilled, and if you want a tiki cocktail Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 is also in the FQ.

That sounds a bit disappointing. Do you suppose the limited oyster selection was due to late-night availability? I was initially drawn to the wide selection on their website but I also really dig the historic Creole cottage setting and ambiance; at least from what I’ve seen in photos. That’s something that Felix’s is seriously lacking… in fact, the dining room kind of reminds me of something you’d see in an airport. I’m more of a Casamento’s guy and that’s actually a runner-up in our choices for the evening. I figured it might be fun to try a new place like Seaworthy but it sounds like your experience wasn’t all that great. Aslo, I don’t want to knock Latitude 29 because I know Jeff and I’ve heard only the best feedback from people like Martin Cate and others in the “scene” but I was pretty disappointed on our last visit. It was a slow weeknight and we were the only ones in the entire bar so it might’ve just been an off-night, but not a single drink appealed to me or my wife. We found the bar itself kind of boring by NOLA’s standards. I’d personally much rather spend the evening at Cane & Table. Their cocktails are described as proto-tiki but we found them to be way more refined than L29 and the space infinitely more interesting and evocative of the city. We’re definitely returning on this upcoming trip, but I thought Seaworthy might be a fun addition to our drinking plans after a full-day gorging at Galatoire’s.

One more question:

Battle of the brunches between Surrey’s Cafe and Atchafalaya… is there a clear winner?

I wouldn’t call it disappointing, I felt like getting some local oysters and it was after midnight, and for that Seaworthy worked out great. The ambiance is definitely more intimate than Felix’s.

I don’t think so, actually that night they had run out of one of the three varieties of gulf oyster that they had on the menu. I guess you can call them to check?

Oysters at Seaworthy, murder points on the right:

I’ve only had one drink at each of Latitude 29 and Cane & Table myself (was trying to pace myself - so many good places to get a drink in New Orleans!) but enjoyed them both. L29 maybe needs to cover up their windows and shut out the outside world to go full tiki, but I’m guessing that’s not practical for a hotel bar in that building.

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I have been to both Gautreau’s and Bayona a few times, but awhile ago. My personal opinion would be to go to Bayona. I like the setting a lot better for a celebratory dinner and I found the food more intricate. Gaureau’s was amazing, but the food and the setting was more simplistic.

Mosca’s is cool, but we were a little underwhelmed. We had built it up so much in our heads, that we were let down. The food was still great and we were all happy we went, but we all said never again.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks so much, that does really help!

Did you feel that the experience at Gautreau’s, strictly food-wise, measured up to the hype?
I’ve heard a number of people, locals included, refer to it as the best restaurant in NOLA, which is obviously highly subjective but nevertheless…

When you say the food at Bayona was more intricate, do you just mean that dishes were more complex? It certainly seems to be more modern and haute-cuisine, whereas Gautreau’s appears to be more traditional, which is probably one of the reasons it’s loved by NOLA regulars.

In comparison to other more classic New Orleans dining establishments, did you find Gautreau’s to be especially refined?

Lastly, have you ever been to Upperline; if so, is there any comparison to be made between the two kitchens?

Thanks again!

Here in NOLA for a bit, had red snapper, etouffe and souffle potatoes at Galatoire’s last night, upstairs after a drink at the bar. Next time we’ll stick with downstairs which was not busy on a Tuesday night and which is brighter and more festive. Can’t fit in a Friday lunch there this trip!

Will be revisiting Herbsaint and get to Bon Ton. We always breakfast at Brenner’s on the way out, any suggestions on a different festive brunch?

Galatoire’s upstairs (reservations accepted):


Sorry, breakfast at Brennan’s. There’s a Brenner’s in my town that trips me up occasionally.

So in the end, I visited Mandina’s, Mr. B’s, Clancy’s, Bon Ton, Hermes Bar at Antoine’s, Domenica, Galatoire’s and District Donuts.

Bon Ton was outstanding and I can’t wait to go back. Every bite was delicious, even the onion rings were eye-popping good.

Clancy’s was also outstanding, even though they didn’t have the famous smoked soft shell crabs for some reason, which was a disappointment.

Mr. B’s is a favorite and so this was a return visit. Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace were both booked on brunch day, but we enjoyed the brunch at Mr. B’s, and the service there is unmatched. Mandina’s was good but the least favorite of all the meals. Pictures to follow.

Hermes, with a softshell and a wagyu poboy:

Bon Ton:



Clancy’s: Fried oysters, heirloom tomatoes and lardon fettuccine in an herbsaint sauce:


Is the soft shell crab seasonal? While the smoked duck at Clancy’s might just be my favorite anywhere, I’ve personally never seen the crab on their menu. The last time we visited in late-April, it was also missing. Btw, next time you’re at Clancy’s, you have to try the oysters and brie!

I’m excited to visit Bon Ton next month!

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Yes, about May through September for fresh, but they seem to be available in Houston eateries year round. I’m jealous you are going to Bon Ton! I loved every bite there. I will go back to Clancy’s if the opportunity presents, definitely.