First time to new orleans, staying in the cbd, would like to have one splash out meal and two local favorites. we tend to not eat breakfast or lunch but, with a po boy on the must have list, will probably amend that guideline. we are from nyc, have good french, italian, asian, etc, so looking for food representative of new orleans. I’ve done some research but with so many choices, would value your help:
splash out meal: commnander palace booked solid, thinking brigstens, my nephew is pushing us towards an emeril restaurant but we have very different palates. right now we have a placeholder reservation at cochon, seems like strong but mixed reviews.
Casamento’s looks good but an appearance on fieri’s show guarantees crowds/higher prices and my experience has been it might never have been good to start with. any substitutes? thinking about great oysters, gumbo, fried seafood in a casual setting.
maypop - I see maypop recommended here, not looking for straightup asian but it looks like asian influenced new orleans food? walking distance from hotel is a plus.
clancy’s/patois - both recommended here, both menus look amazing, just not sure this is what we’re looking for in terms in of regional cooking.
po boys - parkway bakery/domalise but guessing y’all could guide us to spots that are just as good without having to wait on a line?
other recommendations? we’ll have a car, willing to walk, drive, bike, trolley or crawl to great food!
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
It was 2016 when we were in the city, so have no idea how well the places where we ate have stood the test of time. But, certainly, we didnt have a bad meal and a couple were innthe top flight of that trip to the States. All were in the French Quarter
Tujagues, Angeline, Napolean House, R’evolution, G W Fins, Muriel’s
Over the years, our local hosts have been fastidious about steering us in the right direction when we’re on our own. They were early to discover Emeril and Clancy’s and sing their praises, insisted we take Friday lunch at Galatoire’s, and grinned when we asked about Casamento’s.
The Parkway Bakery does indeed have excellent Po’Boys, we encountered no lines whatsoever, BUT if you want an oyster one, they have/had only one day a week for those, think it was Wednesday at the time. Haven’t been there since before Covid struck. Keep in mind, there’s also a Parkway Tavern, which was a source of confusion for the Uber drivers. We actually got dropped off at the tavern, and had to wait for another car. Anyway Parkway Bakery did not disappoint! The best meal I’ve had in NOLA was at Muriel’s, and the wait staff was supremely helpful to my daughter and me. Food was impeccable too. On another trip with my H, we had Po’ Boys in the French quarter at Johnny’s, which was a bit crowded, but very good also. We had a fail at Drago’s for oysters, which was disappointing, but maybe just an off night, or not their best location. H had a wonderful meal at Cochon solo, since I stayed in the hotel feeling quite unwell. So frustrating to be in a world famous food paradise & not be able to eat! And I’m still not over it!! Anyway, hope your trip goes well, and do enjoy! Oh, and I think Aunt
Sally’s Pralines are the best. Right by Cafe
du Monde, and they make nice gifts to take back as well.
Parkway Bakery Oyster Po’Boy, homemade pralines, good but not as good as Aunt Sally’s. More practice needed.
(John Hartley - a culinary patriot eating & cooking in Northwest England)
It was Mrs H’s best meal of our whole three week trip. Not necessarily the best individual dishes but the best overall enjoyment. My “best of the trip” was an Italian place, Marcellos, in Lafayette, LA.
I haven’t been to New Orleans in several years, but my favorite place is Galatoire’s. Getting in on a Friday morning can be difficult, as it’s a traditional happening place for locals. That said, whenever you go, just be sure you get seated downstairs, which has a much better ambience. I also really like the Palace Cafe – be sure to try the Crabmeat Cheesecake app, which is their signature dish (it’s savory, not sweet!). Mr. B’s is also reliably excellent. And for pralines, my vote goes to Southern Candymakers.
A few random recommendations from another tourist:
Try some char grilled oysters somewhere - gulf oysters grilled with butter and garlic. I’ve had them at Felix’s and Acme in the French Quarter. There’s also Drago’s but I haven’t been.
Beignets at Café du Monde.
Since you’ll be going a little before the peak of crawfish season, perhaps try some crawfish.
A muffaletta from Central Grocery travels very well for the trip back. It looks like they are currently closed now due to hurricane damage.
Of some of the places you mentioned that I’ve tried:
The fried shrimp po’ boy was worth the short wait at Parkway Bakery. It was the best shrimp po’ boy of the few shrimp po’ boys that I’ve tried. I wasn’t a huge fan of Parkway’s roast beef one though. Domilise’s shrimp po’ boy (actually I had a “Peacemaker” from there which is half shrimp/half oyster) was very good too but I think Parkway’s shrimp po’ boy had a slight edge over it.
Casamento’s is kind of known for their oyster loaf, which is a bit like an oyster po’boy but on thick toasted sliced bread rather than a roll. I thought it was quite good. Haven’t tried anything else from there.
Have been only once to each but had a great dinner at each, I don’t think you’d go wrong with either of them.
I had a very good lunch at Cochon. The even more casual Cochon Butcher next door was very good too, nice muffaletta and Cajun boudin. If you’re looking for a snack a piece of boudin with a cold beer hits the spot! They also sell packaged boudin and other items to go.
And a few other restaurants that I enjoyed:
Mr. B’s - the BBQ shrimp were really good
Turkey and the Wolf (lunch)
Have fun! I’ve visited New Orleans a few times but haven’t been back since 2019, it’s one of my favorite cities. Great food, great drinks, great music.
I haven’t been since 1998, but I remember many of the restaurants- Antoine’s , Brennan’s (for breakfast- too many fried oysters in that order for me, they sent us home with a photocopy of their Bananas Foster recipe), K Paul’s, Two Sisters Jazz Brunch, a Cajun place (probably was Mulate’s), beignets.
Didn’t get around to trying a proper muffuletta.
I brought home 2 cookbooks, and have used them a lot! I hosted a Mardi Gras potluck with a dozen Toronto Chowhounds about 12 years ago.
I also have quite a few southern cookbooks, from a Junior League Cookbook from Atlanta, the Love Joy Plantation cookbook, community cookbooks from North Carolina , South Carolina, etc. I have a lot of regional cookbooks!
New Orleans resident here. You could probably count Maypop as your splashout meal, since it’s not a cheap place—that said, it is our favorite restaurant in town, so I’m 100% in favor of going there. It’s definitely not what people consider “local” cuisine—but super inventive, very well executed, and fantastic. Another option is Herbsaint, which is an older place but still not resting on its laurels. I’m kind of meh on Brigtsen’s although people rave about it—honestly, I don’t find the food that superlative. And Commander’s, in my opinion, is much more about the name than the food. It’s kind of a factory, and the food is not nearly as good as people make it out to be (most likely because they want to justify what they spent there). Is it bad food? No. It’s just not that great, and definitely not as good as some other places in town. GW Fins, a seafood place in the Quarter, gets a lot of love but I have not been there myself.
For your “local” options, there are many places out in the neighborhoods that do a great job and fly under the tourist radar. Restaurants where you can have a really nice dinner include:
Marjie’s Grill in Mid-City. The food is outstanding, really creative Asian-Southern fusion, and almost criminally inexpensive for what you get. On the hipster end of things, but really great.
Chais Delachaise, Uptown. Just a very pleasant place to eat dinner, with a frequently changing menu and a nice wine list. This is a sister place to the Delachaise on St. Charles Ave., which is a wine bar with much more snacky food.
Boucherie, Uptown/Carrollton. Another great menu with well-executed food.
On the casual end of things:
The Parkway Bakery shrimp po-boy is my favorite in the city. Don’t wait on line if there is a long one—go into the bar, order from the bartender, and eat in there. There definitely is not always a line, it’s kind of the luck of the draw. (And FYI, you don’t have to wait on line at Cafe du Monde either—just walk in around the back, there are always some empty tables there.)
Banh Mi Boys. The original is attached to a Texaco in Metairie, and it’s great, but they just opened another outlet on Magazine St. in the Garden District. This is the epitome of local food—Vietnamese/NOLA mash-up. The sandwiches are excellent and they are deeply beloved by pretty much everyone in town.
For char-grilled oysters, take yourself to Neyow’s Creole Cuisine (Carrollton Ave.). No tourists, gets a big after-church crowd, and has a guy in the front of the restaurant doing nothing but grilling oysters. Big portions of very, very typical regular-person food, nothing that’s going to knock your socks off but will show you what a lot of people in this town like to eat.
Another place that has good grilled oysters that will never, ever be in a tourist guidebook is Frankie & Johnny’s (Uptown). This place totally reminds me of the seafood places on the Jersey Shore where I grew up, but serving catfish instead of flounder. Not fancy food in the least, but very solid representation of what people here actually eat—lots of po-boys, fish platters, etc.
It makes me sad that the same long-in-the-tooth, not-that-great-anymore places get so much tourist attention (Acme Oyster House, for instance). New Orleans is a really great food town because people of all classes here really, really like to eat out. They come out to support great restaurants, and new and interesting places open up constantly that are 100% worth trying. I have tons more that I could recommend, and a whole list of places that I’m still trying to get to myself.
Oh and PS, if your visit is indeed in February (2020???), you will be here in the peak of king cake season. Run, do not walk, to Bywater Bakery for a slice of their Chantilly king cake. There are plenty of other great king cakes in town, but you can get this one by the slice vs. having to buy a whole cake. (Which is also a good option, but not if you want to eat other meals while you’re here.)