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My Favorite Local New Orleans Restaurants


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1. Taqueria Corona on Magazine St.

 2. Lebanon Cafe on Carrolton Ave.

 3. Figaro on Maple St.

 4. Pascal Manale's on Napoleon Ave.

 5. Mikimoto on Carrollton Ave. (Sushie)

 6. Mandina's on Canal St.

 7. Uglesichs, Baronne St. (Lunch)

 8. Jacques-Imo on Oak St.

 9. Ye Olde Colle Inn on Carrolton Ave.

10. Franky and Johnny's on Arabella St.

 For more see:

http://www.geocities.com/nola_rental/favrestaurants.html

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New Orleans (and in one case Metro New Orleans) has so many great restaurants.  You listed some really good ones...but my favorites would be:

1)  Maximo's

2)  gerard's downtown

3)  Arnaud's

4)  Galitoires

5)  Sid-Mars

6)  Trey Yuen

7)  Juan's Flying Burrito

8)  Upperline

9)  Upperline

10)Mr. B's Bistro

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Since I'm planning to revisit sometime next year, these will be good lists to reference.

But, GumboYaYa, isn't there a good argument for having two lists--one for upscale and/or tourist restaurants and one for neighborhood places?  You've mised the two, I think.  A place like Arnaud's might go on one, and a place like Mother's Restaurant might be to the other extreme.  Nola's list seems more in line with this, although you've definitely listed some excellent places.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I suppose these lists reflect the views of people about what they consider important in the dining experience. New Orleans, to me, is a problem city.

Just to put it in perspective I have formed these opinions over the past year and I have just added up the number of times I have dined out in New Orleans and it comes to 70 different occasions this year.

I was pleased to see that neither list contained an emeril's restaurant. My experiences there have been terrible.

I agree with Gerards Downtown being in the list - it serves excellent fresh food expertly prepared. There may be some changes given that he has also taken over the former Artesia.

Galatoires and Arnauds are real problems. Perhaps people should visit one of them in the same way that you go to a museum to get a feel for the past. But if you think you are going to get food of the quality of Gramercy Tavern or the Chez Panisse then forget it.

The best Creole food that I have tried is at Commanders Palace. Mr B's is also good in a 'hearty' sort of way.

For an upmarket dining experience Commanders or Vistors are my first choices. For bistro dining then Rio Mas serves very good, innovative food.

The best seafood is clearly served at GW Fins. Much better and more expertly prepared than at the proliferation of crab shacks and oyster houses that serve generally second rate seafood.

Bayona, August and Rene are serving good food with Creole touches.

If you want to try good Italian then stop off in San Francisco on the way.

I didn't like the food at Mothers and the shambolic surrounding are off putting. I also cannot understand why national magazines have written about Uglesichs. The food here is very ordinary.

For good Japanese food try Horinoya in Poydras. It is more authentic than most. The sashimi is prepared with skill.

The Vietnamese restaurant Pho Tau Bay gets close to the authentic flavour of Vietnamese pho.

Well, there's a few comments!

Roger McShane

Foodtourist.com

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Actually you are right.  Maybe there should be two lists, one for fancy schmany/take your date out/or classy places; and the other for cheap eats or best value for the money:

For upscale:

1)  Maximo's

2)  gerard's downtown

3)  Arnaud's

4)  Galitoires

5)  Upperline

6) G.W. Fins (I left that one out in my last list and had

                    Upperline in there twice!)

7)  Mr. B's Bistro

For local/cheap eats:

1)  Sid-Mars

2)  Trey Yuen

3)  Juan's Flying Burrito

4)  Italian Pie

5)  Royal Blend

6)  Bayou Bagelry

7)  Country Flame

But I'm a bit confused about "Mothers", I didn't list "Mothers" on my list at all - I would never put them on any list but "best tourist trap" LOL.  Commanders Palace could fall onto that list as well.  Haven't had a good meal there in years. Last two were complete disasters. Think they lost a lot of their good staff to the Vegas version of Commanders last year or something. Now all they hire are smart-mouthed waiters who know nothing of how to work in an upscale environment. I won't be visiting Commanders for a long time based on my last two visits.

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In my experience "holes in the wall" like Mothers are easily ruined by public attention.  And a certain percentage of people don't like "holes" anyway.

So yes, indeed, it may be nothing more than a tourist trap if people are lining up for a reputation it stopped deserving.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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 Mother's was a working mans tavern with good breakfast and lunch, not a tourist place. It pre-dates the change in the neighborhood, from warehouses to hotels. I worked 2 blocks from there in 1969 at a hardware company warehouse. I could stop in get the biscuit and beef breakfast with coffee then return for a Ferdie for lunch. All worker crowd and a few Marines. Then the food was good, it was fast too. Now it has new owners who cater to the tourists, higher prices, less portions, and the quality is less. Last time I went a friend insisted so we waited one hour and was told someone took our food from the counter because we did not respond to their call??? We were told to sit in a far corner and our food would be brought to us, so we waited until they redid the order and got very poor quality. I will never go again.

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Not to pound this to death, but just out of curiousity, when did the ownership change at Mother's occur?  I was last there around 1995 and at that time it didn't seem to be the tourist trap described here.  Jason Perlow, one of the guys who runs this site, has been there as recently as 2 years ago, I think, and while he commented on longer lines, at that point I don't think he noticed a decline in the food itself (although, of course, he had never been there previous to the mid-90's either...)

I think the main attraction of it in that period (the mid 90's I mean) is that it was cheap decent food within walking distance of the convention center.  Of course that very fact may have helped ruin it.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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I lived in New Orleans all my life and have never stopped in. I am never in that area at  breakfast and would chose any other breakfast place over it. I am sure people who find themselves there in the morning have stopped in but if I am eating breakfast out I like Camelia Grill and even Moe's next door. Breakfast isn't something I go out to get although a real Mexican breakfast place would be nice like  found in Laredo, Texas. Fried eggs and ham are just too easy to make at home. I would stop in CDM for coffee and bignets at anytime but do not consider that a breakfast place.

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I'm only a visitor to New Orleans, but those lists really surprise me.  I should have thought Bayona was obviously an outstanding restaurant, and far better than some of the places mentioned.  I have also had exceptional meals at Emeril's flagship, and the Grill Room at the Windsor Court hotel, while maybe too formal for some tastes, seemed to me to be cooking at a much higher level than most of the 'upmarket' places listed in the thread.

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Quote: from Wilfrid on 11:20 am on Dec. 20, 2001

I'm only a visitor to New Orleans, but those lists really surprise me.

I don't know, Wilfrid, my original reading of the phrase "local" (in the sense that Nola seemed to use it) was that these should be places that are of local fame as opposed to places like Emeril's--which are frequented more by tourists like us than the natives.

That's why I though two lists were needed... one that takes places like Emeril's into account (labeled as "upscale" by me earlier--that's probably too much of a generlization) and one for local and/or less up-scale places

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Yes, I kind of started the list for a friend who asked me where I eat. So the list changes often. I stopped Uglesches a few months back, and Mandenias because of crowds. I added Lebanon  Cafe and Mona's but Mona's on Banks just burned. Bud's Broiler is great for  hamburger. I do not eat at Emerils unless someone comes into town and wants too, which is usually once or twice a year. It is more of where a local eats, can you imagine if I ate at the upper line places 3 or 4 times a week??? Size of waist growns in porprtion to  thinning of wallet.

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Quote: from Bolivar Petit Corona on 1:11 pm on Dec. 21, 2001

Wouldn't have any money for rum and cigars if I lived there.

Might not need the stress-relief of rum and cigars if you lived in the Big Easy. :)

Heck, I'm terribly jealous of Nola and GumboYaYa.  If you simply visit, there is the heartbreak of leaving.  Then again... it does get kind of warm there for my tastes at certain times of the year.

(Edited by jhlurie at 3:48 pm on Dec. 21, 2001)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Yvonne

I visited K-Paul's this year and was very disappointed. It seemed 'tired', as if they were just working to a formula for the tourists who line up outside.

I ate at his restaurant when he temporarily relocated to New York in 1985 and the food was fresh and vibrant and interesting. The food I ate this year was lazy, lacked flavour and was terribly uninteresting.

Roger McShane

Foodtourist.com

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Sure, i was a touirist, but i had one of the best meals ever at Irene's Cuisine, which i was told is mostly a "locals" place.

I also ate a burger at Port of Call, which i thought was just OK, although the atmosphere was GREAT as i sat at the bar and next to a "regular" college student who brought in her mom ("Hey Pam, you still cutting classes and going to the track like you told me you've been doing?  OH!, this is your mom?  Sorry, nice to meet ya")

Breakfast at Camellia Grill was also a highlight... again, not so much for the food, but the atmosphere.  They just make everyone feel "special" and like a regular, although requests for egg whites are declined (as well as looked down upon all over the city).

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm kind of surprised at the omission of Bayona from these lists.  I figure I had the best meal in the last 5 years there.  Not only that, but chef Susan signed my menu...

(Edited by markstevens at 1:06 pm on Jan. 31, 2002)

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Has anyone visited Herbsaint yet?  An old review in a local paper didn't have great things to say, but a more recent one says they've got it together now.  I'm thinking of going on Valentine's day.  If anyone has info, I'd love to hear your impressions.  If not, I'll let you know how it is.  

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Guest Roger McShane

Yes. I was lucky enough to have an apartment in the warehouse district only about 200 metres from Herbsaint last year.

I would visit the restaurant about once a week.

The food is very good and quite modern. When you compare it with the Creole/Cajun food around town it is quite refreshing.

The service is generally good and the food OK. But it is useful to remember that there are dozens of restaurants in San Francisco or Seattle or Chicago or Sydney or Melbourne or London or Nice that are significantly better. It's just a nice local restaurant - not a temple of gastronomy.

They do have a nice wine list.

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