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Casual fine dining in New Orleans, suggestions please

Casual fine dining in New Orleans, suggestions please

Old Sep 29th, 2009, 10:24 AM
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Casual fine dining in New Orleans, suggestions please

My trip to New Orleans is fast approaching.

I'm looking for a memorable restaurant that is fun, ecclectic to take my husband on a Thursday night. We are going to go to Pascale Manale's for lunch, so I want the menu to offer something different. We had thought about Mr. B's Bistro or Bayona, but we are worried that these places are too formal for what we are looking for (although the menus are great).

Any suggestions for someplace that is tucked away, that maybe only locals know about, that would be different, fun, memorable and have a laid-back atmosphere? We are more funky than fine, I guess!

(My two favs from my visit in 2003 were Peristyle and NOLA.)

Thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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I love The Mona Lisa at 1212 Royal Street in the quarter. Small, funky cafe with great pizzas, pastas, and salads. The garlic "bread" is "to die for". Might be better for lunch though...
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 10:48 AM
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I haven't been to New Orleans in several years, but just this morning was thinking about The Mona Lisa. I love the place. Great pizza, and I really like the local 'vibe'.

I don't even know it was on my mind earlier, I think it means I need to start planning a trip to New Orleans.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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I lived in NOLA for 3.5 years and was married to a chef. Here are a couple places I would recommend to the "more funky than fine" for excellent food.

Matt & Naddie's (riverbend area near where Carrollton and St. Charles meet)- very cute cozy restaurant in a little converted house. def off the beaten track! very good food, excellent service - romantic setting.

Dick & Jenny's (uptown on Tchoupitoulas)- not sure, but don't think they take reservations. the best sweetbreads i have ever had!!!

Lilette (uptown on Magazine St)- more on the fine side, but still casual. chef was personal friend of my husband, very creative food!

La Crepe Nanou - (uptown on Robert St) - great french bistro, casual, but does not take reservations
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Both Mr. B's Bistro and Bayona would work for you as well. We were in NOLA over Labor Day weekend and visited both and the food was great. Patrons at both places for dinner were dressed significantly more casual than we were expecting. There were even guys in shorts.

It was our anniversary at Bayona's and my wife managed to talk Susan Spicer out of the kitchen to meet me. I've been a fan for a while. She was quite gracious and it was an added bonus.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 11:02 AM
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Another vote to keep Mr. B's on your list. It's a must-do for me when in NOLA.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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I walked into Bayonna one evening on a whim wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no problems. Try the cream of garlic soup.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. . . I won't count out Mr. B's or Bayona based on recommendations. I'm glad I'm getting suggestions all over New Orleans, because I'm really not sure where we'll end up that night. We are starting out in the Garden District, but not sure if we'll stay there all day or head back to the Quarter. I love the look of Mat and Naddie's -- but I think it might be too far off the beaten path for us. Decisions, decisions. The Mona Lisa sounds like it would be our speed for that night, but Lilette sounds great too.

I'm going to need more time just to eat!!!!
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 11:54 AM
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Mr. B's has the best Sunday Brunch, also take a look @ http://www.marignybrasserie.com/
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 12:07 PM
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We loved this French Quarter restaurant which perfectly meets your criteria:

http://www.tujaguesrestaurant.com/

It is really fun, you get a six-course prix fixe dinner (with choices of main dishes and desserts) in traditional New Orleans style. They still cook according to recipes from 1865 or so. Maybe the most authentic restaurant in New Orleans. Very atmospheric.
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 12:09 PM
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I haven't been back since Katrina, but on 2 visits in 2004 and 2005, I loved Jacque-Imo's out in the Uptown District. Very funky with good food. There used to be a long wait though...not sure if that's still the case. I'm going back in November, can't wait to eat there again. http://www.jacquesimoscafe.com/
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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Oooooh, Jacques-Imo's sounds pretty much what we are looking for. And given we want to have an early dinner (5:30), hopefully we wouldn't have to wait in line!! Does anyone know what is in the area surrounding this restaurant (8324 Oak Street) that might bring us to that area -- any cool shops or sites? If we are in the Garden District traveling down Magazine Street, will we have to take a cab to this restaurant? Is it walkable? Safe area? Thoughts/advice would be appreciated!

We'll probably still make back-up reservations somewhere, just to be safe!

Thanks everyone for great recommendations!!!
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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If you have another weekday available for lunch, I recommend Commander's Palace.

With weekday lunches, they have 25 cent martinis (regular martinis, Cosmos, etc.)

The food is wonderful, and it's fun!

Byrd
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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You could take a cab all the way. On Magazine you are seven blocks south of St Charles Ave. Jacques Imos is in the Riverbend area on Oak a bit west of Carrolton.

you could get to St Charles Ave, then take the St Charles streetcar to a spot fairly close to the restaurant and then walk over about two and a half blocks west.

you'll want to watch for the mostly 90 degree right turn the streetcar makes onto Carrolton and Oak is about 6 blocks up.

The area is mostly residential, although there are some shops and other restaurants in the area, but not like the ones you'll see on Magazine.

The area is a favorite gathering spot for Tulane and Loyola students and seems to be safe.

After dinner you would then walk back to Carrolton and take the streetcar back to downtown.

Another spot in the same general area would be Brigtsen's.

http://www.brigtsens.com/index.html
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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+1 for Commander's Palace for lunch, since you'll be in the area. If you go make a reservation and ask for the Garden Room. Nicer view and mostly locals.

although no shorts at commander's
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Old Sep 29th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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I took the street car out through the Garden District to Jacque-Imo's with no problem. I can't remember the exact details however since it was a while ago, but I do remember it being easy. What notbob posted sounds about right.

There's a bar next door called something like the Maple Leaf that's famous for things like poetry slams (at least that's my recollection of what I was told). I ended up waiting at the coffee shop on the corner of Carrolton and Oak since there was no seating available in Jacque-Imo's bar or at the Maple Leaf. I was a solo female traveler and never felt unsafe in the area.
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Old Oct 7th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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The bar next to Jacque-Imo's is the Maple Leaf. It's a great suggestion for a VERY casual, sit-down meal. Excellent food, but you may have to wait, even at 5:30. IMO, worth it.

Another option is Patois- it's uptown at Webster and Laurel, I think? EXCELLENT food, seasonal and local ingredients. A little nicer than Jacques-Imo's, but you would be fine in dressy casual.
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