Though I live in NYC I try to get down to NOLA at least once a year...it's an amazing food town!
I just wanted to share my thoughts about restaurants on my most recent trip...
Dante's Kitchen - Dinner - worth the trip, great eclectic southern/cajun food...not the super heavy heart attack laden stuff you associate with Southern cooking...and they really believe in farm to table, they list all of the ingredients that they get from local farmers right on the board above the bar...a WONDERFUL find and I will definitely go back.
Restaurant August - I went for dinner a year and a half ago, I thought the food was prefectly executed but the ambiance was stuffy and honestly I wasn't wowed, the food was typical upscale very well thought out food but nothing special...but here's the secret, they have a $20 3 course lunch!!!! It's the best deal in NOLA!!! Go for lunch its excellent and the atmosphere is more casual.
Cochon - I love Donald Link for so many reasons, I always go to Cochon, I love pork parts and love the fact that he took down home cajun cooking and made it something special. Casual but hip, a great place.
Masparos - Lunch Mistake, ok I guess I can't complain the Red Beans and rice side dish was only $3.50 but really touristy and there are so many better places in New Orleans...honestly often the best food is not in the FQ so in order to really get good stuff venture out of the quarter (IMHO).
Brigtsen's - across the road from Dante's Kitchen also really worth the trip...this isn't gussied up cajun, this is what you would get from your grandma. The food is really authentic, and really tasty and really heavy and the pecan pie and gumbo (oh my goodness) you have to do this at least once, its really that good. It's not celebrity chef innovative and doesn't try to be, you feel like you are home, but we went on a weeknight and I would recommend that, I think it might get crazy on a weekend.
Herbsaint - Lunch, delicious...not overly expensive either and really interesting menu. It's New American, French, Cajun with a wink and nod to Spain...really lovely and I really want to go for dinner next time.
Cochon Butcher - so the sauage/head cheese etc. is ridiculous, so much that I took a huge bag of ice with all of my pork in a paper bag and carted it to the airport and took the meat home with me! The sandwiches (which we ate on the plane because we had a late flight) were terrific as well, I wish they shipped!
Note: Stay away from Bon Ton Cafe(we went in for lunch because it was full, but we saw the food and ran out as fast was we could...frozen french fries and watery frozen greens greeted us). I don't care what the reviews say, it looked nasty.
To try next time
Feast New Orleans - just opened the week we got there, it looks great but I want to make sure the kinks are out before I go for dinner.
Luke - for lunch.
Dick and Jenny's dinner
Commanders Palace dinner
(I will report back)
930 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130
723 Dante St, New Orleans, LA 70118
701 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130
Bon Ton Cafe
401 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70130
736 Dante Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
930 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, LA 70130