Restaurants & Bars

Late October Trip Report

Jen Lehr | Nov 29, 200104:11 PM     7

We were in NO from 10/25-11/2 and had a GREAT time. The weather was perfect for the first 7 days (low 70s & about 30% humidity)- upper 80s w/98% humidity last two days.

We had been concerned that we wouldn't be able to find anything to eat that wasn't fried or drenched in fat. Not a problem. Here's where we went/what we thought:

We searched long and hard for Johnny's - we had heard their shrimp po' boy was awesome. The place was very busy but not uncomfortably crowded. It did have a greasy spoon feel but the po' boys were very good - generous amount of shrimp - especially with several shakes of hot sauce.

Tried a vegetarian muffuletta (this was spelled differently on just about every menu we saw) at Central Grocery. Not bad, but maybe it just doesn't translate to a vegetarian version well. Didn't get an opportunity to try any others in town.

Uglesich - Well worth the trip! My sister and I had the shrimp uggie and my husband had a shrimp & oyster po'boy - both were delicious. We couldn't resist trying the fried green tomatoes - very tasty, but the tomatoes were more orange than green.......

Galatoire's on Halloween for a big 60th anniversary party for my in-laws (9 people) - we had a lot of fun, but were somewhat unimpressed with the food - the presentation left a lot to be desired. Good food but not great. I had the softshell crab - call me spoiled, but after a lifetime of fresh dungeness crab (we live in Portland, OR) the softshell crab didn't do much for me. My sis had the etoufee (not bad) and Scott had the fish special of the day, which was probably the best thing anybody ordered at the table.

We went to a place called the Alpine (drawn in at first because of the small quiet bar after a crazy first day in town spent checking out Bourbon Street). We ended up checking out the menu and eating there. The blackened shrimp po boy and blackened shrimp fajitas were awesome! The service was good - very casual place and big, tasty bloody mary's. We ended up returning to that bar several times and to the restaurant once more during our stay.

On our anniversary we had made reservations at Bella Luna - we walked up there and looked at the menu and peeked inside - it just didn't seem like our type of place for this kind of evening, so we cancelled them and ended up going to Irene's, which we had noticed many times on our walks (it was only a short walk from our place). They don't take reservations and open at 5:30. We showed up at 5:40 and the place was already full with a short line out the door. We were seated in the piano bar in the back. We ordered a bottle of wine and sipped on that for the hour-long wait - it was very pleasant and the piano player was fun. Dinner was well worth the wait! The mussels were excellent! My husband had a softshell crab dish that was very good, my sister had spicy shrimp with linguine and I had a spicy fish dish in a light cream sauce with roasted peppers and garlic. It was outstanding. Nice wine list too.

On another night when we hadn't figured out where to dine, we just wandered around and found Petunia's - a very nice little restaurant in an old house (817 St. Louis Street) - they are supposedly known for their giant crepes. It was comfy, casual, and the waiter was a hoot! Very personal service. We had the spicy cajun redfish and my sister had the blackened redfish (very very fresh fish of the day). The fish was awesome - the side dishes left a little to be desired - the broccoli was a little overcooked but we were thrilled to find broccoli at all.......it was a very nice dining experience.

One evening we were cruising around and ended up at the Royal Cafe and dined on the balcony. It was a beautiful evening! The food was quite good. My husband and I had the shrimp & crawfish etoufee - I will admit that I might have been taken aback by the semi-pureed nature of the dish if I hadn't already had a zillion shrimp during my visit already - but it was very tasty. My sister had the nut encrusted fresh trout - excellent.

The best po boys we had during the trip were at the Aft Deck Bar next to the Monteleone Hotel front entrance. I had the fried shrimp po boy and my husband had the blackened catfish po boy. They were awesome. The place was never very crowded when we walked by so we never thought to go in there, but our relatives were staying at the Monteleone, and we just ended up there one extremely hungover day. The po boys and a few cold beers made everything much better.

The last day after checking out, we decided to go out to lunch one last time before going to the airport. We ended up at Angeli. It was a very casual place with pizza, sandwiches & salads. We had panini sandwiches that were awesome (mine was artichoke hearts, mozzarella, roasted peppers & basil, I think, and my sister had the portobello mushroom & roasted garlic) and my husband had the mediterranean wrap - hummus, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, tomato & feta......the service was friendly and the prices were very reasonable. We had cruised by Angeli a bunch of times and it was always crowded. Lots of locals seemed to hang there.

We were totally bummed that we didn't make it to Mandina's or Bayona. If we ever manage to make it back to NO, those will be first on the list.

Other points of interest - bars etc.

We were staying near Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. We never ate there, but the people-watching and music were good and they served up great mudslides. We usually don't go for the sweet drinks but a few of these hit the spot.

Speaking of sweet drinks, we stopped in at the Remoulade bar to try the Bayou Self drinks I had read about in previous postings. The bartender got a funny look on her face and told us that they are "really really very sweet" - guess she could tell we're not really the super-sweet drink type - so we opted not to try them.

We went to the Tropical Isle bar and ordered Tropical Itches (we always have this drink at the airport in Honolulu and they're great). Don't try one at Tropical Isle. It was huge, cost $9.00 and was AWFUL. Think red kool-aid with Everclear. Ugh. I ended up throwing most of mine away. This bar is also the place that sells drinks called Hand Grenades - just about every obnoxious college-age kid that was visiting was walking around with one of these (neon green)...

Our favorite daquiri bar hands-down was Daiquiri's Delite - we had coupons which prompted us to try them. Their pina colada and mudslide daiquiris were especially good. We tried several other daiquiri places and didn't like them at all. We aren't big daiquiri people, but for a pick-me-up while out cruising around on foot, they work......

We had a great trip and, since we walked so much, didn't even gain weight. Thanks to everyone for all the great information!

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