Hello NOLA Chowhounders! We are NorCal Hounds heading to NOLA for a short 5 day trip (11 meals total as we arrive so late the first night). Sadly, the only direct flight from SF doesn't land until 11 pm at night so no tasty meals that first night. That is, unless one of us heads out after we get our girls in bed....
Anyhow, I've read about a dozen NOLA threads, asked friends, and googled generally so I'd love feedback on some proposed ideas for this trip. Our girls will be 6 and 9 by the time of the trip, are well-behaved, and eat a wide variety of foods (other than the younger one's peanut and fish allergy). We don't need a kids' menu as they eat shellfish, the older one loves sushi/fish, both will eat almost any protein I put in front of them (e.g., they declined veal brains but will eat beef tongue and other unusual cuts of meat).
The emphasis is on food, not ambiance, but I am willing to take them to formal restaurants if that's the best food.
- Cochon (we love tail-to-snout pork dishes!)
- Clancy's (dinner menu looks better to me than lunch)
- Elizabeth's Restaurant (again, dinner better than lunch)
- Bayona (dinner)
- If we're already going to Cochon for dinner, is it foolish to go to Cochon Butcher for lunch given our limited number of meals?
- Bon Ton Cafe (Cajun food but not in a super formal setting)
- Peche (we love seafood and we love cocktails and it looks like same menu at lunch and dinner!)
- Acme Oyster House (my boss rec'd this place and its menu looks great) but I see Casamento's seems to be rec'd more often here on CH
- Jacques-Imos (seems to be some mixed opinions here, but menu looks great to me)
- Mandina's is what our friend rec'd over the other famous places
- Dante's Kitchen was another rec but I can't pull up a menu on their website
- Willie Mae’s Scotch House vs. Dooky Chase (not sure we have time to go to both, and since our friend rec'd Willie Mae's and it has a new location in Uptown, location may be the deciding factor)
We also have a Sunday brunch we could fill somewhere (or we might just stay on CA time and sleep in...).
I'd also love to hear other recs/feedback. A few factors to consider that influenced my choices and may affect what you suggest:
- DH has lactose intolerance and/or mild dairy allergy (no ice cream, no heavy cream, but he can tolerate very small amounts of butter and aged cheese). Most chefs can accommodate this but I mention it because he has had lackluster alternatives at some French restaurants. Thus, this is a good second reason why I'm leaning toward skipping the world-famous formal French/Cajun/Creole (yes, I know there are distinct differences between the three but they all utilize cream more than typical non-French cuisines) restaurants for both the cream and the formal ambiance (e.g., Galatoire's, Antoine's, Arnaud's, etc. which don't seem to get rave reviews here anyway). I still very much want to try Cajun and Creole foods but hoping to go to more casual places and find non-dairy options for DH.
- Budget is not an issue, nor is capacity/appetite. We are the crazy ones who had French Laundry and Meadowood on the same day (11:30 lunch and 5:30 dinner) for our anniversary last year because FL had a last-minute opening for lunch. We had the full tasting menu at both restaurants and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I don't know that I'd recommend doing it, but it was a glorious, once-in-a-lifetime indulgence to hit both of those places on the same day. For what it's worth, we preferred Meadowood (I have a report on CH if anyone's interested).
- We both enjoy shellfish as well as game meats. I'm less interested in poultry or fish, but DH would eat fish and duck.
- We have plenty of authentic and tasty Asian food in CA so I want to avoid Chinese, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Burmese, Thai, Afghan (which I know is more Central Asian), etc. I know there is a large Vietnamese American community in the Gulf Coast, but we have many Vietnamese restaurants in California, too. I really want local cuisine that is distinctive to NOLA.
- I'd prefer to stay within New Orleans since we're relying on taxis/streetcars and I'm not sure I want to travel too far (unless it's REALLY worthwhile).
Thank you for any tips!