10 Places to Eat and Drink in New Orleans
Kate Crowley Commander's is a must-stop while in NOLA.
This time of year, conversations at Chow Bella staff meetings tend to turn to who's eaten what -- where. With the summer travel season still in full swing, we bring you Food Tours, our writers' suggestions of what to eat and drink out of town.
New Orleans, in many ways is the end of the road. That destination that seems far away and when you get there, it's worth it. Always a center of destruction and renewal, the city is maverick, inefficient and classic. If Savannah and Las Vegas had a baby together, it would be New Orleans. Everyone on the northernmost island in the Caribbean is casual, friendly, with more than a hint of southern charm and unpretentious elegance. It could be a destination due to the open drinking, music, people watching or the slower pace, but our bet is on the food. Keep the party going with a full stomach of some of the most revered food in America.
Kate Crowley Start the morning right at Lüke's
Bourbon Street and French Quarter
If you've never been to New Orleans and you're wanting to "do" Bourbon Street in one night, here are three stops to make. Wear closed-toe shoes, and hang on tight.
Housed in a three story 1796 carriage house, Sylvain's is a great stop for atmosphere to set the true New Orleans mood. Grab dinner at the bar, and start with a fabulous cocktail served by an attentive bar staff. The world's most expensive fried chicken sandwich, Chick-Syl-vain, doesn't quite live up to it's golden reputation, but it is delicious and a perfect start to an evening in the south.
From there head to the patio or dueling piano bar inside Pat O'Brien's. "Pat O's" might be the only place on Bourbon street that true New Orleans lovers go to more than once. "Go big or go home," so it's best to order their signature drink, the hurricane. If you can't finish it, don't worry they'll give you a traveller or "go cup" to take with you. The dueling piano bar room is lots of fun, especially with a group. Wind down just a bit at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar. Built before 1772, it's supposedly the oldest continually occupied bar in the United States and is home to an eclectic group of patrons and possibly a vampire or two. Try the voodoo purple daiquiri here. If slush drinks aren't your deal, head to the classy Carousel bar at Hotel Monteleone, it's home to the slowly spinning bar that is often busy.
Kate Crowley Arnaud's Banana's Foster.
Just steps from Bourbon Street you'll find Arnaud's. Dining here is a trip back in time, the restaurant opened in 1918 and it still has that turn of the century charm, remaining true to "traditions and courtesies." It's the combination of iconic dishes, cocktails and waiters in tuxes that makes this place a classic. The Sunday Jazz brunch with a French 75 is a perfect way to cap off a weekend in the big easy. It's offers a four course menu, that when paired with a cocktail comes in at about $50 per person. Alligator sausage, fancy egg dishes, shrimp and banana's foster. What more could you ask for? The band moves around the main dining room playing to a gentile crowd who can still request their favorite tunes. A close second on the brunch front is Lüke's brasserie. There we found contentment with the fried chicken with mayhaw syrup on a biscuit sandwich, eggs in a jar, and pain perdu.
Kate Crowley The Palace Cafe's andouille crusted fish is worth a reservation.
If a fancy brunch isn't your thing, try The Palace Cafe, a grand cafe located in the Werlein's music building might just be the perfect place for dinner. Tourists and locals seem to love it and of course, the three part harmonies from the roaming jazz group didn't hurt either. Menu standouts were fried oyster "loaf," turtle soup, roast duck, and andouille crusted fish.