It should come as no surprise to anyone that there are lots of great places to eat (and drink) in New Orleans. I’d like to take this time to talk about some of the places we ate while here.
This was our first exposure to New Orleans cuisine. We went there for lunch, a time that was (unexpectedly, they say) very busy. We had to wait about fifteen minutes to be seated (and someone who came in after us got seated before us, which was a little irksome), but the food was well worth the wait. I had a very fancy version of pork and beans: pork tenderloin with a sort of sweet and spicy bean and slaw mix that was fantastic and both rich and light at the same time. The food was a little bit pricey, but very good.
Situated right on Bourbon Street, right across from dive bars and sex shops, Bourbon House is an upscale restaurant with excellent food at reasonable prices. We followed a seafood motif, getting a dozen raw oysters (extremely fresh, and very good), a tuna sampler (the blackened tuna was the least impressive, though it was still good, while the tuna carpaccio was my favorite), and a couple of bowls of very good seafood gumbo. Bourbon House also, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a rather large selection of bourbons. I tried one (though I can’t remember the name), and have decided that I like bourbon quite a bit.
PJ’s was voted the best coffee in New Orleans, though I can’t for the life of me understand why. I ordered iced coffee–just simple iced coffee, no sweaters or flavors requested–and got hazelnut iced coffee. As someone who does not, as a rule, like flavored coffee, this was pretty disappointing. Not only that, but the coffee was extremely sour; I have a feeling that, even had the coffee not been flavored, it would not have been that good. PJ’s, to me, came off as a poor imitation of Starbucks.
We went here for lunch on Saturday because it was very close to the hotel. It was also, luckily, very good. I got a crawfish etoufee that was fantastic. The service was also good, and our waitress was extremely friendly and helpful.
This was our dinner spot after a long day of walking. I had jambalaya, and was impressed by it. The service was a little slow, and my wife was not that happy with her shrimp creole (I had it for lunch the next day, and enjoyed it).
Right on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, River’s Edge is a bit of a dive whose main advantage is the fact that it’s right across the street from Cafe du Monde. I got blackened Cajun ribs which, while they tasted pretty good, were about as far from tender as ribs can get. The fries were interesting, but tasted a little like they might have been cooked in oil that should have been thrown out a few hours ago. My wife, however, said that the seafood gumbo she got there was the best gumbo she had during our trip here (she still thinks so).
Cafe du Monde
Great coffee (much better than PJ’s), and beignets. What can I say about beignets? The closest analog we have up north is funnel cake, and there are some similarities; they are both effectively deep-fried dough with powdered sugar on top. If you come to New Orleans, you really need to end at least one day with a plate of beignets and a cafe au lait (both specialties of Cafe du Monde).
The World Famous Gumbo Pot
We both had gumbo here (surprise, surprise). My wife had seafood gumbo, while I had duck and andouille gumbo. Quick service, good gumbo, good prices. Not exceptional, but good.
Caddy-corner to the cathedral, Stanley was a fantastic find. They mostly have breakfasts and sandwiches, and the menu is concise, but what they do they do very, very well. I had a giant burger topped with bacon, mustard, and Stanley’s special sauce, and it was, perhaps, the best burger I’ve ever had. My wife had an omelet sandwich, and it was also fantastic. We topped it off with two scoops of mango sorbet (made on-site), which was, predictably, fantastic. If you come to New Orleans, eat here. You owe it to yourself.