It's hard to get a bad meal in New Orleans. It is, after all, known for its great food. Some people travel there mainly to eat—it's that good. Here, even neighborhood restaurants are as satisfying as the world-class restaurants for which the French Quarter is famous. They're just different. One of those neighborhoods is Uptown. It's easy to get to by cab or streetcar if you're staying in the French Quarter or downtown, and it's definitely worth the trip. So if you're ready to try some restaurants outside of the French Quarter, venture Uptown for some really good eating.
Commander's Palace is on the winning end of countless awards, including being named the most popular restaurant in New Orleans 18 times and the best restaurant in New Orleans for four years running as of 2015. It also has been honored with the Wine Spectator Grand Award, and the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Award, among many others. If you are going to spend a bundle at one NOLA restaurant on your vacation, this iconic Garden District legend is a prime contender. Go there for Creole-influenced jazz brunch, lunch, or dinner and scratch this one off your bucket list.
If you want down-home comfort food like red beans and rice, cheese fries, chicken fried steak, fried chicken, catfish, seafood platter, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, and apple cobbler, well, Joey K's on Magazine Street is definitely the place you are looking for. Settle in and look forward to one of your favorite meals like your mama used to make. It's sure to be on this menu.
Casamento's is an old Uptown standby; it was established on Magazine Street in 1919, and it has been serving up Louisiana-style seafood to raves ever since. The Big Easy Platter, which serves four to six people, is a seafood-lover's dream, with oysters, crab claws, shrimp, and catfish or trout, plus french fries on the side. Casamento's is open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday and for dinner on Sunday.
Delmonico's has been serving up Creole food in the Garden District on St. Charles Avenue since 1895. In 1998, restaurateur Emeril Lagasse renovated the space and reopened the famous place to serve modern Creole cuisine in a legendary setting. In grand New Orleans tradition, there's live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Avo, on Magazine Street, serves up regional Italian food, and its chef, Nick Lama, has the right bona fides: He is a third-generation Sicilian and a NOLA native. Lama has won several awards for this newish Italian restaurant with a simple menu that's heavy on interesting pasta dishes.
Brigtsen's owner and chef, Frank Brigtsen, is serving up classic Louisiana cooking to rave reviews. He's been named best chef of the year and one of the year's top 10 new chefs (by Food & Wine in 1988, when he was a young chef). His restaurant was voted "Best Cajun" in 2000 in the Zagat survey. The menu changes daily, but you can depend on it focusing on local flavors from fresh and locally sourced ingredients.
Apolline's exudes ambiance in its location in a renovated double shotgun cottage on Magazine Street. That's an apt backdrop for its craft cocktails and mostly New Orleans-style menu for dinner and brunch.
Coquette, which opens its doors on Magazine Street, is owned by two chefs whose passion is scrumptious Southern cooking. It prides itself on being a neighborhood hangout as well as a place that's nice enough for a special dinner out.
Charmingly rustic, with stacked wood in view and menus on a chalkboard, Pizza Domenica serves up wood-fired pizza from its open kitchen in a casual environment. (But this ambiance doesn't prevent it from having requisite crystal chandeliers. It's NOLA, after all.) Its special toppings and unique dough make it a standout for this standby dinner choice.