45 easy minutes away from the French Quarter is some of the best redfish fishing around.
Happily, when your fishing day is done you won't go hungry. Or thirsty. NOLA has far too many great restaurants to even think about listing more than a few. Sometimes I can't resist the temptation to have dinner, wait a few hours, then have second dinner. Here are some standards, some lesser known and some local's only joints. A some of the places listed here are in the Marigny & Bywater neighborhoods just to the east of the French Quarter or the mid-town area a walkable trip to the north.
- overlooking Frenchmen Street is a great example of the influence of Italy on creole cuisine. This is heavy and rich food and not much, if anything, for veggie lovers. But the food is really good and the wait staff is just the right proportion of southern charm and sass. This tiny, tiny, upstairs restaurant will have a line of diners waiting for the doors to open at 5:30. Don't worry about the wait. There is an equally tiny bar downstairs, the The Apple Barrel
, that has killer live music. Just order a drink and enjoy the wait. Then order the stuffed flounder and be done with it. Insanely good.
Dooky Chase's Restaurant
- A midtown classic. It seems like the the best southern, soul food restaurants have been around for a long, long time. Case-in-point, the James Beard Foundation saw fit to honor owner and chef Leah Chase with a lifetime achievement award. The fried chicken is great. The fried catfish is even better. Get ready to sit in the adjacent bar and have a tasty, house-made bloody mary. The wait is usually never short.
Willie Mae's Scotch House
- You want some really good fried chicken after pulling in the big bulls out in the marshes? Look no further. Right around the corner from Dooky's and in contention with the same for the best fried chicken and soul food, this is another place that has been in the neighborhood for a long time. The fried chicken was damn good. Not spicy, but packed with flavor. Greasy in just the right way. The battered skin was fried to a perfect crisp. And then there are the butter beans. Whew. So good. (For you folks from west and north a butter bean is essentially a big-ass lima bean) The restaurant is quite small so be prepared to wait.
- "Where great food and dope vibes collide." I love this place. It's been around for about a year and grown from a packed local joint to a packed local joint with a national reputation for great food. I could easily go back and work my way through the whole menu. Start with Redfish Acadiana, a lovely grilled redfish with special crab and butter sauce on top. The cocktails are as good as the food and the bartending staff is on top of their game with house-made syrups. Is the a wait? Likely. Is it worth it? Definitely.
In the Marginy/Bywater area there is a trend of pop-up restaurants that exist in dive bars. These are not only dive bars, we are talking good, old-fashioned day-drinker bars. Usually there is a limited small plates menu that changes frequently or some have a guest chef of the day and you eat what they feel like cooking. The food was really good to outstanding. At Mimi's you can choose the "Trust me" plate. You order it. Have a couple beers and before you know it the chef puts something down in front of you. What is the "something?" That's where the trust comes in. Is it a little weird to be eating tapas in a bar that smells like a lifetime of stale beer and moldy bathrooms? Yeah, it's strange, but in a good way. It's a great way to have a beer and a snack when you get back from hauling on big bull reds all day, but it won't ruin your dinner. Or you second dinner.
Lost Love Lounge Mimi's in the Marginy
Chargrilled oysters. For me it is a must have. There are probably a zillion places to get them in NOLA. While I need to explore other places I find myself coming back to Felix's
again and again. If there is a line at Felix's and there will be, try the other entrance. What you say? While most folks line up at the main doors on Iberville Street there is often no one at the second entrance around the corner on Bourbon Street. You're welcome.