Where to Eat
Cafe Amelie: A courtyard table at Cafe Amelie is just about the best seat in town. Order a leafy green salad and tall iced tea if you’re ready for a break from heavier southern fare. 912 Royal Street. (504) 779-5188
Upperline: The impeccable service, homey atmosphere and personal greeting by owner, JoAnn Clevenger, contribute to his position. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the food and there’s none better. 1413 Upperline Street. (504) 891-9822
Central Grocery: It’s difficult to argue with foodies who insist Central Grocery is still the best muffaletta in town. Join the lineup at this humble Sicilian grocer, order the famous stacked sandwich to go and share it with a friend once you find a vacant bench by the nearby Mississippi River. 923 Decatur Street. (504) 523-1620
GW Fins: Exceptional service (a uniformed waiter discreetly swaps a white napkin for black to avoid lint transfer to dark pants) and divine seafood make GW Fins a winner. The feast begins with buttery biscuits, so sweet it feels like having dessert first. Try the scalibut, a scallop topped halibut dish. 808 Bienville Street. (504) 581-FINS PS. Thanks to our waiter, Karl, for recommending Two Sisters, an authentic soul food restaurant in Treme . 613 Royal Street. (504) 522-7261
Atchafalaya: If you’ve never heard of boudin stuffed quail, order it anyway. No visit to Atchafalaya is complete without this local dish. Husband and wife team Rachel Jaffe and Tony Tocco opened three years ago and there’s been a lineup ever since. 901 Louisiana Avenue. (504) 891-9626
Louisiana Bistro: The mood is merry and maybe that’s because diners trust Chef Mars to dazzle the palate with his oft-changing menu. Order whatever the waiter recommends and enjoy a first-rate meal. 337 Rue Dauphine. (504) 525-3335
Where to Drink
El Gato Negro: In a town famous for its syrupy mixed drinks, the handmade, fresh fruit margaritas at El Gato Negro really stand out. Consider a contemporary combination of pineapple and cilantro or opt for muddled fruit like blackberry, blueberry or strawberry, which renders the thick straw useless. There’s a foodie in the kitchen, so stay for dinner. 81 French Market Place. (504) 525-9752
Cochon: Those desiring a truly southern experience will surrender to the promise of moonshine served nightly at Cochon. Well-loved for their pork specialties, Cochon serves an authentic spread of Cajun and German dishes. Try the pork cheeks if you can get past the name, the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As for the moonshine…let’s just say it’s an acquired taste. 930 Tchoupitoulas Street. (504) 588-2123
What to Experience
New Orleans Cooking Experience: We loved this hands on experience. Most teachers are local chefs like Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant. Jackie ‘Boo’ Macomber peppers her classes with colourful commentary and Chiqui Collier can only be described as a ‘hoot’. 2275 Bayou Road. (504) 945-9104
Meltdown: On hot days the gourmet popsicles at Meltdown go down pretty easy. Show up early if you want the popular chocolate sea salt with pistachios. Or try the more adventurous cucumber, kefir and lime. 508 Dumaine Street. (504) 301-0905
“Money’s like manure, it don’t do no good if you don’t spread it around.”
Kimberley agrees wholeheartedly with this sentiment, uttered to her in deep drawl as she contemplates a purchase in one of Magazine Street’s tempting shops. Ultimately she relinquishes her credit card, an activity she performs repeatedly while shopping the Garden District.
Top 4 Design Blocks on Magazine Street
Between Canal and Jackson
Specializing in tabletop, kitchen and gift items, just try to leave Quince without making a purchase. Nearby, Piranesi offers a tailored collection of continental antiques and objets d’art. Agora is a cooperative featuring several vendors and a tempting range of home finds.
Between Jackson and Louisiana
Antiques, vintage and contemporary furnishings are just up the front steps of Perch. At Neo Phobia, strains of the Partridge Family lure shoppers inside to find treasures from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Best store name goes to Belladonna Day Spa and Retail Therapy. Come for massage or browse the linens, candles and decorative toss cushions. When it’s time for a break, cool off in the mint green atmosphere of Sucre where you can try a decadent truffle or a grown-up milk shake like the Velvet Hammer with vanilla, brandy and nutmeg.
Between Louisiana and Napoleon
A visit to Maison de Provence is a virtual trip to the French provinces thanks to the well edited selection of owner Terri Goldsmith. Still more European antiques and garden statuary at Balzac Antiques. And, it’s a lucky day when you find Alex Williams at his Potsalot Pottery wheel turning out one-of-a-kind treasures.
Between Jefferson and Henry Clay
With a name like Pied Nu (French for barefoot) you’d expect (and will find) easygoing style and effortless chic. Don’t miss neighbouring Hazelnut for a wide selection of gift-worthy purchases.