Where to eat?
June 21, 2009 3:13 PM   Subscribe

What are the best soul food/creole restaurants in New Orleans? I'm not looking for fancy restaurants, but rather places where anyone can afford to eat and the food can't be beat. (asking anonymously for surprise reasons)
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
well, there's jacque imo's over on oak street, which has the added bonus of being next to the maple leaf, but you might have to put up with a line to get in. i'm partial to cafe atchafalaya, although i guess the name & the fried green tomatoes are the most soulful thing about it.

mat & naddies, mandina's, dooky chase, praline connection, cafe maspero (sandwiches, red beans), coops's ...

oh, hell. just look here.
posted by msconduct at 3:33 PM on June 21, 2009

oh ... not strictly creole/soul food (but it's on the menu) and only open for lunch mon-fri, but cafe reconcile is definitely worth the trip. (link to the menu under hours of operation on the left.)
posted by msconduct at 3:46 PM on June 21, 2009

I'll second Coops. Their fried chicken and jambalaya is...

...there are no words.
posted by Jon-o at 3:49 PM on June 21, 2009

Loved jacque imo's! It's sort of soul plus 1 awesomeness. If they take reservations, make one!

(For not soul food but delicious pastries, go to Cafe d'Or in the cool of the morning. Wonderful French pastries in a goddamn charming vaulted, tiled space. I want to go NOW.)
posted by amanda at 5:08 PM on June 21, 2009

Count me in on the Jacque Imo's bandwagon. Not exactly cheap, though not quite expensive, but that's some good eating. I'm also big on the Dooky Chase.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:01 PM on June 21, 2009

Seconding the Praline Connection.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:59 PM on June 21, 2009

So is Dooky's open again?
posted by Toekneesan at 7:03 PM on June 21, 2009

The Famous Ferdi at Mother's actually brought tears to my eyes.
posted by oceanmorning at 9:36 PM on June 21, 2009

The red beans and rice w/ smoked sausage at Betsy's on canal st is the best I've ever had.
posted by paultopia at 10:57 PM on June 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I get people in my cab who ask me this question, I take them to Coop's.

Coop's has the benefit of being near a few other restaurants, so if you don't like what you see you're not stranded. And it's just around the corner from Frenchmen St.

However, let me stress this: Coop's used to be a bar that served food; now it's a restaurant with a huge bar in it. My point is that you're still very much inside of a drinking establishment, not really a restaurant per se. I don't consider that a drawback, but it might not match up with the surprise evening you have planned.

Jacques Imo's has great food, but in my opinion (and, apparently, my opinion alone) the atmosphere can be crummy. The place is MINISCULE, there's always a wait, and it's always just absolutely crammed with the worst kinds of tourist: the guys who think they're the second coming of Jimmy Buffet and have stumbled upon some hidden gem that "only the locals know about." Take this with a grain of salt, though: my job involves making small talk with strangers, and when I go out to eat it's the last thing I want to do. A lot of people really love the experience of going to Jacques Imo's and consider the pre-dinner wait to be part of the experience.

Mat & Naddie's is the restaurant I recommend when my party wants to go to Jacques Imo's. Great food but a much more sedate atmosphere. I highly recommend them.

I'm out of town for the summer, so I can't make my usual offer to visiting MeFites of free cab rides. However, feel free to MeMail me when you narrow your list down. I'll be glad to tell you what I think.
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2009

When Bonehead and I went down to NOLA last winter, we found a little place called Oceana, which had quite good food. They're down in the French quarter, about a block south of Bourbon Street.
posted by LN at 8:07 AM on June 22, 2009

Not in New Orleans: (but close)
Drago's in Metairie 6 mi from New Orleans
Andrea's in Metairie 6 mi from New Orleans
Southern Po-Boy in Jefferson, 3-4 miles from the New Orleans'Jefferson parish line

In New Orleans:
Cooter Browns
Cafe Mesperos
Mona's for Greek

25 miles from New Orleans but still a favorite for everything from Alligator to Crab Au Gratin covered petit filet. Bull's Corner, in Laplace can't be beat
posted by winks007 at 8:59 AM on June 22, 2009

I'm going to disagree with msconduct and Jacques Imos is just not worth it. I'm all for "long romantic dinner" but we were there three hours last time and most of it was spent waiting for our food and watching other people get theirs before us.

I much prefer Dick & Jenny's. That said, it's a bit fancy, so reserve it for a "special" night.

Cafe Atchafalaya is one of the first places I ever ate here when I came with my mom to look at Tulane. I was so tickled to have fried green tomatoes since I'm such a fan of the book (and movie).
posted by radioamy at 6:59 PM on June 22, 2009

dang. i wanted to suggest dunbar's--which is now housed on the loyola campus & only open for breakfast & lunch--but it's closed for the summer. mark it down as THE nola creole/soul food experience, though, and keep it in mind for future trips. they're also trying to re-open on freret street, their home turf before the big k wiped them out. keeping my fingers crossed that they'll bring back all-you-can-eat turkey necks night, and looking forward to gumbo & potato salad on fridays. the one that everyone is raving about now is willie mae's scotch house. i've never been so i can't vouch for it, but it's getting great reviews. open only for lunch, it's not quick, and it's in da hood.

also, it would be a shame to visit new orleans and not taste zea's roasted corn grits. even if you just stop in for a mango lemonade & a side of grits on a sultry afternoon. it will totally change the way you think about grits forever.
posted by msconduct at 11:06 AM on June 23, 2009

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