Thanksgiving in New Orleans
September 6, 2009 4:02 PM   Subscribe

New Orleans Thanksgiving for out of towners? Restaurant recommendations needed!

So we're checking out the information online and in guidebooks (and we've been to New Orleans several times before so we sorta know how to get around the place) to try and find a nice restaurant for us and the parental units. Something somewhat traditional - because the folks do like their turkey. We're looking to make reservations now so we're sure to get in - and find that there's not often any info on some restaurants' websites whether they're open Thanksgiving or not. (And I've seen a forum post with "it's hard to find any place that's open.") I'd be happy to call each of the choices - but I'd like to make sure I've narrowed down our options a bit, and get a little more info. We're staying in the French Quarter and would prefer to walk to dinner - but will be going to the Garden District, so we're not completely marking it off the List Of Potential Feeding Places.

So the rundown:
* Should have turkey as an option
* Not too formal (husband should get away without a tie)
* Husband says no turducken (I'd like some, personally!)
* Husband also not fond of drunken frat boys (those are his words, I think he's trying to say we're ok with an adult environment, but aren't looking to eat at the bar)

Anyone know any restaurants that stay open major holidays? I'll be pestering the NO natives from the MeFi meet up to see if they have suggestions - but then it occurred to me that a lot of other travelers might have ideas from their NO trips. Feel free to ignore price range at this point - I consider us to be window shopping before buying.

Er, but no gold plated turduckens.
posted by batgrlHG to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Price no object? Possibly open for a holiday? Try Commander's Palace, Antoine's, and Galatoire's. Also, hotels often serve holiday meals. Perhaps the Rib Room at the Omni.
posted by ColdChef at 4:17 PM on September 6, 2009

Best answer: Zea Rotisserie & Grill is where we went with the parents on our last visit. It has comfortable chairs, is clean, casually formal but you can wear shorts or a dress if you want. Neither looks out of sorts. Website has a virtual tour and menus that are specific to the town it's in (it's a regional chain - if you hate chains don't let that get in the way since this place is pretty good). Don't know if they're open on Turkey day. On edge of Garden District right outside of downtown. Easy parking - which is nice. And corn grits to die for.
posted by dog food sugar at 4:34 PM on September 6, 2009

There's a local food radio show and I looked on their website to see recommendations. It's very hard to search on their site, but here's a discussion in the forums.

Zea corn grits are to die for. They're really not grits, so much as butter with a sprinkling of grits, though...
posted by artychoke at 10:35 PM on September 6, 2009

Best answer: nthing the zea corn grits. NTHING! artychoke can discriminate butter & a sprinkling of grits in them; i just know they are heavenly.

surprised no one mentioned mr b's. i believe i've dined with them on turkey day before, and they're quite reliable, with very reasonable prices. susan spicer's bayona is down in the quarter, and she was a partner in herbsaint for a while, which is close to the cbd. disclaimer: never been to herbsaint, and it's changed hands, but i have some friends who are quite fond of it.

the upperline is a bit more off the beaten path for tourists, but the food is quite good. it also has the added bonus of being a block away from crepe nanou, so if you change your mind at the last minute you can go for something a little more casual but equally sumptuous.

also uptown: clancy's and gautreau's. i wish i could remember the name of the place way uptown on dante--(NOT dante's kitchen, which is a fine place but perhaps more for lunch before or after turkey day than for turkey day itself--it begins with a 'b'? can't find it on

props to my neighborhood with a mention of cafe degas that snoot on nomenu gives it 3 stars but i can vouch for it as excellent, cafe minh, and lola's, lola's, lola's. ok. maybe not lola's for t-giving day, but honestly: LOLA'S!

oh. don't know if it's open for turkey day, but i hear couchon is very good and a friend of mine did some of their interior furnishings : )

that's a start. i've obviously gone all over the place, geographically & not-just-for-thanksgiving-day -wise. i've seen y6 eat, though, and i figure you can go through most of these in a day.

wait! here's the 'b' place uptown: brigtsen's. it doesn't generate the noise that a lot of other <cough!> emeril's <cough!> k-paul's places in town do, but that is some fine dining there. plus, i saw bruce springsteen there once. he was waiting in the hall while his wife thanked the chef. i thought, 'what's this guy doing? he's not dressed to be here he had on jeans & a leather jacket. maybe he's the delivery boy? WAIT! brigtsen's doesn't deliver! maybe he's here to ROB THE PLACE???? OMG!' heh. i really should pay more attention to popular culture.
posted by msconduct at 6:03 AM on September 7, 2009

Best answer: One of the best meals of my life was at Nola's, one of Emeril Lagasse's eateries. It ain't exactly thanksgiving turkey, but I had the hickory-roasted duck with cornbread pudding. Hey, duck's a bird like turkey, right? My mouth still waters. My spouse, a chicken-fried-steak-lovin' Texan, had the shrimp with cheddar grits. We also wanted to test-taste the fried breast of chicken with bourboned-sweet potatoes, but there were only the two of us. Sigh.
I don't know whether NOLA will be open T-giving, but you can go to: or call 504-522-6652.
For real down-home cooking, I can't think of a place in NO I'd rather eat than at Mother's on Poydras Street. The po'boys are fabulous; we had breakfast there the next day (while fixin' to head home to Texas) and didn't need to eat the rest of the day.
posted by Smalltown Girl at 12:48 PM on September 7, 2009

Response by poster: UPDATE! We have reservations at Bayona for Thanksgiving. (Some places on our list were indeed not open on Turkey Day.) But we will also be making another reservation for one of the places mentioned - which will of course depend on where we can get reservations on a Friday or Saturday. Husband will be Twittering and Flickring as usual (he's kind of addicted to the food updates while traveling thing.)

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! As usual we'll be trying as many places as we can manage!
posted by batgrlHG at 4:28 PM on October 27, 2009

Oh thanks for the update! I'll have to check that place out. I so want to have a Turkey day in New Orleans with the family some time. What fun you'll have. Happy holidays!
posted by dog food sugar at 7:13 PM on October 27, 2009

Response by poster: List of places we ate, with links to websites.
Short version: Bourbon House, Bayona, Galatoires, Mother's, NOLA, Court of Two Sisters (and one or two quick snacks in nothing special type places that were just ok foodwise).
All highly recommended - but NOT Galatoires.
Flickr set of photos that I'm still adding to - food photos are mixed in with shots of the city but are easy to pick out. I'll blog up a food review later and link it under the food photos so future folk can find it.

Only one really sad meal was at Galatoires - I'll blog about it but want to make sure this info is here as well for the search engine folk. The place has a good name as being an old school type of fine dining, and that wasn't really our experience. We had a polite waitress but let's call it indifferent service. Two servers got into a shoving match in the hall - luckily only my mother could see that, which meant that (because she was seated in a corner) no one else really could. (She thought it was going to turn into a fist fight, but it didn't. Not while we were there anyway.) We never got water refills, even though I believe we asked once, and all of our water glasses were empty. (The server doing the shoving in the hall was supposed to fill our water.) y6 (the husband) felt the shrimp in the appetizer was a little off and not that fresh. (I didn't notice, but he's got a better taste for seafood than I do.) Our main courses - served without garnish or fanfare - were bland and dry, and at least two dishes very overcooked. (We had steaks, pork chop and fish.) Since only one of us had sauce on that main course this really meant for a dull plate of food. The steak, which my mom discussed with the waitress and asked how to order it so she'd get a little pink in it, was burned. The desserts were ok, but nothing amazing. (Yes, even the famed banana bread pudding.) For a restaurant that demands men wear jackets (none of the other places we went to did, and most were equally as nice) the service and food were either nothing special or just not good. I should also note that besides the bother of the dress code (mostly for the husband, who hates jackets), the prices are very high, especially for what you're getting. Other diners gush about the wonderful staff - as I said our waitress was nice, but just not paying attention to our water or the food. We had to call someone over to get the check - no one noticed we were trying to make eye contact to ask for it. As someone who often enjoys plain, simple food (I'm happy with a nice cut of meat and potatoes) - even I found the food dull. This is all at the dinner service btw, not lunch and not at a weird hour. And on a Friday night when you'd assume they'd have their best "ready for the weekend rush" staff.

For anyone saying "wow, you must have had an off night" - well yes, could be. But the problem here is that you pay enough for this place that if you have one bad experience you're not going back. And there's no need to - there are plenty of other wonderful restaurants to try in this area that are so much better than this, and you won't run the risk of another bad night. We're the sort of folk that didn't complain to the manager because we didn't want to get anyone fired (manager should have been paying attention anyway, when we came in one was standing in the hall near where the shoving occurred) or cause a fuss. We'll just not go back - and tell all our friends not to bother. My parents will clue in their friends that recommended the place that Galatoires is not up to the standards they remember.

Short version - this didn't ruin our trip, but people with a limited amount of time in the city should probably avoid this place until there's new management that puts a little more love into the place. Judging from online reviews it seems that 4 out of 5 will gush about the place - but then that last one person has a bad service/dull food story. And those 4 reviews usually say "the food wasn't special, but the service was." There are plenty of other places with both good food and excellent service in New Orleans - I'd advise skipping Galatoires. I'd rather eat another poboy at Mother's (love that debris!) where the food is more interesting than go back.
posted by batgrlHG at 2:49 PM on December 9, 2009

« Older Suggestiong for Toddler Wrangling Book?   |   Ever eaten a marshmallow bait? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.