Help a large group dine in New Orleans' French Quarter!
May 22, 2012 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I'm organizing a group trip to New Orleans in June. There will be 12-13 of us and I'm trying to find a Friday-night casual restaurant and a Sunday brunch spot in the French Quarter that will take reservations for such a large group. (French Quarter preferred as it's near the hotel and some folks have walking issues, but we can possibly branch out with cabs, etc.)

These two particular meals have to fit many people's budgets and tastes (at least one person can't eat seafood, and main course choices should ideally average about $11-$15).

Does anyone have recommendations? The main stumbling block here is that they must take group reservations -- I'm responsible for getting these folks somewhere that can take such a large group and not just wandering from door to door striking out.

Under consideration at the moment are Pat O'Brien's Courtyard (Friday) and Mojitos (Sunday). I can't get either to answer the phone re reservations but would be interested in input as to whether they fit the criteria

Any tips? Thanks so much for any ideas!
posted by GaelFC to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd do Columns Hotel for brunch. It's so delicious, and really beautiful, whether you sit outside or inside. Their eggs benedict are on this wonderful fluffy cloud-like pastry (not quite a biscuit, but much better!), so good! It's not in the FQ, but very easily accessible via the streetcar, and they take reservations.
posted by radioamy at 2:02 PM on May 22, 2012

I'm pretty sure Oceana Grill on Conti St will take reservations. Definitely a good brunch spot. Pat O'Brien's is a good choice as well. I was just there a couple weeks ago and ate at both places a couple times.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:03 PM on May 22, 2012

I'd recommend Brennans for Brunch. It's kind of a cliche, but some things are famous for a reason. they have a Prix Fixe menu, although they don't mention the cost.

Give them a call and see if the prices work out for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2012

I had dinner with a large group (20+) at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe. I guess it's a little more expensive than you're looking for, though.
posted by mskyle at 2:23 PM on May 22, 2012

I always say this for New Orleans food questions, but try taking your question to the New Orleans board on Chowhound. Here's a link to many recent brunch questions.

Brennan's is far above your budget, and if you happened to see the Oceana Grill episode of Kitchen Nightmares there's no way you'd ever eat there. Pat O's is just so touristy, I can't imagine that would be your best bet. The bar is fun to visit but I wouldn't do a meal there, like ever.

For Friday night casual, check out Domenica or Luke, in the Roosevelt and Hilton hotels respectively. They both take reservations, are good, are near the Quarter, and have options in your price range. If you can do an early dinner, Domenica has a really great happy hour of half price pizzas and some drinks, which would allow folks even more room to maneuver in the budget. If you can do even more casual, Felipe's in the Quarter is good, inexpensive Mexican food. People would be able to get a margarita and stay within budget.

The problem with brunch is that most places that are famous for brunch are going to be out of your budget. Mojito's is a good thought, though I've never been. Elizabeth's could work. It's in the Bywater so you'd need cabs, but two vans could handle everyone and wouldn't be too expensive when split up. Call about reservations, but they would work you in eventually even without.

Ask on Chowhound though, people might have some better ideas.
posted by CheeseLouise at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2012

if you happened to see the Oceana Grill episode of Kitchen Nightmares there's no way you'd ever eat there.

My friend, a NOLA native, was actually on that episode of the show. She mentioned it to us during our visit and pointed out two things - she's eaten there regularly for a long time and never had an issue AND its currently no longer like it was at all. I'd eat there again in a minute.
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:55 PM on May 22, 2012

Yay, I live in NOLA and I love these questions. I used to work at a restaurant in the Quarter, and 12-13 isn't that huge of a group here--you should be able to get a reservation with no problem. We used to get walk-in parties of 20 all the time. (I worked at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, which is very friendly to large groups, but is also very touristy indeed.)

Attiki Grill on Decatur St. has great Middle-Eastern fusion food in your budget, and they can handle a party of 13. It's a bit loud in there sometimes, since it's also a bar.

Elizabeth's is great... it'll cost you about $10-12 per cab to get down there, but it's fantastic, especially the Red Neck Eggs. There tends to be a long wait for Sunday brunch--maybe a little less so in June, as the season's winding down.
posted by Nibbly Fang at 3:32 PM on May 22, 2012

I had a brainstorm - New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood just opened a location on Decatur St. in the Quarter. It's a local chain known especially for thin cut fried catfish, but the menu is fairly extensive. There would be something for everyone. It falls right in your price range, and I'm sure they will take a reservation or be able to take you even without. It's a large building with three stories of dining rooms. It's not the most amazing food in the city, but it does at least have some local flavor while still being inexpensive. I think it might be perfect for your casual dinner.
posted by CheeseLouise at 3:08 AM on May 23, 2012

I'm going to disagree with CheeseLouise - NO Hamburger & Seafood has classed things up a bit in recent years, but it's not somewhere I'd take visitors.
posted by radioamy at 7:09 AM on May 23, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers! Here's what we did:

Friday night: Pat O'Brien's Courtyard. Actually turned out fine, but I would not do this again because they were obnoxious about taking our names down...would not even walk to the back of the courtyard to alert us the table was ready so two of us had to wait in the cramped bar, and only AT the bar as they wouldn't let us sit down without ordering food. They thought it could be 45 minutes before we got a table but thankfully it was more like 10. So it worked out, but I was not impressed with the attitudes. Food was fine and it was good for our crowd to see Bourbon Street just before the barfing and bead-flinging really kicked in in earnest.

Saturday night: Chartres House Cafe. This was a perfect choice. They took a reservation for our large group, had good food, split our checks into small groups without asking, and were four blocks from our wonderful hotel (Hotel Provincial). Bless them.

Sunday brunch: Went to Elizabeth's. Had to cab it but it was worth it. The woman on the phone told me they open the upstairs around 9:30 am and that the only two tables large enough for 12 are upstairs, so while they wouldn't take reservations, getting there at 9:30 assured us a big table. And the praline bacon lived up to its reputation! No jazz like many brunches in town, but it felt charming and local and all that. I had eggs Benedict over artichoke hearts, my friend had them over fried green tomatoes. Fun place.

Thanks again!
posted by GaelFC at 8:06 PM on June 13, 2012

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