New Orleans Restaurant Favorites – Plan Your 2022 AUA Dining Experiences

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Philip Koo: So Oliver, the AAU is coming to town in less than two months. I think what the public really wants to know is what are your five favorite restaurants in New Orleans?

Olivier Sartor: Oh darn. This is a very, very important question.

Philip Koo: True.

Olivier Sartor: And you know, it’s a very debatable question, but I’m going to list five that I personally like a lot, and I’m going to start ticking them off. We’re going to talk about the Commander’s Palace. I mean, oh my, what fabulous food. We’re going to talk about Clancy’s. We are going to talk about Gautreau. We are going to talk about Galatoire. We are going to talk about Café Degas.

These are restaurants that somehow define New Orleans cuisine. Each of them has an element that is fabulous for the way we approach dining in New Orleans. I mean, I remember a long time ago when my parents were coming to town, I was a medical student at Tulane and my parents were like, “Let’s go to the Commander’s Palace.” Or Galatoire’s was one of everyone’s favorites in New Orleans and it is so quintessential New Orleans. It is so good. And my God, I mean, I could go down and give you selections from each of the restaurants, but I hate to say the bread pudding soufflé at Commander’s, that might be the best dessert I’ve ever had. in all my life.

Philip Koo: I had this a month ago and I agree 100%.

Olivier Sartor: You know, one thing is, when you eat in New Orleans, I think you should choose seafood. And of course we have crabs, we have oysters, we have shrimp. You can pick up your steaks in Chicago. If you come to New Orleans, eat something from the Gulf of Mexico, because it’s going to be fresh and it’s going to be good. And there are so many choices you can have, almost every restaurant will have a gulf shrimp. And by the way, why not just put some chunk crabmeat on top, because you put the chunk crabmeat on top, it makes it even better.

Philip Koo: So, okay. Takeout is, get the seafood and still get the piece of crabmeat.

Olivier Sartor: Absolutely.

Philip Koo: Very well.

Olivier Sartor: I don’t see how you can go wrong with that.

Philip Koo: So you’ve given your top five types of full-service restaurants. What about your top five dining experiences in New Orleans?

Olivier Sartor: OK. Now that’s a bit of a different question. The ones I have listed are those of the Commander and Galatoire. They are all gourmet. And now, if you want to sow in a place where it’s a bit distinct, okay, let’s start with the oysters, okay? So the oysters, the one that everyone knows is say, Acme and Félix also at the Quartier, good oysters. I happen to like Casamento oysters in uptown Magazine Street. Tiny little dive, fabulous oysters. And Pascal’s Manale also has good oysters. Now, if you want them grilled, you have to go to Drago’s, and the best Drago’s is the one in Metairie. But we can’t stop at oysters. And the Po’boys?

Philip Koo: Po’boys?

Olivier Sartor: Yeah, the Po’boys. I mean, this is another quintessential New Orleans restaurant cuisine. And damn, there are some that I really like, Domilise’s and Parasol’s, which are so fabulous. Lots of people love Parkway. I tend to go to Domilise and Parasol, to name just my two favorites. Oh, and what about Guy? You want a shrimp po’boy, Guy’s is so good. So those are the ones. And then you have the neighborhood restaurants. And neighborhood restaurants have that signature feel like Mandina. This is an old school restaurant in New Orleans. One of the favorites that I really enjoy is not in New Orleans. You have to take a little drive, it’s called Mosca’s. It’s Italian with a New Orleans blend. And, oh my, the Mosca oysters, amazing. Now you have to drive a bit to get there, but it’s so, so, so good.

Oh darn. I can go on and on. I can mention Camellia Grill for your burger and hash browns at 2am, and once in a while at 2am you really need something.

Philip Koo: Yes.

Olivier Sartor: And Camellia Grill can help accommodate that late-night snack. I’m just saying, when you come to New Orleans, get out, because there are so many great places to eat, you almost can’t go wrong, but these are a few of my favorites.

Philip Koo: Well, Oliver, you make me hungry. For anyone who just watched this, go ahead, make your itinerary, make your reservations, and enjoy your time in New Orleans. Thanks, Oliver.

Olivier Sartor: Thank you. Everyone is going to have a great time at AAU. It’s gonna be a good time.

Philip Koo: It sounds good.

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