Oops, scratch Bistro - seems to closed for renovation. Leaning toward August, though swayed by edible complex tip on the choice tables at Rib Room. Two very different experiences to choose from - should be interesting either way.
Thanks for all the great suggestions. After further research on the boards and elsewhere, August, Bistro at Maison de Ville and Rib Room are the finalists. Can't wait!
We're a late 20s-early 30s married couple from New York visiting New Orleans for a wedding. Very excited, as neither of us has been for a very long time. We extended our trip through Monday hoping to have a nice dinner on our own Sunday night after the wedding crowds are gone.
We looked into Herbsaint/Cochon, Patois, La Petite Grocery and Bayona, agonizing over how to choose among so many talented chefs and great menus. And then we saw that EVERY LAST ONE is closed on Sunday. The thread below was no help, as we're not interested in Emeril. (True, the outgoing NYT critic and the Times-Picayune critic who might be the incoming NYT critic say the food is good. But we want an intimate atmosphere, not a TV chef palace.)
So we're seeking something along the lines of the 5 above that are taking Sunday off. They're not exactly alike, of course, but taken together, that's generally what we're looking for in terms of cuisine, atmosphere and price.
Are we out of luck? Or is there cozy place with New Orleans cuisine (in the broadest sense - I'm not the expert and don't want to step into a definitional minefield) that would be right for us Sunday night? If it exists, I trust the NOLA Hounds will know.
Thanks for any tips you can offer - we're greatly looking forward to being back in your fine city.
La Petite Grocery
Just back from our first trip to this part of the world and are so grateful for all the great advice we got on this board. We ate so well on this trip and wish we could have stayed longer. Your region has much to be proud of and we can't wait to be back. Sadly, we only had two weeks to cover a lot of ground, so we focused on four areas and had up to three nights in each.
First time poster here, but figured we should as a thank you for all the great advice (especially the tireless PhilD and mr_gimlet, who I saw on thread after thread about Sydney) and an update to reassure people that some of the advice on older threads still holds. And I also threw in a couple general observations, which could be useful to other American visitors and might be interesting to those in the region.
To get a reservation, try phoning as opposed to e-mail, even though it means you might need to do it at an odd hour in your home time zone. We e-mailed twice offering various days, times and alternate times. They said everything was booked. But when I called, we got a table at the exact day and time we wanted. It was so easy I thought maybe there was a mistake. But the night of the dinner, there we were, in the tower at a table right against the glass. Perfect. And the food, wine and service were all fantastic. We chose the a la carte over the tasting menu so we could try a slightly wider variety of dishes.
Other highlights from Sydney:
Spent most of our time in Arrowtown and Queenstown. Had so many great meals, but several highlights were all in tiny Arrowtown:
Also, Amisfield Winery - we did a tasting menu with wine pairings, an hours long, wonderful experience. Handsome dining room with nice views, too, though to have dinner, you have to eat early.
Highly recommend taking a wine tour from Appellation Central. Knowledgeable guides take people in small groups (ours was 6) and you get a great lunch out of it. Great wine and you get to see the beautiful countryside, while someone else does the driving. They'll tailor it to your tastes, if you have certain wineries you want to visit.
And this isn't news to anyone, but Fergburger in Queenstown is great.
The only disappointment was The Bunker in Queenstown. The food was fine, but not outstanding and the room feels like, well, a cramped bunker. But Saffron was absolutely fantastic and even a bit cheaper.
Logan Brown lived up to its strong reputation - highly recommended.
We enjoyed a number of cafes around Cuba St, but Duke Carvell's was our favorite by far.
Malthouse is in all the guidebooks as a great beer bar, but don't miss Hashigo Zake, which has excellent selection in a comfortable space with a well-informed, friendly staff
We were there to dive the Reef and didn't have high expectations for food in the touristy downtown. But there were some surprises:
Some things that struck us about dining in both countries:
- Spirits are extremely expensive; we were told that's due to high taxes. Even boring mass-market stuff is expensive. We drank wine and beer almost exclusively.
- People around the world are familiar with the wine from the area, but there's also excellent craft beer that deserves to be better known. Had many great microbrews that we hope make it to New York someday.
- If you're used to New York dining, you will find portion sizes to be quite large. This was true at both cheap, casual places as well as tasting menus at fine dining restaurants. We often found we over-ordered and didn't have room for dessert.
- Organ meats are rare on menus. On the entire trip, we saw one sweetbread dish (quite good) and one liver dish (didn't try it). Pity - all that delicious lamb - what happens to the rest of it?
- Service is almost uniformly excellent. Not so in New York. Manhattan restaurants often require head shots and hire staff on looks alone. Not all pretty people make good servers, so it's very hit or miss. But the service we got in New Zealand and Australia was outstanding. (And yes, many of the servers were also quite attractive.)
- Through internet searches and dozens of conversations with coffee shop staff in the region, we got many different answers to the question: "What's the difference between a flat white and a latte?" In any case the coffee is excellent in the region.
So thrilled we got to visit - New Zealand and Australia are great food destinations. We'll have to come back to explore more of it someday.