901 Louisiana Ave., Uptown
Owned by couple, Rachel and Tony Tocco, Atchafalaya has culinary roots that reach as far back as 1924, when it was a mom-and-pop Italian joint. The food is traditional Creole, the staff friendly, and most of the materials used to rebuild post Katrina were salvaged from the storm, making the whole experience an homage to its storied past. While the daily dinner menu is great, the weekend brunch (shrimp and grits, savory bread pudding) is extraordinary, thanks in no small part to the famous Bloody Mary bar and live music.
6100 Annunciation St., Uptown
Though the Clancy family sold their beloved restaurant in the early 80’s (it’s been around since the 40’s), it lost none of its warmness in the transaction. Much like the simple, white-washed main dining room (upstairs is the quieter, more date-friendly area), the menu is classic, no-frills Creole. For the perfect meal, start with an order of fried oysters with brie, then move onto the lobster and mushroom risotto. And of course, finish with the famous lemon icebox pie.
1728 Soniat St., Uptown
This Uptown jewel box of a restaurant (it’s set in a converted pharmacy, though you wouldn’t know it from its elegant interior and pretty but totally nondescript facade) is known for discovering and nurturing fresh talent—most recently, it’s James Beard-winner Chef Sue Zemanick. As evidenced by dishes like pork osso buco with apple-fennel gremolata, foie gras torchon, and coconut-lemongrass semifreddo, the focus here is on refined American food with a nod to traditional French flavors.
La Petite Grocery
4238 Magazine St., Uptown
Calling a beautiful, historic building home since 2004 (it housed a fine grocery store for decades), this restaurant/bar hybrid is all about putting an unexpected spin on traditional New Orleans fare. This means that rather than rely on the familiarity of French cuisine, executive chef—and since 2010, also owner—Justin Devillier is willing to take some risks (blue crab beignets and turtle bolognese are solid examples). The dining area is actually quite sprawling, but thanks to strategically placed curtains it feels cozy and intimate.
3637 Magazine St., Uptown
Lilette has been dominating Best-Of lists from the day chef and owner John Harris opened its doors on Magazine Street back in 2001 (no small feat in a town flush with French eateries). What sets this fun-by-day, romantic-by-night spot apart is its expertly curated menu: While some dishes (bouillabaisse, duck confit) have held pride of place for years, new items are regularly introduced to accommodate seasonal ingredients and keep regulars on their toes. What’s more, the dimly-lit, wine-colored dining room is considered by many to be Uptown’s prettiest.
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