Do I Need Reservations?
Depending on what you want to do, where you want to eat, and what time of year it is, you may want to make a reservation. If you want to stay at La Belle Esplanade, you definitely need a reservation. We only have five suites at our small boutique inn and we tend to fill up far in advance depending on the season and what’s going on in the city. Whether you need to make restaurant reservations or plan every meal beforehand, or book a tour in advance, that depends on how flexible you are.
New Orleans’ economy is very tourism-dependent. That means that when you are thinking of visiting, it’s probable that a lot of other people have the same idea. Mardi Gras? Make a restaurant reservation. Jazz Fest? Make a restaurant reservation. Voodoo Fest? Make a restaurant reservation. French Quarter Fest? Southern Decadence? Satchmo Summerfest? Valentine’s Day? New Year’s Eve? You get the idea, right?
If you are coming to attend a convention with 30,000 other attendees, they’ve already made reservations where you want to eat. Make your reservations early, months in advance. If you’ve read about a restaurant in a magazine or on a travel website, well, so have 30,000 other people who are coming to New Orleans that weekend.
If you don’t have restaurant reservations, it isn’t a problem. We never have reservations and we eat well. We eat out often in order to be able to make recommendations to our guests. It’s easy to live like a local in New Orleans.
There are about 800 restaurants in New Orleans, a city of about 380,000 people. It is very, very hard to have a bad meal in this city. It is, however, very, very easy to wait in line to get into the places that are fashionable. It pays to advertise. If you have read about a restaurant, so have other people and their friends and relatives have, too. We’ve been to those places. We’ve been to other, more local places off the beaten path, too.
Wanna know where we like to eat: Where we don’t have to wait in line.
We know a lot of restaurants. We aren’t going to send you to a Chinese take-out joint on N. Carrolton Avenue. We know you didn’t come to New Orleans for that. We know a lot of other restaurants that locals enjoy that don’t have lines. Some of them are within walking distance from our house. We are surrounded by locally famous restaurants that 1.) don’t require reservations or have a dress code, and 2.) don’t even take reservations—just show up as you are and you’ll dine like the chef has spent all afternoon waiting for you to show up.
Whatever your budget and preferences, odds are that we can steer you in the right direction. This is our profession: introducing people to the best that New Orleans has to offer. If you have your heart set on eating at some trendy spot you saw on the Food Network, let us know and we’ll tell you if we think you need reservations (probably yes). If your heart is set on sampling the best of Creole cuisine, let us know and we’ll tell you where we think is best for that time of year. Want a historic eatery? That’s our specialty. Neighborhood joints? Yep, we’ve got ’em covered. When we say neighborhood joints, we don’t only mean dives. In New Orleans, some of these neighborhood joints need reservations and require a necktie for gentlemen. Let us know what interests you and we’ll do what we can to make sure you’re stuffed full as a tick. New Orleans is all about good food.
If you leave hungry or dissatisfied, you went to the wrong place. We didn’t send you there.