New Orleans Streetcar

Solo Dining in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Posted on Posted in Business Travel, New Orleans, Restaurants, Travel, Wine

Food in New Orleans is legend, I had so many suggestions from my #foodiechats and #foodtravelchat friends before my New Orleans trip, everyone had a favorite food memory. As I was traveling on business for a conference, I wasn’t quite sure how much free time I would have to eat. I ended up solo dining in the French Quarter for most of my meals as I was staying at the W French Quarter.  I was a bit concerned that dining solo would prove to be difficult especially with all the groups and party people but it wasn’t, I felt fine everywhere I went.

Cathedral New Orleans
New Orleans cathedral next to Stanley and across from Cafe du Monde

Breakfast in the French Quarter

The hotel breakfast at SoBou was ok but I hate spending over $20 for breakfast when I don’t need to (yes, even on an expense account) so I asked for suggestions.

W French Quarter breakfast
The fancy breakfast at the W French Quarter hotel So Bou

For pancakes I was directed five blocks to Stanley and at 8am it was quiet inside but noisy outside (the street crew was still cleaning up last night’s fun) near the Cathedral. My blueberry pancakes were quite satisfying to fill me for the conference day I had ahead of me.

Stanley New Orleans dining room
The empty for now dining room at Stanley in New Orleans near the Cathedral
Stanley breakfast New Orleans syrup
Syrup anticipation at Stanley in New Orleans
Blueberry Pancakes New Orleans
Chock full of blueberries at Stanley in New Orleans

The next day, I walked two blocks to The Grill, a classic diner opened in 1946 with counter service.  I chose an open seat next to a group hoping to chat but my German is not that good so I ate in silence enjoying the people watching.   My egg platter which included bacon, home fries and toast along with orange juice cost $10.13 (a great deal!), I tipped $3 (I used to waitress so even if not on expense account, I would still tip this).  This was my kind of breakfast place, I returned the next day, picked a different seat and the waiter laughed (same waiter as the day before) because not only had he moved sections but I sat next to the same German group.

The Grill New Orleans
The Grill in New Orleans, a great 1946 diner for comfort foods
The Grill diner in New Orleans
The Grill has two U-shaped counters to serve classic diner dishes
The Grill New Orleans breakfast
Nothing fancy at The Grill just straightforward bacon, eggs and hash browns
The Grill New Orleans waiter
At the Grill in New Orleans the staff was great

Lunch in New Orleans

 

Charcoal’s Gourmet Burger Bar

It’s all about the burgers at this location near the Garden district.  A quick ride from the French Quarter, there is a great bar upstairs with an outdoor patio space.  If you just want counter service, you can stay downstairs or order takeaway.  Either way, you have a great menu to choose from – pick the burger type (various meats, veg or fish options), try to choose a potato option (harder than you think – go for the tots!) and add a drink and you’re all set for a great meal.

Charcoals Burger Bar
The upstairs bar at Charcoals Gourmet Burger Bar in New Orleans
Charcoals Burger New Orleans
Bacon burger with a side of tots was the perfect pre-conference lunch

Dinner in the French Quarter

 

SoBou (connected to the W French Quarter Hotel)

SoBou is short for South of Bourbon and is an acclaimed restaurant with small plates of adventurous (for me anyway) foods.  I loved the decor and without a reservation on Monday night was given a table for two in the front of the restaurant.

SoBou filet entree dinner
The filet option at SoBou – fancy looking but simply full of flavor

I chose the steak entrée with a side of seasoned fries, a glass of Malbec and a very tasty chocolate dessert. Service was ok, I did need to flag the server when I felt abandoned more than once.  No worries about being rushed out here.

 

Orleans Grapevine Bar & Wine Bistro

You might pass by if you weren’t looking for this place.  It doesn’t look like much from outside but I was pleasantly surprised by a large bar area, dining room and a garden patio in the back.  Without a reservation and starving, I didn’t wait for the patio and elected to eat at a table in the dining area (I had the whole area to myself in the corner).

Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar Bistro
Definitely recommend finding the Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar and Bistro if staying in the French Quarter
Orleans Grapevine Wine Bistro
My view of the dining room and bar at Orleans Grapevine Wine Bistro

Never mind the seating arrangement, the menu was a good call and the wine choices overwhelming (by the glass, flight or bottle).  The interesting wines and vintages from around the globe gave me pause as I wanted to try so many different countries – Chilean Carmenere, South African Pinotage, Australian Shiraz before my standard Rioja and Malbecs (note, that on a business expense account, a glass of wine is ok, a flight of wine, not so much).

Orleans Grapevine chicken entree
The Evangeline Chicken wrapped in neuskies bacon with southern comfort glaze, peppered sweet potato mash and baby carrots
Orleans Grapevine Chocolate Mousse
The Chocolate Mousse with Grand Marnier cream at Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar Bistro

Sylvain

The concierge recommended Sylvain as his favorite restaurant (it’s mine now too!).  Located three blocks from the hotel,  I had to do a walk by to figure out how to enter – a bit of a hideaway, I already liked this place. Through the alleyway, I happened upon the outdoor garden area with patio seating and the hostess.  Without a reservation, I was directed to dine at the bar which had three empty seats.  I’m not usually a fan of dining at the bar but that was my only option (there was a cute talkative guy at the end of the bar so that helped).  It was hard to choose from so many tempting options that I sought the bartender’s help.

Sylvain New Orleans
Look for the sign for Sylvain and the hidden door/entry alley

Torn between the pan-fried pork shoulder with grits, braised greens and mustard jus or the braised beef cheeks over pureed potatoes with black-eyed peas, the bartender explained the pork and how it was prepared – I was mesmerized.  The pork is cooked, marinated until it is so tender like a pulled pork then rolled up and sliced in rounds with a bay seasoning.  When it arrived it just fell apart with one poke of my fork – I was in love with this dish.  My first taste of grits was just as good.  All of this was accompanied by an Italian Malbec (the bartender talked me into this too) .  The bar had a good list of cocktails and single barrel bourbons. In case you think this is all types of fancy foods, they have a burger on the menu and a fried chicken sandwich too. The entrée was a huge portion that I could not finish as I had dessert on my mind, namely the chocolate pot de creme.

Sylvain Menu New Orleans
The menu of tempting foods at Sylvain in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

The Brennan family are local well-known restauranteurs and the steakhouse, located off of Bourbon Street was busy.  I joined colleagues from the conference and was lucky to snag a reservation.  The high-end steakhouse had a variety of patrons from business suits to casual shorts.  We were seated in a booth downstairs with a view of the dining room.  Our servers worked as a team and for the most part were attentive. The food is classic steakhouse.  The bar was packed and has a separate menu which includes an award-winning burger.

Bourbon Street tiles in the pavement New Orleans
In case you forget what street this is just look down to the pavement to this classic

My solo dining in the French Quarter of New Orleans turned out a lot better than I anticipated.  I didn’t need to be part of the party crowd of Bourbon Street, I chose to find quiet comfort in the fantastic foods and wine dining solo in the French Quarter.

New Orleans Streetcar
New Orleans Streetcar transit history in the city

What is your favorite food memory of New Orleans? Please share in the comments below

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