I'm in New Orleans a good bit for business, and I thought I'd weigh in on a few restaurants that are worth a stop.
1.) Oceana Grill. One night, a group of us hit this casual (but yummy) spot in the French Quarter for dinner. There was a line out the door, so we knew the food would be good! I had the Redfish Oceana, which was delicious, and a cocktail or two from the bar. Service was quick and friendly, and the place has a lively, slightly clubby atmosphere. Prices are reasonable. We all enjoyed this spot!
2.) Kingfish. Another group dinner. Here, I had the "Every Man A King" fish, because I obviously believe in ordering whatever dish the restaurant chooses to give its own name to! It arrived on a giant brick of Himalayan salt, and I ate. It. UP! Delicious, delicious. One of my dining companions got the "Junky Chick" chicken, and I nearly speared a bite or two off her plate without permission. Our party also ordered a few of the small plates/sides to sample, including the golden beet salad and the cheese grits. This is an upscale restaurant, with prices to boot. Service was great, and they also had a fun, inventive cocktail menu.
3.) Elizabeth's. On our way out of the city one morning, a friend and I went out to the bywater to have breakfast at Elizabeth's. Why, you ask, especially when there are so many other delicious choices closer to the quarter? Two words. Praline. Bacon. We'd heard people gush over it, and we had to try it ourselves! I must tell you, it's absolutely as good as they say it is! I had a GIANT veggie omelet with a side of the heavenly bacon, and I was full nearly until dinner! Worth searching out.
4.) Borgne. This John Besh restaurant is literally in the lobby of the Hyatt that I stay in when I visit New Orleans, and I couldn't be happier about it. I've had several things off their menu, and all of them have been delicious! The black drum a la plancha is delicious, as is the fish in a bag. The deconstructed key lime ice box pie is an unexpected take on a classic, and the rum ice cream totally makes it. Recommended.
5.) Allegro. This quiet little white tablecloth bistro is practically across the street from Borgne. I love popping in here for fresh fried oysters, a cup of coup or bisque, or a nice salad. Service is quick, and the location is incredibly convenient for me when I'm in the city.
6.) Cochon. I finally got the chance to try this place a few weeks ago! Three of us stopped by for lunch one day and had a ball trying several different small plates: wood fired oysters, fried chicken livers, crawfish pie, crawfish and green tomato casserole, everything we had was good! I am not a fried livers kind of person, and I almost fought some of the other people at the table for them! Atmosphere was casual, food and service was great, and prices, though not cheap, were definitely reasonable for the quality of food we enjoyed.
7.) Peche. A sister restaurant to Cochon, I went to Peche for dinner one night with two friends local to New Orleans. What a find! We'd reserved a table for an early meal, and I was really glad we had. The restaurant filled up quickly (and completely) within 30 minutes of our arrival. Much like Cochon, we chose several different items to share. We started with the smoked tuna dip and moved on to the shrimp roll, the fish sticks, the white beans with bacon, and more. So, sooooo good!! Both Cochon and Peche are great for groups. The small plate menus encourage ordering something other than the usual and sharing with the table. Recommended.