Brace yourself, because October 28th-30th is Parents Weekend. During these three Bruff-free days, it’s up to you to go to the top-notch NOLA restaurants that you've been hearing all about (aka the ones you probably can't afford to go to on a typical weekend without your parents’ wallets). That's why I've put together this list of the top fifteen restaurants you should make a reservation for right now.
This #1 restaurant on Trip Advisor is also the #1 restaurant that you definitely do not want to pay for on a college student budget. Being that the chef is a fish connoisseur, this is where to go when you want seafood and want it done right.
The service, atmosphere, and food are all a 10/10. Start out by ordering the lobster dumplings, move onto their signature "Scalibut" dish (halibut topped with scallops), and finish with their apple pie, which is baked fresh when ordered. If you are feeling adventurous and especially proud of your developing NOLA roots, make sure to finish off the night with a praline martini.
Since coming to Tulane, you've most likely been told to eat at Commander's Palace. Well, it's in your best interest to follow that advice, seeing as it is a New Orleans dining experience like no other.
Some tips for your Commander's experience: Ask to sit in the Garden Room and order the turtle soup, even though it sounds questionable. It's the best in the city, and if you don't finish it, your parents will. Also, order a dessert. It doesn't matter which one since they are all beautifully prepared and taste as good as they look. Their menu changes daily, so it is always a unique experience for your taste buds.
Time to experience the oldest French-Creole fine dining restaurant in New Orleans. With a rich historical background and the option for a private tour, it won't be hard to convince your parents to take you here. Make sure to try out the oysters Rockefeller as it is an Antoine's original.
You know that somewhere deep, deep down you want to see your parents experience Bourbon Street at night. So your first step should be making a reservation at Galatoire's, which is situated right at the bottom of Bourbon.
Start the night here with an unforgettable meal and slowly work your way up to where the endless drinks with your parents begin. Try the soft shell crab or the filet mignon, with a side of cauliflower au gratin and crab au gratin, for a truly unforgettable meal.
Fancy some French food? If so, this is hands down the place to go. Elegant and beyond delectable, their food presentation is only a bonus to the actual meals in front of you. The ricotta gnocchi with lobster will raise your gnocchi standards forever, and the bread pudding crème brûlée is truly the best of both worlds.
Your parents simply will not get the entire New Orleans experience without going to a traditional jazz brunch. In my opinion, no one does it better than The Court of Two Sisters. Make sure to try either the seafood omelet or their classic eggs Benedict. And on a side note, make sure to touch the gates before you leave, as they were blessed by the Pope himself.
Atchafalaya's brunch will have you falling in love with New Orleans food all over again (just like Fiona and Madison on the third season of American Horror Story). Their alligator sausage is a must, but the build your own Bloody Mary bar alone is worth the trip to the Garden District. Not down to brunch? Don't worry, they've got dinner every day of the week, featuring an indulgent truffle fried chicken breast dish.
You've got to be shuckin' kidding me if you or your parents aren't craving oysters. Pêche is a great stop to satisfy your cravings for a rawsome meal. In 2014, the James Beard Awards named Pêche the Best New Restaurant, and the chef was named Best Chef of the South. Beyond oysters, they also have unforgettable fried bread and salted peanut pie.
If your parents say they want traditional Cajun, southern cooking and have a hearty appetite for meat, head on over to Cochon. I recommend the ribs with a side of mac and cheese, as well as the pineapple upside down cake to finish off. Make sure to take your parents Friday or Saturday because they are closed on Sundays.
One of Tulane students' go-to places to take visitors of NOLA, Jacques-Imo's is a favorite of tourists and regulars alike. Be prepared for their garlic cornbread rolls and don't be scared to try their alligator cheesecake. Since you can only make reservations for parties of five or more, see if your parents are down for your roommates tagging along.
First things first, you do not need to like fish to love this place. Located right on Bourbon Street, Red Fish Grill is probably one of the biggest restaurants in the French Quarter. Don't be fooled by its size, though–a reservation is key. The ambiance is lively and loud, but don't worry, you can still make easy conversation at your table. While this may come as no surprise, I highly recommend ordering the Redfish (and then finishing with the double chocolate bread pudding).
If some of the restaurants are a bit too fancy for you, EAT New Orleans is the ideal, more casual alternative. After shamelessly eating here multiple times in one week, I can easily say this is one of my personal favorites. I highly recommend the Caesar salad and the chicken fried chicken (move on over, chicken fried steak). They also keep things interesting by changing up their menu from lunch to dinner.
Located in the Marigny, this restaurant will give you an excuse to explore a part of New Orleans your parents might not otherwise see. With each dish at Paladar 511, you can see the attention to detail and thoughtful combination of ingredients. The best game plan is to order a few of their creative pizzas and eat family style.
Unlike the other French restaurants on this list, Meauxbar brings a more modern twist and is definitely a restaurant to try if your parents have an appreciation for beautiful plating and innovative dishes. At the end of the meal, you'll most likely have a tremendously difficult time choosing what dessert to order. If you can't convince your parents to order all of them, stick with getting the crème brûlée.
Last but not least, if you and your parents always have trouble agreeing on a restaurant, then St. Roch Market is your perfect match. Each of you can get food from whichever of the 12 food vendors you choose and still sit together. I recommend going for breakfast or lunch. T2 Streetfood and the tacos at La Mezcla are my favorite. While it may appear to be a southern food hall, it is certainly no Bruff.
So there you have it. I wish you the best of luck indulging in a weekend with your parents and finally crossing off a few stellar New Orleans restaurants from your foodie bucket list.