2023 NOLA Restaurant Bucket List

I looked at last year’s New Year’s post and was encouraged to do another restaurant to-do list. Why, you ask (are you asking)? Well, I didn’t complete last year’s list, not even by half, and I’m hoping a repeat will keep me honest and help me keep in mind those spots I both want and need to try. There’s just so many, especially when I can’t resist revisiting my favorites. On last year’s list, I marked the ones I missed with asterisks so we can all keep me accountable.

Here’s this year’s challenge!

  1. Toast Gretna -1711 Hancock St.
    This first one is kind of a joke. Y’all know I’ve been to Toast 3,286,543 times, but I want to go again and I want it to be in my neighborhood, damnit! Well, it’s going to be Algiers-adjacent and that’s close enough for me. This is also a wish for it to open . . . open . . . open! Additionally, since I am only a boat-ride away, I should definitely take my butt to French Toast on Decatur. Maybe you’ll see a piece on it soon in French Quarter Journal?

  2. MaMou – 942 N. Rampart St.
    Everyone was talking this place up for what seemed like ages before it finally opened this past November and, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve fallen for the hype. Now I too, have to go to MaMou! It’s also just fun to say, non? Chef Tom Branighan (Emeril’s, Longway Tavern) & seasoned sommelier Molly Wismeier from Folse’s Restaurant R’evolution have joined to be a French-inspired force to be reckoned-with and I’m all in.

  3. Fritai – 1535 Basin St.
    This is yet another restaurant I’ve yet to visit, even though it’s been here over a year! With what I’ve heard about Chef Charly Pierre combined with regular menu perusals, it’s a spot which is firmly affixed to my radar. Conch braised in coconut and epis (like a Haitian pesto); crispy double-cooked pork chop with rice and beans; or the “Gato” — a pound cake with toasted coconut, rum caramel sauce, and candied plantain are just a few items on my must eat list.

  4. Sidecar Patio & Oyster Bar – 1114 Constance St.
    It’s all in the name. I’ll wait till it warms up a little and gorge myself on oysters from “coast to coast.” Though they do offer local oysters, I’ve had those beauties a plenty. I’m due for some more out-of-town mollusks.

  5. Pluck Wines – 722 Girod St.
    In addition to a real desire to experience their menu, there’s some measure of guilt behind this particular to-do item. After all, I wrote about Pluck opening almost a year and a half ago right here on my blog. They even gave me the scoop! Do you think they’ll even serve me? I sure hope so, because my mouth is watering at the thought of blue crab larb, tamarind-glazed cauliflower or the wild mushroom dumplings.

  6. Tonti’s Hand – 323 Verret St.
    I just wrote about this spot opening right around the corner not too long ago. Let’s hope I get there sooner than later and not embarrass myself like I did with Pluck Wines.

  7. Scrambled – 5433 Laurel St.
    This may or may not be a vindictive kind of visit. After all, the original Toast was at this location and it seems to me they were sort of pushed out by the building’s owners, a decision I believe is a HUGE mistake. Then they’re replaced by another breakfast spot? I mean, c’mon! I may (most definitely) be biased, but I have a hard time thinking anyone can beat out Toast. I don’t care how high they pile their praline French toast with vanilla mascarpone!

  8. Le Crepe Nanou – 1410 Robert St.
    This little French bistro is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and I still haven’t been there! Everyone I’ve ever asked loves this spot and it’s not hard to see why. Not only is it in a super cute building with a bodacious bistro vibe, I’ve heard the mussels are “to die for.” French cuisine is never a bad idea.

  9. Breakaway’s Restaurant & Bar – 2529 Dauphine St.
    I’ve always loved Chef Paul Artigues food at Green Goddess, why wouldn’t I love it at his new restaurant Breakaway’s? Though they opened a year ago, I still haven’t taken my happy ass over there. What with crawfish fritters, a beef daube debris po-boy, and Earl Grey calas with chocolate ganache, what the hell am I waiting for?

  10. Dakar NOLA – 3814 Magazine St.
    What’s to know? I’ve been hearing about Chef Serigne Mbaye for years and now he’s launched his own brick and mortar on Magazine Street in the space formerly occupied by Pho Cam Ly. I’ve never had Senegalese food before, have you? My only concern is the cost, seeing as he’s serving a tasting menu ($150 per person!) instead of offering dishes a la carte. Maybe my taxes won’t be so steep this year? HA!

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