He and she said:
October, 2009: Time for another list. The approach of fall (will it ever get here?) and our time spent last week at 7000 feet in the high desert has us ready for the outdoor dining season. Here are our choices for the top five places to get outside and eat this fall in New Orleans. Not surprisingly, most of them are in the French Quarter:
5. Iris: We reviewed this Decatur Street place recently, and it remains a candidate for best meal of 2009. What we did not mention is that Iris has a cozy courtyard just adjacent to the indoor dining room. While the weather did not permit us to eat there during our last visit, it is on our list. The food here is just outstanding, and the artisanal cocktails are a wonderful treat as well. Right now, Iris is one of the best restaurants in town, and worth a fall splurge.
4. Green Goddess: The Goddess is also on our list of the most interesting restaurants in NOLA. This tiny venue spills into Exchange Alley in a hodgepodge of mismatched tables and chairs. It makes this list because, hands down, it feels more like a streetside European cafe than any place else in town. So, save the airfare, settle in, and pretend you’re in Rome.
3. Dante’s: The only place on our list outside the French Quarter, Dante’s is tucked away on its namesake street in Riverbend. Perfect for both brunch and dinner, the spacious courtyard is the ideal place to showcase the local, seasonal ingredients that always populate the menu here. Sit back and have a drink, and maybe you’ll get the added bonus of hearing the train pass down River Road.
2. Bayona: Back to French Quarter to the 400 block of Dauphine (formerly Camino de Bayona) for Susan Spicer’s gem at number two on our list, a place that delivers all you’d expect in a classic New Orleans courtyard. The indoor space is just as beautiful, and there are not that many outdoor tables, so be sure to make a reservation for the courtyard far in advance. Once you’re there, you’ll be glad you did, as you soak in the vibe and eat what is now and has for a long time been some of the best food in New Orleans. Spicer’s reputation is well-deserved; this is the place where we celebrated our engagement, and it is undeniably special.
1. Cafe Amelie: This courtyard just kicks ass. Cafe Amelie is part of the Princess of Monaco carriage house in the 900 block of Royal Street, and this might be the most beautiful outdoor space in the city. Guys, bring your date here. Just trust us. Amelie is open for brunch on weekends and dinner Thursday through Saturday. However, be sure to check in advance, as this space is increasingly bought out for private events. If you can make it there as evening falls and the candles are lit throughout the courtyard, you won’t soon forget it.
Mat ‘n’ Naddies: sit outside on a Monday and listen to the gypsy jazz of the Courtyard Kings
Patois: there is one little table tucked away on a side porch that we have to get to.