My mom and I share a lot of things. Genes, for one. A soft spot for Ikat prints. And, perhaps above all else, a fierce appetite for, well…good food. As a kid, I remember her joking about our mother-daughter publishing debut, the “So Good” cookbook. Any time we ate a meal worth remembering, our refrain was the same: “this is so good!”
Now that I live in New Orleans, I have a lot of “so good” food moments. Problem is, my mom doesn’t live here to share them with me. So beyond giving her the gift of this brief thank-you note — for being a patient and supportive parent each and every day, I also plan to treat her to a so good meal next time she’s in town.
If you’re lucky enough to celebrate Mother’s Day here in New Orleans (May 12, people! Don’t forget!), here are a few options to consider:
Mom-Approved Restaurants for Mother’s Day
Rosedale — In a restored, circa 1936 vintage building in Navarre (near City Park), Susan Spicer’s Rosedale reflects on New Orleans flavors. Cheddar stoneground grits, cochon de lait po-boys, and caramelized gulf fish will fill you up, but save room for pecan pie and wine on tap while getting a figurative fill of nature on the ample back patio. 801 Rosedale Dr.
DTB — Short for “Down the Bayou,” this is the best place to give mom a taste of coastal Louisiana without, say, hopping into a tandem kayak for an eco-swamp tour (though you could do that, too). On Oak Street, DTB is beautiful yet quirky inside – look for the brass school of fish on the wall, or the Spanish moss effect hanging from the chandeliers. But more important than the decor is a finely executed menu, from fried cornbread with goat cheese to an intensely flavorful shrimp and crawfish rice bowl topped with crispy pork belly. An ample list of drinks and desserts are sure to please. 8201 Oak St.
Kin — What this diminutive restaurant lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. Health-conscious diners will delight in the tom yum ramen with sautéed shrimp, tofu, preserved garlic aioli, mushrooms, and chili and tamarind paste. You also might find other offerings like dumplings, game hen, and lamb. Finish it off with their Vietnamese iced coffee (it’s BYOB for the hard stuff), and as you snap selfies with mom, don’t forget to use their darling hashtag, #kinfordindin. 4600 Washington Ave.
Bywater Bakery — Meet mom for breakfast at Bywater Bakery for a different kind of go-cup. The bakery’s breakfast go-cup makes easy eating of morning favorites like eggs, bacon, and grits conveniently served together in a single cup. Take your items (and mom) a short two blocks for a scenic stroll in Crescent Park along the Misssissippi River. 3624 Dauphine St.
Croissant D’Or — Open from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m., this French Quarter bakery features lovingly made pastries, both savory and sweet. The spinach bechamel sandwich – a hot croissant draped in house-made bechamel and cheese — with the soup du jour is ideal for lunch, followed by, of course, dessert. I don’t know about your mom, but mine goes for the chocolate eclair every time. 617 Ursulines Ave.
Brennan’s — The dining room decor is reason enough to treat mom to a meal at Brennan’s. Add in sumptuous menu items and the restaurant’s formidable reputation for tremendous service, and you’ve got an ideal recipe for a memorable Mother’s Day brunch or lunch (definitely make reservations). While the table-side Bananas Foster flambé is never a bad idea, try the bread pudding and a Brandy Milk Punch instead for an equally New Orleans experience. 417 Royal St.
Maypop — Not sure which type of cuisine is mom’s favorite? Enter Maypop, where an intriguing fusion of Southeast Asian, Cajun, Creole, and Sicilian are sure to hit at least one of her preferred flavors. 611 O’Keefe Ave.
N7 — An enchanting, transportive, and intimate space…that serves canned food? Yep. N7’s upscale take on canned food – sardines, mussels, etc. – melds classic French cues with subtle Asian influences (notes of ginger and soy make an appearance here and there). 1117 Montegut St.
Lula — Toast mom with vodka, rum, or gin from micro-distillery and restaurant Lula on scenic St. Charles Avenue. A polished menu complements the strong, crisp drinks: think braised rabbit with white beans or buttermilk Cornish hen. 1532 St. Charles Ave.
Salon Restaurant — One Mother’s Day, my mom and I traveled to Paris and went to the famous Ladurée. In my estimation, Salon Restaurant does an even better job of feeling like Paris than I experienced when I was actually in Paris. Both establishments are known for their macarons, but Salon features savory bites, a full list of craft cocktails, plus a balcony. I think we know who the winner is here. Bonus: mom will love the restaurant’s Mother’s Day Tea. 622 Conti St.
Seed — A light and airy space turning out vegan meals, Seed dismantles health food stereotypes. Spiralized vegetable noodles are the basis for an inventive pad Thai; seitan makes for a hearty barbecue sandwich wherein you won’t miss the meat. Don’t skip the mango and kale salad, or the vegan beignets. 1330 Prytania St.
Josephine Estelle — Named after the daughters of co-chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman, this restaurant inside the New Orleans outpost of the Ace Hotel hones in on Italian-style dishes like gnocchi and veal. Get there ahead of time and scope out Stumptown Coffee Roasters on the restaurant’s premises — it’s the first of the legendary coffee shop to open in the South. After dinner, trek upstairs to Alto, the hotel’s rooftop bar. 600 Carondelet St.
Ralph’s On the Park — City Park is just across the street from this elegant restaurant, giving you a chance for a post-meal stroll. The balcony seating provides an unparalleled view, but Ralph’s interiors are just as picture perfect. 900 City Park Ave.
Commander’s Palace — Get all dressed up and venture to the Garden District for lunch with mom at Commander’s Palace. The martinis are only 25 cents with the purchase of an entrée on weekdays; depending on how many you drink, you can tour the cemetery across the street before or after, or browse a storied gallery on the adjacent corner. 1403 Washington Ave.