on November 28, 2008
We wandered out on a Friday night with our concierge giving us his "insider" recommendation of Cafe Maspero on the edge of the French Quarter. In walking distance from the big name hotels - Hilton, Mariott, etc - it was a perfect intro to New Orleans cuisine & flavor! Sitting on a corner, the restaurant was easy to find and had a rustic wooden outdoor look. We walked in to a fairly full and lively crowd and waited a few minutes for anyone to greet us. When our waitress came over, and she had amazing dreadlocks, we knew we found a fun place! We sat near the door which on a November weekend was a bit drafty. Prices were CHEAP! As a New Yorker, I always pay high prices/touristy prices, and when I go to other big cities I expect the same. A beer for $2, I was in shock. And $1 strawberry daiquiris all the time? Amazing!But on to the food - they had a wide selection of New Orleans favorites and sandwiches. They had burgers, po'boys, shrimp and catfish sandwiches, a delicious lookie veggie mufuletta and lots more. I almost went with the mufuletta (with the olive salad but without the layers of salami and ham) but opted for a catfish sandwich with fries. The fried goodness was served very quickly, and a huge piece of catfish arrived for just $6.75 with tasty wide fries. Sandwiches came with a half a long plate of frieds and sauce for the sandwich. No wonder the locals love it, tons of great food at such a cheap price! I also had an Abita Blond for just $2 that was great. Abita is a local brewing company from Louisiana, and though the glass wasn't a pint size it was nice to get a small beer to wash down the fried tastiness.Service was quick and though the restaurant was fairly full, it wasn't too loud. Decor was simple with small candles on the dark wooden tables with basic dark wooden chairs to sit in. It gave a feel of something that had been there for a long time, calmy and patiently surviving through the years with a steadiness that made people keep coming back. Do note that the restaurant is cash only. Though we opted for sandwiches, they also had seafood plates, jumbalaya and a wide array of beers, wines and cocktails. If you're looking for a healthy option, this might not be your best choice. But if you just want good food for a great price with a friendly and old school aid back atmosphere definitely visit Cafe Maspero!
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