by Justine Goodman - 81 Reviews - 104 List
There is no way to replicate New Orleans. The city has a charm, uniqueness and history all its own. The only way to truly experience the Big Easy is to plan a New Orleans vacation. But for when you need a little N?awlins fix in Houston to get you in the mood, we have the inspiration in these restaurants, bars and more that channel the French Quarter and beyond.
Updated: August 10, 2011
When it opened in 1967, Brennan's of Houston was the designated younger sibling of New Orleans' famous Commander's Palace restaurant. Over the years, it has established itself as a go-to destination for those in search of some good old-fashioned Southern charm with exceptional N'awlins-style Cajun cuisine to match. Don't miss the celebrated Creole jazz brunch, a weekend tradition.
For a little slice of Big Easy heaven on earth, head to this sandwich shop in downtown Houston. The name of the game is Louisiana po'boys, and Calliope's offers some 15 varieties--think catfish, fried shrimp and fried crawfish--all available in four sizes, small (8-inch) through extra-large (32-inch). Platters, salads and other specialties such as gumbo and hush puppies are also on offer.
A staple in the New Orleans French Quarter since the 1980s, this Italian purveyor of antique, art and jewelry opened its second U.S. outpost in Houston's own Highland Village after Hurricane Katrina. Peruse the selection of one-of-a-kind vintage jewels and art, in addition to contemporary Italian-made watches, jewelry and more.
The name says it all at this low-key restaurant and bar, which celebrates New Orleans culture, food and knack for booze-soaked revelry. Drop by to catch a Saints game, then stick around for catfish nuggets, oyster po'boys and seafood gumbo. And be sure to indulge in a few specialty drinks such as the French Quarter, made with tequila, peach schnapps, sour mix and cranberry juice--this is Mardi Gras, after all.
For New Orleans-style donuts good enough to rival those of the famous Cafe du Monde, head to this Chinatown favorite. Order a basket of beignet "fingers" (strips of the tasty fried dough topped with powdered sugar), and, for something different, add a spot of honey, which you'll find at every table. Chez Beignets is inexpensive, but it's cash only, so come prepared.