25 February 2015

Local advice leads us to Café Amelie for lunch in NOLA

One of the things that really impressed me about New Orleans, during our trip there in January, was the friendliness of nearly all of the local people we met. They were cordial and welcoming and eager to share their personal tips on what to see, where to go, and where to eat. The day after we arrived was overcast and damp. I carried an umbrella all day but didn’t have to open it. So we spent that day perusing the shops and galleries in the French Quarter. At one of them, we got a couple of restaurant recommendations.

The way it came up, we were in the shop late morning, and we mentioned a restaurant on the corner where we planned to have lunch. The shopkeeper’s comment was something like: “Well that’s ok. But I think you’d like Amelie better.”IMG_0295

So we made our way over to Royal Street. It was only a couple blocks farther than the restaurant we had originally planned.

We were immediately charmed by Amelie’s quaint courtyard and regretted that the threatening weather prevented us from being offered an outdoor table in the courtyard. But not to worry. When we entered the restaurant, we were impressed by the warm, cozy atmosphere of the old carriage house that now houses the restaurant.

The food was great. I ordered a meatloaf sandwich. It may sound mundane, but it was anything but. It was served on a brioche bun with roasted peppers and a spicy, harissa mayo. Delicious. The plate also had a generous mound of green salad with a light dressing. My wife had a crab cake from the appetizer side of the menu. She thought it was very good with plenty of crab and only enough filler to hold it together. It was a light lunch for both of us, but just what we wanted – comfort food to chase away the rainy chills of the day.

There were several other items on the menu that looked tempting. Charred Brussels sprouts with dates and bacon and a balsamic glaze. Goat cheese and fig preserves with fruit and nut bread. Creamy burrata with tomato and crostini. And besides the sandwiches and small plates, they offer a fish du jour and pasta du jour which would offer a more substantial lunch.

We liked it all so much that we considered coming back for dinner. But on the evening we walked by, it was closed for a private party. So the lesson is, you probably ought to make a reservation.

Now, if you’re tempted by my review and want to go to Amelie, do be careful. Café Amelie is located at 912 Royal Street. As we were walking there, we mistakenly went into Petit Amelie first, which is right on the corner at 900 Royal. Petit Amelie might be a very nice casual place for a light bite. But our expectations were for a quaint and intimate café. It only took us a few minutes to realize that we were at the wrong address. You might like Petit Amelie quite a lot. But we were glad that we discovered our error and found Café Amelie for our rainy day lunch.

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