As is the tradition at Eater, we're rounding up the year with a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers and others to get a feel for the highlights and lowlights of the last year in eating in New Orleans. So far we've covered Top Restaurant Standbys, Favorite Newcomers, and One Word Descriptions. Now, dearest readers, our panel of restaurant experts weigh in on the best dining neighborhood of 2012. Feel free to add your description to the comments.
Inside SoBou [Photo: Nikki Mayeux]
Q. What Was This Year's Best Dining Neighborhood in New Orleans?
Alexander Hancock, associate editor, Eater NY: Bywater. No contest.
Anne Berry, freelancer, food writer for Where Y'at: With a slew of exciting new restaurants and bars, this has been the year of the Bywater.
Justin Trosclair, cheesemonger and blogger: Downtown. That doesn't counts as a neighborhood really, but everything seemed to happen on the other side of Canal.
Rene Louapre IV, Blackened Out: Freret. Also since it is close to my house, I can ride my golf cart over there. Its not only delicious, but environmentally friendly. Notice I said I can ride my golf cart. Not that I do. That would be illegal; so I still drive over there. We need to change some laws about what is an acceptable form of street legal transportation.
Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum, Slow Cocktails dispatcher: Freret St. Hot dogs. Hamburgers, Grilled donuts. Pizza (thick and thin). Po-boys. Cocktails. It's like a comfort food carnival.
Josh Danzig, editor Where Y'at: Freret Street.
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor Eater NOLA: Freret Street may be the comfort food carnival, but they better make way, cuz the circus just rolled into town. Da Bywatas has cocktails, cocktail speakeasies, Mike Doyle, street food, vegan brunch, wine and small plates al fresco, NYC style pizza, po boys, macaroons, the best barbecue in the city and more. Plus you're only a minute bike ride away from a sea shanty, metal band, or acrocats, or you could just sit around and count the celebrities and musicians dining at Maurepas Foods and Satsuma Cafe for fun.