Casual Comfort Food Brilliance
Riccobono’s in New Orleans
PHOTO BY ROMERO & ROMERO
It’s a widely known fact that New Orleans is home to some of America’s most decadent culinary traditions. The city’s international influences have allowed some seriously complex dishes to evolve over the years, and at times, it can all seem a little bit overwhelming. Meunière sauce, deep-fried oysters, turtle soup – sometimes it’s easy to get lost among such ostentatious offerings. That’s why it’s great to occasionally take a step back to enjoy some delicious, no-frills diner cooking. Riccobono’s Panola Street Café provides fare for worn-out foodies seeking home-cooked classics.
Situated in the middle of one of the Uptown area’s charming neighborhoods only a few blocks from the Tulane University campus, the café’s spacious dining room and sidewalk seating caters to a mix of the city’s diverse demographics. On any given day, weekend visitors will see tables filled with students, tourists, neighborhood regulars, as well as businesspeople on their lunch breaks throughout the week. Local art adorns the walls – and most of it is available for purchase. There’s a vibe here that can’t be manufactured; it only comes with years of no-nonsense catering to loyal eaters and curious newcomers alike.
While simple in many respects, the menu is far from Spartan. The dizzying number of options can be overwhelming to first-timers, but it’s a welcome variety for the many diners who can be found at Riccobono’s multiple times a week. The establishment mainly provides morning dishes, but also serves heartier lunch options for the later-to-rise. Those who like their meals old-fashioned can’t go wrong with the basic breakfast plate offerings, while more adventurous types may be tempted to try the liver and onions. The central beauty to Riccobono’s lays in its simplicity, however, with their staple items providing the main reasons for visiting. It might be hard choosing between the 10 different varieties of three-egg omelets (although you can’t go wrong with the crawfish sauté), but regardless of your final decision, you won’t be disappointed.
Particularly perfect is their take on Eggs Sardou, a benedict variation swapping the traditional ham for creamed spinach while keeping the two perfectly water-poached eggs atop English muffins and artichoke hearts, all doused in a healthy (well, depending on your definition of “healthy”) serving of Hollandaise sauce. It’s decadent without the risk of being overindulgent, and patrons would be hard-pressed not to order at least one extra order of muffins or toast to sop up the remainders.
All in all, Riccobono’s Panola Street Café is a wonderful antithesis to the conventional notion of New Orleans as an over-the-top culinary experience. Sometimes, the best meals are the simplest. Riccobono’s affords classic diner fare that complements an otherwise ostentatious city and is worth a visit alone for its charm and low-key feel on the mornings after your excursion down Bourbon Street.
Weekday Lunch Specials
As previously mentioned, breakfast and brunch aren’t the only meals Riccobono’s has to offer. If you can’t make it on the weekend, we suggest still stopping by between Monday and Friday to check out their daily rotating lunch specials, like Tuesday’s panne veal with traditional pasta and a rich Italian red gravy. Other days feature signature fried catfish and chicken-fried steak, along with a number of great sandwiches served on local Ledenheimer French buns.
Riccobono’s Panola Street Café
7801 Panola St.