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“Jambalaya!”
Review of Nola

Nola
Ranked #22 of 379 Restaurants in Palo Alto
Price range: USD 30 - USD 30
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene, Groups, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Hamilton
Transit: CalTrans Palo Alto. And a late night cab stand on the weekends.
Description: Nola will transport you into the heart of the Quarter! Authentic folk art and the largest Hurricanes in town will get you ready for a bayou blowout.
Reviewed 26 February 2018 via mobile

Really fun place with great Cajun food. The Jambolaya comes at three different spice levels, and there are lots of other genuine New Orleans dishes.The bar is fun and the pours are good. The outdoor patio and upstairs rooms look inviting.

Thank speeps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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12 - 16 of 252 reviews

Reviewed 8 January 2018 via mobile

I love Louisiana and I love their food. Now, I won’t try to add credibility to my review by prefacing with the fact that I lived and worked in Baton Rouge and New Orleans for many years, cause it almost doesn’t matter...I said ‘almost.’ The truth is, I’ve had bad meals all over southern Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette and everywhere in between. But I’ve had some pretty amazing meals there as well. That said, there are probably plenty of others who have lived in southern Louisiana that will swear to Nola’s authenticity and execution...that’s fine, to each his own, of course. For me? Meh...it was a disappointment.

Okay, so the good stuff first...they do a pretty good job with the space by trying to replicate a New Orleans/Louisiana feel in their decor. Also, the fried chicken sliders were on the good side, after adding the hot sauce. Nice soft bread over lightly breaded chicken...they were a nice start to our meal. Well, there it is...that’s most of the good stuff.

The shrimp and grits were beautiful in their presentation. Actually, my eyes ate well all night because all of the food was well presented. Unfortunately, the flavor was lacking significantly. First bite was fine, but then it quickly became increasingly unimpressive. It was odd, because it looked layered with flavor, but tasted so one dimensional.

The gumbo came out with this really exciting aroma. Not sure if it was my mind listening to my stomach or if it was truly an authentic smell, because dang that was a let-down. First off, it was delivered to the table at just a shade above room temperature, which was less than appealing. And once again I went searching the cup for some flavors. Nope, none could be found. Nice roux coloring I suppose, but poorly seasoned. And candidly, I’ve never been a fan of any place that cuts their andouille like I cut hot dogs for my two year old. You know, like when you slice and quarter so they don’t choke. Yeah, not cool in my gumbo. It messes with flavor combination I’m looking for, but is more likely a cost savings alternative for the restaurant. It did get better after I hit it with two separate rounds of hot sauce, but it was barely warm, which really hurt the experience. Also, by the way, they don’t have Louisiana sauce. What?! Don’t get me started on that, but they do have something on the table that was made in New Jersey, so that’s good...ugh, nope. How do you think that impacts their authenticity rating? I guess it’s like using Dungeness crab, which they proudly state on the menu...not very Louisiana.

The jambalaya was fine. The rice was cooked well, but I get the sense they just pour a red sauce over the ingredients and do not actually cook it all together. At least that’s how it tasted to me, which was a loss for them. The rice and chicken didn’t get a chance to absorb any flavors that may exist in the red sauce, presumably intended to make it hot. They have regular, hot and super hot (or something like that). I got the super hot and it was super not. Literally no bite at all, not even remotely. That was weak. Portion size was obscenely inappropriate for the price too. I make the stuff all the time at home...I know how much it costs to do it well. This was a gross abuse of customer. As is the 75 cents/person they add to the bill to cover for their employee health care expenses. The explanation on the table doesn’t fix that either. Telling me you are stealing from me before you steal from me doesn’t make me feel better about it. That is just ridiculous and insulting. There are more appropriate ways of handling the increased expense derived from city/state health care requirements. I digress, but I’m seeing a pattern here at this place. Can you see it?

I’m very forgiving on waiters as I was one through high school and college. That said, our waiter was...well, kind of a snob who was too busy thinking about what he wanted to say to us to hear what we had to say to him. He was inattentive, arrogant, and lacked the appropriate humility to be a good and helpful waiter. He dictated the pace of our meal and opined on far more than was appropriate, without invitation. He forgot things, he didn’t offer things, nor did he give us time to request appropriate accompaniments...like coffee, etc. he may have had a bad night, and that’s fine, but it definitely didn’t help the overall meal.

Wait, I did like the bread pudding. It too came out a little too close to room temperature, but it had a no frills goodness to it. I won’t remember it a couple days from now, but it wasn’t like the rest of the meal, so that’s good.

Overall, I won’t be back.

1  Thank flatfootfoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2018

Casual ambiance with good service. The tables upstairs are nice and while there is a buzz from the restaurant, you can still have a conversation.

The food was very inventive and good.
For starters - the Crabamole was good - a splurge - glad to have tried it - but probably not a repeat.

For main dishes we had:
- Shrimp Po Boy and Cup of Andouille Gumbo Combo - Good
- Two Steak Combo plate - Good
- BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich - Good

For desert - we split an order of the beignets - EXCELLENT

The house sangria was good and they have a nice selection of beers.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Double64Double
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 December 2017 via mobile

I have stayed in a hotel in New Orleans built around 1900 and this restaurant took me back in time. There are small rooms surrounding an open air courtyard on two stores. The rooms would make a great place to take a small group or family and have your own private room. The food is New Orleans with a fresh California twist. Such fun!

Thank Robin R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2017

Even if “Fat Tuesday” in New Orleans is not in your future, at least you can partake in some of the food for which that city is known, at Nola, off University in Palo Alto. They serve delicious classic dishes like Jambalaya and Etouffe (seafood in a slightly spicy dark roux sauce), Shrimp and Grits, and Po’boys as well as interesting versions of fish tacos among other dishes. Their drinks vary from Mardi-Gras-like cocktails to good beers and wine. The ambiance feels like the French Quarter during a party. A fun and tasty way to visit the Big Easy without flying there.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank wwalleigh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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