Fine Dining New Orleans
Get your suits pressed and your nails looking right. New Orleans has a beautiful blend of cuisines influenced by centuries of colliding cultures. As a result, the fine dining scene here is serious business. When you’re ready to catch a glimpse of high society in the Big Easy, these restaurants are a must-try.
A Grande Dame, Antoine’s is the oldest family-owned restaurant in the U.S. Since 1840, Antoine’s exquisite French-Creole cuisine matched with its world-class service have made it the standard for fine dining in the Big Easy. It is here that the famous dish Oysters Rockefeller was invented.
In 1905, Jean Galatoire, a French immigrant, opened Galatoire’s as a French-Creole bistro. Today, Galatoire’s and New Orleans fine dining are one and the same. It’s here that you will find traditionally prepared Turtle Soup au Sherry and the delicate flavors of the Trout Amandine. The dining room is energetic and full of vibrant colors — don’t expect a dimly lit room with soft music. (Note: It is a time-honored tradition for gentlemen to wear jackets in the main dining room at Galatoire’s. And it’s worth the effort.)
When Count Arnaud claimed that “that an Irishman’s culinary skills ended with boiled potatoes,” Owen Brennan decided to prove him wrong. In 1946, Breakfast at Brennan’s became a tradition for locals in New Orleans. Today, the cascading colors of the Chanteclair Room and grand Mardi Gras rooms have made Brennan’s a fine dining titan. Oh, and it just happens to be the establishment that invented Bananas Foster. The decadent dessert is still prepared tableside — a feast for every sense.
What do fine dining and the civil rights movement have in common? It was all happening at Dooky Chase’s. Leah Chase, who married into the Chase family in 1946, had the idea to make Dooky Chase’s a fine dining restaurant. Dooky Chase’s also offered a space where African-American artists could display their work when most galleries were reluctant to do so. Today, Leah and the team continue to offer traditional New Orleans Creole food with a touch of fancy. Former President Obama even had a bowl of the gumbo here, but not before being scolded by Leah for adding hot sauce. (We heard they mended fences soon after.)
Overlooking historic Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral, Muriel’s is a French Quarter fine dining gem. The menu offers a wide selection of classic New Orleans fare, the Double Cut Pork Chop being the local favorite. (We heard that the pork chop was slated to be discontinued, and Muriel’s regulars were ready to revolt.) Every dish at Muriel’s is served with a side of spooky, because the building is considered to be one of the most haunted in the French Quarter — they even have a table set for their ghostly guest.
When it comes to talking business in the Central Business District, Bon Ton Cafe is where it goes down. Since the early 1900s, Bon Ton Cafe, a place where local businessmen would meet for lunch, hasn’t changed much. From the checkered red tablecloths to the cracker baskets, it truly feels like a culinary time capsule. The Crabmeat Au Gratin is a mound of delicate lump crab meat, smothered in bechamel sauce and baked with a cheesy crust. (Even some of the top chefs in the city come here just for this decadent dish.)