Where to Dine
Beneath the illumination of glittering chandeliers and the gaze of ancestral portraits, amid a wealth of Creole silk and damask, mannerly Brennan’s (pictured) serves the best boozy brunch in the Big Easy. Start with its renowned milk punch or Bloody Mary, then progress to the menu’s paragon-level dishes, among them turtle soup, black-truffled scrambled eggs and vanilla-scented French toast.
Touted as the best restaurant to open this decade, this superlative hot spot delivers the tastes of Tel Aviv right on Magazine Street. James Beard award–winning chef Alon Shaya puts out small plates in a busy, trendy place that oozes with soul. Though
not what you expect to be eating here, the Israeli food you gobble up will be unforgettable. The hummus might in fact be the best you’ll ever taste. Look forward to mounds of rich slow-cooked lamb with whipped feta, tomato-abundant shakshuka and light-as-air Persian rice.
Occupying a circa-1880 turquoise mansion in the Garden District, the Brennan family’s flagship restaurant is a breeding ground for wunderkind chefs from Paul Prudhomme to Emeril Lagasse, and it’s now helmed by Tory McPhail. Commander’s serves seriously celebratory meals and has a dress code to match. Worth donning your jacket for, meals here embrace the Louisiana terroir: oysters in absinthe, gumbo and bread-pudding soufflé—each is emblematic of superior haute-Creole fare. For a truly special experience, reserve the chef’s table to dine in the heart of the kitchen.
A labyrinthine haven with 14 splendorous dining rooms, each depicting elements of old-school Mardi Gras krewes, Antoine’s reigns as the United States’ oldest continually running restaurant. Opened by French immigrant Antoine Alciatore in 1840 as a boardinghouse, this standard-bearer of Creole culinary traditions is redolent of old New Orleans eccentricity and class. Try oysters Rockefeller (purportedly invented here), as well as eggs Sardou (poached eggs with spinach, artichokes and Hollandaise sauce)—ideal sustenance for foot-tapping at Sunday’s jazz brunch. Don’t leave without at least one bite of baked Alaska.
Locals lunch here on Friday and tend to stay all day. Appearing in myriad literary works (Stella, for example, invites Blanche to lunch here in A Streetcar Named Desire), Galatoire’s is legendary. Like a pearl plucked from an oyster shell, its swank interiors offer a glamorous surprise in contrast with its gritty Bourbon Street surroundings. Men must wear jackets, and nobody dines without waiting in line. But dishes such as crab maison, shrimp remoulade and trout amandine make Galatoire’s infinitely worth your while.