New Orleans' Top-Five Classic Restaurants
Begin with the Oysters Rockefeller ($12); the recipe is a closely guarded secret. The souffléed potatoes ($6.25) are another true treat. Try the Pompano Pontchartrain ($33.75) as an entrée. Smothered in crabmeat, the dish gets a kick from green onions. Don't forget to order the baked Alaska ahead of time (it feeds two for $16.50) , and they'll emblazon your name in meringue on the delectable creation. Even if you're not royalty, you'll feel like a king or queen when you leave. 713 St. Louis Street; www.antoines.com or (504) 581-4422.
A beautiful main dining room greets you at this elegant Creole restaurant on Bienville Street located between Bourbon and Dauphine. Crystal chandeliers cast a glow on the tiled floor, while fluted columns and small vases of flowers on the tables add to the ambience of the 1918 mainstay. Large black pots hold lacy ferns, and original light fixtures reflect off the tall leaded-glass windows.
In the midst of this lovely setting, begin with a house
favorite. Order the Shrimp Arnaud ($8.95), which is shrimp
marinated in a tangy rémoulade made with Creole mustard. Now
move on to Trout Meunière--deep fried and served with Creole
Meunière Sauce and Brabant potatoes ($25.95). For dessert, ask
for the Strawberries Arnaud ($6.95), fresh berries marinated in a
port wine sauce and served over ice cream.
813 Bienville Street; www.arnauds.com or (504) 522-8767.
above, left: Every meal at Arnaud's is a cause to celebrate.
Start out with a combo of the best appetizers: Shrimp Rémoulade, Crabmeat Maison, and Shrimp Maison ($26.50). The flavors of the tart rémoulade blend well with the creamy crab (loaded with capers). Then move on to the Poisson Meunière Amandine ($19.50) for an entrée. Ask about the soft-shell crab, which is in season in April. Finish everything with a light Cup Custard ($4) for dessert, though the bread pudding ($5) is popular too. 209 Bourbon Street; www.galatoires.com or (504) 525-2021.
Dinner offers an equally divine set of choices. Another prix fixe menu ($48) by chef Lazone Randolph includes seafood gumbo--chock-full of crab, shrimp, and okra-- and blackened redfish. Grilled with just the right amount of spice, the dish is a great entrée to pair with Creole White Chocolate Mousse Pie, some of the best calories you'll ever consume. 417 Royal Street; www.brennansneworleans.com or (504) 525-9711.
above, left: For a signature Brennan's cocktail, try the Mr. Funk of New Orleans, made with Champagne, peach Schnapps, and cranberry juice and garnished with a fresh strawberry.
Order from chef Tory McPhail's menu, a $35 prix fixe bonanza. Indulge in Eggs Jeannette, a dish the restaurant refers to as "improved eggs Benedict." Garlic and black pepper elevate pork and poached eggs to a new level, as do oyster mushrooms, leeks, a sage buttermilk biscuit, and tasso hollandaise. You'll be smiling when you leave and eager to return--for the music, for the food, for the ambience that only New Orleans possesses and so freely dishes out to all who keep coming back, hungry for more. 1403 Washington Avenue; www.commanderspalace.com or (504) 899-8221.
Touring And Tasting
For a terrific overview that includes many fine New Orleans restaurants, check out New Orleans Culinary History Tours. You'll learn about the history of the cuisine, the restaurants' beginnings, and interesting food trivia. www.noculinarytours.com or (504) 427-9595.