One of celebrity chef John Besh’s beloved restaurants, August focuses on local ingredients and French culinary traditions. The historic 19th century building incorporates grand details such as a wood paneled bar and dining room with massive crystal chandeliers. There are numerous private rooms, but the atmosphere is elegant and formal throughout.
One of the best restaurants in New Orleans, Gautreau’s has been recognized by Food & Wine and the James Beard foundation as a hothouse for great young chefs. Set in an elegant house on Soniat Street, the restaurant is known for modern American cuisine. A stand-out dish during a recent visit was sautéed halibut with spicy beurre blanc, chanterelles, corn, brabant potatoes and brussel sprouts. Don’t miss desserts like caramelized banana split with vanilla ice cream, warm banana bread, butterscotch, chocolate sauce and toasted walnuts.
Herbsaint is a restaurant that pays homage to the spirit and history of New Orleans, with a modern look to the future. This local favorite is a comfortable, casually upscale eatery serving French-inspired cuisine with a Southern touch. The menu offers a selection of small plates (try the beef short rib with potato rosti) in addition to cross-cultural entrées like locally-sourced duck confit served with dirty rice and citrus gastrique. The coconut cream pie with macadamia-nut crust is one of the best desserts I have ever eaten. The warm bistro, with humble white tablecloths and natural wood accents is a place where lingering over one more glass is not occasional, but rather expected.
La Crêpe Nanou
Tucked away on a sleepy side street, the food is truly delicious at this cozy, romantic French bistro. Be sure to save room for the fantastic selection of dessert crèpes.
La Petite Grocery
This corner restaurant on Magazine Street in the Garden District is a local mainstay serving French-Creole food in a lovely, dimly-lit atmosphere. While the regular menu serves inventive cuisine using local ingredients, the daily specials are the real stars and not to be missed. Try the handmade papperdelle with braised duck legs and crème fraîche for a hearty but heavenly starter. The subtle design is as welcoming as the waiters—on a recent visit my friends and I were welcomed to stay well after closing time.
Head chef and James Beard Award–nominee John Harris serves up seasonal French and Italian-inspired fare in this bistro on Magazine Street. The menu offers a selection of straightforward and innovative dishes ranging from a raw brussel sprouts salad to roasted musocvy duck breast with kale and butternut squash. Set in a converted corner pharmacy, the local favorite has ceramic-tiled floors, maroon walls and high ceilings, all of which create a charming environment that transports you to another time. For a romantic evening, request a table on the side patio.
Mr. B’s Bistro
Muriel’s Jackson Square
Muriel’s serves a gorgonzola prosciutto tart that is alone worth the visit (as is requesting a copy of the recipe). Muriel’s is a perfect spot for a long New Orleans lunch. The restaurant occupies an 18th-century mansion, whose inhabitants allegedly still haunt the hallways. During the lull between meals, waiters treat guests to a tour of the haunted second floor.
Fresh ingredients abound at this in-demand Uptown restaurant. A true labor of love, chef Aaaron Burgau locally sources seasonal ingredients for a fresh take on classic French food.
R’evolution reflects the evolving nature of New Orleans cuisine and offers a more contemporary take on the distinctive Creole/Cajun combination. The Louisiana pedigreed chef combined his heritage and skills with those of a more daring, modern toque with the vision of creating one of the best restaurants in the city. In a town of classic restaurants, R’evolution’s has raised the bar with intricate presentation and panache. Don’t miss the thyme-laced tuile, a thin, crisp cage over the chicken in one of their staple dishes, “Bird in a Cage”.