Chirstmas in NOLA
December 18, 2014 2:52 PM   Subscribe

We decided to not worry about the in-laws this year and booked a last-minute Christmas trip to New Orleans instead. So where do we eat on Christmas?

We'll be in New Orleans from the 23rd-27th, and are staying at Bienville and Bourbon. What's going to be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, and which nearby restaurants do you think we should go to (or book a table at if there are any available)?
posted by thecjm to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
you might start with opentable to give you an idea of what might be open. i would definitely make a reservation.

I can't give specific restaurant recommendations because i have only been there once, and while i ate some great food, i am no expert on the area.
posted by domino at 3:00 PM on December 18, 2014

If Maurepas is open, then I urge you to consider it. We loved it so much we ate there three times on our visit - it's the best atmosphere, best farm-to-table-food, and most inventive cocktails in town for the price. Seriously, their cocktails.

It's in Bywater, which is two neighborhoods over from where you are staying. You could enjoy the walk (probably 20 minutes) or take a cab. In my opinion, Bywater is all the beauty and charm of New Orleans without the tourists. (Most people at the restaurant will wonder how you even know they exist given that you're from out of town.)
posted by nightrecordings at 3:12 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dammit, my suggestion was going to be the bistro at the Maison de Ville, but apparently it closed in 2011 and thus I recuse myself from this conversation.

However, suggestions:

Anywhere owned by the Brennans (Commander's Palace especially, though I doubt you'll get a table at this late date.)

Court Of Three Sisters?



In general I would expect most of the classic destination restaurants to be open, because people do special Christmas menus (usually called Reveillon) and it's a thing.

Here's a guide Eater did to Reveillon menus last year. I would imagine that most of these restaurants will be offering similar menus this year.
posted by Sara C. at 3:17 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

We were in NOLA for Thanksgiving and ate at Domenica (at noon) and Luke (evening). We really preferred our meal at Domenica. It was fancier than we expected - withturkey pot pie was the main turkey dish, pizza on the menu - we were expecting casual, but the atmosphere was more upscale and more importantly the food was interesting and had excellent flavors, good service - really enjoyed the meal.
posted by metahawk at 3:37 PM on December 18, 2014

If you've never done the fine dining in New Orleans thing, you should probably be prepared for things to be more fancy and formal than you'd expect. Even places with fusion-ish menus. New Orleans takes service very seriously, and while nobody's going to turn you away, it's really not the done thing to show up at Galatoire's in shorts.
posted by Sara C. at 3:54 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: According to open table Christmas day seatings are few and far between. I took a res for maximos but would love to continue to hear everyone's suggestions.
posted by thecjm at 4:27 PM on December 18, 2014

Reveillon is definitely the thing to do- and go to Domenica regardless of where else you eat, because it's in the Roosevelt hotel which has the best interior Christmas decorations in the city. Followed, I've heard, by the Royal Sonesta, which is handy for you!
posted by MadamM at 4:34 PM on December 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Also, this is a current list of Reveillon dinners, which you could cross reference with the guide from last year Sara C. posted.
posted by MadamM at 4:37 PM on December 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

Use opentable and get a reservation *now*. We did NOLA last year and no one thought to make a reservation which was a scramble last minute. For Christmas we did Chiba (which is Japanese) and it was really delicious and they were very accommodating. Not sure if Bhava is open for Christmas, but it was an awesome vegan place worth going to.
posted by Toddles at 4:49 PM on December 18, 2014

FWIW I used to live in NOLA, and in my experience, a lot of restaurants only take phone bookings on certain dates, even if they usually use OpenTable during non-peak hours. I'm fairly sure I ate at Luke one year on Christmas. Call any places you're interested in even if it seems like there's nothing on OpenTable.
posted by mostly vowels at 5:57 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Many places will be open, as mostly vowels says they might be phone reso's only for the holiday. Reveillon is the key word. I would personally crosscheck with Yelp, which is usually pretty reliable in this town esp. if you screen for local reviews.

Have fun! I am jealous.
posted by ista at 7:43 PM on December 18, 2014

Looks like MadamM hit it with the Reveillon link for this year's participating restaurants.

I'll play devil's advocate here and recommend that if you can't find a place in the Quarter that you want to visit, give a phone call to: Brigtsen's, Cafe Degas, Martinique Bistro, Mat & Naddies, or Upperline. Those are all a quick cab ride away and (probably) less likely to be full up. Those are also five that I will gladly personally vouch for and if you don't like your dinner there I'll buy you a drink.
posted by komara at 9:41 PM on December 18, 2014

Oh, I meant to say what camera did as well- definitely look outside the Quarter for places, since they're less likely to be full but just as likely to be delicious, if not more so! You can get just about anywhere in New Orleans in 20 minutes or less by cab, so don't limit yourself.
posted by MadamM at 11:42 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Looking at that Reveillon link, I'd personally recommend Cafe Degas, Luke, and Palace Cafe (which is a sister restaurant to Commander's Palace but less fussy).

Avoid the Gumbo Shop it's a tourist trap.
posted by radioamy at 11:50 PM on December 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if they will be open then but do try Orleans on Grapevine. Gosh if I could transport there for meals I would. It was cozy and wonderful and our server knew more about food than anyone I have ever met.
posted by elisebeth at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies everyone. Some great suggestions, and it I were doing it again I would have definitely booked something a month ago. We ended up moving our Christmas dinner reservation to Luke. That was a mistake.

Their menu was shortened for the holidays. They had a reveillon option, but we ended up ordering from the fews mains they did have available. We got our drinks and half a dozen oysters, and then never saw our server again. After about 45 minutes a manager type notice we didn't look happy and comped us another round and a free app. Our mains came out right after. Her pasta was overcooked and way too sweet. My shrimp and grits was good, though I could still taste the salt from it when I woke up the next morning.

If it wasn't Christmas night and there was anywhere else to go, we would have given up waiting, paid for our drinks and (very good) oysters, and left to find something else.

We did have some amazing meals at SoBou and Cane & Table and would recommend both to anyone. At SoBou we ended up just ordering six sides or apps and shared them and it was a fantastic meal. Cane & Table is pretty hip and felt like the New Orleans version of the kind of place we'd eat at here in Toronto.

And if you're hungry, like really hungry, and down on Decatur, a seafood platter from French Market Restaurant is enough to fill two people up.
posted by thecjm at 9:03 AM on December 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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