Sometimes my recreational time in a city is so limited that I have only one meal to experience the essence of a city. This is when I really start to dig deep online for reviews and recommendations. My goal is usually to find something that features locals food, provides the true feel of that city, and has a good food reputation. It’s a tall task! I’ve said this in the past but sites like Thrillest and Eater are my trusty food reference companions over sites that often get paid reviews like Yelp and Trip-Advisor. It’s just my personal preference but I’ve been led to some great meals. This time a combination of word of mouth and internet resources took me to the historic Antoine’s Restaurant.
Antoine’s has a storied history that dates back to 1840. It is known as the second oldest restaurant in America (and the oldest continuous family run restaurant). It’s no wonder they know a thing or two about dining and etiquette there. It serves up French-Creole fine dining and it has laid claim to the invention of some of the most famous dining terms and dishes. The word “appetizer”, as legend has it, was coined by Antoine’s. Also, the creation of Oyster’s Rockefeller was also have said to be born in that kitchen. With everyone from Pope’s to Presidents to modern day celebrities stepping through the doors it has developed quite a name for itself in New Orleans.
Antoine’s has 14 (let me say that again….14!!!!) dining rooms in its establishment. Whether you’re there for dinner or a wedding you’ll receive the same white glove style service. I have to give a shout-out to our amazing server (If only I could remember his name! Pregnancy brain is a real thing people…..). Not only did he provide stellar service he went above and beyond to give us a little private tour of the restaurant and tons of history. And no, he had no clue I was a food blogger or that any sort of write-up might ensue. This was just a friendly gesture for a table he waited on because he is so passionate about Antoine’s.
When you’re selecting from the menu, stick to the classic and the waitstaff suggestions. Many of the ites date back to the restaurant’s inception. They are popular for a reason. Classic French techniques blend with Southern Creole style cooking to formulate this established menu. Seafood like oysters, shrimp and crab can head to the top of your order lists. While our table mostly stuck to seafood, we were also told that the Beef dishes were also to be desired.
Bisque d’ Ecrevisses
We sat in the largest dining room whose walls are ornately covered in photographs of newspaper clippings and photos that are connected to Antoine’s over the years. It’s both overwhelming and charming in the same breath. While it is white glove service, it does not have that new age classy feel. But what it is, is comfortable and full of a timeless New Orlean’s style appeal.
The large Dining Room in Antoine’s
Antoine’s Wine Cellar
Porch View from Private Room in Antoine’s
Antoine’s is a true classic. It is not a restaurant reinventing the wheel of the food future. It is somewhere that did that back in the 1800s and has continued to stay with their roots for centuries. If you’re looking for trendy, this isn’t your place. But, if you want an experience, a taste of true local French-Creole, and to be a small part of history, you’ve found the place.
For more on their history, their menu, etc. head to Antoine’s website: http://www.antoines.com
…all for the love of the dish