New Orleans is the quintessential foodie town with a reputation for first-rate fine cuisine, most notably the traditional Creole and Cajun with French, Spanish, Italian, and Native American influences. Exceptional food can present itself at hole-in-the-wall diners as well as five star eateries.
Since 2003, food critic Brett Anderson of the Times-Picayune newspaper has compiled a bi-annual list of Top 10 New Orleans Restaraunts (the list was not published in 2005 due to the disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina). The only qualification for inclusion in this list is that the restaurant “upholds New Orleans’ reputation for world-class fine dining”.
The three restaurants named below have all made the Top 10 multiple years: Herbsaint and Restaurant August have been on the list every year since its publication, and Galatoires earned the honor from 2003-2009 and again in 2012. Additionally, each restaurant has earned other accolades beyond the Times-Picayune list. If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans, these are some prime places to savor that “world class fine dining”.
Herbsaint (Central Business District )
Chef Donald Link describes Herbsaint’s menu as “French and Italian-inspired, yet distinctive Southern dishes”. Main courses range from $27 to $36 and include Duck Leg Confit and Pork Belly; the restaurant also serves a variety of small plates and a Bistro Menu for more casual dining.
Herbsaint’s food is sourced from small local farms, and was named as one of the 50 Best Restaurants in America by Gourmet magazine in 2006.
Galatoires (Bourbon Street)
Since 1905, Galatoires has been family-owned and operated (in its same location at 209 Bourbon Street), so the menu is not the invention of a single chef but rather a composite of family recipes that have evolved over four generations. Entrees can be had for $13 to $50.
Food critic Brett Anderson suggests the crabmeat maison, trout amandine and bouillabaisse. The menu gives equal standing to fish, shellfish, meat, poultry and eggs and offers an impressive list of vegetables and potatoes.
Restaurant August (Garden District)
Restaurant August offers French-inspired Louisiana cuisine; entrée prices range from $35 to $40. Signature dishes include foie gras three ways, redfish courtbouillon and Mangalista park tenderloin. The restaurant offers a 3-crourse pre fixe degustation menu for $97 per person or $147 with sommelier pairings, as well as a “Tasting Of Farmers Market Vegetables” for $60 ($90 with sommelier's pairing).
Chef John Besh won the coveted James Beard Award in 2006; that same year Restaurant August was named one of the top 50 Restaurants in the United States by Gourmet Magazine.
This is just a “taste” of the fine dining choices New Orleans has to offer. You can find the the complete list of the 2012 Top 10 New Orleans Restaurants here.