Réveillon is a New Orleans tradition dating back to the mid-1800s. Back then, Creole families celebrated Réveillon twice during the holidays, Christmas Eve and again on New Year’s Eve. Now it’s celebrated on a nightly basis with rich, indulgent and very delicious multi-course meals, from Dec. 1 to New Year’s Eve at premier restaurants throughout the city.
Traditionally, the Christmas Eve meal celebrated the Christian faith. When families returned from St. Louis Cathedral, they broke their daylong fast with a large, extravagant meal that included egg dishes, sweet breads and Creole dishes like daube glace, which is a jellied stew made with seasoned beef and veal stock molded and served cold as hors d’oeuvres with crackers. The meal typically ended with a cake filled with fruit confection, drizzled with wine or rum and topped with whipped cream.
While Christmas was spent only with the family, New Year’s Eve was celebrated in a large group that also included friends and other loved ones. This fun-filled meal featured delicious treats like eggnog, fancy pastries, meringues, sugar sculptures and crystallized fruits. Afterwards, families would return home and enjoy a light meal before an evening of dancing and singing.
Today, restaurants in New Orleans serve both traditional menus inspired by the Creole tradition and contemporary menus using modern day ingredients and techniques not available when the tradition started.
Here are our favorite New Orleans restaurants participating this year. Click on the name of the restaurant to start the reservation process.
Bistreaux – Located in the Maison Dupuy, this restaurant led by Executive Chef Matt Regan features a Creole Réveillon with choices such as Crispy Fried Oysters with Abita BBQ Butter, Bacon & Blue Cheese over French Bread, Classic Turtle Soup, Braised Beef Short Rib with Smoked Onion and Cherry DemiGlace, and Apple Clafoutis topped with Caramel Sauce. Each of the four courses is available with a specially selected wine pairing. With wine: $100. Without wine: $52.
Brennan's – Brennan’s offerings look fabulous this year. You can start with a Brandy Milk Punch, followed by Brennan’s Oyster Soup, Filet of Beef Roscoe and Sticky Toffee Pudding. $65.
Café Amelie – Prepare yourself for a fabulous meal of a Southeast Louisiana Seasonal Greens Salad, New Orleans Seasonal Gumbo, Gulf Fish and Cherry Almond Bread Pudding with Brandy Cherry Sauce. $56.
Café Degas – Head to breathtaking Esplanade Avenue for Cured Duck Breast and Fresh Berries Salad, Seared Sea Scallops, Veal Rack with Celeriac Flan, Chocolate Pot de Crème and a glass of Ruby Port for lagniappe. $43.
Commander's Palace – A six-course feast awaits in the Garden District. Options include Jumbo Lump Blue Crab Ravigote, Baby Arugula and Winter Frissé, Chestnut Gnocchi, Warm Mulled Spiced Wine with a charred cinnamon stick, Pan Roasted Red Snapper, a Hand-carved Harris Ranch Filet and Apple Cider Spice Cake. $95.
Court of Two Sisters – Few restaurants in the French Quarter are as well known as this one. For Reveillon, they’re serving a traditional four-course menu with choices such as Crab & Brie Dip, Duck Confit en Casserole, and Bûche de Noël. See full menu. $50.
Crescent City Brewhouse – Known for its hand-crafted beer and fabulous food, Crescent City Brewhouse's Réveillon menu includes Baked Oysters Three Ways, Redfish Noël, and Bananas Foster Hand Pies. As lagniappe, you'll get to enjoy a 4 Beer Sampler. $51.
Gumbo Shop – Experience traditional and contemporary Creole cuisine in the casual elegance of a restored 1794 cottage. Savor choices like Chicken Andouille Gumbo, Tossed Green Salad with Toasted Pecan Vinaigrette, Catfish St. Peter, Homemade Pecan Pie and Café Brûlot. $36.
The Pelican Club – Nestled in the quiet Exchange Alley, this French Quarter restaurant features a contemporary Réveillon menu with choices including Cream Oyster and Mirliton Chowder, Mississippi Rabbit with Three Cheese Stone Grits, Rack of Lamb, White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding and Bourbon Spiked Eggnog. $48-$62.
SoBou – This spirited restaurant located just south of Bourbon Street is serving a Reveillon with Duck Confit Croquettes, Yellow Fin Tuna & Caviar, Cochon de Lait Tamale, Dulce de Leche Flan and Puerto Rican-Style Eggnog. $44.
Tujague’s – The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans blends traditions of the old with the new, as Chef Thomas Robey presents a four-course meal that includes Duck Confit Crostini, Lobster Bisque, Braised Colorado Lamb Shank and a Bananas Foster Bread Pudding. View complete menu. $54.
Réveillon on the Rocks: Oh, What Fun!
Along with traditional Réveillon Dinners, many restaurants are offering festive cocktails to enjoy with your feast or just on their own. Here are some we think you’d like to try:
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