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:
Antoine’s – Since 1840, world-renowned Antoine's Restaurant has set the standard that made New Orleans one of the greatest dining centers of the world. Their 4-course Réveillon menu includes delcious options like Roast Duck Confit with Sweet Potatoes and Steen Cane Syrup Sauce, and Eggnog Bread Pudding with Golden Raisins, Pecans and Praline Rum Sauce. $49.
Bistreaux – Located in the Maison Dupuy, this restaurant led by Executive Chef Matt Regan features a Creole Réveillon with choices such as Flounder with Crispy Artichoke Grain, Kale and Pecan Brown Butter and Rum Pound Cake with a Spiced Wine-Poached Pear Romanoff Sauce. $48.
Café Adelaide – A member of the Commanders Famiy of Restaurants, Café Adelaide puts a modern twist on local Creole fare. Treat your palate to wonders like Blue Crab and Saffron Bisque, Chargrilled Texas Quail and Smoky Bacon and a Local Berry Cinnamon Roll. $49.
Commander's Palace – Lobster and Grilled Corn Pudding. Foie Gras and Riesling Pie à la mode. Grand Isle Flounder Stew. The 7-course Réveillon at Commander's Palace is an experience like no other. $100.
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 Baked Oysters on the Half Shell with Louisiana Caviar and Corn- and Crab-Stuffed Snapper. $50.
Crescent City Brewhouse – Known for its hand-crafted beer and fabulous food, Crescent City Brewhouse's Reveillon menu includes Baked Oysters Three Ways, Redfish Noël, and Bananas Foster Hand Pies. $46.
Galatoire's Restaurant – Experience Réveillon in one of Tennessee Williams' favorite restaurants. Choices include Duck and Andouille Gumbo, Petite Filet with Clemenceau, and Sweet Potato Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream. $40-$59.
Galatories "33" Bar and Steak – This fabulous French Quarter restaurant does more than steak. Join them during the holidays for treats such as Turtle Soup au Sherry, Broiled Drum Menunière Almondine, and Chocolate Crème Brûlée. $40-$59
Gumbo Shop – Enjoy traditional and contemporary Creole cuisine in the casual elegance of a restored 1794 cottage. Enjoy choices like Chicken Andouille Gumbo, Catfish St. Peter, and Chocolate Cheesecake with a Raspberry Liqueur Sauce. $36
The Pelican Club – Nestled in the quiet Exchange Alley, this French Quarter restaurant features a contemporary Réveillon menu with choices including Mississippi Rabbit with Grits, Roast Duckling with Orange Honey Sauce, and Apple Orange Upside-Down Cake with Lavendar Honey Ice Cream. $48.
SoBou – A spirited restaurant located just south of Bourbon Street, Sobou offers a Creole menu with terrific cocktails and self-serve wine. Réveillon options include a Kumquat Barbeque Lamb Steamed Bun, a Braised Beef Lengua Tamale, and Coquito (Puerto Rican-Style Eggnog). $44.
Tujague’s – The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans has a traditional meal planned with four courses that includes Creole Turtle Soup, Kobe Short Ribs Jardinère and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bourbon Caramel Sauce. $54.
Réveillon is a great way to celebrate the holiday season with family, friends and other special people, so make your plans now to enjoy a Réveillon dinner in New Orleans!
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