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, sweetbreads 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. Afterward, 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.
Andrea's Restaurant – Chef Andrea's four-course holiday feast includes wonderful options like Angel Hair with Smoked Salmon and Vodka Sauce topped with Caviar, Insalata Buon Natale, Slow-roasted Duck Confit with White Bean Cassoulet, and Homemade Crepes. View full menu. $45.
Commander's Palace – A six-course feast awaits in the Garden District in one of the most beloved restaurants in the South. If you've never had a Christmas Pudding before, here's your chance. View menu. $90.
Pictured: Reveillon at Tujague's
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