Where to Eat for the Holidays
Reveillon Dinners and Open Restaurants
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The Holiday Season is a fun and exciting time for dining out in New Orleans, and our world-famous restaurants are more than happy to share the Christmas joy with you. Here are some helpful tips on how you can fully enjoy your New Orleans culinary experience.
In French, New Orleans' original language, the word "reveillon" means "awakening." This is how the Creoles, some of the city's earliest inhabitants celebrated the start of Christmas in the 19th century, with a big family meal when they returned home from midnight mass.
Two o'clock in the morning may be an odd time to start a feast consisting of chicken and oyster gumbo, game pies, soups, souffles, lavish desserts, brandy and coffee, but this is how it was done back then. It was a tradition the Creoles inherited from their European cousins as a way of breaking the daylong religious fast leading up to Christmas Eve.
By the 1940s, the Reveillon Dinner custom, which had been slowly fading out over succeeding generations, all but disappeared. However, it was revived in the 1990s – with modifications reflecting the times – and has been increasing in popularity ever since.
Among those modifications, the emphasis on Reveillon Dinners shifted from family dinners at home to the city's restaurants. Also, the meals are offered at more traditional dining times during the day, instead of in the wee hours of the morning. Today close to three dozen of New Orleans' top restaurants offer Reveillon Dinners with menus very similar to those enjoyed by the Creole families who began the tradition. But, as might be expected, the participating restaurants have added their own little twists to their menus, featuring their house specialties and other delectable examples of their culinary creativity.
While couples or travelers visiting New Orleans solo can have memorable Reveillon Dinner experiences, the tradition is best enjoyed with a group of family or friends gathered around a large table or taking over one of the small private dining rooms found in many old French Quarter restaurants. It's the next best thing to having a big, festive holiday gathering at home. The feelings of togetherness and holiday cheer will be much the same.
Click here for a list of participating restaurants.
Christmas Day Dining
If you are in New Orleans for Christmas, whether on business or leisurely traveling, sooner or later you’re going to be looking for a place to dine out. Many, if not most of the city’s restaurants will be closed for Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day but many will be open.
About twenty major restaurants, most of which are in the French Quarter or downtown New Orleans will be open on one or both of these days. The following is a list of those dining establishments open for the holidays:
(R= Reveillon, CE - Christmas Eve, CD - Christmas Day,
NYE - New Year's Eve, NYD - New Year's Day)
|5 fifty 5 - CER
7 on Fulton - CE CD NYE NYD (no reveilion)
Albertine Tea Room - CER, CDR
Bombay Club - CER, CDR, NYE, NYD
Bourbon House - CER NYE NYD
Brennan's - CE, NYE, NYD
Brigtsen's - NYE
Broussard's - CER, NYE
Cafe Adelaide - CER, CD, NYE, NYD
Commander's Palace - CE, NYE, NYD
Court of 2 Sisters - CER, NYE, NYD
Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse - NYE, NYD
Galatoire's - CER, NYE, NYD
The Gumbo Shop - CER, NYE, NYD
The Grill Room - CE, CD, NYD
Hunt Room Grill - CER, CDR
La Cote Brasserie - CER, CD, NYE NYD
M Bistro - Ritz Carlton - CE, CD, NYE, NYD
Martinique Bistro - CER, NYE, NYD
Mat & Naddie's - NYE
Morton's Steakhouse - CE, NYE
Muriels' - NYER, NYDR
Palace Cafe - NYE, NYD
Pelican Club - CER, NYE
Rib Room - CER, CD, NYE, NYD
Tujague's - CER, CD, NYE, NYD