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Crescent City Culinary Classics: The 6 Most Historic Restaurants in New Orleans

Historic New Orleans Restaurants - French Quarter Corner
Chris Osburn
Written by Chris Osburn

Here’s a deliciously historical look at six of the finest and oldest restaurants in one of the world’s greatest cities for eating out: New Orleans. With Mardi Gras just around the corner, it’s best you make your reservations ASAP or get ready to line up if you want a bite of the action.

Please note this list is only about the city’s oldest sit-down restaurants. To be sure there are loads more bars, cafes, bakeries and shops with just as many decades behind them and, of course, all sorts of other amazing places to eat and drink around town.

Laissez les bon temps rouler and bon appetit, y’all!

Antoine’s (1840)

As the oldest restaurant in town, and one of the five oldest in the US, Antoine’s is a gorgeous French Quarter restaurant (located at 713 St Louis Street) that has quite a reputation to live up to. Despite its landmark status, staff and kitchen still work hard to ensure every diner has an amazing meal. Classic NOLA dishes like Oysters Rockefeller or Eggs Sardou are among the delights listed on the menu, while the bar does a Sazerac to perfection.

Reservations are recommended and the dress code is smart casual with jackets preferred for men in the evening.


Tujague’s (1856)

Brrr… It’s cold outside! Come warm up with some of our Creole Gumbo #tujagues #noladining #gumbo

A photo posted by Tujagues Restaurant (@tujagues_restaurant) on

The second-oldest restaurant in New Orleans, Tujague’s is a French Quarter restaurant (at 823 Decatur Street) that carries on traditions begun when carriages crowded the city’s cobblestone streets. Enjoy a cocktail at the original stand-up bar, now in its second century! The shrimp remoulade and brisket po-boys are two of its most popular offerings (not to mentioned the drinks mixed with skill behind the bar).

Reservations are recommended and the dress code is smart casual.

Commander’s Palace (1893)

Lunch on the patio today.

A photo posted by Commander’s Palace (@commanderspalace) on

Family owned Commander’s Palace has been wowing palates with exquisite Haute Creole dishes and utterly genteel service since 1893, making it the third-oldest restaurant in New Orleans. With chefs such as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Shannon, and now Tory McPhail among its kitchen alumni, this revered Garden District restaurant dripping with awards and accolades (located at 1403 Washington Avenue) is arguably the city’s most popular and historically significant place to eat. Dining here is something like a dream come true – and a most delicious dream at that.

Reservations are recommended, while the dress code is business attire with jackets preferred for men.

Galatoire’s (1905)

Friday Lunch Feast. #galatoireslunch #nola #frenchquarter

A photo posted by Galatoire’s Restaurant (@galatoiresnola) on

Galatoire’s is rowdy and raucous. It is also rarefied and refined. Maybe all the revelry is simply because folks feel understandably jubilant to be eating the epitome of Haute Creole cuisine in this historic and iconic Bourbon Street restaurant (at 209 Bourbon Street). Despite its location on one of the most infamously touristic streets in the world, 90% or more of Galatoire’s clientele are usually gleefully indulgent locals exuding pride to reside in such a bon vivant town.

The restaurant has a no reservations policy, so queue up early to avoid disappointment, especially for Friday lunch, when it’s a safe bet the place will be packed to the rafters and buzzing with boozed-up excitement. The dress code is business casual for lunch. No shorts or T-shirts, and jackets are required for gentlemen starting at 5 p.m. nightly and all day Sunday.

Arnaud’s & the French 75 Bar (1918)

Arnaud’s & the French 75 Bar is a 99-year-old grande dame of Haute Creole cuisine that opened in 1918 and continues to woo patrons with its regional fish and seafood with local flair. The restaurant’s bar, French 75, was a hot spot during Prohibition, offering private rooms for imbibing customers. Today, the speakeasy ambiance remains with a cozy catacomb of nooks lined along the restaurant’s spine. A small ensemble of jazz performers serenades diners at their table nightly as well as for Sunday Jazz brunch. 

Reservations are recommended and the dress code is business casual (collared shirts required for men, no shorts, t-shirts or flip-flops are permitted).


Broussard’s (1920)

#CaseoftheMondays? We have the cure. #BananasFoster

A photo posted by Broussard’s Restaurant (@broussards) on

Established in 1920, Broussard’s is an elegant French Quarter setting for fine dining with a menu focused on elevating down-home dishes through culinary refinement (find it on 819 Conti Street). There’s a pretty courtyard for intimate al fresco dining and a most magnificent bar for exploring an inspired range of cocktails that are as historic as they are tasty.

Reservations are recommended and the dress code is smart casual for the dining area (no dress code for the bar).

Have you been to any other great historic eateries in The Big Easy? Do you have a favorite historic restaurant in your city you’d like to tell us about? Let us know in the comments below.


About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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