The culinary landscape in New Orleans is as dense as a swamp full of alligators!
Food offerings are abundant and decadent. Popular drinks are literally available on the street, where it is legal to carry an open container. Many tourists walk around with a beer, Hurricanes, Daiquiris or Sazeracs. I was shocked to witness a tour group enter an historic cemetery with booze and brews in hand!
So what’s a serious wine lover to do in NOLA? Lots! There is an amazing selection of wine-centric restaurants with terrific bottles to match their delectable cuisine.
Some of my favorites recently visited:
Commander's Palace is nestled in the heart of the historic New Orleans Garden District, just steps from the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line.
5-Star Wine List: The list is NOLA’s largest at 125 pages! Wine Guy and Sommelier Dan Davis maintains a large selection of interesting, wallet-friendly bottles costing $60 or less.
5-Star Creole Cuisine: This is the legendary, bucket-list gastronomic destination where Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse made their bones. Chef Tory McPhail is now at
the helm taking Commander’s Palace to new culinary heights. Try the seven-course “Chefs Playground Menu” ($90) with wine pairings ($42.50). On Sundays, the restaurant offers a Jazz Brunch, featuring a special menu and live New Orleans jazz by the Joe Simon Jazz Trio.
1403 Washington Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Tel. (504) 899-8221
Hours of Operation:
: Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Dinner: Monday – Sunday: 6:30 – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Established in 1840 and located in the French Quarter, Antoine’s is the oldest French-Creole Restaurant in New Orleans. If its walls could talk, you would be amazed to learn that a host of Presidents, J. Edgar Hoover, a Pope and many dignitaries have dined in Antoine’s fourteen different dining rooms!
5-Star Wine List: Antoine’s boasts a 175 ft. long wine cellar and more than 250,000 bottles, all replaced after Hurricane Katrina. Just like the cuisine, the list leans more toward French classics such as Sancerre and Rhone reds.
5-Star Creole Cuisine: Antoine’s is ground zero for original classics like Oysters Rockefeller and Eggs Sardou. Their take on Pommes de Terre Soufflés (fried puffed potatoes) is simply delicious with a glass of Sancerre. Their Filet de Boeuf Nature (Prime Chicago Beef Tenderloin Tips) with Marchand de Vin Sauce was cooked so perfectly you could cut it with a spoon! Antoine’s Baked Alaska is unmatched as well as gigantic. Save room for this orgasmic dessert ($19 for two)!
713 St Louis St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Tel. (504) 581-4422
Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5:30 – 9 p.m.
Lunch: Monday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Jazz Brunch: Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Chef Michael Stoltzfus and partner Lillian Hubbard opened Coquette on the corner of Washington Avenue and Magazine Street in December 2008. Located in New Orleans’s Garden District, Coquette is well worth the 15-minute cab ride from the French Quarter. Chef Stoltzfus describes his restaurant’s cuisine as “evolving American with a French influence!”
5-Star Down-to-Earth Wine List: Coquette’s wine selection is diversified with fruit- forward, food-friendly wines at wallet-friendly price points. GM and Wine Manager Tiffany Haleamau has developed one of the most unique wine lists in NOLA. They have twenty-five wines available by the glass! Whether it is a Merlot from Garda, Italy or an unwooded Chardonnay from Anderson Valley, California, chances are you will be talking about that unique bottle of wine you enjoyed at Coquette for years to come!
5-Star “Honest” American-French cuisine: Coquette’s chefs focus on using quality, local ingredients like local vegetables, meats and seafood. This results in an ever-changing menu. In-house techniques like smoking meats and pickling vegetables add wonderful flavors on the plate. Try these signature dishes: Smoked Wild Catfish, Grilled Kale with Parsley and Satsuma ($12), Ham Sandwich (brined and smoked in house) with Cranberry, Montgomery Cheddar and Chips ($14), Shrimp and Grits with LA Hot Sauce ($15). For dessert, don’t miss the decadent King Cakes Sundae with Strawberry, Cream Cheese and Cinnamon ($10), or the inventive Frozen Coconut with Cucumber, Sesame, Basil and Lime ($10).
Worthwhile Splurge: 5-Course Blind Tasting (dishes decided by chef), $70 plus optional wine pairings ($30); whole table must order.
Coming May 21, 2014: Coquette’s Jordan Vineyards Winemakers Dinner during the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (www.nowfe.com).
2800 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70115
Tel. (504) 265-0421
Hours of Operation:
Happy Hour: Wednesday – Saturday 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Dinner: Wednesday – Monday 5:30 – 10 p.m.
Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Brunch: Sunday 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Famed Restaurateur Dickie Brennan’s Tableau (pronounced tab low) opened in April, 2013 in picturesque Jackson Square at Le Petit Theatre. The building boasts three floors, two bars, numerous private rooms, a courtyard and dining balconies overlooking Jackson Square. Tableau’s cuisine is classic and simple French Creole with a unique twist.
5-Star Wines and Spirits:
Tableau has an eclectic selection of wines that have been hand selected by Beverage Director Barry Himel. While the wine list is heavily European, you will find nine whites and nine reds sold by the glass, including Bieler Père et Fils Rose from Provence on tap, Coriole Sangiovesi and Shiraz blend from McLaren Vale and Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot from Washington. The bottle list is full of unique finds including Domaine Rion Patrice 2010 Burgundy from Cote de Nuits Vieilles Vignes ($120). The bar also serves up a diverse selection of beers and spirits including nine signature cocktails. We loved the Réveillon, which was made from Remy Martin Cognac, cranberry shrub, simple syrup, bitters and orange juice ($12).
5-Star Flavorful French Creole Cuisine:
Chef Ben Thibodeaux has put his twist on French Creole classics, incorporating local ingredients whenever possible. He has been cooking since his high school days, and even spent a year in France working for a butcher. It is no wonder that he prefers to pair food with Syrahs from Washington and Southern France! For appetizers we loved the Escargot Bordelaise, which featured snails baked with lemon parsley and roasted garlic, topped with a puff pastry ($9). Meat lovers should order the Tournedos Rossini Moderne, which is topped with seared Foie Gras and Marchands de Vin reduction ($32 full, $22 demi portion). Other classics include Oysters in Brochette ($9), Creole Courtbouillon Seafood Stew ($25) and Roasted Duck ($28). Save room for Tableau’s delectable selection of eleven different desserts as well as after-dinner drinks.
616 St Peter St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
Tel. (504) 934-3463
Open 7 days for lunch or dinner