#2 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
4 Fleur
EntreePrice-24
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayNo Lunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayNo Dinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Galatoire’s

French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. Map.
Very Dressy
AE DC DS MC V
Website

ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
Galatoire’s still wins any poll to determine which is the city’s most definitive fine-dining restaurant. This despite the endless debate as to whether the restaurant was better in the Miss Yvonne era, or during the current non-Galatoire-family ownership, now on place for some five to fifteen years, depending on how it’s defined. Still, no matter where this discussion goes, it always seems to return to what a wonderful thing it is to dine at Galatoire’s. Particularly if you’re eating seafood. Starting with the classic cold appetizers of shrimp and crabmeat, through a bunch of hot starters, then into a large selection of local and not-so-local fish, prepared in a host of classical ways.

A slow night at Galatoire's.

A slow night at Galatoire’s.

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Galatoire’s is the apotheosis of the traditional Creole-French restaurant, so tightly integrated into the city’s culture that almost anything it does makes news. With a menu full of borrowings from classic French cuisine and other New Orleans restaurants, it reassures us that we stand on firm culinary ground. Just as important is the social side of Galatoire’s. No place better shows off the style of the upper levels of New Orleans society–who have much more fun than their counterparts in other American cities.

Shrimp remoulade.

Shrimp remoulade.

WHAT’S GOOD
The first generations of the Galatoire family had the knowledge and taste to set a standard that lives on today. The food and service are simple, relying on local ingredients of excellent quality (especially seafood) and recipes refined through decades of natural selection. Meanwhile, the waiters perform organically with the kitchen and the customers to deliver the best to those who know how to enjoy it. Truth be told, the food here is brilliant in only a small percentage of its long menu catalog. That doesn’t matter, because if you understand Galatoire’s–something not possible on a first visit–you also know what and how to order.

Trout amandine.

Trout amandine.

BACKSTORY
Chef Jean Galatoire came to New Orleans from a small town in France in the late 1800s, when French cuisine dominated the city. He went to work for a restaurant called Victor’s, and in 1905 he bought it and changed the name to his own. Cooking French classics with New Orleans ingredients, he and his large family (now in its fourth generation) established Galatoire’s as particularly sympatheque to the unique New Orleans style of socializing. In the late 1990s, a shift in the family brought in new management and performed a major renovation. New Year’s Day 2006, Galatoire’s gave great comfort to the city by reopening after Hurricane Katrina. In early 2010, the Galatoire family created a stir by selling most of its interest in the restaurant to two investors (long-time customers both).

DINING ROOM
The main dining room downstairs is the most photographed restaurant interior in New Orleans. Tiled floors, mirrored walls, motionless fans of polished brass hanging from high ceilings, and bright naked light bulbs create half the scene. The rest is supplied by the jammed-in customers, all well-dressed (especially the women) and deeply engaged in sending a convivial energy back and forth, to the accompaniment of ambient noise that can make conversation impossible. The second floor dining rooms are pleasant but much less distinctive. However, the addition of a bar and waiting area in the 1990s was very welcome, all but eliminating the need to wait in line on the sidewalk for the unreservable downstairs tables.


FULL ONLINE MENU

BEST DISHES
Starters
Fried eggplant and souffle potatoes bearnaise
Shrimp rémoulade
Oysters en brochette
Crabmeat maison
Oysters Rockefeller
Crabmeat canapé Lorenzo
Sautéed sweetbreads
Créole gumbo
Turtle soup

Entrees
Godchaux salad (seafood and greens)
Fish meunière amandine
Fish with crabmeat Yvonne
Poached fish with hollandaise or Marguery sauce
Crabmeat Sardou
Crabmeat au gratin
Fried or broiled soft shell crabs meunière
Shrimp Marguery
Shrimp or crawfish etouffée
Chicken Clemenceau
Filet mignon, strip sirloin, or ribeye steak
Lamb chops

Desserts
Cup custard
Banana bread pudding
Crepes maison

FOR BEST RESULTS
Knowing a waiter here is a huge advantage. Take their advice without exception.This is the last restaurant in town that requires a jacket for men at dinner, and (attention!) no jeans ever. No restaurant scene surpasses in joyousness the Friday afternoon crowd at Galatoire’s. However, the quality of the food and service come way down then. The best time to come is in the later afternoon; the restaurant keeps going through dinner, is never empty, and is more attentive to the fine points.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Someday, something will be done to give the upstairs dining rooms more of the feeling of the downstairs. Some of the waiters are playing a role more than they’re waiting tables.

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +3
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar +1
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +3

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Romantic
  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Good for children
  • Reservations accepted

 

4 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. rod bailey on March 14, 2015

    Awaiting moderation?
    while not a New Orleanian, I’ve been eating at Galatoire’s for over 50 years and something is amiss. I can supply ample detail if it would be helpful.
    Thanks,
    Rod

    TOMMENT:
    Okay, let’s hear your report!

  2. Rod Bailey on March 14, 2015

    mealy shrimp in remoulade, items ordered as entrees arrived too quickly to have been freshly prepared: oysters en brochettes–shriveled bi-valves, over breaded, cool room temperature; stuffed eggplant–under seasoned, paucity of shrimp and crab, as in almost none; floury, pasty bechamel; warm at best. Oh, crabmeat maison, shredded, not lump and underseasoned.

  3. Rod Bailey on March 14, 2015

    mealy shrimp in remoulade, items ordered as entrees arrived too quickly to have been freshly prepared: oysters en brochettes–shriveled bi-valves, over breaded, cool room temperature; stuffed eggplant–under seasoned, paucity of shrimp and crab, as in almost none; floury, pasty bechamel; warm at best. Oh, crabmeat maison, shredded, not lump and underseasoned.
    Duplicate?

  4. Heidi on April 2, 2015

    Tom, I’m sure they allow jeans for lunch now. And we go to Galatoire’s about 5 times a year and it’s still great. The chef is wacky but the real cooks in the kitchen turn out good food.

HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY?