Dozen Best Bouillabaisse
Bouillabaisse is the great seafood stew of the South of France. It has cousins all around the Mediterranean, and wherever else it goes it picks up the flavors of the region. There is such a thing as a Creole bouillabaisse, for example. Other variations include the Spanish zarzuela and the Italian cioppino or cacciuco. They’re all mixed into this list.
1. La Cote Brasserie. Warehouse District: 700 Tchoupitoulas. 504-613-2350. French style with local seafood, as well as clams, scallops and mussels.
2. Pelican Club. French Quarter: 615 Bienville. 504-523-1504. Although they vary this, it’s usually done like an Italian cioppino, with a bowl of pasta bordelaise on the side and the stew in a copper pot. Mix as you like.
3. RioMar. Warehouse District: 800 S Peters. 504-525-3474. The great version of zarzuela, the Spanish answer to bouillabaisse.
4. Ristorante Del Porto. Covington: 501 E Boston St. 985-875-1006. A lusty cioppino, spicy and aromatic with fennel.
5. Meauxbar. French Quarter: 942 N Rampart. 504-569-9979. As close as anyone gets to the French style–but without the French fish. Which I don’t think you’d want anyway.
6. Lilette. Uptown: 3637 Magazine. 504-895-1636. The seafood in here is offbeat. Codfish, lobster, and even Alaskan king crab winds up in the pot.
7. Juniper. Mandeville: 301 Lafitte. 985-624-5330. They get the prize for the thickest, chunkiest bouillabaisse in the area. Best dish in a very good restaurant.
8. Cafe Minh. Mid-City: 4139 Canal. 504-482-6266. Here’s a unique version: a hybrid of the French, Creole, and Vietnamese techniques, in one exciting bowl.
9. Broussard’s. French Quarter: 819 Conti. 504-581-3866. Chef Gunter Preuss has been making bouillabaisse three times as long as his next most experienced competitor. Very New Orleans in style.
10. GW Fins. French Quarter: 808 Bienville. 504-581-3467. Not always on the menu, but usually. The only place I’ve seen salmon in the mix. It works.
11. Jacques-Imo’s. Riverbend: 8324 Oak. 504-861-0886. Cajun bouillabaisse takes many liberties, especially in the red-pepper department. A piece of blackened tuna tops it off.
12. Galvez. French Quarter: 912 N Peters. 504-585-1400. It’s the Spanish version, with (I think) bacalao being the offbeat seafood.