#31 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
Restaurant des Familles
ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS
New Orleans is in close proximity to many Ends Of The World. Restaurant des Familles is not quite that remote, but well down the road to a place that is: Barataria, the hangout of Jean Lafitte and his pirates. The surroundings of the restaurant are primordial enough that there are swamp tours nearby. Yet it’s close enough to town that if you have a visiting client or friend who wants to eyeball the unique Louisiana environment, it’s not too long a trip to come here. And eat some gumbo, oysters, crabmeat, and all the other comestibles for which our town is celebrated.
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Lafitte and the communities around it abound in fishing camps and charter fishing boats. It makes sense that a restaurant should tap into the bounty. This is a good-looking restaurant whose windows gaze into the bayou. The menu ranges from the casual to the more elaborate, with a logical emphasis on seafood.
It’s a touch upscale from and much better looking than the typical seafood joint. Des Familles cooks the basics like boiled shrimp remoulade, gumbo, and seafood platters. On the other hand, it can get more ambitious, with interesting sauces and unique preparations. Also here: the only Sunday brunch worth talking about on the West Bank.
Restaurant des Familles is named for the bayou outside its windows. At one time in the dim past, that was the Mississippi River. Pat Morrow opened the restaurant in 1993. It was washed out by Hurricane Katrina, but dried out and reopened just in time to be flooded again by Hurricane Rita. It came back quickly after that, too. In 2009, Morrow sold the restaurant to Bryan Zar, one of her early employees. He began as a teenage busboy with no plans to stay in the business, but it grabbed him.
A large wall of glass that gives onto the lazy old bayou creates most of the atmosphere. Alligators have been known to appear in the winding backwater. The visual is almost laughably typical of South Louisiana. The dining room is spacious and airy. Sometimes there’s live music.
FULL ONLINE MENU
Alligator-stuffed mushrooms, alligator sauce piquant
Char-broiled oysters, garlic butter and parmesan
Bayou stack (layers of shrimp, crabmeat, tomato, greens, red onion, egg)
White bean soup, tasso ham
Chicken & sausage gumbo
Soft-shell crab, fried, crawfish tails
Grilled redfish, alligator sauce piquant, crabmeat
Redfish Marcel (sautéed mushrooms, brown butter, crabmeat, grilled shrimp, dirty rice)
Broiled whole flounder, crabmeat dressing, dirty rice
Catfish Foster (artichoke bottoms, mushrooms, green onions white wine lemon butter
Fried seafood platters: oysters, soft-shell crabs, catfish, shrimp, or combinations
Shrimp Diane (spicy garlic-butter sauce, green onions, mushrooms)
Pork chop, white bean puree, grilled asparagus
Baby back ribs
Pecan cobbler, ice cream and caramel sauce
White chocolate bread pudding
FOR BEST RESULTS
Des Familles serves the best alligator dishes anywhere in the area. If you’ve never been this way before, check the map. The restaurant isn’t hard to find, but easy to zoom past.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Almost all the fish is farm-raised. Seems that in a place like this they could come up with more wild-caught fish.
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 +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness -1
- Local Color +3
- Good view
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday lunch
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations recommended