Eat & Drink


214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA 70130

Restaurant Review

Anecdotes & Analysis

About two years ago I ran into Monteleone Hotel general manager Ron Pincus at Parkway Poor Boys. He told me that he was in the last stages of pulling together the budget for a major change in the hotel's superannuated, dull restaurants. Knowing Pincus's track record (particularly his years at the Royal Orleans, during that hotel's heyday) I expected something good to come out of this. The result was Criollo, the best new hotel restaurant to open in a very long time. It is much better than I anticipated. Better get a reservation. It's not like the empty old days here.

Why It's Essential

The Monteleone Hotel dominates the 200 block of Royal Street, the entrance hallway of the French Quarter. It was old-fashioned and dowdy for a long time, but in recent years its prominence has risen enormously. Criollo (pronounced "kree-OH-low," not the Spanish way) is the hotel's most successful modernization yet. This is a comfortable, handsome restaurant with a casual service style, but menus that reach from the most familiar local dishes to some very ambitious cooking.


After a century of operating just-passable restaurants in its lobby, the Monteleone Hotel ripped them all out in 2011 and started over, from the floor plan outward to (and through) the walls. Replacing the dreary cafe and the dark, lonely Hunt Room, Criollo is now the hotel's sole eatery, serving all three meals every day. It's the latest development in a decade-long program of improvements instigated by Ron Pincus, the most accomplished hotel manager in New Orleans history.

Dining Room

The most dramatic change was the opening of large windows in what had been blank walls. That brightened things up and added dimension. A mix of standard tables and booths plus a bar that doubles as a breakfast counter add texture to the room. The best tables are those nearest the open kitchen, where chefs are always working at a calm pace. On the other end is an entrance into the well-known Carousel Bar.

For Best Results

Criollo keeps a inventory of seafood deeper than most restaurants, making that the better side of the menu. The desserts are beautiful and luscious--not to be missed.

Bonus Information

Attitude 2
Environment 2
Hipness 1
Local Color 2
Service 2
Value 0
Wine 1