First up in my series of New Orleans in 18 Eats is the French Quarter’s 98 year old Grande Dame of creole cuisine: Arnaud’s.
A quick note before we dig in …
To be sure, I had clear favourite meals during my visit to New Orleans, but everywhere I ate presented food at an exceptionally high standard. So, I’m chronicling my 18 Eats in alphabetical order, thus putting Arnaud’s with an “A” at the top of my list.
Opened in 1918, Arnaud’s is as fine as any New Orleans restaurant to commence my foodie scribbles.
Key to Arnaud’s longevity is a kitchen focused on preparing regional fish and seafood with local flair. For appetizers, you can’t go wrong with Shrimp Arnaud. The restaurant’s signature dish, it features meaty Gulf Shrimp marinated in an especially tangy Creole remoulade sauce. For a taste of turtle soup – that most idiosyncratic of New Orleans dishes – Arnaud’s makes an especially savoury version.
If you want to get Frenchy with your food, Arnaud’s is a smart choice as well, with escargot, frogs’ legs, and veal included among its mostly local seafood and fish menu. And you must (Must! Must!) have the light-as-air soufflé potatoes with Béarnaise sauce. A scoop of gelato from the city’s favourite gelateria and pasticceria, Angelo Brocato Original Italian Ice Cream Parlor (might I suggest the praline gelato), or the obligatory Bananas Foster to end your meal is a sound way to end on a perfectly New Orleanais note.
Famed for its cocktails (I can attest the Sazerac is spot-on), the restaurant’s bar, French 75, was a hot spot during Prohibition, with private rooms for imbibing customers. Today, the speakeasy ambiance remains with a cosy catacomb of nooks set along the restaurant’s spine. Originally owned by French wine salesman Arnaud Cazenave, the restaurant continues to keep one of the city’s most lauded wine lists (heavy on the Burgundy and Bordeaux).
If your visit turns out to be anything like mine, you’ll find service to be incredibly gracious and supremely attentive. You’ll love the jazz performers taking requests to serenade you at your table. And you will be in awe of the historic setting and the chance to dine there.
Reservations are recommended. Dress code is smart casual.
Arnaud’s is located at 813 Bienville Street, 70112. Find out more at arnaudsrestaurant.com.
Save room for the next post! I’ll be back soon with more in my series about New Orleans in 18 Eats.