More French Quarter Dining Spots
Let’s start by taking a quick look at the French Quarter itself. It’s the oldest area of New Orleans (founded by the French in 1718) and is also known as the Vieux Carré – a term meaning “Old Square.” This name was first used in the 1890s when the Quarter began to evolve into a tourist destination.
If you think the famous French Quarter extends far and wide – you’re right. It includes all the land stretching along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue or 13 blocks. Then it extends inland to North Rampart Street for a total area of 78 square blocks.
Of course, there’s much more to New Orleans than the French Quarter. In fact, there’s an overall description that’s perfect for everyone: THE BIG EASY. The first time I heard this I really didn’t know what it meant. Here’s a short history: In the early 1900s there was a NOLA dance hall called The Big Easy. Then in the early seventies a Louisiana newspaper reporter began calling her favorite city by this name as she compared the easy-going way of life in New Orleans to the hectic pace in New York City.
RESTAURANT R’EVOLUTION: IN THE ROYAL SONESTA HOTEL
You can go into this restaurant via the “Royal Sonesta New Orleans” lobby (located at 300 Bourbon) or use the street entrance at 777 Bienville Street. This elegant 6,000 sq. ft. restaurant offers a fine dining experience in the French Quarter. Here’s your chance to try “A Tale of Three Fishes,” – or three seafood stews from three of the seven nations that settled Louisiana. This includes French bouillabaisse, (clams, lobster, fish in a broth) Spanish zarzuela (shrimp, mussels, scallops in white wine) and Tuscan cacciucco (octopus, calamari, red snapper over country-style bread) – served in three separate courses. If you’re in the mood for dessert you have to try the White Chocolate Bread Pudding Crème Brûlée – it’s delicious!
GREEN GODDESS: OFF CANAL BETWEEN ROYAL & CHARTRES
This restaurant is on Exchange Place: a famous pedestrian walkway or, said differently, a little alley steeped in history. It was once home to fencing masters who would go out to the Dueling Oaks in City Park to settle disputes. Yikes! I never expected to read anything like this. Not to worry. The Green Goddess is described as a “gem” with a menu that caters to both vegetarians and those who like to eat everything. The press grilled Gulf shrimp étouffée (shellfish over rice) received raves in reviews and so did the very friendly staff. You’ll find this restaurant at 307 Exchange.
GW FINS RESTAURANT: BETWEEN BOURBON AND DAUPHINE
One diner wrote, “This place is definitely worth a visit. The food is superb and the service is really efficient. Would return in a heart beat.” The menu offers lobster dumplings and crispy pork belly for hot appetizers. Then, for fun there are specialty cocktails such as: Pre-Prohibition (the years before 1919) Sazerac and another called “Pool Side” made with Sugar Island Coconut Rum (crafted in the Virgin Islands) and Amaretto. Let’s end with this thought from a recent visitor. She says, “If you’re expecting basic fried seafood, you’re in the wrong place – this spot is way ahead of other seafood restaurants.” You’ll find GW Fins at 808 Bienville Street.