While we were camping (and Gator spotting) at Gulf Islands National Park on the Gulf Coast, our campsite neighbours had just come from New Orleans and they gave us a dining tip. According to this couple, the best deal in town was the fixed-price lunch menu at Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter. Bearsgroove followers will note that our recent dining experiences have featured mainly BBQ and diner-style locations so an opportunity for fine-dining was probably overdue.
We arrived in New Orleans and checked into the French Quarter RV Park (a non-bargain $108 / night) and were able to walk straight over to Antoine’s. We didn’t have a reservation and showed up just after noon so we weren’t sure if there would be a line-up. There wasn’t – we were immediately seated at a table for two. Our first waiter, ‘Sterling,’ told us he would bring us some drinks and that another ‘Sterling’ would be our food waiter. All the serving staff were in black suits. Sterling no. 2 soon arrived and told us that it was his 50th anniversary working at the restaurant.
Antoine’s Restaurant has a 176 year-old legacy and is still owned and operated by fifth generation relatives of the original founder, Antoine Alciatore. Antoine’s is the oldest French Creole fine-dining restaurant in New Orleans.
The fixed-price menu featured a good selection of choices and at $20.16 for three courses, seemed like a great deal. We each ordered different choices: Mama Bear chose a Fall salad starter, French Cut Pork Chop with mashed sweet potatoes and raisin port sauce, followed by a Chocolate Ganache Cake with raspberry sauce. Papa Bear opted for the Charbroiled Oysters, Breaded Veal with a marsala mushroom wine sauce over onion rice, and a Pecan Bread Pudding with praline rum sauce for dessert. But perhaps best of all, was the highlighted print at the bottom of the menu…
Yes, you’re reading that right – 25 cent cocktails! The daily feature for us was a mandarin orange martini. Noting the limit, we both said ‘we’ll have 75 cents worth please!’ The cocktails were small but good. The food was good, not great. The service was average, not good. The only menu items that were outstanding were the charbroiled oysters and the pecan bread pudding.
Conversely, the veal marsala was a bit tough. The portions were also a bit on the small side (and we usually appreciate smaller portions in the US). Overall, we’ll give Antoine’s a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
So we’re back to looking for good BBQ, coffee shops, breweries and bakeries, which is much more our style…