Galatoire's Creole Restaurant in New Orleans, United States Restaurants, Wine, Travel, Opinions

Restaurants and bars
New Orleans
Open: Lunch and dinner Tues - Sun
Price: Expensive

Reviewed By

Sue Dyson and Roger McShane
Phone Number: +1 504 525 2021
Address: 209 Bourbon Street
New Orleans, Louisiana, 70130
Country: United States
Food Style: Creole

You don't go to Galatoire's in New Orleans primarily for the food. You go to soak up the atmosphere. It is a strange restaurant in that it is fiercely supported by a well-heeled clique of locals even though it is right in the middle of the tackiest tourist strip - the infamous Bourbon Street.
They don't take bookings here and they don't allow men in without jackets and ties. So you have to queue on busy nights, but never for very long.
The greeting is always sincere. The greeting is sometimes spooky. We had one of our most amazing service experiences here. Nowhere, anywhere in the world has this been equalled.
We both dined here in January. We were greeted at the door by the manager and shown to our table. That was the end of our interaction with the manager on that evening.
Four months later Roger returned to New Orleans. The flight from Tasmania took 26 hours and he arrived in the French Quarter at 7pm. He was staying a block away from Galatoire's, so took the easy way out and returned for a quick meal.
The same manager met him at the door and gave him a big welcome. His reaction was that there was some vague recognition therefore the welcome was warmer than usual.
However, the manager then proceeded to continue the welcome back theme by saying that she thought the same table would be available and showing him to exactly the same table he had dined at four months previously in a room that seats over one hundred diners! She then went on to say that she thought she could organise the same waiter to provide service - and did!!!
You are seated on bentwood-style chairs with green upholstery. Ageing tables are covered with white linen. Tabasco and Lea and Perrins bottles are on the table plus the inevitable packets of strange sugar substitutes in a lovely silver bowl stamped with the name of the restaurant.
Sombre green patterned wallpaper sits above the white wooden-framed mirrors that are built into the walls. A lower ceiling on one side conceals the air conditioning ducts.
At the far end there is a peculiarly New Orleans phenomenon - chairs for the waiters to rest when they are not serving. In many countries this would be weird, as they should be prowling the floor. Each waiter has their station, which can lead to lengthy delays at times while other waiters are reclining.
Twenty fans sitting above five electric bulbs, arranged chandelier-like, fill up the ceiling and help give the room a ‘crowded' look.
An antique grandfather clock tolls the time at the end of the room and seems to tick slowly as though there is nothing to hurry about once you are in this world.
Tables are bare at the start. Cutlery is brought to the table by your designated waiter. An elongated bread roll with the characteristic soft-wheat texture is provided along with ample butter.
The full range of Creole dishes is available here. They are proud of a number of dishes and the Shrimp Remoulade is one of them. It had a lovely spicy flavour, but the presentation is just appalling. Shredded lettuce had been thrown onto a small white plate and then the remoulade was slopped on top. No attempt at presentation is made.
For main course a dish of drum was grilled to perfection and presented in the same sloppy fashion. But the butter sauce was good.
The wine list is reasonable without being exciting.
There is something about this restaurant that is appealing, despite the obvious flaws. Maybe it is just the sense of tradition or maybe it is the serenity of the restaurant compared with the loutish chaos outside. Whatever it is, we keep going back.
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