When traveling to a city, there are two main considerations — where are we going to stay and where are we going to eat. In many cases, these are two distinct endeavors: We’ll get a room here, and we’ll go out for food and drinks there. However, this approach can overlook another important option, the hotel restaurant.
While hotel restaurants and bars can often be seen as a last resort — somewhere to try for a night cap or if other places are closed or not conveniently located — when they’re done right, they can be one of the most enjoyable elements of your trip. We’ve found some of the best of those here in New Orleans.
The new hotel and restaurant both debuted in July 2015 and have already garnered a passionate following. Rightfully so: Compere Lapin features incredible, Caribbean-inspired fare from Nina Compton, a St. Lucia native who was runner-up on Top Chef: New Orleans and then moved to NOLA thereafter (check out our more in-depth look at Compton and her story).
Matching the excellence of Compere Lapin, the Old No. 77 is an extremely modern, boutique hotel in the Arts District. Both are welcome additions to the city’s dining and accommodation options.
It may seem like an unlikely combination: one of the city’s iconic hotels located in a building constructed in 1863 and the popular Italian restaurant that was opened in 2010. However, this is simply one of the best pairings in the city.
Domenica includes the same pizza and phenomenal happy hour as its more casual Uptown location, but it also has a range of delicious Italian entrees and an upscale look and feel. Suitably, Domenica finds a great counterpart in the luxury of The Roosevelt. Notable features of the hotel include claw-foot tubs, bay windows, and a rooftop pool. Topping this off, The Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel serves as a perfect post- or pre-dinner option with its famous cocktail selection.
A true experience of New Orleans elegance: The Royal Sonesta and Restaurant R’evolution. The Royal Sonesta has an array of music choices, including its recently opened Jazz Playhouse. Also, this suits a family vacation (or staycation): during the holidays, they do Teddy Bear Tea for the kids. The hotel is newly renovated and is well deserving of its 4-Diamond distinction.
Now, on to the food. For its part, in just three and a half years, Restaurant R’evolution has established a formidable reputation as one of the city’s best. A joint venture of the award-winning chefs John Folse and Rick Tramonto, Restaurant R’evolution is not to be missed.
This one is a personal favorite: located in the CBD, the Hilton New Orleans puts you in striking distance of the French Quarter — it’s about a 15-minute walk to Jackson Square — while allowing easy access to Uptown via the streetcar line. But, in this case, it’s not all about location: the Hilton New Orleans, a renovated 1920s property with period features, is an experience in and of itself. A big component of this is Luke, the John Besh-owned, Brasserie-style restaurant located on site.
I’ve written about the burger at Luke before, and it still one of my favorite meals I’ve had, but Luke has many great dishes from breakfast to dinner, including the local crab omelet (with housemade Fromage blanc, tomato, and asparagus), the Chappapeela Pork Schnitzel (with wild mushroom ragout and house-made fries), and the grilled swordfish (with cauliflower puree, crispy kale, and salsa verde.
Featuring a spectacular courtyard (complete with pool) and located in the center of the French Quarter, The Omni Royal Orleans allows easy access to revelry of the streets while providing a space relax and soak in this city’s unforgettable atmosphere. The hotel was recently renovated, and the comfortable rooms include wrought-iron balconies. A long-time stalwart of NOLA dining, Rib Room has been a carnivore’s dream for more than 50 years. You can feel that sense of history when you’re in the restaurant.
The hotel was recently renovated, and the comfortable rooms include wrought-iron balconies. A long-time stalwart of NOLA dining, Rib Room has been a carnivore’s dream for more than 50 years. You can feel that sense of history when you’re in the restaurant, where the space is both club-like and intimate. Sourcing their produce from local farmers and specialty farmers, Rib Room continues a tradition of great local food.
I’m a sucker for a good hotel pool, so on that alone it’s very easy to be a fan of Bienville House. When you add the fact that there are many rooms overlooking the pool and that the hotel is located in the midst of the French Quarter, it’s clear that this is the kind of place where one can unwind with great ease. This is in no doubt connected to one of this fantastic hotel’s other features: Latitude 29, where you can drink incredible tiki cocktails by the mixologist (Jeff Berry) who basically resurrected them.
But there’s more to Latitude 29 than just cocktails: delicious, “Polynasian” cuisine like the pineapple bread Cuban sandwich, the pork dumpling burger, and the “Shrimps in Blankets” (two large shrimps with heads on, wrapped in a won-ton, and cushioned in miso cream cheese and glass noodles). And if you need a suggestion from the extensive cocktail list? An expert suggests the Pontchartrain Pearl Diver.
I asked a friend to describe Loews New Orleans and she simply replied, “Fancy — in the best possible ways.” Located across the street from Harrah’s, Loews’ rooms and suites have some of the most impressive views in the entire city, encompassing both the New Orleans skyline and the Mississippi River. You can select a room based on the view that you want, and once you’ve settled in, you have direct access to Café Adelaide, another fine,
You can select a room based on the view that you want, and once you’ve settled in, you have direct access to Café Adelaide, another fine, Brennan-owned restaurant. Named after an aunt who enjoyed to the fullest New Orleans and all that she has to offer, Café Adelaide focuses on modern Creole cuisine, including Cochon de Lait Boudin Beignets, with sweet habanero mustard and bread and butter jalapenos, and Crispy South Louisiana Catfish, with a ten vegetable slaw, potato salad, charred green tomato tartar sauce, and bruleed lemon. The décor of the dining room includes 1960s pop art and open seating.
The W New Orleans, which features one of the most stylish courtyards in the city, is just two blocks from Bourbon Street. Behind the historical façades, you’ll find one of the most comfortable spaces in the French Quarter. Furthermore, as with Loews New Orleans, the W has another Brennan-owned restaurant, SoBou.
With a recent nod from Esquire as a best new restaurant, SoBou has a wide-ranging menu from yellowfin tuna cones (with pineapple ceviche and basil avocado ice cream) to roasted garlic and Creole mustard-crusted lamb rack (with purple beet and herb goat cheese upside-down cake, grilled Autumn acorn squash, and Tchoupitoulas sauce — named after one of the city’s main arteries). Tory McPhail, the chef at the Brennan’s Flagship restaurant Commander’s Palace, is a main consultant at SoBou, and he’s decided to combine local ingredients with Puerto Rican flavors. And, as with the aforementioned restaurants, the cocktail menu is awe-inspiring.
The Hyatt Regency is downtown, and it’s a perfect option for access to a number of parts of the city. There are private cabanas at The Bywater Pool Deck & Bar — named after one of the city’s more recognizable neighborhoods — and you can order cocktails to sip poolside at this sophisticated and modern hotel.
Also, there is the ninth of local celebrity chef John Besh’s restaurants, Borgne, to give you your fill of tantalizing southern Louisiana seafood. More casual than some of the other restaurants on this list, the décor includes inside pillars made completely of oyster shells. Named after the lake Besh grew up fishing on, the menu features fresh oysters — we suggest the fried oysters with bacon marmalade and garlic aioli — and a host of other plates (try the hanger steak with brown butter parsnips, and oven dried tomatoes.)
History buffs, ghost enthusiasts, literary fans, and those who simply enjoy a central spot in the French Quarter can delight in Hotel Monteleone. Locally owned and operated since the late 1800s, the Monteleone features special literary suites honoring Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and Eudora Welty — all of whom had a personal connection to the hotel. Oh, and it’s haunted.
Contemplating all of that other-worldly excitement means perhaps you’ve worked up an appetite, and, luckily, Criollo is open for every meal of the day. Their breakfast menu features Eggs Benedicts that rotate on a daily basis; lunch and dinner menus change seasonally. A current favorite is their rich pomegranate barbecue pork osso bucco for lunch, complete with white truffle mac ‘n’ cheese and braised field greens.