#2 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries
4 Fleur
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchLunch SundayNo Lunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayNo Dinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday


French Quarter: 209 Bourbon. 504-525-2021. Map.
Very Dressy

Galatoire’s still wins any poll to determine which is the city’s most definitive fine-dining restaurant. This despite the endless debate as to whether the restaurant was better in the Miss Yvonne era, or during the current non-Galatoire-family ownership, now on place for some five to fifteen years, depending on how it’s defined. Still, no matter where this discussion goes, it always seems to return to what a wonderful thing it is to dine at Galatoire’s. Particularly if you’re eating seafood. Starting with the classic cold appetizers of shrimp and crabmeat, through a bunch of hot starters, then into a large selection of local and not-so-local fish, prepared in a host of classical ways.

A slow night at Galatoire's.

A slow night at Galatoire’s.

Galatoire’s is the apotheosis of the traditional Creole-French restaurant, so tightly integrated into the city’s culture that almost anything it does makes news. With a menu full of borrowings from classic French cuisine and other New Orleans restaurants, it reassures us that we stand on firm culinary ground. Just as important is the social side of Galatoire’s. No place better shows off the style of the upper levels of New Orleans society–who have much more fun than their counterparts in other American cities.

Shrimp remoulade.

Shrimp remoulade.

The first generations of the Galatoire family had the knowledge and taste to set a standard that lives on today. The food and service are simple, relying on local ingredients of excellent quality (especially seafood) and recipes refined through decades of natural selection. Meanwhile, the waiters perform organically with the kitchen and the customers to deliver the best to those who know how to enjoy it. Truth be told, the food here is brilliant in only a small percentage of its long menu catalog. That doesn’t matter, because if you understand Galatoire’s–something not possible on a first visit–you also know what and how to order.

Trout amandine.

Trout amandine.

Chef Jean Galatoire came to New Orleans from a small town in France in the late 1800s, when French cuisine dominated the city. He went to work for a restaurant called Victor’s, and in 1905 he bought it and changed the name to his own. Cooking French classics with New Orleans ingredients, he and his large family (now in its fourth generation) established Galatoire’s as particularly sympatheque to the unique New Orleans style of socializing. In the late 1990s, a shift in the family brought in new management and performed a major renovation. New Year’s Day 2006, Galatoire’s gave great comfort to the city by reopening after Hurricane Katrina. In early 2010, the Galatoire family created a stir by selling most of its interest in the restaurant to two investors (long-time customers both).

The main dining room downstairs is the most photographed restaurant interior in New Orleans. Tiled floors, mirrored walls, motionless fans of polished brass hanging from high ceilings, and bright naked light bulbs create half the scene. The rest is supplied by the jammed-in customers, all well-dressed (especially the women) and deeply engaged in sending a convivial energy back and forth, to the accompaniment of ambient noise that can make conversation impossible. The second floor dining rooms are pleasant but much less distinctive. However, the addition of a bar and waiting area in the 1990s was very welcome, all but eliminating the need to wait in line on the sidewalk for the unreservable downstairs tables.


Fried eggplant and souffle potatoes bearnaise
Shrimp rémoulade
Oysters en brochette
Crabmeat maison
Oysters Rockefeller
Crabmeat canapé Lorenzo
Sautéed sweetbreads
Créole gumbo
Turtle soup

Godchaux salad (seafood and greens)
Fish meunière amandine
Fish with crabmeat Yvonne
Poached fish with hollandaise or Marguery sauce
Crabmeat Sardou
Crabmeat au gratin
Fried or broiled soft shell crabs meunière
Shrimp Marguery
Shrimp or crawfish etouffée
Chicken Clemenceau
Filet mignon, strip sirloin, or ribeye steak
Lamb chops

Cup custard
Banana bread pudding
Crepes maison

Knowing a waiter here is a huge advantage. Take their advice without exception.This is the last restaurant in town that requires a jacket for men at dinner, and (attention!) no jeans ever. No restaurant scene surpasses in joyousness the Friday afternoon crowd at Galatoire’s. However, the quality of the food and service come way down then. The best time to come is in the later afternoon; the restaurant keeps going through dinner, is never empty, and is more attentive to the fine points.

Someday, something will be done to give the upstairs dining rooms more of the feeling of the downstairs. Some of the waiters are playing a role more than they’re waiting tables.

Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment +3
  • Consistency +1
  • Service+1
  • Value
  • Attitude
  • Wine & Bar +1
  • Hipness +1
  • Local Color +3



  • Romantic
  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open all afternoon
  • Historic
  • Good for children
  • Reservations accepted


7 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. rod bailey on March 14, 2015

    Awaiting moderation?
    while not a New Orleanian, I’ve been eating at Galatoire’s for over 50 years and something is amiss. I can supply ample detail if it would be helpful.

    Okay, let’s hear your report!

  2. Rod Bailey on March 14, 2015

    mealy shrimp in remoulade, items ordered as entrees arrived too quickly to have been freshly prepared: oysters en brochettes–shriveled bi-valves, over breaded, cool room temperature; stuffed eggplant–under seasoned, paucity of shrimp and crab, as in almost none; floury, pasty bechamel; warm at best. Oh, crabmeat maison, shredded, not lump and underseasoned.

  3. Rod Bailey on March 14, 2015

    mealy shrimp in remoulade, items ordered as entrees arrived too quickly to have been freshly prepared: oysters en brochettes–shriveled bi-valves, over breaded, cool room temperature; stuffed eggplant–under seasoned, paucity of shrimp and crab, as in almost none; floury, pasty bechamel; warm at best. Oh, crabmeat maison, shredded, not lump and underseasoned.

  4. Heidi on April 2, 2015

    Tom, I’m sure they allow jeans for lunch now. And we go to Galatoire’s about 5 times a year and it’s still great. The chef is wacky but the real cooks in the kitchen turn out good food.

  5. Paul on July 22, 2015

    Had lunch there today, confirmed what I always thought the food has going down hill. Nothing was good. I can see why the place was empty at 1:pm. I only went because my friends wanted to go. Should have gone to the Rib Room.

  6. Matt on February 1, 2016

    I eat here about once a year. I like the place but had a very mediocre meal last night. Lemon fish under seasoned and had to ask twice for the crawfish sauce we had ordered.
    House salad was average
    Our pannacotta dessert was good how ever
    Bouillabaisse was nothing to write home about
    This used to be a great restaurant and certainly one of my favorites but I was disappointed last night

    How many times did you write about the good meals you mention? Is one strike, you’re out really fair?

  7. Bruce Maurice on April 5, 2017

    Had lunch at Galatoires last Sunday. Upstairs had three other tables besides ours, one about 8 people the others 2 or 3 each. We were in a party of 11. our meal was served after quite a delay. Nine meals were served, three were cold and sent back. Half of our party were finished eating and the tenth person got his meal. The eleventh person got her meal after EVERYONE was finished. Our waiter was more than apologetic. We were given drinks and desert. The waiter could not have been better. Management was no where to be found..I sent Galatoires a text message the next day. No response. This was two weeks ago, I guess they are hoping their reputation will keep them in business. Worse experience ever. Too many good places in New Orleans, this is not one of them

    This is quite a pile of disdain triggered by one meal from a restaurant whose approval messages here are about 95 percent approving. You sent a text message? That’s it? Restaurant people don’t check text messages. Who did you sent it to, anyway? Write a real letter and send a copy to me at tom@nomenu.com.

    One other thing. You say. . .?
    1. Had lunch at Galatoires last Sunday.
    2. This was two weeks ago. . .
    Which was it?