Holidays, Restaurants

20 Places to Enjoy a Safe and Very Merry Réveillon in 2020!

Just because COVID is keeping us cautious doesn’t mean we have to completely ignore Réveillon this year.

Now, my family typically eats dinner at 5:15 p.m. and I’m Jewish, so Réveillon is relatively new to me. But I still love it. It was a 2018 Very Local New Orleans article by Chef James Cullen that first got me interested in what’s actually a centuries-old Creole tradition.

You should read that article, but the synopsis is that back in early-19th century New Orleans Creole families would go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve night / Christmas morning having fasted for the previous 24 hours. 

Atoned but hangry, they’d return home to a lavish middle-of-the-night feast called Réveillon.

I love the idea of a good 2 a.m. meal, but these days Réveillon has gone through a bit of a reinvention. Today, dozens of NOLA restaurants include a special Réveillon menu as a multi-course option during dinnertime from the start of December through approximately December 23 (a few last longer), often featuring decadent, seasonal offerings you wouldn’t find as part of their traditional menu.

Obviously there’s some hesitancy by many to eat inside restaurants at the moment, so I did some research to find out which restaurants were available for take-out, outdoor seating or both! This way you can each this longtime tradition without putting yourself at more risk than you’re comfortable with. 

Here’s what I found!

Atchafalaya

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

This Irish Channel favorite is offering a four-course Réveillon menu for just $55, with optional wine pairings for a $40 add-on. The menu features an Oyster Stew with Gulf oysters, bechamel, celery, onion, cream and nutmeg and a Cherry & Brandy-Glazed Duck Breast, but Chef Tom Ramsey says he’s most excited for the hand pies (lamb or lentil) with ploughman pickles and scallion crème fraîche.

Annunciation

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: No

Turtle soup, grilled lamb chops with asiago potato mash, and caramel custard are just a few bits of evidence that this $49 four-course Réveillon is full of traditional, delicious offerings. Executive Chef Jacob Cureton has been cooking Creole food for nearly four decades, so you’re in very good hands! The restaurant’s outdoor space isn’t conducive to heaters, but if the weather looks nice, make a reservation to snag one of their limited outside tables. Otherwise, call (504) 568-0245 to order Réveillon for takeaway.

Bayona

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

There are few chefs in New Orleans more famous than Susan Spicer, and there are few courtyards more beautiful to eat a delicious Réveillon meal in than at her Bayona. This four-course meal features exquisite options such as the Blue Crab Orecchiette with Calabrian Chili Butter, and the Braised Berkshire Pork Della Ossa with Parmesan Sweet Potato Puree, Spigarello and Cider-Pear Jus. Make sure to make your reservation ASAP!

 

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Boucherie

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Boucherie has a delicious three-course Réveillon menu for just $50. You can add a wine pairing for an additional $28. Diners have three great third course options to choose from: the Grilled Wagyu Steak Frites, the Crispy Skin Duck Confit or the Pan Seared Halibut. There’s no wrong choice here.

 

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Bourbon House

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: No
Heaters Outside: N/A

Chef Devan Giddix says Bourbon House is using their $55 four-course Réveillon menu to highlight the best local seafood and citrus in Louisiana. This includes the Oyster Rockefeller Pistolette, a Poached Pear Winter Salad, and a Bronzed Filet of Gulf Fish. There’s no outdoor dining available, but Bourbon House does offer takeout as long as you place the order at the hostess stand (no call-aheads). 

The Bower

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

With outdoor seating and propane patio heaters for up to 70 guests, The Bower has plenty of space for you to enjoy a four-course Réveillon meal at just $54. “We want guests to feel at home when they dine out for Réveillon, but also feel like it’s a special occasion,” says Sales & Marketing Manager Nancy McDaniel. “Our menu is a modern approach offering elevated dishes that are also hearty and comforting during colder weather such as our Cioppino or Roasted Parsnip Soup.”

 

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Broussard’s

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Eating at Broussard’s is a tradition all its own as the restaurant is turning 100 this year! They’re celebrating with a Réveillon menu that is uniquely New Orleans — featuring several special citrus-oriented menu items like a Kumquat & Avocado Salad, and a Duck Breast L’satsuma. The four-course menu is available for $49 with a $25 wine pairing add-on. There is outdoor seating with a few heaters, but the space isn’t covered so if precipitation is in the forecast, you’ll probably want to go the takeout route.

Cafe Degas

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

This Bayou St. John neighborhood restaurant just installed several heaters for their patio area. They have four tables that are weather-proofed, so be sure to make a reservation if you want to enjoy their four-course Réveillon menu outdoors for just $44. You can order the meal for takeout, but you’ll miss out on the lagniappe glass of port wine and their out-of-this-world Chocolate Pot de Crème dessert!

 

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Commander’s Palace

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

When a restaurant has nearly as many James Beard Foundation awards as there are nights of Hanukkah, you can expect you’re probably in for a great meal! You can enjoy their four-course Réveillon menu for $90 on their outdoor patio with plenty of heaters!

Court of Two Sisters

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: No

The French Quarter’s largest outdoor dining area will have plenty of space to ensure you can enjoy a safe Réveillon. The challenge is that they don’t have heaters, so make sure you dress warmly and take a look at the forecast. Their four-course special menu is $50, but you can add the wine pairings to imbibe in four glasses of carefully selected boutique wine!

Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: No
Heaters Outside: N/A

If a filet is what you’re after, try this four-course Réveillon for $55 that also includes a corn and crab bisque, a house made caesar salad and eggnog ice cream with pecan brittle! There’s no outside seating, however, so if you’re not keen on eating in a restaurant, you’ll need to place your takeout order. (Note: takeout orders cannot be placed by phone or online. You must place your order at their Lobby Bar.)

Tableau

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside:Yes

Chef Gustar Martin has some very special ingredients not normally found on their menu. “That includes caviar, scallops, rabbit and the best of our seasonal produce.” Curried rabbit pot pie, turtle soup, seared divers scallops and eggnog panna cotta are just some of the options available to you on their four-course menu for $62. You can eat outdoors in their courtyard or on their balcony and heaters are available! If you want to order takeout, you’ll need to do it at their host(ess) stand.

 

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Elysian Bar

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside:YesThis Marigny restaurant is located within the Hotel Peter and Paul and offers a spacious Courtyard for dining with plenty of heaters. They also have a large Church with soaring ceilings, massive amounts of space and a state-of-the-art art filtration system if that’s more your style. Wherever you sit, you’ll be sure to love their four-course Réveillon meal, priced at $60 and with an entree of sorghum and lavender brined duck breast, winter squash purée, pomegranate and pecans.

 

 

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Josephine Estelle

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside:Yes

Charbroiled Oysters, Boudin Ravioli, Berkwood Farms Pork Cheeks and a Chocolate Cheesecake with Peppermint Ice Cream are all on the four-course Réveillon menu at this restaurant in the Ace Hotel. That ravioli — served with collard broth, pickled acorn squash and mustard oil — is a special dish for Réveillon, playing to the restaurant’s strength of combining Italian cooking with Southern ingredients and tradition. The cheesecake for dessert is served with peppermint ice cream and a chicory coffee crunch — the perfect combination of Christmas and New Orleans! The meal costs $49 and has charming outdoor seating available with heaters.

 

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Muriel’s

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside:No

Enjoy this four-course Réveillon dinner while sitting outside on Muriel’s balcony overlooking the French Quarter and Jackson Square. There are no heaters, however, so keep an eye on that weather if you want to sit outside. They do have decorative dividers and plenty of buffer space set up inside if that makes indoor dining more appealing to you. Their entire menu $58 meal is only available during this month, and many diners say the Wood Grilled Venison with smoked carrot puree, grilled acorn squash, port wine and currant reduction sauce is their favorite item the restaurant serves all year!

Palace Café

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Chef Mark Kaufman says his aunt gives him two jars of pepper jelly every year for Christmas. It’s no coincidence then that this four-course dinner ($52) includes a Boudin-Stuffed Quail with pepper jelly, as well as goat cheese polenta. “It reminds me of the holidays and family,” he says.  With sidewalk dining and heaters right on bustling Canal Street, this will be a Réveillon meal you’ll remember for years to come.

 

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The Pelican Club

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Speaking of memorable outdoor dining, The Pelican Club has seating available on historic Exchange Alley. The four-course Réveillon dinner is available for $49 or can be purchased à la carte. The trio of duckling looks especially appetizing, and there are also several vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.

Rosedale

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Menu options for this $40 four-course Réveillon dinner include turtle soup, spinach ricotta gnocchi, Gulf fish with artichoke bread pudding, pumpkin cheesecake and several other options! This quiet neighborhood restaurant also has plenty of pleasant outdoor seating and heaters so you can relax while you eat.

 

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Seaworthy

Available for Takeout: No
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

This $39 four-course Réveillon consists of Little Gem Salad, Littleneck Clams, Stuffed Calamari and a dessert of Chocolate Ganache Brownie. The Stuffed Calamari is a special dish for the occasion with squid ink paella, brown butter, piment d’espelette and Meyer lemon — giving it a Spanish vibe. The Littleneck Clams with tasso ham broth, mirliton, trinity and St. Joseph’s bread gives a tasty nod to several of New Orleans’ local flavors, traditions and ingredients. There’s outdoor seating with heaters on their patio, as well as in their new Breezeway!

 

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Tommy’s Cuisine

Available for Takeout: Yes
Outside Dining: Yes
Heaters Outside: Yes

Each year this Italian restaurant in the Warehouse District includes a pasta course in their four-course Réveillon meal. This year is no different, offering a choice between Shrimp Linguine with slow-roasted tomatoes and basil-pesto cream sauce, and Cavatelli with Italian sausage, broccoli rabe and grated pecorino cheese. The dinner is $45 and Tommy’s has set up tables and tower heaters along their sidewalk on Tchoupitoulas Street. They also encourage guests who want the dinner as takeout to call 504-581-1103 to place their order.

 

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See? No need to give up on this time-honored Creole tradition. There are plenty of ways to exercise caution during this global pandemic while still enjoying one of the best meals New Orleans has to offer! Enjoy!

WRITER MATT HAINES LIVES IN NEW ORLEANS. FOLLOW HIM FOR ALL THINGS RELATED TO FOOD, FEASTING, THE HOLIDAYS AND MORE AT MATTHAINESWRITES.COM, AND ON FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER.