*This post was updated in 2019!
A 19th Century Creole Tradition
The tradition of the Reveillon dinner (pronounced REH-vēe-ŏn) began in New Orleans with French colonists during the mid 1800's. In French, the word “reveillon” means “awakening.” In preparation for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the Creoles would fast all day and then would return home and feast on big, communal meals.
Still celebrated today, the Reveillon tradition is most commonly celebrated by locals in the French Quarter's old and storied restaurants. However, visitors traveling solo to New Orleans can also savor the same memorable Reveillon dinner experiences at restaurants all over town.
During the entire month of December, celebrate Reveillon with prix-fixe menus at New Orleans restaurants that consist of seasonal flavors and holiday dishes.
Best Restaurants in New Orleans to Enjoy a Reveillon Dinner:
1. Commander’s Palace
The iconic Uptown restaurant is a favorite among holiday diners and a must do dining choice for the solo traveler. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun filled making Commander’s a great choice for travelers eating alone. In addition solo diners are given VIP status and consequently, received extra special service.
A long, leisurely eating experience is in store with its whopping eight course Reveillon dinner. The menu includes Gulf flounder with spicy caviar, shrimp, crab and oysters with French-pressed shellfish broth, a small cocktail, croque madame with egg and escargot, rabbit confit, wild boar cochon de lait with liquefied hog’s head cheese, and a house-made chocolate “Hubig’s” pie. Optional wine pairing per person is available for an additional cost. $110
This French Quarter restaurant has defined New Orleans fine dining for the past 100 years and counting. Locals, whether in a group or alone, love dining in this historic restaurant. Likewise, solo travelers are welcomed warmly and can expect Southern hospitality from from the attentive staff throughout their solo dining experience here.
Staying true to its Creole roots, the fourth-generation owners continue to carry on the traditions we have all come to know and enjoy. The Reveillon meal includes Arnaud’s award-winning shrimp remoulade, choice of entrees like flank steak with whipped goat cheese and pimento grits, and chocolate absinthe trifle to bring the meal to sweet end. $49
Another iconic French Quarter Creole restaurant is Galatoire's which is not to be missed by the solo traveler visiting New Orleans any time of the year. If you want to dine among the local movers and shakers, this is the place.
Galatoire’s Reveillon menu is decidedly classic French Creole. For example, this year's four-course menu includes a sautéd drum with saffron sauce and a rouille, along with prime examples of classic French-inspired dishes, such as the lobster bisque, made in a traditional French style; a grilled petite filet with Marchand de Vin, creamed spinach and crispy bacon; and fried fish cakes with a spicy bechamel sauce. $49
4. Restaurant August
For a more classic solo dining experience, Chef John Besh's CBD restaurant, August, is a popular and unique spot offering a contemporary Reveillon dinner.
The menu begins with the restaurant's popular Foie Gras appetizer and includes turtle soup, Good Egg-farmed Brouillé au Truffle, petite filet of beef and chocolate ganache with brown sugar, peppermint, and milk. The wine list includes an impressive 250 bottles. $97
Located in picturesque Jackson Square at Le Petit Theatre, Tableau is Dickie Brennan’s newest restaurant another excellent choice for anyone eating alone. The culinary team led by Chef John Martin, showcases regional ingredients and classic French Creole dishes with a modern approach. Menu starts with choice of gulf oyster stew or turtle soup, bleu cheese salad or Tableau salad, choice of Turkey Trio with smoked turkey neck rillettes, pan sautéed turkey breast, herb rubbed turkey thigh or grilled gulf Pompano with Gulf Shrimp. $48
Enjoy this short video highlighting the Reveillon dining tradition in New Orleans.
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Author: Astrid Clements
Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to the About page!