You might know about Borgne, John Besh's seafood-centric restaurant that faces the street at the entrance of the Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans. Named for the bountiful Louisiana lake that defined a good bit of Besh’s fishing experience growing up, Borgne is smartly casual, seasonally informed and always bustling.
But here’s a little secret that guests at this New Orleans hotel like to keep to themselves: there are a few other good restaurants at the Hyatt, along with a respectable craft cocktail bar and even a glass-enclosed chef’s table in the kitchen that need discovering.
Hyatt Regency New Orleans' 8 Block Kitchen offers buffet options for breakfast and lunch — Photo courtesy of Hyatt Regency Hotel New Orleans
The Hyatt Regency, known for its copious meeting space and next-door proximity to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, underwent a $275 million renovation after sustaining considerable damage in Hurricane Katrina.
The hotel reopened in October 2012, with a redo that included a shift in the hotel’s front entrance and a sweeping modern lobby design that may be one of the most eye-popping in town.
Largely frequented by corporate groups and special events, the 1,193-room hotel is also popular on summer weekends, thanks to its rooftop pool. It's also quite busy, of course, anytime there’s something rocking at the dome.
French chef Eric Damidot is the culinary dervish who manages the food service at the hotel, from 1718 Catering on and off site to the banquet kitchen, room services and the hotel’s freestanding restaurant options.
Damidot, who last worked casino hotels in Las Vegas, manages 90 full-time kitchen staff, who handles as many as 7500 covers a day, depending on hotel occupancy. A fully equipped bread and pastry bakery, Pain Frais, turns out top-shelf bread for the hotel and a slew of other customers, including restaurants like Emeril’s Delmonico.
Need more reasons to try the Hyatt New Orleans's delicious cuisine? Here are a few more:
8 Block Kitchen & Bar – Named after the blocks that make up Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, this modern eatery offers buffet options for breakfast and lunch, as well as cocktails and tasty bites through the evening at the bar
Vitascope Hall – Part sports bar, part sushi lounge, Vitascope – named for the first movie picture theater in America, which was right on Canal Street – is a lively and stylish spot for cocktails and nibbles.
Q Smokery & Café – You may have sampled the slow-cooked goodness at the dome, where there's a Q Smokery kiosk. It’s also here at the Hyatt. They're open for lunch.
Pizza Consegna – Neapolitan-style pizza gets delivered locally (on an eco-friendly electric bike) and to guests right in their rooms. The pizza is delish, thin-crust and baked in a wood-fired stone oven.