Nestled in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, Cochon powered by chef co-owner Stephen Stryjewski, who earned the James Beard Award for Best Chef South 2011 and partner Donald Link, who also owns Herbsaint and Peche as well as a designated private dining space Calcasieu in the Warehouse District. The restaurant pays homage to the old-style Cajun Boucherie with the handcrafting of boudin, andouille, smoked bacon and head cheese. Local seafood also stars in succulent crawfish pies and roasted gulf fish done "fisherman" style, along with comfort foods including spoon bread with okra and tomatoes, roasted oysters and suckling pig.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Calcasieu delivers Cochon's winning cuisine to an intimate gathering for 10 or a wedding reception or corporate event for 20.
Beth's expert tip: Cochon swine-fueled cuisine can be had at Calcasieu, a private event space near the Convention Center with four dining rooms.
Fulton Alley in the New Orleans CBD is a fun locally owned destination for bowling, contemporary Southern comfort food and curated craft cocktails. The setting is sleek and urbane, with local art adding eye-popping appeal. Executive chef Mike Nirenberg is behind the contemporary Southern-influenced menu, delivering the likes of pimento cheese on toasted brioche, crispy chicken sliders and raisin bread pudding beignets right to your lane. Cocktails from the team behind Cure bring a hip night of bowling into perfect focus. The bowling lounge recently expanded to include an array of fun games, from darts and foosball to a full-on bocce court and oversized chess on the patio. A creative event staff will customize a party package for your group, including everything and anything from bowling and shoes to tasty nibbles and cocktails from the premium bar.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Fulton Alley provides entertainment, food and beverage solutions for groups of 10-1000 plus guests
Beth's expert tip: A private patio on Fulton Street offers another option for parties and groups.
Run by a branch of the famed Brennan family, this Bourbon Street restaurant serves seafood specialties in a casual setting. The hickory-grilled redfish, barbecue oysters and andouille-crusted gulf fish have been the talk of the town for more than a decade. Whole grilled fish is a popular option, paired with one of six specialty sauces including green olive with tomato and basil and a light lemon herb vinaigrette. Located in the first block of Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, Red Fish Grill features three private dining areas perfect for meetings and receptions. The restaurant can handle a group of 250 people for full-service dining and up to 500 for cocktail galas.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The restaurant can handle a group of 250 people for full-service dining and up to 500 for cocktail galas.
Beth's expert tip: A terrific choice if you're staying close to Bourbon Street.
An iconic French Quarter restaurant and event space on Conti Street since 1920, Broussard's went through a multi-million dollar redo and reopened in late 2013 with new ownership. Now under the family-owned Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, founded by a group of brothers who got their start with a chain of frozen daiquiri bars, Broussard's is a French Creole restaurant with outstanding cuisine from Executive Chef Neal Swidler, formerly chef de cuisine at Emeril's Delmonico and NOLA. The restaurant's decor features a Parisian-styled promenade as well as a serene courtyard, plus there is piano entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. The Empire Bar serves up great classic cocktails.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Broussard's is a classic French Quarter restaurant revitalized by new ownership.
Beth's expert tip: The beautiful brick courtyard underneath the French Quarter's oldest wisteria vine is one of the most sought after wedding locations.
It doesn't get any more traditional than at this Vieux Carré landmark, founded in 1840. The 15 formal dining rooms include the glittering Rex Room, with its motif of crowns, scepters and Mardi Gras memorabilia. Oysters Rockefeller originated here in 1889, and the menu hasn't changed much since. Expect rich French Creole cuisine and Gulf seafood including tasty fried oysters on buttered toast with foie gras. Local gents still wear jackets to dinner, but it's not required. Antoine's prints its menu in French, and the staff is more than eager to help. Be sure to check out the bread pudding when it comes time to choose dessert.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Multiple private dining rooms can handle groups in a traditional New Orleans setting.
Beth's expert tip: Check out the three-course lunch special, a favorite with the locals.
While most New Orleans seafood restaurants take a hyper local approach to filling in the catch of the day, chef-owner Tenney Flynn at GW Fin casts a global net. The French Quarter restaurant impresses with quality and variety, including fish caught in waters around the world as well as right here in the Gulf. Chef de cuisine Michael Nelson's menu changes daily, depending on what's fresh and seasonal, but you might feast on King crab from Alaska, sea scallop crudo with local caviar and Scottish salmon with jalapeno glaze. The philosophy is simple at this upscale establishment: let the seafood's natural flavors shine. The wine list shimmers with crisp whites guaranteed to enhance the your catch of the day. Although not coming out until August, chef Tenney's new book The Deep End of Flavor, written with former Atlanta Journal Constitution Food Editor Susan Puckett, is already blowing up on Amazon. Ask about a signed copy. Private parties for up to 275 can be accommodated, and a private dining room for 28 offers a swank and intimate setting.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Although not normally open for lunch, GW Fins will open to accommodate groups of 40 or more.
Beth's expert tip: GW Fins provides free 3-hour parking for its guests, a plus in this busy section of the Quarter
This former 1700s residence of Jean Baptiste Destrehan was renovated into an intimate series of Victorian dining rooms and bars, complete with the decadent Séance Lounge, supposedly home to a high-spirited spirit. A large menu of regional favorites includes a sampler of Crawfish Etouffee, seafood gumbo and jambalaya, pecan-crusted puppy drum fish and wood-grilled barbecue shrimp. There are multiple rooms for groups, like the intimate veranda and the balcony overlooking Jackson Square, home to some of the most coveted dining tables in New Orleans. The Seance room is a sexy spot that harks back to the days when Muriel's was one of the French Quarter's best bordellos along the Mississippi.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Ideally located on Jackson Square, Muriel's is in the heart of the French Quarter.
Beth's expert tip: Muriel's Jackson Square will even accommodate a full restaurant buy out for up to 800 people, making it a popular wedding spot.
The Bourbon House is an authentic New Orleans seafood restaurant, with its dining room windows looking out onto the riotous Bourbon Street. Inside, the atmosphere is classy and quieter, with the menu including only in-season Gulf of Mexico offerings. There are multiple private rooms, to handle 22 to 40 people and glass wine cabinets partition the dining rooms from a wrought iron balcony that can serve as a pre-function area for group dining. The wait staff is over-the-top attentive and caring, able to guide you through the various oyster options and small batch/single barrel bourbon choices. The menu, a veritable catalog of Creole specialties, includes oysters Bienville, catfish pecan and a killer fried seafood platter. Many ingredients are sourced from local purveyors.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The vibe is classy but approachable at this haven of fresh seasonal seafood located on Bourbon Street.
Beth's expert tip: More than 90 American whiskeys are poured at the bar, with frozen bourbon milk punch a specialty.
Chef Eric Cook is creating plenty of buzz at Gris-Gris, his welcoming new spot in the Lower Garden District. Cook, who has worked in kitchens from Commander's to the American Sector and Bourbon House, works his magic creating stellar versions of local comfort dishes, including an ethereal version of his mom's chicken and dumplings (when was the last time you saw that on a menu?) and a daily gumbo simmered to a dark and smoky essence. The oysters BLT is a revelation of perfectly fried juicy oysters alternating on the plate with candied pork belly on a sheen of tomato jam. Eat at the bar to watch the open kitchen in action. Gris-Gris also boasts the Samedi Room, one of the most unique special event spaces in the city, a two-floor kitchen/dining/sitting room with outside balconies overlooking the city. Very special.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The private Samedi Room will wow for a special client or board meeting.
Beth's expert tip: Weekends are busy so plan on dinner during the week for a relaxed dining experience.
Swords, handsome cowboys who can cook, endless amounts of fresh salads and perfectly cooked meat – have you died and gone to heaven? No, welcome to the earthbound reality of Fogo de Chao (say fo-go dée shoun), the Brazilian-based churrascaria ensconced in the JW Marriott on Canal Street. Blessed with a gorgeous space, high ceilings and a second-floor balcony with private dining rooms, this Fogo is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner to serve the hotel's guests. Grill artists sear up cuts like filet, top sirloin, beef and pork ribs and lamb chops over a custom-made, 500-degree gas rotisserie. Veggie lovers will be equally happy with the market table with its seasonal greens, salads, smoked salmon, a giant wheel of imported Parmesan and fresh fruit. There's also a fejoida bar featuring rice and Brazil's national black bean and pork stew.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Dinner is about $50 plus drinks – way less than you'll pay at a good steakhouse – making this an ideal spot for groups.
Beth's expert tip: The $15 lunch is a great deal, including the market table and fejoida, with additional meats priced per cut.