The holidays may look and feel a little different this year, but rest assured New Orleans is still full of opportunities to celebrate the season in fun, memorable ways with your nearest and dearest. Experience the romance of the French Quarter’s twinkling lights, the rich flavors and seasonal cocktails of celebrated local restaurants, the fellowship of friends and family in private dinners and events, and staycations or nearby vacations that will help you escape from routine and properly enjoy the holidays. Sights, sounds, flavors, and scents—from lavishly decorated trees to cheery carols, savory feasts to aromas of cinnamon and spice, this is a season that excites the senses. Find a new way to enjoy its many blessings with your closest loved ones this year and perhaps you’ll begin a tradition that you turn to year after year. For travel ideas, restaurants, accommodations, potential gifts, and more, check out the following offerings from notable local and nearby entities.
DINING & IMBIBING
Justine is a brasserie in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. Opened by husband-and-wife team Justin and Mia Devillier, Justine combines the sophistication of Parisian brasseries with the playfulness of the South’s liveliest district. With dishes like Onion Soup Gratinée, Steak Tartare, and Gulf Seafood Bouillabaisse, the menu honors the technique and simplicity of French classics while evoking the senses with exciting, grand presentation. Prior to the pandemic, nightly entertainment added flare to Justine’s Parisian ambiance with a variety of entertainers from burlesque dancers to DJs—Justine plans to revive entertainment once mandates are lifted.
True to French brasserie culture, the multi-roomed restaurant offers a versatile space to be enjoyed by all, whether it’s for a Friday lunch, weekend brunch, afternoon glass of wine or celebratory dinner. The café side opens to Chartres Street, emulating the quintessential Parisian-street experience. The kitchen room is anchored by two large communal tables overlooking the kitchen led by James Beard Award Winning-Chef Justin Devillier. In the smoked-mirror-embellished bar room, the bar program embraces French spirits, wine, and the drinking culture that surrounds them.
For reservations and information about private dining, visit justinenola.com.
The holiday season brings two festive events to Red Gravy, the lauded Italian brunch, lunch, and now dinner restaurant from Roseann Melisi Rostoker. The 5th Annual Feast of the Seven Fishes, a holiday tradition, will take place Uptown this year at the restaurant’s new, larger Magazine Street location on Friday, December 18. Due to social distancing guidelines, limited seating is available for the single-seating event.
“The Feast of the Seven Fishes has been a Christmas Eve tradition in my family as far back as I can remember,” says Roseann. “The meal could be as many as seven different courses, but one thing never changed—it was always just seafood: stuffed calamari, shrimp scampi, fried flounder, bacala fritters, and my dad’s stuffed peppers,” she says. Now, Roseann brings the yearly tradition to her restaurant guests, Italian or not.
On Sunday, December 21, Red Gravy will present a Santas and Elves Brunch, where costuming is encouraged. Attendees can look forward to spiked cider, hot chocolate, and cookies in addition to the restaurant’s brunch offerings. For info and reservations, visit redgravycafe.com or call 504-561-8844.
Start a new family tradition this holiday season with delicious food and wine shared together at Briquette, the celebrated seafood destination from restaurateur Anna Tusa, Owner of New Orleans Creole Cookery. With Briquette, Tusa puts seafood and contemporary coastal cuisine at the center of the dining experience. As the name indicates, the restaurant features a large charcoal grill to highlight the fresh coastal flavors. The menu emphasizes a variety of fresh fish and seafood, including whole grilled fish. Other flavorful menu items include aged beef, pastas, pork, and more.
Along with its distinctive coastal cuisine, Briquette is also known locally for its enthusiasm for high quality, often hard-to-find wines and spirits. The restaurant recently won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for its discerning, expansive wine list.
Briquette is open Thursday-Sunday, 3 p.m. until close, and is located at 701 S. Peters Street in the Warehouse District. Book your socially distanced holiday gathering or Christmas Eve dinner by calling the restaurant at 504-302-7496 or via OpenTable.
Ace Hotel New Orleans
Holiday spirit has arrived at the Ace Hotel New Orleans and its restaurants and lounges—Josephine Estelle, Seaworthy, and Alto—where fun and decadence combine for locals and visitors looking to celebrate the season in style. Outdoor seating is available at all outlets, and gift cards are available for purchase both in-person and online.
At Southern- and Italian-inspired Josephine Estelle and seafood-centric Seaworthy, Reveillon Holiday Prix Fixe menus will be offered December 1- 23. Both restaurants will be open and accepting reservations on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. To reserve your holiday gathering, email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. At Alto, Ace’s rooftop poolside hangout, new fire pits invite cozy moments by the fire, while holiday-inspired cocktails keep you in the spirit of the season.
Meanwhile, Ace Hotel’s private event space is available for private parties. Book your event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Ace Hotel or to book a room for a holiday vacation or staycation, visit acehotel.com/neworleans/.
As a celebrated culinary New Orleans destination, Gautreau’s courts its guests with distinctively elegant yet approachable surroundings and a menu both inventive and down-to-earth. Nestled in a lush garden spot in Uptown New Orleans, Gautreau’s has been fortunate to see a succession of great talent in its kitchen, winning several national awards.
Appetizers like the Seared Foie Gras with Calvados Gastrique Golden Delicious Apples and the Seared Sea Scallops with citrus-golden pepper emulsion showcase a vast spectrum of flavors that greet guests prior to entrees such as the Sauteed Red Snapper with Ruby Red Grapefruit Beurre Blanc or the Roasted Duck Breast with Molé Reduction. Offering a beautiful dessert menu to end your fine dining experience, Gautreau’s is the perfect location for your intimate, holiday event. For reservations and more information on our Private Dining Experience, please visit GautreausRestaurant.com.
WINTER ENTERTAINMENT & TRAVEL
This holiday season, English Turn offers the perfect backdrop for a gathering of friends, family, or employees. At the center of this luxury golf and residential community sits a magnificent, 43,000-sqft. clubhouse that recalls the grace and grandeur of Louisiana’s unique architecture. English Turn’s Clubhouse offers a spectacular location for your special event, complete with great food and drink options.
Come visit the Pro Shop for all your golf game needs, and gift cards are available. Consider gifting an English Turn membership to your family this year and enjoy access to this Jack Nicklaus Signature Design Par 72 Championship Golf Course, where every hole offers an individual personality that provides quiet and seclusion from the city. Membership includes a variety of great amenities, including our junior Olympic sized pool, six clay tennis courts and updated fitness center.
Experience all English Turn has to offer. For more information, visit EnglishTurn.com or call 504-392-2200.
AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance
Now is the perfect time to dream about your future road trip escape. When the time is right and you’re ready to jump in the car, you can make sure your road trip stays on track with the peace of mind that accompanies AAA 24/7 Roadside Assistance. AAA covers you in any car, SUV, or pick-up truck even if you’re not the driver. AAA provides members with free towing, free tire change, free lock-out assistance, free minor mechanical first aid, free jump start, and free delivery of emergency fuel.
For a limited time, readers of New Orleans Magazine can join AAA for only $52 and get two household members free (promo code 175644). Current AAA members can add two new household members free (promo code 175646). For more details, see AAA’s ad in this issue, call 844-330-2173, or visit AAA.com/ValueOffer. Join AAA today.
Premier Island Management Group
Make the most of the winter season with an escape to Pensacola Beach, Florida, and the properties of Premier Island Management Group. Whether you’re purely on vacation or looking for a change of scenery as you work—or school—remotely, Premier Island’s Pensacola properties will provide the perfect balance of indulgence, focus, natural beauty, and adventure.
Situated just three hours outside of New Orleans along the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf Island National Seashore, this collection of vacation rentals includes beach homes, condos, and the acclaimed skyhomes of Portofino Island Resort. Enjoy beach views while you work, and once you power down the lap-top, explore the Santa Rosa Sound on a kayak or paddleboard, surf the emerald green waters of the Gulf, soar through the sky under a parasail, or board Portofino I and watch curious dolphins play in the water.
Guests of all ages enjoy the properties of Premier Island. Make the most of your ability to work or learn from anywhere. Find your home away from home today at PremierIsland.com or call 866-966-1420.
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
Celebrate the season with a staycation in your hometown, where The Ritz-Carlton is celebrating its 20th anniversary offering luxurious accommodations and unforgettable experiences. This winter, a festive and colorful display of lights and glass ornaments will greet guests on the hotel’s third floor lobby, creating a twinkling wonderland sure to bring cheer and romance to your holiday. Papa Noel rates start at $229+/night and are available now through December 30 (some blackout dates apply).
For added luxury, reserve your staycation on The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans’ Maison Orleans Club Level, which is open for overnight guests Thursday-Saturday. This oasis is often referred to as a hotel-within-a-hotel, where a dedicated concierge attends to your individual needs in a well-appointed, relaxed lounge environment. Continuous culinary offerings in addition to wine, beer, and cocktails are available throughout the day.
For more details and to book your stay, visit ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/neworleans or call 504-524-1331.
NEW ORLEANS LIVING
Set in vibrant and stylish Mid-City and just steps away from the Lafitte Greenway, Lumina Apartments offers luxurious and spacious living spaces with sleek, modern amenities. Both one- and two-bedroom floor plans feature high ceilings and contemporary finishes, with designer touches including vinyl plank floors, spacious walk-in closets, pendant lighting and granite countertops.
Got a roommate? The Lumina offers the space you need—huge bedrooms with walk-in closets and double-hung shelves and chef-inspired kitchen with a custom designed table make Lumina your best choice for sharing costs without sacrificing space or style.
Spread out even more by grabbing your laptop and heading to the posh clubroom, or work in the lounge with free Starbucks coffee. A resort-inspired pool and onsite 24-hour gym add to the luxury apartment allure.
With popular restaurants and shops just a short walk away, Lumina is nestled in the heart of a thriving and active community. For more information and to set up an in-person or virtual tour, visit LuminaMidCity.com or call 504-608-5778. The Lumina is currently offering one month free with a 13-month lease.
The Delaneaux Apartments
All the luxury and amenities of Mid-City’s Lumina are now available in the Lower Garden District with The Delaneaux Apartments. This modern living community is designed to cater to your busy schedule and to ensure comfort, convenience and relaxation when you return home. Chef-inspired kitchens feature sleek, stainless steel appliances and custom island dining tables, and each floor plan is accented with contemporary finishes that set these spaces above all the rest.
Amenities unique to The Delaneaux include a movie theater, a grand two-story clubroom and a resort-inspired pool, allowing residents to savor the rich history of their neighborhood whether inside their apartments or spending time with neighbors in communal spaces. The elegance of these spaces combines the beauty, distinction, and originality that make New Orleans an exceptional place to live with modern comforts and exquisite touches that create an unrivaled residential experience.
For more information or to sign up for the VIP waiting list, call 504-841-9900 or email email@example.com today. The Delaneaux is currently offering one month free with a 13-month lease. •