The lazy weekend brunch, which likely includes signature morning cocktails, is a venerable New Orleans tradition. A fine brunch is a great way to fit in one more meal to your NOLA eating agenda — or it might help you recover from the previous nights’ overindulgence! If you are looking for Uptown brunch options that bring out the best in new Louisiana cooking, consider Dante’s Restaurant at 736 Dante St, near Riverbend, or Atchafalaya, at 901 Louisiana Ave, not far from Magazine Street.
Although reservations aren’t available for brunch— its first come, first served— the Dante’s experience is often well worth the wait. Open for brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am to 2:00pm, Dante’s puts out a wide array of locally-sourced brunch entrée dishes, side dishes that include alligator sausage, and even brunch “starters” such as their trademark bacon praline cinnamon sticky buns.
Favorite mains include a decadent Bread Pudding French Toast, or Dante’s version of Eggs Benedict featuring slices of rosemary rubbed pork loin, served over a buttermilk biscuit with honey, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. Vegetarian options include a three-egg omelette filled with slow-roasted tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and Gruyere cheese topped with Dante’s wonderful house-made hot sauce.
Dante’s is also a great option for dinner (reservations are recommended) with plenty of hearty ‘small plates’ and local vegetable specialties that are perfect for sharing, along with the complimentary pan-bread served with a great glob of butter. Chicken under a Brick and Trois Mignons are entrée specialties.
Atchafalaya: If you need reservations, and you should make them for this popular spot, or if you are hankering for brunch on Thursday or Friday consider Atchafalaya. Serving brunch Thursdays through Mondays until 2:30 pm, Atchafalaya also has the cottage bistro vibe (and a few tables out on the sidewalk) with a friendly comfortable full bar in the front room; a local jazz band performs music on the weekends.
Atchafalaya — the name comes for the Choctaw words for “long river” since the Atchafalaya River is the largest distributary of the Mississippi —attracts both locals and visitors. Executive Chef Christopher Lynch keeps the menu and concept simple while delivering great contemporary creole cuisine. Brunch options range from their particularly creamy shrimp and grits to Cochon De L’Eggs with pulled port and cornbread pudding. For heartier fare, consider a brunch burger or steak sandwich. Atchafalaya is also a great dinner option serving dinner seven days a week.
Atchafalaya is notable for its ‘build your own’ Bloody Mary bar. Stocked with a unique house-blended tomato mixes (including green tomato), you can choose from a bevy of garnishes such as celery, pickled okra, marinated green beans and bacon bits. Your server will give you a number of vodka options and then you are ‘on your own’ to create an imaginative signature NOLA-style Bloody Mary to accompany a delicious brunch.