For over 170 years, Antoine’s Restaurant has served as one of the premier locations for fine Creole dining in the New Orleans French Quarter. Established in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore, Antoine’s is noted for being the oldest family-run restaurant in the country.
In the beginning, Alciatore opened his business as a restaurant and boarding house for immigrants and merchant seamen. When business began to boom, the establishment moved to its current location at 713 St. Louis Street. The boarding house became a full-fledged restaurant in 1898 when Alciatore’s son Jules inherited the business. Thanks to Jules, some of Antoine’s most famous recipes were created, including Oysters Rockefeller. Named after John D. Rockefeller for its extreme richness, the dish was created due to a shortage of escargot and has been a well-kept family secret since 1889. Additionally, Jules is noted for creating an original New Orleans’ cocktail, the Café Brulot Diabolique. This flaming coffee drink contains:
• 2 sticks cinnamon
• 8 whole cloves
• Peel of one lemon
• 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
• 3 ounces brandy
• 3 cups strong black coffee, hot
Customers enjoy dining in one of Antoine’s 14 dining rooms, each decorated in their own thematic style. The Mystery Room, formally accessed through a closet in the ladies restroom, was known to provide customers with a cup of coffee full of liquor during Prohibition. The response, when asked where the coffee came from, was, “It’s a mystery to me.” Another well-known room is the wine cellar, visible from a small window on Royal Street. When fully stocked, Antoine’s cellar can hold 25,000 bottles of wine.
Antoine’s Restaurant has been featured on popular shows such as Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and was also featured in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film, JFK. The restaurant has served many celebrities, presidents, and even Pope John Paul II.