The moment we got to New Orleans, we asked around for a good place near our hotel to eat, and we were directed to the Royal House Oyster Bar. Looking back after the trip, it was a very solid option. The restaurant is pleasant, and I was a fan of the seating upstairs. The downstairs looked a bit too cramp at first glance, but upstairs, there is plenty of room with open windows, and there is even seating for two outside on the balcony (a common trend for New Orleans restaurants).
Royal House Oyster Bar is right in the middle of the French Quarter on Royal Street, so there’s easy access to Bourbon Street, many hotels, shops, galleries, live music, and all that the French Quarter has to offer. The restaurant is located right on the corner, so one has a nice panoramic view upstairs of the street. Right down the street from Royal House is a restaurant called Antoine’s, which we were not able to eat at since we couldn’t get a reservation, but Antoine’s looked like a great place for an upscale dining experience for dinner.
The menu is exactly what you would expect at a New Orleans Creole restaurant — étouffée, Oysters, alligator, gumbos, and all sorts of dishes that made a native New Yorker raise an eyebrow.
As this was the first New Orleans restaurant I was to eat at, my family and I dived right into Creole cooking. Some peer pressure forced me to try fried alligator for an appetizer. I still cringe at the belief that people eat alligator, but it was an anti-climactic realization to see that fried alligator legitimately tastes the same as fried chicken tenders. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that I would want to order this regularly, but I can see the appeal…
My parents ordered a dozen oysters, which I was very skeptical about. I’ve had oysters a couple of times before in my life, but the idea of these slimy and raw goops of the sea have always made me reluctant to eat them. However, I was very impressed by their oysters. They were fresh, delicious, and definitely changed my hesitation and dislike of the food. The French Quarter has at least a dozen oyster bars (lame pun intended), and their freshness is unparalleled. I’m not crazy about raw foods, but this was impressive.
For my entree, I ordered a very cliche sounding dish called “Taste of New Orleans,” but it ended up being a good choice. It had small cups of étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya. All of them were good, and the best was probably the crawfish étouffée. I was generally pleased with the dish, and it was very filling, so I definitely couldn’t finish it despite the small cup sizes.
I was satisfied with the meal and the restaurant as a whole, and I have no complaints. The dish selections were varied, and a true “taste” of New Orleans. This is a great first stop along the way through the French Quarters.