Dining Al Fresco!

July 27, 2017
The mid-way season of summer-into-fall is upon us!

Since many French Quarter and nearby eateries offer both inside and outside seating, patrons have numerous choices to make. You and your party can choose to bask in the friendly climate with Mother Nature, or dine inside the enclosed establishment. It’s all about the weather!

As for dining al fresco, the city has varying options. There are restaurants that serve guests on patios, courtyards, verandas, terraces, balconies, sidewalk cafes, and even enclosed patios. Let’s visit a few of the places with external dining and you and your dining partner(s) can take your pick!

First, let’s go to a traditional, yet intimate French Quarter courtyard where romances are born, engagements happen, and great food from an exceptional chef is the major draw. Bayona, one of New Orleans’ top notch restaurants, co-owned by the amazing, multi-award-winning Chef Susan Spicer, is the epitome of classic New Orleans’ cuisine.

Chef Spicer and her team create innovative dishes inspired by many other cultures, as well as, the influences of settlers from other lands that contributed to creating New Orleans’ own culinary traditions.

Located down a 19th century carriageway, adjoining the 200-year-old cottage that is restaurant Bayona, the secluded, lush courtyard is naturally shaded by an elegant Magnolia tree, decorative banana trees, bright bromeliads, and other foliage. In the evening, the patio is lit with glittering string lights with the sparkle reflected in the courtyard’s flowing fountains. Old brick walls and a brick floor encompass the 40-seat courtyard.

This summer, Bayona celebrates its beginning 27 years ago with a special lunch Wednesday –Saturday through Labor Day. Guests can choose a soup or salad, and any lunch entrée, finishing with a scoop of ice cream or sorbet for just $27. In addition, luncheon guests can order featured $ 0.27 cocktails, well-brand Martinis, Lemon Drops, or Manhattans.

Several of Bayona’s classic dishes available for lunch daily are Smoked Duck PB&J and King Salmon in Gewurztraminer sauce. However, Chef Spicer‘s lunch and dinner menus change daily to reflect specials and seasonal availability for products, mostly sourced from local growers and purveyors.

In addition, Bayona is one of the restaurants offering a 3-course prix fixe COOLlinary Dinner for evening guests during August.

Bayona, 430 Dauphine St. N.O., LA (504)525-4455 www.bayona.com

From the French Quarter’s courtyards and cottages to another historic venue with al fresco dining, we visit the nearby, vibrant Bywater neighborhood landmark, The Country Club. Built in 1884, the raised Italianate cottage operates as a stunning restaurant. The front veranda is surrounded by gardens with Sago and Queen palms, hanging ferns, Oleander bushes, and Magnolia and Pencil Holly trees.

The cozy veranda is a charming respite where diners can chill out and relax amid a tropical paradise while sipping luscious libations.

Dining on the divine cuisine The Country Club offers, from noted Executive Chef Chris Barbato, is another pleasure guests won’t want to miss.

This summer, the Country Club celebrates its 40th anniversary with a special 3-course dinner-for-two for $40. from July 20-August 18. The menu begins with Shrimp a la Plancha with Louisiana white shrimp, falafel, pickled vegetables and mint chutney; then, Veal Scaloppini with asparagus, jumbo lump crabmeat and Hollandaise sauce, followed by Lemon Sorbet with a shortbread cookie.

A former Commanders Palace chef de cuisine and Café Adelaide executive chef, Chef Chris has created superb menus featuring culinary fare from his cooking and dining experiences abroad, as well as, working with the likes of the late Commander’s Palace Executive Chef, Jamie Shannon.

Several new additions to the menu are Blue Crab Beignets with Jalapeno mayonnaise and pickled vegetables, and Tête en Geleé, a classic Cajun dish. Seasonality is the key to menu changes, which appear online daily.

The Country Club‘s lunch and dinner menus, Saturday and Sunday brunch menus, cocktail, wine, and dessert menus are online. Happy Hours are from 4-7 p.m. Mon.- Fri.

The Country Club, 634 Louisa St., N.O., LA (504) 945-0742 info@tccno.om

Effervescence, the newest, hottest spot in the French Quarter for dining and drinking, was created out of one little girl’s fantasies, and her older-self’s vision in renovating a circa-1890s Victorian cottage with a charming, fountained courtyard.

The luxurious, yet unpretentious space and décor has been an attraction since its spring opening, especially for Champagne and sparkling wine aficionados, and attests that “little girls’ dreams can come true!”

Owner Crystal Coco Hinds, a local, recalls how her inspiration for Effervescence originated, “From childhood memories of family toasts and well wishes amidst clinking glasses of sparkling bubbles at every birthday, holiday or special event, which seemed to make the day sparkle just a little more.”

Growing up, her “bubbles obsession” and imagining of one day opening a place showcasing Champagnes did not diminish. Her lifelong Champagne ice-bucket collection is now proudly displayed at Effervescence.

Last year, as she and her mini-golden doodle, Lola, were walking around the Quarter near her home, she noticed workmen gutting an old home. Every day, on her walks with Lola, she would peek inside to observe the progress.

“One day I took a look further inside and saw the cutest courtyard in the back with a trickling fountain- a hidden gem!,” she said. That was the beginning of her vision of actually realizing her lifelong wish to open a Champagne bar and eatery.

“I wanted a space that was clean, inviting, welcoming, and upscale, but comfortable. For style and décor, my idea was to blend the new with the tradition of this historic structure,” Hinds said,

The kitchen is run by Co-Executive Chefs Brenna Sanders and Evan Ingram, who “bring a vast knowledge to our kitchen, and a playful youthfulness to our menu,” said Hinds.

Effervescence, 1036 North Rampart St., N.O, LA
(504) 509-7644 www.nolabubbles.com

For devotees of al fresco dining, many fans of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, one of the most popular and renowned restaurants in the U.S. and abroad, aren’t aware that the eatery has a covered balcony for al fresco dining as well as a unique enclosed courtyard.

There’s a simple explanation for this lack of information: the food is so good and the demand to get in is so “over the top,” guests are thrilled to just obtain a table!

The 19th century building’s traditional, Spanish wrought-iron grilled balcony is available, weather permitting, according to Manager Brenda Prudhomme-Miller.

K-Paul’s also offers a very charming, air-conditioned, space in their covered patio on the first floor. Accessed though the restaurant’s French double-doors, guests can experience a lovely, working central fountain, brick floors, ironwork chairs, and the usual décor of a French Quarter courtyard.

The courtyard is often used for catered events and groups that want to book it for a dining occasion. In addition, the main dining room on the second floor, as well as the adjacent K’s parlor are also available for catered private parties, seated dinners, and reception style dining. The courtyard seats 35 and the second floor dining room and K’s Parlor each seat 65 comfortably.

Since some of the clientele’s most favorite specialties on K-Paul’s menu are seasonal, Executive Chef Paul Miller tweaks the menu daily to attain the freshest cyclical items and ingredients. However, many of the most requested dishes are available year around such as blackened twin beef tenderloins with debris sauce, stuffed pork chop, and blackened drum fish.

During August, K-Paul’s will be featuring a prix fixe 3-course COOLinary dinner menu. Reservations and walk-ins are welcome.

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, 416 Chartres St. N.O., LA (504) 596-2530 www.kpauls.com

Perhaps the most expansive and exquisite restaurant courtyard in the French Quarter is Broussards, one of the five “Grande Dames of Creole Cuisine” in New Orleans.

For a bit of history, the property was originally part of the estate of the Borrello family who built an extraordinary mansion complete with a carriageway and stables on the grounds in 1834. When their daughter married a young chef, the family turned the mansion into a restaurant for their new son-in-law, Joseph Broussard, who had studied cuisine in France. The family – including the newlyweds, moved into the upstairs quarters, and Broussard’s opened in 1920.

Today, Executive Chef Neil Swidler runs the kitchen continuing the traditions of fine French and Creole cuisine began by his long-ago predecessor and the restaurant’s namesake, nearly 100 years ago.

Broussard’s full menus for both nightly dinner and weekend brunch present tantalizing tastes in every course.

In celebration of the year the restaurant was established, Broussards is offering a three-course, prix fixe $19.20 menu, available through September 17. Chef Neal developed a delicious menu for the special summer celebration of the restaurant’s founding year.

For the first appetizer course, guests can choose between crispy shrimp toast with Creole Tomato Glaze and smashed potato salad or Chef Neal’s summer soup selection. Entrees are Grilled Pork Tenderloin with mustard cream sauce and haricots verts almandine, or pan-roasted Gulf fish with Parmesan herb butter and a warm vegetable salad.

Dessert choices are a summer sorbet with fresh fruit and house-made cookies or a warm bread pudding.

Happy Hours are 4-7 p.m. in the elegant Empire Bar with appetizers for $5 and hand-crafted drinks, Or, you can enjoy Happy Hour in Broussards’ fabulous courtyard!

Broussards, 819 Conti St., N.O., LA (504) 581-3866 www.broussards.com