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Dec 15, 2008 11:10 AM

need a lil more help with gallatoires

well i just read the recent post on gallatoires and have what might be considered a silly question.... we are arriving at MSY at 10am on a friday, only staying until monday. i would really like to experience this friday lunch so i made online rez for the second floor dining room. are we going to miss out on the fun? should we just head straight to the restaurant and get on line or would we be too late anyway??

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  1. Forget the 2nd floor. Chances are straight from the airport you'll still have quite a wait.

    1. If you are arriving this coming Friday (the 19th), the downstairs is already full as The Friday Before Christmas. The tables have already been auctioned off. They may be available to the general public when a patron vacates but considering these people have spent a lot of charity-bound money for the table it would likely be awhile before anything opens up. If you are arriving any other Friday then you'd be best served to go to your hotel and wander around and show up along in the middle of the afternoon when some of the 11:30 AM tables _might_ be leaving. By 4:00 though you should be able to get in without a problem, assuming no special event.

      1. I've been on the Friday before Christmas, and both the bar and dining rooms upstairs are quite lively. no, it is not the same as being downstairs, but it should prove to be festive anyway.
        after lunch, many people spill over to the Absinthe. also check out the bars and decorations of the Monteleone Hotel/Carousel Bar, Omni Royal Orleans/Touche', and Royal Sonesta.

        1. thanks for the info!!!!!!!! will not be there on the friday after xmas, it will be the next one. i will try for downstairs, if not i guess we will settle for upstairs or commanders.

          13 Replies
          1. re: agent99

            Reserve the garden oom at Commander's.

            1. re: agent99

              Galatoire's only take reservations for upstairs, not downstairs. the Friday after Christmas is Jan 2, which is Sugar Bowl...should be lively that weekend.

              1. re: edible complex

                made a mistake, we WILL be there the friday after xmas and have rez for upstairs so i guess our first experience will have to be there. requested garden room for commanders lunch on monday too, thanks for the info!!!!

                1. re: agent99

                  With Xmas on a thursday you should not have trouble finding a downstairs table on Friday which will be busy but not your typical "end of the week" Friday. Years ago, before the cachet of Friday caught on, the post-Xmas weekend was rather quiet (comparativly). I think if you are there around 2:00 you can ask to switch to downstairs and have a drink at the bar upstairs while you wait. That might give you a slow introduction to the place. There are some nice old photos upstairs, as well.

                  1. re: hazelhurst

                    is the food actually very good here or is it a go to place for the downstairs experience????? my b/f will only wear jeans, although they look neat. should we skip the 2nd floor and head to commanders for our friday lunch instead??

                    1. re: agent99

                      If blue jeans are all that is available then certainly go elsewhere. Jeans used to be prohibited in there---the rule has beciome "flexible" and I for one cannot see rhyme or reason in the variations. But wearing jeans in there, even if permitted, would make me feel underdressed and even downright slovenly. The food is wonderful but not "exciting". There is no cutting edge hooey going on, no "presentation" nonsense..just good food in a fun place. I still think you'll be be better served if you go on any day other than has become a ridiculous parody.

                      1. re: hazelhurst

                        I agree completely. Now, I have never asked about jeans, of any ilk, but would be surprised, if they were allowed under any circumstance.

                        If that it the highest level of attire, I'd go to a much more casual establishment, than Galetoire's. For the last five decades, it has been a "dress-up" place for me. Now, I am sure that some jeans today cost 10x what my sport coat of 40 years ago cost, but there IS a difference.

                        If BF is a "jeans only guy," there are plenty of other restaurants, where he would not feel underdressed. I'd change reservations in a hurry. Or, whisper in his ear that "we are going to a 'dress-up' place tonight, so please pack your sports coat." There are still a few spots in the US, where gentlemen in jackets are the norm.


                      2. re: agent99

                        Neither Commanders or Galatoire's is a place for jeans. Period. Both places have dress codes and while they may allow you in, even in jeans, you will be underdressed. If your boyfriend will not dress up please consider going elsewhere.
                        ETA: There are plenty of really good options in New Orleans where the "dressy jeans" concept is perfectly fine. I didn't want to come off as harsh as I thought perhaps my original comment was. It's just that these two restaurants are "grand dames" of New Orleans eating where locals go to celebrate special occasions and not just places where people visiting the city want to get a table. Best of luck convincing the b/f to wear some slacks - that's truly your best option.

                        1. re: redgypsy

                          In the afternoon a few years ago a local doctor was sharing a table with friends and one noticed, in the mirror, a familiar face behind him. "Hey Doc, isn't that your neighbor so-and-so?" "He's also my cousin" said the Doc. "Aren't you going to say hello?" "No. He's not wearing a necktie. He knows better."

                          1. re: hazelhurst

                            wow! thank goodness for your response. i would most certainly not want to be 'that' person with the jeans. this is a surprise so i will make sure i pack some sort of slacks for him, he would not want to miss out on both places.

                            1. re: agent99

                              Please don't wear jeans at Gal's. They might not even let him in the door. Also, if he doesn't have a jacket, they'll give him a "house" jacket that'll be 2 sizes too big - I swear they give ill-fitting coats to patrons just to embarrass them. Gal's is the only place I've seen that will turn people away if they're not appropriately dressed. I give them bigtime kudos for that.

                              1. re: N.O.Food

                                AND "paper ties" in the "old days!" Other patrons might not notice, but the wearer certainly will. Not a pretty sight and it does cut into the atmosphere of the place.


                          2. re: redgypsy

                            Personally, I did not detect a negative tone in your earlier post, but maybe that is just me.

                            Going back many decades, I did not wear a tie (as a 12 year-old) and had to put on a paper tie at Galatoire's. I still feel the pain of having to walk through the lower dining room wearing that. It made a lasting impression on me, and that was over 50 years ago! I may have been the only one to feel the "slings and arrows," but I felt them, none the less. To this day, I always travel with my blazer and a wallet of ties, even to laid-back locales, such as Hawai`i. I have NEVER been underdressed again! If they say "semi-formal," I judge the time of day, and either wear my tux, or my off-white dinner jacket - no questions asked.

                            Please do not subject your BF to the possible humiliation of wearing jeans to Galatorie's (or similar). In Europe, most fine-dining restaurants would not seat Tom Cruise, should he show up in jeans. Galatorie's is similar. Go with the flow, or dine elsewhere, please.


                2. To be honest, I think that Fridays are the worst day to experience Galatoires. I have only eaten there once on a Friday and swore I would never do it again. In my opinion, the customers were some of the most blantantly pretentious people with whom I have ever come in contact. For example, one well dressed woman ignored us while we were trying to squeeze into the corner table. She would neither move nor answer our, "excuse me, Please" However, she was also ignoring the conversation with her lunch date waiting for the right moment to look up and say to another woman, Alexis such a wonderful job you did at the film festival. I had to laugh, it was phony. The conversation are extra loud so that all can hear exactly how much they think of themselves. I never returned on a Friday again. The food is to good to have to compete with the loud, obnoxious voices and drunken behavior from the regulars. The food is fantastic just go on any day not Friday lunch

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: koogle

                    Some Fridays are different but on the whole you are right, I think. But it should be said that the place calms down in the late afternoon> There will be a few lunch tables that sit through until dinner but most of the clowns will have cleared out. You obviously encountered the arrivistes. You may be right that much yelling is designed to be overheard but in truth that crowd is playing at misbehaving so much that the din is a natural outgrowth. The loudest I ever heard was Friday before Mardi Gras about ten years ago--I had to go because foreign friends wanted to see it and that was the only day available. You could not hear other people at the table. The last Friday I was there--again, a foreign friend's last chance--was a year ago. It was not as bad and it settled down about 3:30 but we had to move tables three times to get in striking distance of the table we wanted which was occupied by two howling women and a sheepish-looking man. One of the women eventually knocked over the wine bucket, looked embarrased for a moment, then looked at us and screamed "Oh! it's GALATOIRE'S! We do things like that at Gal's!" I'd certainly never seen her before. Perhaps I should have appreciated being "let in" on things. They went away shortly afterwards, we got our table, and the world returned to relative calm.

                    1. re: hazelhurst

                      In my experience, there are a couple of types of diners, on Fridays. Many are those, who wish to be seen and heard. Some are those, who wish to see. Then, there are the last group, who wish to dine, only. I have always been in that last group, especially as no one living is likely to even know who I am any longer.

                      Galatorie's is not unique in this. Too many places are similar. This might well be one reason why we often choose the upstairs, and leave the "scene" to those who are more interested in things, other than the food. Still, it can be fun to pick out the "old school folk," the "also rans," and those, who feel that they should be noticed and recognized by most. Similar to my dining experiences in DC. My wife seems to recognize the "players," but for me, it is about the food, the service and the wine. I could care less about who is at the next table. Maybe I am alone in this...


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I go upstairs for private parties and have eaten there alone but I am so used to the "real" dining room that I am more comfortable there and the waiters I use are usually downstairs anyway. The table-hopping is just what happens when everyone has known everyone else forever. Sometimes, the stranger at the next table turns out to be a delightful addition to your own party.

                      2. re: hazelhurst

                        went to Galatorie's this past Friday (the Friday before Christmas) about 3pm, and all was calm downstairs, yet still festive. now the street scene at the Absinthe was a completely different experience.

                        1. re: edible complex

                          That means that the charity table folks "did their thing" and left in comparatively short order. Late afteroon/dinner on Fridays are usually fairly normal, and that is, as noted before, the only times I go on Friday unless absolutely necessary.