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Needed: gorgeous, delicious, fun place for birthday dinner in the Quarter for 25-35 out-of-towners. (No shellfish.)

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Dear New Orleans Chowhounds,

I'm chiming in from Los Angeles, in search of the perfect place to have my birthday dinner in your lovely and delicious city. I'm expecting between 25-35 guests at the end of January, many of whom have never been to New Orleans. I seek a place with private rooms absolutely dripping with atmosphere. My group likes to dress up, enjoys good food, and loves to drink. We'd like to find a place where we can feel relaxed and can enjoy a big dinner in a beautiful/outrageous/stunning setting, preferably in the Quarter. It'd be great to keep the cost under $70/per person - but this isn't the highest priority.

Now for the difficult part - several of my guests are vegetarians and I'm wildly allergic to shellfish - so I'd really prefer not to host my party in a place that specializes in oysters.

I'm looking at Antoine's (the Rex room is wow!), Muriel's (the Seance room would be great!), K-Paul's, Arnuad's, and Broussard's. Galatoire's menu seems so shell-fish-centered that I don't think I can consider it. I love the idea of Napoleon House, but their website says they won't do a sit down dinner for less than 40 people.

You guys know everything. Can you help me?

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Napoleon House Bar & Cafe
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130

Galatoire's Restaurant
209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

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  1. You've just about listed everything I can think of in the Quarter, although I'm sure I'm forgetting someplace. Of your choices, I'd probably pick Antoine's. The food's just above average, but the private rooms in back are very cool. Muriel's rooms are cool too. I mean, who doesn't love a balcony overlooking Jackson Square. But again, I'm not a huge fan of Muriel's food.

    Also, I'm not sure why Gal's is such a turn-off menu-wise. I think Antoine's and Gal's menus are very similar. That said, Gal's does food much better than Antoine's. However, in the case of private rooms, Antoine's rooms are nicer than Gal's, imo. Just something to consider.

    If I was picking, I'd look at August, Commander's, and Ralph's on the Park. None of them are in the quarter, but the food at any of these is much better than the Quarter options. They all have nice rooms, too. Ralph's rooms are great since they have balconies overlooking city park. Finally, and for what it's worth, I think Commander's does private events better than any place in town. Good luck!

    1. I've done several events at Muriel's, starting in the Seance Room w/passed apps, cocktails, and tarot card readers. then moved the party to a room w.balcony for a seated dinner. you may want to call the sales manager, who can work w/you on menu choices, special printed menus, and wine selections.

      I've also done seated events at Galatoire's. Their menu has so much more than shellfish, and you could control the menu choices by making a few selections ahead of time. Personally, I rarely leave Galatoire's w/o ordering their lamb chops. My filet mignon friends swear by theirs.

      I agree w/N.O. Food about looking into August. Commander's is lovely, but does lunch better than dinner. I've hosted group dinners there, but have always enjoyed lunch more so. We did a dinner of similar size at Ralph's upstairs in a room w/balcony.

      The weather in January could be anything, but if you wanted to do something outdoors, you could start on Riverbend Terrace Patio on the lobby level of the Westin Canal Place and then move the dinner inside their dining room, River 127.. There is a way to set the room so that your table could have some privacy.
      http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/...

      Other private rooms to check out:
      http://www.ribroomneworleans.com/priv...
      http://www.calcasieurooms.com/rooms.html
      http://www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.c...

      There are plenty of shops in the Qtr to pick up some party favors and decorations for the table(s), if you want to welcome your first timers and set the mood. Best in finding the best for your bday festivities. Cheers~

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      Restaurant August
      301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130

      Galatoire's Restaurant
      209 Bourbon St., New Orleans, LA 70130

      Ralphs On the Park
      900 City Park Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119

      Rib Room Rotisserie Extrrdnr
      621 Saint Louis Street, New Orleans, LA 70140

      Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
      716 Iberville St, New Orleans, LA 70130

      2 Replies
      1. re: edible complex

        Wow! Thank you, Edible Complex and N.O. Food for your help and great suggestions! This is my week to plan the dinner, so I'll be making calls to all of the above restaurants this week.

        1. re: violetland

          Antoine's it is!
          Their event planners are really great.
          Thanks again -

      2. Did a great dinner in the main dining room of Restaurant August for 14 people--two vegetarians--from the main menu on the fly, and they did an awesome job with everything. Not just a vegetable plate and ravioli! Plenty of non seafood options, too.

        They have a great private room upstairs that would be a lot of fun and is gorgeous. Octavio Mantilla, the manager for Chef Besh and Gulati is wonderful, too

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        Restaurant August
        301 Tchoupitoulas Street, New Orleans, LA 70130