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Breakfast, Booze and Bananas Foster at Brennan’s New Orleans

Brennan’s, the classic French Quarter restaurant, is the furthest thing from ‘cutting edge’ dining. But thanks to timeless dishes, killer cocktails and flaming desserts, breakfast at Brennan’s is a mandatory stop for food travelers who visit New Orleans.

Oysters Jaime Platter at Brennans in New Orleans

To those who grew up watching TV in the 1980s, breakfast at Brennan’s evokes thoughts about Folger’s Coffee Crystals instead of fine dining.

You probably remember the commercial – it’s the one where the woman with the Linda Evans helmet hairdo is utterly shocked that the powers that be have replaced her morning coffee with Folger’s swill.

We’ve secretly replaced the coffee they’ve normally served at Brennan’s with Folger’s Coffee Crystals…”

Bananas Foster Preparation at Brennans in New Orleans
The staff at Brennan’s Restaurant has been preparing Bananas Foster since 1951, the year that the restaurant invented its signature dessert.

Ok, you get the point, which is sad. Brennan’s, open since 1946, has a rich history that dates back to a bygone era before celebrity chefs, gastropubs, small plate menus and online reservation systems.

The acclaimed restaurant endured destruction from Hurricane Katrina and a closure in 2013 that threatened its very existence. Luckily, a member of the Brennan family along with additional investors stepped in to save and remodel the French Quarter stalwart.

So how is Brennan’s now? We decided to reserve a 10am table to find out for ourselves.

Our Breakfast at Brennan’s

Bread and Butter at Brennans in New Orleans
Brennan’s promotes its iconic New Orleans status all the way down to embossing its butter.

As we quickly learned, breakfast at Brennan’s isn’t an intimate affair. Located in a pink mansion, the restaurant is huge and bustling with an endless array of rooms and a spacious outdoor dining patio. Tables are covered with crisp white tablecloths and servers wear formal attire.

Despite the pomp and procedures, the atmosphere still felt casual enough for shorts on a hot summer day.

Hot Sauce Dilemma at Brennans in New Orleans
Mindi contemplates which Louisiana hot sauce will make the final journey to the top of her Brennan’s omelette.

Not wanting to miss a bite or sip, we decided to enjoy it all from the menu’s marvelous appetizers all the way to the restaurant’s most famous dessert. In between, we drank classic New Orleans cocktails and ate eggs because… breakfast.

Oysters Jaiime at Brennans in New Orleans
Char-Grilled (some say barbecued) oysters are staple in New Orleans. Brennan’s serves their mollusks topped with a charred cornmeal crust.

In case we forgot we were eating breakfast in New Orleans for a hot minute, the Brennan’s menu’s appetizer brought us back to reality. Every appetizer option screamed NOLA from Turtle Soup and Gumbo to the restaurant’s decadent take on French Toast.

Once our enthusiastic server recommended Oysters J’Aime, we were sold on sharing the dish. It was a good choice. The grilled, meaty oysters came topped with Creole tomato gravy and cornbread crumble.

Eggs St Charles at Brennans in New Orleans
If you see Eggs St. Charles on the Brennan’s breakfast menu, order it. The classic dish lives up to its reputation.

After 75 years, it’s fair to say that Brennan’s has mastered the concept of breakfast with a menu filled with eggy creations – this is a restaurant that must have a fish tank filled with perfectly poached eggs at the ready. Popular dishes include Eggs Hussarde, a unique take on Eggs Benedict, as well as Eggs Sardou with crispy artichokes, Parmesan creamed spinach and choron sauce.

Of the two main dishes we ordered, Eggs St. Charles with crispy Gulf fish, creamed spinach and orange hollandaise sauce was the winner. The dish is a testament to the mastery of breading and frying that New Orleans cooks exhibit across the city. Piling rich eggs over crunchy fried fish may seem like overkill but, after a night of NOLA indulgences, Eggs St. Charles is a veritable hangover killer.

Brandy Milk Punch at Brennans in New Orleans
This Brandy Milk Punch made us smile with its luxurious texture and sweet flavor.

Speaking of hangovers, you might think that a spicy Bloody Mary embellished with pickled okra and a green olive would have been the potable star of our meal. However, it paled next to our Brandy Milk Punch, a creamy concoction that was dangerously easy to drink.

To be clear, Brennan’s didn’t introduce Brandy Milk Punch to New Orleans. That honor goes to Tujaque’s, a nearby French Quarter restaurant that invented the Grasshopper. However, Brennan’s makes a mighty fine version that could have doubled for dessert if we weren’t set on ordering Bananas Foster.

Discover the best desserts in New Orleans.

Flaming Bananas Foster at Brennans in New Orleans
Our server brought the heat when he created Bananas Foster for us at our table.

Joining the daily parade of locals and tourists who eat at Brennan’s, we partook in the restaurant’s infamous table side theatre that involves fire, alcohol, sugar and bananas. Sure, we could have opted for a strawberry crepe dessert flambéed table side instead, but that dessert isn’t nearly so “famous” and doesn’t involve bananas.

Bananas Foster Ingredients at Brennans in New Orleans
A lot of fire and a bit of finesse transformed this tray of ingredients into Bananas Foster right in front of our incredulous eyes.

We weren’t alone. It seemed as though every table in the restaurant was ordering Bananas Foster too. But that didn’t minimize the excitement we felt when our server wheeled the portable stove to our table and started combining butter, cinnamon and brown sugar in the pan.

Bananas Foster at Brennans in New Orleans
We ate these plates topped with Bananas Foster 70 years after the restaurant invented the iconic New Orleans dessert.

Our excitement built as he added rum and banana liqueur, causing the flames to reach their crescendo. Eating the dessert with its caramelized banana and vanilla ice cream would have been a let down if it didn’t taste good. However, just like the rest of our breakfast at Brennan’s, eating Bananas Foster at the source was a cliché that lived up to the hype.

 Brennan’s is located at 417 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States.

Hungry for More in New Orleans?

Eat New Orleans food favorites at other iconic restaurants including Commander’s Palace and Willie Mae’s Scotch House. Then try the city’s best desserts, bars, drinks, coffee shops, po boys and cheap eats.

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Breakfast at Brennan's New Orleans" New Orleans
About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Sponsorship
We thank Visit New Orleans and its partners for their assistance to facilitate this and other articles.

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Important Update
Some restaurants have revised their hours and menus due to COVID-19. Others may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check restaurant websites for updated information.