Diners at Café Sbisa welcomed 2017 with great food, handcrafted cocktails, live entertainment and a bit of history. While issuing in a brand new year, guests simultaneously stepped back in time. The nearly 200-year-old building that houses Café Sbisa on Decatur Street was built in 1820 and formerly served as a brothel. As part of the strip once known as Gallatin Street (think, Storyville in a different neighborhood), the area—with its location near the river—was known to offer incoming sailors a welcome of a most intimate sort. But those seedy days are past. The building has been operating as a restaurant since 1899 and is now the third oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Café Sbisa’s current owner and manager, Craig Napoli, first took over in the 1990’s. Despite a few brief changes in management post-Katrina, Napoli and his family are back and in charge again. With a major renovation and the return of Chef Alfred Singleton, Café Sbisa has been brought back to its former glory. Ever since its grand reopening in November, the restaurant has been going strong with dishes like Oysters Sbisa, Trout Eugene, and New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, served in a vintage atmosphere which feels like fine dining meets Moulin Rouge. Café Sbisa serves dinner Wednesday thru Sunday along with jazz brunch on weekends. Come enjoy a meal on the balcony overlooking the French Market, dinner in the private dining room upstairs or a cocktail at the 114-year-old mahogany bar.
Café Sbisa, 1011 Decatur Street, 504-522-5565, cafesbisanola.com. Open Wednesday thru Friday, 5:30-10 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m.