May 1, 2024 - Food and Drink

What to order at Irene's Cuisine

A large white pasta dish is filled with a fettuccine pasta and topped with a fried soft shell crab.

The soft-shell crab was available on special when I visited Irene's. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

I knew I'd like Irene's Cuisine from the moment the door opened and I was hit with the scent of garlic. It stretched out toward the street behind me, like it could wrap around me to usher me to my table even faster.

Why it matters: A reader recommended I give Irene's a try after leaving the restaurant off my list of French Quarter favorites, and I'm happy to say I obliged.

The big picture: Irene DiPietro's restaurant first opened in 1992, and her Sicilian family has been serving New Orleans ever since, most recently at a Bienville Street location.

  • Today, the kitchen is run by DiPietro's son, Nicholas Scalco, according to the full story on the restaurant's website.

What I ordered: A soft-shell crab fettuccine special ($40).

  • The giant soft-shell was laid atop a bed of pasta laden with a light cream sauce plus sautéed spinach, crawfish tails, cherry tomatoes and peas.
Four fried oysters sit on a large white plate atop a cream sauce. Next to the oysters is a pecan-topped spinach salad and red grapes.
The panéed oysters were one of two starters I got on a recent visit to Irene's Cuisine. Photo: Chelsea Brasted/Axios

Another favorite from my visit was the panéed oysters ($15), which were served alongside a small spinach salad.

  • The salad's sweet raspberry vinaigrette cut the saltiness of the oysters unexpectedly but perfectly.

The bottom line: I should have visited a long time ago, and I'm so glad I finally did.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Bienville Street is the restaurant's present location, not where it opened in 1992.

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