We’re sentimental about Antoine’s, it being one of the first fine-dining restaurants in the New World. It’s been owned and operated by the same family (and serving generations of patrons’ families) for more than 175 amazing years. It’s as classic as New Orleans dining gets, but truth be told, the food and presentation can be uneven. Still, the experience is well worth it. The best strategy: Go for conviviality, classics, and drama. Request Johnny or Sterling as your server. Befriend neighboring guests. Order the spinach-soaked baked oysters Rockefeller (invented here); buttery, crab-topped trout Pontchartrain; and a side or two of the hollowed soufflé potato puffs; finish with a café brûlot (see “Anythin’ Flamin’) and the frivolous, football-size (and shaped) baked Alaska. Get one or two of the daily featured 25 cent cocktails. Then tour some of the 15(!) memorabilia-packed rooms, peek at the astounding wine alley, and catch some good local music in the Hermes Bar. The three-course, prix-fixe weekday lunch at $20.18 (it goes up a penny every year) is worth every penny. Make dinner reservations well in advance during peak periods.