If you didn't know that Seaworthy was under the Ace Hotel umbrella, you'd never guess. That's because the Creole Cottage with its charming upstairs dining room is up the block towards Girod. But its pedigree doesn't matter a whit, this sustainable seafooder and oyster bar stands on its own sea legs. From weekend brunch to an enlightened dinner menu of small and large plates Seaworthy lives up to its name, offering Southern favorites with an emphasis on wild-caught and seasonal ingredients. There's an impressive cocktail list - and yes, bottomless Mimosas, Sangrias and Pimm's Cup are available at brunch. The evening setting is especially atmospheric.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: You'll be able to hear sweet nothings at this intimate restaurant, so lean in.
Beth's expert tip: There's an oyster happy hour with reduced prices on drinks and bivalves Tue.-Sun.,4-6 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 pm to midnight.
Vessel takes dining to a holier than ever level. Located in a circa 1914 former Lutheran church just off Carrollton Ave., Vessel is one of those hidden gems that, once discovered, makes going out for dinner or brunch fun all over again. Sophisticated yet unpretentious, Vessel is blessed with Gothic bones, including stunning stained glass windows, soaring ceilings, a spanking new patio for outside dining and a bar where craft cocktails reign supreme. Chef Amandalynn Picolo brings fresh, local, clean flavors to the plate, whether it's mussels with lemon grass and ginger or a fried oyster and spinach salad or or sauteed scallops with risotto and black truffle. Belly up to the backlit bar to savor craft cocktails. Vessel is from the same team behind The Bulldog, so you know the beer list is word.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Tucked away in Mid-City, this lovely restaurant is indeed a religious experience.
Beth's expert tip: There's off street parking in a lot behind the restaurant, always a plus.
Donald Link's much anticipated association with the Four Seasons New Orleans is a stunner of a restaurant, no doubt. Modeled about one of the chef's favorite Parisian steak houses, the menu is elegant, with nods to local seafood in dishes like peel and eat Louisiana shrimp and a seafood gumbo made Cajun style, without a roux. The real star of the show, the romantic piece de reisistance is the view. Chemin à la Mer crowns the build out addition to the original 34-story tower, with wrap around terraces that give diners a front row view of the Mississippi's bustling maritime traffic and boomerang hairpin turn. When the weather is fine, there's no better place for breakfast, lunch or dinner than on that terrace. Dinner is spendy for certain, with a la carte options like a $58 rib eye spinalis, pan roasted foi for $38 and cote de boeuf for two for $180 - which actually feeds three or four so it's not a bad deal. Other dishes are on par with most fine dining spots, priced in the mid $30s for the likes of duck confit with spicy greens or pan roasted king salmon with lentils. Then again, you can sit at the oyster bar, have a glass of wine and a half dozen oysters and feel like royalty at half the price. The Four Seasons New Orleans opened (finally) with much fanfare. And with good reason. It's first class all the way, with brand loyalty second to none.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: A chef driven restaurant in a gorgeous new hotel is big news.
Beth's expert tip: Have a drink at the hotel's gorgeous chandelier bar in the lobby to set a truly stirring mood.
Read more about Chemin a la Mar in the Four Seasons New Orleans →
Creole cuisine is wonderful, but you can't eat it every night. Take a break here at Sylvain, a charming modern Southern gastro-pub in the shadow of St. Louis Cathedral. Set in an historic building, the restaurant is all candlelight and burnished copper, a romantic space with a hidden little courtyard. The menu offers a straightforward, no-nonsense approach to cooking and sourcing the best ingredients from the southern United States, an approach that carries over to the excellent bar program. Try the chicken liver pate with brioche, red adobo pork shoulder with "kimcheese" grits and a damn fine burger. For dessert, the Abita root beer float is just perfect.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Sylvain is a spot fo intimate dining, fine service and adventurous fare.
Beth's expert tip: Don't miss the chef's thick and juicy outdoing of a Chik-fil-A sandwich and the burger is the bomb.
After being shuttered close to two years because of the pandemic, Couvant, the gorgeous date night restaurant in the Eliza Jane Hotel on Magazine Street in the CBD, is back. And better than ever. Reimagined from its traditional Parisian bistro and oyster bar theme to a thoroughly modern French restaurant, executive Chef Ryan Pearson is at the helm, a Louisiana son who has honed his craft in kitchens in New York and Paris. Most recently in the kitchen at the two Michelin-starred Daniel in Manhattan, Pearson's flawless execution and elegance of plate deliver a truly fine dining experience. Seasonal menu highlights include crispy chickpea fries with garlic aioli, a marinated baby beet salad with local strawberries and a creole cream cheese mousse and a steak lover's dream, Cote de Beuf for two, sliced dry aged ribeye, served with bone marrow crusted potato gratin, roasted mushrooms and a black garlic bordelaise. Pearson's brioche crusted veal is a show stopper, tender veal rolled with spinach into a crisp brioche crust, crushed potatoes and king trumpet mushrooms on the side. Open for breakfast and dinner, AM dishes include smoked salmon with a soft boiled egg, dill caper aioli, mixed greens and toasted wheat bread and a breakfast po-boy made with roast beef debris, Swiss cheese, fried eggs, hash browns on the side. Couvant's innovative wine list showcases a variety of sustainable pours, with innovative cocktails the order of the day. Local art is rotated through the dining room, all for sale, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the artist. Sweet. At opening, artwork by Margaux Hymel, Steve Mercer, Zach Burbach and Lost Dog (Nathan Sitz) will dress the restaurant's walls. All pieces will be available for purchase with 100% of proceeds going straight to the creator.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Couvant offers a modern French dining experience just steps from the French Quarter.
Beth's expert tip: Couvant is a fine choice for holiday dining - the restaurant is always open to serve hotel guests.
The Bower restaurant is a modern farm-fueled eatery tucked away in the Lower Garden District. Talented chef Marcus Woodham is at the helm of an amazingly lean kitchen team, turning out brilliant small plates, housemade charcuterie and pastas and lovingly simple treatments of seafood and heritage meats that beg a second and third visit. Spotlighting produce from Sugar Roots farm in Algiers, the menu offers the likes of tuna tartare, given a Mediterranean spin with capers, kalamata olives, pine nuts and sumac. The crispy cauliflower is revelatory, taken out for an Asian spin with napa cabbage, chili oil, garlic and cilantro. Although it's been open for more than a year, the Bower opened the Friday of lock down weekend March 2020, so this gem begs discovery.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This Lower Garden District dishes fab food in the most complimentary of lighting.
Beth's expert tip: The Bower offers a super happy hour during the week, with discounted small plates and drinks - get that Mood Ring for $8.
Polished elegance isn't a bellwether of most restaurants in the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods in New Orleans. Which is why The Franklin really stands out in the crowd. Intimate and inviting, this restaurant lives in New Orleans but would be at home in any big city. Chef Dane Harris forgoes traditional New Orleans fare for a menu that is both modern and French-inspired. The small plates are intriguing, like pan seared shrimp with citrus risotto, a stupendous burger with farmhouse cheddar and frites and steamed mussels with nduja. Hangry? There's a whole fish and butcher cut of the day. The cocktail program features cocktails, both classic and new, with an emphasis on the martini and its variants, as well as a robust wine list and a diverse beer selection. The former corner store is filled with natural light and spectacular art from the owner's private collection.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: Fab small plates and drinks in a sophisticated setting.
Beth's expert tip: Ask for a table in the center of the restaurant, an intimate space set apart from the rest of the dining room.
Walk up to Saint-Germain in its unassuming little bungalow on St. Claude Avenue in Bywater, and you might think you were in the wrong spot. The Sugar Park sign out front is a throwback to another restaurant, but it's cool. Inside, there are two experiences waiting, one is nibbling snacks and drinking wine and cocktails at the bar. Or reserve a table for a prix fixe chef's menu that changes a few times a month and includes a vegetarian option the third weekend of every month. Expect global flavors in dishes like hearty morel mushrooms stuffed with boudin noir and scallop sashimi in a delicate grape juice. Dessert often features Japanese kakigori-style shaved ice which might appear in a rootbeer float along with homemade vanilla ice cream. Prices hover in the $109 pp range, with wine pairings an additional $50 or so.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: An intimate spot to kick off date night with craft cocktails and shared nibbles.
Beth's expert tip: Wednesday only the bar is open, not the dining room, making it a quiet retreat for drinks and nibbles.
Chef Eric Cook brings old school Creole dishes to the table at Saint John, the modern art-filled restaurant he opened in the French Quarter in the fall of 2021. Despite the pandemic, despite hurricane Ida, Cook was laser focused on the dishes he wanted to create with chef de cuisine Daren Porretto. The New Orleans native first brought elevated Southern cuisine to the plate at Gris-Gris in the Lower Garden District.. With Saint John, he gets back to real Southern roots, elevating the kind of home cooking that so many locals grew up with. The retro Creole dishes on Saint John's menu open a world of flavor. Dishes like chicken and shrimp maque choux, courtbouillon, and pork belly cassoulet all reveal the diversity of influences that created New Orleans cuisine, ranging from Sicilian and French to Spanish, African, German and Caribbean.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This pretty spot on Decatur dishes real deal Creole cuisine.
Beth's expert tip: Although many dishes are on the swank side, the smothered turkey necks in brown gravy can't be beat.
Delachaise is that mystery spot that you might cruise right by without noticing during a daytime trip on the St. Charles streetcar. Come evening, the outdoor patio, lit with twinkle lights, is always buzzing with a lively crowd along with couples enjoying date night. This spirited wine bar uptown is easy to love for its long convivial bar, lack of pretense, impressive wine list and most notably the Thai spiced mussels served with goose fat fries. Really everything at this atmospheric French-ish bistro is good; say yes to housemade pate and tender flank steak bruschetta, and double yes to the devilish chocolate souffle. And order a Viognier and Gruner by the glass, a treat for a white wine drinker weary of house Chardonnay.
Recommended for Romantic Dining because: This is a great spot for date night with a French accent.
Beth's expert tip: The Delachaise has one of the best wines by the glass programs in town.