Food & Drink

What Are the Best Date Restaurants in New Orleans? We Tried Them All to Find Out.

Published On 06/23/2016 Published On 06/23/2016
Sylvain
Sylvain | Rush Jagoe/Courtesy of Sylvain
Meauxbar | Rush Jagoe/Courtesy of Meauxbar

Meauxbar

French Quarter

Dimly lit, with acoustics that ensure you’ll have to talk close to whisper sweet nothings: an ideal date spot, really. Plus, Meauxbar offers a super sexy cocktail program and romantic dishes like foie gras torchon, roasted duck breast, and two dishes per night to share -- a whole roasted chicken dinner, or the daily Chef’s Selection Tasting Plate. Every Monday is dedicated to the appreciation of chartreuse, and the weekend brunch dishes are a great option... just in case your Friday night date went better than expected.

Sylvain | Flickr/C.C. Chapman

Sylvain

French Quarter

A quiet courtyard, a dark, candlelit interior, and the option to order Champagne & Fries: Sylvain’s got it going on in the romance department. Cocktails like the Adonis (made with Valdespino fino sherry) and the Naked Under Leather, a combination of apple brandy, Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, Cointreau, and Amontillado sherry, will help set the mood.

Killer Poboys at the Erin Rose

French Quarter

Some nights, you need to sneak your date into a secret back kitchen for serious romance. Try Killer Poboys' Seared Gulf Shrimp or Dark & Stormy Pork Belly for a dinner that's both simple and amazing -- and available till midnight. Follow it up with a frozen Irish coffee from the bar, which can cut through the steaminess of a New Orleans night.

Three Muses

Marigny

Live jazz, close quarters, red velvet curtains and walls, a dark wood bar, killer cocktails, and tasty food: add it all up, and you've got one of the most romantic experiences in the city. Sit back at this Frenchmen St spot and enjoy bites like gulf shrimp crudo and bacon-wrapped and blue cheese-stuffed dates... then finish the night with one of Kimberly Patton-Bragg’s signature cocktails like The Outer Dark, with cocoa nib-infused Cachaça, hazelnut liqueur, Calvados, and a hint of salt.

La Petite Grocery

La Petite Grocery

Uptown

This cheery, converted corner grocery store exudes warmth and elegant comfort in the decor, service, and food. James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Devillier serves up traditional Louisiana ingredients in dishes like the blue crab beignets and alligator bolognese. The soft yellow walls and red accents provide the perfect backdrop to enjoying The Enchanter, a cocktail made with local citrus -- blood orange and Meyer lemon -- and Death’s Door gin. For dessert, share the cardamom-mascarpone cheesecake with a glass of port to bring the evening to a perfect close.

Primitivo

Central City

Tapping into that elemental allure of meat, fire, and, bold flavors -- even the name is designed to evoke that underlying part of our nature, the part that's only concerned with the pleasure of eating and drinking (and, you know, each other). Try the smoked drum ceviche, and share the coal-grilled 32oz ribeye with bone marrow for two. The bar also serves cocktails on tap, so, you know, indulge.

AVO | Sam Hanna/Courtesy of AVO

AVO

Uptown

Italian food and amore go hand in hand, if movies like Lady and the Tramp are right (and come on, they must be -- that spaghetti kiss is forever seared in our hearts). Avo respects the tradition of Italian food in New Orleans, so dishes like charred octopus, lobster, and pea risotto, and Wagyu sirloin are full of authentic flavor. The garden seating area is the best for dates and romance, with greenery surrounding the tables and a wall of tealight candles flickering in the breeze.

Herbsaint | Link Restaurant Group

Herbsaint

Warehouse District

Great service, great food, an elegant interior -- the first of the Link Restaurant Group’s restaurants is a fantastic place for a date. It’s perfect for sharing small plates like gnocchi with pancetta and Parmesan broth, baked asiago with oregano and lemon, or house-made spaghetti with guanciale and fried-poached farm egg. That way, you have plenty of room for dessert -- which is good, because you'll definitely want to order at least two: for instance, banana brown butter tart with fleur de sel caramel and apple pie profiteroles with brown sugar ice cream and Calvados caramel are only two of pastry chef Maggie Scale’s amazing desserts, so plan accordingly.

Restaurant August | Besh Restaurant Group

August

CBD

Take your date here if you want to look like you seriously know food. From the dim and luxuriously appointed bar to the elegant and airy front dining room, this classic-modern French-Louisiana restaurant exudes class and style. And that’s even before you look at the amazing food menu and the insane wine list: the famed gnocchi with blue crab and truffles is always a home run, but consider trying the prix fixe degustation meal for the complete experience. It’s pricey, but once you decide to go here, if you're in for a penny, you might as well be in for a pound.

Cafe Degas

Esplanade Ridge

Named for the famous Impressionist painter that made his home down the street for a time, this old-school French restaurant, which bills itself as “the most Gallic French bistro” in the city, is tucked in behind the trees of Esplanade Dr, and really does evoke an experience you’d find on the banks of the Seine. Try the classically prepared escargot, niçoise salad, or French onion soup, and sip French wine by the glass.

Rue 127

Rue 127

Mid-City

This tiny casual-yet-fine dining cottage in Mid-City offers New American and Southern fare with a sophisticated twist -- and in an adorable space. Try the mussels, bone marrow, or the porterhouse steak for two. Make a reservation because you don't really want to end up in the bar area, where you'll have to be cozier with other people than your date.

Bacchanal

Bywater

What’s more romantic than sitting under the stars, listening to live jazz, drinking a cold bottle of wine, and sharing a cheese plate? Nothing, that’s what. Bacchanal is a great date spot for many reasons: it's a casual and inexpensive night with maximum romantic return, and it’s also a great place to collaborate -- you can choose wine together from the front retail space, as well as cheeses, which come with some tasty accompaniments.

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1. Meauxbar 942 N Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70116 (French Quarter)

Meauxbar is a sleek French bistro set in a softly lit , intimate, and cozy dining room. The locally inspired menu serves small and large plates, all creatively conceived and meticulously executed. Pull up a seat at the marble counter bar, and sip on unique tasting flights of brandy, Cognac and Calvados.

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2. Sylvain 625 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (French Quarter)

This spot embodies a casual-but-kickass uniting of great food, great booze, and hospitality- all housed in a former carriage house with courtyard seats right off Jackson Square. Sylvain is famous for its "Chick-Syl-vain" fried chicken sandwich, but this corner gastropub in the French Quarter also features a great cocktail program and an impressive selection of single-barrel bourbons.

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3. Killer Poboys 811 Conti St, New Orleans, LA 70112 (French Quarter)

The French Quarter's popular Killer Poboys serves exactly that: top-notch po-boys, cooked up in the tiny kitchen at the back of Irish pub Erin Rose on Conti Street. The po-boys here are crafted with a new-age eye, some even incorporating untraditional ingredients like pork belly, smoked salmon, and sweet potato. The cash-only counter also serves up standout sandwiches like BBQ chicken confit, Black Bear beef debris, and chorizo & egg.

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4. Three Muses 536 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116

"Whiskey evangelist" Kimberly Patton-Bragg's the Three Muses was voted as one of New Orleans Magazine’s Top Bars, and if that wasn't reason enough to check it out, there's also a great small plates menu and nightly live jazz in store. Try The Muses' signature dish, fries with feta cheese and gremolata, while you sip on signature cocktails, the Spaghetti Western, which combines Bulleit bourbon muddled with Campari-soaked oranges and rosemary spirits.

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5. Primitivo 1800 Ortetha Castle Haley, New Orleans, LA

This Central City restaurant specializes in open-hearth cooking to infuse flavor and depth into their meats and veggies. The dimly lit dining room and wood-lined walls harken back to the Middle Ages to match the rich, savory flavors of the menu. Many of their entrees are big enough to share, so it's perfect for date night or a family outing. As for drinks, make sure to stop by during happy hour to indulge in their cocktails on tap.

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6. Avo 5908 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Uptown)

Chef Nick Lama is a NOLA native, third-generation Sicilian and grew up working in a seafood market his family owned. His authentic Italian and New Orleans background shines in inventive ways at his Uptown restaurant in both his pastas and entrees. The candle-lit courtyard provides a romantic and intimate atmosphere, and it holds their happy hour on Monday through Thursday. Don't forget to leave room for the decadent Italian desserts. Gelato, anyone?

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7. Herbsaint Bar and Restaurant 701 Saint Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

James Beard award-winning Herbsaint is the flagship restaurant of Chef Donald Link, who gained notoriety for some of his other restaurants such as Cochon Butcher and Pêche. This fine-dining establishment located in the Warehouse district mixes French and Italian flavors into its Southern dishes. Its selection of small plates create the perfect opportunity for sharing, and the elegant atmosphere paired with the impeccable service will have you coming back to try the whole menu.

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8. Restaurant August 301 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans, LA 70130 (Central Business District)

Grab your nicest suit or cocktail dress and head to this Central Business District establishment for an elegant night out for fine dining. Chef Josh Besh gained national fame from his appearances on Food Network and Bravo, but this flagship restaurant put him on the culinary map in New Orleans. Try the famed gnocchi with blue crab and black truffles, but only after you pick the perfect glass or bottle from the restaurant's extensive wine list. If you want the most complete (and expensive) culinary experience, opt for the prix fixe degustation meal.

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9. Cafe Degas 3127 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

A romantic bistro by the Fairgrounds, Cafe Degas offers lovely interpretations of classic French cuisine. The restaurant takes its name from the Impressionist painter who once lived down the street. Dine in their al fresco space on Escargot Bourguignons , moule frites, and nicoise salads. Degas also offers rotating daily lunch and dinner specials based on what's fresh and in season.

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10. Rue 127 127 N Carrollton Ave, New Orleans, LA 70119 (Mid City)

This small Mid-City bistro's quaint, intimate dining room provides the perfect atmosphere for date night on Friday, but the enclosed outside patio is perfect for any day of the week. The seasonal menu uses ingredients from Chef Ray Gruezke's family farm in Bay St. Louis. The building itself used to be a shotgun house and illegal gambling house in the early 1900s, but today, the building has cleaned up its act, and the new American and Southern restaurant is so popular you often need a reservation on the weekends to get in.

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11. Bacchanal Wine 600 Poland Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117 (Bywater)

Customization is what makes Bywater Bacchanal a fun dining experience. You personally pick a wine bottle straight from their wine cellar and pair it with as many pieces of cheese as you can stomach. Head out to the backyard for live jazz and string-light ambience, and a waiter will deliver your cheese selections with complimentary bread, preserves and nuts. If you want a more substantial meal, Bacchanal also offers an extensive fine dining menu.

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12. La Petite Grocery 4238 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 (Magazine St)

Converted from a historic grocery store, this bistro and bar features plates crafted by James Beard Award-winning chef Justin Devillier. The menu includes all-time hits like blue crab beignets, turtle Bolognese, and a gruyere cheeseburger. La Petite Grocery is true Louisiana, as evidenced by its 19th century Creole architecture and craft cocktails like the double rye whiskey Bee Hive.

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