In his book, “Feet on the Street: Rambles Around New Orleans,” Roy Blount Jr. writes that being in love in New Orleans is like having two women at the same time: first, the actual lady and second, the city itself. With its trimmed-out house fronts, elegant oaks and bricked sidewalks, ours is indeed an inherently romantic city. Stay here more than a week and chances are you’ll hear someone tell you how they moved to New Orleans after visiting the city and falling in love with it. Many times I’ve heard people describe their relationship to the city as an ongoing love affair.
But broad strokes might not be so helpful when needing to choose a specific spot for a memorable meal with your Valentine. And with so many choices, how do you narrow the field? Here is a lucky number seven short list of New Orleans restaurants ideal for wooing that special someone.
Seven Romantic New Orleans Restaurants
With its deep burnt umber walls and cozy banquettes, the chic French-inspired restaurant, Lilette, has been a special occasion destination for years. Entrées range from $28-45 and reservations are recommended. 3637 Magazine St.
2. Café Degas
It’s hard not to feel like part of the beautiful people in the intimate, woodsy Bayou St. John establishment that is Café Degas. Reasonably priced, simple and classically French-inspired cuisine; on warm days and evenings, the front windows are opened up to the street. Entrées range from $20-30 and reservations are recommended. 3127 Esplanade Ave.
3. La Crêpe Nanou
La Crêpe Nanou, a popular Uptown crêperie (entrées also available) feels right out of old Montmartre district in Paris and is the perfect spot for sipping pink champagne or for asking “Will you?” over fondue. Entrées are available for under $30. No reservations accepted; best to arrive at opening or past 9 p.m. 1410 Robert St.
4. Mimi’s in the Marigny
On a budget? Try upstairs at Mimi’s in the Marigny. Earlier in the evening, the bar is usually not packed and reasonably priced tapas are perfect for sharing with just one other lucky person. Consider a bold move and see what the evening brings when you order the mystery “Trust Me” chef’s choice. No reservations required. 2601 Royal St.
5. Café Amelie
The courtyard at Café Amelie is one of the city’s most beautiful and at the top of the list for reasons to go to this French Quarter establishment. A varied menu offers American, Southern, and Italian options with most entrées around $22-25. Feeling naughty? Consider the Cajun poutine fries with asiago and cochon. Reservations are accepted. 912 Royal St.
For those who prefer the authentic and understated, it’s hard to beat Sylvain’s interior. This 200+ year old French Quarter building has been restored, but only just so. Sitting inside its charcoal walls, you’ll see why people often refer to New Orleans as the most European of American cities. A back courtyard offers additional possibilities; a varied menu of reinvented Southern fare provides both high or low options. Want to splurge? Consider the Veuve Clicquot Champagne and frites combo at $90. Otherwise entrées range from $14-$25. Reservations are accepted. 625 Chartres St.
7. The Delachaise
Every few months, I simply have to sit in the slim, candle-lit Delachaise. Its tiny tables and booth seats feel like a Paris bistro but costs a lot less than a plane ticket. The simple outdoor space overlooking St. Charles Avenue is often full. Most folks head here just to drink from the superior wine and beer offerings, but a small menu offers entrées and apps, including frites, olives, and cheese plates for sharing. The chocolate molten soufflé may be just the thing to cinch the deal. Reservations aren’t necessary. 3442 Saint Charles Ave.