Plus 88 More For Valentine’s Day, 2013
Dozen Most Romantic New Orleans Restaurants
Before we begin, allow me to note that I am not well qualified to write about what constitutes a romantic restaurant. I am a man, and even in my best, most loving, most appreciative moments, I don’t have the sensitivity to the nuances of romance that a woman does. All I know is what has worked in the past in making my woman happy.
This week’s top dozen list is only the beginning of this year’s Valentine’s Day list of the 100 most romantic restaurants. (Get the entire list elsewhere on NOMenu.com.) This list is ranked by a combination of romantic and atmospheric considerations, blended with the excellence of the cooking and service. No restaurant can make this list without good food, but the most wonderful cooking possible would not alone put a restaurant on this list. There are other issues.
To point up how disparate are the possible opinions about this question, I asked my wife–with whom I have had romantic dinners for twenty-four years–to give me a list of what she thinks are the most amorous places in town. You will find almost no correspondence between her list and mine.
All that said, I think you will find this a reasonable and useful resource. All of the restaurants have current, detailed reviews here on NOMenu.Com. Click on the name of the restaurant to find out everything you’d want to know about it.
1. Commander’s Palace. Garden District: 1403 Washington Ave. 504-899-8221. No other restaurant is so good in so many ways. A great menu, stunning dining rooms in several styles, a courtyard, familiarity, sharp service, great wine cellar. Only drawback: it’s big and famous.
2. La Provence. Lacombe: 25020 US 190. 985-626-7662. The shortest possible trip to France from New Orleans. In the North Shore woods, it’s rural and sophisticated at the same time. The nicest fireplaces.
3. La Petite Grocery. Uptown: 4238 Magazine. 504-891-3377. Except for a few badly-placed tables, intimacy is everywhere. The food is beautiful, light, and big in flavor.
4. Restaurant August. CBD: 301 Tchoupitoulas. 504-299-9777. A glorious room with high ceilings, flattering light, and the brilliant food of Chef John Besh and company.
5. Windsor Court Grill Room. CBD: 300 Gravier. 504-522-1994. The new owners, management and chef continue to approach the restaurant’s high-water marks of the 1990s. It’s quiet, civilized, and the space is nicely divided into zones of privacy.
6. Stella!. French Quarter: 1032 Chartres. 504-587-0091. If you can get the server to soft-peddle his worship service for Chef Scott Boswell, you get the most erudite and polished menu in town, with top-notch wine pairings and a distinctly local environment.
7. Le Foret. CBD: 129 Camp. 504-553-6738. The best new restaurant in the post-K world filled a gap left when most of the grand restaurants of twenty years ago shut down in favor of the bistros. Exacting cooking in a classic style with fantastic ingredients, and a wine cellar to match.
8. Brennan’s. French Quarter: 417 Royal. 504-525-9711. Not many tables in local restaurant can match those next to the windows looking onto the courtyard. The menu is same classy one as the one the waiter handed you before your prom.
9. Bombay Club. French Quarter: 830 Conti. 504-586-0972. A rare asset: a few plush, curtained private booths. If those are taken, the small main dining room is equally comfortable. Live music and one of the town’s great bars.
10. Delmonico. Lee Circle Area: 1300 St Charles Ave. 504-525-4937. One of the city’s handsomest restaurants, with a menu that relies largely on small plates.) Romance and gorging don’t go together well.)
11. Galvez. French Quarter: 912 N Peters. 504-585-1400. This is the former Bella Luna, the only restaurant in town with a river view. Quiet and private. The menu is Spanish and well turned out, but atmosphere is the strong suit.
12. Emeril’s. Warehouse District: 800 Tchoupitoulas. 504-528-9393. Brushes with celebrities are always sexy, but there’s more to Emeril’s than that. The service standards are unexcelled, the food is exciting, and the premises are cool.