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A view through an open door of a couple dining on the same side of a table, with a neon pink-lit hallway in the background.
Dining inside Lengua Madre.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

New Orleans’s Most Romantic Restaurants

Low lighting, sexy drinks, and some of the best shareable plates the city has to offer

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Dining inside Lengua Madre.
| Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

New Orleans oozes romance in the best of times; a veritable playground for lovebirds. Get dressed up for date night at one of the many romantic restaurants around town, and get ready to share first-rate drinks, small plates, and a cozy booth. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots that offer more than just a pretty dining room — although we took that into account, too — whether you’re seeking an intimate corner restaurant for sipping natural wine or a tasting menu splurge. For a map devoted to the most romantic spots to dine outdoors, see here.

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Vincent's Italian Cuisine

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Sometimes the most charming dining experience is had at the most familiar restaurants, where you’re treated like family and the hospitality is genuine. Vincent’s offers that atmosphere for its Southern Italian comfort food, served in a dimly-lit, cozy dining room that isn’t trying to be romantic, but is. The tiramisu is a must.

This beloved fine-dining restaurant has been drawing romance-seekers to its corner cottage for years, the epitome of a romantic neighborhood restaurant. The French-Louisiana menu is refreshingly large, and really, everything is good, but seafood dishes are at the top — the restaurant’s founding chef was named King Of Louisiana Seafood years back, after all.

Housed in a small Uptown cottage on Tchoupitoulas Street, everything about Luvi feels intimate. Colorful and buzzing with excitement, this might be particularly good for a charming, low-pressure first date. Even the food encourages romance — crudo in the shape of a rose, for instance, and other similar high-touch, gorgeous details in every dish. Go for the Feed Me option, a selection of dishes by chef Hao for just $50, and to really impress, opt for the sake pairing.

Raw bar dishes from Luvi.
Luvi

Gautreau's Restaurant

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This secluded French-American gem is housed in a former pharmacy in the middle of a residential neighborhood, making a first visit feel like a brilliant discovery. Inside, Gautreau’s sets the bar for New Orleans service and hospitality with delicately composed dishes, excellent wine, and a lovely ambiance.

Quaint and cozy, Zasu is a great place to experience a memorable meal with a loved one —

James Beard Award-winning Zemanick and chef de cuisine Jeff McLennan wow every time. A mellow green interior and intimate booths are complemented by excellent, informed service. While the menu changes, a few dishes have stayed consistent since it opened in 2019: grilled baby octopus with baby potatoes, olives, capers, and red peppers; and gruyere and potato pierogies are among them.

Saffron

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Saffron might just be the sexiest restaurant in the whole city — think soft lighting, copper chainlink drapes to separate spaces, dark wood booths, red paneling, and touches of velvet in deep grey and burgundy throughout. The incredible Indian food from the Vilkhu family, the small plates especially, shine as much as the cocktails, with names like Raw Silk and and Queen of the Hills.

Inside Saffron.
Saffron

Bouligny Tavern

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One of Magazine Street’s chicest locations is Bouligny Tavern, an easily-missed small plates and cocktail destination. Food and drinks are served until refreshingly late, making it great for an intimate late night stop for drinks and bistro bites like duck confit with greens and charcuterie. The narrow courtyard is an extra special setting.

Lilette

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From the tasteful tile work and snuggle-friendly booths to the by turns delicate and swaggering French (and sometimes Italian and/or Asian) cooking, this Uptown stalwart has date night written all over it. One of the city’s most consistent restaurants is also one of its loveliest.

Cafe Degas

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Cafe Degas offers a dramatic dining room for date night, more like an open-air patio, with a pecan tree growing in the middle of it and twinkling lights aplenty. Stroll along tree-draped Esplanade Avenue to reach your candlelit meal, a classic menu of French specialties with an occasional Creole and New Orleans flare — think escargot, steak frites au poivreand mussels.

Coquette

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Two stories of dark wood, exposed brick, and antique chandeliers and a frequently-changing menu make Coquette a charming retreat from its commercial block of Magazine Street. Go upstairs for the most romantic seating and beautiful dishes that most frequently utilize regional vegetables and seafood. Desserts, like a a black tea semifreddo, coconut cake with tamarind, cashew, and sesame, are always phenomenal.

Josh Brasted/Coquette

Lengua Madre

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It doesn’t really get more romantic than Lengua Madre — if you can get a reservation, that is. The dark, mysterious dining room at the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets is usually occupied by couples enjoying an intricate five-course tasting menu from Ana Castro, Mexican cuisine that is simultaneously modern and traditional. It’s an incredibly special, intimate dining experience, best shared with a loved one or partner.

The dining room at Lengua Madre.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Bennachin

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The most romantic setting isn’t necessarily the most extravagant, but often the most intimate and comfortable. That’s what you’ll find at Bennachin, the French Quarter’s cool destination for Gambian and Cameroonian specialties, many vegetarian-friendly. Brick walls are lined with unique art, antique light fixtures hang from the ceiling, and funky, eclectic furniture sits by the window. A great spot for a double date.

Bennachin/Official

Cafe Sbisa

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When it comes to romantic settings, the second-floor and Decatur Street balconies at Cafe Sbisa cannot be beaten. Originally opened in 1899, this classic French-Creole restaurant led by talented chef Alfred Singleton is an atmospheric stunner, with original wood, intimate balcony and patio dining, and a staircase that harks back to a golden age.

The Franklin

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For a low-key neighborhood restaurant, the Franklin is also quite sexy — nice and dark except for the glowing bar and candlelit tables, with cool, sultry art, and antique furniture and finishes. Top-notch old-school martinis add to the vibe, to be enjoyed with shareable plates of mussels, shrimp risotto, and arancini.

Bywater American Bistro

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Nina Compton’s follow-up to her nationally acclaimed Compere Lapin is its quieter, more intimate sister, a neighborhood bistro that doubles as a weeknight and special occasion destination. Compton takes seemingly simple items, like spaghetti Pomodoro and butternut squash soup, and turns them into dishes like you’ve never tried. BABs has sidewalk seating as well, another romantic option.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Vincent's Italian Cuisine

Sometimes the most charming dining experience is had at the most familiar restaurants, where you’re treated like family and the hospitality is genuine. Vincent’s offers that atmosphere for its Southern Italian comfort food, served in a dimly-lit, cozy dining room that isn’t trying to be romantic, but is. The tiramisu is a must.

Patois

This beloved fine-dining restaurant has been drawing romance-seekers to its corner cottage for years, the epitome of a romantic neighborhood restaurant. The French-Louisiana menu is refreshingly large, and really, everything is good, but seafood dishes are at the top — the restaurant’s founding chef was named King Of Louisiana Seafood years back, after all.

Luvi

Housed in a small Uptown cottage on Tchoupitoulas Street, everything about Luvi feels intimate. Colorful and buzzing with excitement, this might be particularly good for a charming, low-pressure first date. Even the food encourages romance — crudo in the shape of a rose, for instance, and other similar high-touch, gorgeous details in every dish. Go for the Feed Me option, a selection of dishes by chef Hao for just $50, and to really impress, opt for the sake pairing.

Raw bar dishes from Luvi.
Luvi

Gautreau's Restaurant

This secluded French-American gem is housed in a former pharmacy in the middle of a residential neighborhood, making a first visit feel like a brilliant discovery. Inside, Gautreau’s sets the bar for New Orleans service and hospitality with delicately composed dishes, excellent wine, and a lovely ambiance.

Zasu

Quaint and cozy, Zasu is a great place to experience a memorable meal with a loved one —

James Beard Award-winning Zemanick and chef de cuisine Jeff McLennan wow every time. A mellow green interior and intimate booths are complemented by excellent, informed service. While the menu changes, a few dishes have stayed consistent since it opened in 2019: grilled baby octopus with baby potatoes, olives, capers, and red peppers; and gruyere and potato pierogies are among them.

Saffron

Saffron might just be the sexiest restaurant in the whole city — think soft lighting, copper chainlink drapes to separate spaces, dark wood booths, red paneling, and touches of velvet in deep grey and burgundy throughout. The incredible Indian food from the Vilkhu family, the small plates especially, shine as much as the cocktails, with names like Raw Silk and and Queen of the Hills.

Inside Saffron.
Saffron

Bouligny Tavern

One of Magazine Street’s chicest locations is Bouligny Tavern, an easily-missed small plates and cocktail destination. Food and drinks are served until refreshingly late, making it great for an intimate late night stop for drinks and bistro bites like duck confit with greens and charcuterie. The narrow courtyard is an extra special setting.

Lilette

From the tasteful tile work and snuggle-friendly booths to the by turns delicate and swaggering French (and sometimes Italian and/or Asian) cooking, this Uptown stalwart has date night written all over it. One of the city’s most consistent restaurants is also one of its loveliest.

Cafe Degas

Cafe Degas offers a dramatic dining room for date night, more like an open-air patio, with a pecan tree growing in the middle of it and twinkling lights aplenty. Stroll along tree-draped Esplanade Avenue to reach your candlelit meal, a classic menu of French specialties with an occasional Creole and New Orleans flare — think escargot, steak frites au poivreand mussels.

Coquette

Two stories of dark wood, exposed brick, and antique chandeliers and a frequently-changing menu make Coquette a charming retreat from its commercial block of Magazine Street. Go upstairs for the most romantic seating and beautiful dishes that most frequently utilize regional vegetables and seafood. Desserts, like a a black tea semifreddo, coconut cake with tamarind, cashew, and sesame, are always phenomenal.

Josh Brasted/Coquette

Lengua Madre

It doesn’t really get more romantic than Lengua Madre — if you can get a reservation, that is. The dark, mysterious dining room at the corner of Thalia and Constance Streets is usually occupied by couples enjoying an intricate five-course tasting menu from Ana Castro, Mexican cuisine that is simultaneously modern and traditional. It’s an incredibly special, intimate dining experience, best shared with a loved one or partner.

The dining room at Lengua Madre.
Randy Schmidt/Eater NOLA

Bennachin

The most romantic setting isn’t necessarily the most extravagant, but often the most intimate and comfortable. That’s what you’ll find at Bennachin, the French Quarter’s cool destination for Gambian and Cameroonian specialties, many vegetarian-friendly. Brick walls are lined with unique art, antique light fixtures hang from the ceiling, and funky, eclectic furniture sits by the window. A great spot for a double date.

Bennachin/Official

Cafe Sbisa

When it comes to romantic settings, the second-floor and Decatur Street balconies at Cafe Sbisa cannot be beaten. Originally opened in 1899, this classic French-Creole restaurant led by talented chef Alfred Singleton is an atmospheric stunner, with original wood, intimate balcony and patio dining, and a staircase that harks back to a golden age.

The Franklin

For a low-key neighborhood restaurant, the Franklin is also quite sexy — nice and dark except for the glowing bar and candlelit tables, with cool, sultry art, and antique furniture and finishes. Top-notch old-school martinis add to the vibe, to be enjoyed with shareable plates of mussels, shrimp risotto, and arancini.

Bywater American Bistro

Nina Compton’s follow-up to her nationally acclaimed Compere Lapin is its quieter, more intimate sister, a neighborhood bistro that doubles as a weeknight and special occasion destination. Compton takes seemingly simple items, like spaghetti Pomodoro and butternut squash soup, and turns them into dishes like you’ve never tried. BABs has sidewalk seating as well, another romantic option.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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