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A couple dines at Lengua Madre in May 2022.
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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A couple dines at Lengua Madre in May 2022.
| 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 courtyard for sipping natural wine under the stars or a tasting menu splurge. Don’t forget to save room for dessert.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Saint-Germain

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There are two romantic settings in which to try Saint-Germain’s inventive, Parisian-influenced food: the inside dining room that holds only a handful of tables, where a five-course tasting menu is served Thursday through Sunday. You can’t know what to expect from this meal, other than that it will be outstanding. For the more casual romantic option, Saint-Germain’s backyard is beautiful, lit up by string lights, where you can try expert preparations of pate, chili shrimp, sweetbreads, and rare wines under the stars.

The Elysian Bar

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This cool renovation of a Catholic church complex includes a lovely center patio for nibbling under the stars. Hotel Peter and Paul features the Elysian Bar, an intimate space run by the smart folks at Bacchanal. That influence is apparent in the excellent and unique wine list, excellent cocktails, and shareable small plates, like the Gulf shrimp with Calabrian chili butter.

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 distanced sidewalk seating as well, another romantic option.

Josh Brasted/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 beat. 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.

Jewel of the South

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On the quieter outskirts of the Quarter sits an enchanting 19th century Creole cottage that houses this beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant. Have a seat at the bar, in the vintage-style dining room, or on the pretty courtyard and sip some of the best cocktails in town. While the drinks may have top billing due to its cocktail-expert founders, the food is equally refined, with shareable dishes featuring caviar, burrata, and foie gras.

Vyoone’s

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Vyoone’s is one of the Warehouse District’s best-kept secrets, a romantic French-meets-Creole spot oozing with ambience. Serving an upscale menu of delicate French starters and contemporary Creole entrees, the top-notch wine list and magical courtyard make for a lovely — and fun— date night setting.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Saint-Germain

There are two romantic settings in which to try Saint-Germain’s inventive, Parisian-influenced food: the inside dining room that holds only a handful of tables, where a five-course tasting menu is served Thursday through Sunday. You can’t know what to expect from this meal, other than that it will be outstanding. For the more casual romantic option, Saint-Germain’s backyard is beautiful, lit up by string lights, where you can try expert preparations of pate, chili shrimp, sweetbreads, and rare wines under the stars.

The Elysian Bar

This cool renovation of a Catholic church complex includes a lovely center patio for nibbling under the stars. Hotel Peter and Paul features the Elysian Bar, an intimate space run by the smart folks at Bacchanal. That influence is apparent in the excellent and unique wine list, excellent cocktails, and shareable small plates, like the Gulf shrimp with Calabrian chili butter.

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

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

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 distanced sidewalk seating as well, another romantic option.

Josh Brasted/Eater NOLA

Bennachin

Bennachin/Official

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 beat. 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.

Jewel of the South

On the quieter outskirts of the Quarter sits an enchanting 19th century Creole cottage that houses this beautiful cocktail bar and restaurant. Have a seat at the bar, in the vintage-style dining room, or on the pretty courtyard and sip some of the best cocktails in town. While the drinks may have top billing due to its cocktail-expert founders, the food is equally refined, with shareable dishes featuring caviar, burrata, and foie gras.

Vyoone’s

Vyoone’s is one of the Warehouse District’s best-kept secrets, a romantic French-meets-Creole spot oozing with ambience. Serving an upscale menu of delicate French starters and contemporary Creole entrees, the top-notch wine list and magical courtyard make for a lovely — and fun— date night setting.

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.

Lengua Madre

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

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

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.

Coquette

Josh Brasted/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

Lilette