You'll find this Creole-Italian and French restaurant in the city’s French Quarter. The setting is often crowded but cozy, dimly lit and undeniably romantic. Irene's is best known for its Duck St. Phillip and finely seasoned crab cakes, but also for its friendly service - Irene can often be found serving patrons herself.
Craving some fish? GW Fins on Bienville Street for some fresh "N'awlins" seafood. Give the lobster dumplings or sea scallop risotto a try, then finish off with some deep-dish apple pie. The dining room is a spacious and relaxing retreat from the often hectic French Quarter. Head chef Tenney Flynn changes the menu daily, so don't shy away from repeat visits.
Just down the street from GW Fin's, Arnaud's. This lesser-known location offers classic Creole cuisine in a distinctly traditional New Orleans environment. You might order up the shrimp Arnaud - the restaurant's signature appetizer, which features boiled shrimp and rémoulade sauce - and follow it up with the filet mignon or the foie gras mousse-stuffed quail.
Louisana-born Scott Boswell is the chef behind Stella!, which blends Asian, French, Creole and Italian cuisines and is dedicated to locally-sourced food. The French Quarter favorite has a special warmth - the intimate dining room is lit by candles, giving the place a special glow. Guests must commit to either a four-course or seven-course meal. Try the duck five ways or the shrimp and scallops for a taste of the locals' favorites.
Make your way to Herbsaint in the Warehouse District for some French and Southern cuisine by renowned chef Donald Link. House specialties include the muscovy duck leg confit and the shrimp and fish ceviche, and the restaurant touts an inexpensive but expertly picked wine list. Arrive between lunch and dinner to try its bistro menu.
Located on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, this cafe is known for its cafe au lait and beignets. You and your date can relax under an awning while travelers and locals bustle around you. Café Du Monde is often packed, but a takeout window at the rear lets you get your order to-go and then walk to nearby Jackson Square, where you can enjoy your treats overlooking the Mississippi River.
Delachaise on St. Charles Avenue feels like a visit to Paris. When you enter, you'll find a long, narrow room with plush footpaths. The menu offers decidedly French items like duck-fat-fried frites and frog legs. Choose your libations from an expansive list of wines, beers and cocktails. If you're looking for outside dining, ask for a patio seat.
Chef John Besh is the mastermind behind Restaurant August, seated in the city's Central Business District. French food is common in the city, but Besh, who holds a James Beard Best Chef: Southeast award, adds a uniquely elegant touch. The menu is constantly changing, but if you're lucky, you'll get to try the black truffle and blue crab gnocchi or the three-way foie gras. You'll enjoy romantic scenery with soft lighting, massive chandeliers and dark-wood walls.
Lillette puts a lot of love into its French cuisine - every detail of the Uptown restaurant is overseen by chef and owner John Harris. Along with a carefully selected wine list, it offers culinary delights like goat cheese quenelles, braciola with cheesy polenta and gnocchetti tomato soup. The decor makes for a charming experience: The maroon walls of this cozy locale are lined with framed mirrors, or head to the patio for some fresh-air dining.
Specializing in Cajun and Creole, Coquette is one of the Garden District's prime hangouts. The cozy corner bistro features a relaxing upstairs dining room where you can enjoy the modern-American fare of Michael Stoltzfus. Afterward, head to the long bar downstairs for a taste of nightlife.