5015 Magazine St. 891-3015
With only 10 tables, a French flair and a menu of sensuous food choices such as escargots and lobster mashed potatoes, Alberta may well be a perfect first-date restaurant. Acoustic walls keep conversations hushed, and chef Melody Pate's presentations look as lovely as they taste. A five-course tasting menu, paired with wines, will be available on occasion. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

827 Toulouse St. (Hotel St. Marie) 571-2888
As the Vieux Carré rolls on just outside the wall of French doors, diners at Bistro Moise enjoy breakfast and lunch at the warm, casual sister restaurant to Hillery's on Toulouse. Try bistro classics here such as the French onion soup capped with melted cheese, beef a la bourguignonne or an elegant cheese plate with a glass of wine. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3127 Esplanade Ave. 945-5635;
French bistro fare, neighborhood charm and the semi-enclosed patio dining area make for romantic dinners and lingering weekend brunches at this Faubourg St. John favorite. Start with a cheese board or onion soup with a bubbling cap of cheese and toasted French bread. Popular entrees include the yellowfin tuna with baby greens, potatoes, marinated olives, haricot vert and white anchovies. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner, Tue.-Sun. Cash and checks. $$

1111 S. Tyler St., Covington (985) 892-3838;
Freshly brewed coffee and breakfast fare greets patrons in the mornings at this Northshore favorite, while soups and sandwiches provide casual lunches. Specialties at dinner include seafood Alfredo with shrimp, crawfish and crab meat, the shrimp and crawfish Lise and the shrimp Francisco. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Fri. Credit cards. $

131 S.W. Railroad Ave., Ponchatoula (985) 386-4077
Elegance with a casual attitude is the calling card of C'est Bon, the bistro in Ponchatoula's historic Hotard & Good building. French and Louisiana country cooking meld on a menu that includes fried chicken roulades stuffed with spinach and topped with sun-dried tomato basil butter sauce, pan-seared soft-shell crab, and its signature bourbon-pecan chicken with a butter, brown sugar and pecan-honey sauce over a fried chicken breast. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

3901 Williams Blvd., Kenner 467-0054; www.chateaudulac
bistro.comThis wine bistro offers bottles of vintages that you can enjoy along with steaks, escargot or desserts. Executive Chef Jacques Saleun keeps things French with dishes such as steak au poivre pommes frites, a pepper-crusted fillet with black pepper sauce and fried apples, or lamb chops a la Provencale, gilled chops spiced with herbs and served with roasted garlic cream sauce. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

737 Octavia St. 895-0900
Just off Magazine Street, the Flaming Torch exudes bistro charm in its intimate dining rooms and puts the classic flavors of French cooking on its menu, from the escargot in garlic, butter, mushrooms and demi-glace, to the crab meat rillettes to the seared duck breast and steak au poivre. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

614 Canal St. (JW Marriott Hotel) 527-6712
Formerly called Midi, the restaurant in the JW Marriot hotel on Canal Street has moved to a different room but kept the same menu bursting with the flavors of France, including mussel soup, salad nicoise, foie gras, braised Gulf fish and lamb chops. A breakfast buffet and a la carte menu are available in the mornings. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

LA BAR & BISTRO AT LA LOUISIANE 725 Iberville St. 378-8200;
Built in 1837, the French Quarter structure that houses La Bar & Bistro at La Louisiane has had a storied past, and the newest chapter is all about fine cuisine and libations. In 2004, the owners completed an extensive historic renovation of the building, reopening it as an elegant bistro and lounge with contemporary decor and a menu of steaks, chops, seafood and inventive appetizers. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1410 Robert St. 899-2670;
An art nouveau building and bustling dining rooms set the scene at this Parisian-inspired bistro, where its many regulars converge for meals of mussels, fondue, roasted chicken and steaks. Of course, crepes are a big part of the appeal, and are available as both savory coursesé with crab and spinach or beef bourguignonne, for instanceé and desserts, such as the namesake Crepe Nanou with ice cream, almonds and chocolate sauce. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Cash and checks. $$

25020 Hwy. 19, Lacombe (985) 626-7662;
For more than 30 years, chef Chris Kerageorgiou has served traditional southern French cuisine at his French country inn nestled among the pines of Lacombe. The menu changes frequently, but always draws on the traditional flavors and ingredients of Provence, with dishes such as roast loin of lamb with rosemary served with natural juices, poached saffron oysters on a bed of spinach and squab confit. Come before 7 p.m. for the early dinner menu with your choice of appetizer, entree and dessert for $16.95. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

3637 Magazine St. 895-1636;
Chef John Harris reopened his acclaimed Uptown bistro quickly after Katrina with not only his complete pre-storm menu but also seasonal specials. The boudin noir Lilette and the white truffle Parmigiano toast with wild mushrooms, marrow and veal glace remain the classic ways to start a meal here, followed by entrees like grilled veal paillard with broccoli raab, almonds, homemade ricotta toast and garlic parsley butter. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

21516 Hwy. 36, Abita Springs (985) 871-8171
Candlelight and sometimes a wood fire illuminate the romantic dining room of Longbranch, a destination for world-class food at home in a graceful country house in Abita Springs. Chefs Slade and Allison Vines-Rushing prepare a glorious cuisine, often drawing on vegetables grown in its own garden on the property. Thinly sliced duck breast is served over black barley and caramelized hazelnuts. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$$

300 Gravier St. (Windsor Court Hotel) 523-6000
The elegant New Orleans Grill is serving buffets at breakfast and lunch with fare fit for its regal surroundings, while an a la carte menu is back at dinner. At breakfast, the restaurant lays out a morning spread of fruits, smoked salmon, a cheese display, eggs, breakfast meats and pastries while lunch in the Polo Lounge features a carving station, fresh vegetables, salads, artisanal cheeses and seafood. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

333 Poydras St. (W Hotel) 207-5018
The hip restaurant in the uber-hip W Hotel downtown, Zoe's menu combines classic dishes with influences from the Far East. Start with crab rice paper rolls with lump crab meat, garlic aioli, grilled bok choy and spicy chili sauce. For entrees, the mix of choices includes roasted French chicken breast with mushroom risotto and lobster sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

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