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Cane & Table is known for modern cocktails in a timeless ambiance in the French Quarter.

Cane & Table

1113 Decatur St., (504) 581-1112

The ranks of true destination bars in the French Quarter got a boost when Cane & Table first opened in this evocative space. The kitchen took a step up more recently when chef Fredo Nogueira took the helm. The island-style flavors of seafood cocktail, ropa vieja and whole roasted fish are straightforward, well-crafted and show more of a Spanish influence these days. The current of the Caribbean running through Cane & Table starts with cocktails, inspired by classics, reinterpreted with modern verve, always fun. Flickering with candles, layered with patina, stretching on through a long courtyard, the place oozes old New Orleans ambiance. Dinner daily, late night Fri., Sat. (till midnight), brunch Sat., Sun. $$$


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The courtyard of the Elysian Bar is nestled beside an old church in the Marigny, now converted to an event space.

The Elysian Bar

2317 Burgundy St., (504) 356-6768

The Elysian Bar is indeed a bar, though one that cooks like a restaurant and can feel like a movie set, with every sight-line just so. To visit is to move between three interconnected areas: a beautiful bar of Tolkien-esque design, a parlor that feels like a wealthy dowager’s sitting room and the courtyard, flanked by towering panels of stained glass on the adjacent former church. Chef Alex Harrell brings a modern Southern sensibility to the all-day menu of heirloom grits, smoked fish, confit chicken and whipped ricotta. It doesn't always seem like bar food, but in this setting, it entwines for a seductive experience. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. $$


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Down a 9th Ward side street, the wine bar and eatery N7 evokes a French style.

N7

1117 Montegut St., no phone

Push open the stockade gate and you see a covered patio clung with grapevines and the ambiance of a tasting room in wine country. Instead, it’s in the 9th Ward, with the clang of nearby freight cars drifting over. Though it first turned heads for specialty European seafood served from their tins, N7 is now much more about how chef Yuki Yamaguchi elegantly blends French classics and Japanese touches in this garden setting. See the savory tarte Tatin, the coq au vin with riesling, the duck a la orange and soy sauce crème brulee. The wine list is full of the kind of fascinating bottles you go to wine bars to try. Dinner Mon.-Sat. $$


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Saint-Germain is a wine bar and bistro on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans.

Saint-Germain

3054 St. Claude Ave., (504) 218-8729

All but hidden in a Bywater double shotgun, Saint-Germain is a double-barreled proposition. It is a low-key neighborhood wine bar with a big open patio and a small menu of well-tuned bar snacks. All of this is fused to an ambitious, reservations-only bistro that occupies just one small room of the house. It’s a unique arrangement that allows chefs Trey Smith and Blake Aguillard to field an exquisite, frequently changing menu of high-touch modern French cuisine. It’s technique-driven dining in an utterly casual neighborhood setting. Wine bar: dinner and late night Thu.-Tue. $, dinner Thu.-Sat. $$$$


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The courtyard is a quiet, cloistered space at Sylvain in the French Quarter.

Sylvain

625 Chartres St., (504) 265-8123

Sylvain starts with everything we love about our old French Quarter restaurants — the evocative space, the intimate scale, the cloistered courtyard — and adds a much-needed dose of modern style and flavor. What we used to call a gastropub is better understood now as a tavern, a place to eat, drink and linger, not necessarily in that order (see also Sylvain’s nearby sibling spot, Longway Tavern). The staple dishes — the chicken sandwich, the Brussels sprout salad, the pappardelle Bolognese — are consistent standards; the noshing potential has grown with a wider array of small plates; cocktails are first-rate. Dinner daily, lunch Fri., brunch Sat., Sun. $$$



Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.