The latest ingenue in the Faubourg Marigny district has it all: a chef with an impressive pedigree (Matthew Yohalem was at Le Cirque and Commander's Palace), an investor with an Oscar (Robert De Niro) and an ingenious updated Creole menu (eggplant, crabmeat and hot pepper gumbo with coconut and coriander; crawfish ravioli with chile peppers, chives and chervil) (1407 Decatur St.; 504-940-0722).
F&W 1989 Best New Chef Susan Spicer's third venture in the Crescent City feels distinctly San Francisco-ish, with its North Beach antipasto platter and Chinatown five-spice duck. Even the look has that NoCal sophistication: the contrasting textures of tiled walls, leather armchairs and velvet pillows, all in--what else?--cobalt blue (in the Hotel Monaco New Orleans, 333 St. Charles Ave.; 504-565-5595).
Chef John Harris's elegant Uptown newcomer is a locals' darling. His uncomplicated French and Italian dishes--marinated anchovies with basil bruschetta and stewed onions; grilled veal paillard with heirloom tomatoes, arugula and mascarpone toasts--are every bit as sumptuous as those coveted ivory leather booths (3637 Magazine St.; 504-895-1636).