After 2 full days of being right in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, we were ready to have a quiet, romantic dinner away from the craziness of this very touristy section.  Jeff did some quick research on his iPhone and found this cute little place in Uptown NOLA called Martinique Bistro with great food and al fresco dining.  I was desperate for some al fresco dining since we had such BEAUTIFUL weather and warm, clear evenings.  What’s better than having a great meal outside enjoying the perfect weather when you’re on vacation?  Nothing.

So after catching a slow, but quaint streetcar ride uptown and a bit of a walk, we finally arrived at our destination.  Martinique Bistro was well beyond expectations … it has a great atmosphere inside and a really nice patio outside.

We all know that sometimes the world seems like a very small place, but NOLA truly is a very small city so you’re bound to run into someone you know, especially if you went to school down there like Jeff did for some time.  Turns out, our waiter was Jeff’s friend from Tulane University!  Yes, small world!  Lucky for us, Mike was very knowledgeable and friendly not only about the food, but ALL of the wines.  The service was excellent 🙂

We started with 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc and a corn gnocchi appetizer with crawfish, fresh corn, tomatoes, and a light sauce, which was absolutely fabulous!  The gnocchi was light and delicious- perfectly executed.  Next, we were brought our entrees along with Mike’s recommended wine pairings, which were right on par.  I had my favorite entree of the trip – pan seared sea scallops over a fresh, lemony edamame salad with grilled calamari on top.  It was paired with a French Chablis, which was not like any chablis most people know.  The crisp, white wine paired perfectly with the light, fresh meal.

Jeff had a flank steak served with three different chimichurri sauces.  One was made from radicchio, another from parsley, and the last from mango.  It was topped with amazing thinly sliced fried potatoes. The meat was cooked perfectly and having all of the different sauces was like being able to have three totally different meals. Jeff’s dinner was paired with a Spanish Rioja.

After our entrees, Mike brought out two delectable desserts for us.  The first was a trio of profiteroles filled with a home made chocolate ice cream.  The other was a very light bread pudding in true New Orleans style.  Unfortunately, in our euphoric food-induced state of mind we forgot to get a couple snapshots of them.

Mike’s recommended wines:

*Artazuri Garnacha, Navarra ’09

*Bertani Recioto della Valpolicella, ’07

*Chappellet, Mountain Cuvee, Napa, ’09

*Domaine de Nerleux, Cab Franc, Saumur-Champigny, ’06

*Domaine de Triemes, Cabernet, St. Augustine, Provence, ’07

*Gruet Blanc de Noris, New Mexico, NV

We HIGHLY recommend Marinique Bistro.  It was our absolute favorite restaurant in New Orleans.  The food was great, the service was great, the atmosphere was great- we give it 5 stars!