The Christmas season is a time for giving, which often means cash can be tight. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't set aside a few dollars for yourself to indulge in a fancy dinner while celebrating with friends or family.

Here are seven upscale suggestions to try in Louisiana this Christmas season. They may be fancy, but they're also delicious.

Treat Yourself To A Special Meal At These 7 Louisiana Restaurants

1. Gautreau's - New Orleans

New Orleans is home to a number of culinary jewels, of course, and among them is the Uptown neighborhood's Gautreau's. One of the keys to success for Gautreau's is its simplicity. For example, there are only seven main dishes listed on its dinner menu, but each is executed to near perfection.

Among them is sautéed shrimp with crispy pork belly, paired with hominy, poblano peppers, Vidalia onions, and green chili broth. Another winner is its Black Angus filet with sauce bordelaise and spinach, crispy garlic potatoes and pickled shallots.

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2. Ruffino's on the River - Lafayette

Ruffino's is an Italian-Creole fusion restaurant that takes pride in using local and seasonal ingredients.

Executive chef and co-owner Peter Sclafani makes regular trips to New Orleans to buy Creole tomatoes from the famed Gallo family, which has sold tomatoes to Sclafani's for three generations. Ruffino's also uses plenty of local Louisiana seafood and ingredients from local farmers markets.

One of the most attractive things about Ruffino's is its variety--there's truly something for everyone. Menu items include a selection of wood-fired pizzas, a lengthy list of steaks and chops, an equally satisfying list of seafood dishes, as well as deep roster of Italian specialty and pasta dishes.

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3. The Gregory - Baton Rouge

Located in Baton Rouge's Watermark Hotel, The Gregory could be considered upscale dining with a Southern twist.

The restaurant sits near the scenic Mississippi River, but you'll want to visit for more than the view. This is another offering that has a very deep menu, including starters such as pork & oysters, foie gras, duck wings, and a list of seven sausages.

But The Gregory's big plates is where the restaurant really shines. Among the many winners is its crab pasta, which includes Louisiana blue crabmeat, crab-infused arrabiata, capellini and a spinach-pesto butter.

Pork lovers will enjoy its pork over parpardelle: braised Texas wild boar with charred carrots and parsnips, roasted tomato and sage ribbon pasta. And those who prefer beef won't be able to turn down the restaurant's signature Gregory steak, a charcoal-roasted culotte with a charred scallion butter baste, creamed potato, pan-flashed baby greens, mushrooms and glace de veau.

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4. Restaurant August - New Orleans

A look at Restaurant August's dishes conjures the definition of fine dining. One of a handful of restaurants owned by well-known chef John Besh, the restaurant rests in a 19th century French-Creole building in the Central Business District of New Orleans.

If the setting or two-story wine room isn't enough to entice you, the menu certainly will. Top dishes include it five-spiced breast of ducking, dressed with confit, pumpkin, ginger and pepitas. You also can't go wrong with August's Raines Farm Wagyu beef strip, with oxtail, rapini, sweet potato and smoked onion.

The restaurant also offers a $97-per-person ($152 with sommelier pairings) degustation menu, which currently includes smoked swordfish, huitlacoche agnolotti, barbecued octopus, roast venison and a "Dirt Cake" cocoa nib panna cotta for dessert.

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5. Broussard's - New Orleans

When you eat at Broussard's, you know you're in for a hearty meal.

Take its pecan-crusted grilled pork loin chop, for example. The dish comes along with generous portions of Creole honey mustard, ginger whipped sweet potatoes and a war chicory salad. And the filet mignon Broussard is accompanied by a portabella mushroom cap stuffed with jumbo lump crabmeat, as well as grilled asparagus, Yukon gold mashed potatoes and a mustard cream glaze.

Also, for a very reasonable $38, you can try the restaurant's Napoleon's Prix Fixe, which gives you choices of a starter, main dish and dessert.

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6. Maison Lacour French Restaurant - Baton Rouge

Just reading the menu selections from Maison Lacour French Restaurant will make your mouth water.

Just two examples: Its Côte de Veau, a veal chop that's cognac flambé and sautéed with cream and mushrooms. Or its Rock Dove, a young squab marinated in port and stuffed with veal, pork, shallots and Pistachio. The dish is baked and served with port wine sauce.

The one caveat is you will almost certainly need reservations. Maison Lacour is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and for diner from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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Photo: Pinterest

7. Restaurant Sage - Monroe

Restaurant Sage prides itself on three Fs--"farm to fork freshness."

Its dinner menu is littered with well-executed favorites such as BBQ shrimp and grits and honey-mustard Muscovy duck. It also has some unique selections, such as its salmon papillote, wild-caught salmon with lemon, leeks and herbs steamed in parchment paper.

It also features a nice selection of meats for the grill, including rack of lamb, bone-in tomahawk pork chop, and beef ranging from a 6-ounce filet mignon to a 32-ounce bone-in ribeye.

Whatever your flavor or location, there are indeed plenty of delicious options around Louisiana to keep you satisfied during the Christmas season.

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Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Follow her on Twitter @kacey_mya or on Instagram @thedriftercollective.

Hero image: Gautreau's New Orleans