In the battle royal to emerge as Charleston's top new French restaurant, Brasserie Gigi has distinguished itself from the pack with a Zagat nod.

The restaurant guide's website this week anointed the second Hank Holiday-Frank McMahon production as one of the "12 Hottest French Restaurants in America." Other ranking restaurants in the Southeast include Nashville's Chateau West and Atlanta's The Luminary, where the menu includes crispy catfish brandade.

Of Gigi, Zagat.com writes, "Shining a spotlight on his European training, (McMahon) turns out classic dishes like niçoise salad and duck confit, but also nods to Charleston's strong seafood scene with plenty of seafaring options." The write-up credits the restaurant with bringing "a dose of Parisian charm to the heart of the Historic District."

While Charleston diners may suspect the city has reached its French restaurant quota, with five bouillabaisse-and-frites specialists having opened this year. But Zagat's team forecasts more French ahead: "A French-food revival is underway in cities all across the country," the site declares, ticking off another four highly anticipated French restaurants from New York City to Vegas.