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69399 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs (985) 892-0205
Hot, fresh Louisiana boudin made with pork, rice and seasonings is a major specialty at this Northshore smokehouse, where plenty of other parts of the pig get a similarly flavorful treatment. Try pulled pork as a sandwich or a platter, tuck into meaty pork ribs or opt for the beef brisket with sides like baked beans and potato salad. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

72011 Holly St., Abita Springs (985) 892-5837
Once the main brewery for Abita before the local company moved on to larger digs, this downtown Abita Springs favorite serves up all the brewing company's regular and seasonal beers and even works some of them into the food menu. Try crab fingers made with Amber, crawfish cakes made with Andygator beer, and pasta dishes such as crawfish pasta and pasta Anthony, all deglazed using Abita brands. Reservations accepted for parties of four or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

724 Iberville St. 522-5973; 3000 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 522-5973; 519 E. Boston St., Covington (985) 522-5973; 1202 US Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 246-6155;
With the return of its historic French Quarter restaurant, all the locations of this popular New Orleans seafood chain are back in action. As oyster season rolls on, folks queue up at the counter for fresh shucked bivalves while other favorites include fried platters, po-boys and the distinctive "poopas" — red beans or gumbo served in an edible bread bowl. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. $$

3841 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-9046
The azure blue and pure white color scheme of the interior here pays tribute to the restaurant's Greek heritage, and the menu follows suits with a selection of popular favorites from the Hellenic world of cuisine, along with some house specials. Kebabs, moussaka, gyros and spinach-feta pies all deliver classic flavors, while regulars go for the lightly fried calamari and lamb chops with herbs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1905 W. Thomas St., Hammond (985) 419-0027;
The sister restaurant to La Carreta Mexican Restaurant, Adobe offers a traditional tour of Mexican cuisine amid an attractive dining room of Mexican furniture and handcrafted artwork. Chile rellenos, carne asada and taco combination plates are matched by house specialties like camarone a la diabla — large shrimp grilled with chipotles and served with adobe sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

611 Frenchmen St. 948-3800An intimate but relaxed dining room perched one story above a Frenchmen Street barroom strikes a tone that is at once neighborhood-casual and date-night romantic. The Italian cuisine comes with big Louisiana influences, starting with a wide selection of local seafood. Cannelloni come with a variety of fillings, including rich crabmeat, while fried eggplant sticks are another popular starter. Pasta and veal come with a selection of sauces, as does the daily assortment of seafood. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

1102 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 809-0223;
The authentic Mediterranean food available here includes standards like gyro, shawarma, shish kebabs, hummus and falafel, but some specialties as well. Try the Couscous A La Marocaine: green semolina couscous served with grape leaves, carrots, cucumbers, pumpkin, chickpeas and rice. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

5015 Magazine St. 891-3015
Like a jewel box tucked in among the cottages and boutiques of Magazine Street, Alberta opened last fall to make an instant splash on the Uptown dining scene. The intimate, elegant dining room makes it a perfect place to mark a special occasion. Some specialties include roasted mushroom soup with duck confit ravioli and a meltingly tender osso bucco with risotto Milanese. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

2604 Magazine St. 895-4112
Alexander's opened recently in the former Latin American Restaurant & Bar in the Irish Channel and keeps it simple with steaks, filets, rib-eyes and hamburgers. Live music fills the restaurant on Wednesday and Saturday nights. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch, lunch and dinner Sun. Cash only. $$

3100 19th St., Metairie 834-8583;
A native of the Isle of Capri in Italy, Chef-owner Andrea Apuzzo has headed one of the area's premier Italian restaurants for more than 20 years. His namesake restaurant was one of the first to open post-Katrina. Known for its wide selection of seafood, specialties of the house include the Trota Bayou la Fourche — speckled trout served with lump crabmeat in a lemon-cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

1141 Decatur St. 566-0077
The colorful, eclectic décor of this late-night restaurant and hangout in the French Quarter is matched by the offerings on the menu, which run the gamut from breakfast food to salads to a pan-Mediterranean smattering of pita and olive-based fare. Pizzas come loaded with special toppings, like the spicy chicken with cloves of roasted garlic. Live jazz music is showcased every evening. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

71495 Chestnut St., Covington (985) 809-7669;
On a ridge overlooking the Bogue Falaya River, this plantation-turned-bed and breakfast serves contemporary Louisiana cuisine. Specialties include pecan- and andouille-crusted oysters, barbecue-style shrimp over herb-butter biscuits and pan-sauteed pompano with lump crabmeat, buerre blanc sauce and fried leeks. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

3401 N. Hullen St., Metairie 889-1212
In a fine-dining atmosphere, Anselmo's prepares classic seafood, veal and pasta dishes from the Italian-food canon, with specialties like tender osso bucco, Italian oysters and Alyse salad with greens, bacon, Gorgonzola and candied pecans. Regulars often start with eggplant medallions topped with hand-grated Parmesan cheese and the house marinara sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

713 St. Louis St. 581-4422;
Its hours of operation may have changed significantly (lunch is still on hold and brunch is now held each Sunday), but dinner at Antoine's is still as soaked in atmosphere and tradition as ever. Within the culinary landmark's network of dining rooms, guests often start with crispy potato puffs and the restaurant's signature oysters Rockefeller as they peruse the extensive menu of French Creole seafood, chicken and steak dishes. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon. and Thu.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

201 St. Charles Ave. (Place St. Charles) 529-3442
A lunchtime haven for vegetarians, dieters and anyone interested in matching taste with a guilt-free conscience, the Apple Seed Shoppe serves fresh salads with homemade dressings, sandwiches, daily soups and smoothies in the food court of the Place St. Charles building downtown. Try the grilled turkey breast salad with mixed greens, cheese, boiled egg and tomato or an avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

315 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 898-0500; 1220 S. Clearview Pkwy., Harahan 734-0042; 3142 W. Hwy. 190, Hammond (985) 419-2220; 3701 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 455-0755; 3850 I-10 Service Road, Slidell (985) 641-4800;
While burgers, steaks, fajita dinners, chicken fingers and riblets are among the most popular choices, there's also a lighter menu for calorie-counters created in conjunction with WeightWatchers. Those on the go can call ahead for take-out orders delivered to their cars. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

813 Bienville St. 523-5433;
The Old World ambience of the tin ceiling and tile floor in the main dining room is matched by the classic menu of French Creole favorites at this French Quarter landmark. Home of shrimp Arnaud (the house version of shrimp remoulade), the kitchen turns out commanding versions of dishes like the flavorful smoked pompano and veal tournedos. Reservations recommended. Dinner nightly, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

301 Decatur St. 522-4964;
Chef Philip Chan combines both the techniques and ingredients of Asian and south Louisiana cuisine at his unique French Quarter restaurant, which specializes in whole fish preparations, duck and shrimp, all seasoned with a combination of familiar and exotic flavors. At lunch, try the wok-fried sweet and sour crawfish po-boy. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

3125 Esplanade Ave. 945-1919
A converted cottage is the setting for this friendly, intimate neighborhood sushi bar with plenty of cooked specialties from the kitchen. Try the unique mango and blue crab roll with a spicy-sweet sauce or the Mid-City roll with plenty of snow crab, crunchy tempura and seasoned sauce. Outdoor seating in the patio or porch facing Esplanade Avenue is particularly delightful. A BYOB policy keeps the prices low. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun., lunch Tue.-Fri. Cash only. $$

3900 Williams Blvd., Kenner 712-0899Whether you're in the mood for stir fry, chop suey, chow mein or sweet and sour, this family-friendly buffet offers all the Asian food you can eat and all the variety you can handle. In addition to Chinese favorites, the buffet dishes up sushi, Mongolian-style beef, seafood and a large selection of desserts. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2631 Covington Hwy., Slidell (985) 649-9768;
For authentic Neapolitan cuisine, locals head to Slidell's Assunta's where they are rewarded with Italian classics like chicken cacciatore and eggplant casserole or house specialties such as oyster and spaghetti aglio e olio and daily fish selections with lemon pepper sauce or Assunta's pizzaiola sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit Cards. $$

3635 Prytania St. 899-5122;
This Uptown favorite combines classic Chinese-American dishes with a Vietnamese menu, plus an extensive vegetarian selection as well. Order the egg foo young for a platter of three large egg patties stuffed with vegetables, shrimp and meat with hearty Asian gravy, or the moo shoo pork for a highly seasoned hash of cabbage, sprouts and pork served with flour pancakes for wrapping. Or try the Vietnamese dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

5101 W. Esplanade Ave. 888-5533
This Metairie favorite from restaurateur Ed McIntyre specializes in steak, lobster and duck dishes served with upscale polish in a casual, neighborhood environment. Austin's crawfish crabcakes are meaty with crab and topped with a crawfish dill cream sauce, while the half duck is covered in an orange glaze and paired with wild rice. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

535 Tchoupitoulas St. (Ambassador Hotel) 599-2111
This recently opened Cuban restaurant, located in the space previously filled by Cellars Market, features an Asian influence. Consider the Chilean sea bass served with saffron rice, sautéed shrimp and a soy reduction sauce. Another favorite dish is sweet water prawns with sweet chili sauce and truffle oil. On Saturday, a DJ spins Latin music. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

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