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Acme is, of course, known for its origins as one of the French Quarter's legendary oyster bars. But the menu includes all sorts of seafood and shellfish as well as po-boys and other landlocked cuisine. After starting off with a dozen on the half-shell or an oyster shooter, consider the oysters remoulade, oyster Rockefeller soup or fried crab claw appetizers. There's also seafood gumbo and crawfish etouffee. And the main courses are a familiar line-up of fried shrimp and oyster po-boys, platters and salads. Red beans, burgers and smoked sausage po-boys are there for the less sea-worthy. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Applebee's aims to please with a little bit of everything from steaks to salads, plus a Weight Watcher's menu and kid's menu. Entrees include roasted chicken, baby back ribs, fajitas, fried shrimp, pasta dishes and more. Several flavored cheesecakes plus decadent chocolate brownies, cake and apple pie offer sweet conclusions to a meal. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

Bud's keeps it simple with charcoal-broiled burgers. If you want to get fancy, add hickory-smoked sauce or grated cheese, or just add another patty. The menu also features hot dogs, a chicken breast sandwich on a bun and a broiled fish filet. Sides include onion rings, French fries, which can be spiced up with chili and cheese, and desserts include apple, peach or cherry pies. It's a popular cheap-and-easy lunch option throughout the New Orleans area. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $

If you're going to do one thing and do it well, this is the model to follow. Café du Monde has offered café au lait with chicory and airy beignets loaded with powdery sugar for well over a century. Or cool off with an iced coffee. But beyond the relatively recent addition of orange juice and a soda fountain, that's what's made the original 24-hour French Market location at Jackson Square world famous. Don't mess with a good thing, unless it's the tell-tale dusting of powered sugar. No reservations. Cash only. $

CitywideThis gourmet pizza palace offers a wide variety of toppings and sizes, making it easy to match pizza lovers and their pies. House specialties include a tangy garlic sauce that makes an appearance on the garlic chicken, spinach and artichoke pizzas. Café Roma also offers a variety of hot and cold sandwiches and cheese-filled pastas (lasagna, manicotti and ravioli). No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Local chain Community Coffee has several coffeeshops throughout the area serving its hot, iced and specialty coffees. There are also pastries, cookies and baked goods and most locations have free wi-fi. No Reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

At Danny & Clyde's, po-boys are the way to go and have led to wide expansion of this local chain. Fried seafood, muffulettas and roast beef are the mainstays, and Danny & Clyde's offers them in wraps for the low-carb conscious. Dinner plates also available, accompanied by your choice of two sides. Breakfast sandwiches can be served on as small a platform as a biscuit or on a large po-boy roll. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

There are more reasons why Dot's is a favorite local diner than there are locations across the metro area. For starters, there's the bottomless cup of coffee. There are good deals on breakfast plates, such as the B1 (two eggs, grits and toast), and for lunch there's a variety of burgers, sandwiches and sides. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Italian Pie is known for a large selection of pizzas, calzones, salads, pastas and sandwiches. Specialty pies include the Combination with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers, black olives or the roasted garlic with chicken or shrimp or the muffuletta pizza with Genoa salami, ham and olive salad. The Florentine calzone comes stuffed with spinach and artichoke, a mix of cheeses and chicken or shrimp. Italian Pie also offers a small selection of wrap sandwiches. Free delivery from most locations. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Mona's in Mid-City was the first of the very affordable Mona's offering Middle Eastern food, including gyro sandwiches in pita or platters, falafel and kebabs of chicken, lamb and beef. Soups and salads include a hearty lentil soup, tabouli and a yogurt and cucumber salad. Some of the small plates include safeiha, essentially a small pizza of pita bread topped with ground beef and lamb, tomatoes, onions, parsley and spices. Plus there's hummus dip, made with chick peas, and baba ganouj, made with eggplant. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards and checks. $

This popular chain of casual eateries strikes a local note with its version of crawfish Monica, made with crawfish tails in a spicy cream sauce over pasta. Steak lovers make a beeline for the 12 oz. New York strip steak, served with two side dishes. Come in on your birthday, show a picture ID to prove it, and this steak is free when you dine in. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

The justly famous Bloomin' Onion is a great starter, and better if you have friends to help. The portions are ample at this steakhouse chain, whether you order a burger, rack of ribs, or a "Hooley Dooley" Caesar salad. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Specialty pies from Papa John's include barbecue chicken and bacon, Hawaiian barbecue, spinach Alfredo, spicy Italian and the Works. Sides include cheese sticks, breadsticks, wings in a spicy Buffalo or mild barbecue sauce and chicken strips. Delivery and take-out from many locations. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than a fresh pastry or any kind of baked good for that matter. Whether the caffeine need hits in the early morning or later in the day, PJ's has an abundance of baked treats — blueberry muffins, cranberry muffins and croissants in the morning; carrot cake, bourbon pecan pie and lemon squares for an afternoon or evening craving. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Cheesesteaks and brisket are among the newest offerings at area Quiznos. The sub shop offers everything from BLTs and Italian subs to honey mustard chicken and bacon sandwiches, turkey and Swiss, and cheese melts. There is also a selection of fresh salads, including a Cobb salad and chicken Caesar, and soups. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

You can't get a hamburger, hot dog, tacos, salads or breakfast meals at Cane's. They specialize only in chicken fingers — fresh premium chicken tenderloins — served with extra long crinkle-cut French fries, coleslaw, Texas toast and their famous Cane sauce for dipping. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Semolina's promises "adventures in pasta" and delivers with a selection of noodle preparations from around the world. Here, classic pasta Alfredo with chicken or shrimp could share a table with pad Thai, the sweet and spicy stir-fry of shrimp, mushrooms and tofu with rice noodles and a distinctive sauce. The double cheeseburger pasta pays homage to the American classic (without the bun, of course) while the pasta jambalaya with andouille, tasso and Creole sauce should strike a familiar note with locals. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

Ladies and gentlemen, start your blenders. Smoothie King has a smoothie that's right for you whether you're looking to lose weight, gain weight, boost your immunity, give yourself a lift, or if you just have a hankering for one of their many fresh fruit, creamy and exotic concoctions. Best of all, it's good for you. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

The nation's largest chain of sandwich shops has plenty on tap in the land of the po-boy, with a menu boasting cold and hot subs, salads and wraps. The "Veggie Delite" is a crunchy combination of lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, olives and pickles. The meatball marinara swings in the other direction with Italian-style meatballs packed into a loaf with cheese and tomato sauce. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

Whether you pick up an 8-piece box or the party-friendly 1000-piece spread, WOW wings come with an exotic selection of sauces like the honey barbecue, Thai peanut sauce, various heat levels of Buffalo sauce, coconut curry, sweet and sour, teriyaki and more. The Wingery also serves wraps, burgers, salads, quesadillas, chicken tenders and fajitas. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

click to enlarge Proprietor Krit Saisunee presents the seared tuna tataki - salad at Thai Style. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
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