Best new restaurant
1. Peche Seafood Grill (800 Magazine St., 504-522-1744; www.pecherestaurant.com; @pechenola) — Daily crudo selections, beer-battered fish sticks and whole-fish dishes have caught on with diners at the rustic-style Warehouse District seafood house owned by chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt. It also earned the praise of Food & Wine Editor Dana Cowin, who recently named it one of her favorite places to eat.
2. Dominique's (4213 Magazine St., 504-891-9282; www.dominiquesonmag.com; @dom4213)
3. Tableau (616 St. Peter St., 504-934-3463; www.tableaufrenchquarter.com; @tableaunola)
Best Kenner restaurant
1. Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar (3203 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504-443-6454; www.fishermanscoveseafood.com) — Kenner is for seafood lovers, and Harbor Seafood and Kenner Seafood battle it out for the top spot in this category every year. Harbor is back on top for 2013 (last win: 2011). With an adjoining seafood market, the restaurant has a large selection of shellfish, oysters and Gulf and cold-water fish to offer patrons.
2. Kenner Seafood (3140 Loyola Drive, Kenner, 504-466-4701)
3. Zea Rotisserie (1325 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 504-468-7733; www.zearestaurants.com; @zea_restaurants)
Best Metairie restaurant
1. Drago's (3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 504-888-9254; www.dragosrestaurant.com; @dragosseafood) — The Cvitanovich family knows how to keep a tradition alive at its seafood joint, voted Metairie's best restaurant for more than five years running. Founders Drago and Klara Cvitanovich recently were added to the Louisiana Restaurant Association's Hall of Fame.
2. Andrea's (3100 19th St., Metairie, 504-834-8583; www.andreasrestaurant.com)
3. Cafe B (2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-934-4700; www.cafeb.com)
Best New Orleans restaurant
1. Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com; @commanders_nola) — Filling the shoes of star chefs including Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse and Jamie Shannon is no easy task, but Tory McPhail's creative reinterpretations of Creole dishes have attracted plenty of local diners to this elegant Brennan-family flagship. It has topped this category three years in a row.
2. Galatoire's (209 Bourbon St., 504-525-2021; www.galatoires.com; @galatoires_no)
3. Clancy's (6100 Annunciation St., 504-895-1111; www.clancysneworleans.com)
Best Northshore restaurant
1. La Provence (25020 Hwy. 90, Lacombe, 985-626-7662; www.laprovencerestaurant.com) — Acres of gardens add to the rustic accents and savory flavors of Provence at chef John Besh's Northshore outpost. Diners have voted it the Northshore's best restaurant three years in a row.
2. Trey Yuen (600 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, 985-626-4476; www.treyyuen.com)
3. Dakota (629 N. Hwy. 190, 985-892-3712; www.thedakotarestaurant.com)
Best West Bank restaurant
1. Pho Tau Bay (113 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 504-368-9846) — Tucked away in an easy-to-miss strip mall below the Westbank Expressway, this casual restaurant keeps diners coming back for its long menu of Vietnamese staples and a variety of meat and seafood additions for its popular pho.
2. Hoa Hong/Nine Roses (1100 Stephens St., Gretna, 504-366-7665)
3. Tan Dinh (1705 Lafayette St., Gretna, 504-361-8008)
Best barbecue restaurant
1. The Joint (701 Mazant St., 504-949-3232; www.alwayssmokin.com; @thejointbbq) — This Bywater eatery moved to bigger digs in 2012 and has kept smoking, claiming its fourth straight title as readers' favorite place for barbecue. It has expanded its offerings at the new space, recently going so far as to smoke its stone ground grits.
2. Voodoo Barbecue (citywide; www.voodoobbqandgrill.com; @voodoobbq)
3. Squeal (8400 Oak St., 504-302-7370; www.squeal-nola.com; @squealnola)
Best burger restaurant
1. Company Burger (4600 Freret St., 504-267-0320; www.thecompanyburger.com; @companyburger) — Adam Biderman's burger joint claimed a win in this category last year, and its namesake two-patty beef burger topped with house-made pickles, red onions and American cheese earned a spot on a recent Food & Wine readers' poll naming the nation's top burgers.
2. Port of Call (838 Esplanade Ave., 504-523-0120; www.portofcallnola.com)
3. Phil's Grill (1640 Hickory Ave., Metairie, 504-305-1705; 3020 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-324-9080; www.phils-grill.com; @philsgrill)
Best Cajun restaurant
1. Cochon (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-588-2123; www.cochonrestaurant.com; @cochondining) — Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski's urbane spot for updated Cajun dishes offers house-made charcuterie and rustic-style seafood dishes. Readers have voted it their favorite spot for Cajun food five years in a row.
2. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen (416 Chartres St., 504-596-2530; www.kpauls.com; @kpaulslakitchen)
3. Mulate's (201 Julia St., 504-522-1492; www.mulates.com; @mulates)
Best Chinese restaurant
1. Five Happiness (3605 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-482-3935; www.fivehappiness.com) — The Mid-City institution has served a mix of Chinese regional dishes for more than three decades, but it has set up a dynasty in this category, winning our annual poll for the last decade.
2. P.F. Chang's (3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-828-5288; www.pfchangs.com; @pfchangs)
3. Jung's Golden Dragon (3009 Magazine St., 504-891-8280; www.jungschinese.com)
1. PJ's (citywide; www.pjscoffee.com; @pjscoffee) — Icy granitas are a good reason stop by one of the many PJ's Coffee locations to beat the last of the summer heat. But year-round, the locally founded chain offers a wide variety of house roasts in hot and iced specialty drinks that keep caffeine junkies lined up for a fix.
2. CC's (citywide; www.ccscoffee.com; @ccscoffeehouse)
3. Starbucks (citywide; www.starbucks.com; @starbucks)
Best Creole restaurant
1. Dooky Chase (2301 Orleans Ave., 504-821-0600; www.dookychaserestaurant.com) — The indefatigable Leah Chase presides over this Creole institution, which offers her hallmark "Creole feast" as a lunchtime buffet and Friday dinner. Once a beacon for musicians performing in New Orleans, in more recent years it has been a destination for everyone from President Barack Obama to the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern.
2. Jacques-Imo's (8324 Oak St., 504-861-0886; www.jacques-imos.com)
3. Galatorie's (209 Bourbon St., 504-525-2021; www.galatoires.com; @galatoires_no)
1. Stein's (2207 Magazine St., 504-527-0771; www.steinsdeli.net; @steinsdeli) — Northeastern transplants can find some deli favorites (Molinari cold cuts, Amoroso hoagie rolls) at this Garden District outpost. It has caught on with locals for everything from Jewish deli classics to a well-curated selection of the latest craft beers.
2. Martin Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer St., Metairie, 504-896-7350; www.martinwine.com; @martin_wine)
3. Kosher Cajun New York Deli (3519 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-888-2010; www.koshercajun.com)
Best hotel restaurant
1. Domenica (Roosevelt Hotel, 123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020; www.domenicarestaurant.com) — Happy hours featuring half-price pizzas, wine and beer keep patrons plenty happy, and Chef Alon Shaya's rustic Italian fare makes our readers want to check in to this hotel restaurant.
2. Restaurant R'evolution (Royal Sonesta Hotel, 777 Bienville St., 504-553-2277; www.revolutionnola.com; @revolutionnola)
3. Tivoli and Lee (The Hotel Modern, 936 St. Charles Ave., 504-962-0909; www.tivoliandlee.com; @tivoliandlee)
Best Indian restaurant
1. Nirvana (4308 Magazine St., 504-894-9797; www.insidenirvana.com) — Nirvana often is a top finisher among local diners' favorite buffets, but this time it takes first place for its specialty cuisine. The restaurant prepares a mix of popular dishes spanning India's diverse regions and cuisines. Favorites include naan bread, items cooked in the tandoori oven, biryani rice dishes, spicy curries, vindaloo and more.
2. Taj Mahal (923 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-836-6859)
3. Saffron NOLA (505 Gretna Blvd. Suite 6, Gretna, 504-363-2174; www.saffronnola.com)
Best Italian restaurant
1. Vincent's (4411 Chastant St., Metairie, 504-885-2984; 7839 St. Charles Ave., 504-866-9313; www.vincentsitaliancuisine.com; @vincentsnola) — A perennial favorite with Gambit readers, Vincent's has topped this category in 10 of the last 11 years. Both locations are inviting spots for hearty tomato sauces and pasta, classic Italian dishes and Creole-Italian seafood items.
2. Venezia (134 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-488-7991; www.venezianeworleans.com)
3. Italian Barrel (430 Barracks St., 504-569-0198; www.italianbarrel.com)
Best Japanese/sushi restaurant
1. Sake Cafe Uptown (2830 Magazine St., 504-894-0033; www.sakecafeuptown.us; @sakecafeuptown) — Diners find a peaceful coexistence of the traditional and modern in this Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. The sushi bar runs almost the length of the spacious dining room, and there's everything from traditional sushi and sashimi to creative rolls and fusion items like goat cheese gyoza and apple-banana spring rolls for dessert.
2. Rock-n-Sake (823 Fulton St., 504-581-7253; www.rocknsake.com)
3. Shogun (2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-833-7477;www.shogunneworleans.com)
Best kid-friendly restaurant
1. Chuck E. Cheese (124 North Shore Blvd., Slidell, 985-641-4878; 3701 Gen. De Gaulle Drive, 504-367-1214; 7000 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-454-5959; www.chuckecheese.com; @chuckecheese) — There's a reason kids love Chuck E. Cheese — and it's not because of the pizza. It's the arcade of games or a host of skill levels, climbing structures and rides. It's won this category four years in a row; we suspect voters are thinking more of about their mealtime comfort (re: sans kids) than where children can get a balanced meal.
2. Reginelli's (citywide; www.reginellis.com; @reginellisnola)
3. New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company (citywide; www.nohsc.com; @nohsc)
Best Latin American restaurant
1. Baru Bistro & Tapas (3700 Magazine St., 504-895-2225; www.barutapas.com; @barutapas) — The flavors of Colombia and the Caribbean fill the menu at this colorful small plates restaurant. Popular dishes include ceviche, mazorca and tacos. It's Baru's fifth time at the top of this category.
2. Mayas (2027 Magazine St., 504-309-3401; @mojitoland)
3. La Macarena Pupuseria (8120 Hampson St., 504-862-5252; @pupusasnola)
Best Mexican restaurant
1. El Gato Negro (81 French Market Place, 504-525-9752; 300 Harrison Ave., 504-488-0107; www.elgatonegronola.com; @elgatonegronola) — El Gato Negro stakes its claim on authentic Mexican cooking, but goblet-sized house margaritas, such as the pineapple-cilantro version, and north of the border lobster meat add to the appeal of these cantinas — including a new location in Destrehan (3001 Ormond Blvd., Suite 1, 985-307-0460).
2. Juan's Flying Burrito (2018 Magazine St., 504-569-0000; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-486-9950; www.juansflyingburrito.com; @juansnola)
3. Felipe's Taqueria (301 N. Peters St., 504-267-4406; Mid-City Market, 411 N. Carrollton Ave.; 6215 S. Miro St., 504-309-2776; www.felipesneworleans.com; @felipesnola)
Best Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean restaurant
1. Mona's Cafe (Citywide) — From its original Mid-City site as a combined grocery and casual cafe (since rebuilt as an attractive dining destination), Mona's has spawned satellites on Frenchmen Street and in University neighborhoods that supply affordable and satisfying staples including gyros, falafel, kibbeh, lebna, pita bread and more.
2. Lebanon's Cafe (1500 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-862-6200; www.lebanonscafe.com; @lebanonscafe)
3. Byblos (Citywide; www.byblosrestaurants.com)
Best neighborhood restaurant
1. Katie's (3701 Iberville St., 504-488-6582; www.katiesinmidcity.com; @katiesmidcity) — The Mid-City mainstay serves everything from pizzas to shrimp and corn bisque to steaks and lobster. Its appeal reaches well beyond the neighborhood, and in April it catered a meal for former President Bill Clinton.
2. Clancy's (6100 Annunciation St., 504-895-1111; www.clancysneworleans.com)
3. Joey K's (3001 Magazine St., 504-891-0997; www.joeyksrestaurant.com)
Best seafood restaurant
1. Drago's Seafood Restaurant (3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 504-888-9254; Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras St., 504-584-3911; www.dragosrestaurant.com; @dragosseafood) — Readers' favorite Metairie restaurant also is their favorite seafood destination. The Cvitanovich family developed its own ties to oystermen and fishermen to supply the restaurant for signature items like Tommy Cvitanovich's charbroiled oysters bathed in butter, garlic, herbs and Parmesan cheese.
2. GW Fins (808 Bienville St., 504-581-3467; www.gwfins.com; @gwfins)
3. Deanie's (841 Iberville St., 504-581-1316; 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, 504-831-4141; www.deanies.com; @deaniesseafood)
Best small plates restaurant
1. Vega Tapas Cafe (2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.com; @vegatapas) — As the number of restaurants focusing on small plates grows, Gambit readers stick to an old favorite. Chef/proprietor Glen Hogh's Metairie outpost tops this category for the fourth year in a row. Spanish tapas are a mainstay, but the menu reaches to Greece, Turkey and Morocco as well.
2. Salu (3226 Magazine St., 504-371-5809; www.salurestaurant.com; @salunola)
3. Baru (3700 Magazine St., 504-895-2225; www.barutapas.com; @barutapas)
Best soul food restaurant
1. Willie Mae's Scotch House (2401 St. Ann St., 504-822-9503) — Willie Mae Seaton built her Mid-City spot into a local institution on the basis of her fried chicken and other family recipes. Her granddaughter Kerry Seaton has taken over and kept the tradition going for local diners.
2. Praline Connection (542 Frenchmen St., 504-943-3934; www.pralineconnection.com)
3. Lil Dizzy's (1500 Esplanade Ave., 504-569-8997)
1. Ruth's Chris Steak House (Harrah's Hotel, 525 Fulton St., 504-587-7099; 3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-888-3600; www.ruthschris.com; @ruthschrisnola) — The original location of the international chain was donated to Tulane University and now is a health center named in honor of Ruth Fertel, who made her steakhouse famous for its sizzling beef. Ruth's Chris steaks are cooked in a special high-heat broiler and served with butter.
2. Mr. John's (2111 St. Charles Ave., 504-679-7697; www.mrjohnssteakhouse.com; @mrjohnsnola)
3. Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse (716 Iberville St., 504-522-2467; www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com; @dbsteakhouse)
Best Thai restaurant
1. La Thai Uptown (4938 Prytania St., 504-899-8886; www.lathaiuptown.com; @nolathaiuptown) — Co-proprietors and chefs Diana and Merlin Chauvin craft contemporary Thai dishes, especially using local seafood, and a steady stream of bar specials and creative cocktails toasts the mix of southeast Louisiana and southeast Asian flavors.
2. Sukho Thai (1913 Royal St., 504-948-9309; 4519 Magazine St., 504-373-6471; www.sukhothai-nola.com)
3. Cafe Equator (2920 Severn Ave., Metairie, 504-888-4772; www.cafeequator.com)
Best Vietnamese restaurant
1. Magasin (4201 Magazine St., 504-896-7611; www.magasincafe.com; @magasincafe) — The cheerful pho and banh mi corner shop Uptown jumps into first place for seemingly the first fime this year, and brings the title of Best Vietnamese to the East Bank.
2. Pho Tau Bay (113 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 504-368-9846)
3. Tan Dinh (1705 Lafayette St., Gretna, 504-361-8008)
Best bar food
1. The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St., 504-891-1516, 5135 Canal St., 504-488-4191; bulldog.draftfreak.com) — Need something to soak up all that beer? Both Bulldog locations offer burgers, cheese fries, a chicken breast marinated in Abita Turbodog and other bar standards. Plus, you can call in a takeout order.
2. The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave., 504-895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com; @thedelachaise)
3. Cooter Brown's Tavern (509 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-866-9104; www.cooterbrowns.com; @cooterbrowns504)
Best barbecue shrimp
1. Pascal's Manale (1838 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-4877) — The originator and still the best. Now strap on a bib and explain to all the new people in town that "barbecue shrimp" has nothing to do with barbecuing or barbecue sauce.
2. Mr. B's Bistro (201 Royal St., 504-523-2078; www.mrbsbistro.com; @mrbsbistro)
3. Deanie's Seafood (841 Iberville St., 504-581-1316; 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, 504-831-4141; www.deanies.com; @deaniesseafood)
Best breakfast spot
1. Surrey's (1418 Magazine St., 504-524-3828; 4807 Magazine St., 504-895-5757; www.surreyscafeandjuicebar.com) — If you've got a hangover to rival the one in The Hangover, Surrey's is your spot for either restorative healthy juices or a big mess of huevos rancheros. Be prepared to wait on the weekends, but it's worth it.
2. The Ruby Slipper (139 S. Cortez St., 504-309-5531; 200 Magazine St., 504-525-9355; 2001 Burgundy St., 504-525-9355; www.therubyslippercafe.net; @rubyslippercafe)
3. Elizabeth's (601 Gallier St., 504-944-9272;www.elizabethsrestaurantnola.com)
1. Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com; @commanders_nola) — Every room here is festive, particularly at Sunday brunch (the Garden Room is our favorite), with strolling jazz musicians, Chef Tory McPhail's accomplished new Louisiana cuisine, and plenty of locals mixed in with the tourists.
2. Court of Two Sisters (613 Royal St., 504-522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com)
3. Surrey's (1418 Magazine St., 504-524-3828; 4807 Magazine St., 504-895-5757; http://www.surreyscafeandjuicebar.com/)
1. The Buffet at Harrah's (4 Canal St., 504-533-6000; www.harrahsneworleans.com; @harrahsnola) — Every night is a specialty night (prime rib, crab legs, surf 'n' turf, etc.) at this buffet in the middle of the casino. Pro tip: Get a free Total Rewards card at the guest services counter and save $2 per person at dinner.
2. Nirvana Indian Cuisine (4308 Magazine St., 504-894-9797; www.insidenirvana.com)
3. Court of Two Sisters (613 Royal St., 504-522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com)
Best cheap eats
1. Felipe's Taqueria (301 N. Peters St., 504-267-4406; Mid-Ctiy Market, 411 N. Carrollton Ave., Suite 1; 6215 S. Miro St., 504-309-2776; www.felipestaqueria.com; @felipesnola) — Chipotle who? Felipe is your man for quick, fresh Mexican food. If you're at the French Quarter location, ask if Tiki Tolteca (a new tiki bar) is open upstairs. A new branch of Felipe's opened Aug. 23 in the Mid-City Market.
2. Juan's Flying Burrito (2018 Magazine St., 504-569-0000; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-486-9950; www.juansflyingburrito.com; @juansnola)
3. Dat Dog (3336 Magazine St., 504-324-2226; 5030 Freret St., 504-899-6883; www.datdognola.com; @datdognola)
??? — Watch "Best of New Orleans" on WWL-TV Aug. 27 at 6:30 p.m. to learn the winner of this category.
Best food truck
1. Taceaux Loceaux (@tlnola) — Despite a profusion of new food trucks, Taceaux Loceaux retains the title this year. Alex and Maribeth del Castillo pack their tacos with fresh and imaginative ingredients (the brisket is great, and the "Jane Deaux" may be the best vegan taco you've ever had). Where are they? Check Twitter.
2. La Cocinita (www.lacocinitafoodtruck.com; @lacocinita)
3. Fat Falafel (www.thefatfalafeltruck.com; @fatfalafel)
Best frozen yogurt
1. Pinkberry (Citywide; www.pinkberry.com; @pberrynola) — It's hard to believe this fro-yo giant has only been in New Orleans since 2010; it now has five locations in the metro area, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu is a fan. Its newest shop (opened Aug. 23) is in the Mid-City Market.
2. Tutti-Frutti (Citywide; www.tfyogurt.com; @tfyogurt)
3. Yogurtland (4903 Prytania St., 504-333-6809; www.yogurt-land.com; @yogurtlandnola)
Best gourmet- to-go
1. Whole Foods Market (3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-888-8225; 5600 Magazine St., 504-899-9119; www.wholefoodsmarket.com; @wfm_louisiana) — Whole Foods didn't even make the Top 3 in this category last year, but it seems like plenty of people have been turned on to the joys of its deli. A third location will open in the long-vacant Schwegmann property on North Broad Street in Mid-City next year.
2. Martin Wine Cellar (3500 Magazine St., 504-894-7420; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 504-896-7350; www.martinwine.com; @martin_wine)
3. Gott Gourmet (3100 Magazine St., 504-373-6579, www.gottgourmetcafe.com; @gottgourmet)
Best iced/ frozen coffee
1. PJ's Coffee (Citywide; www.pjscoffee.com; @pjscoffee) — Back in coffee's Paleozoic era (1978), Phyllis Jordan opened her first PJ's to hook New Orleanians on the joys of a proper cup. Today PJ's are everywhere around town, and New Orleanians love our homegrown coffee chain.
2. CC's Community Coffee House (Citywide; www.communitycoffee.com; @ccscoffeehouse)
3. Starbucks (Citywide; www.starbucks.com; @starbucks)
Best king cake
1. Randazzo's Camellia City Bakery (3501 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell, 800-684-2253; www.kingcakes.com) — This Northshore bakery uses the original Randazzo family recipe and hand-braids every king cake. It's been featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped, and the bakery ships cakes almost anywhere. It returns to the top spot after relinquishing it to Manny Radazzo's for the past two years.
2. Haydel's Bakery (4037 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson; 504-837-0190; www.haydelbakery.com; @haydelsbakery)
3. Rouses (Citywide; www.rouses.com; @rousesmarkets)
Best late-night dining
1. Camellia Grill (540 Chartres St., 504-522-1800; 626 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-309-2679) — The Uptown landmark is now embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over rights to its name, but the grill-warmed pecan pie, chocolate freezes and hamburgers served up by waiters at both locations with personality-plus have not been affected by the legal wrangling.
2. Root (200 Julia St., 504-252-9480; www.rootnola.com; @rootnola)
3. Hoshun (1601 St Charles Ave., 504-302-9717; www.hoshunrestaurant.com; @hoshun_bistro)
Best lunch specials
1. Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com; @commanders_nola) — Two- and three-course lunch specials start at $16 (and the Champagne-and-strawberry salad shouldn't be missed), but the real bargain is the 25-cent martinis at lunchtime. Limit three per customer, because, as the menu says, "That's enough."
2. Joey K's (3001 Magazine St., 504-891-0997; www.joeyksrestaurant.com)
3. Palace Cafe (605 Canal St., 504-523-1661; www.palacecafe.com; @palacecafe)
Best menu for vegetarians
1. Green Goddess (307 Exchange Place, 504-301-3347; @greengoddessfq) — Vegetarians and vegans can feel spoiled at this little spot in Exchange Alley, where greens, grains, fresh fruit and vegetables come together in ways that won't make you feel deprived (the sweet potato bisque with coconut milk is a favorite).
2. Mona's Cafe (504 Frenchmen St., 504-949-4115; 4126 Magazine St., 504-894-9800; 3901 Banks St., 504-482-7743)
3. Carmo (527 Julia St., 504-875-4132; www.cafecarmo.com; @carmoneworleans)
Best outdoor dining
1. Bacchanal (600 Poland Ave., 504-948-9111; www.bacchanalwine.com; @bacchanalwine) — Infamous Twitter inciter @Editilla ragged on Bacchanal for having tiny salads, plastic flatware and a pork chop that "bordered on heinous," discounting Seth Rogen's "open drooling" reaction to the pork chops he ordered the same night. @Editilla, subsequently banned from the restaurant, apologized by presenting Bacchanal with brass balls — literally.
2. Martinique Bistro (5908 Magazine St., 504-891-8495; www.martiniquebistro.com; @martiniquenola)
3. The Velvet Cactus (6300 Argonne Blvd., 504-301-2083; www.thevelvetcactus.com)
Best place for desserts
1. Sucre (3025 Magazine St., 504-520-8311; Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-834-2277; www.shopsucre.com; @SucreNewOrleans) — Ever innovative Sucre offers delivery and curbside pickup, has a free iPhone game, sells a macaroon-print umbrella and sells macaroon and chocolate gift club subscriptions.
2. Angelo Brocato (214 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-486-1465; www.angelobrocatoicecream.com)
3. Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro (2001 St. Charles Ave., 504-593-9955; 4517 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-454-7620; www.copelandscheesecakebistro.com)
Best place for a specialty sandwich
1. Stein's Market & Deli (2207 Magazine St., 504-527-0771; www.steinsdeli.net, @steinsdeli) – If a Seinfeld reboot were filmed in New Orleans, Stein's would be the foursome's Monk's Coffee Shop-meets-H&H bagels-meets-Mendy's. Pro tips: You'll leave smelling like a deli; there's a huge craft beer selection in the back room; avoid the rush by going around 11 a.m. or after 2 p.m.
2. St. James Cheese Company (5004 Prytania St., 504-899-4737; www.stjamescheese.com; @StJamesCheese)
3. Milk Bar (710 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-309-3310; 1514 Delachaise St., 504-891-9361)
Best place for ice cream/gelato
1. Angelo Brocato (214 N. Carrollton Ave., 504-486-1465; www.angelobrocatoicecream.com) — Brocato's Mid-City shop combines the beauty of Italy and the charm of New Orleans with peach-colored walls, cream-colored ceiling medallions, outdoor cafe-inspired furniture and a glass-paneled entrance. Young and old come here for authentic Italian desserts, gelato, beverages and candies.
2. The Creole Creamery (4924 Prytania St., 504-894-8680; 6260 Vicksburg St., 504-482-2924; www.creolecreamery.com; @CreoleCreamery
3. Sucre (3025 Magazine St., 504-520-8311; Lakeside Shopping Center, 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 504-834-2277; www.shopsucre.com; @SucreNewOrleans)
Best wine list
1. Martin Wine Cellar (714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 504-896-7300; Village Shopping Center, 2895 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, 985-951-8081; 3500 Magazine St., 504-894-7420; www.martinwinecellar.com; @Martin_Wine) — Martin Wine Cellar's frequent sales, tastings and knowledgeable staff make it easy and affordable to purchase wine and all the necessary or splurge-worthy accoutrements. Patrons can buy bottles of wine to drink while dining in, and there's a wine cooler that chills whites in roughly 10 minutes.
2. The Delachaise (3442 St. Charles Ave., 504-895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com; @thedelachaise)
3. Wine Institute of New Orleans (610 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-324-8000; www.winoschool.com; @winoschool)
1. Gumbo Shop (630 St. Peter St., 504-525-1486; www.gumboshop.com; @gumboshop) — Small details like mixing fresh parsley in the rice and sprinkling bowls of hot gumbo with sliced green onions have kept Gumbo Shop at No. 1 in Gambit's Best of New Orleans readers' poll for the 15th consecutive year.
2. Mandina's Restaurant (3800 Canal St., 504-482-9179; Azalea Shopping Center, 4240 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, 985-674-9883; www.mandinasrestaurant.com; @mandinasrest)
3. Mr. B's Bistro (201 Royal St., 504-523-2078; www.mrbsbistro.com; @mrbsbistro)
Best hot dog
1. Dat Dog (3336 Magazine St., 504-324-2226; 5030 Freret St., 504-899-6883; www.datdognola.com; @DatDogNOLA) — Dat Dog offers far more than a basic weenie sandwich. It has turducken, duck, crawfish and alligator sausages and a cod dog, all served on plump, toasted, steamed buns. Both locations have full bars and house-made specialty sodas, but only the Magazine Street location accepts credit cards.
2. Lucky Dog (citywide; www.luckydogs.us)
3. Dreamy Weenies (740 N. Rampart St., 504-872-0157; www.dreamyweenies.com; @dreamyweenies)
Best mac and cheese
1. Rocky & Carlo's (613 W. St. Bernard Hwy., Chalmette, 504-279-8323) — A macaroni junkie's dream, Rocky & Carlos' macaroni is made with long, thick, hollow perciatelli pasta, an excellent vessel for the red or brown gravy poured on top. When ordering macaroni as a side, the staff puts it under everything else, letting the crumbs and other delicious bits sneak in.
2. Cowbell (8801 Oak St., 504-298-8689; www.cowbell-nola.com; @CowbellNOLA)
3. Capdeville (520 Capdeville St., 504-371-5161; www.capedevillenola.com; @MayorCapdeville)
1. Central Grocery (923 Decatur St., 504-523-1620; www.centralgroceryneworleans.com; @CentralGrocery) — Beneath an oil-spotted piece of paper lays the most perfect muffuletta. The bread: soft with a bite, seeded and lightly oiled. The olive salad: chunky, crisp and not overly salty. The meats and cheeses: fresh sliced salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella and provolone, thick enough to stand out individually, thin enough to work together.
2. Nor-Joe Import Company (505 Frisco Ave., Metairie, 504-833-9240; www.norjoe.com)
3. Napoleon House Bar & Cafe (500 Chartres St., 504-522-4152; www.napoleonhouse.com)
Best pizza restaurant
1. Theo's Neighborhood Pizza (Elmwood Shopping Center, 1212 S. Clearview Parkway, Harahan, 504-733-3803; 4024 Canal St., 504-302-1133; 4218 Magazine St., 504-894-8554; www.theospizza.com; @TheosPizzaNOLA) – Aside from offering three sauces and more than 30 toppings for their medium-thickness, chewy yet crispy-crusted pizzas, Theo's uses celebrity photographs as table markers, is a nice place to people watch and has a decent craft beer selection. Salads and appetizers are far superior to what's offered at most pizza joints.
2. Reginelli's Pizzeria (citywide; www.reginellis.com; @reginellisnola)
3. Slice Pizzeria (1315 St. Charles Ave., 504-525-7437; 5538 Magazine St., 504-897-4800; www.slicepizzeria.com; @SliceNOLA)
Best roast beef po-boy
1. Parkway Bakery & Tavern (538 Hagan Ave., 504-482-3047; www.parkwaypoorboys.com; @ParkwayPoorboys) — People say New Orleanians judge po-boys by the number of napkins needed, so it's no surprise that Parkway's roast beef is consistently ranked No. 1. The garlicky gravy soaks through the bread, dripping down your arms and leaving diners to choose between licking their fingers — a lot — or excessive napkin usage.
2. R&O's Restaurant (216 Metairie-Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 504-831-1248)
3. Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar (5240 Annunciation St., 504-899-9126)
Best seafood po-boy
1. Parkway Bakery & Tavern (538 Hagan Ave., 504-482-3047; www.parkwaypoorboys.com; @ParkwayPoorboys) – President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama had shrimp po-boys at Parkway in 2010 during a trip to New Orleans on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Fried oyster po-boys are only offered on Mondays, but the fried catfish and shrimp are always available.
TIE: 2. Domilise's Po-Boy & Bar (5240 Annunciation St., 504-899-9126)
TIE: 2. Mandina's Restaurant (3800 Canal St., 504-482-9179; Azalea Shopping Center, 4240 Highway 22, Mandeville, 985-674-9883; www.mandinasrestaurant.com; @mandinasrest)
3. R&O's Restaurant (216 Metairie-Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 504-831-1248)
Best sno-ball stand
1. Hansen's Sno-Bliz (4801 Tchoupitoulas St., 504-891-9788; www.snobliz.com; @snobliz) — Watching Sno-Bliz employees — some third-generation Hansens — make sno-balls is fascinating. First, they shave the ice using the same type of machine Ernest Hansen invented in 1939. They put snow in the cup, then homemade syrup, alternating layers until the sno-ball is complete, adhering to their motto, "there are no shortcuts to quality."
2. Williams Plum Street Snoballs (1300 Burdette St., 504-866-7996, @plumstsnoballs)
3. Sal's Sno-Balls (1823 Metairie Ave., Metairie, 504-666-1823)