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Gambit 2007 Winter Restaurant Guide by cuisine 

AFRICAN

BENNACHIN
1212 Royal St., 522-1230
This French Quarter restaurant has been serving African cuisine for a number of years. Many dishes such as the African jambalaya and stewed veggies with chicken are reminiscent of New Orleans dishes, while the jama jama macondo -- spinach, fried plantains and coconut rice -- is a taste from afar. Other favorites include peanuts and beef stew served with rice, and black-eyed pea fritters. The small dining room makes for a cozy environment. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $$

AMERICAN

ALEXANDER'S FOOD AND SPIRITS
2604 Magazine St., 895-4112

Formerly a corner bar, Alexander's was treated to a thorough renovation to create a stylish, spacious venue for food, music and drinks. From the open kitchen come steaks and burgers, plus the house specialty charbroiled oysters. The "carpetbagger steak" is a surf and turf special featuring a 14-oz. rib-eye stuffed with piping-hot oysters. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily, brunch Sun. Cash only. $$

APPLEBEE'S NIGHBORHOOD GRILL & BAR
Citywide; www.applebees.com
Applebee's goes for a "something for everyone" approach, which means items range 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. Many locations offer packaged dinners to go and menu specials keep tantalizing options affordable. Several flavored cheesecakes, decadent chocolate brownies, cake and apple pie offer sweet conclusions to a meal. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

BACK PORCH GRILL
414 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 892-5252
Dig into sandwiches and salads at the Back Porch Grill. Deli-style options include ham and cheese, grilled chicken, tuna and club sandwiches. Salads pile items like boiled shrimp, grilled chicken or tuna salad on top of mixed field greens, or opt for a classic Caesar. Several soup, salad and sandwich options are available. Back Porch will soon offer gourmet-to-go dinners, generally sticking to comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and spaghetti. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

THE BEACH HOUSE
2401 N. Woodlawn Ave., Metairie, 456-7470
Since the closest shoreline with ample surf and sand sits nearly 90 miles from New Orleans, the Beach House is a good choice to capture, at the very least, the flavor of the seaside boardwalk and the laidback vibe of the surfer's mentality. The Beach Burger is a half-pound patty of beef ground in-house and made to order. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $

BENNIGAN'S GRILL AND TAVERN
3010 Holiday Drive, 394-2805; 3434 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-0664
Offering an extensive menu with nearly 60 items ranging from fish 'n' chips to tempura-fried shrimp to cheese and bacon potato skins, Bennigan's is a good choice for families and finicky eaters. Also available for adults is a large selection of bottled and draft beers, including seasonal specials on popular imported brews. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

THE BUFFET AT HARRAH'S
4 Canal St., 533-6000; www.harrahs.com
The Buffet tries to keep every diner and every taste in mind with dishes that range from New Orleans favorites to Asian accents. There's pasta, crab legs, jumbo shrimp cocktail, chocolate fountain fondue, and a Creole gumbo. You also will want to make room for these desserts: bananas Foster, fruit cobblers and ice cream sundaes. Plus, the buffet offers breakfast items cooked to order. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily. Credit cards. $$

BULL'S CORNER
1036 W. Airline Hwy., LaPlace, (985) 652-3544; www.bullscorner.com
Guests in the collection of dining rooms at Bull's Corner can be found feasting on steak and seafood specialties. The signature steak at this River Parish hotspot is the Filet Norton, a chargrilled filet mignon presented on top of a marinated portobello mushroom and topped with Danish blue cheese and garlic sauce. Regulars show up on Tuesday evenings for lobster night. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CADDYSHACK
3217 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie, 833-1799; www.caddyshackandbar.com
For a casual lunch or a quick bite and a drink, head to the Caddyshack for sandwiches, burgers, French fries and onion rings. Also available are daily specials from the kitchen such as red beans on Monday, fried seafood platters on Friday and other dishes like spaghetti and fried chicken on the days in between. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ PONTCHARTRAIN AT THE PONTCHARTRAIN HOTEL
2031 St. Charles Ave., 524-0581; www.pontchartrainhotel.com
Perhaps best known for the Mile High Pie made with neopolitan ice cream and dripping with chocolate sauce, Café Pontchartrain offers plenty more. Get the morning going with Southern eggs, which feature fried green tomatoes topped with gulf shrimp, poached eggs and tasso cream, served with home fries or grits and either a blueberry muffin, biscuits or toast. Lunch includes dishes like blackened chicken quesadillas, seafood gumbo, catfish Creole, and a panéed chicken breast which is dusted with Cajun spices and breadcrumbs, pan-seared and served with a Creole hunter sauce. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAMELLIA CAFÉ
525 W. Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 649-6211; 69455 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, (985) 809-63
13Camellia Café offers everything from homemade soups like French onion and oyster and artichoke to entrées of beef tips on a bed of egg noodles, panéed veal or stuffed crabs. The shrimp remoulade is a popular appetizer, too. The Abita Springs location offers a menu of big, potent specialty cocktails. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

CANNON'S RESTAURANT
4141 St. Charles Ave., 891-3200; www.cannonsrestaurants.com
Classic American cuisine served in a classic New Orleans setting along St. Charles Avenue is the recipe for success for Cannon's. Steaks, steamed lobsters and large entrée salads are mainstays of the menu. House specials include chicken Reginald prepared with sautéed mushrooms and hollandaise sauce, crabcakes Salvatore over linguine with crawfish sauce and blackened redfish with bordelaise sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

COPELAND'S CHEESECAKE BISTRO
528 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 875-9793: 4517 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-7620; www.alcopeland.com
Cheesecake Bistro is a good place to start with dessert and work your way backwards. Specialty cheesecakes include bananas Foster, Oreo cookies and cream, white chocolate macadamia, strawberry and fudge brownie. There is a large and creative menu of salads, steaks, sandwiches, burgers and wraps and many locally inspired entrees such as jambalaya pasta, panéed chicken over crawfish linguine and almond-crusted trout meuniere. For more dessert options, there are also banana splits and sundaes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

COPPER MONKEY BAR & GRILL
725 Conti St., 527-0869
Copper Monkey is a Quarter regular's spot to grab lunch or late-night eats from a full menu of quesadillas, salads, burgers and steaks. The penne á la Tina is penne pasta tossed with sautéed mushrooms and sliced chicken breast in a creamy red sauce. Crab-stuffed mushrooms are packed with snow crab, breaded and deep fried and served with homemade ranch dressing. The bar is open 24 hours and the kitchen is usually open from lunch straight through till early in the morning. Drop by on Fridays for the crawfish boil special. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

CORNER CAFÉ
3316 Green Acres Road, Metairie, 454-1008
Knock it out of the park with the Grand Slam sandwich stuffed with roast beef, ham and cheese. If you are out on a date and searching for something a little more formal, cozy up to the seafood platter for two: a dish comprised of two cups of gumbo to start, an entrée of fried shrimp, oysters and crab served with stuffed jalape–os and hush puppies. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DECKBAR & GRILLE
1715 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 830-0104
The Deckbar has a full menu of tasty bar food to snack on and entrees ranging from fried seafood platters to burgers. Homemade crab balls are the house specialty, also available as a platter with a salad and fries. Upgrade a burger to the Double Delight by adding a hot sausage patty. Or check the specials list for dishes like chicken and dumplings, lasagna, smothered pork chops, meatloaf, pepper steak or others. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

DEJA VU RESTAURANT & BAR
400 Dauphine St., 523-1931; www.dejavurestaurant-bar.com
This 24-hour restaurant keeps 'em coming back with the Déja vu omelet -- featuring crispy bacon, sausage, ham, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese. For a main meal, try the seafood platter -- one pound of shrimp, oysters, crawfish, and catfish, along with French fries. The Déja vu burger is a charbroiled half-pounder. There are also many overstuffed po-boys and appetizers like nachos, cheese sticks and Southwestern egg rolls. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FOX AND HOUND
1200 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 731-6000
It's hard to say whether Fox and Hound has more beers on draft or televisions on the wall, but you get the idea. It's sports central with a big menu of appetizers, sandwiches, thin-crust pizzas and salads. The hickory slow-smoked ribs are served with Texas toast and a choice of sides. The Black Forest sandwich is a hefty pile of sliced turkey, smoked bacon and Monterey Jack cheese, dressed and spiced with honey mustard. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily. Credit cards $

HARD ROCK CAFÉ
415 N. Peters St., 529-5617; www.hardrock.com
This international staple offers enough local touches to make New Orleanians feel at home, like Louis Armstrong's trumpet and Fats Domino posters hanging on an upstairs wall, as well as a few Cajun and Creole-inflected menu items. The bill of fare also offers a thick slice of Americana from burgers and barbecue to desserts like apple cobbler and shakes. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards $$

HOUSE OF BLUES
225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com
To match the juke joint décor, the House of Blues devotes much of its menu to Southern cooking and New Orleans classics. Any bluesman would have his heartache at least temporarily eased by dishes like Tennessee-style slow-smoked baby back ribs served with a Jim Beam barbecue sauce with mashed sweet potatoes and turnip greens. For dessert, there's white chocolate banana bread pudding with Jack Daniels créme anglais. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

HOUSTON'S RESTAURANT
4241 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Metairie, 889-2301
Houston's is renowned for its spinach and artichoke dip, a menu of steaks, barbecue ribs, seafood and sandwiches. The selection of seafood hails from Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific waters. Houston's also has a large wine list and a casually elegant vibe. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

JAZZ SEAFOOD & STEAKHOUSE
2722 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 468-3237
From chicken and andouille gumbo to po-boys and crawfish etouffée, Jazz Seafood offers a host of local favorites. There's also a smattering of Italian dishes and steaks like a 12-oz. rib-eye or a filet mignon. The Italian salad with romaine lettuce, olive salad and balsamic vinaigrette has been popular almost since the restaurant opened. Lasagna and spaghetti and meatballs round out the Italian dishes. If you have a voracious appetite, go for the seafood platter loaded with catfish, shrimp, fried oysters and crawfish beignets. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

JIMMY BUFFETT'S MARGARITAVILLE CAFÉ
1104 Decatur St., 592-2565; www.margaritaville.com
Jimmy Buffett's French Market oasis is marked by the funky décor of local artists and features tables painted with Buffett's album covers. The Gulf Coast cuisine goes from barbecue ribs to gumbo to Jamaican jerk chicken to shrimp fried in coconut butter. There's shrimp and lobster scampi in a zesty sauce tossed with penne pasta and Parmesan cheese. The barbecue Southern fried chicken salad features fried chicken in a barbecue ranch dressing over greens with vegetables and cheese. There's live music nightly and a large balcony for dining. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

KABBY'S SPORTS EDITION GRILL
Hilton Riverside Hotel, 2 Poydras St., 561-0500
The No. 1 draw for this airy sports hub off the lobby of the Hilton is the up-to-the-minute access to just about every sporting event happening at any given moment. Television screens surround the bar and dining areas. The waiters and waitresses are dressed as referees -- hopefully without whistles -- and deliver a large array of bar food for snacking, plus burgers and sandwiches. The bar is also fully prepped and ready to go with specialty cocktails. Real uniforms, signed jerseys and memorabilia also line the walls. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

O'HENRY'S FOOD & SPIRITS
Citywide; www.ohenrys.com
If not for the free peanuts, drop in to this area chain for a lineup of popular comfort food dishes like ribs or pasta. The menu 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. Many locations will even give you the steak for free on your birthday (with valid ID). No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PICADILLY CAFETERIA
Citywide; www.piccadilly.com
Hearty, affordable, dependable fare is the rule at Piccadilly Caféteria, from a dinner of turkey and gravy to the whole turkey to go. The buffet features local, southern, and American staples including crawfish etouffée, fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese and a delectable array of pies such as apple, pecan and cherry. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

RAISING CANE'S CHICKEN FINGERS
Citywide; www.raisingcanes.com
You probably would never have guessed that the chain is named for the founder's golden Labrador retriever, Cane, but there are some things you can always expect at the restaurant: chicken fingers are just about the only option and they come with the restaurant's signature tangy sauce. Boxed meals are available with French fries, coleslaw and Texas toast. Party platters of 100 chicken fingers are also available. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RENDEZ VOUS CAFÉ
3001 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 367-6013
The Rendez Vous features all-American fare from breakfast through dinner. Start the day with hardy breakfast of two eggs prepared any style, a choice of bacon, sausage or ham and golden hashbrowns or grits. Entrees include pork chops and onions, including two chargrilled pork chops topped with onions and accompanied by a choice of baked potato or mashed potatoes and either a soup or salad. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

THE RESTAURANT AT TREASURE CHEST CASINO
5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (800) 298-0711; www.treasurechest.com
Treasure Chest offers several dining options. The Restaurant presents hearty American fare like the 16-oz. prime rib, or changing specials including roasted chicken, or turkey with gravy. For local tastes, there are dishes like redfish with a Creole seafood sauce. Friday and Saturday evenings focus on seafood, and there is always a large selection of desserts. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RICCOBONO'S PANOLA STREET CAFÉ
7801 Panola St., 314-1810
You can always get a hearty standard breakfast at Riccobono's, but why not broaden your choices by sampling the crawfish omelet or the crabcakes benedict. Lunch options include burgers, red beans and rice, and daily specials including hamburger steaks and fried catfish. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

THE ROCK RESTAURANT
5209 W. Napoleon Ave., 885-3762
The Rock offers a range of dishes from steak to seafood. On the beef side, a choice filet of tenderloin is grilled and served with a choice of side dish. The barbecue shrimp are spicy and served with the Rock's signature cream sauce and French bread for dipping. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

RUSSELL'S MARINA GRILL
8555 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-9980
Russell's serves up tasty breakfast items all day, offering dishes like eggs Benedict with a homemade hollandaise sauce as well as old standards like scrambled eggs, grits and ham. If you're in the mood for lunch, try the seared ahi tuna entrée with a sweet-and-spicy plum sauce and a side of sweet potato fries. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

SOUTHSIDE CAFÉ
3154 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell, (985) 643-6133; www.southsidecafé.net
Southside has a huge menu to choose from, whether you want to graze on bar food, dig into burgers and steaks or stick with seafood. The seafood muffuletta can be ordered with fried shrimp, oysters, catfish or a mix of all three. Thursday and Saturday evenings are steak nights featuring 12-oz. certified Angus rib-eyes served with baked potatoes loaded with butter, sour cream, bacon, cheddar cheese and chives. Sandwiches include everything from Reubens to Philly cheesesteaks to Southern-style barbecue. The bar offers specialty drinks like the Bushwacker, a blended cocktail with vanilla ice cream and rum. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards.

SPUDLY'S SUPER SPUDS
2609 Harvard Ave., Metairie, 455-7783
With more stuffed potato combinations than you can shake a spud at, Spudly's lives up to its reputation as the area's destination for terrific tubers. Spudly's own cheese sauce graces many of the choices, and from there, everything from diced roast beef to shrimp and crabmeat to chili can go on top. Spud skins come with an equally expansive list of topping choices. Burgers, salads and soups offer spud-free dining. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

STATION 8801
8801 Oak St., 861-9293
What could be more casual than a restaurant trying to resemble its past life as a filling station? Just as you might expect there's plenty of good, hearty food -- burgers, steak sandwiches, and sweet potato fries--that most grease monkeys and hungry diners would enjoy. There are also entrees of steak or tuna, and on most Fridays, drop by for charbroiled oysters. It's also a good place for drink specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SUN RAY GRILL
619 Pink St., Metairie, 837-0055; 1051 Annunciation St., 566-0021; 2600 Belle Chase Hwy, Gretna, 391-0053; 3700 Orleans Ave., 324-9663; www.sunraygrill.com
Stylish yet casual décor sets the mood at Sun Ray Grill, where an eclectic menu provides a melting pot of dishes from around the globe and close to home. Signature dishes include duck and andouille gumbo and Thai barbecue chicken in a spicy glaze with coconut rice and cucumber salad. Popular entrees also include ahi tuna steaks crusted with black and white sesame seeds and the smoky bourbon barbecue ribs served with fries and roasted corn. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

TED'S FROSTOP
3100 Calhoun St., 861-3615
You can still come by for a frosty cold mug of root beer, but there's more to the place than memories. The parking lot is usually full, but the service is quick, so you won't have to wait too long for a hot plate of red beans and rice or any of their other breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings such as spaghetti and meatballs or Salisbury steak. There's drive-through service for pick-up orders. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

WINSTON'S PUB & PATIO
531 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-8705
Winston's Pub is a comfortable spot to grab a drink, a burger or any of their platters. The fish and chips feature beer-battered fillets served with waffle fries and a side of malt vinegar or tartar sauce. The Forrest Hills burger is a half-pound patty served with a choice of waffle fries, sweet potato fries or beer-battered onion rings. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

WOW CAFÉ & WINGERY
Citywide; www.winger.com
It's all about choosing the right sauce at WOW Café. Whether you pick up an eight-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 many others. The Wingery also serves wraps, burgers, salads, quesadillas, chicken tenders and fajitas. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

ZEA ROTISSERIE AND GRILL
1401 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 468-7733; 1525 St. Charles Ave., 520-8100; 1655 Hickory St., Harahan, 738-0799; 4450 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-9090; www.zearestaurants.com
Zea is a casually elegant spot to enjoy American favorites spiced up with Asian flavors to create several signature dishes, such as the Thai ribs, St. Louis-style pork ribs covered in a sweet-and-spicy glaze, and the Asian almond shrimp. The bar features micro-brewed beers specially made for Zea by a Northshore brewer. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY

CAFÉ AMELIE
912 Royal St., 412-8965; www.princessofmonaco.com
Occupying a carriage house and pretty courtyard, Amelie offers a great setting for a quiet lunch or dinner in the midst of the French Quarter. Dishes include Louisiana crabcakes with a lemon-tarragon drizzle and Creole lamb chops, which are oven roasted and served with a mango pepper jelly. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sun., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CRYSTAL ROOM AT LE PAVILLON
833 Poydras St., 581-3111; www.lepavillonhotel.com
The dining room at Le Pavillon is an elegant setting for any meal. The extensive breakfast menu offers everything from a healthy selection of fruits and grains to omelets made to order, eggs Benedict and French toast. The dinner menu has a wide selection as well including rib-eye steaks, chicken Le Pavillon, and panéed veal. Desserts include such standard favorites as pecan pie, créme brulee and cheesecake. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$$

THE DELACHAISE
3442 Delachaise St., 895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com
From its ornate, art nouveau-styled building, the Delachaise pours distinctive wines, liquor and beer from around the world while the kitchen does some of its own globe-trotting. Crabmeat St. Charles has crabmeat baked with wine and cream, while roasted coconut shrimp come with black rice and mango. Plates of cheese, olives and roasted vegetables make for elegant bar noshing. Reservations accepted. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$

FIRE!
1377 Annunciation St., 566-1950; www.firearestaurant.com
A converted, historic firehouse in the Lower Garden District sets the scene for contemporary and eclectic cuisine that speaks with a California accent. Flatbreads piled with toppings and a selection of dips start the menu, while sesame-crusted tuna, braised short ribs and rotisserie chicken are popular entrée selections. The restaurant boasts a large list of reasonably priced wines. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

IRIS
8115 Jeannette St., 862-5848; www.irisneworleans.com
The intimate dining room at Iris is a cozy setting for the classical French dishes and occasional Asian accents of chef Ian Schnoebelen. There's everything from veal sweet breads and gnocchi to steamed mussels in coconut curry broth. The menu evolves regularly, and entrees include everything from seared scallops to lamb and steak. Vegetarians can indulge in the chef's daily selections and the bar turns out innovative cocktail recipes using fresh fruit. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

JACKSON
1910 Magazine St., 529-9599; www.Jacksonnola.com
In the Lower Garden District, Jackson is an intimate restaurant featuring the creative cooking of chef Michael Brewer. Dishes include a veal chop served with a red currant-Cabernet reduction and a stuffed duck breast over celery root puree with a Calvados reduction. Appetizers might include dishes like beef carpaccio with a raspberry and jalapeno puree or lamb ravioli with a sun-dried tomato pesto. The menu changes seasonally. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$S

LA COTE BRASSERIE
700 Tchoupitoulas St., 613-2350; www.lacotebrasserie.com
The lobby of the Warehouse District Renaissance Arts Hotel flows gracefully into this seafood restaurant, where the contemporary art theme continues in the design of the dining room and bar. The chilled seafood tasting platters are a delicious way to start a meal. Entrees include dishes like whole roasted fish, glazed salmon and meat choices such as a smoked rib-eye or seared pork loin. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

MAT & NADDIE'S RESTAURANT
937 Leonidas St., 861-9600; www.matandnaddies.com
With views of the grassy levee just outside and the possibility of freight trains rolling past to punctuate your meal, the colorful cottage setting of Mat & Naddie's might make patrons feel like they're far from the city, but the sophisticated cuisine will remind them that this is an urban bistro. One such dish is the Moroccan braised lamb shank with currant and almond couscous. On weekdays, the restaurant still features a solid lunch buffet featuring small batches of salads, pastas, meats, cheeses, soups and other daily creations. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Fri., Sat. and Mon. Credit cards, checks. $$

NEW CITY GRILLE
2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 828-8484
New City Grille features entrees like grilled redfish with lump crabmeat, served with a lemon butter sauce and asparagus spears. Beef options include a spice-rubbed 14-oz. rib-eye steak accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes. Starters include oysters en brochette with a meuniere butter, crispy crawfish spring rolls and shrimp remoulade. The flourless chocolate cake with a Grand Marnier whipped cream is a rich dessert option. No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

THE NEW ORLEANS GRILL AT THE WINDSOR COURT
300 Gravier St., 523-6000; www.windsorcourthotel.com
Every meal is elegant at the New Orleans Grill, especially the eclectic fare available at dinner. Chef Michael Collins' menu is an international culinary tour with delectable stops such as the Chilean sea bass with coconut curry broth and coleslaw, or saffron and onion-crusted Colorado lamb chops with stone fruit chutney and potato puree. For a continental finish, try the cheese tasting. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

O'DONNELL'S RESTAURANT
131 SW Railroad Ave., Ponchatoula, (985) 386-4077; www.odonnells-resetaurant.com
Nestled among the antique galleries and the quaint facades of quiet Ponchatoula is the innovative cooking of the kitchen at O'Donnell's. Creative dishes include the crispy jumbo lump crabcakes served with a roasted corn salsa and chipotle lime butter. The pan-roasted Wisconsin duck breast rests atop a portobello mushroom risotto and is accompanied by marinated arugula and a blackberry cassis reduction. The menu ranges from Japanese tempura-fried soft-shell crabs to charbroiled oysters. Lunch features sandwiches and entrée salads as well. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

SAVVY GOURMET
4519 Magazine St., 895-2665; www.savvygourmet.com
Savvy is like a culinary community center with everything from lunch service to cooking classes to an emporium of culinary tools and supplies. The menu includes creative and thoughtful dishes using local ingredients like the fried oyster salad with celery hearts and creamy herb dressing. The seared salmon sandwich is topped with bacon, avocado, farmer's cheese and roasted tomatoes served on sourdough bread. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

STANLEY!
1031 Decatur St., 593-0006; www.restaurantstanley.com
This casual concept from chef Scott Boswell of the fine-dining restaurant Stella! puts a little excitement in comfort food and rethinks some popular dishes. Try the po-boy made with Korean-style barbecue beef. The eggs Benedict po-boy is another dish primped with some local flair. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

STELLA!
1032 Chartres St., 587-0091; www.restaurantstella.com
Kind strangers and diners can always depend on award-winning local chef Scott Boswell's culinary art. Although the dining choices change frequently, a recent menu offered dishes like the formidable foie gras, duck pate and truffle-scented "BLT" made with heirloom tomatoes, apple-smoked bacon, 100-year-old balsamic vinegar and lobster caviar butter. Plus there's a full range of exotic and tasty desserts. Reservations recommended. Dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $$$

ZÖE RESTAURANT
333 Poydras St., 207-5018
Located on the second floor of the sleek, stylish downtown W Hotel, Zöe Restaurant features innovative New Orleans cuisine set in an elegant European-style bistro. Though the menu changes frequently, the chef's style blends Old-World French techniques with local ingredients for dishes like Gulf coast Crustacean Shooters, which pair crabmeat, shrimp and oysters with flavored vodkas. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

 

BAR & GRILL

ALIBI BAR AND GRILL
811 Iberville St., 522-9187; www.alibineworleans.com
You won't need an alibi to slide into this bar and grill and graze on large portions of bar food favorites like nachos. The burger is a monstrous 10 ounces fixed your way, and there are plenty of po-boys and other snacks to be had. Don't miss out on Alibi's famous barbecue shrimp po-boy. Delivery available. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

THE AVENUE PUB
1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243
There's always a burger on the grill at the Avenue Pub. Stop in anytime for big half-pound burgers, po-boys, chicken wings or bar food. Munchies include jalapeno poppers, mini-tacos, fried mushrooms and meat pies. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

BALCONY BAR AND CAFÉ
3201 Magazine St., 894-8888
The row of beer taps extends almost as far as the eye can see at this Magazine Street tavern, but suds aren't the only attraction. Head upstairs for the large menu of gourmet pizzas and calzones, burgers and classic bar snacks. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BUFFA'S LOUNGE
1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038
Buffa's isn't just a corner bar across the street from the French Quarter -- it's home to savory half-pound burgers, and that's after the burger's been cooked. The Buffa burger is a blackened cheeseburger, and there is always a small but changing menu of sandwiches with items like a smoked sausage po-boy. Some of the hot plates include red beans, tamales or penne pasta dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

THE BULLDOG
3236 Magazine St., 891-1516; 5153 Canal Blvd. 488-4191; www.draftfreak.com
The packed coolers and rows of taps keep guests from forgetting that the Bulldog is all about the beer. But both locations offer appetizing menus of bar food and hot plates. Some of the favorites among students and sports fans include enchiladas, burgers, sandwiches and items like chipotle-marinated fish tacos, Tex-Mex spring rolls or lightly breaded chicken fingers. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

ERNST CAFÉ
600 S. Peters St., 525-8544; www.ernstcafé.net
Though its history stretches back more than a century, Ernst Café takes it all in stride in offering quick and easy lunch options to downtown workers. Burgers, chicken and fried seafood are regular options along with a gumbo du jour and changing specials like ribs. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

F&M PATIO BAR
4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784
The late-night bar scene at F&M's is legendary, with people converging from events and parties all over the city to keep the good times rolling. When they're hungry, the grill in the back patio fits the bill with cheese fries, quesadillas, burgers and other appropriately decadent fare. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FAT HARRY'S
4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582
Whether your eyes are glued to the TVs showing the game or wandering over the lively social scene in this Uptown barroom, your nose can't help but pick up the scent of spicy buffalo wings cooking in the kitchen. Head to the back and place your order for tavern favorites like burgers and cheese fries. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

HOOTERS
2781 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 889-0160; 4748 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 393-7177; www.hooters.louisiana.com
Best known for their wings, Hooter's restaurants are bright and lively places to graze on piles of fried chicken wings and other "Hootersizers" while gazing at sports. Televisions and Hooters' logos and gear abound at area Hooters. Dig into platters of nachos, quesadillas, Buffalo chicken strips or a combination platter. Or go for the chicken wings served with either mild, medium, Three Mile Island or 911 sauce. For main courses, there are burgers, a variety of sandwiches, salads and seafood. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

IGOR'S
2133 St. Charles Ave., 568-9786
Sit and spin takes on a new meaning at this modern-day legend of the New Orleans bar scene. There are suds on tap and spinning in the washing machines gurgling away in the mini-laundromat beyond the pool tables. While your delicates are soaking, ask the bartender to slap a fat burger on the grill and cook you an order of cheese fries or jalapeno poppers. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

LAGER'S INTERNATIONAL ALE HOUSE
3501 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-9923; www.draftfreak.com
The main attraction at Lager's is the selection of beers from around the world. But there also is a good spread of hearty pub grub, including waffle fries, meat pies, wings, crawfish spring rolls, plus gumbo and potato and bacon soup. There are salads and sandwiches, plus entrees including a 16-oz. rib-eye, pot roast, grilled tuna, baby back ribs and, of course, Guinness stew made with beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LEGENDS PATIO BAR & GRILLE
2708 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 887-3877
Legends has a limited menu of burgers and chicken sandwiches. The chicken tenders are prepared fresh and breaded in-house. French fries are the only side item. No reservations. Dinner and late-night Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

MANGO MANGO
201 Bourbon St.; 236 Bourbon St.; 333 Bourbon St.; 400 Bourbon St.; 524-0114
If you are looking to grab a quick bite while partying on Bourbon Street, Mango Mango offers pizza by the slice and hot soft pretzels to fortify or soak up a night of revelry. It's also a good place to grab a big daiquiri before strolling down the strip. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

RED EYE GRILL
852 S. Peters St., 593-9393; www.redeyegrill.net
The Red Eye offers a green light to hungry folks out for a night on the town with a menu of bar food classics and large burgers grilled before your eyes. Fried broccoli, meat pies and jalapeno poppers call out for the Red Eye's other major specialty -- cold beer. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

ST. CHARLES TAVERN
1433 St. Charles Ave., 523-9823
The late-night/early-morning standards of eggs and burgers are mainstays of the menu at this Uptown institution, but the menu also offers local favorites. One example is the catfish Lafayette smothered in crawfish etouffée. Instead of all-American pie, try a New Orleans slice of bread pudding dripping with spiced rum sauce. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

SIDELINES BAR & GRILL
1229 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-4002
Burgers and appetizers take centerfield at Sidelines. Some other memorable players joining the fray are the Creole pork sandwich served on ciabatta bread with Creole sour cream, red onion and pepper jack cheese or the California chicken sandwich with raspberry chipotle mayo and pepper jack cheese on a Kaiser roll. New daily specials include grilled chicken wraps and a chicken sandwich on sourdough jalapeno bread. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

SPEAKEASY SPORTS BAR & GRILL
4345 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-4069; www.speakeasysportsbar.com
Speakeasy's game plan is a straight-ahead rush of big 10-oz. burgers, sandwiches and bar food. Some of the bar munchies include French fries, jalapeno poppers, quesadillas, chicken wings, chicken tenders, egg rolls and meat pies. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

VIC'S KANGAROO CAFÉ
636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329
Reflecting the spirit of the owner's native Australia, this friendly pub serves a hearty menu of comfort food. Shepherd's pie with ground beef, vegetables and red wine gravy topped with garlic mashed potatoes and cheese could fill an Outback-sized appetite, while jambalaya and pizzas offer flavors from closer to home. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

 

BARBECUE

ABITA BAR-B-Q
69399 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, (985) 892-0205
Known for slow-cooked brisket and a menu brimming with a variety of barbecue ribs, chicken and pork, Abita Bar-B-Q is a local favorite offering family specials and made-to-order children's plates. Sandwiches are made with brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken breasts, while platter options also include slabs of ribs, turkey legs, half chickens and pork steaks. Side dishes include macaroni and cheese, cornbread, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob or baked beans. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

BYWATER BAR-B-QUE
3162 Dauphine St., 944-4445
Smoking in the Bywater for years now, Bywater Bar-B-Cue combines down home flavors with a colorful New Orleans atmosphere in its dining room and lush patio. Choose ribs, chicken, pulled pork or beef brisket, or a combo plate if you can't decide, and pick from sides like jalapeno corn bread. The restaurant also serves sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Tue. Cash only. $

CORKY'S RIBS & BAR-B-Q
4243 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-5000
This pulled pork palace features old-fashioned sandwiches topped with coleslaw, dry or wet ribs and a wide variety of entrees, salads, appetizers and sides. Even the most ferocious appetite will be sated by "The Killer," a slab of ribs and a choice of chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, sausage or fried catfish. This mammoth is also served with barbecue beans, coleslaw and a homemade roll. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

HILLBILLY BAR-B-Q
208 Tallulah Ave., River Ridge, 738-1508
The smoke signals emanating from this joint come from hickory harvested in Kentucky. The pit-master gets distinctive flavor from the wood and a dry seasoning rub used on ribs, pulled pork and brisket. The chicken salad is also a popular item. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

THE JOINT
801 Poland Ave., 949-3232; 4113 Magazine St., 899-4227; www.alwayssmokin.com
"Always smoking" is the motto of this homegrown barbecue operation and it's no joke. The "W" special has a little bit of everything including pulled pork, beef brisket and two ribs accompanied by a choice of side items. The Smoked Bowl starts with a bed of tangy slaw and tops it with pulled pork and pickles and adds a side of creamy macaroni and cheese. The rack of ribs comes out of the smoker savory and delicious with juicy, well-seasoned meat falling off the bone. Catering is available. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $

TEXAS BAR-B-QUE COMPANY
3320 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 456-2832
Specializing in ribs, brisket and pulled pork, Texas Bar-B-Que also cooks up steaks and burgers and plenty of other vittles. Try a smoked potato stuffed with chopped barbecue beef and topped with sauce, cheese and chives. A variety of barbecue meats is available on a bun or as a po-boy, and there's even fried catfish for a change of pace. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

UGLY DOG SALOON
401 Andrew Higgins Blvd., 569-8459
Barbecue aficionados will likely find works of beauty in the Ugly Dog's ribs, pulled pork and sliced brisket, all served in a casual bar atmosphere with pool tables and murals of swamp scenes on the walls. There are sandwiches, burgers and generous platters of barbecue meat that come with sides such as the chili beans with sour cream, onions and cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

VOODOO BBQ & GRILL
1501 St. Charles Ave., 522-4647; www.voodoobbqandgrill.com
A long, slow cooking time is part of the magic spell Voodoo casts over its brisket, pulled pork and ribs, while a blend of seasoning adds another layer of mojo. Side dishes like rattlesnake beans, corn pudding and macaroni and cheese make for complete meals. Voodoo also cooks up burgers and chicken sandwiches. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ZYDEQUE
808 Iberville St., 565-5520
Slow-cooked barbecue invites hungry patrons to take a break from the bustle of the upper Quarter for a hearty meal. Slabs of ribs are a specialty, while mixed plates offer combinations of cochon de lait (pulled pork), chicken, andouille sausage or beef brisket. Try the debris gumbo served with a dollop of potato salad or a green salad layered with barbecued meats. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

 

BELGIAN

CLEMENTINE'S BELGIAN BISTROT
2505 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-3995
Belgian dishes set Clementine's apart. Try the classic steamed muscles served with a white wine cream sauce and accompanied by crisp Belgian fries. Salads are light and tossed with restrained mixes of olive oil and vinegar. The Salad Legoise is both hot and cold, with warm potatoes and bacon topping cool greens. Among the crepes, a delicate version includes baby spinach with goat cheese and Parmesan. Try the apple crepe for dessert. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 

BREWPUB

ABITA BREW PUB
72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, (985) 892-5837; www.abita.com
The culinary outpost for the famous Abita brewery, Abita Brew Pub is a great stop after touring the famous distillery or for a quick bite while biking the nearby Tammany Trace. While offering pub-style favorites such as burgers and hot wings, the pub also offers fancier dishes such as crawfish pasta, fried quail, pecan-crusted catfish and barbecue ribs. Reservations for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

CRESCENT CITY BREWHOUSE
527 Decatur St., 522-0571; www.crescentcitybrewhouse.com
Crescent City Brewhouse makes its own fresh German-style beers on premises, but that isn't the only thing brewing here. The kitchen cooks up contemporary Louisiana cuisine like redfish St. Louis with crawfish tails in a spicy sauce of butter, black pepper and Worcestershire, and the popular crabcakes Decatur made with lump crabmeat topped with remoulade sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

GORDON BIERSCH
200 Poydras St., 522-2739; www.gordonbiersch.com
The beer garden of Gordon Biersch beckons with its outdoor perches for a mug of beer brewed on premises. Inside, the kitchen cooks up a menu with choices ranging from pizza and salad to sandwiches, pastas and meatloaf to local dishes like red beans and rice and gumbo. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 

BURGERS

BEACHCORNER BAR & GRILL
4905 Canal St., 488-7357
The Beachcorner is a busy bar that has a big selection of bar food to graze on, plus burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. The list includes French fries, fried mushrooms, wings, black bean quesadillas, cheese sticks, fried shrimp, stuffed peppers, sweet potato fries and more. The Beachburger is a 10-oz. charbroiled burger topped with mushrooms and either Swiss or blue cheese. The chicken breast sandwich is available Buffalo style or topped with Swiss, cheddar or blue cheese. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BROOKS SEAHORSE SALOON
1648 Gentilly Blvd., 218-4217
Located just across from the Fair Grounds, Brooks is a bustling bar and serves burgers and sandwiches from lunch through late-night. The grilled chicken sandwich features a marinated chicken breast served dressed and with a choice of fries or potato salad. Brooks also cooks slow-roasted barbecue pork, available on a sandwich or as a platter. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BUD'S BROILER
CitywideBud'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 fillet. 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. $

GROUND PAT'I GRILLE AND BAR
1305 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 466-8060
Ground Pati is famous for its namesake burger -- the Ground Pat'i -- made with ground chuck, grilled to order over an open flame and served open faced on a toasted bun with fries and all the fixings. Barbecue fans can chow down on the rib and chicken combo with slow-cooked ribs and mesquite-grilled chicken breast covered in sauce and served with salad, Texas toast, coleslaw, beans and a baked potato. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

GROUND PAT'I JR.
3613 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 838-8311; www.groundpati.com
It may be known as "junior" but this smaller version of the Ground Pat'i delivers flavors big enough for the most hearty appetite. Choose from the restaurant's "Hall of Flame" combos, like the junior cheeseburger with fries and a drink for less than $5. New hickory smoked barbecue items include ribs as well as brisket and pork sandwiches. For a lighter meal, get the grilled chicken sandwich, cooked juicy with mesquite flavor. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

KRYSTAL
116 Bourbon St., 523-4030
Krystal offers burgers, hot dogs, corn dogs and breakfast around the clock. Meal combos include burgers, cheeseburgers, bacon cheeseburgers and chili-cheese dogs and fries that can be topped with chili and cheese -- perfect complements to a night of liquid refreshment on Bourbon Street. No reservations. Open 24 hours. $

LEE'S HAMBURGERS
904 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 836-6804; 2100 Airline Drive, Kenner, 472-0966; 3516 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-4291; 4301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-0110
Chopped onions are what sets Lee's burgers apart. It's fast food but still homemade. The drive-through is convenient for days when you can't stand in line but must have your fix of The Works, a big cheeseburger dressed, with onion rings or fries on the side. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PORT OF CALL
838 Esplanade Ave., 523-0120; www.portofcallneworleans.com
It's the burgers, baby, and the baked potatoes; that's why there's a line out the door. Fortunately, there also is a bar and this is a go-cup town, so waiting is not a hardship, and the reliably huge and juicy steaks and burgers with loaded potatoes on the side are worth the wait. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

THE TIMES GRILL
1827 Front St., Slidell, (985) 639-3335; 1896 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-1161; www.timesgrill.com
The Times Grill is known for its burgers but also offers salads, sandwiches, wraps, some fried seafood in po-boys or baskets and some entrees with pasta. Off the grill, step into cheeseburger paradise with a burger topped with cheddar, Swiss and pepper jack cheeses. The Buffalo burger is brushed with a mild version of the wing sauce and topped with provolone cheese and arrives with a side of onion rings. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TUCKER'S TAVERN
869 Magazine St., 522-0440
Tucker's is the home of the deep-fried burger. The Big Al is a half-pound burger stuffed with pepper jack cheese and mushrooms. The Big Tuck pours it on with bacon, pepper jack and American cheese on the inside and cheddar and barbecue sauce on top. Tucker's also has introduced a late-night menu of cheese fries topped with everything from debris and gravy to bacon, lettuce and tomato. The full cheese fry menu is available after 10 p.m. Thursday to Sunday. The restaurant also serves po-boys, bar appetizers and entrees like eggplant parmigiana, chicken-fried steaks and fish dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $

 

CAFÉ

BAYOU COFFEE HOUSE & WINE BAR
326 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 484-7390; www.bayoucoffeehouse.com
Just off Bayou St. John, this cute coffeehouse offers a full range of coffee drinks, pastries and desserts like cheesecake, deep-dish apple pie and tiramisu. The morning menu includes breakfast burritos, bagels, eggs and a weekday breakfast special of two eggs, bacon, grits and toast for $4. For lunch, there are chicken Caesar salads, shrimp and chicken pasta, sandwiches, wraps, pizzas and daily specials like shrimp Creole or spaghetti and meatballs. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BECK-N-CALL CAFÉ
534 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 875-9390
Among the many breakfast and lunch choices at Beck-N-Call, you'll find traditional choices with a twist, such as the turkey club -- smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes and honey mustard on honey-wheat bread. Daily specials include crawfish etouffée and homemade lasagna. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

BLUEBIRD CAFÉ
3625 Prytania St., 895-7166
Come early for such staples as buckwheat pancakes, waffles and eggs. At lunch time, burgers, fish sandwiches and daily specials take center stage, while the perennially popular huevos rancheros combine corn tortillas, black beans and eggs with ranchero sauce, cheese and salsa. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Cash only. $

THE BROKEN EGG CAFÉ
200 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 624-3388
The huge variety of specialty omelets at the Broken Egg is enough to crack you up. But you can also start your day with the stuffed French toast: brioche bread stuffed with pastry cream, strawberries or blueberries and whipped cream. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

CAFÉ BANQUETTE
3445 Prytania St., 891-5773
Café Banquette offers a menu of salads, burgers, wraps and po-boys in a casual atmosphere with a large bar. Try the barbecue shrimp, fried oyster salad or catfish. Or order a classic burger off the grill. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ BEIGNET
311 Bourbon St., 525-2611; 334B Royal St., 524-5530; 819 Decatur St.; www.cafébeignet.com
Each of the Café Beignets has its own charm. The Royal Street location shares an adjoining shaded slate patio, perfect for enjoying a morning coffee with beignets, pastries or a light lunch. The Bourbon Street location in the courtyard of what was Jazz Legends Park features live jazz bands and a more extensive menu. Breakfast is offered all day and lunch features sandwiches, jambalaya and seafood platters. The Bourbon croissant sandwich is stuffed with turkey, bacon and cheddar with lettuce, tomato and pickles on the side. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ D'CAPPUCCINO
4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-2299
Stop in to Café D'Cappuccino for a hearty way to start the day. The Eddie Breakfast delivers eggs, hash browns, choice of meat (bacon or sausage) and your pick of toast or biscuit. Or grab a Big Wills wrap filled with egg and cheese, plus bacon or sausage. The menu for lunch and dinner offers an array of wraps, burgers and sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ ENVIE
1241 Decatur St., 524-3689; www.myspace.com/envienolaOn
the Marigny side of the Quarter, Café Envie is a quaint locals' hangout. A wi-fi equipped espresso bar and café, this neighborhood favorite serves gourmet coffee and tea, pastries, ready-made sandwiches and desserts in a quiet and friendly atmosphere. The eggs Envie is a mini-omelet filled with melted brie, topped with ham and served on a toasted croissant. The St. Ann panini is a grilled chicken breast served with roasted peppers, pesto, fresh basil and tomato on toasted ciabatta bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and brunch daily. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ FLEUR-DE-LIS
307 Chartres St., 529-9641
This cozy café provides a great start to a day in the French Quarter or a refreshing stop between visits to the many shops and galleries nearby. The breakfast and lunch menus offer an array of omelets and sandwiches with Louisiana flavor, like the Fleur de Lis omelet made with crawfish tails, pepper jack cheese, peppers, onions and crawfish sauce and the panini stuffed with muffuletta fillings. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ GUMBOLAYA
1000 N. Peters St., 523-7418; wwwcafégumbolaya.com
Perched on the corner between the French Market and the Mississippi River, Café Gumbolaya serves classic takes on New Orleans favorites. The Ultimate Taster plate has been educating newcomers with portions of shrimp gumbo, shrimp Creole, red beans and rice and jambalaya, while blackened catfish, barbecue shrimp and po-boys are solid bets. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ LATTE II
2324 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-6343
The coffee craving is known to surface any time of day and when it steers customers to Café Latte II, they can also appease their appetites for breakfast, sandwiches or salads. The shrimp Mediterranean salad features jumbo shrimp over cabbage and lettuce with carrots, artichoke hearts, asparagus, feta, tomatoes, beets and onions tossed with a Greek vinaigrette. Try the club sandwich for a traditional combo of cold cuts, bacon and vegetables. No reservations. Breakfast Tue.-Fri., lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ MASPERO
601 Decatur St., 523-6250
Known for its inexpensive sandwiches, Café Maspero provides a casual, convenient stop for a hearty meal in the heart of the French Quarter. In addition to New Orleans classics like fried catfish and muffulettas, the sandwich collection includes deli specialties like pastrami served on fat rolls. Side dishes like Cajun jambalaya and calamari appetizers round out the menu. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

CAFÉ MINH
4139 Canal St., 482-6266
Chef Minh Bui originally created Lemon Grass Café in Mid-City and has returned to the neighborhood with the recently opened Café Minh. Lemon Grass fans will recognize some of the more popular French-Vietnamese fusion dishes. Appetizers include a crabmeat and sweet corn soup, shrimp dumplings, coconut shrimp and summer rolls of shrimp, avocado, cucumber, cilantro and rice noodles wrapped in rice paper and served with a peanut-citrus dipping sauce. Five-spice lacquered duck is among the entrée choices along with blackened jumbo scallops, an oven-roasted Asian-marinated pork tenderloin and the chef's bouillabaisse. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ PONTALBA
546 St. Peter St., 522-1180
Sitting on a scenic corner of Jackson Square, Café Pontalba offers a menu tour of New Orleans favorites with dishes like etouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and po-boys. There is plenty of fried seafood like shrimp, oysters and catfish as well as alligator bites. After a meal, grab a drink from the bar for a stroll around the square. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ RANI
2917 Magazine St., 895-2500
Salads and sandwiches feature tastes from around the globe at Café Rani. There is everything from Thai flavors to Jamaican jerk chicken, sashimi-style tuna to southwestern-style burgers. New Orleans barbecue shrimp is a popular appetizer, and starters made to share include spinach and artichoke dip and a medley of hummus, black olive tapanade and feta cheese served with warm wheat pita. For entrees, bring things back to the ranch with the Cowboy Steak, a cumin and chipotle dry rubbed 10-oz. steak served with black bean and corn relish. No reservations. Lunch daily, dinner Tue.- Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ ROSE NICAUD
632 Frenchmen St., 949-3300
This warm café nestled in the Marigny serves a variety of international coffees and teas, breakfast sandwiches, bagels and lox, homemade flavored cream cheeses, breakfast plates, cinnamon rolls and fresh baked muffins including cranberry/orange and lemon/poppy seed versions. There are meat-laden and veggie-friendly quiches, lasagna, a daily soup and savory salads that can be topped with a choice of chicken or salmon. No reservations. Breakfast, and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ ROYALE
3343 Metairie Road, Metairie, 304-8438
Café Royale offers a familiar café setting with a huge display case that features pastries, cakes, bagels, donuts, scones and muffins to go with numerous coffee and tea options. The kitchen prepares a variety of salads, paninis and daily specials to accentuate the café fare. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ SATORA
3749 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 832-1444
Café Satora can speed up your morning commute or caffeinate your evening drive with specialty coffee drinks such as the always popular iced mocha. Or take your time and peruse the menu of sandwiches, salads and hot-pressed spinach and feta paninis. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFÉ VOLAGE
720 Dublin St., 861-4227
Tucked away in the Riverbend, this romantic restaurant features hearty continental fare with Mediterranean influences. Try classic dishes like escargot to start and house specials like osso buco and lamb shank entrees. The duck á la Tom Fitzmorris is baked in the oven and served with a brandy peppercorn cream sauce. Other options include red snapper and rib-eye steaks. For dessert, the créme brulee is popular. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

CAFFE! CAFFE!
3900 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 727-4222; 4301 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, 885-4845; www.caffecaffe.com
Head to Caffe! Caffe! and you'll find much more than coffee. Savory salad options include one with grilled chicken, avocado, gorgonzola cheese and walnuts topped with housemade mango vinaigrette. Sandwiches include the chicken Caesar salad in a pita. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Sat, early dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

CHARTRES HOUSE CAFÉ
601 Chartres St., 586-8383; www.chartreshousecafé.com
Guests can dine between the big front doors that are open to the street in nice weather. The long inside bar is generally busy during all seasons. The menu includes creative appetizers like duck quesadillas, Tabasco wings and a seafood sampler. Entrees tend to be more familiar Creole dishes like the Creole crawfish platter offering portions of fried crawfish tails, crawfish etouffée and crawfish cakes served with French fries and hush puppies. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

CHATEAU COFFEE HOUSE AND CAFÉ
3501 Chateau Blvd., Kenner, 465-9444; 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., East Bank Regional Library, Metairie, 888-0601
The coffee house serves freshly baked pastries, hot and iced coffee, as well as a wide range of lunch and dinner items including specialty wraps, burgers, quesadillas, salads and signature sandwiches. The East Bank Regional Library gives new meaning to reading a good book over a hot cup of Joe. The chateau makes literature and coffee an inseparable pair. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards and checks. $

COFFEA COFFEEHOUSE GALLERY
3218 Dauphine St., 342-2484
Coffea is home to a variety of inspired home-cooked dishes. The Brittany-style crepes are made with a buckwheat batter and available in both sweet and savory varieties. Panini sandwiches include a Cuban sandwich that's made with lime-marinated pork, and the apple panini is a toasted mix of spicy candied pecans, Swiss and Parmesan cheese, grated apples, apple butter and nutmeg. Biscuits and pastries are baked fresh, and sweet potato pancakes are available for breakfast. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Mon. Checks. $

COFFEE COTTAGE
3860 Citrus Blvd., Harahan, 818-0052
Start your day here with a range of coffee and breakfast items, or come back later in the day for local fare such as pan-fried catfish with a Creole pecan butter sauce, or crawfish pasta with a spicy pepper cream sauce. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

COFFEE RANI
234 Lee Lane, off Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 893-6158
An original, extensive food menu backs up the many java choices poured at Coffee Rani. The originality is evident in such dishes as the shrimp curry, which features grilled fruits of the sea on a bed of mixed greens with raisins, apples and tangy curry dressing. An Atkins menu is also available, as are "Rani Watchers" selections, which operate on a Weight Watchers-like points system. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

EAT NEW ORLEANS
900 Dumaine St., 522-7222; www.eatnola.com
The space long known as the Quarter Scene has been transformed into a stylish, bright corner café serving casual dishes. It's take on New Orleans classics like eggs Dauphine at brunch or barbecue shrimp at dinner combine classic dishes and fresh ideas. Remember to BYOB. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat., breakfast and brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

ELIZABETH'S
601 Gallier St., 944-9272; www.elizabeths-restaurant.com
This café along the river levee turns out a variety of New Orleans favorites and Southern classics. Try calas rice cakes or a breakfast po-boy in the morning or come later in the day for fried chicken livers, seared duck breast or seafood po-boys. Check out the newly renovated second floor bar for cocktails before or after the meal. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $

ESPRESSO EXPRESS
701 Poydras St., (One Shell Square) 524-5115
The name says it all: hot coffee fast! Or maybe it doesn't, because there's a lot here besides coffee. Breakfast includes but isn't limited to pastries -- there are also breakfast tacos, fresh baked muffins and cinnamon rolls. At lunch, the café becomes a sandwich shop with a variety of panini sandwiches like the Buffalo chicken, Philly panini and the club sandwich. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

FELLINI'S CAFÉ
900 N. Carrollton Ave., 488-2155
This spacious Mid-City haunt features pastas, sandwiches and pizzas with a heavy Mediterranean influence. The chicken portobello roll has a unique red pepper sauce. For an appetizer, try the spicy tomato dip. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FLORA GALLERY & COFFEE SHOP
2600 Royal St., 947-8358
This funky Marigny coffeeshop isn't a full-service restaurant, but it does offer pastries and a nice variety of coffees and teas as well as lunch and dinner items that range from Middle Eastern to Tex-Mex dishes. Take your pick between falafel and roast beef or chicken and bean burritos. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

FROSTY'S CAFFE
2800 Manhattan Blvd., Suite B, Harvey, 361-9099; 3400 Cleary Ave., Metairie, 888-9600
Frosty's signature bubble tea is a unique Vietnamese drink. There are sweet and familiar flavors like strawberry and mango or try the jasmine green tea with jellied lychee or the avocado shake. For more solid fare, the café has sandwiches and salads as well as Vietnamese dishes such as the spring rolls. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

GO-GO GOURMET MARKET & CAFÉ
838 Derbigny St., Gretna, 374-9620
The new addition here is the Bayou Burger, a combination of andouille sausage and ground beef topped with a Creole mustard sauce. It joins the Big Blue burger which has Maytag blue cheese crumbles, and salads with grilled tuna served over greens with a choice of housemade dressings like the sweet onion vinaigrette. On the seafood side, go with grilled yellow fin tuna on organic greens with wasabi vinaigrette. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Reservations accepted. Credit cards. $$

HOBNOBBER'S CAFÉ
5928 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie 734-8448; www.hobnobbercafé.com
The creamy corn and crawfish bisque is a winner at this neighborhood eatery. Another signature dish is the catfish fillet with crawfish sauce. And there is always red beans and rice on Mondays. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. No reservations. Credit cards and checks. $

HUGH'S WINE CELLAR
4250 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 626-0066; www.hughswinecellar.com
You can stop by Hugh's to sip and spin during on-site tasting parties, or you can sit for a spell and enjoy a menu that includes a number of soups, salads and sandwiches. The new menu features a big, messy sandwich of black Angus pulled beef with a horseradish-Dijon sauce served on either sourdough or wheat baguettes. Or select a bottle from the large wine selection and enjoy it with the pate and cheese plate. Reservations accepted. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

JAY'S BUBBLE TEA CAFÉ
7638 Maple St., 866-6022; www.myspace.com/jayscaféJay's
is a cozy café located in the university neighborhood. For breakfast there are bagels and pastries, and for lunch, there are a variety of appetizers, sandwiches and salads. Drop in for coffee, a specialty tea or a Vietnamese-style bubble tea made with fresh ingredients. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

LA BOUCHERIE COFFEE HOUSE & CAFÉ
339 Chartres St., 581-6868; www.laboucheriecoffeehouse.com
With a complete line of coffee drinks, espresso and fresh French pastries, it's a good place to start the day, but there's no need to leave after that. The menu includes salads and specialty sandwiches for the lunch crowd. The Conti club layers house-roasted turkey breast, smoked bacon, Swiss and cheddar cheese on wheat bread. The bowtie pasta and meatloaf is a popular lunch special, so get there early before it sells out. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

LA BOULANGERIE
4526 Magazine St., 269-3777; 625 St. Charles Ave., 569-1925
A New Orleans-born bakery with deep French roots, La Boulangerie bakes outstanding croissants, pastries and artisan breads. There's limited seating and a few sidewalk tables available at the Uptown location, while the Central Business District shop has more sandwich options, salads and a spacious dining area in which to enjoy them. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $

LA MADELEINE
601 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-8662; 3434 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, (985) 626-7004; 5171 Citrus Blvd., Suite 2000, Harahan, 818-2450; www.lamadeleine.com
Strong French roast coffee or a milder American blend start the day at this French accented café. La Madeleine offers a selection of breads and pastries, plus a caféteria-style service of salads, sandwiches and meats and vegetable combinations like the chicken and mushroom Friand. Some locations have a menu with pasta dishes, omelets and more. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

LAZY RIVER
600 Decatur St., Jackson Brewery, first floor, 588-2853; www.patobriens.com
Pat O'Brien's is behind this casual café specializing in Creole comfort food. There's everything from gumbo and po-boys to crawfish bread, catfish strips and boudin. Diners can also graze on fried pickles. Sandwiches include hot po-boys and a muffuletta on focaccia bread. There is outdoor seating along Toulouse Street leading up to the riverfront. No reservations. Lunch Wed.-Sun, early dinner Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

NAPOLEON HOUSE
500 Chartres St., 524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.com
This charming spot is an ideal place to sip a Pimm's cup, or enjoy house specialties such as a muffuletta which is packed with ham, salami, pastrami, Swiss and provolone cheeses and housemade olive salad. The bruschetta is topped with infused olive oil, garlic, mozzarella cheese, tomato slices and pesto sauce. There's also a number of po-boys, salads, appetizers, jambalaya and gumbo. No reservations. Lunch Fri.-Wed. Credit cards. $

PARADISE CAFÉ
3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-4141
In between all the options for soups, salads and sandwiches at Paradise Café, finishing touches stand out, like adding bacon or tomato to your grilled cheese. Entrees of smoked sausage or pork chops are served with white beans and rice. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Fri., lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

PAUL'S CAFÉ
100 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula, (985) 386-9581
Strawberries are the pride of Ponchatoula and at Paul's Café they are put to good use in the ever-popular strawberry daiquiris. Try one before digging into the breakfast and lunch menu of egg combos, po-boys or blue plate specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

PETUNIA'S PLACE
2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville, (985) 674-3436; www.petuniasplace.com
Petunia's Place is a family place. Order your meal at the counter and send the kids to the activity table to make an ornament for the year-round "festivity tree" while your food is being prepared. The kid's menu has dishes like spaghetti and chicken strips while older appetites indulge in treats like fried oysters wrapped in bacon. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

REFUEL COFFEE AND NOSH
8124 Hampson St., 872-0187
Refuel Coffee and Nosh goes well beyond pastries. Brunch includes a prime rib and egg sandwich served with a choice of hash browns or grits. There are also corned beef hash with eggs and huevos rancheros. Salads and sandwiches are available for lunch and include vegetarian options. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tue.-Fri., brunch Sat-Sun. Credit cards. $

ROYAL BLEND
204 Metairie Road, Metairie, 835-7779; 621 Royal St., 523-2716
Both locations offer plenty of ways to get your java fix plus an original food menu as well. Highlights include the baked potato salad and the chicken salad sandwich with bacon and avocado. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards and checks. $

SHIMMY SHACK
1855 Dock St., Metairie, 729-4199
Slide in to the Shimmy Shack for burgers, po-boys and fried appetizers. The Hot Shimmy is a mixture of hot sausage and ground beef in a distinctive half-pound burger, and the Buffalo chicken po-boy is pretty hot stuff itself. Oysters and brie are baked with apple-smoked bacon and served with warm pita bread. The classic spinach and artichoke dip awaits your dunking, and salads are on hand for lighter fare. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

STREETCAR BISTRO
201 Baronne St., 565-5455
Talk about getting your hunger on. It's quite a challenge even for a local to finish one of Streetcar Bistro's po-boys, which are overstuffed with meatballs, shrimp, oysters or bronzed chicken. Specialty plates include the crabcake and shrimp salad with wasabi soy and Polynesian shrimp curry. Reservations accepted. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

SURREY'S CAFÉ AND JUICE BAR
1418 Magazine St., 524-3828
Start a visit to Surrey's with either strong coffee or one of the fresh-squeezed fruit or vegetable juices. The menu offers many more vexing decisions, depending on your appetite. Choose from meat extravaganzas like the Montana plate which piles on bacon, ham and sausage or seafood dishes like smoked oysters or vegetarian fare made with scrambled tofu. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

TOUT DE SUITE
347 Verret St., 362-2264; www.toutdesuitecafé.com
With its wireless Internet connection, this coffee shop serves as a home office away from home for some of its patrons. Tout de Suite also serves food, including panini-style sandwiches of chicken or duck with peppercorn aioli, onions, peppers and provolone cheese. The California tuna melt is popular. Fresh salads combine greens with items like fruit, nuts and chicken or seared salmon. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TRICOU HOUSE
1113 Decatur St., 412-8813
Tricou House has moved away from the bustle of Bourbon Street and now serves its casual Creole fare on Decatur Street. It still has a courtyard filled with umbrella-covered tables for al fresco dining. The menu features seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffée, Creole jambalaya and a large selection of po-boys. Reservations accepted. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards and checks. $

URBAN CUP CAFÉ
4861 Magazine St., 895-5858; www.urbancupcafe.com
Tucked away on Magazine Street near Le Bon Temps Roule, Urban Cup is a 24-hour option for coffee or a bite. Some of the sandwich options include the chicken pesto panino, a grilled chicken breast topped with roasted peppers and provolone cheese, and the turkey club panino, layered with turkey breast, Swiss cheese and avocado. Both sandwiches are served hot on a choice of sourdough, panino or wheat bread. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards and checks. $

VITALITY JUICE, JAVA & SMOOTHIE
322 Dalwill Drive, Mandeville, (985) 727-3482; 1205 St. Charles Ave., 561-1148: 1915 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 737-1901; 2309 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-3488; www.vitalityjuice.com
Vitality gets you going with organic coffee, smoothies, juices, teas and dessert shakes all in a variety of flavors. Fruit smoothies come with blends of everything from strawberry to pomegranate to green tea. Menu items include the Palo Alto wrap with shallot cream cheese, avocado, free-range turkey, lettuce, tomato, sprouts and sunflower seeds. The fajita panini is a toasted sandwich with grilled chicken, grilled onions and peppers, cheddar cheese and guacamole with salsa on the side. There are also many healthy soups and salads. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards and checks. $

WEGO INN CAFÉ
450 Laroussini St., Westwego, 347-9187; www.westwegoswampadventures.com
Affiliated with a swamp tour company, this family-friendly West Bank café offers some culinary versions of the local fauna visitors may have just seen on a wildlife outing. Alligator sausage and fried frog legs start off the appetizer menu, while mainstays like blackened fish or shrimp come in generous portions. Mardi Gras pasta comes with shrimp and crawfish tails in a spicy sauce. The Swamp Spider is a soft-shell crab fried golden brown. No reservations. Lunch daily, dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $

 

CAJUN

THE BON TON CAFÉ
401 Magazine St., 524-3386
The Bon Ton Café has been bringing its Cajun cooking to New Orleans diners since 1954. The dishes come from original family recipes from the Pierce family -- and the kitchen offers great starters such as crab au gratin and the fried catfish and crawfish. For the main event, try the signature Redfish Bon Ton and finish off your meal with bread pudding with whisky sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

COCHON
930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2123; www.cochonrestaurant.com
Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski put their stamp on traditional Cajun cooking in this fun, rustic-looking Warehouse District restaurant. The in-house boucherie features a half-dozen pork preparations, including andouille sausage, fried boudin balls and hog's head cheese. Entrees include roasted fish "fisherman style" and beef brisket with horseradish potato salad. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

COOP'S PLACE
1109 Decatur St., 525-9053; www.coopsplace.com
From the street, Coop's looks much like the other Decatur Street bars around it, but step inside and look at what folks are digging into at their tables and the picture changes quite a bit. The tavern puts out great versions of rabbit and sausage jambalaya, pasta dishes featuring house-smoked tasso, duck quesadillas and blackened redfish, among other New Orleans and Cajun delights. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

K-PAUL'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN
416 Chartres St., 524-7394; www.kpauls.com
Chef Paul Prudhomme's protégé chef Paul Miller is keeping the flavors of South Louisiana fresh at the legendary French Quarter restaurant. He's giving redfish a break and blackening prime rib instead. Hot out of a cast-iron skillet, the robustly seasoned steak is served with a browned garlic butter. Another popular dish is the seafood-stuffed artichoke au gratin. The artichoke bottom stuffed with crabmeat, Louisiana shrimp and oysters and is then topped with pepper jack cheese. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

MULATE'S CAJUN RESTAURANT
201 Julia St., 522-1492; www.mulates.com
A taste of the Cajun countryside is paired with the sounds of the region at this musical Warehouse District destination. As Cajun bands perform for the dining room crowd, the kitchen cooks dishes like grilled catfish Mulate's topped with crawfish etouffée, chicken and sausage jambalaya, blackened fish, crabmeat au gratin and fried seafood platters. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

UPTOWN CAJUN
7708 Maple St., 304-7256; www.uptowncajun.com
Although a relative newcomer to the Maple Street dining scene, Uptown Cajun gives diners plenty of reasons to stand up and shout, "Aieeee!" The large bar keeps the good times rolling with drink specials through the week, but come early for seafood bisque with a spicy blend of crab, crawfish and shrimp. Popular dishes include jambalaya with roast pork, smoked sausage and ground pork or the smothered quail entree. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

 

CHINESE

CHINA DOLL
830 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 366-8822
Cantonese cuisine is the specialty at China Doll. The empress lo mein features a royal blend of chicken, shrimp, pork, beef and vegetables with thin noodles in a savory sauce. There are many lunch combinations available, complemented by shrimp fried rice and an egg roll or cho cho, a crispy fried wonton with pork and shrimp inside. House specialties include the Crab Rangoon, a fried wonton filled with crab, spices and cream cheese. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHINA ORCHID
704 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-1428
Some specialties at this Riverbend restaurant include the hot and spicy fish and the sizzling black pepper beef. The fish fillet is sautéed with broccoli, napa cabbage and mushrooms in a chili sauce and served over noodles. For the sizzling beef, slices of meat are sautéed with onion, red and green peppers and served with a brown sauce on a hot plate with steamed rice. Perennial favorites at China Orchid include pot stickers, egg drop soup, moo goo gai pan, crab Rangoon and General Tsao's Chicken. Some luncheon specials are accompanied by an egg roll and fried rice, and ­ for another buck ­ some soup. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CHRISTINA'S EMPRESS OF CHINA
429 Wall Blvd., Gretna, 392-3939; www.empressofchina.net
Specialties at Christina's include the orange beef with quick-fried slices of beef and orange peels stir-fried together in a sweet and peppery sauce. The seafood supreme features jumbo shrimp, scallops, fish and crabmeat stir-fried with vegetables in a garlic, wine and lemongrass sauce. Christina's covers all the Chinese cuisine classics, from regular lunch specials of sweet-and-sour chicken with sides of either fried or steamed rice, an egg roll and tea, or family-style suppers of mo shu pork with plum sauce. Reservations recommended for parties of four or more. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

CHUN LEE RESTAURANT
1100 Elmwood Park Road, Jefferson, 733-8562
An institution in its neighborhood, Chun Lee has satisfied diners for more then 25 years with American-style Chinese cooking. Can't decide on an appetizer? No need -- order the Chun Lee Special Platter. This dish includes balamaki, fried shrimp, rumaki shrimp, an egg roll, paper-wrapped chicken, ribs, fried wonton and barbecue pork. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DOUBLE DRAGON
8236 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 433-4333
Begin a meal with hot and sour soup, crisp egg rolls and steamed dumplings, then move on to seafood, a specialty at this Chinese restaurant. Salt and pepper soft-shell crabs are a specialty of the house. Also of note is the deep-fried whole red snapper served with Hunan sauce. On the fowl side, General Tsao's chicken is another customer favorite. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FIVE HAPPINESS
3605 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3935; www.fivehappiness.com
The restaurant is now back in its original digs. The always-busy Five Happiness restaurant offers dishes from various Chinese regional cuisines for dining in, take-out and delivery. The pecan shrimp with sesame seeds is a popular dish of honey-roasted pecans sprinkled over a bed of sautéed shrimp. The Triple Dragon special is another menu mainstay. All dishes can be adjusted for peppery heat. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FONG'S CHINESE RESTAURANT
2101 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-8216
Fong's Triple Treat is a combination of shrimp, roast pork, chicken and a stir-fried mix of Chinese and American vegetables. General Fong's chicken batter fries white-meat chicken and serves it with a spicy sauce. For hot and spicy options, there are several Hunan and Szechuan dishes. Cantonese-style family dinners are also available for as few as two people and include entrée choices plus rice or chow mein, a choice of soups, almond or fortune cookies and tea or coffee. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

JUNG'S GOLDEN DRAGON RESTAURANT
4417 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-6081
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in January, Jung's offers generous luncheon specials combining fried or steamed rice plus an egg roll or fried wonton for less than $7. Jung's serves breakfast with dishes like tofutti, dumplings and Chinese onion pancakes. Specialties from the regular menu include eight kinds of noodle soup, General Tsao's chicken cooked with a sweet and spicy sauce and served with steamed broccoli. The sautéed shrimp with Chinese vegetables is served with a brown sauce and garnished with honey pecans. Reservations accepted on weekends. Breakfast Sat.-Sun., lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PHILIP CHAN'S ASIAN-CAJUN BISTRO
8400 Oak St., 522-4964; www.asiancajunbistro.com
Philip Chan brings his inspired Chinese cooking Uptown to the Riverbend. A native of Hong Kong, Chan presents regional Chinese cooking, from the fancier presentations of Hong Kong to the spicier Szechuan dishes. Some favorites include the hot and spicy grouper, a hot Szechuan sauce and Louisiana spices served over the grouper on top of a crispy wonton, or Asian and Cajun seasoned wok-sauteed Louisiana shrimp. The menu includes salads, rice and noodle dishes, steak and seafood entrees and ice cream tempura for dessert. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$$

TEA GARDEN
1918 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-9455
Enter the Tea Garden if you're looking to feed just yourself or the entire family. All the Chinese classics can be found on the menu, from daily lunch specials such as moo goo gai pan and General Tsao's chicken. You pay $10.95 per person for family dinners such as Kong Bo Shrimp and sweet and sour pork. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

TREY YUEN CUISINE OF CHINA
600 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-4476; www.treyyuen.com
Trey Yuen has provided a touch of elegant Far East dining on the Northshore for years. Past the gardens and within the pagoda-style building, Trey Yuen's many regulars feast on multi-course "dynasty dinners" with appetizers, soups and entrees like smoked tea duck, shrimp Kew and curry shrimp. There is also a large á la carte menu. Lunch specials offer bargain combo platters. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri. and Sun., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

 

COFFEE & DESSERT

ANGELO BROCATO'S
214 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1465; www.angelobrocatoicecream.com
Angelo Brocato's celebrated it's 101st birthday by reopening in Mid-City. The ice cream, gelato and spumoni-maker is back in business, offering 24 homemade flavors, including the ever-popular lemon ice, as well as signature pastries, Italian cookies, cannolis and biscotti. On the warm side, the café offers espresso, cappuccino and café au lait. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BEN AND JERRY'S
3500 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-5656; www.benjerry.com
Part of the national franchise that originated in Burlington, Vt., this ice cream parlor serves the company's most celebrated flavors. Aficionados will appreciate Cherry Garcia, cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes, and the always popular Super Fudge Chocolate. Try the Coffee Heath Bar Crunch for a soothing dessert on a chilly day. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CC'S COFFEEHOUSE
Citywide; www.communitycoffee.com
If you're looking to settle into a coffeeshop to chat, study or just savor a cup of coffee and a pastry, CC's has everything you need, and many locations also have wireless Internet. A locally founded chain, Community Coffee serves its own hot, iced and specialty coffees. There are also bagels, muffins and other baked goods. No Reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ DU MONDE
Citywide; www.cafédumonde.com
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. Now locations throughout the New Orleans area offer the classic powdered beignets and coffee. No reservations. Cash only. $

CAFÉ LUNA
802 Nashville Ave., 269-2444
A cozy coffeehouse with a grand porch facing Magazine Street, Café Luna is an ideal spot for relaxing with a book, a cup of coffee or a few friends. Pastries and sandwiches are served from the small coffee bar inside, where you'll also find a variety of drinks and loose-leaf and herbal teas. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

COFFEE COVE
3431 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 780-9445
For hot or frozen coffee drinks, slip into the Coffee Cove. Frozen drinks include regular iced coffee as well as frothy cappuccinos. Add a pastry or cookie for an added sweet treat. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

COLD STONE CREAMERY
624 S. Carrollton Ave., 218-8900
Cold Stone makes the ice cream in-house everyday so the frozen treat is always fresh and delicious. Orders are blended with items of your choice such as candy, nuts and fruit. Watch the creation unfold in front of your eyes as the attendant mixes the ice cream on a large marble slab. Shakes and smoothies are also available and Cold Stone even makes ice cream cakes as well. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CREOLE CREAMERY
4924 Prytania St., 894-8680
Choosing chocolate is only the start of the decision-making process at the Uptown ice cream parlor, which has nostalgic décor but very modern tastes in the freezer cases. From the large selection of chocolate variations, the menu goes on to list such original and exotic flavors as sweet corn with black pepper or panna cotta. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

CROISSANT D'OR
617 Ursulines St., 524-4663
On a quiet and picturesque street in the lower Quarter, Croissant d'Or has long been a postcard-perfect example of the neighborhood bakery and coffee shop. Get a café au lait while you nibble on a croissant, quiche or dessert pastry. Patrons can make a lunch out of the daily soup and a croissant sandwich with cold cuts, cheese and béchamel sauce. Check out the small patio in the rear for an al fresco oasis. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

GAMBINO'S BAKERY
300 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 391-0600; 4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-7500; http://gambinos.info
Gambino's has a cake for any occasion, particularly king cakes at Mardi Gras. But year-round, Gambino's bakes pies, petit fours and doberge cakes. The café at Gambino's offers muffulettas, sandwiches, paninis, salads and slices of cake and other baked items. The Gretna location only offers baked goods. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

GELATO PAZZO CAFÉ
8112 Oak St., 304-6908: www.gelatopazzo.com
Italian flavors inform the menu at Gelato Pazzo, from the housemade gelatos to the panini sandwiches. While the café always offers new gelato flavors, some of the regulars include chocolate chip, vanilla, blood orange and "Fruits of the Forest," which blends blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The sandwiches include the Caprese with tomato, mozzarella and basil on toasted bread. The prosciutto, mozzarella and capicola ham is a popular sandwich. There are also salads and daily hot specials, like eggplant Parmesan. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

HAAGEN-DAZS
621 St. Peter St., 523-4001; Riverwalk Mall, 861-2500
Of course, Haagen-Dazs offers its own brand of ice cream in a full line of decadent flavors, but it also serves coffees coffee drinks: coffee, mocha and dulce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

HERSHEY'S ICE CREAM PARLOR
70456 Hwy. 21, Suite 400, Covington, (985) 809-7445
Seems like folks named "Hershey" have a way with sweets -- but the ice cream parlor founder has no relation to the candy bar maker. Nonetheless, the makers of this ice cream have 112 years of experience in churning out contemporary flavors such as Cappuccino Crunch and S'mores, and old-fashioned vanilla for the ice cream fans who like to keep things simple. Also now serving king cakes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

LAUREL STREET BAKERY
5433 Laurel St., 897-0576
Opening just prior to Hurricane Katrina, this Uptown bakery has been making a name for itself as the city gets back on its feet with such classic bakery fare as bagels, cinnamon rolls, quiche, scones and "quick breads" including zucchini and banana. Cakes are prepared for all occasions. Outdoor seating entices when the weather is nice and lunch includes sandwiches and focaccia pizza options. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $

MARIGNY PERKS
2401 Burgundy St., 948-7401
This neighborhood coffee shop is, of course, built around the coffee but Marigny Perks offers other perks to its customers. With free WiFi service at their disposal, neighborhood folks plug into the Internet and dig into pastries, sandwiches, salads, soup and gumbo. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

MAURICE FRENCH PASTRIES
4951 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 455-0830; www.mauricefrenchpastries.com
The coffee comes in either regular or decaf, but with the pastries and cakes, there's nothing plain about them. The choices are many, including profiteroles, a glazed pastry puff with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream. There are also fresh tarts and traditional English truffles, which feature layers of mixed fruit, fresh cream, custard and cake. Old favorites include red velvet cake, tiramisu and carrot cake. Now serving homemade king cakes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

MOJO COFFEE HOUSE
1500 Magazine St., 525-2244
Formerly a Rue de la Course location, the new Mojo still provides the classic corner coffeehouse atmosphere. Fresh coffee, baked goods and sidewalk tables make Mojo a great place to meet friends. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

MORNING CALL
3325 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-4068; www.morningcallcoffeestand.com
Morning Call is one of two legendary and rival coffee shops that started serving coffee and beignets in the French Market more than a century ago. Eventually Morning Call relocated, but the tried-and-true menu remains the same. Beignets come hot and airy, covered in powdered sugar. The steaming hot coffee comes black or café au lait. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily, 24-hours Thu. ­ Sat. Cash only. $

PJ'S COFFEE OF NEW ORLEANS
Citywide; www.pjscoffee.com
Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than a fresh pastry or one of the other baked goods at area PJ's. Some of the choices include blueberry muffins, cranberry muffins and croissants in the morning. Carrot cake, bourbon pecan pie and lemon squares are a good afternoon treat. Many locations offer wireless Internet connections. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

PLANC COFFEE AND TEA
1827 Hickory Ave., River Ridge, 738-2220; www.planc.com
Surf the Internet with Planc's WiFi service while enjoying a coffee or tea, or dash in for a cold caffeinated beverage on a drive through River Ridge. An assortment of baked goods, sandwiches and other snacks are also served. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PUCCINO'S
3128 Magazine St., 894-8988; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 835-3151; 5200 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 780-9970; www.lovepuccinos.com
Italian coffee and espresso are the focus at Puccino's. Menus vary by locations but there are sandwiches and breakfast items off the grill and some pastries as well. Free wireless Internet and bright lights make it a great study spot. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

RUE DE LA COURSE
401 Carondelet St., 586-0401; 1140 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-4343; 3121 Magazine St., 899-0242
These comfortable coffee shops offer a full range of house-roasted coffee and espresso drinks, layered lattes and specialty teas. There also is a selection of pastries, croissants, cakes, biscotti and cookies. Sandwich options include a choice of bread, including the dark black forest and seven-grain bread, meats like roast beef, turkey or chicken salad and a range of toppings like peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts and a choice of cheeses. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $

ST. JOHN'S COFFEEHOUSE
535 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 893-5553; www.stjohnscoffeehouse.com
This corner coffeehouse in downtown Covington keeps the town well stimulated with a wide assortment of caffeinated drinks, more mellow beverages and plenty of art on the walls. Gourmet sandwiches, ice cream, shakes and baked goods take care of hungry appetites. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

SMOOTHIE KING
Citywide; www.smoothieking.com
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. Smoothie Kings also offer a small menu of healthy snacks and hot coffee. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

SOPHIE'S GELATO
1912 Magazine St., 561-0291; www.sophiesgelato.com
Sophie's has the retro look of the all-American ice cream parlor and a selection of deliciously rich gelatos. In addition to cups and cones, Sophie's flavors can be dished up as sundaes, floats or the ever-popular banana split with a variety of toppings. Sophie's also serves pastries, hot dogs, soups and sandwiches for lunch or a light dinner. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

STILL PERKIN'
2727 Prytania St., 899-0335
Still Perkin' offers a reviving stop after a stroll through the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 just around the corner. Regulars may drop in during their morning routine for coffee and tea, indulge in sweet, chilled coffee drinks on warm afternoons and take a break with a sandwich or salad at lunch time. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $

VIANNE'S TEA SALON & CAFÉ
544 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5683; www.viannes.com
The food, tea and atmosphere provide plenty to talk about at this charming Old Mandeville spot where guests meet for tea service. Multi-course processions offer scones, fruit, tea sandwiches, savories and desserts along with a selection from more than 100 teas. A lunch menu of soups, salads and sandwiches is also served. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., brunch Sat. and Sun. Credit cards. $

Z'OTZ COFFEEHOUSE
435 Esplanade Ave., 944-2897; 8210 Oak St., 861-2224
Like many coffeehouses, Z'otz displays art on its walls, but it doesn't stop there. The walls at the Oak Street Z'otz caffeine haven are art molded with textured materials in the front room where a bank of computers stand ready for customers' use. A series of back rooms and a secluded patio offer different settings for study, work and relaxing with compatriots. Behind the counter, baristas brew strong coffee, teas, iced mochas and offer snacks including bagels, a variety of breads and delicious extra large cookies. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

 

CREOLE

THE ALPINE
620 Chartres St., 523-3005
Tucked away just off Jackson Square, the Alpine is a French Quarter spot for a mix of Creole and Cajun dishes. The kitchen prepares a traditional version of New Orleans barbecue shrimp , cooking the shell-on shrimp in a buttery lemon-pepper sauce and serving the dish with French bread. The aged, center-cut 8-oz. filet mignon is served with minced garlic in an herbed natural reduction finished with a touch of butter. Steamed garlic potatoes accompany the steak. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch and late-night Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

ANTOINE'S RESTAURANT
713 St. Louis St., 581-4422; www.antoines.com
The Creole institution Antoine's is ready for its busiest season as Carnival gets into full swing. Whether you dine in one of the many dedicated krewe rooms or the elegant front dining room, the menu of traditional dishes remains the same. The restaurant's signature Oysters Rockefeller appetizer, invented in 1889, is still popular. Or try the trout Pontchartrain, in which a fillet of trout is grilled and served with lump crabmeat sautéed in butter. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Mon. and Thu.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ARNAUD'S
813 Bienville St., 523-5433; www.arnauds.com
It's one of the first restaurants that comes to mind when Creole fine dining is mentioned. The 80-year-old tradition continues with signature items such as the spicy shrimp remoulade, frog legs and alligator sausage. The trout meuniere is served the traditional Creole way, using veal stock in the sauce and pouring it over fried trout. Top it all off with Strawberries Arnaud, strawberries marinated in a port wine sauce served over French vanilla ice cream and topped with homemade whipped cream. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

BEALER'S RESTAURANT
348 Robert Blvd., Slidell, (985) 649-1805
A family affair run by Floyd Bealer Jr. and Floyd Bealer Sr., the restaurant formerly known as Doug's still turns out the French-Creole dishes that have been drawing regulars for years. Popular choices include corn and crabmeat bisque, crabmeat au gratin, steaks and specialties like fried oysters with sautéed artichokes, mushrooms and lemon-pepper sauce. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

BRENNAN'S RESTAURANT
417 Royal St., 525-9711; brennansneworleans.com
The famous breakfast served at this New Orleans culinary landmark lives up to its reputation, usually starting with an eye-opener cocktail and moving on to traditional poached egg dishes. In the evening, the lush courtyard of the historic building turns on the romantic charm as tuxedoed waiters serve dishes like veal topped with crabmeat and hollandaise sauce and the magnificent bananas Foster dessert. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, brunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BRIGTSEN'S RESTAURANT
723 Dante St., 861-7610; www.brigtsens.com
Located in a converted Riverbend home with dining rooms separated by pre-existing walls, Brigtsen's is tailored for the romantic dining experience or that special family occasion. Dishes like the roast duck with corn bread dressing and honey pecan gravy anchors a menu that changes daily. Try one of Chef Frank Brigtsen's unique specials for a new way of imaging traditional New Orleans dishes. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BROUSSARD'S
819 Conti St., 581-3866; www.broussards.com
Long a French Quarter favorite, the multiple rooms of Broussard's have served as temples to the good life. The large pretty courtyard is set for al fresco dining in suitable weather. Whether dining indoors or out, meals feature local seafood like crabmeat Broussard's baked in with artichoke, brie and béchamel and surrounded by Herbsaint spinach. The veal chop and the wild game grill are popular meat selections. Winter also makes the hearty Hunter's Game Grill a good option. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CAFÉ ADELAIDE & THE SWIZZLE STICK BAR
300 Poydras St., (Loews Hotel) 595-3305; www.caféadelaide.com
This latest venture from the Brennan family of Commander's Palace fame features its distinctive approach to Creole dining with dishes like the "Old Fashioned" duck breast pairing fried oysters, duck cracklin' dirty rice and muscovy duck confit. Meanwhile, the restaurant's Swizzle Stick Bar has been building its own reputation for cocktails crafted with care and imagination. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

CALAS BISTRO AND WINE CELLAR
910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 471-2200; www.calasbistro.com
Executive chef Jeffrey Wagner, a longtime student of Frank Brigtsen, has a masterful take on such classic Creole dishes as fish meuniere, pan-fried and topped with shrimp and roasted pecans, or variations on the theme like duck breast with pepper jelly sauce and cornbread dressing. The restaurant's namesake, sweet deep-fried rice cakes, are a longtime Creole food tradition. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

CLANCY'S
6011 Annunciation St., 895-1111
From a collection of dining rooms tucked away in a quiet Uptown neighborhood, Clancy's has emerged as a bastion of modern Creole cooking. Starters like fried oysters with brie and Bibb lettuce salads are mainstays, as are desserts like the ice box pie. The entrees change frequently but stay focused on local seafood and high quality steak and chops. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

COMMANDER'S PALACE
1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com
Chef Tory McPhail has Commander's Palace back in top form, offering dishes like wild shrimp "Haute Creole," in which salt-rubbed shrimp are poached in lemon butter and served over andouille-scented long grain rice with a sweet corn macque choux. The molasses and black pepper cured pork belly is cured for 16 hours and served with shiitake mushrooms, roasted shallots, soft herbs and goat cheese over stone-ground grits with a brandy black truffle jus. For dessert there's the popular bread pudding soufflé. Reservations required. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

COPELAND'S RESTAURANT
680 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 809-9659; 1337 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 643-0001; 1700 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey, 364-1575; www.alcopelands.com
Copeland's sticks to creator Al Copeland's takes on many of the most common and popular Cajun and Creole dishes. There are traditional dishes like shrimp Creole as well as seafood combinations like creamy shrimp over golden fried catfish. Pasta dishes include shrimp and tasso over bow-tie pasta and pasta jambalaya. Crawfish popcorn salad also is a popular choice. Lunch features many value-priced specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

COURT OF TWO SISTERS
613 Royal St., 522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com
The Court of Two Sisters offers a daily jazz brunch buffet with omelets made to order, boiled seafood, pastas and salads, and hot entrees including the local favorite, veal grillades and grits. Ask for the seafood omelet for a mix of crawfish, crabmeat, shrimp, onions, red and green peppers and garlic with a cream sauce on top. The á la carte dinner menu features seared duck breast á l'orange, served with confit dirty rice and sweet potato puree with candied pecans. Traditional dishes include turtle soup, baked oysters and many others. Reservations recommended. Lunch and brunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

EMERIL'S DELMONICO
1300 St. Charles Ave., 525-4937; www.emerils.com
In business for more than 100 years before chef Emeril Lagasse took it over, Delmonico still exudes the air of old-line tradition despite many contemporary updates. Start a dinner here with a classic Caesar salad prepared tableside before pondering the list of prime steaks, a 14-oz. veal chop or seafood entrees like lobster Bolognese. Desserts like crepes Suzette are also prepared tableside. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

FEELING'S CAFÉ
2600 Chartres St., 945-2222
Feelings provides emotional rescue from a hectic day in the form of good food in a warm environment. Dinner features Gulf fish Nicholas with shrimp dressing over a piece of redfish, or the always-recommended blue cheese steak. Brunch offers eggs Benedict or Florentine, steak and eggs, and peanut butter pie is their signature dessert. Reservations accepted. Dinner Thu.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

GALATOIRE'S RESTAURANT
209 Bourbon St., 525-2021; www.galatoires.com
Jackets are still required at dinner and all day Sunday at this century-old Creole landmark. The menu features its signature shrimp remoulade and crabmeat maison. Classic Creole specialties include trout almandine, oysters Rockefeller and fried soft-shell crabs in season. Chef Brian Landry crafts desserts like a sweet potato cheesecake. Reservations accepted for the upstairs dining room. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

GUMBO SHOP
640 St. Peter St., 525-1486
There's a lot more than gumbo to draw diners to the Gumbo Shop. A seat in the courtyard with one of the fresh signature blender cocktails in hand is a great downtown New Orleans pleasure. In cold weather, a bowl of hot chicken and andouille gumbo or gumbo z'herbes in the dining room overlooking busy St. Peter Street is a cozy treat. Reservations for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LE CITRON BISTRO
1539 Religious St., 566-9051
Housed in a building noted as one of the oldest in the Uptown section of the city, the walls of this stylish restaurant are hung with a gallery's worth of contemporary art. From the kitchen comes a combination of down-home and upscale cuisine, from pork chops served with mashed potatoes and brown gravy to jumbo lump crabcakes or pan-seared fish with lemon-butter sauce. Reservations accepted. Dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MANDINA'S OF NEW ORLEANS
4240 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 674-9883
While Mandina's in Mid-City is expected to reopen in mid-February, Mandina's on the Northshore is busy serving its signature dishes. There's seafood gumbo and turtle soup served with sherry on the side. Popular seafood dishes include trout meuniere and trout almandine, both served with French fries. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MELANGE
921 Canal St., Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 524-1331; www.ritzcarlton.com
The newly opened Melange at the Ritz-Carlton takes cuisine-blending in a new direction. The menu features classic Creole dishes from many of the city's dining institutions. From Melange's chefs comes the trio of crab, with jumbo lump crab imperial, a crabcake and a Napoleon with micro greens. Entrees include a version of Arnaud's shrimp Creole, which features Gulf shrimp simmered in a spicy tomato sauce with vegetables and served with rice pilaf. The menu ranges from Jacques Imo's alligator and sausage cheesecake to Mosca's chicken á la grande to Melange's blackened redfish. A zydeco brunch is offered in FQB. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$$

OLD COFFEE POT RESTAURANT
714 St. Peter St., 524-3500
From calas for breakfast to crawfish pie for dinner and back to the calas for dessert, the Old Coffee Pot is a Creole affair. The traditional rice cakes are sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with syrup. Breakfast also features eggs Jonathan, a variation on eggs Benedict that adds tomato and Gulf shrimp, all served with grits or home fries and toast or a biscuit. Lunch and dinner both offer plenty of fried seafood, filling po-boys and topping salads. There are also familiar dishes like seafood or chicken and andouille gumbo, crawfish etouffée, shrimp Creole, bread pudding and bourbon pecan pie. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

OLIVIER'S CREOLE RESTAURANT
204 Decatur St., 525-7734; www.olivierscreole.com
The Creole rabbit with oyster dressing is a perennial favorite at Olivier's. Starters include a gumbo sampler (three kinds) and new potatoes with caviar. Entrees include classic shrimp Creole, crawfish etouffée and Creole rabbit. For dessert, try either the homemade bread pudding or fruit cobbler. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Tue. Credit cards. $$

PAMPY'S CREOLE KITCHEN
2005 N. Broad Ave., 949-7970
Chef Sellers Johnson has been at Pampy's since it opened and for a few years had the opportunity to work with the beloved and revered master of Creole cooking Chef Austin Leslie, who died shortly after escaping Hurricane Katrina. Some of Leslie's dishes are back as Pampy's has reopened. His fried chicken with a seafood-stuffed bell pepper is still on the menu. Other Creole inspirations include the deep fried Cornish hen and New Orleans barbecue shrimp, served with the heads and tails on with Pampy's barbecue sauce. Reservations for large parties. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RESTAURANT ANATOLE
600 St. Charles Ave., 274-0105
Chef Raymond Toups opened this elegant new restaurant in the Lafayette Hotel, serving a menu of Louisiana seafood and chop-house classics. The aged rib-eye, the filet mignon flamed with cognac, the roast loin of lamb or center-cut pork chop cover the turf side of the menu while seafood options include Gulf shrimp, Maine diver scallops and Atlantic salmon. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RIB ROOM
621 St. Louis St., 529-7045
With its white linens and expansive setting, the Rib Room delivers elegant dining in a luxe Creole steakhouse style. Bayou turtle soup, seafood gumbo, shrimp remoulade and pan-seared redfish meuniere give the menu its distinctive New Orleans flavor. Slow roasted meats, including prime rib and rotisserie chicken, are house specialties. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ROUX BISTRO
500 Canal St., (Sheraton New Orleans Hotel) 595-5506; www.sheratonneworleans.com
Relax in the gallery and enjoy the view along with house favorites, like the crawfish beignets in remoulade sauce, or its fancy variation on classic red beans and rice: red bean cassoulet with duck confit and duck sausage. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TUJAGUE'S RESTAURANT
823 Decatur St., 525-8676; www.tujagues.com
Having just passed the 150-year mark, Tujague's provides a Creole dining experience and a history lesson all in one visit. The restaurant's famous five-course table d'hote dinner service starts with shrimp remoulade then moves on to soup before introducing the house specialty, brisket of beef served with the signature horseradish sauce. There is a choice of entree from among a steak, fish and shellfish option. Dessert and coffee follow. Reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

VIC AND NAT'LY'S
519 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 898-0667
In the comic strip that bears their names, Vic and Nat'ly run a Ninth Ward bar and dispense cultural wisdom. This new spot in downtown Covington, opened by comic strip creator Bunny Matthews himself, dispenses po-boys that would do its namesakes proud, with fried "swimps" and "erstas" among the most popular options. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

DELI

ACQUISTAPACE'S SUPERMARKET
125 E. 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 893-7554; www.acquistapace.com
Stop by Acquistapace's any time for deli sandwiches such as the hot roast beef, or pick your favorite daily special from choices including Friday's seafood, Monday's red beans and rice with sausage and cornbread and Tuesday's meatloaf with sides. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

BEAUREGARD DELI
2000 Esplanade Ave., 304-8594
Breakfast at Beauregard starts with sandwiches like the Sammy with fried eggs, a choice of meats, tomatoes and cheese, or the Mexican scramble with tomato, onion, jalapeno peppers and jack cheese. The deli roasts its own pork for the garlic pressed Cuban sandwich, also topped with ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. The menu includes hot roast beef sandwiches, burgers, a shrimp salad and a chicken melt with bacon, tomato, sweet onion, lettuce and mayo. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

CELLARS OF RIVER RIDGE
1801 Dickory Ave., Harahan, 737-8455; www.theherbanspicecompany.com
See Herb'an Spice Company listing below.

GATTUSO'S DELI
435 Huey P. Long Drive, Gretna, 368-1114; www.gattusosdeli.com
Gattuso's just reworked its menu, but has kept popular items like the muffuletta with homemade olive salad. Burgers come with additions like blue cheese or portobello mushrooms. Plus there are wraps, sandwiches, appetizers like calamari and fried pickles and a kid's menu. Entrees include dishes like baby back ribs served with a watermelon barbecue sauce, spaghetti and meatballs and fried seafood. Side dishes include loaded baked potatoes and sweet potato fries. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

GUILLORY'S GROCERY
3708 Derbigny St., Metairie, 833-1390
In addition to serving its customers as a meat market, Guillory's Grocery's kitchen -- home of the "krispy crunchy chicken" -- also prepares a long list of po-boys, burgers and salads, plus tamales and rotating daily specials such as fried pork chops and red beans and rice with smoked sausage. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

THE HERB'AN SPICE COMPANY
1801 Dickory Ave.,Harahan, 734-8455; www.theherbanspicecompany.com
Herb'an Spice is known for daily lunch specials that offer an upscale twist on the humble sandwich, like its shrimp remoulade po-boy or the Dirty D, a chipotle-braised pork loin sandwich dressed with shaved fennel slaw. An adjoining wine store offers plenty of accompanying wines if you are getting gourmet to go. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

KOSHER CAJUN NEW YORK DELI & CATERING
3519 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-2010; www.koshercajun.com
Kosher Cajun is your connection for New York-style corned beef, hot pastrami and chopped liver delicatessen sandwiches. Or match up a matzoh ball soup with a Reuben or a Rachel, which serves turkey on toasted rye with sauerkraut and Russian dressing. The J&N special combines hot corned beef and pastrami on rye bread with deli mustard, horseradish and coleslaw and is served with a barrel pickle on the side. Deli side dishes include coleslaw, potato latkes, barrel pickles and knishes of potato, sweet potato and broccoli. Entrees include grilled chicken breasts, lamb chops and steaks. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., early dinner Mon.-Thu. Credit Cards. $$

MARTIN WINE CELLAR
714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300; www.martinwine.com
The deli counter at Martin's offers specialty sandwiches like the Californian with turkey, avocado, havarti cheese, sprouts, cucumbers, tomato, mayo and Creole mustard on wheat or pita. The deli deluxe sandwich of corned beef and pastrami with Swiss cheese is topped with Russian dressing and Creole mustard and served on an onion roll. There also are vegetable sandwiches, salads, kosher pickles and a small children's menu. Sunday features a limited menu with some brunch items. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

MCALISTER'S DELI
4 Canal Street (Harrah's Casino), 598-1930; 1000 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite A13, Kenner 466-1500; 2701 Airline Hwy., Suite T, Metairie, 830-4030; www.mcalistersdeli.com
Although this popular chain has many original sandwiches and wraps on its menu, it's also well known for loaded baked potatoes. Signature sandwiches include the Patriot (turkey and Swiss on wheatberry bread with orange/cranberry sauce), the classic Reuben, and the Big Nasty (open-faced roast beef with gravy and melted cheddar and Swiss cheeses). The Spud Max is stuffed with ham, bacon, turkey, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, green peppers and black olives. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MR. ROO'S DELI & CATERING
3501 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-4010
Hop on over to Mr. Roo's for shrimp remoulade salad served over lettuce with shredded cheddar cheese. The seafood platter includes shrimp, catfish and oysters on top of angel hair pasta in a garlic butter sauce, served with a salad and bread. Fish options include grilled tuna, tilapia or mahi mahi also over angel hair with a garlic butter sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

RAGUSA'S SICILIAN DELI
3363 Severn Ave., Metairie, 454-2723
Both a bar and a deli, Ragusa's is known for its artichoke soup and artichoke bread. Po-boys include fried shrimp, oyster and catfish as well as signature sandwiches like the Godfather, a ham, roast beef and provolone cheese combination. There are changing daily specials like lasagna, red beans and catfish plates. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

VERTI MARTE
1201 Royal St., 525-4767
The deli counter at Verti Marte is a good stop on the way home for some jambalaya, a shrimp po-boy or a stuffed baked potato the size of a football. Some of the daily entrée specials include chicken Creole, Cajun red beans with a pork chop or smoked sausage, barbecue of brisket or ribs, lasagna and other dishes. Sides include salads, macaroni and cheese and more. Verti Marte also has a selection of wines and a freezer full of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Limited delivery. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $

WELTY'S DELI
336 Camp St., 592-0223
Welty's brings on the deli basics for early risers with coffee, tea, bagels and pastries, along with croissants, grits and hearty breakfast platters, which include eggs, a choice of meat, grits, toast or biscuit. For lunch, there's a range of salads, including the popular Asian chicken salad, and sandwiches with deli meats like pastrami topped with a horseradish sauce. Plus, there are daily plate lunch specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

 

DINER

BETSY'S PANCAKE HOUSE
2542 Canal St., 822-0213President Bush stopped at Betsy's on a recent visit for a change of pace, but for regulars part of the charm here is that precious little does change. Even after the place was rebuilt post-Katrina, they still find their favorite table or stool at the counter and order breakfast plates of pancakes, eggs, grits and bacon. Sandwiches and lunch plates take center stage later in the day. Breakfast and lunch Sun.-Fri. Credit cards. $

CLOVER GRILL
900 Bourbon St., 598-1010; www.clovergrill.comWhile the tables near the windows afford a view of the always lively doings of Bourbon Street, the best seats in the house at this classic diner are often found at the counter. From there, you can watch the cooks grill one burger after another with the help of a hubcap that locks in moistness. They also break eggs for big fluffy omelets that fill the entire plate when ready. No reservations. Open 24 hours on Thu.-Sun., breakfast, lunch and late-night Mon.-Wed. Credit cards. $

DOT'S DINER
CitywideThere 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. $

JUKEBOX CAJUN DINER
2560 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-1112
Open around the clock, the Jukebox is a dependable spot for breakfast anytime. Try big made-to-order omelets and pancakes or waffles with strawberries and whipped cream. On bread, you'll find patty melts, BLTs and club sandwiches. Mondays brings red beans and on Wednesday it's white beans with pork chops. Shakes and malts are always available for dessert or just by themselves. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROOSTER'S GRILL & BAR
133 N. Carrollton Ave.,483-1571
No matter what time of day it is, you can get a cold beer and a good meal at Rooster's including breakfast all day. Besides the steady bar fare of burgers, sandwiches and fried appetizers, it goes a step beyond with barbecue shrimp, daily specials and seafood platters. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROSEY'S DINER
444 Common St., 598-4839
Rosey's picked up where Huey's left off, preparing breakfast items, including the popular Belgian-style waffles. Try the burgers and red beans for lunch and dinner. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SLIM GOODIES DINER
3322 Magazine St., 891-3447; www.slimgoodies.com
The classic diner menu gets an update and side order of sass at this Uptown egg specialist with attitude. The "Jewish Coonass" special, for instance, combines potato latkes, fresh spinach, eggs and crawfish etouffée while the "Stalt" is a vegetarian's dream of smoked tempeh, avocado spread, lettuce and tomato on a choice of bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $

STEVE'S DINER
828 Gravier St., 522-8198
This old-school diner serves plate lunches and classic American breakfasts, which include eggs, grits, hash browns and biscuits. The fried catfish pecan is served with pecan brown butter sauce and comes with your choice of two home-style side dishes. The bacon and cheddar burger is a hefty half-pound of Angus grilled to order with a mountainous pile of grated cheddar. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

 

FONDUE

THE MELTING POT
1820 St. Charles Ave., 525-3225; www.meltingpot.com
Guests get involved in their meals at the Melting Pot, dipping into traditional fondues of cheese with bread, vegetables and seafood and dipping fruit into chocolate for dessert. The cheese fondue is a rich blend of Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses enhanced with white wine, minced garlic, lemon juice, herbs and brandy, served with three kinds of bread, apples and vegetables. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

FRENCH

ALBERTA
5015 Magazine St., 891-301
5Soft lighting and rose petal-colored walls set the tone for this intimate, romantic restaurant. Chef Melody Pate creates new menus frequently but dishes like seared yellowfin tuna with chive oil vinaigrette, roasted chicken with braised greens and chorizo vinaigrette, escargot and lobster mashed potatoes speak to a cooking style blending tradition and innovation. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CAFÉ DEGAS
3127 Esplanade Ave., 945-5635; www.cafédegas.com
This French bistro offers the ambience of al fresco dining without the risk of rain-outs on its cozy, covered patio. Cheese boards, charcuterie plates and wine start casual meals at this personable restaurant, followed by dishes like Brussels sprouts salad served with stilton cheese, apple-smoked bacon and Spanish sherry vinaigrette. The menu is full of sharply executed French classics like the duck and cannelloni (white bean) cassoulet, which serves duck confit with saucissons and lardons garnished with truffled parsnips. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CHATEAU DU LAC WINE BISTRO
3901 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-0054; www.chateaudulacbistro.com
Proudly French-French (not French-Creole) and luxuriously so, Chateau du Lac's menu is full of continental classics like escargot swimming in garlic butter, seared foie gras with port, coq au vin and sautéed calf's liver with Roquefort sauce. Lighter fare includes a green salad with shallots and green onions and the poisson du jour. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CREPES A LA CART
1039 Broadway St., 866-2362
If you don't like any of the dozens of varieties of sweet or savory crepes on the menu, then design your own at this casual Uptown creperie. Try the Crepe a la Montagne which combines chicken, mushrooms, white asparagus garlic and cream. There are also vegetarian and seasonal options. Breakfast is available all day long, and there are coffees and frozen drinks. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

DOMINIQUE'S RESTAURANT
1001 Toulouse St., 522-8800; www.dominiquesrestaurant.com
A native of Mauritius, classically trained chef Dominique Macquet blends fresh ingredients with exotic influences from around the globe for a distinctive cuisine at his namesake restaurant in the Maison Dupuy hotel. The trio of lamb includes a grilled, double-cut lamb chop, merguez sausage and lamb confit with goat cheese and three-potato terrine, a spicy ratatouille and lamb jus. The seared grouper is served on a fricassee of rock shrimp and hearts of palm with a lobster/lemon oil. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

FLAMING TORCH RESTAURANT
737 Octavia St., 895-0900; www.flamingtorchnola.com
With just a quick turn off Magazine Street, a visit to this Uptown restaurant can seem like an excursion to a classic French bistro. At lunch or dinner, guests dine on coq au vin made with free-range chicken slowly braised in Burgundy wine or mussels in white wine, sweetbreads in mushroom sauce or the catch of the day. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

HERBSAINT BAR AND RESTAURANT
701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; www.herbsaint.com
Chef Donald Link crafts polished contemporary Louisiana cuisine at his Warehouse District restaurant. The Muscovy duck leg confit features a large duck leg sautéed skin-down to make the skin crispy. It's then served with dirty rice, green beans and a citrus gastrique. The shrimp and green chile grit cakes present sautéed Gulf shrimp over creamy grit cakes topped with a tasso cream. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LA CREPE NANOU
1410 Robert St., 899-2670; www.lacrepenanou.com
With dining rooms that seem to be pulled straight from a Parisian restaurant, La Crepe Nanou puts forward classic bistro cuisine for a complete Francophile experience at this Uptown hotspot. Steamed mussels and fondue begin many a meal, which can continue with savory crepes or entrees like steak or roasted chicken. There is also a fondue made with Emmenthaler, gruyere and mozzeralla cheeses and whole grilled fish dishes. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$

LA PETITE GROCERY
4238 Magazine St., 891-3377
Under chef Anton Schulte, La Petite Grocery has gained a reputation for focused, uncluttered contemporary Louisiana cooking. Taking its name from a former corner grocery in the same location, the restaurant offers a friendly but elegant ambience to enjoy dishes like the grilled duck breast with Satsuma reduction served over spaetzle with brown butter roasted Brussels sprouts and duck cracklings. Schulte's mint and tomato braised lamb shank is accompanied by housemade ricotta gnocchi. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LA PROVENCE
25020 Hwy. 190 E., Lacombe, (985) 626-7662; www.laprovencerestaurant.com
This Northshore culinary landmark was recently purchased by acclaimed chef John Besh, who once worked here under founder Chris Kerageorgiou. Besh has pledged to leave the magic intact at this French country restaurant, which bodes well for fans of its traditional dishes like escargot Bourgogne and marinated rack of lamb with a rosemary jus. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LE PARVENU
509 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 471-0534
Chef Dennis Hutley frequently updates his menu of innovative French-influenced cuisine. Choose from dishes using fresh local seafood such as lump crabmeat and shrimp, or dig into sea scallops. One recent panéed lobster dish featured a split lobster tail cradling shrimp, crab and crawfish in a cognac cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Mon. -Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

LILETTE RESTAURANT
3637 Magazine St., 895-1636; www.liletterestaurant.com
Lilette features chef/proprietor John Harris' refined French cooking combined with Italian and Spanish influences. Appetizers range from Alaskan king claws to escargot in Calvados cream to tuna carpaccio with orange segments, mint and olives. A recently added dish of steamed cockles places the clams and sweet onions in a bacon-scented white wine broth and is served with a ricotta bruschetta. Entrees include a braised veal osso buco with spinach-ricotta gnudi, san marzano tomatoes and a veal jus. Changing seafood dishes include fish such as cod, red snapper and wild salmon. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

MARTINIQUE BISTRO
5908 Magazine St., 891-8495
Martinique marries French and Caribbean flavors for a memorable culinary experience in either its cozy cottage dining rooms or the lush, tropical courtyard. The menu changes frequently but features dishes like Gulf shrimp and eggplant Napoleon with roasted red pepper and herbed goat's cheese or a jumbo lump crabcake with mango-chipotle vinaigrette. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

MEAUXBAR BISTRO
942 N. Rampart St., 569-9979
Tucked away on North Rampart Street, this relative newcomer to the French Quarter is a cozy bistro with an eclectic menu. Eclectic starters include a beet and ricotta ravioli. For an entree, go classic brasserie with steak frites with sauce au poivre, or the burger served on brioche with fries on the side. Cool off for dessert with some homemade ice cream. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PONTCHARTRAIN VINEYARDS
81250 Old Military Road., Bush, (985) 892-9742
The tasting room at Pontchartrain Vineyards is open to sip wines and enjoy a light lunch of charcuterie and cheese plates. Visitors can also take a glass of wine and stroll among the vines. Bottles available for sale as well. No reservations. Light lunch Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

RICHE BY TODD ENGLISH
228 Poydras St., 533-6117; www.toddenglish.com
Celebrity chef Todd English has opened restaurants across the country and even aboard the Queen Elizabeth II ocean liner, but Riche marks his first venture in New Orleans. Housed in the ground floor of Harrah's hotel, the restaurant features classic French cuisine and makes abundant use of local seafood. Entrees include a bouillabaisse, whole fish preparations, steak frites and specials from the rotisserie like a bone-in rib-eye for two. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit Cards. $$$

TABLE ONE BRASSERIE
2800 Magazine St., 872-9085
With the elegant bar surrounded by exposed brick and wood, Table One retains some of the look of the steakhouse that formerly occupied the space. But the menu is primarily comprised of French-inspired classical dishes. The roasted tenderloin of beef, recommended medium rare, features Angus beef complimented by an au poivre sauce, a carrot and turnip timbale and wilted spinach. For an appetizer, the house-cured salmon gravlox is made with dill and the Norwegian vodka-like spirit aquavit. Thin slices are served with marinated cucumber ribbons and a Danish mustard sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

 

GOURMET TO GO

BREAUX MART
605 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 433-0333
The deli at Breaux Mart has a wide variety of dishes and changing daily specials. On Wednesdays and Fridays, baked or fried fish are common specials. Other popular dishes include ribs and seafood gumbo. Side dish options include macaroni and cheese, dirty rice and candied yams. For dessert, try the apple or peach cobblers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CHEZ NOUS CHARCUTERIE
5701 Magazine St., 899-7303Stop into Chez Nous for a quart of this, a platter of that and a sampling of sauce and no one but you will know the secret when you serve it at your next party. This one-stop shop offers wine and packaged gourmet food while the kitchen's ever-changing menu of dishes-to-go fills a complete calendar of tempting choices. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

DORIGNAC'S
710 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 834-8216; www.dorignacs.com
Juicy rotisserie chickens offer a quick meal solution for lunch or dinner while fresh daily soups, hot wings, sandwiches, quiche and lasagna provide quick meals to go. Don't pass up the landmark grocery's bakery near the prepared food section. The cakes, pastries and breads have people crossing town again and again to satisfy their sweet tooth. Plus, the store also offers an excellent selection of wines. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

LANGENSTEIN'S
800 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-6682; 1330 Arabella St., 899-9283; www.langensteins.com
These gourmet grocery stores offer prepared foods, catering and all the necessary ingredients for the serious home cook. The deli has sandwiches and some of its specialties include muffulettas, seafood gumbo and crawfish etouffée. The gourmet-to-go selections are available in family-sized portions. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROBERT FRESH MARKET
5016 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 885-7005; robertfreshmarket.com
Getting ready to host a Mardi Gras party? Consider stopping by Robert for a party tray of finger foods, including popular mini-muffulettas. And can you say king cake? No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

ST. JAMES CHEESE COMPANY
5004 Prytania St., 899-4737; wwwstjamescheese.com
St. James offers more than 70 varieties of fine cheeses from around the world. A small menu of sandwiches, salads, cheeseboards and charcuterie plates are available for take out or dining in. Sandwiches and salads make the most of the cheeses in the store. Comte cheese is served with prosciutto and grilled artichoke hearts on ciabatta bread. The Ploughman's lunch includes portions of stilton, cheddar, goat's cheese, Yorkshire, chutney, paté and a green salad. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

SORTEZ CAFÉ
141 Delaronde St., 227-2989; www.sortezcafé.com
Roll off the Canal Street ferry at Algiers Point and into this petite take-out gourmet food specialist. Try any of the baked goods made in house, like cakes, breads and cookies. Soups and sandwiches make great take-out meals, along with specials like New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. You can also check out Sortez Café's creations at area farmers markets on some mornings. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

WHOLE FOODS MARKET
3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-8225; 5600 Magazine St., 899-9119; www.wholefoods.com
The nation's largest natural foods grocer has a long history in New Orleans, and its two locations in Uptown and Metairie offer a wide range of gourmet and organic products. Whether picking up a catering order or dropping by for an in-store meal, the various food stations and deli cases offer dishes like Sonoma chicken salad with pecans, grapes and celery mixed in, and citrus-marinated salmon served with peppers and olives for a Mediterranean accent. Other prepared foods include soups, pizza, sandwiches and much more. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

ZARA'S MARKET
4838 Prytania St., 895-0581
Folks stop into Zara's to make groceries but also to visit the deli in the rear of the store for hot meals to go. Monday's traditional special of red beans and rice with sausage is always popular, as are Italian meatballs on a po-boy or over spaghetti. Other dishes include eggplant and veal Parmesan and muffulettas. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

 

GREEK

ACROPOLIS
3841 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-9046
Offering Mediterranean dishes inspired by the cuisines of Greece and Italy, Acropolis gives diners a choice of both regions' most popular dishes. On a menu that is as diverse as it is delicious, one can find pizzas, gyros, lasagna, moussaka, lamb chops and salads. The Acropolis salad is a medley of field greens, bacon, tomato, blue cheese, cucumbers, Bermuda onions, kalamata olives and sunflower seeds. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

MR. GYROS
3620 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 833-9228; www.mrgryosmetairie.com
Go Greek with Mr. Gyros as you indulge in house specialties such as spanakopita, Grecian pizza, calamari and mousaka (baked eggplant and ground lamb), along with several types of gyros, all served with steak fries. Daily specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

INDIAN

NIRVANA INDIAN CUISINE
4308 Magazine St., 894-9797; www.insidenirvana.comNirvana offers lessons to the local palate in the intricacies of Indian cuisine, with a menu that includes tandoor dishes, biryani rice dishes, seafood, chicken and fresh-baked breads. One of the many specialties is called the Flag of India and includes butter chicken, malai kebab and saag paneer. Try the affordably priced buffet available at lunch and for dinner on Thursday and Sunday nights. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

SALT & PEPPER
400 Iberville St., 561-6070Tucked away on a side street behind the Customs House, this unassuming corner joint cooks up wonderfully aromatic dishes and halal-meals from Pakistani and Indian cuisines. The biryani is a plate of long grain basmati rice cooked with saffron, Indian spices and your choice of chicken, beef or goat. Samosas are redolent with savory spice inside dough that's buttery on the inside and fried crispy on the outside. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TAJ MAHAL
933 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-6859 This temple of the tandoor offers a variety of breads cooked in it, from the whole-wheat roti to the traditional naan. For meat lovers, there's a number of slow-roasted lamb curries. There's plenty of curries for vegetarians as well, like the bhindi masala: sautéed okra sprinkled with mango powder. A buffet is available for lunch. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed. -Mon. Credit cards. $$

 

INTERCONTINENTAL

SEMOLINA'S
Citywide; www.semolinas.comIn spite of the Italian name, Semolina is inspired by pasta dishes from around the world. 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, peanuts 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. $$

 

ITALIAN

ADOLFO'S
611 Frenchman St., 948-3800
The dining room at Adolfo's is a romantic candlelit lookout just above the buzzing Frenchmen Street scene where you'll find hearty Italian classics, seafood and local flavors. Bring your appetite and start out with the velvety crabmeat and corn cannelloni or the escargot and then try one of the numerous veal entrees (Parmesan, piccata or shrimp and artichoke) or the fish of the day. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Checks. $$

ANDREA'S RESTAURANT
3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583; www.andreasrestaurant.com
When it comes to American and Northern Italian cuisine, chef Andrea Apuzzo's artistic flair has made Andrea's a citywide favorite. For a special taste of the old world, try the scampi fra diavalo o caterina, a sautéed shrimp dish flamed with brandy and served with tomato sauce or white wine garlic butter sauce. Consider the chicken á la grande for something more down home. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ANSELMO'S
3401 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 889-1212
Anselmo's is traditional Italian cuisine complemented with several locally inspired seafood entrees. For those looking for comfort, try the meatballs and red gravy served over angel hair pasta. For something out of the ordinary, order the house special crawfish pasta Adrienne, which is penne pasta tossed in a crawfish and mushroom cream sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ASSUNTA'S
2631 Hwy. 190, Slidell, (985) 649-9768; www.assuntas.com
Local seafood is treated to the classic and delicious flavors of Italian cooking at Assunta's with dishes like oysters sautéed in olive oil and garlic and served over spaghetti or shrimp Calabrese cooked in wine with red pepper and green onions. Be sure to save room for homemade cheesecake for dessert. Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

BACCO
310 Chartres St., 522-2426; www.bacco.com
Consider it Italian food with Creole style. There's everything from vermouth steamed mussels to shrimp and pesto bruschetta to lobster ravioli with a champagne butter sauce. More on the Creole side, try pan-seared redfish or veal medallions with crabmeat. The infamous 10-cent martinis are available every day accept Sunday. Desserts feature classics like tiramisu and Bacco's rich chocolate cake with raspberry and a lemon icebox pie. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BRAVO! ITALIAN KITCHEN
3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-8828; www.bestitalianusa.com
To stave off the predictable, Bravo offers much more than traditional Italian fare. While serving entrees of lasagna, pasta and pizza, this Metairie favorite also cooks up unique creations like fried shrimp topped with a charred tomato and lemon-butter and hickory wood-grilled salmon with crispy potatoes, lemon-caper butter sauce and pesto crumbs. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BRICK OVEN CAFÉ
2805 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-2097
Brick Oven Café has an ample menu of gourmet pasta and pizza, fish, beef, chicken and veal in classic New Orleans Italian-style variations. There is also plenty of seafood. It's all served in a cozy, family-friendly ambience. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ DI BLASI
1801 Stumpf Blvd., Terrytown, 361-3106
Traditional Italian dishes served in a pleasant ambience is what Café DiBlasi is all about. Chef-recommended dishes include veal DiBlasi, which features pan-fried veal medallions topped with a lemon cream sauce and pearly white chunks of crabmeat. The bracioloni is a round of beef stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella and boiled egg. In more of a Creole vein, there are the crabcakes DiChristy, topping pan-fried crabcakes with shrimp and a Creole cream sauce. Italian favorites such as lasagna and spaghetti are also available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ GIOVANNI
117 Decatur St., 527-2154; www.cafégiovanni.com
Chef Duke LoCicero's cooking sings with both classic and innovative flavors for a Creole-infused new world Italian cuisine at his French Quarter restaurant. Signature dishes like oysters Giovanni set fried oysters on a plate of painted sauces offering a range of sweet, savory and tangy flavors. Robust flavors continue with pasta dishes and a beef filet with brandy, foie gras and green peppercorn sauce. The restaurant's martini bar has its own menu of specialty cocktails made with fresh juices and ingredients. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit Cards. $$$

CAFFE ANGELINA
5024 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 889-7770
This casual family-run Italian restaurant serves fresh homemade foods, which include a large selection of salads, soups, sandwiches and dinner entrees. Try everything from the meatloaf and lasagna to the shrimp or chicken Alfredo. A friendly wait staff caters to your dining needs. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CARMINE'S ITALIAN SEAFOOD & GRILL
4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 455-7904
Although Carmine's is ever-popular with neighborhood regulars as well as one-stop visitors, the eatery is always accommodating, serving patron-approved staples such as the seafood-stuffed artichoke, the stuffed pork chop and the 16-oz. rib-eye steak. Finish a meal with bread pudding. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

COSCINO'S PIZZA
1817 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 727-4984
There's more than pizza at this Northshore Italian eatery. House specialties include eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs and a new chicken parmigiana. Pizzas including the meat-lover's special are served on New York-style thin-crusts, but thick crusts are available as well. Subs and salads round out the menu. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

D. LAMARQUE'S
4250 Hwy. 22, Suite B., Mandeville, (985) 624-2300; www.dlamarques.com
D. Lamarque's offers Italian meals with a twist. Come on Saturday night and dance your meal away. The extensive and elegant menu includes chicken cacciatore, lasagna and fra Diablo, a dish of jumbo shrimp and sausage with mushrooms, feta with marinara sauce. For dessert, sink a spoon into the homemade tiramisu or molten chocolate cake. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat., lunch Tue.-Fri., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

DIA ROMA CAFÉ
3712 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-6663
With a menu filled with pizza and pasta choices, Dia Roma offers a funky, innovative take on Italian classics. The chicken fajita pizza comes with housemade Alfredo sauce with mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and chunks of chicken breast, all on top of hand-tossed dough that's baked in-house each day. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

ELEVEN79
1179 Annunciation St., 299-1179
The namesake veal Eleven79 speaks to the menu's sensibilities at this upscale Italian restaurant on the edge of the Warehouse District. Tender veal is the focal point of the dish, and it is complemented with roasted peppers, asparagus and mozzarella. Classic pasta dishes include the simple puttanesca and pasta Acciuga with garlic, olive oil, basil, parsley, vermouth, anchovies and capers. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

FAUSTO'S BISTRO
530 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-7121; www.faustosbistro.com
This cozy Metairie bistro features a little Sicilian flair. The Vitello Saltimbocca features veal medallions sautéed with fresh mushrooms and Italian herbs, crowned with prosciutto, mozzarella and flamed with Marsala wine. The frutti di mare rounds up crab claws, oysters, mussels, fish, shrimp and calamari and serves them with a seafood stock reduction with fresh herbs. The lunch menu includes po-boys filled with meatballs, roast beef or smoked ham. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FAZZIO'S
1841 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 624-9704
For a blend of Italian and Creole food, head to Fazzio's, which offers everything from shrimp remoulade and crabcakes to fettuccini Alfredo with crawfish. Pasta dishes include options for angel hair pasta topped with Italian sausage or meatballs or crabmeat in cream sauce, all served with a house salad. Signature entrees include chicken or veal picatta, marsala or parmigiana. In season, golden fried soft-shell crabs served almandine or with crabmeat créme are popular. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

GIO'S PIZZA AND SPAGHETTI HOUSE
4941 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 885-3515
Classic New Orleans Italian cuisine distinguishes this longtime Metairie favorite. The spaghetti and meatballs with Gio's famous homemade red gravy is a great comfort food dish. Or thicken the comfort with the four-layered meat lasagna with ricotta cheese, angel hair pasta and the marinara sauce. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

IMPASTATO'S RESTAURANT
3400 16th St., Metairie, 455-1545; www.impastatos.com
Not all the names at Impastato's sound like traditional Italian and Sicilian folks or dishes. Salads are named for both Bum Phillips (asparagus, artichokes, hearts of palm) and Tom Benson (asparagus, black olives, tomatoes, artichokes, hearts of palm and crabmeat). But diners can still dig into veal marinara, veal Parmesan, pecan-smoked filet mignon and veal chops topped with sautéed mushrooms. Seafood entrees include shrimp scampi, trout almandine, Maine lobster and soft-shell crabs when available. A series of five-course dinner specials start at $28. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

IRENE'S CUISINE
539 St. Philip St., 529-8811
A romantic favorite located at the quiet, lower end of the French Quarter, Irene's perfumes the air around it with the seductive aroma of roasting garlic. San Francisco-style cioppino gets a dose of local seafood with redfish and shrimp joining clams and mussels in spicy tomato and fennel broth on a bed of fresh pasta. The cannelloni al forno delivers housemade tubes of pasta stuffed with veal, pork, cheese and eggplant. Reservations for parties of five or more. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

JUST ITALY DELI & ITALIAN MARKET
708 Aris St., 832-9292
Some of the original dishes at Just Italy include the Bellini paninis, sandwiches served on either ciabatta or focaccia bread and dressed with olive tapanade or garlic aioli. Some of the options include chicken, roasted peppers and fontina cheese or prosciutto, provolone cheese, fresh basil and grilled onions. There are vegetarian options as well, including a meatless muffuletta. The menu features pasta, salads and soups like lentil and pancetta or crab and corn bisque. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

MAPLE CAFÉ
541 Oaklawn Drive, Metairie, 833-8877; www.maplecafé.net
An offshoot of the original Maple Street Café in Uptown, this café offers more of an Italian flair. The menu includes new Italian dishes such as bracioloni which presents baby white veal over a cheese and tomato pasta. Patrons can still depend on a variety of salads and appetizers like the steamed mussels and main entrees like the filet mignon topped with portobello mushrooms and balsamic demi-glace. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$

MIMI'S ITALIAN AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
10160 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-6464
This River Ridge restaurant combines hearty Creole and Italian dishes in a comfortable and inviting environment. Try dishes like the tempura fried asparagus spears served with a blue cheese dipping sauce. Pasta dishes include the shrimp Victoria, which rests grilled jumbo shrimp on a bed of linguine with apple-smoked bacon, peas, roasted red peppers and mint in a light cream sauce. Affordable options fill the lunch menu, including seafood risotto and veal meatballs with angel hair pasta. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MONA LISA RESTAURANT
1212 Royal St., 522-6765
This long-time French Quarter favorite offers pizza and pasta dishes. Specialty pizzas include the barbecue chicken pizza, and Mediterranean (spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, black olives, garlic) or Hawaiian (pineapple and ham) versions, plus a white pizza topped with garlic. Traditional Italian favorites like eggplant parmigiana over linguine in red sauce also are on the menu. Reservations for six or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MOSCA'S
4137 Hwy. 90 W, Avondale, 436-9942
Be sure to bring cash, the only tender accepted at this thoroughly old school and beloved Italian restaurant on the edge of the swamps in Avondale. Oysters Mosca is now a classic New Orleans dish widely copied around town, but people make pilgrimages to dine at the source. Other popular dishes include the roasted chicken, pasta entrees and others. Reservations accepted. Fri.-Sat. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Cash only. $$

NARDO'S TRATTORIA
6078 Laurel St., 895-9441; www.nardostrattoria.com
Though for years this building housed a corner bar called Norby's, an intimate Italian restaurant quickly made itself right at home in the heart of its Uptown neighborhood. Inside the dining rooms and bar, patrons enjoy hearty Italian dishes like veal Marsala with a sauce made from wild mushrooms, wine and demi-glace while the bouillabaisse is a celebration of seafood with fish, shrimp, oysters, mussels and crawfish all served with saffron aioli toast. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

THE NEW SAL & SAMS
4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-5566
Italian specialties and a mix of steak, chops and seafood invite big appetites to the New Sal & Sam's. The double-cut pork chop is marinated with garlic and herbs, grilled and served with potatoes au gratin. The osso buco of slow-roasted veal is served with a light tomato sauce and angel hair pasta. Seafood options include barbecue shrimp, grilled tuna and crabmeat au gratin. Daily lunch specials now available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

NICOLE'S ITALIAN CUISINE
419 Maine St., Jefferson (Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center), 834-8747
This casual and family-friendly eatery serves from the canon of New Orleans-style Italian comfort food with plenty of red gravy. Chicken, veal, eggplant and even crabcakes are available parmigiana style with sauce, cheese and breading. The lasagna is made with five cheeses and generous portions of meat. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

NUVOLARI'S
246 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 626-5619
Thick steaks duel for your dining attention with classic Italian dishes like linguine fruiti de mare and veal Marsala. This Mandeville mainstay also delivers Creole flavors with dishes like oysters Rockefeller and an assortment of crab, shrimp and avocado covered in rich remoulade sauce. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

THE OLIVE BRANCH CAFÉ
1995 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, 348-2008; 5145 Gen. DeGaulle Drive 393-1107; www.olivebranchcafé.com
This Mediterranean-style café is known for pizzas made to order with freshly prepared dough and a wide variety of toppings. The chicken pesto pizza includes grilled chicken, pesto sauce, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes and a blend of cheeses. If you're not in the mood for pizza, try the pasta jambalaya with smoked sausage, seasoned chicken, onions and bell peppers simmered in a roasted garlic cream sauce over penne pasta. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PASCAL'S MANALE RESTAURANT
1838 Napoleon Ave., 895-4877
Although it is known for creating New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and having a popular oyster bar in the front, Pascal's has always featured a mix of Creole and Italian dishes. The frutta del mare is a pasta dish topped with scallops, crabmeat, oysters and shrimp in a marinara sauce. The classic barbecue shrimp are cooked head on in a signature tangy spicy sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT DEL PORTO
501 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 875-1006
The robust approach to Italian cuisine at Restaurant del Porto includes homemade breads, pastas, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and wines imported from 18 of Italy's 20 wine-growing regions. There are many rustic Italian dishes, grilled meat and familiar appetizers like beef carpaccio served with tuffled créme fraiche and arugula. Original dishes include seared sea scallops served with wild mushroom risotto and the lamb Bolognese with ricotta served over housemade tagliatelle pasta. Desserts include tiramisu, crepes and red wine-poached pears. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RISTORANTE CARMELO
541 Decatur St., 586-1414; www.ristorantecarmelo.com
For Italian food with a view, it's hard to beat Carmelo's balcony overlooking the Mississippi River in the heart of the French Quarter. The menu covers the classics of Italian cuisine with dishes like antipasto plates, minestrone soup, fried calamari and pasta dishes, while house specialties include an array of veal preparations and lobster with spicy marinara. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

RISTORANTE CIVELLO
5831 Magazine St., 899-6987
A relative newcomer to the Magazine Street dining scene, Ristorante Civello quickly made a name for itself with dining room entertainment from singing waiters. When they're not breaking out in opera classics, they deliver dishes like veal osso buco with gorgonzola, seafood entrees, antipasti platters and the Ma Ma Mary with meatballs and Italian sausage. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RISTORANTE DA PIERO
401 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-8585
The dishes of northern Italy inspire the regular menu at Restaurant da Piero, while changing weekly specials are more creative. Popular dishes include the crabmeat ravioli served with a sherry sauce with a touch of cream. Some familiar dishes include beef carpaccio and a tomato and basil bruschetta. Gnocchi are served with either a gorgonzola sauce or with tomato, onion, pancetta and basil. Entrees include beef medallions served with a green peppercorn sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

RISTORANTE FILIPPO
1917 Ridge Lake Drive, Metairie, 835-4008
This classic Italian restaurant offers a number of mouth-watering dishes including shrimp scampi and veal piccata cooked with buttered lemon capers and served over linguine. For seafood lovers, the oysters Oreganate, baked and breaded oysters with herbs, garlic and Romano cheese, shouldn't be missed. There is a fresh fish special daily. Carnivores can dig into the filet mignon or rib-eye steaks. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SANDRO'S TRATTORIA
6601 Veteran's Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-7784
Sandro's specializes in northern Italian dishes. Appetizers range from antipasto plates to fried eggplant and fried calamari. The entrees include pork osso buco cacciatore over angel hair pasta, eggplant lasagna and a cheese and pasta lasagna. Several pastas are available with an Alfredo sauce and with meats like meatballs or panéed veal or pork. Specials change regularly. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SEMOLINA ITALIAN BISTRO
3226 Magazine St., 895-4260; www.semolina.com
The folks who brought the popular local chain Semolina into the market have taken a different tack with their latest creation, Semolina Italian Bistro. The Italian focus pays off with dishes like angel hair marinara, linguine Alfredo or penne pasta with mushrooms, garlic and basil. Off the rotisserie, try chicken Marsala with mushrooms in wine sauce over polenta. The scampi di carfucci torta is a pan-seared artichoke cake served with jumbo shrimp and a garlic lemon butter sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SMILIE'S RESTAURANT
5725 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, 733-3000
Dishing up the classic combination of home-style Italian fare and New Orleans seafood specialties, Smilie's is a favorite for generations of families. Golden brown onion rings are a popular appetizer, and the beef brisket salad offers a whole new motivation to eat your greens. The namesake catfish Smilie is a tender, flaky fillet of fish rolled in Italian breadcrumbs and topped with shrimp, all served with a white wine and butter sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TECORO'S SEAFOOD & ITALIAN RESTAURANT
3525 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-5550; www.tecoro.com
Named for its trio of owners -- Terrie, Corliss and Rose -- TeCoRo's combines seafood, Italian classics and local favorites on its large and varied menu. House favorites include lasagna with three layers of beef and four cheeses all smothered in red sauce, and the eggplant Napoleon made with fried slices of eggplant layered with mozzarella, a rich, creamy sauce, baby spinach, crawfish tails, andouille and tasso all served over angel hair pasta. Desserts include tiramisu, ice cream and bread pudding. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TIRAMISU CAFÉ AND GRILL
115 Chartres St., 592-9444
Nothing completes a meal of Italian food better than the chocolate-laced goodness of tiramisu. But before you dig into the namesake dessert, try dishes such as meatballs, chicken parmigiana or linguini pescatore, a mix of shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari with fresh herbs, white wine and garlic in a light tomato-based sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TODARO'S RESTAURANT
2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 362-8522
Todaro's is the West Bank's newest Italian restaurant. Some of the dishes on the menu include starters like a butternut and blue crab bisque and pesto shrimp stuffed fried ravioli. Gnocchi is served with fried calamari with a Parmesan cream sauce. Seafood stars in dishes like shrimp or seared ahi tuna over an herbed risotto. Steak options range from a New York strip served in a spicy garlic sauce to a filet mignon served with clarified butter. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TOMMY'S CUISINE
746 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-1103; www.tommyscuisine.com
A deceptively simple menu delivers nuanced cuisine at Tommy's, which blends Italian and French Creole dishes in a warm, welcoming environment. The veal Sorrentina layers pan-seared veal with prosciutto, eggplant and mozzarella and tops it all with a green onion and mushroom Marsala sauce. The fish Capri is a sautéed fish topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, crawfish, capers and artichokes and a beurre blanc sauce. Entrees like soft-shell crab with linguini, seared lamb chops with rosemary port wine demi-glace and eggplant seafood casserole keep the regulars coming back. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

TOMMY'S WINE BAR
752 Tchoupitoulas St., 525-4790
Tommy's shares a name and kitchen with the adjoining Tommy's Cuisine. The wine bar offers a limited menu of cheese plates, appetizers and salads to match with wines. Some options include the mussels marinara, which steams mussels in white wine with sautéed roma tomatoes and caramelized garlic. Or try the shrimp remoulade, duck salad over spinach or crabmeat maison. No reservations. Light dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TONY MORAN'S RESTAURANT
240 Bourbon St., 523-4640; www.ruebourbon.com
The well-appointed dining room and northern Italian cuisine at Tony Moran's, adjoining the historic Old Absinthe House, can seem a world away from the swirl and color of Bourbon Street just outside. But the elegance inside is assured with dishes like calamari in spicy tomato sauce, mussels simmered with garlic, classic minestrone soup, roasted Cornish hen, osso buco Milanaise and stuffed, double-cut pork chops on the bone. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

VENEZIA II
587 Central Ave., Metairie, 734-3991
The original Venezia, which opened in Mid-City in 1957, is still being rebuilt following flood damage. So the second location in Metairie is the only place to go for Venezia's famous pizza pies and casual Italian fare. It's the same family at the helm here, so the pizzas feature the same distinctive crust and sauce. Try the house special with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onion and artichoke hearts, or go for the trout Cynthia topped with shrimp and crawfish in cream sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

VERONA RESTAURANT ITALIAN CUISINE
1821 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 739-9875
A mix of Italian classics and local New Orleans favorites fill Verona's menu. The chef's signature entrees include veal scallopini and fettuccini Alfredo plus the house specialty, shrimp Esplanade, made with Gulf shrimp sautéed in olive oil and fresh herbs with a light tomato sauce over pasta. Other seafood specialties include trout Florentine and shrimp or catfish platters. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

VINCENT'S ITALIAN CUISINE
4411 Chastant St., Metairie, 885-2984; 7839 St. Charles Ave., 866-9313; www.vincentsitaliancuisine.com
Guests are greeted at Vincent's with the welcoming scent of roasting garlic, fresh herbs and simmering sauce. Entrée specialties range from traditional lasagna and eggplant parmigiana to cannelloni stuffed with ground veal, spinach and cheese and served on a bed of Alfredo sauce and topped with red sauce. The veal Roberto features pan-sauteed veal topped with jumbo lump crabmeat and finished with a champagne beurre blanc. Golden-fried eggplant sticks with red sauce are a popular starter, as are fried oysters with roasted almonds, lemon cream sauce and fresh tarragon. Reservations recommended. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

 

JAPANESE

HANA JAPANESE RESTAURANT
8116 Hampson St., 865-1634Hana offers a full range of Japanese cuisine from sushi and sashimi to bento box specials with teriyaki, tempura and other dishes. The Hana special roll might be the biggest in the city. It is shrimp tempura, smoked crab salad, tuna, salmon and avocado with smelt roe. There are also soups with thick udon noodles in broth or thinner soba noodles. For dessert, Hana has mochi and ginger or green tea flavored ice cream. Reservations for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HORINOYA
920 Poydras St., 561-8914
This CBD restaurant is well suited for the downtown denizens' lunch hour, but is worth the trip for dinner. For appetizers the hot-rok beef or washu beef are prepared at the table. The popular deluxe sushi combination includes tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp and squid plus soup and salad. Horinoya offers a long list of rolls including the soybean pepper roll and the passion roll (cucumber with tuna, salmon and white fish topped with a special sauce. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

JIPANG
814 Gravier St., 565-5322
Jipang is now open only for lunch, but what a lunch. It offers numerous sushi choices at the buffet along with other Japanese favorites including fried dumplings, soba noodles, salad and cookies, brownies and fruit for dessert. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

KYOTO
4920 Prytania St., 891-3644
Satisfying Uptowners' yen for sushi and sashimi for years, Kyoto has come up with some signature rolls like the Sara roll with spicy, crunchy shrimp and avocado with chili sauce plus all the traditional favorites. In addition to the sushi selections, Kyoto offers a full range of Japanese cuisine options, including udon and soba noodles, tempura, chicken and beef teriyaki. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$

LITTLE TOKYO
590 Asbury St., Mandeville, (985) 727-1532
While offering a range of sushi and Japanese cuisine, some of the more uncommon rolls include the Burning Man Roll, which has sesame spicy tuna inside and peppered tuna, avocado, green onions and hot sauce on the outside. More conventional options include appetizers like gyoza dumplings served with ponzu sauce, seaweed salad, udon noodles in broth served with tempura, or nebeyaki, the same udon noodles served with assorted seafood. Entrees include options of sushi, sashimi, teriyaki and a long list of special rolls. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

LITTLE TOKYO
1521 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 831-6788
Little Tokyo presents a long list of sushi and rolls as well as other Japanese cuisine from the kitchen. Sea choices include popular tuna, yellowtail and salmon as well as eel, grouper, octopus, sea urchin and mackerel. Special rolls include many creative spicy and crunchy options. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

MEGUMI YAKIMONO AND SUSHI BAR
4700 Hwy. 22, Suite 11, Mandeville, (985) 845-1644; www.megumirestaurant.net
Megumi is the newest sushi restaurant on the Northshore and offers a wide range of Japanese cuisine, including yakimono dishes, or meats that are marinated and then broiled on skewers. From the kitchen, you'll find gyoza and shumai dumplings, calamari and oyster tempuras, and soups and pan-fried noodle dishes with thick udon noodles. The sushi list offers a good selection of sushi, sashimi and rolls, and there are also cooked seafood dishes. Beef and chicken are offered teriyaki style and from the yakimono bar. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MIKIMOTO
3301 S. Carrollton Ave., 488-1881; www.mikimotsushi.com
Mikimoto wants to feed you its sushi and Japanese fare, whether you're dining in with sake, ordering off its 99-cent per piece sushi lunch special, or having shrimp tempura delivered. Giving props to its South Carrollton location, the chef created the South Carrollton roll: tuna tataki with black pepper, avocado, green onions and topped with snow crab. Delivery available. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sun.-Fri. , dinner daily. $$

MIYAKO
1403 St. Charles Ave., 410-9997; 3837
Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 779-6475; www.japanesebistro.comReserve a seat at the hibachi grill for a dramatic presentation and delivery of your meal. Chefs cook and flip food and spatulas as they work at the large grills. Surf and turf entrees include lobster, shrimp, scallops, calamari, filet mignon, chicken and steak. There's also a full range of fish available from the sushi bar and other popular soups and noodle dishes from the kitchen. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

NINJA SUSHI
8433 Oak St. 866-1119
For the devoted fans of this Riverbendrestaurant, climbing the stairs from the ground floor waiting room to the second floor dining room is like ascending to sushi heaven. Though some opt for hot dishes or bowls of noodles, most patrons are interested in sushi bar creations like the massive Ninja Roll or the Special Eel Roll. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ROCK-N-SAKE BAR & SUSHI
823 Fulton St., 581-7253; www.rocknsake.com
Upbeat music and colorful neon fixtures set the scene at this lively Warehouse District sushi restaurant. Along the big, L-shaped sushi bar, neighborhood regulars and sushi aficionados from across the city dig into chef creations and their favorite rolls and sashimi. The Volcano roll with crabstick and cucumber topped with a mountain of baked seafood, spicy mayo and eel sauce is a menu heavyweight. No reservations. Lunch Fri., dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SAKE CAFÉ
126 Lake Drive, Covington, (985) 809-6689; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 468-9929; 1130 S. Clearview Pkwy., Harahan, 733-8879; 4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 777-7253
Sake Café offers the usual mix of sushi bar options and hot dishes from the kitchen. A good place to start is with the New Orleans roll, which wraps spicy crawfish, avocado, tuna and snowcrab with tobiko caviar and is served with an avocado/eel sauce. The sweet chili crispy fillet is a fillet of grouper served in a sweet chili sauce. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SAKE CAFÉ
2830 Magazine St., 894-0033
Sake Café has an urbane décor with rock music and neon art while the chefs keep traditional Japanese cuisine in focus. There is some innovative cooking and creative rolls of sushi to match the premium selection of sake. Some specialty sushi rolls include the Hard Rock Roll with barbecue eel, shrimp tempura, crab, avocado and masago all wrapped in a rice pancake and served with a special sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SAPPORO JAPANESE RESTAURANT
3544 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 779-9288
Offering the full range of popular sushi choices and cooked Japanese dishes, Sapporo also has a few offbeat tricks up its sleeves. For instance, the restaurant features barbecue grills at the table that you can use to cook your own meats. Or, turn over the tongs to the staff and watch them prepare the meal before your eyes. There is a low-carb menu for sushi with roll options including seaweed, thin-sliced cucumber or rice paper wrappers. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SEKISUI SAMURAI SUSHI
239 Decatur St., 525-9595; www.sekisuisamurai.com
The French Quarter may not be known for sushi, but don't tell Sekisui. Guests can expect authentic Japanese cuisine and, of course, sushi. The chefs put their own New Orleans spin on specialty rolls like the Decatur, which has cilantro, crawfish and crunchies inside with seared white tuna and fresh chopped garlic on the outside. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SHOGUN JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND STEAK HOUSE
2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-7477
Shogun offers a full range of Japanese cuisine. Plus, it has seating around hibachi grills that feature the dramatic presentation of chefs chopping, cooking and flipping small tastes of food in all directions. There also is a full range of sushi, noodle soups and other dishes. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SUSHI BROTHERS
1612 St. Charles Ave., 581-4449
A recent name change for the former Tokyo Bistro has done nothing to change the sushi bar's reputation for fresh, inventive rolls and specials. Some house favorite rolls include tiger's eyes made with baked salmon and crabmeat and hand rolls bulging with fish and vegetables. The restaurant prepares plenty of cooked Japanese dishes and noodles as well. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TENNOU SUSHI BAR
1818 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 366-3898
Known for its sushi rolls and sashimi, Tennou also offers a wide range of noodle dishes, soups and other cooked dishes. The Tennou roll is a fried roll of red snapper, snow crab and cream cheese. Other rolls combine popular selections like spicy tuna, spicy salmon and yellowtail. The baked green mussels are a popular appetizer. Bento box dinners offer combinations of sushi, beef, chicken or salmon teriyaki or tempura, plus a soup, salad and appetizer. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

WASABI
900 Frenchmen St., 943-9433; www.wasabisushiandbar.com
Wasabi has been part of the Marigny for more than five years, and its succulent sushi is the reason why. The wasabi honey shrimp brings an addictive sweet-spicy crunch in a velvety cream sauce while the black bean mussels are spiked with jalapenos, bell pepper and onions. Not to be outdone is the Wasabi house roll, which features snow crab, cream cheese, spicy tuna, eel, salmon, and crunchy batter on top with spicy mayo. The light-tasting rice paper rolls and the Frenchmen roll offer offbeat sushi combinations. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.. Credit cards. $$

 

YUJIN JAPANESE RESTAURANT
323 N. New Hampshire Blvd., Covington, (985) 809-3840Yujin offers a wide range of Japanese cuisine and sushi with many unique rolls to choose from. The snowcrab salad stuffs an avocado with snowcrab and serves it over greens with carrots and asparagus. The tempura and beef combination dinner pairs shrimp and vegetable tempura with a grilled rib-eye in teriyaki sauce. Desserts include pineapple sorbet and ice cream flavors like green tea, plum wine and red bean. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

KOREAN

KOREA HOUSE
3540 18th St., Metairie, 888-0654Korea House offers a wide range of Korean dishes plus sushi. Meals come with a selection of kimchee, the traditional Korean side dishes of various pickled and spiced vegetables and cabbage leaves. Whole fish are marinated in soy, garlic and onions before being lightly fried and finished on the grill. There are also beef and seafood clay pot dishes, and some items are cooked on grills embedded in some of the tables. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Sat, dinner Thu.-Tue. Credit cards. $$

LATIN AMERICAN

AZUL RESTAURANT
535 Tchopitoulas St., 599-2111Azul offers Cuban cuisine with a twist, blending influences from the Far East, Europe and elsewhere for a distinctive dining experience. Sea scallops are pan-seared in sesame oil, topped with lump crabmeat in a Spanish saffron sauce and drizzled with white truffle oil, while slow-roasted pork is paired with oranges, garlic and mojo sauce and served over black beans and jasmine rice. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BARU CAFÉ
3235 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-5404
From a small café tucked into a Kenner strip mall, Baru Café delivers the big flavors of Colombia with some Caribbean flair. Ceviche and mashed yucca stuffed with beef start off the menu. Entrees include a 12-oz. rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce and highly seasoned tilapia with coconut rice. Stop in at lunch for pressed Cuban sandwiches or wraps of grilled garlic shrimp with cheese. Reservations accepted. Lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHURROS CAFÉ
3100 Kingman St., Metairie, 885-6516
This lunch spot near the Clearview Shopping Center offers an array of Cuban comfort dishes, including empanadillas stuffed with beef, chicken or vegetables, fried plantains and pressed sandwiches on French bread or a croissant. The revered Cubano -- ham, pork and melted cheese on French bread -- is a local favorite. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

COUNTRY FLAME
620 Iberville St., 522-1138
For a fast and affordable lunch or dinner in the French Quarter, it's hard to beat the Country Flame and its large menu of Latin American cuisine. Meals start with chips and the tangy, house-made salsa and often move on to Spanish specialties like ropa viejo, a dish of shredded beef over rice with black beans. The Cuban sandwich is made of ham, pork, cheese and pickles served toasted on the grill. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FIESTA LATINA RESTAURANT
2440 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Kenner, 468-2384
For spicy and authentic Latin dishes, head to Fiesta Latina for chicken or beef fajitas. Or try the pupusas, which are thick corn tortillas filled with different items and fried. Breakfast brings huevos rancheros. For drinks, there are fresh pineapple and melon juices. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Checks and cash. $

JAZZ TACOS
307 Exchange Alley, 872-0015
Tucked away in the French Quarter is Jazz Tacos, which offers an intriguing array of Mexican and Latin American dishes from the Yucatan, El Salvador and Honduras. Enchiladas Hondurenas features ground beef wrapped in corn tortillas topped with cabbage, tomatoes, eggs, a tomato sauce and grated cheese. The yucca with cracklings includes the potato-like root yucca prepared with tomato and topped with a sauce of tomato, onions, garlic and chili peppers and served with cabbage and cracklings. The menu also offers fajitas, pupusas, quesadillas, burritos and combination plates. Match entrees with fruit sodas made from guava, mango or pineapple. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

LIBORIO
321 Magazine St., 581-9680
Cuban cuisine isn't as hot and spicy as other Latin American cuisine, but that doesn't mean it's not incredibly flavorful with plenty of black beans, plantains and garlic in many staple dishes. Cuban roast pork, Cuban steak or the traditional Spanish ropa viejo, shredded beef in sauce, are popular entrees. The pork is also popular in the Cuban sandwich, pressed with ham, pickles and mustard. Liborio also offers delicious desserts including vanilla cheesecake. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PUPUSERIA & RESTAURANTE LA MACARENA
8016 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 464-4525
Besides its namesake pupusas, La Macarena has a great variety of Latin American and Spanish dishes. Cornmeal pupusas come stuffed with cheese, pork, beans or a combination of those ingredients. Appetizers include a tropical shrimp salad and fried yucca with pork crackling. On Thursday and Friday, soup choices include the special cream of oyster with stone crab claws. Entrees range from steaks to cheese ravioli to combinations of pupusas and flautas. Spanish garlic shrimp are served over saffron rice. Since moving to its Metairie location, the restaurant has added a full bar. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash and checks. $$

LOUISIANA CONTEMPORARY

7 ON FULTON
701 Convention Center Blvd., 525-7555; www.7onfulton.com
Located inside the Riverfront Hotel, 7 on Fulton is a spacious restaurant in a converted historic warehouse space. The menu features dishes like pan-seared scallops served with smoked tomatoes, hollandaise and toasted almonds. The duo of beef pairs a 6-oz. filet mignon and horseradish-crusted short ribs topped with a bordelaise sauce, served with Yukon Gold whipped potatoes and orange-glazed carrots. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ALLEGRO BISTRO
1100 Poydras St., 582-2350
Allegro is an elegant CBD lunch spot on the ground floor of the Energy Center. The weekly menu features five entrees and five pastas, plus starters like crab and crawfish cakes, barbecue shrimp, seafood gumbo and some salads. Main courses might include prime filet with caramelized onions or a mushroom demi-glace, or veal and crawfish with Creole mustard and a crawfish hollandaise sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

ANNADELE'S PLANTATION
71495 Chestnut St., Covington, (985) 809-7669; www.annadeles.com
Annadele's combines a spacious fine-dining restaurant and bed and breakfast. Including multiple dining rooms, a lounge, tearoom and views overlooking the Bogue Falaya River, the pretty plantation home is perfectly suited for special celebrations and weekend getaways. The seasonally changing menu ranges from Louisiana dishes, such as Creole turtle soup and Cajun marinated duck breast, to a variety of beef and lamb entrees. Crabcakes are served with a bronzed tomato butter. The grilled quail is served with a red chile orange honey beurre blanc Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

AUSTIN'S RESTAURANT
5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 888-5533; www.austinsno.com
The intimate dining room of Austin's offers charm that one might not expect to find when parking in front of the row of shops where it is located. But once inside, the warmth and charm is very inviting. Try the seared scallops or pecan-crusted trout from the seafood options. If you're interested in steaks or chops, the Veal Austin is panéed baby white veal topped with lump crabmeat, button mushrooms and green onions. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

BANK CAFÉ
2001 Burgundy St., 371-5260
With high ceilings and large windows, the Bank Café is a spacious Marigny eatery offering a wealth of dining options. Chef Chris Reel offers a regularly evolving menu of seafood and regional dishes. Some regular diners' favorites include the mussels with fries, raw and grilled oysters, or the braised lamb shank with sun-dried tomato risotto, braised onions, carrots and parsnips. Reservations recommended on weekends. Dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

BAYONA
430 Dauphine St., 525-4455; www.bayona.com
Local culinary star Susan Spicer brings a global approach to her unique vision of contemporary Creole cooking. The two-hundred-year-old Creole cottage and courtyard are both beautifully restored settings to enjoy her refined cuisine. Try the sautéed Pacific salmon with choucroute and a Gerwurztraminer sauce. For dessert, the chocolate caramel sorbet is a fitting closing to a memorable meal. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BEGUE'S RESTAURANT AT THE ROYAL SONESTA
300 Bourbon St., 553-2278: www.beguesrestaurant.com
Named for one of New Orleans' legendary culinary influences, Madame Begue, this restaurant features an updated, contemporary take on Creole cooking. The sautéed tilapia is served on top of truffled corn pancakes with a bouillabaisse reduction and a side of julienned vegetables. The smoked redfish is complimented by crawfish and andouille grits and finished with a vanilla-apple gastrique. The menu ranges from traditional dishes like turtle soup to crispy duck leg confit to grilled veal rib-eyes. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE BOMBAY CLUB
830 Conti St., 588-0972; www.thebombayclub.com
You need some great food to break through the haze of the Bombay Club's famous martinis and this menu seems up to the test. For appetizers, there's flash fried calamari tossed in an Asian sauce, or fried oysters with lobster and mango salsa. For an entrée, try the New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp with grilled rosemary focaccia, or the duck duet, seared duck breast and duck leg confit with a raspberry reduction sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

CAFÉ ATCHAFALAYA
901 Louisiana Ave., 891-9626
A beautifully renovated interior makes this restaurant tucked away below the Garden District look like an art gallery. Inspiration springs from the kitchen with seafood dishes like redfish almondine and stuffed eggplant with shrimp and crabmeat in a white sauce. There's also a version of chicken and dumplings served with German spaetzle. Reservations accepted. Dinner Thu.-Mon., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

THE COLUMNS ­ ALBERTINE'S TEA ROOM
3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308; www.thecolumns.comThe majestic setting of a timber baron's mansion is now the scene of laid-back breakfasts, brunches and dinners at the landmark Columns Hotel. Classic American breakfasts are the order of the day early on while brunch features local dishes like barbecue shrimp, grits and grillades and Gulf fish. Or try the lump crabcakes with wilted spinach, roasted corn and pepper cream. Reservations recommended. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

COTTAGE CAFÉ
423 10th St., Gretna, 366-2233
Located in a historic Acadian cottage, this quaint café offers a casual atmosphere for inspired contemporary cooking. The trout Tchoupitoulas features a pan-fried fillet of trout with panéed portobello mushroom and topped with lump crabmeat, gruyere cheese and a white wine reduction finished with a touch of cream. Or try the medallions of pork, which are pan-seared and served with a pecan praline sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Checks. $$

THE DAKOTA RESTAURANT
629 North Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 892-3712; www.thedakotarestaurant.com
Contemporary Louisiana cuisine using fresh local and seasonal ingredients is the calling card of the Dakota. Try the popular soup made with lump crabmeat and brie to taste one of the reasons for all the attention. The lamb shank osso buco is served with a truffled veal demi-glace. Lump crab-crusted Gulf fish are served with a seafood nage over a shellfish risotto. The wine list is focused on American vintners and runs to more than 500 selections. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$$

DANTE'S KITCHEN
736 Dante St., 861-3121; www.danteskitchen.com
Chef Emanuel Loubier cooks up a number of house specialties at this cozy Riverbend cottage including the redfish "on the half shell" topped with crabmeat and herbs, and roasted duck stuffed with cornbread dressing and served with Barq's root beer candied sweet potatoes. To increase the romantic quotient in your evening, take a table in the lovely outdoor garden. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon., brunch Sat-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

DICK AND JENNY'S
4501 Tchoupitoulas St., 894-9880; www.dickandjennys.com
The waiting list that builds up in the quirky lounge area should be an indication that the food at Dick and Jenny's has remained as popular ever regardless of the change in ownership. The winter menu includes dishes like seared duck with chorizo and sweet potato, apple and brie gratin. As usual, the menu has a vegetarian plate and children's entrees. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

EMERIL'S
800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393; www.emerils.comMillions of TV viewers know his name, know his taglines (Bam!) and even know some of his recipes from his cable cooking show, but to experience what Emeril Lagasse is all about, local diners need only to book a table at his flagship restaurant. Classic dishes include andouille-crusted redfish, New Orleans barbecue shrimp with rosemary biscuits and banana cream pie. The wine cellar is one of the largest in the city. Reservations required. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ETOILE
407 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 892-4578This bustling bistro serves up new takes on Louisiana and French cuisine. The menu that includes treats such as homemade patés, steamed mussels served with sweet potato fries and seared sesame tuna served rare with bok choy, pickled ginger, sweet chili and honey vinaigrette. Reservations recommended for parties of five or more. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

HILLERY'S ON TOULOUSE
827 1/2 Toulouse St., (Hotel St. Marie) 571-2888; www.hotelstmarie.com
Located within the old world luxury of the Hotel St. Marie, Hillery's serves classic Creole cuisine with cross-cultural influences, like the shrimp and oyster brochette or the filet mignon, served with peppercorn demi-glace and Maytag blue cheese gravy. Also sometimes known as Bistro Moise, more casual breakfast and lunch service is offered in an airy dining room with French doors opening out onto the street. No reservations. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$

HOOKAH CAFÉ
500 Frenchmen St., 943-1101; www.hookah-café.com
While there is some fusion going on at Hookah Café, it's not on the menu. The smoking den still features flavored tobaccos in hookahs and a variety of DJs spinning through the week, but the menu is primarily focused on tapas-sized contemporary Louisiana dishes with some Middle Eastern accents. Appetizers range from charcuterie and cheese boards to hummus and tabouleh seasoned with mint and lemon. Some more familiar local dishes include the fried green tomato napoleon made with shrimp, crawfish and crabmeat. The Marigny bouillabaisse features drum, shrimp, crawfish, mussels, crabmeat and a touch of Dijon in the broth. Reservations recommended. Dinner and late-night dining Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

HOUMAS HOUSE PLANTATION
40136 Hwy. 942, Darrow, 891-9494; www.houmashouse.com
There are two restaurants on the grounds of the beautifully restored Houmas House plantation. For lunch, there's the causal Café Burnside, which offers po-boys, gumbo and salads. For dinner, Latil's Landing offers creative contemporary Louisiana cooking by chef Jeremy Langlois. Some of his dishes include lobster and Creole tomato risotto, a grilled breast of duck served over candied yams with a praline sauce and beer battered shrimp served over cheddar cheese grits with a tasso cream. Reservations recommended. Lunch daily at Café Burnside. Dinner Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

JACMEL INN RESTAURANT
903 E. Morris St., Hammond, (985) 542-0043
Located in a quiet wooded area of Hammond, Jacmel offers a more urbane style of cooking. The jumbo lump crabcakes are served with shaved Parmesan cheese and a white remoulade. The roast duckling is brined and seasoned with salt and pepper, thyme and fresh oranges and Worcestershire sauce. It's then baked and served with cracklings made from its skin. The menu also includes some Italian accents and a few house-trimmed steaks. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

JACQUES IMO'S CAFÉ
8324 Oak St., 861-0886; www.jacquesimoscafé.com
With its boisterous barroom, exposed kitchen and clutter of murals and folk art, Jacques Imo's lets it all hang out. The menu is full of bold flavors and over-the-top combinations. The blackened tuna is seared to order and served with a champagne, oyster and brie sauce. The way the café packs in guests, you'd expect to find dishes like the roasted quail. Two boneless quails are stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and foie gras, wrapped in bacon and then served with a cranberry mushroom sauce -- a lot of flavor packed into a single dish. Reservations accepted for five or more. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

JUNIPER
301 Lafitte St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5330; www.juniperrestaurant.net
Juniper is a casual restaurant in a pretty historic building that maintains a fresh approach to its menu, constantly changing dishes to reflect what's in season. Try the veal Oscar, a dish of panéed veal topped with asparagus, crabmeat and Creole hollandaise. You'll also find regular favorites like the smothered duck served over Cajun dirty rice and with sweet potato casserole. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

LA LOUISIANE BAR & BISTRO
725 Iberville St., 378-8200; www.lalouisianerestaurant.com
This historic landmark building was built in 1837 and has housed numerous restaurants. After a seven-year hiatus, La Louisiane reopened in 2004. The cozy bistro atmosphere is the perfect setting in which to enjoy French Louisiana hybrid specialties like beef carpaccio, saffron shrimp over black rice, braised lamb and filet mignon. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$

LOLA RESTAURANT
517 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 892-4992
LOLA is a more casual eatery at lunch and offers fancier food for dinner. At lunch, sandwiches include the Bostonian, a stack of turkey, bacon, avocado and provolone cheese with sun-dried tomato aioli on pressed focaccia bread. Other options range from a BLT to a grilled three-cheese sandwich to a vegetarian sandwich. The dinner menu includes baked trout au gratin stuffed with crabmeat and shrimp. For starters, there are oysters Rockefeller, escargot bordelaise and crabcakes topped with a remoulade slaw. Reservations recommended for dinner only. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

THE LONGBRANCH
21516 Hwy 36., Abita Springs, (985) 871-8171; www.longbranchrestaurant.com
Chef/owners Alison Vine-Rushing and husband, Slade Rushing, are two rising stars in the culinary scene and with good reason. This restaurant blends understated Southern elegance with bold flavors in creative and classical dishes. Try the deconstructed oysters Rockefeller, or filo-crusted flounder with arrow leaf spinach, tomato confit and a lobster emulsion. Roasted grouper is served with shrimp-stuffed cabbage and a lemony chicken jus. Desserts include dishes like banana bread pudding brulee and a caramel poached pear financier with caramel ice cream. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit Cards. $$$

LOUISIANA BISTRO
337 Dauphine St., 525-3335
The menu changes seasonally at Louisiana Bistro, but for a little spontaneity opt for the "Feed Me" menu and let the chef put together a tasting menu of three to five courses. One constant is the Creole surf and turf, a succulent pan-seared filet mignon complemented by crawfish tail scampi. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

MARIGNY BRASSERIE
640 Frenchmen St., 945-4472; www.marignybrasserie.com
The Marigny Brasserie's menu with its Louisiana-inspired dishes mixes well with the restaurant's lovely surroundings. Appetizers include a shrimp and mirliton cobbler, foie gras du jour, and a gumbo with smoked chicken, duck and andouille. Entrees run the gamut from fish to fowl to veal, all creatively prepared. Stop in on weekends for a restorative brunch, drink specials and live music. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

MURIEL'S JACKSON SQUARE
801 Chartres St., 568-1885; www.muriels.com
With its pretty downstairs dining room and elegant upstairs complete with Storyville-esque lounge, Muriel's offers great views inside and out onto Jackson Square. The menu offers a fresh twist on classic Creole fare with dishes like a duck confit and sweet onion galette with Port Salut cheese. The wood-grilled scallops are served over grits with andouille, tomato and leeks. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, lunch Fri.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

NOLA RESTAURANT
534 St. Louis St., 522-6652; www.emerils.com
Alternately light and airy and cozy and dark, Emeril's counterpoint to his eponymous joint is famous for its innovative version of Southern and Creole cooking. Signature starters include Emeril's barbecued Gulf shrimp with rosemary biscuits and a duck confit and Parmesan pizza with truffle oil and baby arugula. Entrees include comforting fried chicken with bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and hickory-roasted duck with whiskey-caramel glaze. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ONE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
8132 Hampson St., 301-9061; www.one-sl.com
Chef Scott Snodgrass changes the menu regularly to reflect seasonal ingredients such as fresh Louisiana seafood, mirlitons and satsumas. Among the recurring items are the braised country ribs, or the grilled beef tenderloin served over warm beef shoulder rillete and Stilton cheese glacage. For dinner and a show, take a seat at the food bar and peer into the open kitchen. Reservations reccommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ORLEANS GRAPEVINE WINE BAR AND BISTRO
720 Orleans Ave., 523-1930; www.orleansgrapevine.com
Locals and visitors in the know duck into this casual yet sophisticated wine bar just behind St. Louis Cathedral not only for its selection of wines by the glass and bottle but also for its bistro cuisine. The double-cut pork chop comes in a generous 14-oz. serving with a hash of sweet potato and wild boar sausage and a sweet-and-sour orange pepper glaze. The 8-oz. black Angus filet is served with a choice of a crawfish sun-dried tomato demi-glace or a Stilton cheese cream sauce. No reservations. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$$

PAILLARD'S RESTAURANT
717 Orleans Ave., 523-2222 ext. 6001; www.bourbonorleans.com
Located in the Bourbon Orleans, Paillard's offers a creative take on contemporary Louisiana cooking. Appetizers range from the gumbo of the day to Asian-accented dishes like seared ahi tuna with sesame glaze on top of a cucumber salad, or a tweaked continental classic like steamed mussels with andouille in a fresh herb and wine broth. Chef Will Nolan prepares entrees like a free-range chicken with mushroom risotto and a thyme jus, and beef tenderloin or New York strip served with truffle whipped potatoes and red wine sauce. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

PALACE CAFÉ
605 Canal St., 523-1661; www.palacecafé.com
Located in the beautiful Weirlein building, Palace Café is an elegant stand-out among the T-shirt and camera shops on Canal Street. Sidewalk café seating was recently added as part of an effort to return the throughfare to its former grandeur. Chef Darin Nesbit's menu features contemporary Creole cuisine including a silky crabmeat cheesecake with a pecan crust topped with wild mushrooms in a Creole meuniere sauce. One of the café's signature dishes is the pepper-crusted duck breast fanned out over a citrus confit salad and topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

PELICAN CLUB
615 Bienville St. and 312 Exchange Place, 523-1504; www.pelicanclub.com
Tucked away on a French Quarter side street, this elegant restaurant boasts three romantic dining rooms and a hearty continental menu. Start with the seafood martini -- a fanciful send-up of the cocktail, featuring Maine lobster, lump crabmeat, avocado, tomatoes and jicama salad. Dishes range from classic dishes, like escargot baked with mushroom duxelles in garlicky butter-filled puff pastry, to funky creations, like the clay pot coconut and curry mussels, served with mint, cilantro, pineapple and garlic bread. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

PERISTYLE
1041 Dumaine St., 593-9535
Since chef Tom Wolfe took over Peristyle from fellow Emeril's alum Anne Kearney-Sand, he's beefed up the menu's swagger and made the restaurant his own. Wolfe favors bold and exciting combinations whether he is rethinking classical dishes, adapting rustic ones or matching new flavors. Favorite menu items include grilled North American lamb chops with Granny Smith apple puree, mint spaetzle and Pinot Noir gastrique, and seared foie gras on toasted brioche with apple compote and tarragon duck demi-glace. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RALPH'S ON THE PARK
900 City Park Ave., 488-1000; www.ralphsonthepark.com
This historic and elegant building on City Park features a contemporary Creole menu by executive chef Gus Martin. Starters include the Crystal oysters which are andouille-crusted and fried, then tossed in a Crystal butter sauce. For dinner, try the pan-seared scallops with asparagus, sesame crusted yellowfin served on a seaweed salad, or the panéed veal with mushrooms. The sunset dinner special offers three courses and a glass of wine for $30, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free valet parking is available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE RED MAPLE RESTAURANT
1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935; www.theredmaple.com
Long a focal point of the Gretna dining scene, Red Maple offers a large selection of steaks, chops and local seafood dishes. Steaks like the 12-oz. or 8-oz. filets are served with crabmeat, béarnaise sauce, bordelaise or crumbled blue cheese. The crispy fried mirliton is topped with crabmeat, shrimp, andouille and fried oysters in bordelaise. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, late-night Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RESTAURANT AUGUST
301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.restaruantaugust.com
As chef John Besh's collection of restaurants grows, August remains the flagship in the fleet. The elegant dining room sets the stage for his refined and restrained dishes highlighting the natural flavors of local produce and seafood. Signature dishes include the crabmeat truffle gnocchi as well as the Louisiana redfish with cauliflower, crabmeat and caviar. Plus, August offers an impressive list of boutique wines. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT CUVEE
322 Magazine St., 582-9001; www.restaurantcuvee.com
Chef Robert Iacovone puts his stamp on modern Creole cuisine by combining regional ingredients with masterful technique. Recent additions to the appetizer menu include a mushroom tasting -- Chanterelle mushroom bisque, oyster mushroom panini, and a black trumpet lollipop -- and foie gras créme brulee. The entrees are just as sophisticated and include dishes like a variation on bouillabaisse, which is served three different fresh pastas stuffed with lobster, shrimp and sea scallops. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT CYPRESS
4426 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 885-6885
Restaurant Cypress is a cozy and almost casual spot to enjoy some fancier contemporary Louisiana cooking. For an appetizer, try the spring rolls made with duck confit, cream cheese and caramelized onions and served with a spicy soy and apricot dipping sauce. A pair of crabcakes is matched with a pair of sauces, both a champagne beurre blanc and a bouillabaisse sauce echoing the crab's flavor. Another entrée features baby white veal stuffed with portobello mushrooms and crabmeat. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SARA'S
724 Dublin St., 861-0565
This is one of the hidden culinary gems of the Riverbend. Sara's offers an ambitious menu of blended Creole and Asian flavors. Start with the crawfish egg rolls and samosas, and then tempt your palate with pressed muscovy duck that is grilled and served with a port plum wine reduction sauce. Look for dishes like pepper-crusted pork chops, honey ginger scallops or Malaysian steamed mussels in savory garlic white wine broth. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

SUGAR HOUSE
315 Julia St., 378-4000
Many dishes at the Sugar House come with a sweet twist. The Lemon Drop Trout features sautéed trout garnished with candied lemon rinds. It's served with a vegetable and a choice of jambalaya, red beans or mashed potatoes. A heart-healthy grilled salmon dish is served with spinach and a balsamic reduction, which brings out the vinegar's sweetness. The less heart healthy New York strip is served with Creole butter and sides as well as a trip to the salad or soup bar. Desserts include a bananas Foster cheesecake and Barq's root beer floats. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$$

SWEET FIRE & ICE
701 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-3437; www.alcopeland.com
Drawing inspiration from many of Al Copeland's restaurant creations, Sweet Fire & Ice adds a breath of fresh and seasoned air from the oxygen bar. The extensive menu includes creative appetizers such as crab Rangoons, Buffalo spring rolls and garlic-Tequila shrimp. Entrée choices range from barbecue ribs to Southwestern chicken salad to shrimp and tasso pasta to rotisserie items like chicken and duck. For dessert, dig into a rich scoop of any one of more than 20 cheesecakes. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

UPPERLINE RESTAURANT
1413 Upperline St., 891-9822; www.upperline.com
Gaze around the intimate dining rooms of this Uptown townhouse-turned-restaurant and view a large collection of regional art. Then turn your attention to the menu for some contemporary New Orleans cuisine. Some of the signature dishes include Cane River country shrimp made with sautéed shrimp, mushrooms, garlic and bacon smothered in shrimp bisque over creamy grits. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

VERANDA AT THE HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL
444 St. Charles Ave., 585-4383
Chef Joseph St. Paul is in the midst of unveiling a new menu and while he's not ready to say what exactly will be included, it will have local flavors and techniques such as braising, roasting and smoking. Brunch will always be an elegant affair at the Veranda with carving stations for prime rib as well as omelets, eggs Benedict and bananas Foster made-to-order. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

VIZARD'S ON THE AVENUE
2203 St. Charles Ave., 529-9412; www.vizardsontheavenue.com
The latest restaurant from veteran New Orleans chef Kevin Vizard is a showcase for some of his most popular dishes along with plenty of new material all in a chic, modern St. Charles Avenue locale. Duck confit and portobello crepes in duck reduction with sun-dried cherries are an example of his classic work while one of the new dishes is a velvety scallop flan. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

WATER STREET BISTRO
804 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-3855
Seafood specials and housemade desserts are the hallmarks of this cozy bistro. The jumbo lump crabcakes are served with a Creole remoulade sauce on a bed of sweet corn. For an entrée, Gulf shrimp are sautéed with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, garlic, capers, artichoke hearts, leeks and red onions and then served on linguine and topped with feta cheese, pine nuts and basil. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

WOLFE'S IN THE WAREHOUSE
859 Convention Center Blvd., 613-2882
Chef Tom Wolfe crafts dishes bursting with big bold flavors at his Warehouse District restaurant. One distinctive Wolfe creation is the "duck duck goose," a combination of quick-cured pan-roasted duck breast, duck confit tortelloni and foie gras duck crackling bread pudding with watercress and foie gras-scented shallot demi-glace. His veal roulade features pounded baby veal stuffed with Serrano ham, provolone cheese and sage served over capellini pasta with Madeira-braised wild mushrooms. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$$

MEDITERRANEAN

BYBLOS
1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773; 3218 Magazine St., 894-1233
With some weekly belly dancing thrown into the mix, Byblos offers a taste of Mediterranean cuisine and ambience. The menu features dishes like drunken halloumi, an appetizer of Cypriot halloumi cheese lightly sautéed in Ouzo and olive oil and served with tomatoes and a garlic sauce. The very traditional chicken shawarma calls for marinating a boneless chicken breast overnight in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and Lebanese spices. It's then broiled and served thinly sliced. Byblos also has a good selection of salads and a large winelist. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BYBLOS MARKET
2020 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-9777
For an authentic taste of the Middle East on the fly, locals head to the counter at the back of this bright, airy market. Sandwiches are prepared to order from meats roasting on spits, while fresh salads, stuffed grape leaves and daily specials beckon. The gyros plate piles slices of meat high and pairs it with creamy hummus, a crisp salad and pita bread. Inside dining is available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CASABLANCA
3030 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-2209
The Moroccan cuisine of Casablanca offers many foreign delights, including the couscous which comes topped with fresh vegetables like carrots and cabbage and is served with a choice of chicken, lamb or beef. Morrocan spices and dishes set Casablanca apart from other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun.- Fri., dinner Sun.-Thu. Credit cards. $$

JAMILA'S
7808 Maple St., 866-4366
There are many reasons to take a stroll down Maple Street in the university neighborhood, and Jamila's is one of the better ones. The restaurant features Tunisian and Mediterranean cuisine not found in many other local restaurants. Besides the succulent crawfish zucchini bisque, there are also briks, phyllo dough stuffed with potatoes, parsley, onions, shrimp or tuna. For the main course, try the tajine of lamb, a lemon garlic lamb with basmati rice. There are a number of couscous dishes for vegetarians and carnivores including the royal couscous with chicken, sausage and lamb. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

LEBANON CAFÉ
1500 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-6200
The Middle Eastern cuisine at Lebanon provides diners with starters like lentil soup and Greek salad. The entrees include creative dishes such as the sautéed vegetable plate with eggplant, onions, tomatoes, carrots, red, yellow and green peppers served on basmati rice and topped with melted feta cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PHOENICIA
4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-9950
Phoenicia's extensive menu spans the tastes of the Mediterranean. Greek salads, gyros, lamb kebabs and chicken shawarma are just a few of the favorites. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MEXICAN & SOUTHWESTERN

ADOBE CANTINA
1905 W. Thomas St., Hammond, (985) 419-0027; www.adoberestaurant.comThe kitchen at this Hammond hotspot creates a wide range of Mexican dishes following traditional recipes. Tacos, burritos, combination platters and big plates of nachos are popular choices, while many a meal ends with fried ice cream. Delivery available. Reservations accepted, except on weekends. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BLUE TOMATO
4401 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 734-3000
The off-kilter décor and casual atmosphere make Blue Tomato a preferred lunch and dinner spot for neighborhood regulars. There is something for every mood and taste, from lasagna and cheeseburgers to the cantina-style southwest chicken, tamales, quesadillas, and of course, nachos and guacamole. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CARRETA'S GRILL
1200 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville, (985) 727-7212; 1340 Lindberg Drive, Slidell, (985) 847-0020; 2320 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-6696
Caretta's offers a seemingly inexhaustible array of Mexican favorites. Create your own meal á la carte or sign on for a complete dinner combination. Appetizers include tortilla soup, cheesy-beefy nachos and a variety of dips including guacamole, spinach and artichoke and bean. For your main course, choose from burritos, tacos, enchiladas and sizzling fajitas. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

CASA GARCIA
800 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 951-8226; 8814 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 464-0354
Tex-Mex staples and innovative Mexican fare are available at this Metairie eatery. House specialties include seafood enchiladas featuring a spicy, creamy sauté of crab and shrimp wrapped in flour tortillas and topped with chili con queso sauce. To accompany the dish, choose from traditional rice and beans or grilled vegetables. Reservations recommended. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

CHEVY'S FRESH MEX
1201 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 368-2100; 1325 W. Esplanade, Kenner, 469-5657; 3330 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-7788; www.chevys.com
Area Chevy's offer a combination of specialty margaritas and cocktails from the bar and creative California-Mexican dishes . Perfect for group sharing, the sampler includes four wings, nachos, a flauta and a quesadilla. All the usual suspects are served here -- enchiladas, fajitas and burritos -- and the choice of tacos includes grilled fish tacos with chipotle aioli. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CUCO'S
1300 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 641-4706; 2000 S.W. Railroad Ave., Hammond, (985) 345-2634; 5953 W. Park Ave., Houma, (985) 868-0800
A casual atmosphere and reasonable prices make this southwestern cantina-style restaurant popular with families, while the margaritas and spicy salsas are a great way to start a night. The menu features traditional Mexican dishes, like burritos, flautas, enchiladas and tacos, and sizzling fajitas are always popular. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

EL GATO NEGRO
81 French Market Place, 525-9752
The newest Mexican restaurant in the French Quarter has settled into the French Market. El Gato Negro specializes in the cuisine of central Mexico. All corn and flour tortillas are housemade, and tacos are available stuffed with beef, chicken, pork and fish like flounder. Enchiladas and tamales come with the restaurant's own special orange salsa. The Fish Cancun is the fish of the day sautéed and served topped with shrimp and a side of sautéed butter, garlic and pico de gallo. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

FELIPE'S MEXICAN TAQUERIA
6215 S. Miro St., 309-2776; www.felipesneworleans.com
Felipe's is a casual taqueria in the University neighborhood offering quesadillas, tostadas, burritos and tacos with fillings like shrimp, chicken, steak, carnitas, chorizo and beans. Platters are available with beans, rice, salsa and soft corn tortillas. Desserts include rice pudding and chocolate pecan crispies. The margaritas are made fresh. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

GEORGE'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
1461 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-4342
Northshore diners will feel like they're south of the border at George's. The restaurant offers a full line of Mexican dishes, and is particularly proud of its famous fajitas -- beef, chicken or shrimp -- which are broiled and served sizzling at the table. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

JUAN'S FLYING BURRITO
2018 Magazine St., 519-0000; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave., 486-9550; www.juansflyingburrito.com
Juan's puts a Creole spin on its Mexican cuisine and serves Louisiana shrimp in dishes from tacos to quesadillas to wraps. Burrito choices include jerk chicken and vegetarian ones. The salsa served with chips is plenty spicy, and there are many margarita options available in glasses or pitchers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

LA CARRETTA
108 N.W. Railroad Ave., Hammond, (985) 419-9990; www.carretarestaurant.com
This friendly restaurant keeps regulars coming back for big margaritas, low prices and a large menu that includes hits like queso dip, chiles rellenos and spicy shrimp. Entrée specials include combination plates and steaks done the Southwestern way. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

LA CASA GOMEZ
643 Lotus Drive, Mandeville, (985) 624-8667
La Casa Gomez is located in a turn of West Causeway Approach that's shaded by trees that almost hide its splashy neon signage. Be careful not to bypass the restaurant, because you don't want to miss its traditional Mexican and Cuban cuisine, including the tender and flavorful roast pork, which also stars in the Cuban sandwiches. Live music Fridays. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

LUCY'S RETIRED SURFERS BAR & RESTAURANT
701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.comThe New Orleans area may not be known for surfing, but its reputation for eating and drinking are certainly cemented, and Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar takes care of both those pursuits. Margaritas and fruity cocktails are the order of the day at the bar, while the kitchen puts out burgers, burritos and casual fare from a mix of Mexican and California cooking, like Baja rolls with chicken, avocado, black beans, cheese and salsa wrapped in a flour tortilla. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

NACHO MAMA'S MEXICAN GRILL
3242 Magazine St., 899-0031; www.nachomamasneworleans.com
This might not be your mama's Mexican grill, as the name suggests, but she could certainly find something to pique her interest on this cantina's extensive menu of Tex-Mex favorites. The mixed grill fajitas include chicken, skirt steak and shrimp served with grilled onions and peppers, tortillas and lettuce, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Tangy, lime-tequila grilled shrimp skewers, served with squash, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers make a popular entrée. Or try the chicken mole with a rich chocolate mole sauce. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SANTA FE RESTAURANT
801 Frenchmen St., 944-6854
The Southwestern dishes at Sante Fe include a Southwestern soft-shell crab in which a fried soft shell is served with a crawfish, wild pepper Cointreau sauce and beans, rice and plantains. The chicken Maximillian is a dish of four cheese-stuffed peppers and homemade chorizo wrapped in a chicken breast and fried. It's served topped with chili con queso. A nice start to any meal is the avocado, crabmeat and mango salad. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SERRANO'S SALSA COMPANY
4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-2354; www.serranossalsacompany.com
Serrano's features traditional fare with a twist from across Latin America. A variety of carne asada dishes offer grilled baby back ribs, orange and lime marinated pork roast, tenderized skirt steak or a combination of meats. Seafood specials feature Gulf shrimp, while burritos, tacos and other crowd-pleasing Mexican classics are also served. Serrano's seasonal menu features dishes like seared or bacon-wrapped scallops, goat cheese relleno, while their new drink menu -- due in February -- boasts 64 different tequilas and 45 rums in too many creative concoctions to list. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SUPERIOR GRILL
3636 St. Charles Ave., 899-4200
The house specialty of fajitas announce their approach from the kitchen to the dining room with the sound and aroma of sizzling beef, chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Before that main act, chill with a margarita and listen to a chorus of crunch from the chips and salsa. Other specialties like mesquite-grilled fish and baby back ribs give the fajitas a run for their money. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TAQUERIA CORONA
1827 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 738-6722; 3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-5088; 5932 Magazine St., 524-9805
Taqueria Corona is a popular Mexican eatery with chips and pico de gallo to start along with tart margaritas. A wide selection of tacos includes a fish taco with fine ribbons of red cabbage and a tartar sauce, while more traditional fillings include beef, chicken, chorizo sausage and even cow's tongue. Flautas fill fried tortillas with beef or shrimp and gooey melted cheese. Grilled green onions (cebollitas) are another unique offering. No Reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TAQUEROS TAQUERIA CANTINA
1423 St. Charles Ave., 525-9996; www.taqueroscoyoacan.com
A table at this beautifully converted restaurant building is your passport to the high-end cuisine of chef Guillermo Peters' native Mexico City. Tacos are served with traditional garnishes such as diced onions and cilantro. Entrée specialties include creative dishes like steak chipotle and the chile relleno de mixiote, a pepper stuffed with seasoned, slow-baked lamb served over blackberry-habanero coulis, griddled Mexican cheese and pecan cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TOMATILLO'S
437 Esplanade Ave., 945-9997; www.amexicanjoint.com
The Marigny's newest cantina offers popular Mexican dishes like chiles rellenos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas. Specialties of the house include chipotle-rubbed baby back ribs served with black beans and roasted corn and the avocado relleno, for which an avocado is breaded, stuffed with white queso cheese and deep fried. Appetizers include fish and shrimp ceviche, tortilla pizzas and Mexican oysters, topped with either spinach and queso or tomato, onions and peppers and then baked and served on the half shell. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

VERA CRUZ
7537 Maple St., 866-1736
Vera Cruz strives to bridge the best of Latin flavors, specializing in both Mexican and Cuban cuisine. On the Mexican side, try the Tres Amigos, three soft tacos with a choice of meat and topped with fresh pico de gallo. And, si, they have an excellent Cuban sandwich. Before you launch into entrees such as Guadalajara enchiladas and ropa viejo, start off with the housemade chips and margaritas. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MIDDLE EASTERN

BABYLON CAFÉ
7724 Maple St., 314-0010
While most Middle Eastern restaurants are known for their warm fresh pita, people travel to Babylon Café for its special rolls that are served hot and perfect for dipping in hummus or stuffing with a variety of marinated grilled meats. Main courses include large platters of chicken, lamb, kebabs and gyros. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. $

CAFÉ NILE
3100 Magazine St., 897-0920
Though the menu of kebabs, pita sandwiches and hummus plates will be familiar to fans of local Middle Eastern restaurants, Café Nile offers a different take on the classics, thanks to its blend of seasonings. A combination platter offers a sampling of house specialties while the lentil soup is perfect on a chilly day. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CLEOPATRA'S
2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-1113
An appetizer fit for a queen is The Cleopatra, a special that includes hummus, falafel, kibbeh, stuffed grape leaves and tahini salad. Mediterranean entrees include the kebab barg, a charbroiled strip of beef tenderloin served with grilled tomato, hummus, rice and a salad. The chef's vegetarian plate includes portions of couscous, hummus, falafel, baba ghanouj, vegetarian dolmeh and tabouleh. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MONA'S CAFÉ
504 Frenchmen St., 949-4115; 1120 S. Carrollton Ave.,861-8175; 3901 Banks St., 482-0661; 4126 Magazine St., 894-9800
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, tabouleh and a yogurt and cucumber salad. 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. $

PYRAMIDS CAFÉ
3151 Calhoun St., 861-9602; www.pyramidscafé.com
Pyramids offers a range of Middle Eastern dishes from hummus dip, falafel, Greek salads and stuffed grape leaves to appetizers like musabaha, a blend of hummus with whole chick peas, garlic and hot pepper. Entrees include chicken and beef shawarma, beef or lamb shish kebabs, and kafta kebabs using a mix of ground lamb with parsley, garlic and onion. No reservations. Delivery after 5 p.m. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MUSIC & FOOD

CAFÉ NEGRIL
606 Frenchmen St., 944-4744
Cecil Palmer is back cooking at this Marigny restaurant and music hall, which features reggae on the stage up front. Grab a Red Stripe or a tropical drink and prepare for spicy island flavors in dishes like curried goat, Caribbean roasted pork, duck, ox tails, Bahaman chowder and vegetarian plates. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CARROLLTON STATION
8140 Willow St., 865-9190
You don't have to leave this Uptown live music hotspot just because you get hungry. The grill offers a stick-to-your-ribs menu of sandwiches, burgers and fried appetizers. Daily specials include shrimp etouffée, spaghetti and meatballs and seafood platters. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE
501 Esplanade Ave., 281-4847
People head to Checkpoint Charlie's to hear music, play pool, do laundry and for the burgers. The grill is open 24 hours a day, and the small menu also includes bar food such as French fries, cheese sticks, chicken nuggets and cheese fries. The Cajun burger is a spicy half-pound burger served on a toasted bun with French fries. A few other sandwich options include fish and chicken sandwiches. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

CLUB 300 JAZZ RESTAURANT & LISTENING ROOM
300 Decatur St., 581-2534; www.neworleansjazzbistro.com
This new, two-story club combines jazz, swing nights, Latin music and other performances with fine-dining in the upper French Quarter. The kitchen serves dishes like filet mignon, lobster, pork loin and shrimp-stuffed grilled trout. In February, look for jazz dinner shows Wednesday through Saturday starting at 6:30 p.m. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

COLUMBIA STREET TAPROOM & GRILL
434 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 898-0899
Besides its wide selection of beers on tap, Columbia offers burgers and a café menu and features live music Wednseday to Saturday. There's a variety of gourmet burgers including a black and blue burger that is blackened in a skillet and served with blue cheese. Lunch plates feature dishes like grilled fish, blackened wahoo and fried trout. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

JIN JEAN'S LOUNGE
1700 Louisiana Ave., 894-8970; www.jinjeansjazz.com
This new Uptown jazz club gets its New Orleans flavor not just from the local performers booked for its stage but also from the kitchen. The dinner menu tantalizes with entrees from steaks to seafood. There's crawfish etouffée, seafood pasta and a marinated and grilled 20-oz. prime rib. Reservations recommended for large parties. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

LE BON TEMPS ROULE
4801 Magazine St., 895-2600
The good times can roll late into the night at this Uptown music spot and corner bar, and to keep up, regulars know they can always refuel at the tavern kitchen in the back room. Burgers, po-boys and quesadillas are among the specialties. During the Friday happy hour, an oyster shucker dishes out raw bivalves from 7 p.m. until the sack is empty. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MID CITY LANES ROCK 'N' BOWL
4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3133; www.rocknbowl.com
Fit some classic dinner fare in between bowling and dancing at Rock 'N' Bowl. There are burgers, cheese fries and classic late-night Americana to keep the good times rolling in Mid-City. Private catered parties can also choose from Louisiana favorites like jambalaya and gumbo. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PALM COURT JAZZ CAFÉ
1204 Decatur St., 525-0200; www.palmcourtcafé.com
The Palm Court offers the winning combination of traditional New Orleans jazz and Creole cooking. Starters include a traditional gumbo with chicken, andouille and okra. Equally traditional fare like shrimp Creole is popular at the supper club. Entrees include the crawfish Nantua, in which crawfish tails are flamed in a brandy cream sauce and served over rice. The chicken Ambrosia features chicken breasts sautéed with fennel in a Pernod sauce served over spinach pasta. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

RIVERSHACK TAVERN
3449 River Road, Jefferson, 834-4938; www.therivershacktavern.com
Overlooking the levee on River Road, the Rivershack has character to spare. Sort of a roadhouse, sort of a honky tonk, it's a casual spot to hear music, grab one of more than a dozen draft beers and even grab a bite to eat. The kitchen features burgers, sandwiches and other fun bar food, plus daily specials during weekday lunches. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

SNUG HARBOR JAZZ BISTRO
626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; www.snugjazz.com
While contemporary jazz greats like Ellis Marsalis or Davell Crawford serve up smooth tunes in the music hall, Snug Harbor's kitchen cooks up regional cuisine for diners in its bistro and front bar. The kitchen tries to stay even with its musical counterparts and offers up a solid menu with blue ribbon black Angus steaks including rib-eyes, filets, and New York strips, and maritime creations like barbecue shrimp or grilled tuna that comes with wild rice and salad. Reservations accepted. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$

STEAMBOAT NATCHEZ
Toulouse Street Wharf, 586-8777; www.steamboatnatchez.com
Take a river cruise on this authentic steamboat and enjoy the view, the Creole cuisine, wine and live jazz. Popular items include the pecan-crusted chicken and red beans with rice. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

NEIGHBORHOOD

ANGELI ON DECATUR
1141 Decatur St., 566-0077
This French Quarter eatery manages to please both tourists and locals. Watch classic movies projected on the wall while sampling a menu of gourmet pizzas, calzones, pitas, sandwiches and hamburgers. The divine portobello mushroom appetizer is just what the name implies. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Delivery available. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ DITALI
2104 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-0058
Check out the pastas, pizzas and Philly cheese steak sandwiches, but regulars love the Chicken Pomodori served with onions, bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, cooked in butter and covered in both Alfredo and marinara sauces. Calzones include meat-heavy options like a mix of pepperoni, ground beef, sausage and Canadian bacon with mozzarella and marinara. Reservations recommended for parties of 10 or more. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ FRERET
7329 Freret St., 861-7890
A casual spot for a meal at morning, noon or night, Café Freret puts the gris-gris on its regulars with the chef's voodoo burger ­ a half pound of ground chuck with sautéed onions and mushrooms smothered in the house "bomb" sauce and topped with bacon, provolone and choice of fixings. For an even heartier serving, the New Orleans Steakbomb delivers a portion of tender shaved steak with Swiss cheese, onions, mushrooms and bell peppers on toasted French bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Fri.-Wed. Credit cards. $$

C'EST SI BON
7457 St. Charles Ave., 865-8636
Replacing a series of gourmet delis, C'est Si Bon is a full-fledged restaurant that also offers professional catering. At lunch, the menu features grilled chicken breasts, towering blue cheese and bacon burgers, a veggie sandwich with portobellos, red peppers and zucchini as well as gumbo, shrimp etouffée and salads. Dinner adds dishes like fried calamari or pasta primavera with penne pasta and a garlic white wine sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

CHAD'S BISTRO
3216 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 838-9935; www.chadsbistro.com
There's something for everyone at Chad's Bistro, from fried seafood to pasta dishes and steaks. Options include the chicken Parmesan, an 8-oz. boneless breast grilled or fried and served in an Italian herb sauce over angel hair pasta with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Big enough for two people, the super seafood platter includes golden-fried shrimp, oysters, catfish, stuffed crab, stuffed shrimp, a jumbo soft-shell crab, plus a potato, salad and Texas toast. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHRISTY'S PO-BOYS
1102 Stumpf Blvd., Gretna, 368-6498
There's more at Christy's than just sandwiches. While there are pressed Cuban sandwiches of pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles, specials include many Spanish dishes, like the Friday and Saturday special of stewed oxtails served over rice with plantains. Or try the traditional ropa viejo, an entrée of shredded beef in red gravy served with rice, black beans and plantains. Fresh shakes are made with mango and papaya. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

COME BACK INN
8016 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 467-9316
Those who are in the know keep coming back to this neighborhood favorite for daily specials such as shrimp Creole, crawfish pasta or crawfish etouffée. Come Back is also popular for its overstuffed muffulettas -- a local's delight. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

COME BACK INN II
3826 Williams Blvd, Kenner, 443-1623
Daily lunch specials and a variety of sandwiches are prepared -- and sized -- to satisfy the heartiest appetite. The Joe-Don po-boy features slow-cooked roast beef in gravy on top of sliced ham and melted Swiss cheese. Soups change daily in a wide-ranging rotation; recent favorites include the Crawfish Boil soup and oyster artichoke soup. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DIMARTINO'S FAMOUS NEW ORLEANS MUFFULETTAS
1788 Carol Sue Ave., Terrytown, 392-7589; 3900 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 367-0227
The house specialty, the muffuletta, is served in small and large portions with housemade olive salad on toasted bread. Roast beef po-boys are generously piled with slow-cooked beef sliced thin and served with hot gravy. The Italian salad features grilled chicken on top of romaine lettuce with black olives, artichoke hearts, Parmesan cheese and a light Caesar dressing. Hit the Terrytown location on Fridays for an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DINO'S BAR & GRILL
1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900
This Warehouse bar offers solid food at affordable prices. Burgers, cheesesteaks, chicken Caesar wraps and crawfish etouffée mix on the menu with a variety of sandwiches including the Italian chicken one. Management says new menu items are coming soon. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

DRY DOCK CAFÉ
133 Deleronde St., 361-8240; www.thedrydockcafé.com
Hop off the Algiers Point ferry and into this neighborhood tavern where the kitchen turns out sandwiches, seafood platters, big salads and tempting bar munchies like mini-tacos and potato skins. The half-pound Bestbank burger is loaded with cheese, bacon, mushrooms and sautéed onions. Entrees include crawfish pasta in a creamy sauce topped with Parmesan cheese as well as changing specials like blackened redfish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $

FIORELLA'S CAFÉ
45 French Market Place and 1136 Decatur St., 528-9566
Fiorella's has entrances on both the French Market and Decatur Street sides for access to this lower Decatur institution. The kitchen is known for its fried chicken, but drop in for the daily specials and po-boys. No reservations. Breakfast weekends, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FRANKY & JOHNNY'S
321 Arabella St., 899-9146; www.frankyandjohnnys.com
A local legend for its boiled seafood and casual New Orleans classics, Franky & Johnny's has the vibe of the neighborhood joint down pat, from the lively bar in front to the nostalgic jukebox in the corner. Start with the fried bell pepper rings before taking on a platter of spicy boiled crawfish, fried chicken, alligator pie or a fried seafood po-boy. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FRIAR TUCK'S
5130 Freret St., 891-4080
This is a convenient place for both scholar and slacker to grab a beer, eat some food and watch a game or two. The kitchen offers the usual suspects of cheese fries, fried poppers, nachos and quesadillas. For those looking for a tasty burger, try the Western burger, a pound of beef with pepper-jack cheese and all the fixings. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FURY'S 724
Martin Berman Ave., Metairie, 834-5646
This casual neighborhood restaurant features a familiar lineup of Italian and seafood staples such as boiled and fried shrimp, prepared fish, veal Parmesan and stuffed manicotti. Also offering home-cooked fried chicken and red beans on Monday and hot gumbo every day, this eatery knows just how to comfort. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

GIORLANDO'S RESTAURANT
741 Bonnabel Blvd., Metairie, 835-8593
Po-boys served on crusty French bread are among the highlights at Giorlando's, which also offers shrimp fettuccine and other Creole and Italian-inspired favorites. There are fried seafood platters and pasta dishes like spaghetti with meatballs served with a homemade sauce. The muffuletta is popular, and Giorlando's cooks its own roast beef for po-boys. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

HENRY'S BAKERY & DELI
2313 St. Claude Ave., 944-2622
Miss Henry will tell you that she tries to give her guests everything they could want, including a snoball window during the sweltering summer months. Breakfast is a solid platter of eggs, grits, choice of meat, and toast. The menu of hot lunch plates includes a stewed Cornish hen with butter beans or mustard greens, stuffed peppers, baked macaroni, smothered chicken and smothered pork chops. Watch for king cakes. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards $

IGNATIUS
4200 Magazine St., 896-2225
You can "make" at least some of your groceries at this new Uptown joint, which stocks such New Orleans pantry staples as cans of red beans and bottles of hot sauce, but the kitchen can also make your meal happen on the premises. Seafood gumbo, roast beef po-boys, red beans and rice, jambalaya and bread pudding are part of the local hit parade of casual dishes served in a fun environment. Lunch and dinner. Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

JOEY K'S
3001 Magazine St., 891-0997; www.joeyksrestaurant.com
Creole pot cooking, fried seafood and 18-oz. frozen schooners of beer and margaritas are some of the specialties at this popular Uptown restaurant, where neighbors and families gather for inexpensive meals. The all-you-can-eat fried catfish deal caters to appetites that respond to a challenge while the daily blackboard specials offer still more options. Breakfast Sat., lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

KOYO'S OLD TOWNE BICYCLE SHOP
2267 Carey St., Slidell, (985) 641-1911
Ride by Koyo's for a roast beef po-boy made with slow-roasted beef cooked in house, sliced thin and dressed to order. There's also fresh grilled seafood from the Gulf. Try amberjack, yellowfin tuna or mahi mahi served on sandwiches or platters. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

LA FINCA
542 Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 512-1993
La Finca is a new bar in Mid-City with a small menu from the kitchen. The most popular options include burgers and ham sandwiches, but there are also south-of-the-border options like tacos and fajitas. Hot specials include dishes like stewed pork. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

LA PENICHE
1940 Dauphine St., 743-1360
They call La Peniche a neighborhood restaurant, which makes you wish every neighborhood had a place like this. Drop by in the morning for eggs Benedict served with homemade hollandaise sauce, or four-egg omelets or waffles, and plenty of different specials. Sandwiches include a BLT, a club, roast beef, turkey, ham or catfish. The Katherine Burger has ham, Swiss cheese and grilled onions. Entrees include chicken-fried steak, pork chops and evening specials. Everything on the menu, except specials, can be had at anytime of the day. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $

LI'L DIZZY'S CAFÉ
1500 Esplanade Ave., 569-8997
This neighborhood breakfast and lunch joint on the edge of Treme keeps locals happy with hearty, inexpensive takes on New Orleans favorites. Waffles are topped with strawberries or bananas and served with a side of ham, bacon or sausage. Lunch options include po-boys, gumbo and other daily soup selections, a salad bar and plates such as trout Baquet, pork chops, rib-eye steak or shrimp or catfish platters served with a salad and two sides. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch Mon.-Fri. $

LIUZZA'S BY THE TRACK
1518 N. Lopez St., 218-7888
Liuzza's serves its small but popular menu of po-boys and Creole gumbo during the day. Sandwiches include garlic oyster, barbecue shrimp, fried catfish and roast beef po-boys. There's also a burger on the menu. The bar is open on Sundays but the kitchen isn't. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

LIUZZA'S RESTAURANT AND BAR
3636 Bienville St., 482-9120; www.liuzzas.com
Some things almost never change. After a Katrina hiatus, Liuzza's business is back to normal, serving beer and soft drinks in its famous frosted mugs. The busy dining room is still a good place to bite into a Frenchuletta -- Liuzza's take on the muffuletta -- served hot on a formidable length of French bread with grilled meats, imported cheese and housemade olive salad. The popular crawfish Telemachus is also back, with crawfish in cream sauce over pasta, served with garlic bread and coleslaw No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Cash only. $$

LORETTA'S TOO/HE-BREW
2101 N. Rampart St., 944-7068
Loretta's is a good choice when you're in the Marigny and are looking for a good cup of joe and some hearty and affordable faire. From the bakery side, try treats like banana bread, muffins, cookies and pralines. Daily lunch plates include specials like red beans with smoked sausage or meatloaf with mashed potatoes and green beans. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $

MAPLE STREET CAFÉ
7623 Maple St., 314-9003; www.maplecafé.net
Maple Street Café has been a staple for Uptown diners for many years and deservedly so. The menu presents guests with a nice variety of choices -- appetizers like oysters almandine with a white wine lemon butter, and for the main course there is Jameel Duck, a boneless duck breast with blueberry cognac. It's satisfying for lunch or dinner. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$

OAK STREET CAFÉ
8140 Oak St., 866-8710; www.oakstreetcafé.com
Even in New Orleans, there are few restaurants where live music accompanies the food service on a daily basis, but you can get plenty of both at Oak Street. Pianist Charles Farmer plays jazz standards and show tunes while the wait staff serves up Eggs Beauregard, biscuits topped with sausage, poached eggs and gravy; donuts; and thick pancakes with pecans. Farmer keeps the music flowing through lunch, which features a variety of po-boys and club sandwiches. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

OSCAR'S RESTAURANT & BAR
2027 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-9540
Oscar's is best known for its juicy burgers and over-stuffed baked potatoes, but also notable is the bar and grill's version of a local favorite sandwich. In addition to olive salad, the Oscarletta features Italian salami, mortadella and ham, plus Swiss and Monterey jack cheeses. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

P & G RESTAURANT
345 Baronne St., 525-9678
This busy downtown eatery has been around for more than 25 years. Regulars come by for breakfasts of pancakes, omelets, and other morning favorites. For lunch, feast on a po-boy or one of the daily specials like red beans and rice, fried shrimp or catfish. There's also seafood gumbo, shrimp Creole and more. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PAPANINI'S COFFEE BISTRO
235 Derbigny St., Gretna, 371-5015
Papanini's offers sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, along with soups and salads for the latter. Among the grilled paninis and wraps, the barbecue pork wrap (pork, bacon, and provolone) is a favorite, or try the Philly Melt, Papanini's version of the Philly cheese steak. Breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and bacon or ham are served on a choice of biscuit, croissant or wrap, which come in white, wheat or tomato-basil varieties. No reservations. Delivery available. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

PARKWAY BAKERY & TAVERN
538 Hagan St., 482-3047
The bar on the Bayou St. John side of this old-school po-boy shop hosts a solid roster of live music Thursday through Saturday nights. On the other side, the kitchen prepares New Orleans cuisine, with roast beef and shrimp po-boys, and the new meatball po-boy -- perfect with cold bottles of Barq's. Family friendly. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.- Mon. Cash and credit cards. $

PETUNIA'S
817 St. Louis St., 522-6440; www.petuniasrestaurant.com
This homey neighborhood joint does breakfast right. Morning options include pain perdu, "white cloud" omelets filled with asparagus and broccoli, Cajun sausage (andouille and boudin) with eggs, and a series of crepes named after saints (Marie, Michael, Peter and James) all with your choice of ham or chicken. They're available for lunch as well. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

QUARTER VIEW RESTAURANT
613 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, 887-3456
Seafood is the specialty at the Quarter View, where the platter of fried shrimp, oysters and fish is built upon a foundation of stuffed crab and soft-shell crab. Or opt for the grilled oysters with garlic butter sauce served with French bread for mopping the plate clean. Still hungry? Try the trout stuffed with crabmeat dressing and topped with crawfish cream sauce. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

RICCOBONO'S PEPPERMILL
3524 Severn Ave., Metairie, 455-2266
Riccobono serves all three of the day's meals, but is a favorite breakfast spot for many. Start off the day with an "Eye Opener" like a bloody Mary or Irish coffee, or a tasty special like the crabcake Benedict: two poached eggs nested on blue crabcakes topped with hollandaise. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

SCHIRO'S CAFÉ & BAR
2483 Royal St., 944-6666; www.schrioscafé.com
This Marigny corner store/café provides its neighbors with groceries, a bar, laundry machines and even a guesthouse for out-of-town visitors. But what brings regulars back to its colorful dining room and sidewalk tables are inexpensive renditions of New Orleans comfort food and specialties such as lasagna, stewed chicken and rice and fried catfish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.- Sat. Credit cards. $

SIDEBAR CAFÉ
620 Conti St., 681-0911
Just across the street from the Louisiana Supreme Court building with a corner spot on Exchange Alley, Sidebar Café is a quaint café offering a variety of dishes and Sunday crawfish boils. The menu ranges from fish tacos made with mahi mahi and topped with corn chutney to burgers and Creole white beans with andouille sausage. There are entrees like chicken cacciatore and the citrus chicken sandwich features chicken marinated in an orange vinaigrette and served with avocado, lettuce, tomato and red onion on grain bread. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

YE OLDE COLLEGE INN
3000 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-3683; www.colleginn1933.com
A New Orleans tradition since 1933, the College Inn is now operated by the Blancher family of Mid City Lanes Rock 'N' Bowl fame and is in a new location right next door to its original building. And that's not all that's changed. While the menu still features po-boys and its popular fried veal cutlet, the kitchen spins out creations like barbecue shrimp and broiled speckled trout with a pecan pesto sauce topped with lump crabmeat. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PAN-ASIAN

ASIAN PACIFIC CAFÉ
3125 Esplanade Ave., 945-1919
A renovated cottage with a wraparound porch and views of huge live oak trees is home to this eclectic and friendly Asian café serving sushi and many cooked dishes from the cuisines of the Philippines, Japan and China. Try an Asian version of "chip and dip" by dunking fried wonton wafers into the tuna tartar and its special sweet and spicy sauce or reel in the "cream mermaid" for fried wonton skins stuffed with Louisiana shrimp and cream cheese. The beef maki features thinly sliced beef rolled around asparagus, grilled and served with a teriyaki sauce. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

ASIAN SUPER BUFFET
3900 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 712-0899
You'd be hard pressed to name any popular pan-Asian food item not included in the long and strong buffet line here, which boasts a seemingly infinite supply of everything from sushi to tempura to sweet and sour chicken. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BAMBU AT HARRAH'S CASINO
4 Canal St., 533-6000; www.harrahs.com
Bambu, featuring local chef Richard Toy, presents a fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cooking. Toy offers many of the classics like barbecue duck, but also creates his own original dishes such as the honey wasabi shrimp and his take on the New Orleans classic, bananas Foster. No reservations. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ EAST
4628 Rye St., Metairie, 888-0078; www.caféeastnola.com
Café East crafts an upscale and creative take on many traditional Chinese and southeast Asian dishes, complementing them with an extensive wine list. Entrees include coconut-poached salmon, honey walnut shrimp, marinated and wok-seared boneless duck served with ginger soy glaze and Thai-style red snapper. The menu picks up cues from Japan, Mongolia and many Chinese regional cuisines. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $

CAFÉ EQUATOR
2920 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-4772
Café Equator proves that you don't have to sail to zero latitude in order to enjoy international cuisine. With house specialties of pad Thai and pad woon zen -- clear noodles sautéed with chicken, shrimp, bean sprouts, shitake mushrooms, onions and zucchini -- culinary paradise is never too far away. An extensive Thai menu is available. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

KING BUFFET
601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-4383
This bustling buffet restaurant claims the title of king because there are so many dishes from a wide variety of Asian cuisines. Chinese standards comprise the greatest number of dishes, with such regulars as beef with broccoli and sweet-and-sour chicken. But there also are dishes from Thailand and some Japanese specialties as well. And there are plenty of sweet desserts. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MANDARIN HOUSE
3501 Severn Ave., Metairie, 779-0888
The buffet at Mandarin house offers roughly 300 items between its Chinese dishes, some sushi, the seafood bar and dessert bar. The seafood bar has boiled shrimp, fried and steamed fish, blue crabs and more. Meat dishes range from barbecue pork to teriyaki chicken. Desserts feature cakes, cookies and fresh fruit. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Sun.-Tue. Credit cards. $

PANASIA
500 St. Charles Ave., 525-4555
Panasia bridges the gap between Thai and American cuisine. Thai favorites include pad Thai, the tom yan (spicy and sour with tomatoes and mushrooms) and the pagoda basil. The café has pretty views of St. Charles Avenue and Lafayette Square. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PIZZA

BROOKLYN PIZZA
2701 Airline Drive, Metairie, 833-1288
New York-style pies are the preferred choice at Brooklyn Pizza. Assemble your own version with a selection of toppings including pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, black olives, banana peppers, salami and ricotta cheese. Brooklyn offers hero-style sandwiches, all available hot, and also a hearty Philly cheesesteak. Plus, there are many Italian salads and pasta dishes. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFÉ NINO
1510 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-9200
Though most of the pizza at Café Nino is thin crusted, call ahead to preorder the thick crust Sicilian. This pie inspired by the famous Italian island takes an hour to cook, but it's well worth the wait. Entrees include Italian dishes like baked ziti, spaghetti, meat and pasta combinations and calzones. If you're in the mood for a sandwich, try the Philly cheesesteak, meatball sub or chicken sandwich. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Checks. $

CAFÉ ROMA
Citywide
This 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. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

DITALI'S PIZZA
8160 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 393-1160
Ditali's specializes in New York-style thin-crust pizza, hearty pasta entrees and succulent sandwiches. Sink your teeth into a Philly-style cheesesteak, dripping with peppers, cheese and onions. Or make your own pizza from the variety of toppings. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

FRESCO'S CAFÉ AND PIZZERIA
7625 Maple St., 862-6363; www.frescocafé.us
Pizza is the hallmark here, but don't forget about Fresco's Middle Eastern specialties like the Greek salad or the spinach and feta triangles. Try the chicken portobello stromboli with chicken, mozzarella, portobello mushrooms and a spicy red pepper sauce, or the popular Italian stromboli with sausage and cheese. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ISABELLA'S PIZZERIA
4250 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 674-5700; 70452 Hwy. 21, Covington, (985) 875-7620
Heaping gourmet pies are the main attraction at these Northshore pizza restaurants. Spinach or artichoke with pesto or garlic-herb sauce are delicious green options. Heartier appetites can opt for the 16-inch Isabella pizza, which is laden with everything. Or if you can't make up your mind, the Four Seasons has a quarter each of four different gourmet pies. Reservations accepted for large groups. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ITALIAN PIE
Citywide; www.italianpierestaurants.com
Loaded pizzas are the calling card for Italian Pie, but it features many of the same Mediterranean ingredients in its calzones, salads, pastas and sandwiches. Specialty pies include the Combination with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers, black olives; roasted garlic with chicken or shrimp; and 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. $

LOOP PIZZA GRILL
1119 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 624-8099; www.looppizzagrill.com
While the Pizza Grill offers thick or thin crusts and gourmet pizzas like the portobello pie with portobello mushrooms, pesto, Roma tomatoes, smoked bacon, Asiago cheese, caramelized onions and herbs, the menu covers a lot of bases. There's a wide range of salads, sandwiches, wraps and a kid's menu. Desserts include hand-dipped shakes with add-ons like Oreos and Butterfingers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

LOUISIANA PIZZA KITCHEN
95 French Market Place, 522-9500; 615 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-5900
The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen offers gourmet pizzas like the Kitchen Sink, which piles on pepperoni, Italian sausage, bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, Kalamata olives and mozzarella cheese. There is also a large menu of salads, pita wraps, calzones and pasta dishes. The chicken Marsala features roasted chicken with Roma tomatoes, red onions and mushrooms in a wine and pesto cream sauce, served over fettuccine and topped with Parmesan cheese. The French Quarter location offers favorites like the crawfish etouffée pie and has a very large wine list. Reservations for large parties only. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MARK TWAIN'S PIZZA LANDING
2035 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-8032; marktwainspizza.com
Come ashore at this Metairie landmark and fill up on any of the house specialty pizzas. Most curious is the "Mysterious Stranger" -- topped off with feta cheese, Canadian bacon or hot sausage, and a choice of vegetable -- a secret to the kitchen until you decide. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

MO'S PIZZA
1112 Avenue H, Westwego, 341-9650; www.mospizza.net
Mo's name is about the only small thing you'll find at this neighborhood pizzeria. The pizzas measure almost 21 inches across and are available in many different combinations from the meat pizza with pepperoni, sausage, meatballs and ham to the Supreme, which adds olives and vegetables. Mo's also makes sandwiches, including a gigantic muffuletta, a meatball sandwich on French bread and a sausage and pepper po-boy. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

NEW YORK PIZZA
5201 Magazine St., 891-2376
Doing its namesake city proud, New York Pizza serves up thin-crust pies with a wide variety of toppings. The Super Big Apple pizza piles on almost every ingredient in the kitchen, while straight-up pepperoni or onion and pepper combinations are classic. There is sidewalk seating outside in addition to a few seats inside the busy shop. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA
Citywide; www.papajohns.com
Papa John's offers all sorts of specialty pies and meal deals for take-out or delivery. Specialty pies include barbecue chicken and bacon, Hawaiian barbecue, spinach Alfredo, spicy Italian and The Works. Sides include garlic Parmesan breadsticks, cheese sticks, breadsticks, wings in a spicy Buffalo or mild barbecue sauce and chicken strips. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

PIZZA FLORENCE
4445 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-7888
In spite of the name, Pizza Florence serves food that spans Greek and Italian cuisines. The chicken Caesar wrap combines sliced chicken breast, homemade Caesar dressing, mozzarella cheese and lettuce and bakes it in the oven. Seafood pasta features shrimp and crawfish over penne pasta with Alfredo sauce and is served with garlic bread and a salad. The namesake Florence Supreme specialty pizza loads on the pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, olives and green peppers. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

R & O'S PIZZA PLACE
216 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 831-1248
R&O's has an extensive menu with everything from pizza and traditional Italian dishes to po-boys, fried seafood platters and the restaurant's famous hot tamales. Gravy fries -- brown gravy with bits of roast beef over French fries -- are a local legend, but probably should come with a pillow for the required nap afterwards. No reservations. Lunch Wed.-Sun., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $

REGINELLI'S PIZZERIA741 State St., 899-1414; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 712-6868; 3244 Magazine St., 895-7272; 5608 Citrus Blvd., Jefferson, 818-0111; www.reginellis.com
Reginelli's serves up a wide range of pizzas with different international flavors as well as salads and appetizers. The hefty Mediterranean pizza is loaded with roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, spinach and roasted red peppers with a garlic herb sauce. Among the most popular salads is one featuring marinated chicken breast on a bed of mixed greens with green apples, gorgonzola, roma tomatoes and roasted pecans tossed in a balsamic citrus vinaigrette. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROCKY'S OLD NEW ORLEANS BAR & PIZZA JOINT
3222 Magazine St., 891-5152
Rocky's serves knock-out versions of pizza with a New Orleans spin, with such specialties as the Magazine Street with pepperoni, sausage, tasso and mushrooms and the Irish Channel with shrimp and crawfish sautéed in onions and butter and topped with feta cheese. Sandwiches include the Sicilian roast beef panini which is a toasted pita filled with thinly sliced roast beef, sun-dried tomato pesto, provolone cheese, Roma tomatoes, sliced onions and garlic mayonnaise. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ROMAN PIZZA
7329 Cohn St., 866-1166; www.eatromanpizza.com
You can create your own version of the ultimate pizza, or go with one of the kitchen's inspirations like the Roman Special Pizza with pepperoni, salami, ham, black olives and onions. Dinner entrees include lasagna, chicken with alfredo sauce over pasta or a number of different salads. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

ROTOLO'S PIZZERIA
201 Decatur St., 948-3287; www.rotolos.com
Rotolo's features the heavyweight of pizzas: the Five Pound Pizza. The 18-inch pie is loaded with pepperoni, sausage, Canadian bacon, ground beef, bacon, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, black olives and cheddar cheese. For a local touch, there are both Muffuletta pizzas or calzones, which include pepperoni, salami, Canadian bacon, olive salad and mozzarella cheese. The menu also features salads, sandwiches, wraps and a few Italian pasta dishes. Delivery is available in the French Quarter and some downtown areas. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

SLICE
1513 St. Charles Ave., 525-7437
Order one slice at a time or go for the whole pie at this dimly-lit, stylishly designed café where the best pizzas are often the ones you invent from the long list of classic and offbeat toppings. The New York-style pizza starts with a thin, crisp crust while the Sicilian style has a thicker crust and a choice of red or white sauces. The kitchen also makes paninis, salads and pasta dishes and a children's menu takes care of the bambinos. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

THEO'S PIZZA
4218 Magazine St., 894-8554; www.theospizza.com
Theo's takes thin-crust pizza to another level with a distinctive cracker-like base for its pies. From there, the toppings seem limited only by the imagination, with the Eccentric specialty pizza packing garlic, chicken, spinach, peppers, feta, jalapenos, yellow squash, spicy tomatoes, pepper jack, Parmesan and mozzarella. Stop in Mondays or Tuesdays for $1 beers or Wednesdays for $10 bottles of wine. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT PIZZA
1068 Magazine St., 529-1466
Now at home underneath the elevated Crescent City Connection approach, Warehouse District Pizza serves up its pies with traditional red sauce or the house specialty spicy sauce. Lunch plates like shrimp Creole with rice, salad and bread on Fridays add more variety to the menu. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

WIT'S INN
141 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1600; www.witsinn.com
This Mid-City bar expanded its kitchen when it reopened after Katrina and now offers a full range of pizzas, calzones, muffulettas and salads. The shrimp Florentine pizza is one of the popular specialty pies, as is the Creole Italian pizza: shrimp, feta, Roma tomatoes and pesto. Salads include a Caprese salad with mozzarella, basil and Roma tomatoes, and the pesto shrimp and pasta Caesar salad. On the hot side, toasted sandwiches include a meatball sub and a hot ham-and-cheese melt. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SANDWICHES & PO-BOYS

13
517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345; www.13monaghan.com
Almost anytime of the day you can find a lively, friendly crowd at the bar and sit down for a meal. At breakfast, try the bacon, egg and cheese served on sourdough bread. Later in the day, 13 offers a line of sandwiches that go from tofu to pulled pork. No reservations. Delivery available. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BARCIA'S GROCERY
3633 Annunciation St., 899-9111
The corner grocery is a fixture in New Orleans neighborhoods, and this one serves generous examples of some fixtures of the local diet. Po-boys, red beans and rice and fried pork chops are popular choices. In the morning, the kitchen cooks convenient items for breakfast on-the-go. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., early dinner Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

BEAR'S RESTAURANT
128 W. 21st St., Covington, (985) 892-5252
Po-boys big enough to satisfy a bear-size appetite are the calling card of this Northshore favorite, where the specialty roast beef po-boys covered in either gravy or homemade barbecue sauce move over the counter constantly. Shrimp, chicken and cheeseburger po-boys are also heavy-hitters. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat. Checks. $

BRUNO'S TAVERN
7583 Maple St., 861-7615; www.brunostavern.com
A local hang-out for both college students and those who have closed their textbooks long ago, Bruno's has been slinging drinks and helping college students get bent since 1934. The tavern's ever-expanding menu is available throughout the day and includes such temptations as Boudreaux cheese fries made with sweet potato fries smothered with roast beef debris, gravy and blue cheese. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ FRESCA
4441 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 887-2010
Café Fresca is a casual spot to drop in for homemade soup, salads, sandwiches and regular specials such as the fried chicken club salad with crumbled bacon, avocado, chopped egg, tomatoes and croutons over fresh greens. The Sante Fe pita offers a good taste of the southwest, featuring marinated and chargrilled chicken breast topped with mashed avocado, tomato and onion relish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFÉ PONTCHARTRAIN AT TREASURE CHEST CASINO
5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (800) 298-0711; www.treasurechest.com
If you're looking for a quick bite at the Treasure Chest, stop by the café for sandwiches. There are also daily specials like stuffed peppers with dirty rice, meat lasagna, chicken-fried steak and spaghetti and meatballs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CAJUN MIKE'S PUB 'N' GRUB
116 Baronne St., 566-0055; www.cajunmikes.com
Cheapskates all over town know about "Welfare Wednesdays" with $1 domestic beers and orders of appetizers for a buck. Cajun Mike's is also a spot to grab some bar food or sandwiches. Patrons can graze on wings, Texas toothpicks (onions and jalapenos fried in onion ring batter), poppers and seafood gumbo. The sandwich options include a Cuban sandwich, cochon de lait, shrimp and oyster po-boys. Mondays feature red beans and rice with sausage. No reservations. Lunch, dinner, and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

CENTRAL GROCERY
925 Decatur St., 523-1620
The legend lives on at this landmark of Italian-New Orleans eating on Decatur Street. Though the shelves are stocked with all kinds of imported Italian meats and cheeses, seasonings and canned goods, most visitors head straight to the counter to order a muffuletta stacked with salty meats, smooth cheese and luscious olive salad. A Barq's longneck root beer makes the perfect accompaniment. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

COOTER BROWN'S
509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104
Sports are always in season at New Orleans' most popular hangout for fans. Cooter's is home to not only countless television screens on which to watch the big game, but also a menu known for good pub grub. Fried seafood, burgers, wings, grilled alligator sausage and sandwiches are all prepared in the kitchen. When oysters are in season, the shucker is constantly busy serving them on the half shell. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CRABBY JACK'S
428 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 833-2722
Chef Jack Leonardi's lunch spot is as creative with po-boys as his restaurant Jacques Imo's is with Cajun and Creole dishes. Crabby Jack's takes fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade and turns it into a po-boy on French bread. Other po-boys include uncommon options like fried rabbit. Jack's also offers smoked barbecue ribs. Side dishes include items like jambalaya, dirty rice and potato salad. No reservations. Delivery available for orders of more than $100. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

DANNY & CLYDE'S
Citywide; www.dannyandclydes.com
Danny & Clyde's made its name with classic po-boys and sandwiches. Fried seafood, muffulettas and roast beef are the mainstays. Danny & Clyde's also offers them in wraps for the carb conscious. Dinner plates also are 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. $

DIXIE GYROS
110 Carondelet St., 523-6614
There's Middle Eastern aplenty at this CBD mainstay. Sandwich options include gyros, souvlaki, falafel, koufta kabobs and hot sausage (stuffed into a pita and topped with diced salad and tahini sauce). Traditional po-boys and beignets are also available. Need a bite for breakfast? Have a cheese omelet, pancakes or a Greek omelet with feta cheese and pita bread. No reservations. Delivery available. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

DOMILISE'S PO-BOYS
5240 Annunciation St., 899-9126
The quintessential corner joint, Domilise's serves po-boys, chips, cold beer and not much else. The dining room is tiny but crammed with local color, from the faded ads on the walls to the bright faces eagerly waiting for the women in the kitchen to holler out their number and collect po-boys of shrimp, barbecue beef or pepper wiener. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

THE GROCERY
2854 St. Charles Ave., 895-9524; www.thegroceryneworleans.com
Pressing decisions await at the counter of this Uptown corner deli, which specializes in hot, pressed sandwiches. The chicken pesto melt pays off with sliced chicken breast, provolone, sun-dried tomato pesto, sautéed onions and Creole mayo all grilled in the press on French bread while the Milan special delivers a roast beef po-boy pressed the same way with onions, garlic horseradish mayo and cheese. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Checks. $

GUY'S PO-BOYS
5259 Magazine St., 891-5025
Guy's is a popular lunch spot on the edge of the university neighborhoods. Hot roast beef po-boys feature home-cooked beef and homemade gravy. Other popular po-boys include a familiar range of fried seafood options. For a change of pace there are daily specials. Wednesday brings homemade meatballs over spaghetti served with a salad and bread. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

HEAVENLY HAM
5300 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-5100; www.heavenlyham.com
Pigs may not have wings, but the ham sandwiches fly out of the Uptown branch of this popular deli and catering business. Smoked turkey, roast beef and ham salad, among other selections, are available on croissants, whole grain loaves or French bread. Box lunches are complete with a drink and a cookie for a meal on the run. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

JOHNNY'S PO-BOY RESTAURANT
511 St. Louis St., 524-8129
Johnny's has been serving po-boys since 1950 with the slogan, "Even my failures are edible." The shrimp and hot sausage po-boys are favorites among locals and visitors huddle around the red-checked-cloth covered tables digging into monster-sized sandwiches on soft French bread. The roast beef po-boys are near to perfection; the kitchen uses beef from the inside round and slow cooks the debris, tenderizing it while it bathes in gravy. No reservations. Lunch daily. Cash only. $

KOZ'S
6215 Wilson St., Harahan, 737-3933; www.kozcooks.com
Koz's offers a wide selection of po-boys -- plus soups, salads and dinner specials -- especially with fried seafood that merit its slogan: "I can't believe I ate the whole loaf!" Garlic-stuffed roast beef is cooked daily for po-boys, which are served with gravy. Fried chicken plates come with a choice of side dishes like baked macaroni, chili cheese fries, onion rings and potato salad. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

MAGAZINE PO-BOY SHOP
2368 Magazine St., 522-3107
Po-boys aren't the only thing cooking at this corner joint in the Garden District. The soft-shell crab platter includes fried soft shells served with French fries and a salad or vegetable. The muffuletta po-boy layers ham, salami, Swiss cheese and olive salad on French bread, served hot or cold. For lunch on a loaf, the beef and ham po-boy combines two layers of meat, hot gravy, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mayo on French bread. There are many po-boys and daily specials to choose from. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

MIKE SERIO'S PO-BOYS & DELI
133 St. Charles Ave., 523-2668
No surprises at Mike Serio's, but who wants to be surprised when what you really want is a good muffuletta or a mouth-watering fried oyster po-boy? If you're feeling a little adventurous, try one of their daily plate lunch specials like jambalaya, spaghetti and meatballs, or crawfish etouffée. CBD denizens and downtown workers all know a bargain when they see one. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

MOJO'S FROZEN CUSTARD
1507 Metairie Road, Metairie, 837-8990
There's far more than the signature custard at this Metairie restaurant. Breakfast options include egg and cheese sandwiches and assorted muffins and cinnamon rolls. For lunch or dinner, choose among hot or cold sandwiches, paninis and a variety of salads, all of which are available as wraps. The frozen custard rivals traditional ice cream, and Mojo warns that one taste will get you hooked. Under new ownership. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $

MOTHER'S RESTAURANT
401 Poydras St., 523-9656; www.mothersrestaurant.net
Best known for its signature debris po-boy, all of the po-boys here are served with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce, Creole mustard or yellow mustard and pickles. Mother's also serves breakfast all day and Creole dishes including crawfish etouffée, shrimp Creole, Jerry's Jambalaya and seafood gumbo. Special po-boys include the Ferdi with baked ham and roast beef, and the Ralph, which is a Ferdi with cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

OBEE'S SOUP-SALAD-SUBS
920 Gravier St., 589-0077; www.nolaobees.com
Downtown office workers duck into Obee's for breakfast croissants with eggs and cheese and a choice of ham or sausage or for more traditional breakfast combos. The second rush of the day comes at lunchtime when customers get soups, subs, salads and sandwiches like the popular Italian with ham, capicola, salami and provolone cheese. No reservations. Delivery available in limited area. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

PARASOL'S RESTAURANT & BAR
2533 Constance St., 899-2054; www.parasols.com
This classic Irish Channel pub is famous for its roast beef po-boys, served from the back kitchen dripping with gravy and tender bits of meat. Crisp oysters and shrimp are fried as plates or po-boys, as are some unexpected bar snacks like fried pickles and boudin balls. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PARRAN'S PO BOYS
3939 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-3416
The self-proclaimed home of the seafood muffuletta, Parran's has a huge range of sandwiches from the club to chuck burgers to traditional po-boys such as ham and cheese, shrimp and oyster. But you'll find po-boys such as tuna steak, grilled Genoa salami and a prime rib po-boy that are hard to find on other menus around town. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat, dinner Fri. Credit cards. $

QUIZNOS
Citywide; www.quiznos.com
Cheesesteaks, Italian subs and brisket are among the newest offerings at area Quiznos. The growing sub shop chain offers everything from BLTs 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. Breakfast items available at some locations. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RADOSTA'S
249 Aris Ave, Metairie, 831-1537
Yes, it's a po-boy shop, but it is an eatery with a number of original po-boys including Don's Special Po-boy, chopped olive salad over homemade Italian sausage patties. Not to be outdone is the Joan's Special -- shrimp sautéed with butter and herbs. The soups -- white bean, shrimp and corn, and gumbo -- are not to be missed. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

ROLY POLY SANDWICHES
One Shell Square, 701 Poydras St., 561-9800; 5409 Tchoupitoulas St., 891-8373; www.rolypolyusa.com
The options are dizzying at this rolled-sandwich shop, making lunch a suddenly difficult choice. For example, the Peachtree Melt comes with baked ham, Swiss and brie, peaches and pepper relish, and it is served with a side of fresh dill horseradish sauce. Vegetarians can choose from a wide array of wraps stuffed with spinach or pineapple and cheese or hummus and provolone cheese. Soups and salads are also served. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

SHAGGY'S SEAFOOD AND SANDWICH SHOP
4413 Banks St., 484-4440
Shaggy's offers everything from boiled seafood to po-boys, hot dogs and daily specials. Besides hot dogs dressed with sauerkraut, sweet relish or chili, there's a beer bratwurst topped with spicy brown mustard. Po-boys include hot sausage and seafood varieties. Tuesday features pork chops, but the preparations vary weekly. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

SHORT STOP PO-BOYS
119 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 885-4572
Long on flavor and tradition, Short Stop Po-boys does the New Orleans classics proud. The roast beef is prepared in-house with a rich gravy or barbecue sauce, and there are four different types of sausage from which to choose. Fried crawfish tails provide a different spin on seafood po-boys, and the four-meat special puts all the most popular cold cuts together on one sandwich. Stop in Fridays for seafood gumbo or any day for the chicken and sausage variety. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

SOUTHERN PO-BOYS
720 Claiborne Drive, Jefferson, 835-3035
A po-boy done right is a delight on par with any gourmet dish, and Southern Po-Boys knows how to dress your sandwich right, from roast beef with gravy to fried shrimp and oyster, chicken-fried steak and veal. Try a seafood muffuletta for a change of pace and grab an order of fried okra on the side. Daily specials include beef stew over rice, baked lasagna, barbecue chicken and gumbo. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

SUBWAY
Citywide; www.subway.com
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, wraps and toasted sandwiches like the chicken and bacon ranch sandwich. 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. $

SEAFOOD

II TONYS ITALIAN RESTAURANT AND SEAFOOD
105 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 831-0999; www.two-tonys.com
Creole and Italian dishes come together on II Tonys' menu. Baked eggplant Samantha piles layers of fried eggplant with imported ham, mozzarella and Romano cheeses and fresh basil cream sauce studded with shrimp. Speckled trout is lightly fried and served with crabmeat and a pimento cream sauce. Other dishes include a range of pastas, fried seafood platters and the Montalbano, an entrée of either panéed veal or chicken topped with mozzarella and a Creole mushroom meuniere sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ACME OYSTER & SEAFOOD HOUSE
724 Iberville St., 522-5973; 1202 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 246-6155; 3000 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 309-4056; www.acmeoyster.com
The original Acme is, of course, the longtime French Quarter favorite for fresh-shucked oysters. But the menu at area locations also includes all sorts of seafood and shellfish, 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 etouffée. Red beans, burgers and smoked sausage po-boys are there for the less sea-worthy. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

ADAMS CATFISH HOUSE
8523 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 392-0541
For nearly three decades, Adam's has specialized in catfish, serving it grilled, fried and even creating catfish salad along the lines of tuna salad, which it then serves atop greens. The whole fish platter is a whole bone-in fish served with French fries, hush puppies and slaw. Adams also offers a children's menu and dinner starters that are good for grazing, such as the fried onion, fried vegetables and fried pickles. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

BIG DADDY'S SEAFOOD
1023 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 301-1907
While Big Daddy's is a seafood market that primarily offers fresh seafood, it also carries some prepared foods to go, like seafood gumbo. But there's seating for patrons to order different types of boiled seafood and dine in. Big Daddy's also caters crawfish boils. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

BOURBON HOUSE SEAFOOD AND OYSTER BAR
144 Bourbon St., 522-0111; www.bourbonhouse.com
With large picture windows separating Bourbon Street from the tables at Bourbon House, there's a touch of excitement and a taste of Creole cooking inside. Redfish on the half shell is grilled skin-on and served with a side of lemon butter sauce. Diners can sweeten the deal by adding the optional crabmeat with a chardonnay broth. From the raw bar, a platter of fruits of the sea include fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell, boiled Gulf shrimp, marinated crab fingers, roasted calamari and marinated seasonal seafood salads. Breakfast Thu.-Mon, lunch and dinner daily. Reservations recommended. Credit cards. $$$

BOZO'S
3117 21st St., Metairie, 831-8666
When it comes to seafood, Bozo's is certainly not clowning around. A hearty meal starts with chicken and andouille gumbo with okra or raw oysters on the half shell before moving on to a big platter of either shrimp, oysters or catfish served with French fries or potato salad. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP COMPANY
429 Decatur St., 522-5800
Drawing its inspiration from the 1994 hit film Forest Gump, this colorful French Quarter seafood restaurant keeps the theme going through the décor of film mementos and on the menu as well. There's the Run Forrest Run smoothie, for instance, and the Mama Blue's Southern Charmed Fried Shrimp. A gift shop and music from the film's soundtrack playing in the dining room complete the Gump immersion. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

CASAMENTO'S
4330 Magazine St., 895-9761; www.casamentosrestaurant.com
In business since 1919 in its iconic, tile-covered storefront location, Casamento's is one of the most beloved oyster purveyors in a city where bivalves are serious business. Try them raw on the half shell, in gumbo or stew or fried on thick slabs of Texas toast. Shrimp, soft-shell crabs and marinated crab claws share the spotlight. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Fri.-Sat. Cash only. $

CATE STREET SEAFOOD STATION
308 S. Cate Ave., Hammond, (985) 340-3891; www.catestreetseafoodstation.com
From sushi to pasta dishes, seafood is the focus at Cate Street. There is a full sushi menu, but creative rolls like the crunchy roll with snow crab and the Philadelphia roll with smoked salmon are popular. Or opt for a tuna steak seasoned with crushed wasabi peas. Less Asian in inspiration are dishes like shrimp and crawfish tails tossed with baby spinach in a marinara cream and served over penne pasta. Beef options include a black Angus steak. Cate makes a seafood gumbo with smoked sausage, and there are also salads and sandwiches. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

THE CORNER OYSTER BAR
500 St. Peter St., 522-2999
Pull up a seat at this restaurant at the corner of Jackson Square and introduce yourself to a dozen or so freshly shucked oysters topped with cocktail sauce, a squirt of lemon or gilded in nothing but their own juices. From the kitchen come regional dishes like pasta with sautéed crawfish, peppers and onions in a spicy cream sauce or blackened catfish over a bed of linguine mixed with vegetables and white wine sauce. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

DEANIE'S SEAFOOD
1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, 831-4141; www.deanies.com
The Giant Seafood Platter is aptly named; this bounty of fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish, soft-shell crabs and crawfish dressing balls feeds four. (Only two of you? Get the half-order.) Other menu options include stuffed flounder, barbecue shrimp done the traditional way with the heads on, and the Bucktown Boil Pizza -- seafood and spices with mozzarella cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

DESIRE OYSTER BAR
300 Bourbon St., 553-2281
The yellow light bulbs above its doorway spell out "desire " to the throngs passing by along Bourbon Street, and the seafood inside lures many in for a spell. This casual seafood restaurant in the Royal Sonesta Hotel at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville streets serves local oysters, shrimp and other fish in a wide variety of preparations. There's everyhing from gumbo to spicy New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DOCKSIDE SEAFOOD & OYSTER BAR
1820 Dickory Ave., Jefferson, 736-9666
Order a dozen glistening oysters on the half shell or get them fried and stuffed into a po-boy. No matter what the presentation, the seafood is always fresh at Dockside. Shrimp, catfish, and crab are available in a variety of preparations, from boiled and spicy to golden-fried. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

DON'S SEAFOOD HUT
4801 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-1550
Don's has everything under the sea, or at very least, everything from the sea that locals crave. There are the pre-requisite fried seafood platters and also seafood salad with boiled shrimp, crawfish tails, crab, a featured grilled fish of the day and soft-shell crabs broiled or fried. Make sure to begin your meal with one of the savory gumbos or the crawfish bisque. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DRAGO'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & OYSTER BAR
3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie 888-9254; www.dragosrestaurant.com
Drago's is known for its sizzling chargrilled oysters. The menu is packed with not only local seafood dishes but live lobsters shipped fresh from Maine. Non-aquatic entrees include the Shuckee Duckee -- blackened duck breast over linguini with an oyster cream sauce -- and sautéed portobello mushrooms with beef tips. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FELIX'S UPTOWN
4938 Prytania St., 895-1330
Relocated from its longtime home in the French Quarter, Felix's brings its same focus on chilled, salty oysters to its Uptown location. The kitchen also cooks oysters and offers other local seafood options. Patrons can choose between fried seafood platters, pasta, etouffée and jambalaya dishes. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat., dinner Sun. Credit cards. $$

FRANK'S MARINA GRILLE
100 Marina del Ray Drive, Madisonville, (985) 792-4000; www.franksmarinagrille.com
Sip a cold one and watch the river flow by or sit down with a menu that ranges from boiled seafood to gumbo and salads to sandwiches. Specialty sandwiches highlight the menu, including Miles' oyster, bacon and Swiss po-boy. Also try Frank's famous onion rings. Live music Friday nights. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

FRANK'S RESTAURANT
933 Decatur St., 525-1602
This family-owned restaurant sticks with the classics that have kept it going for more than 30 years, sandwiched between T-shirt shops and rowdy French Quarter bars. Try the snapper Jack, a deep-fried fillet smothered in shrimp, crawfish and crab over pasta. There are sandwiches and some Italian pasta dishes as well. Frank's also serves a hefty rib-eye cooked how you like it. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

FRENCH MARKET RESTAURANT
1001 Decatur St., 525-7879
The French Market Restaurant offers a bounty of boiled and fried seafood from the Gulf. The Bayou Platter is a popular option to get a taste of everything local. Opt for a table on the balcony overlooking the French Market and dig the ever-present jazz combo, as downtown street life rolls by. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

GW FINS
808 Bienville St., 581-FINS (3467); www.gwfins.com
Situated right at the gateway to the Quarter, chef Tenney Flynn's contemporary seafood spot is a perfect first stop on a night out downtown. GW Fins features popular appetizers such as the wood-grilled shrimp and tempting entrees such as the horseradish-crusted drum. Reservations recommended. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$$

GALLEY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
2535 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-0955
In Spring, the Galley is known for its soft-shell crabs at Jazz Fest, but the restaurant has recently added a bevy of new year-round Italian dishes, such as panéed veal. A bounty of seafood is still prepared in all manners from fried to blackened (new daily specials include a blackened redfish with crawfish sauce), grilled to boiled (particularly crawfish when in season). There's also a seafood gumbo studded with shrimp, oysters and okra. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

GULFSTREAM RESTAURANT
1755 St. Charles Ave., 524-1578
The reincarnation of Houston's, this stylishly designed St. Charles Avenue restaurant now reels in the crowds with a seafood-centric menu, a lively bar scene and live music. Try oysters St. Charles, a combination of fried oysters on a bed of creamed spinach with hot sauce and aioli or go for grilled snapper paired with shrimp. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

HARBOR SEAFOOD
3203 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-6454
Boiled crawfish and seafood are the order of the day at this busy Kenner restaurant. Combo baskets come filled with fried shrimp, oysters and other fish. The eggplant pirogue features eggplant topped with fried seafood and a creamy crawfish sauce. Po-boys are also popular options at Harbor. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

JACK DEMPSEY'S
738 Poland Ave., 943-9914
The portions of fried and boiled seafood are served in such abundance at this Bywater institution that a take-out box for leftovers is practically a forgone conclusion. You might even need more than one if you order the gargantuan seafood platter, which makes a mountain of the kitchen's array of fried seafood and throws in a bowl of gumbo for good measure. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $$

KENNER SEAFOOD INC.
3140 Loyola Drive, Kenner, 466-4701
Kenner Seafood is both a fish market and a restaurant offering boiled crawfish and prepared dishes. The seafood market in the front offers fresh fish, crawfish, crabs, shrimp and oysters. If you don't feel like cooking, walk over to the restaurant side and enjoy some boiled seafood, or one of their specialty entrees like the seafood platter which comes complete with shrimp, oysters, catfish, stuffed crab, crab fingers and a choice of two sides like hush puppies, baked macaroni, potato salad or rice and gravy. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

LANDRY'S
400 N. Peters St., 558-0038; www.landrysseafoodhouse.com
Landry's offers the full bounty of the sea, including not just Maine lobster but also Alaskan king crab legs. Local dishes include shrimp and andouille or seafood gumbo, crawfish etouffée, shrimp remoulade and baked oysters Rockefeller. A range of fish dishes feature everything from salmon and halibut to mahi mahi, redfish, flounder and catfish. The expansive menu also includes salads, many Gulf shrimp entrees, fried seafood platters, pasta, steaks and chicken. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MIDDENDORF'S RESTAURANT
Hwy. 51 at Pass Manchac, Manchac, (985) 386-6666
Thin-fried catfish has been the specialty of the house at Middendorf's for more than 70 years and has been reason enough for fans to make the drive out to its location perched on the shores of Lake Manchac. Other specialties include broiled flounder stuffed with crabmeat and served with garlic lemon butter. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

MORTON'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
702 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-4970; www.mortonsseafood.com
Enjoy fresh seafood on the banks of the Tchefuncte River. At Morton's Seafood Restaurant, seafood and Creole specialties are served in a rustic building or on the deck. Everything on the menu is homemade, from the shrimp and crab bisque and seafood gumbo to the remoulade and freshly fried platters. Also try the lobster and fresh asparagus or any of the many charbroiled fresh catches. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

MR. ED'S SEAFOOD AND ITALIAN RESTAURANT
1001 Live Oak St., Metairie, 838-0022; www.mredsno.com
Mr. Ed's serves seafood, sandwiches, Italian dishes and fried chicken. Stuffed artichokes, bell peppers and eggplant are still among the selections beside new menu items including a panéed trout topped with crabmeat and jumbo lump crabmeat au gratin. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

NEW ORLEANS FOOD AND SPIRITS
208 Lee Lane, Covington, (985) 875-0432
This Northshore haven serves up a boatload of seafood including exotic voodoo rolls (stuffed with crawfish and cheese, deep fried and served with a Creole honey mustard), a fried seafood sampler and the ever-popular crabcakes Pontchartrain. Also popular lunch special is the smothered rabbit with white beans and rice. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

NEW ORLEANS HAMBURGER AND SEAFOOD COMPANY
817 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-3382; 1005 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 734-1122; 6920 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 455-1272; www.nohsc.com
For more than 20 years, the New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company has offered "something for everyone." Half-pound burgers share the burden with one-handed po-boys, blue-plate specials and seafood platters. While new menu items include soft-shell crab with crawfish Lafitte sauce as well as oyster Rockefeller pasta. All locations now offer free wireless Internet. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

OCEANA GRILL
739 Conti St., 525-6002; www.oceanagrill.com
Oceana Grill draws on the bounty of the sea for its mix of Creole and Cajun dishes. The redfish "Amer" features sautéed redfish topped with a crawfish cream sauce. From deeper waters, the chef's La Boheme special tops grilled ahi tuna with New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. Appetizers include everything from crabcakes to alligator sausage and seafood gumbo. Fried seafood like catfish and oysters come in po-boys or on platters with jambalaya and a vegetable on the side. Land lovers can dig into smoked duck or barbecue ribs. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

PONTCHARTRAIN POINT CAFÉ
8536 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-4233
Familiar sandwiches and po-boys stand along with the chef's signature entrees, including the Shrimp and Tasso Louise, served with a spicy cream sauce over linguini. The Creole crabcakes are a local favorite, served with penne pasta and topped with a lightly seasoned cream sauce and garlic crostini. The seafood gumbo is made with a dark roux, thickened with file and includes shrimp, crabmeat and okra. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch Wed.-Mon., dinner Mon. and Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RALPH & KACOO'S
519 Toulouse St., 522-5226; www.ralphandkacoos.com
Ralph & Kacoo's original restaurant in the French Quarter serves local specialties such as shrimp remoulade, seafood gumbo and grilled redfish Atchafalaya topped with crawfish etouffée. Entrees include grilled mahi mahi and certified black Angus steaks. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RED FISH GRILL
115 Bourbon St., 598-1200; www.redfishgrill.com
This seafood emporium created by the Ralph Brennan restaurant group is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The daily catch is the star of the show nightly in a restaurant focusing on Gulf fish and shellfish. There's a raw oyster bar to enjoy a dozen on the half shell before settling in at a table. The menu gives a nod to traditional fare like shrimp remoulade as an appetizer and pecan crusted catfish for dinner. Land-lovers welcome rosemary and garlic chicken and stuffed pork medallions. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RESTAURANT DES FAMILLES
7163 Barataria Blvd., Crown Point, 689-7834
Nestled against the Bayou des Familles and beneath a wreath of oak trees, this beautiful restaurant has been luring guests out to Crown Point for the food as well as the atmosphere. Try shrimp Diane sauteed in garlic-butter sauce with angel hair pasta or Cajun specialties. Brunch on the bayou is popular on Sundays. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

RIOMAR
800 S. Peters St., 525-3474; www.riomarseafood.com
New Orleans knows a thing or two about seafood, but RioMar takes diners on a different sort of fishing trip with Latin and Spanish preparations of fresh local catches. The appetizer menu starts with four varieties of ceviche, which can be ordered together as a sampler plate, and the entrees include a generous cut of tuna wrapped in Serrano ham and escabeche of Gulf fish. Come at lunchtime for a tapas menu. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SALTWATER GRILL
1340 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-6640
There's a special every night at the Saltwater Grill and Mondays are always mean 50-cent oysters on the half shell. Lunch brings a selection of po-boys, including fried seafood varieties, red beans and rice, hamburgers and grilled chicken. Reservations for five or more. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$

SEITHER'S SEAFOOD
279 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 738-1116
Po-boys and fried seafood platters are the mainstays of this casual local eatery, but the chef's specialties offer up a more high-end take on Cajun cooking. The eggplant Harahan features fried eggplant medallions layered with crabmeat stuffing and topped with shrimp in a cream sauce. The boiled seafood platter is a large platter of boiled crawfish, shrimp and six crabs plus corn and potatoes. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

ZEKE'S
1517 Metairie Road., Metairie, 832-1133
Serving casual New Orleans classics in the heart of Old Metairie, Zeke's is well-known for its raw oysters and boiled shrimp or crawfish, according to the season. Start a memorable meal with fried crab claws or a fried oyster Caesar salad, then move on to hamburger steaks with grilled onions and mashed potatoes or country fried pork chops. A kids' menu offers smaller portions of favorites, while few can pass up desserts like peanut butter pie or bread pudding with rum sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ZIMMER'S SEAFOOD
4915 St., Anthony Ave., 282-7150
This family-run seafood market offers a lunchtime affirmation of the recovery of its Gentilly neighborhood, as regulars and others hard at work in the area pour in for fried and boiled seafood. The po-boys are made on bread delivered from Gendusa's Bakery next door, and the crabs, shrimp, crawfish and fin fish come fresh from local waters. Try a generously piled seafood combination platter with crinkle-cut fries or take home a pint of marinated boiled crabs. Don't forget to order a slice of white chocolate bread pudding. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SOUL FOOD

CAFÉ RECONCILE
1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 568-1157; www.caféreconcile.com
The mission of this nonprofit Central City café is to help young people gain experience for productive careers in the hospitality business, and it's no coincidence that along the way its patrons are treated to some amazing New Orleans comfort food in a cheerful, positive environment. Currently serving caféteria style, the menu changes daily, and some regular dishes include smothered pork chops, fried catfish, shrimp etouffée, shrimp Creole and white beans and shrimp. Specials come with two side items from a list of sweet corn, mashed sweet potatoes, collard greens, rice and gravy and other items. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

CAFÉ UNIQUE
2529 Dauphine St., 948-8884
Inexpensive soul food favorites are the specialty of this neighborhood joint, which has a rotating roster of dishes. Red beans start off the week on Monday, and choices like spaghetti with meat sauce, stewed or fried chicken, pork chops and candied yams and gumbo round out the weekly lineup. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

DONNA'S BAR AND GRILL
800 N. Rampart St., 596-6914; www.donnasbarandgrill.com
This popular Rampart Street bar and grill hosts some of New Orleans' hottest local jazz and brass band acts. Home-cooked New Orleans soul food, like red beans and rice and the kitchen's renowned barbecue keep the band and the patrons going till early morning. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $

DUNBAR'S CREOLE COOKING
501 Pine St. (Loyola University Broadway Activities Center), 861-5451
With her Freret Street restaurant ruined by the flood, long-time soul food chef Celestine Dunbar was invited to set up shop in an activities center at Loyola University. Now, her famously filling meals of fried chicken, red beans, gumbo and breakfast pork chops are available in a somewhat different setting. The center is open to the public. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PRALINE CONNECTION
542 Frenchmen St., 943-3934; www.pralineconnection.com
The Praline Connection delivers the kind of food that satisfies the hunger in your belly and your soul. Fried chicken, fried okra and fried pickles -- a holy trinity of another sort. Sure, they have red beans and rice, but don't forget the filé gumbo, jambalaya, stuffed bell peppers, or the savory stewed chicken. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

STEAKHOUSE

BEEF CONNECTION
501 Gretna Blvd., Gretna, 366-3275
In spite of the name, the Beef Connection adds seafood to the menu, including whole Maine lobster and entrees of salmon or tuna. From the beef side of the menu, the filet is popular, and other cuts include rib-eyes, T-bones and New York Strips. The menu is the same throughout the day, but lunch specials come with two sides, such as the potatoes, potatoes au gratin or vegetable of the day plus soup or salad. Catfish is a regular Friday special, and red beans are on the menu on Mondays. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

BESH STEAKHOUSE AT HARRAH'S
4 Canal St., 533-6111; www.harrahs.com
Housed in Harrah's Casino, Besh Steakhouse has a chic atmosphere decorated with a number of George Rodrigue's Blue Dog paintings. The wait staff is friendly and informed about the ever-changing menu of Besh's culinary creations. The Cowboy Steak, a 38-oz. rib-eye, is a regular item as are the stuffed crab shells. The molten dark chocolate cake is a favorite standby dessert. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BOULE PRIME STEAKHOUSE
1202 N Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 809-0969; www.newbouleprimehouse.com
Boule Prime is all about beef, from pecan-smoked prime rib to big bone-in rib-eyes to the blackened and seared prime rib with horseradish to filet tips topped with mushroom bordelaise. An ahi tuna steak is available blackened. The Seafood Lover's Penne tops pasta and Alfredo sauce with shrimp, crab, crawfish and oysters. Side dishes include beer-battered fries and sweet potatoes. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CHOPS BISTRO
111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 218-8969
The chefs flaunt their chops with a menu that is undoubtedly a carnivore's delight. Besides the expansive list of martinis and specialty cocktails at the bar, the restaurant's main attraction is the list of meat entrees such as grilled veal chops, sirloins and juicy rib-eyes. Go to Chops for either a casual business dinner or that very special occasion. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$$

CRAZY JOHNNIE'S STEAKHOUSE
3520 18th St., Metairie, 887-6641; www.crazyjohnnies.com
Regulars at this hopping Fat City steakhouse and tavern go crazy for the "giant dippin' shrimp," the house version of traditional barbecue shrimp with a rich and spicy sauce served with plenty of French bread for dipping. It's serious business when it comes to the steaks, like the filet mignon served with seasoned potatoes for $15.95. Come between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and the price drops to $12.95 for the early bird special. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$

CRESCENT CITY STEAKS
1001 N. Broad St., 821-3271: www.crescentcitysteaks.com
This just-reopened Mid-City institution Crescent City Steaks is back serving big cuts of beef that arrive at the table sizzling in butter. There's the 36-oz. porterhouse for two, plus filets, T-bones, rib-eyes and sirloin strips. Bordelaise sauce, potatoes and vegetables are available as side dishes. By request, the kitchen can prepare shrimp or chicken Clemenceau. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

DICKIE BRENNAN'S STEAKHOUSE
716 Iberville St., 522-CHOP (2467); www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com
Diners have a variety of cuts to choose from at this French Quarter steakhouse. The house filet is an 8-oz. cut topped with flash fried oysters, finished with béarnaise saice and served with creamed spinach and Pontalba potatoes. The barbecue rib-eye is a prime 14-oz. steak grilled over open flame and topped with Abita beer barbecue shrimp and served with garlic mashed potatoes. Stand-out sides include onion rings with a Creole dipping sauce and a roasted sweet potato topped with warm pecan butter. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

THE EMBERS ORIGINAL BOURBON HOUSE
700 Bourbon St., 595-3172; www.emberssteakhouse.com
The venerable Embers has anchored the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter for many years with its reliably old-school casual steakhouse atmosphere. The Embers Bourbon House Special is an 8-oz. filet topped with barbecue shrimp served with garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable. The Cajun platter includes deep-fried catfish, jambalaya, red beans and rice and andouille sausage. For a special steak dinner for two, Ember's offers a 48-oz. Porterhouse cut, served with baked potatoes, French onion soup, salad and a bottle of wine. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat.-Sun, dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

KEITH YOUNG'S STEAKHOUSE
165 Hwy. 21, Madisonville, (985) 845-9940
Keith Young's believes steaks should come in generous portions. The indulgence includes succulent filet mignons and tender 14-oz. rib-eyes served with a salad and side. There are also seafood dishes of what's in season. New wine cellar coming soon. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

LA BOCA
857 Fulton St., 525-8205
Don't look for A-1 or other familiar American steak sauces at this Warehouse District steakhouse. The style here is Argentine, and the big, grilled cuts of meat are accompanied by a selection of piquant chimichurri sauces. The gaucho platter is a great way to start a meal, offering samples of chorizo, sweetbreads, beef skewers and empanadas. There are also pasta dishes and salads. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

MORTON'S OF CHICAGO
One Canal Place, 365 Canal St., 566-0221; www.mortons.com
Morton's is, of course, known for generous portions of USDA prime beef. Enjoy 24- or 48-ounce porterhouse steaks, massive New York strips and rib-eyes, or double rib lamb chops. Classic surf complements include Maine lobster cocktail or jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail, crabcakes and lobster bisque. They host one of the best happy-hour deals in town with complimentary mini-steak sandwiches in the bar from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

MR. JOHN'S RISTORANTE
2111 St. Charles Ave., 679-7697; www.johnssteakhouse.com
Though Mr. John's has recently expanded its menu to include a wide selection of Italian dishes, steak is still the focus for the kitchen and many of the regulars. Select a prime steak from the menu, add a side of polenta or a rich reduction sauce or ask the kitchen to custom cut your steak to just the size you want. Seafood entrees, gnocchi, crabmeat ravioli and dishes like veal saltimbocca provide a wealth of other options. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE
Citywide; www.outback.com
The justly-famous Bloomin' Onion is a great starter, and better if you have friends to help. The Outback has many familiar dishes even if you have to adjust to the Aussie names, for example, the Kookaburra wings look suspiciously like Buffalo wings, but Down Under, they probably say exactly the opposite. The portions are ample at this steakhouse chain, whether you order a burger, rack of ribs, or a "Hooley Dooley" Caesar salad or rich desserts. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ROCKEFELLER'S SEAFOOD & STEAKHOUSE
2891 Hwy. 190, Suite D, Mandeville, (985) 625-5566
For people who have discovered this Mandeville steakhouse, the word "Rockefeller" starts the mouth watering for sizzling beef. The slow-roasted, herb-crusted, boneless prime rib is one of the most popular dishes here. The seafood side of the menu features tuna, grouper and local shrimp. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE
3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-3600: www.ruthschris.com
Steaks at Ruth's Chris go from the petit filet up to the porterhouse for two, and in between there are New York strips, T-bones, rib-eyes and bone-in cowboy steaks. Just add a little sizzling butter, a side of asparagus with hollandaise and steak fries or mashed potatoes. Appetizers include veal osso buco ravioli, blue crabcakes and fried oysters. For seafood, there are entrees of Maine lobster and ahi tuna. The barbecue shrimp are sautéed in reduced white wine, butter, garlic and spices. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

SHULA'S STEAK HOUSE
614 Canal St., 586-7211; www.shulas.com
Shula is no longer prowling the sidelines; he's heading up a steak house franchise that has the kind of ingredients that make for a Superbowl of a meal. Each of Shula's steaks is certified Angus beef and is considered "better than prime." Those looking for something other than red meat can sink their teeth into lobster, barbecue shrimp and succulent desserts like the chocolate soufflé for two, or the Mountain Lava chocolate cake. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

STAR STEAK & LOBSTER
237 Decatur St., 525-6151; www.starsteak.com
The surf and turf at Star ranges from oysters Rockefeller to Maine lobster and rib-eyes to filet tips on a shish kebab. The Cajun filet is stuffed with chunks of Alaskan king crab, Louisiana blue crab, shrimp and crawfish and then topped with a mushroom wine sauce. Shrimp or lobster can be added to steak dishes, or round up a host of shellfish and seafood in the Star Steamer platter. The menu also includes shrimp Creole, blackened chicken, fried oysters, seafood gumbo and other local favorites. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

YOUNG'S RESTAURANT
850 Robert Blvd., Slidell, (985) 643-9331
In-house, hand-cut steaks are the specialty at Young's, from the petit filets and sirloin strips up to the 14-oz. rib-eye. Beef entrees come with a green salad and baked potato already included. Veal chops are another carnivorous option, or go for fresh seafood like the yellowfin tuna or any one of a variety of shrimp dishes. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

TAPAS & SPANISH

FIESTA BISTRO
1506 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-1612
Fiesta Bistro combines the flavors of Spain and Latin America. The paella is slow cooked saffron rice studded with shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, chunks of chicken and peas. Another specialty is the twice-braised lamb shank, which uses both white and red wine and served the shank, carrots and potatoes in the reduced cooking juices. There are many tapas dishes to choose from as well as fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas flautas, tacos and more from south of the border. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LAURENTINO'S RESTAURANT
4410 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 779-9393; www.laurentinos.com
The Spanish cuisine at Laurentino's is a mix of traditional paella dishes and tapas. The paella Valencia uses Valencia rice cooked in a saffron broth with shrimp, mussels, calamari, chicken, andouille sausage and fresh vegetables. Among the many small plates of tapas is the garlic shrimp, which features Gulf shrimp sautéed in olive oil with roasted garlic, cayenne pepper, Spanish paprika and flamed with Spanish sherry. Traditional Spanish soups include gazpacho, lentil soup, garlic soup and fabada, made with white beans, sausage, ham and chorizo. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

LOLA'S
3312 Esplanade Ave., 488-6946
Seafood, meat or combination paellas are the specialty at Lola's. Studded with chicken and sausage or shrimp, scallops and mussels, they are available for one or in sizes large enough for several people to share. The menu also includes dishes like ceviche, sautéed mushrooms and garlic soup, plus new dishes such as roast duck breast, rack of lamb and cold tapas appetizers. Lola's offers wine, but diners are still welcome to bring their own bottles. No reservations. Dinner nightly. Cash and checks. $$

MADRID RESTAURANTE
2723 Roosevelt St., Kenner, 469-5599
Spanish Paella is a house specialty at Madrid, and there are several varieties with meat, seafood, a combination of the two and a vegetarian version to choose from. There's even an option for paella made with squid ink pasta. Tapas dishes and appetizers include garlic shrimp in sherry and dried cayenne peppers and pequillo peppers stuffed with shrimp and lobster. Meat entrees include a traditional osso buco and a rabbit dish. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

MIMI'S IN THE MARIGNY
2601 Royal St., 872-9868
Spanish and Latin American tapas dishes are served late into the night at Mimi's in the Marigny. Hot plates include mushroom toast, sautéed shrimp, beef empanadas, calamari in a cream sauce and steamed clams. Cold tapas range from herbed goat cheese stuffed peppers and salmon wrapped asparagus to Serrano ham, olives, manchego cheese and other dishes. The kitchen is upstairs, but bar patrons downstairs can order at the bar as well. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

VEGA TAPAS CAFÉ
2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-2007; www.vegatapascafé.com
Starting with red or white sangria, Vega Tapas Café indulges diners with Spanish flavors and creative cooking. The wide selection of hot and cold dishes includes seared raw tuna, ceviche, potato gratin, grilled asparagus with romesco sauce, pork empanadas and nightly specials. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat (seven days a week starting in February). Credit cards and checks. $$

THAI

BASIL LEAF
1438 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-9001
This restaurant is a favorite destination for those looking to spice things up with Thai cooking that is both contemporary and filling. An ultra-sleek dining room and bar area impress all who enter. Once seated, try the grilled chicken coconut soup followed by the basil chicken, a dish including sautéed chicken, onions, vegetables and mushrooms with jasmine rice. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LA THAI CUISINE
933 Metairie Road, Metairie, 828-3080
Louisiana treats with a Thai touch include sautéed shrimp with asparagus and mushrooms. Or try one of the curries, like spicy panang curry with shrimp, chicken or crawfish. Some fusion dishes yield such exotica as the Red Hot Chili Pepper, which features butterflied jumbo shrimp and spicy green beans accompanied by steamed jasmine rice. New menu items also include flash-fried scallops with shrimp basil sauce, served with jasmine rice and veggies. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.- Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SUKHOTHAI
1913 Royal St., 948-9309
Located in the Faubourg Marigny triangle, Sukhothai offers a range of spice levels for each dish, and vegetarians have many options from which to choose. Seafood lovers might want to start with the Ahi Katsu roll, which is Ahi tuna wrapped in dry seaweed and breadcrumbs and seared to pink perfection. On the entrée side, you can't miss with the green curry seafood combo with mussels, shrimp, scallops and fish. Reservations accepted. Lunch delivery. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

THAI POT
315 N. Vermont St., Covington, (985) 809-7886
The sweet, spicy, fresh flavors of Thai cuisine entice diners at this intimate Covington restaurant. Pad Thai with peanut sauce and a garden of fresh vegetables is a popular choice, while those with a higher heat threshold dig into the spicy red curry. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

THAI STYLE
4001 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero, 328-4988; www.thaistylecafé.com
While Thai Style offers many popular Thai dishes from chicken satay and coconut curries to Pad Thai, it also offers a few unique ones. The Duck Delight is a crispy duck with a cinnamon sauce served with shrimp and vegetables. Some popular entrees include tilapia served with a ginger root or basil sauce as well as jumbo shrimp in a creamy Alfredo sauce over angel hair pasta. Soups include a spicy lemon grass soup and hot and sour chicken soup. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

VEGETARIAN AND HEALTH

THE APPLE SEED SHOPPE
201 St. Charles Ave., 529-3442
This is a nice alternative for those trying to be a little more health conscious about their eating. This natural-food restaurant has plenty to offer in the way of spinach salads, fruit salads, natural juices and smoothies. Pleasing not only to the vegetarian, the Apple Seed Shoppe also offers chicken and turkey salads and grilled chicken breast sandwiches. Check out the frozen yogurt for a sweet treat. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Checks. $

COLUMBIA STREET NATURAL FOOD
S415 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 893-0355
A haven for the health-conscious, Columbia Street Natural Foods offers a daily soup made from fresh, organic ingredients. Among the sandwiches, the staff recommends the smoked gouda and veggie on whole wheat, which comes with lettuce, carrots, onion, tomato and avocado. The deli also offers dishes like green curry shrimp over jasmine rice, turkey meatloaf and a chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms, feta, leeks and spinach. Salads also are available. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner. Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

GOOD EARTH MARKET AND CAFÉ
821 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 674-4329
The Good Earth serves up delicious local favorites along with a variety of organic and vegetarian options that your doctor would certainly endorse. Start your day with a bowl of granola, milk and fruit. Cochon de lait and roast beef po-boy are available, along with a vegetarian tempeh bacon BLT on whole wheat for lunch. No reservations. Lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

VIETNAMESE

9 ROSES
1100 Stephens St., Gretna, 366-7665
The menu at 9 Roses offers a comprehensive approach to Vietnamese cuisine as well as many popular Chinese dishes. Vietnamese specialties are broken down by main ingredients from beef, duck and pork to shrimp and a large selection of vegetarian dishes. There are also Vietnamese soups, hot pots, noodle and vermicelli dishes and chao, or porridge. Chinese dishes include lo mein, moo shu dishes, egg foo young and sweet and sour dishes. During lunchtime, a short menu of specials is also available. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Tue. Credit cards. $$

AUGUST MOON
3635 Prytania St., 899-5129; www.augustmoonneworleans.com
August Moon offers a great variety of Chinese and Vietnamese selections from curry to moo shu pork, chicken or beef to Szechuan dishes and a couple of low-cholesterol options with steamed shrimp, chicken or vegetables. The crispy lemon grass shrimp features jumbo shrimp pan-seared with onions and minced lemongrass and served with vermicelli and nuac cham sauce. General Tsao's chicken is battered and fried dark meat glazed with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DOSON NOODLE HOUSE
135 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-7283
Since reopening in Mid-City, Doson's Noodle House still offers a mix of popular Chinese dishes and Vietnamese options like pho soups that it used to offer at its Riverbend location. Special lunch combos offer a choice among grilled chicken, pork or beef, served with noodle soup. The staff also recommends the duck soup. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

KIM SON
349 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-2489
Kim Son is known for its Vietnamese cuisine and Cantonese and Szechuan style Chinese dishes. Since opening, one of the house specialties has been the Bo 7 Mon, a seven-course extravaganza of Vietnamese-style beef dishes. The meat comes cooked and served countless ways -- with flavors of basil, cilantro, lemon, onion and fish sauce adding extra flavors. Other popular Vietnamese fare includes rice and noodle soups and vermicelli dishes. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PHO HOA
840 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-4370
Traditional pho is the main staple at Pho Hoa. The beef broth soup is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner with either rice noodles, egg noodles or clear glass noodles. Vietnamese po-boys stuffed with liver paté, ham, shredded carrots and peppers are also available. One house specialty is the Banh Mi Bo Kho, a beef stew with carrots served with French bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Checks. $

PHO TAU BAY
113 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 368-9846Pho Tau Bay may be the area's reigning king of pho, offering more than 20 different beef broth soups with different accompaniments ranging from sliced beef to more exotic cuts. Seafood can also be added to soups. The huge menu lists everything from fresh spring rolls served with peanut sauce to vermicelli salads topped with your choice of shrimp, pork, tofu or even egg rolls. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TAN DINH
1705 Lafayette St., Gretna, 361-8008
While it's hard to pass up a bowl of pho at this large, gleaming West Bank café, the extensive menu features some tempting specialties. The Korean short ribs paired with soft rice noodles are a star attraction, for instance, as are the sugar cane spears covered in shrimp paste. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Cash only. $

THANH THANH
4024 Behrman Hwy., Gretna, 368-5694
Among the Vietnamese specialties at Thanh Thanh, you'll find five different varieties of spring rolls offering everything from shrimp to beef to pork to vegetables. There's also a Vietnamese crepe that stuffs shrimp, pork, sprouts and onions into pan-fried crepes and is served with fish sauce. Pho soups are also a staple. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

click to enlarge Cartoonist Bunny Matthews raises a toast at his Northshore - restaurant Vic & Nat'ly's. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
  • Tracie Morris Schaefer
  • Cartoonist Bunny Matthews raises a toast at his Northshore restaurant Vic & Nat'ly's.
click to enlarge Martinique Bistro serves Prince Edward Island musssels - steamed in white wine with chorizo, tomatoes and fennel. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
  • Tracie Morris Schaefer
  • Martinique Bistro serves Prince Edward Island musssels steamed in white wine with chorizo, tomatoes and fennel.
click to enlarge The triple special roll at Miyako is a colorful combination of - fish and roe. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge In Mid-City, Angelo Brocato's serves cannolis, ice cream - and other sweet treats. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • In Mid-City, Angelo Brocato's serves cannolis, ice cream and other sweet treats.
click to enlarge Chef Duke LoCicero creates beautiful presentations for all - sorts of dishes at Cafe Giovanni. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Chef Duke LoCicero creates beautiful presentations for all sorts of dishes at Cafe Giovanni.
click to enlarge Chef Toby Teng prepares exotic sushi rolls at the new Sake - Cafe in Covington. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge Pork flautas are among the spicy and mouthwatering - choices at Tomatillo's in the Marigny. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Pork flautas are among the spicy and mouthwatering choices at Tomatillo's in the Marigny.
click to enlarge Chef Andrea Apuzzo greets diners at his Italian restaurant - Andrea's. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge Cream of oyster soup and stone crab claws is a weekly - special at Pupuseria La Macarena in Metairie. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
  • Tracie Morris Schaefer
  • Cream of oyster soup and stone crab claws is a weekly special at Pupuseria La Macarena in Metairie.
click to enlarge Carmelo Chirico watches over the dining rooms at - Ristorante Carmelo. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Carmelo Chirico watches over the dining rooms at Ristorante Carmelo.
click to enlarge Patrice Peters delivers lunch to Bob Shaw at Steve's Diner in - the CBD. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge Eileen Broyard serves eggs Benedict and a bloody Mary at - Riccobono's Peppermill in Metarie. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
  • Tracie Morris Schaefer
  • Eileen Broyard serves eggs Benedict and a bloody Mary at Riccobono's Peppermill in Metarie.
click to enlarge In the French Quarter, Petunia's starts the day with eggs St. - Louis. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • In the French Quarter, Petunia's starts the day with eggs St. Louis.
click to enlarge Laura Lee and Jeff Austin serve fresh Mexican dishes at - Juan's Flying Burrito. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge Marc Ardoin serves eggplant Rani and bronzed tuna dishes - at Cafe Rani. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER
click to enlarge Chef Mandi Fodil presents a hot appetizer at Fiesta Bistro. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • Chef Mandi Fodil presents a hot appetizer at Fiesta Bistro.
click to enlarge 7 on Fulton is an elegant spot for contemporary Louisiana - cooking. - CHERYL GERBER
  • Cheryl Gerber
  • 7 on Fulton is an elegant spot for contemporary Louisiana cooking.
click to enlarge Crescent City Steaks is back open and serving steaks in - sizzling butter.
  • Crescent City Steaks is back open and serving steaks in sizzling butter.
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