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Gambit 2008 Restaurant Guide by Cuisine 

AFRICAN

Bennachin
1212 Royal St., 522-1230
For an edible lesson in how West African cooking influenced the development of Creole culinary traditions, just visit Bennachin and sample dishes like the African version of jambalaya and okra-based stews. Other representative dishes include a stew of beef and ground nuts served with rice and black-eyed pea fritters. Vegetarian options abound and the BYOB policy keeps tabs low. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $$

AMERICAN

13 Monaghan
517 Frenchmen St., 942-1345; www.13monaghan.com
The eclectic menu at 13 has something to satisfy cravings, including vegetarian, at all hours. The housemade black bean veggie burger uses a mix of black beans and brown rice seasoned with garlic, cumin and chile powder. The patty is served on French bread with chips, a pickle wedge and either tater tots or salad. The sesame chicken salad sandwich is served on toasted multigrain bread with a mix of greens, cabbage, shredded carrots and seasoned almonds. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

APPLEBEE'S NEIGHBORHOOD GRILL & BAR
Citywide; www.applebees.com
There's something for every diner and craving at Applebee's, from nachos to burgers, steaks to salads, as well as a kid's menu and Weight Watchers' items. Entrées range from roasted chicken, baby back ribs and fajitas to fried shrimp, pasta dishes and others. Menu combos and specials offer great variety while keeping meals affordable. Several flavored cheesecakes, decadent chocolate brownies, cake and apple pie offer sweet conclusions to a meal. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Audubon Golf Clubhouse
6500 Magazine St., 212-5282; www.auduboninstitute.org
Whether you've got a tee-time or just like the park setting, the Clubhouse is open to anyone interested in starting the day with a breakfast of croissants, waffles, eggs or omelet. At lunch, the kitchen is on top of its game with a clubhouse chicken salad platter, a combination of chunky diced chicken breast with pecans and red grapes on a bed of spring mix. Or try the salmon citrus Caesar with a fillet of lightly blackened salmon on a traditional Caesar salad with citrus dressing. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

BENNIGAN'S GRILL AND TAVERN
3010 Holiday Drive, 394-2805; 3434 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-0664
Offering a huge menu of American and pub favorites ranging from fish and chips to shrimp tempura to Guinness-glazed chicken and shrimp, Bennigan's is a good choice for families and finicky eaters. Also good 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
8 Canal Street, at the River, 533-6000; www.harrahsneworleans.com
Harrah's buffet has something for everyone from Pacific Rim dishes to Creole and French fare. Just a few of the offerings include Creole gumbo, Kolby steamship round, smoked salmon and Louisiana's famous turducken. The dessert bar has more than 40 items alone. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily, Sun. brunch. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ BANQUETTE
3445 Prytania St., 891-5773
For a casual lunch or dinner, amble into this comfortably appointed tavern and try the namesake Banquette burger topped with bacon, grilled onion and cheddar cheese. Sandwiches include many familiar po-boy options like roast beef or fried seafood. Shrimp and crawfish Alfredeaux is made with white wine cream sauce and served over penne pasta. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat., late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAMELLIA CAFÉ
69455 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, 985-809-6313
This family friendly café offers something for everyone on its large menu of local fare. One of the more popular starter offerings is the corn and crab bisque loaded with shrimp, crabmeat and corn. The fried seafood platter comes loaded with shrimp, catfish, oysters, stuffed crabs and stuffed shrimp. The 8-oz. filet mignon is available Monday through Thursday for $14.95. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CANNON'S RESTAURANT
4141 St. Charles Ave., 891-3200; www.cannonsrestaurants.com
For nearly two decades, Cannon's has been a stately presence on St. Charles Avenue. Casual American classics such as steaks and large entrée salads are mainstays of the menu. House specials include chicken Reginald prepared with sautéed mushrooms and hollandaise sauce. Crab cakes Salvatore are served over linguine with crawfish sauce. The Blue Roof burger is topped with melted bleu cheese and dressed with all the fixings. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

COPELAND'S CHEESECAKE BISTRO
4517 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 454-7620; www.alcopeland.com
The 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. The dining menu hits multiple flavor references with everything from chicken Marsala to Cobb salads to pot roast. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

DECKBAR & GRILLE
1715 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 830-0104
Deckbar has a full menu of tasty bar food to snack on and entrées ranging from fried seafood platters to quesadillas to burgers. Its most popular items are brisket and homemade crab balls, which can also be ordered as a platter with salad and fries. The Mississippi burger is served with grilled onion, mushrooms and cheese. Daily specials include chicken and dumplings, smothered pork chops, meatloaf and pepper steak. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

EASY DOGS
307 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna, 367-1001; www.neworleanseasydogs.com
These dogs aren't simply best in show, they're the only show at this Gretna weiner shack. The Katrina dog is made with the house special "easy sauce," homemade chili, shredded cheese, coleslaw, onions and a side of cheddar fish crackers. The Lundi dog packs on red beans and rice in the bun plus a side of pickled corn relish. The Jazz dog is lathered with cheese and olive salad. For dessert, try a Hubig Pie mode (topped with whipped cream). No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FOX AND HOUND
1200 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 731-6000
Sports fans flock to the Fox and Hound for 38 brands of beer on tap and an extensive selection of appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas and salads. The Black Forest sandwich is Bavarian pretzelbread piled high with grilled turkey, smoked bacon and Monterey Jack cheese, dressed and spiced with honey mustard. The mahi mahi sandwich is new to the menu, as are the ribs and all can be eaten while watching sports on one of many flat screen TVs. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

GROUND PAT'I GRILLE AND BAR
1305 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 466-8060; 11 Westbank Expressway, Gretna, 367-9512
Ground Pat'I is famous for its namesake burger — the Ground Pat'I — made with ground chuck and grilled to order over an open flame, but there's more to the restaurant than just burgers and fries. The menu offers its share of seafood entrées — fried catfish, tuna steaks, and grilled or fried shrimp — and there's a full selection from the grill including pork chops, rib-eyes, filets and T-bones. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HARD ROCK CAFÉ
415 N. Peters St., 529-5617; www.hardrock.com
Like the rock 'n' roll memorabilia on the walls, the Hard Rock's menu is festive and all-American, with classics like hot fudge sundaes and beefy char-grilled burgers. Try the Rock Chop, a smoked, center-cut pork chop brushed with a maple-mustard glaze and served with cheddar mashed potatoes and Granny Smith-mango chutney. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards $$

HOOTERS
2781 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 889-0160; 4748 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 393-7177; www.hooters.louisiana.com
Now offering a full bar, Hooters will keep you warm this winter with its famous wings—served as hot as you want with your choice of mild, medium, Three Mile Island or 911 sauce. Or order up some hot nachos, quesadillas or Buffalo chicken strips while you watch sports or other distractions. A variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads and seafood round out the menu. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HOUSTON'S RESTAURANT
4241 Veterans Memorial Blvd. Metairie, 889-2301
Steaks, sandwiches, barbecue ribs and seafood from Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific waters make Houston's a popular destination for surf and turf lovers alike. Whatever your appetite calls for, there's plenty to pair with your entrée choice on Houston's ample wine list. The spinach and artichoke dip is a standout starter. For something a little less traditional, try the Thai steak and noodle salad—a marinated steak with fresh noodles, avocado, mango and fresh herbs in Thai dressing. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

Live Bait Bar and Grill
200 Hammond Highway, Metairie, 840-0902; www.livebaitnola.com
The bar may be the lure at Live Bait, but the kitchen turns out worthy bar food, burgers and sweet desserts. There's even free Wi-Fi, live music and a nice view of Lake Pontchartrain. Barroom fare includes favorites like nachos, chicken wings and burgers. There's local seafood in the barbecue shrimp po-boy and New Orleans staples like creamy red beans and rice and gumbo. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MATTINA BELLA
421 E. Gibson St., Covington, (985) 892-0708
Northshore diners wake up for Mattina Bella's breakfast classics like the Florentine omelet prepared with three eggs and stuffed with creamed spinach and artichokes and topped with melted mozzarella. Breakfasts are served with potatoes and grits. At lunch, the catfish Creole meuniere is popular, with a crust of pecans and a creamy meuniere sauce. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

MOTHER'S
131 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna, 368-8678
The regular menu's Greek dishes like chicken shish kebabs and gyro plates are a good reason to head to Mother's for lunch, but changing daily specials also draw attention. Some popular weekly dishes include breaded pork chops, catfish amandine, Italian specials like veal or chicken Parmesan on Thursday, and Friday seafood specials. There are always plenty of vegetable side dishes to choose from. Red beans, beet salad, eggplant casserole and cabbage are rotating options. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

NEW ORLEANS BREAKFAST & PANCAKE HOUSE
101 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 394-7272; 4301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 281-4510
These comfortable cafés are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with the Big House omelet made with four eggs, bacon, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Metairie location open 24 hours Thu.-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
New Orleans Hamburger and Seafood Company has reinvented itself with newly renovated dining rooms and a new, contemporary menu that includes entrées like barbecue ribs, grilled salmon and steaks, catfish pecan and crawfish etouffée. True to its burgers-and-seafood roots, there are still old favorites like half-pound burgers and the original one-handed barbecued shrimp po-boy. On the garden side is the Strawberry Fields salad with grilled chicken, fresh sliced strawberries, blue cheese, and red onions in a poppy seed dressing. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

O'HENRY'S FOOD & SPIRITS
Citywide; www.ohenrys.com
The casual, tavern-like vibe of this popular chain is emphasized by the coating of peanut shells crushed on the floor, plus the all-important free birthday steak for those in the know. The menu strikes a local note with its version of crawfish Monica, made with crawfish tails in spicy cream sauce over pasta. There are a few spicy and exotic accents, like the Thai shrimp wrap and Cajun Chicken Melt. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PETUNIA'S PLACE
2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville, (985) 674-3436
Petunia's motto is "a family restaurant," and it's definitely kid-approved. Order your meal at the counter and send the little ones to the activity table, where they can make ornaments for the year-round "festivity tree." Start off with the signature hand-battered onion rings served with Petunia's dipping sauce. Plates include the redfish Julia, a grilled redfish fillet with creamy crawfish sauce served with garlic butter pasta. Dessert options include Bob's brownie a la mode, a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Tue., dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $

PICCADILLY
Citywide; www.piccadilly.com
Hearty, affordable, Southern fare is the rule at Piccadilly, but the restaurant chain has a contemporary gourmet-to-go sensibility and entire meals are available for take out. The buffet features local, Southern and American staples including crawfish etouffée, meatloaf, fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, and a colorful, sugary array of pies, cakes and Jell-O. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

POPEYES
Citywide; www.popeyes.com
A New Orleans original, Popeyes fries boldly seasoned chicken and complements it with sides like smoky red beans and rice. Fried chicken is available in both mild and spicy versions for combo meals, in baskets of chicken strips and on sandwiches. Sides include mashed potatoes and gravy, Cajun rice, spicy battered fries and mac and cheese. Some locations serve fried shrimp as well. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RAISING CANE'S CHICKEN FINGERS
Citywide; www.raisingcanes.com
Chicken has gone to the dog at Raising Cane's — the founder's namesake golden Labrador retriever, Cane, that is. But specials like the Caniac Combo are all about chicken fingers, with a six-piece order complemented by coleslaw, fries, two sauces, Texas toast and a drink. Boxed meals are available in many sizes, and there are tailgate packs and party platters of 100 chicken fingers as well. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RICCOBONO'S PEPPERMILL RESTAURANT
3524 Severn Ave., Metairie, 455-2266
Riccobono's is renowned for its breakfasts, but it also offers a variety of entrées for lunch, including grilled redfish, roast pork with au jus gravy and baked sweet potatoes, grilled amberjack, and veal topped with crawfish sauce. Several low-carb dishes like the grilled chicken Caesar salad and shrimp salad with roasted tomato are also featured for lunch. Start the morning with an eye opener like a bloody Mary or Irish coffee, and try the crab cake Benedict — two poached eggs nested on blue crab cakes topped with hollandaise. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

SEMOLINA'S
1121 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-8293; 2999 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, (985) 626-8923; 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 37, Metairie, 454-7930; www.semolina.com
The international pasta selection at Semolina comes home this time of year for crawfish season, when all of the restaurant's specialty crawfish pasta dishes are featured. But you can still order dishes from around the world — like pad Thai, the sweet and spicy combination of shrimp, mushrooms and tofu with rice noodles and peanuts. Classic pasta Alfredo with chicken or shrimp and double cheeseburger pasta are perennial favorites. Pasta jambalaya with andouille, tasso and Creole sauce is popular with locals and out-of-towners alike. No reservations. Lunch and dinner 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. Bar munchies include jalapeño poppers, quesadillas, chicken wings and egg rolls, or you can get fancy with an 8-oz. filet or tuna steak. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

SPUDLY'S SUPER SPUDS
2609 Harvard Ave., Metairie, 455-7783
Taters are tops at Spudly's, which elevates the potato to edible art. Spudly's cheese sauce graces many of the terrific tubers served here. Toppings include everything from diced roast beef to shrimp and crabmeat to chili. If carbs aren't what you're craving, burgers, salads and soups are also available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SUN RAY GRILL
619 Pink St., Metairie, 837-0055; 1051 Annunciation St., 566-0021; 2600 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 391-0053; 3700 Orleans Ave., 324-9663; www.sunraygrill.com
Sun Ray Grill serves an eclectic menu of casual cuisine that includes dishes from around the globe as well as close to home. Singapore spring rolls, guacamole with chips, Siamese riblets, Thai curry barbecue ribs and Southwestern chicken quesadillas are just a few of the worldly small-plate selections. Popular entrées include ahi tuna steaks crusted with black and white sesame seeds and smoky bourbon barbecue ribs served with fries and roasted corn. No reservations. 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 the restaurant's platters. The grilled chicken Caesar pita is one of the more popular items. Pub-style fish and chips use beer-battered cod and come with waffle fries. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

WOW CAFÉ & WINGERY
Citywide; www.wingery.com
Nothing hits the sauce harder than the wings at WOW Café. Whether you pick up an eight-piece box or the party-friendly 1,000-piece spread, WOW wings come with a choice of sauces including Key West citrus, honey barbecue, Thai peanut, various heat levels of Buffalo, 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 Ave., Harahan, 738-0799; 4450 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-9090; www.zearestaurants.com
Zea offers a casually elegant spot to enjoy American favorites. Start things off with the spinach salad with pepper jelly vinaigrette. Signature dishes include rotisserie chicken, Thai ribs and Asian almond shrimp. Many meats are slow-roasted on the rotisserie. The bar serves up micro-brewed beers specially made for Zea by Heinerbrau, a Covington brewer. Reservation policy varies by location. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. at Kenner location. Credit cards. $$

AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY

5FIFTY5
Marriott Hotel, 555 Canal St., 553-5638
The menu at 5Fifty5 offers a unique blend of sophisticated and home-style comfort foods. The lobster mac and cheese is smothered in a special three-cheese sauce, topped with fresh Maine lobster and served with grilled crostini. The double-cut Silverado lamb chop dish is succulent marinated chops cooked on an open wood-burning grill, served with Abita Amber greens and boudin made in house. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ARDOISE
4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-5566
The chefs at Ardoise offer exciting intercontinental versions of refined seafood and steak dishes. Try the sweet Thai chili calamari or the coffee-rubbed New York strip served with sweet potato hash. Daily lunch specials are also available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BAYONA
430 Dauphine St., 525-4455; www.bayona.com
Celebrity chef and now cookbook author Susan Spicer may have made some of her creations available for fans to attempt at home, but for the full effect, it's better to leave it in the hands of the master. Don't miss the grilled duck breast with a pepper jelly glaze or her renowned goat cheese croutons with mushrooms in Madeira cream. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BEEBE'S
7224 Pontchartrain Blvd., 302-9657
At the Lakefront, Beebe's offers local seafood and a worldy approach to fine dining. Chef Kristen Olsen serves Gulf shrimp tempura with spicy Thai curry and soy and sake steamed mahi mahi is served with soba noodles, ginger and lemongrass. Handmade pasta is served with wild mushrooms, Reggiano cheese and truffle oil. Brunch features crepes with Gulf shrimp and blue crab. For a final course, sample from the cheese selection or try a dessert like hot donuts with chicory sauce and Kahlua cream. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

BISTRO DAISY
5831 Magazine St., 899-6987
The bright exterior of this upscale Uptown bistro is as cheery as a daisy. Inside, deep purple walls make for an intimate atmosphere. Chef Anton Schulte creates daily specials in addition to regular items, which include the Daisy salad, composed of fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, baby arugula, pine nuts and white balsamic vinaigrette. Entrées are equally elaborate; celebrate crawfish season with the crawfish mascarpone ravioli. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BULL'S CORNER
1036 W. Airline Hwy., Laplace, (985) 652-3544; www.bullscorner.com
The filet Norton, chargrilled filet mignon served on top of marinated portobello mushroom and topped with Danish blue cheese and garlic butter, is still Bull's signature dish, but the fresh Maine lobster could be a good alternative. Daily lunch specials include baby-back ribs and save room for one of the special desserts such as bread pudding or chocolate overload, which is a hot brownie topped with ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CHAD'S BISTRO
3216 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 838-9935; www.chadsbistro.com
Chad's Bistro has something for everyone, with entrées ranging from fried seafood to pasta dishes to steaks. Options include the chicken Parmesan, which features an 8-oz. boneless breast grilled or fried and served in an Italian herb sauce over angel hair pasta with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. 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 accepted. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CRYSTAL ROOM AT LE PAVILLON
833 Poydras St., 581-3111; www.lepavillonhotel.com
The elegance of this Poydras Street hotel carries into its regal dining room, where hot and cold buffets, cooked-to-order stations and a dessert bar offer a selection of food fit for a king. At breakfast, order a custom omelet or eggs Benedict. At lunch, choose from healthy salad options, New Orleans specialties and pasta dishes. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

DOMINIQUE'S RESTAURANT
1001 Toulouse St., Maison Dupuy Hotel, 522-8800; www.dominiquesrestaurant.com
Dominique Macquet, a classically trained chef and native of Mauritius, combines fresh local ingredients with exotic influences from around the globe for a distinctive cuisine at his namesake restaurant in the Maison Dupuy hotel. Seared Moulard duck breast and duck leg confit are served with parsnips en crepinette, a masala pear fondant and duck-fig jus. Seared pompano is served on a fricassee of rock shrimp and hearts of palm with lobster-lemon oil. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

IRIS
8115 Jeannette St., 862-5848; www.irisneworleans.com
An intimate and cozy atmosphere makes dining on classic French dishes with Asian accents all the better at this Uptown locale. Among the most popular are dishes like the ricotta gnudi, house-made ricotta cheese and dumplings with a truffle filling served with basil, tomatoes and Parmesan cream. The braised Niman Ranch lamb shank is complemented by wild mushrooms, housemade pappardelle, lacinato kale, roasted shallots and basil. The bar mixes an array of creative cocktails with fresh fruit. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

MR. JOHN'S RISTORANTE
2111 St. Charles Ave., 679-7697; www.mrjohnssteakhouse.com
Half of the menu at Mr. John's reads like that of a classic New Orleans steakhouse, while the other half offers a tour of northern Italian specialties. From shrimp scampi to crabmeat-stuffed ravioli to grilled seafood dishes, the kitchen satisfies a wide range of cravings. When it comes to steaks, Mr. John's broils strips, filets, rib-eyes and other cuts to order and serves them sizzling with butter. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

NEW CITY GRILLE
2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 888-8484
Mixing Creole favorites with updated classics gives the menu at New City Grille a unique twist. Shrimp remoulade, jumbo lump crab cakes and oysters en brochette are familiar appetizers. Popular entrées include the spice-rubbed rib-eye with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables, and the Gulf fish pecan. There are also burgers, steaks and seafood entrées like grilled redfish with lump crab and lemon butter. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PELLICANO RISTORANTE
4224 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-2930; www.pellicanoristorante.com
Pellicano's menu is a melting pot of exotic ingredients and culinary influences. Duck confit spring rolls are stuffed with duck, wild mushrooms, caramelized leeks and pine nuts and are served with a pomegranate reduction. Caribbean lobster is poached in butter and served with lemongrass, asparagus and crab succotash with lemon verbena roasted garlic mashed potatoes and roasted fennel vinaigrette. For dessert there are sweet concoctions like Kona coffee-infused Belgian chocolate flourless cake and hazelnut crusted Meyer lemon cheesecake with blackberry sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

VERANDA AT THE HOTEL INTERCONTINENTAL
444 St. Charles Ave., 585-4383
European flair and Southern hospitality mix and mingle at the flagship restaurant of the Hotel Intercontinental, where local chefs have been given a free hand to put their own stamp on the menu. The Sunday jazz brunch features the Gregg Stafford Trio, bubbly, carving stations and made-to-order omelets and desserts. Reservations recommended. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

BAR & GRILL


THE BULLDOG
3236 Magazine St., 891-1516; 5153 Canal Blvd., 488-4191; www.draftfreak.com
The Bulldog has a larger beer than food menu but the combinations are endless. A voluminous menu of brews —bottled and on draught— from the world over matches a good selection of pub grub. There are chicken sandwiches hot off the grill and more creative bar fare like the Crawfish Bandito, a mixture of crawfish and spices rolled in a tortilla and fried. The chicken and sausage gumbo is served in a bread bowl. Uptown: Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner daily. Mid-City: Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CALYPSO PATIO BAR AND GRILL
326 Lee Lane, Covington, (985) 875-9676
The cuisine at Calypso, which just marked its first anniversary, has a distinctly island vibe. Appetizers highlights include beer-battered coconut shrimp and crab cakes with white remoulade. The 12-oz. rib-eye is topped with Argentine chimichurri sauce and served with a salad and choice of sides. The popular Wednesday night special serves up Dungeness crab boiled in chef Chad Landry's special spices and served with red new potatoes and corn. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


COOTER BROWN'S
509 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9104; www.cooterbrowns.com
Cooter Brown's takes bar food to another level with some inspired local offerings. While the countless TVs broadcast all the big games (and even some obscure ones), the kitchen turns out specialties like spicy Cajun boudin and a po-boy stuffed with crawfish pies and dressed with remoulade. Meanwhile, a shucker keeps raw oysters coming by the dozen. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


COPPER MONKEY BAR & GRILL

725 Conti St., 527-0869
Swing on in any time, the Copper Monkey is open 24 hours serving up cold drinks and hot food to a mix of Quarter locals and adventurous tourists. Quesadillas, salads, burgers and steaks are menu mainstays and some specials include the penne á la Tina with sautéed mushrooms and sliced chicken breast in a creamy red sauce. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $


DINO'S BAR & GRILL

1128 Tchoupitoulas St., 558-0900
This Warehouse District bar offers hearty food at affordable prices. Burgers, chicken Caesar wraps and an Italian chicken sandwich are some of the diverse offerings. Spinach and feta triangles are fried phyllo dough pockets presented on top of greens and topped with more feta. The grilled tuna salad uses sushi-grade tuna which is grilled with a feta vinaigrette glaze and served over greens with tomatoes and croutons. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


F&M PATIO BAR

4841 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-6784; www.fandmpatiobar.com
The late-night bar scene at F&M's is legendary. It's a last stop for many, whether they come to dance on top of the pool table in front or head to the grill in the back. The limited menu includes burgers, quesadillas and legendary cheese fries, which are waffle-cut fries baked with a blend of three cheeses and topped with green onions. The Gator Quesadilla is stuffed with alligator sausage, grilled onions, peppers, salsa and cheese. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Cash only at the grill. $


FAT HARRY'S
4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582
The tavern kitchen at this Uptown watering hole has been sustaining patrons long into the night for many years. The Cajun burger is an old standby for regulars, blending beef and Italian sausage. The chicken wings are famous among discerning football fans and thirsty law students. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


LAGER'S INTERNATIONAL ALE HOUSE
3501 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-9923; www.draftfreak.com
Hearty pub grub accompanies the dizzying selection of beers from around the world at Lager's. For a starter, try items like meat pies, waffle fries, wings, crawfish spring rolls, gumbo, or potato and bacon soup. Bigger appetites will be satisfied with sandwiches, salads and entrées including a 16-oz. rib-eye, grilled tuna, Thai spare ribs and, of course, Guinness stew made with beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and celery. Fried catfish is the special every Friday. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


T.L. STARKE'S SPORTS BAR & GRILLE
3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-5858
Burgers fly out of the kitchen at this casual bar and grill, where the décor features a vintage-aviation theme, with World War II-era pictures of fighter pilots as well as model planes hanging from the ceiling. Start off with the Acadiana pistolettes, a pair of loaves stuffed with crabmeat and served with remoulade sauce. Half-pound hand-formed burgers are served with a loaded baked potato or French fries. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


TAVERN ON CITRUS
5708 Citrus Ave., Harahan, 218-5186
The Tavern is a casual spot to grab a beer and shoot a game of pool, but its grill is also a sure shot. The Tavern burger is a big 10-oz. beef patty grilled to order. There are also popular bar noshing items like fried mushrooms, and salads are served as well. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


VIC'S KANGAROO CAFÉ
636 Tchoupitoulas St., 524-4329
Reflecting the spirit of the proprietor's native Australia, this friendly pub offers hearty meals like Shepherd's pie with Guinness gravy and Ms. Cathy's barbecue beef platter with garlic and cheddar mashed potatoes. Jambalaya, pizzas, meatball subs and bar snacks offer flavors from closer to home. All meats are slow-roasted on the premises. Compliment your meal with a frothy pint of any one of several imported draughts. Weekday happy hours last from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

 

 


BARBECUE


ABITA BAR-B-Q
69399 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, (985) 892-0205
Abita springs gets to the meat of the matter with its slow cooked brisket and pork. Sandwiches are filled with brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken breasts. Platter options offer slabs of ribs, turkey legs, half chickens and pork steaks. For side items, there is everything from macaroni and cheese, cornbread and potato salad to coleslaw, corn on the cob and baked beans. Abita serves bottled beer as well as local Abita and other brews on tap. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $


THE BAR B Q PLACE

4100 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 392-0001; ww.thebarbqplace.com
Located on the West Bank, this joint dishes up savory beef brisket, pulled pork and St. Louis style pork ribs, all hand-rubbed with tangy seasoning and hardwood smoked for more than 12 hours. But barbecue wouldn't be barbecue without its sinful sidekicks like baked cheddar macaroni, Creole mashed potatoes, country-style coleslaw, smoked and baked potatoes and marinated onion loaf. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


BYWATER BAR-B-QUE
3162 Dauphine St., 944-4445
Chicken, ribs, beef brisket and pulled pork aren't the only tempting combinations at this long-time neighborhood hot spot. While barbecue is the namesake specialty here, Bywater Bar-B-Que adds Italian specials like pizza and calzones after 4 p.m. Be sure to check out the lush patio out back during nice weather. 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 sandwiches topped with coleslaw, dry or wet ribs and a wide variety of burgers, salads, appetizers and sides. Even the most ferocious appetite will be sated by The Killer, a slab of ribs and choice of chicken, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, sausage or fried catfish, plus 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; www.hillbillybbq.com
Hickory wood provides the distinctive flavor for Hillbilly Bar-B-Q's brisket, pulled pork, smoked boudin sausage by the link and the huge hamburger known as the Belly Buster. Diners can order a baked potato on the side or make one a meal by topping it with any of the barbecued meats. There are also smoked chicken halves and a cool chicken salad. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


J'ANITA'S
1906 Magazine St., 373-5337; www.janitas.com
The newest barbecue joint in town is J'Anita's in the Lower Garden District. Breakfast is an á la carte assembly of eggs, meats, cheeses and whatever else you want on the plate. The lunch menu features slow-smoked pulled pork served with Killer Cajun Coleslaw and a choice of sides. Redfish is on a sandwich with feta cheese, bacon, tomato and Caesar dressing. There are also burgers and creative items. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


THE JOINT
801 Poland Ave., 949-3232; www.alwayssmokin.com
"Always smoking" is the motto of this homegrown barbecue operation. Sweet and juicy pork spare ribs are served by the half or full rack. Peppery beef brisket is smoked with pecan wood and served on a sandwich or as a platter. The "W" special combines beef and pork with one or two sides. Catering is available. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $


SWEET DADDY'S BBQ
420 Tyler St., Covington, (985) 898-2166; 2534 Florida St., Mandeville, (985) 626-0208
For seven years, Sweet Daddy's has been doing it slow and steady. You don't rush this kind of flavor. Favorites include the dry-rubbed baby-back ribs and herb-scented pulled pork, roasted and smoked for at least 12 hours. For dessert, try the homemade chocolate chip pie or the pecan island square pie, which is yellow cake mixed with pecans and cheesecake topping. Catering available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$


TEXAS BAR-B-QUE COMPANY
3320 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 456-2832
Tucked away just off Veterans Boulevard, this Metairie eatery serves slow-smoked ribs, brisket and pulled pork. Texas Bar-B-Que also cooks steaks and burgers. Try a smoked potato stuffed with chopped barbecue beef and topped with sauce, cheese and chives. Many barbecue meats are available on a bun or in a po-boy. Non-meat eaters can sample the fried catfish or shrimp as platters or po-boys. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


UGLY DOG SALOON
401 Andrew Higgins Blvd., 569-8459; www.uglydogsaloon.net
Ugly Dog combines barbecue with a sports bar environment complete with pool tables and televised sports. There are sandwiches, burgers and generous platters of barbecue meat that come with sides such as chili beans with sour cream, onions and cheese and the sweet and spicy coleslaw. The juicy pulled pork is slow-cooked shoulder roast brushed with the saloon's tangy sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


VOODOO BBQ & GRILL

1501 St. Charles Ave., 522-4647; www.voodoobbqandgrill.com
Voodoo casts its spell with slow-smoked brisket, pulled pork and ribs, using a special blend of spicy seasonings in its mojo sauce. Side dishes include Rattlesnake Beans, corn pudding, coleslaw, Gris Gris Greens and creamy macaroni and cheese. Voodoo also offers burgers and chicken sandwiches. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


WHOLE HOG CAFÉ
639 Loyola Ave., 525-4044; www.wholehogcafe.com
The Whole Hog approach starts with the belief that everything goes better with barbecue meat and that coleslaw belongs on all sandwiches. Start with the barbecue nachos or get barbecue on top of salads. For entrées, the selection includes pulled pork, brisket, full and half slabs of ribs, pulled chicken meat and half chickens. The Whole Hog Platter rounds up pork, brisket, three beef ribs, baked beans, coleslaw and dinner rolls. A selection of six different barbecue sauces ranging from sweet to tangy to spicy are already on the tables, or head to the counter and ask for the super-hot Volcano sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


ZYDECO BBQ AND ROADHOUSE
808 Iberville St., 565-5520; www.zydecobbq.com
Deep South barbecue traditions meet Louisiana Cajun cooking at this offbeat eatery. The St. Louis spare ribs offer pork ribs dry-rubbed with Cajun spices and slow-smoked with hickory and pecan wood. Cochon de lait is brined in marinade, treated to a dry rub of seasonings and smoked. The menu also includes jambalaya, gumbo and salads loaded with barbecued meat. Delivery available in CBD and French Quarter. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

 


BELGIAN


CLEMENTINE'S BELGIAN BISTROT
2505 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-3995
Now open for lunch, Clementine's brings a touch of Belgium to the West Bank. Try the classic steamed mussels 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 Liégoise is a wonderful taste sensation 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. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 


BREWPUB


ABITA BREW PUB

72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, (985) 892-5837; www.abita.com
As the weather warms up, Abita Brew Pub, the local brewery's dining branch, once again becomes one of the more popular places to finish off a bike ride on the Tammany Trace with a filling lunch. Along with daily specials and pub stand-bys like burgers and hot wings, Abita Brew Pub can get more creative with everything from pecan-crusted catfish and barbecue ribs to fried quail and crawfish pasta. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$


CRESCENT CITY BREWHOUSE
527 Decatur St., 522-0571; www.crescentcitybrewhouse.com
German-style beers are brewed on the premises while the kitchen cooks up contemporary Louisiana cuisine like redfish St. Louis, which is pan-seared and topped with fried oysters and smothered in barbecue sauce made with butter, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The popular crab cakes Decatur are made with lump crabmeat and topped with remoulade sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


GORDON BIERSCH
200 Poydras St., 552-2739; www.gordonbiersch.com
Gordon Biersch is always adding new items to its extensive menu and brewing new beers. From the kitchen, try the new flat-iron steak served on a nest of crispy fries and drizzled with a robust homemade steak sauce. Or try the savory pizza baked fresh on homemade dough. The outdoor tables and large-screen TVs that line the quaint Fulton Street promenade beckon passersby and sports fans alike. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 


BURGERS
THE AVENUE PUB

1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243
The grill is always hot at the Avenue Pub. Stop in any time for big half-pound burgers, po-boys, chicken wings or a range of bar food options. Munchies include jalapeño poppers, mini-tacos, fried mushrooms and meat pies. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $


BEACHCORNER BAR & GRILL
4905 Canal St., 488-7357
As reliable as the streetcar that delivers patrons to its tavern doors, "the last living thing on Canal Street" offers classic grilled pub food and plenty of TVs to watch the games of the day. The classic 10-oz. ground sirloin burger has a hint of garlic. Lighter options include the 8-oz. grilled tuna steak served in a sandwich or on a salad. The grilled chicken salad comes loaded with fresh lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese and choice of dressings including low-fat options. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


BROOKS SEAHORSE SALOON
1648 Gentilly Blvd., 218-4217
Even though it sits across from the Fair Grounds, Brooks isn't just for after the races or Jazz Fest, serving burgers and sandwiches from lunch through late-night. Appetizers include cheese sticks, stuffed olives and egg rolls. The popular burger is a char-grilled half pound of ground sirloin. The grilled chicken sandwich is a marinated chicken breast dressed and served with a choice of fries or potato salad. Late-nighters can try the new corndogs. The new happy hour is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


BUD'S BROILER
Citywide
Bud's is best known for its charcoal-broiled burgers. The topping choices keep it simple: hickory-smoked sauce, grated cheese or another burger patty. The few non-burger options are hot dogs, a chicken breast sandwich on a bun and a broiled fish fillet. Complete a meal with a side item like onion rings or French fries, which can be spiced up with chili and cheese. For dessert, there are apple, peach and cherry pies. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $


BURGERS GONE WILD
3613 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 838-8311
The gratuitous hot burger action here is appropriate for the whole family. The basic burger is topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, or it's available undressed. Sautéed onions, Brie cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo smother the French burger. The Burger Dawg is slathered in chili with cheddar cheese, onions and mayo and is served in a hot dog bun. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CHECKPOINT CHARLIE'S
501 Esplanade Ave., 281-4847
Noon, midnight or 4 a.m., Checkpoint Charlie's is the spot for a beer, a load of laundry, a game of eight ball, a live set from a local band, or all of the above. There are bar-food standards off the grill and out of the fryer including cheese fries, grilled chicken sandwiches and a big, spicy Cajun-seasoned burger. No reservations. Open 24-hours daily. Credit cards. $


ERNST CAFÉ
600 S. Peters St., 525-8544
Established in 1902, Ernst Café has been feeding and watering downtowners for more than a century. Burgers, chicken and fried seafood are mainstays that make it a busy lunch spot. Look for the gumbo du jour and changing specials like ribs. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


FRIAR TUCK'S
5130 Freret St., 891-4080; www.friartucksbar.com
The weekly drink specials at the bar keep the good times rolling at this Uptown college hangout. The kitchen offers plenty of choices to make sure those drinks have a solid foundation on which to rest. Philly-style cheesesteaks come with mushrooms, onions, peppers and Swiss cheese on hoagie rolls. The fryer churns out a steady supply of waffle fries, sweet potato fries and corn dogs. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $


HARBOR BAR & GRILL
3024 17th St., Metairie, 835-6111
Harbor Bar & Grill serves up more than the soft-shell crabs and fried seafood you'd expect—patrons also love the grill's big 12-oz. cheeseburgers, which get even bigger with extras like chili and bacon. A salad of tomato, bacon and artichoke hearts tossed with greens and topped with blackened tuna is a popular item. Meat pies and Harbor fries topped with cheddar, diced onions and roast beef gravy will satisfy your late night cravings. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


IGOR'S
2133 St. Charles Ave., 568-9786
An ideal place for multi-taskers and late-night revelers alike, this all-hours lounge and game room has a mini-laundromat and serves big, fat burgers around the clock. The Cajun burger is a half-pound patty seasoned with crystal hot sauce and Cajun spices, grilled, dressed and served with fries. Other sides and snacks include Cajun cheese fries or jalapeño poppers. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $


IGOR'S BUDDHA BELLY BURGER BAR
4437 Magazine St., 891-6105
The cold beers and rocking jukebox are prime draws at this Magazine Street tavern, but the sizzling grill quickly advertises its presence to hungry patrons. The house Buddha burger is a specially seasoned half-pound patty. The Cajun burger adds a kick of Tabasco, Creole seasonings and an optional dose of pepper-blended spice mix. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


JIGGER'S GRILL
1645 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-3555
Kick back to watch the big game or play a game of darts at this casual sports bar. There are burgers and other bar favorites at reasonable prices. A special house marinade flavors Jigger's chicken breast sandwich, and the spicy chicken wings are popular. Daily lunch specials are served Monday through Friday. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


KABBY'S SPORTS EDITION GRILL
Hilton Riverside Hotel, 2 Poydras St., 561-0500
This sprawling sports bar off the lobby of the Hilton scores big with a wide variety of bar food, burgers and sandwiches. Signed jerseys and memorabilia, and big-screen TVs line the walls. The bar mixes a full line-up of specialty cocktails. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


KRYSTAL

116 Bourbon St., 523-4030; www.krystal.com
A sack of tiny, oniony Krystal burgers go down just right after a long night on Bourbon Street. The Scrambler specials are breakfast items piled in a cup, and there are conventional options like sausage, egg, bacon pancakes on hand to end a long night or begin the day. No reservations. Open 24-hours. Credit cards. $


LEE'S HAMBURGERS
Citywide
Lee's burgers get a little extra zing from chopped onions. So even though you can get quick service, its still got homemade appeal. The drive-through is convenient for days when you can't stand in line but must have the Works, a big cheeseburger dressed and served with onion rings or fries. 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 along with cocktails and frosty beers. The chicken tenders are breaded and served with crispy French fries. No reservations. Dinner and late-night Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $


LUCY'S RETIRED SURFERS BAR & RESTAURANT
701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995; www.lucysretiredsurfers.com
There may not be much surf, but spirits run high at this lively downtown hangout. Spicy riptide chicken wings are served wet with sauce or dry with a rub of seasoning. Specialties like the Southwestern-style burgers and Baja rolls with chicken, avocado, black beans, cheese and salsa are bestsellers. Lucy's also serves seafood, sandwiches and salads and offers daily drink and wing specials. Fridays draw a fun-loving after-work crowd. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $


PHIL'S GRILL

3020 Severn Ave., Metairie, 324-9080; www.phils-grill.com
Phil's allows customers to build their own burgers from a long menu of options including 10 cheeses, six choices of bread and 18 toppings. Try Angus beef or hot sausage-blended patties or portobello burgers. Sides include fried pickles, fried onion strings, sweet potato fries and others. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


PORT OF CALL
838 Esplanade Ave., 523-0120; www.portofcallneworleans.com
The reason people line up and wait for a table at Port of Call is its famously huge burger. Pick a few toppings, decide what you want on your baked potato and then ready yourself for the daunting dining challenge of actually clearing your plate. The kitchen also prepares steaks. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


RED EYE GRILL
852 S. Peters St., 593-9393; 1057 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-6900; www.redeyegrill.net
The Red Eye offers a green light to hungry folks out for a night on the town. Enormous burgers, jalapeño poppers and popcorn shrimp call for the Red Eye's other major specialty — cold beer and cocktails with a kick. Health-conscious diners can dig into turkey burgers and salads topped with grilled tuna or chicken. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


SIDELINES BAR & GRILL
1229 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-4002
Burgers, appetizers and wraps take centerfield at Sidelines. Specialties include wraps like the chicken Caesar and chicken tender wraps on whole wheat pita served with fries. Other items include sandwiches like grilled tuna on a sesame bun. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


STATION 8801
8801 Oak St., 861-9293
The gas pumps are long gone at this outpost by the parish line, but folks can still count on a fill up from the tavern's kitchen. There's an 8-oz. Angus beef burger and a 10-oz. filet served with spicy potatoes, while onion rings, sweet potato fries and chicken sandwiches offer other options. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $


STEP BROTHERS LOUNGE & RESTAURANT
4971 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 889-9856
Step Brothers is known best for burgers and po-boys, but it also features Tuesday steak nights and a surf-and-turf special every Sunday. A filet is matched with a grilled or fried lobster tail plus potatoes, vegetables and bread for $20. For smaller bites, cheese sticks, jalapeño poppers, egg rolls, chicken tenders and wings are available as well. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


TED'S FROSTOP
3100 Calhoun St., 861-3615
The gigantic root beer mug in the parking lot may still sit upside down as a reminder of Katrina, but little else seems to have changed at this vintage diner. The signature Lot-o-Burger is as good as ever. Fried seafood and plate lunches like baked chicken or pork chops provide square meals. No reservations. Breakfast, 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 is best known for its burgers, but the grill also offers salads, sandwiches, wraps, fried seafood (in po-boys or baskets) and pasta-based entrées. At the heart of the menu, though, are some incredible two-fisted patties. The hamburger combines Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, and the Home of the Aloha has pineapple, teriyaki sauce and cheddar. The Buffalo burger is brushed with a mild version of the wing sauce, finished with provolone cheese and adorned with onion rings. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


TUCKER'S TAVERN
869 Magazine St., 522-0440
Tucker's is the undisputed home of the deep-fried burger. The Big Al is a half-pound burger stuffed with pepper Jack cheese and mushrooms. The Big Tuck slathers it on with bacon, pepper jack and American cheese on the inside and cheddar and barbecue sauce on top. Appetizers and grazing options include fried pickles, nachos, spicy Buffalo oysters and wings. The rest of the extensive menu ranges from homemade soups and salads, po-boys, sandwiches wraps, quesadillas and entrée platters of grilled fish and steak. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 


CAFÉ


BAYOU COFFEE HOUSE & Café

326 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 484-7390; www.bayoucoffeehouse.com
This quaint coffee shop overlooking Bayou St. John is nestled in a comfy cottage, from which springs coffee, pastries, desserts and more. Two of the more popular desserts are the brownies and the bananas Foster cheesecake. Breakfast is served until 2 p.m. weekdays and Sunday and all day Saturday. The $4 weekday breakfast special covers the bases with two eggs, bacon, grits and toast. Lunch features salads and sandwiches, chicken and shrimp pasta, pizzas and wraps as well as daily specials. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $


BEAN GALLERY

637 N. Carrollton Ave., 324-8176
Near City Park, Bean Gallery offers espresso, iced coffee drinks and strong, thick Turkish coffee. There are bagels, muffins, croissants and egg sandwiches for breakfast, including the Italian sausage and egg sandwich with cheddar cheese. For lunch, try the panini sandwiches, including the popular turkey and roasted red pepper, and the prosciutto and asparagus. Desserts feature carrot and chocolate cake, along with a small selection of gelato including old favorites like chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, strawberry and coffee. Mango sorbet and tiramisu gelato were recently added. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $


BECK-N-CALL CAFÉ

534 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 875-9390
Traditional items get a twist at Beck-N-Call Café, where a turkey club comes layered with hickory-smoked turkey, crisp bacon, Swiss cheese, Romaine leaves, tomato and honey mustard on soft honey-wheat bread. Daily specials include crawfish etouffée and housemade lasagna. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


BLUE PLATE CAFÉ

1330 Prytania St., 309-9500
Blue ceramic-tiled tables and decorative plates make for a festive atmosphere at this cute café, but the real eye-opener is the food. A full breakfast menu offers something for everyone, from fluffy, veggie-stuffed omelets to three varieties of pancakes to quiche and breakfast burritos. If lunch is what you're after, try one of the homemade soups or daily specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat. Credit cards. $


BLUE TOMATO

4401 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 734-3000;
Popular for its eclectic mix of dishes and kitschy decor, this Jefferson Highway cantina-with-a-twist features Mexican food such as fajitas and carnitas, alongside classic American burgers, pizza and pasta. Blue Tomato has also recently added a few new dishes, including smoked ribs served with a side of pineapple baked beans and coleslaw, and a yellowfin tuna entrée. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


BLUEBIRD CAFÉ
3625 Prytania St., 895-7166
Come early for such staples as buckwheat pancakes, waffles and eggs. At lunchtime, burgers, fish sandwiches and salads take center stage. Don't miss the popular huevos rancheros, which pile up corn tortillas, black beans and fried eggs with ranchero sauce, cheese and salsa. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Cash only. $


BRICK OVEN CAFÉ

2805 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-2097
For more than 10 years, Brick Oven Café has offered an extensive menu of gourmet pizza, fish, beef, chicken and veal in classic New Orleans-Italian style. The Brick Oven filet is a 10-oz. grilled steak grilled to order and topped with garlic butter. The redfish piccata is a broiled fillet topped with grilled shrimp and crawfish lemon-butter sauce, all served over angel hair pasta in marinara sauce. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


THE BROKEN EGG CAFÉ

200 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 624-3388; www.anotherbrokenegg.com
Huge specialty omelets stuffed with everything under the sun are the toast of breakfast at the Broken Egg. The Southern Crab Stack piles a crab cake on a grits cake and adds andouille and shrimp cream sauce. Also consider the stuffed French toast: brioche bread laden with pastry cream, fresh berries and whipped cream. For dessert, try the classic bananas Foster bread pudding. Reservations accepted weekdays. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $$


BROTHERS' NEW ORLEANS CAFÉ
1502 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey, 366-1073
Huge portions and reasonable prices keep customers coming back to Brothers', where for more than 32 years the kitchen has turned out signature fried food made with a special batter. Everything fried is good here, but hungry diners shouldn't overlook the generously seasoned hamburger steak. Reservations recommended for large parties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


CAFÉ 59
1931 Hwy. 59, Mandeville, 727-1120; www.internationalrollsplus.com
Don't expect your typical café when you stop by Café 59 in Mandeville. There is an eclectic menu complete with breakfast offerings like Alexis' Wake-Up Yogurt Banana Split and Eggs and Benedict Caribbean Style. For lunch, there's a Baja fish taco with grilled catfish, topped with Baja sauce, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, cilantro, lime and served with beans, salsa verde and chips. Dinner features dishes like Asian-Cajun shrimp fried rice and crawfish pasta. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Tues.-Wed, Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ BEIGNET
311 Bourbon St., 525-2611; 334B Royal St., 524-5530; 819 Decatur St., 522-9929; www.cafebeignet.com
With three locations in the French Quarter, it's hard to miss out on the variety of New Orleans favorites including fresh beignets crawfish cakes. Cajun hashbrowns combine andouille sausage, potatoes, bell peppers and red onion and come with French bread and scrambled eggs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ D'CAPPUCCINO
4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-2299
This busy little café offers many hearty options to start the day. Eddie's breakfast plate delivers eggs, bacon or sausage, grits and your pick of toast or biscuit. Dolph's wrap is filled with egg and cheese plus bacon or sausage. The menu for lunch and dinner offers an array of wraps, burgers and sandwiches, as well as a popular homemade chicken salad. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


CAFÉ ENVIE
1241 Decatur St., 524-3689; www.myspace.com/envienola
French doors lining the Barracks Street side of this corner café are open in good weather, making it a breezy, inviting spot to relax with a newspaper or work on a laptop. Coffee drinks and a full bar complement sandwiches, bagels and a changing variety of pastries. The kitchen offers breakfast dishes like Eggs Envie and gourmet quiches filled with salmon, Guyere and crumbled bacon or apple and sausage. There's wireless Internet as well. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ FLEUR DE LIS
307 Chartres St., 529-9641
At this sunny French Quarter spot, the classic muffaletta gets a makeover as a hot, crispy pressed panini sandwich. Omelets stuffed with crawfish tails and other inventive takes on New Orleans classics make the early-morning menu stand out. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ FRERET
7329 Freret St., 861-7890
Casual and comfortable with plenty of outdoor seating, Café Freret puts its own spin on familiar favorites. The voodoo burger is a half-pound patty with sautéed onions and mushrooms smothered in the house "Bomb" sauce and topped with bacon, provolone, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Creole mayo. Another popular choice is the thick muffuletta with olive salad. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Fri.-Wed., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


CAFÉ LATTE II
2324 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-6343
It's easy to make this café part of your regular workday routine with breakfast in the morning and lunch in the afternoon. Check out the chicken quesadillas with red onions, chicken, black beans and tomatoes served in a wheat tortilla. The chicken salad wrap is filled with homemade chicken salad and fresh ingredients. No reservations. Breakfast Tue.-Fri., lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ MINH
4139 Canal St., 482-6266
Chef Minh Bui moved his signature French-Vietnamese fusion dishes to Café Minh in November 2006. For starters, try the shrimp dumplings, coconut shrimp or crabmeat and sweet corn soup. Summer rolls of shrimp, avocado, cucumber, cilantro and rice noodles are wrapped in rice paper and served with peanut-citrus dipping sauce. The medallions of pork tenderloin are prepared with a tamarind glaze and served with a ginger sweet potato mash. For dessert, the poached pear is marinated in Shiraz and finished with Saigon cinnamon. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


CAFÉ PONTCHARTRAIN AT TREASURE CHEST CASINO
5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (800) 298-0711; www.treasurechest.com
Need a little something to tide you over between black jack hands? Stop by the buffet for hot daily specials like chicken-fried steak, hot tamales, red beans and rice or spaghetti and meatballs. Or try one of the daily specials such as barbecue beef brisket special. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ RANI
2917 Magazine St., 895-2500
Café Rani spans the culinary globe, from Thai flavors to Jamaican jerk chicken, sashimi-style tuna to Southwestern-style burgers. New Orleans barbecue shrimp is a popular appetizer. 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. There's also a version of the popular New Orleans pasta dish Crawfish Monica. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$


CAFÉ ROSE NICAUD
634 Frenchmen St., 949-3300
Cushy leather armchairs beside picture windows overlooking busy Frenchmen Street are an ideal place to perch with a steaming latte and a newspaper. A wide variety of espresso drinks and teas complement salads, sandwiches, soups, quiches and bagels served with an array of gourmet spreads. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ ROYALE

3343 Metairie Road, Metairie, 304-8438
Fresh breakfast, lunch and dinner choices make Café Royale a great stop whether you dine in or grab a bite to go. The Thai chicken salad is flavored with almonds and spicy peanut and ginger dressings over romaine lettuce. Tuesday's special is veal pot roast, cooked until tender and served with mashed potatoes, salad and garlic bread. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ SATORA
3749 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 832-1444
New owners have transformed Café Satora from a coffee-and-sandwich shop to a full-service restaurant with a bar and happy hour. The menu features sandwiches, salads and hot-pressed paninis as well as daily specials like cabbage rolls and red beans and rice. If you're jonesing for caffeine, order one of the popular iced cappuccinos or other specialty coffee drinks. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


CAFFE ANGELINA
5024 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 889-7770
This casual, family-run Italian restaurant serves fresh, homemade foods, including a large selection of salads, soups, sandwiches and dinner entrées. Roast beef Angelina features tender roast beef dressed with lettuce, tomato, onions, sprouts, sweet peppers, avocado and creamy horseradish sauce on ciabatta bread. The muffuletta is a traditional sandwich of imported salami, mortadella, ham, Swiss cheese and olive salad on Italian bread. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CAFFE! CAFFE!

3900 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 727-4222; 4301 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, 885-4845; www.caffecaffe.com
Coffee worth shouting over is just one of the things you'll find at Caffe! Caffe! Savory salad options abound. The avocado salad on romaine lettuce is mixed with gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, orange segments, red onions and mango vinaigrette. Lunch offerings include two daily soup specials, sandwiches, salads and quiche. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


CELLARS OF RIVER RIDGE

1801 Dickory Ave., Harahan, 734-8455; www.cellarsrr.com
A long list of sandwiches, salads, burgers, quesadillas and fajitas comprise an extensive menu of homemade items. A traditional Reuben is corned beef piled high with grilled sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on the side. The Philly cheese steak and shrimp remoulade on French bread are popular choices. New menu items include an Asian salad with seared sashimi-grade tuna and sesame vinaigrette. The heart-attack burger starts with a half-pound of beef and hot sausage and adds apple-smoked bacon, cheddar pepper Jack and Swiss, grilled onions and fried egg. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


CHATEAU COFFEE HOUSE AND CAFÉ
139 Robert E. Lee Blvd., 286-1777; 3501 Chateau Blvd., Kenner, 465-9444; East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 888-0601
The coffeehouse serves freshly baked pastries, hot and iced coffee as well a wide range of lunch and dinner items including specialty wraps, burgers, quesadillas, salads and signature sandwiches. Daily specials include choices like etouffée, barbecued pork sandwiches or mahi mahi. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Hours vary by location. Credit cards and checks. $


CHRISTY'S PO-BOYS
1102 Stumpf Blvd., Gretna, 368-6498
Po-boys meet eclectic Spanish fare at this West Bank eatery, including the ever-popular pressed Cuban sandwiches of pork, ham, Swiss cheese and pickles. Traditional Spanish dishes include the Friday and Saturday special of stewed oxtails served over rice with plantains. Or try the 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 Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $


COFFEE COTTAGE
5860 Citrus Blvd., Harahan, 818-0052
This quaint café's menu offers breakfast items like bagels, muffins and a host of special omelets. Midday meal choices include crawfish pasta smothered in spicy pepper cream sauce and the portobello wrap with Swiss, onions, spring mix and carrots. Dinner entrées include pan-fried catfish with a Creole pecan-butter sauce. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


COFFEE COVE
3431 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 780-9445
Whether it's a caffeine jolt or a bite to eat you're after, you'll find it at the Coffee Cove. Enjoy a pastry or cookie with a frothy cappuccino. There is a full lunch menu of sandwiches, wraps and salads. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


COFFEE RANI
234 Lee Lane, Covington, (985) 893-6158
There's more than coffee being served at this heart-healthy Northshore café. Grilled shrimp are served on a bed of mixed greens with raisins, apples and curry dressing. Looking to slim down for spring? There's a low-carb menu and Rani Watchers selections, which are assigned a Weight Watchers-like point system. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


COMMON GROUNDS
335 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna, 227-2200
Downtown Gretna's Common Grounds is a popular spot for a leisurely breakfast. There's everything from eggs and bacon to waffles and bagels. Later in the day, there's fried seafood and sandwiches, tuna steaks and beef steaks hand-cut in-house. The spacious patio has plenty of room for a relaxing meal during pleasant weather. Reservations accepted for large parties. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $


COVENANT CAFÉ

1515 Poydras St., 522-3335; www.covenanthouseno.org
Covenant Café covers all the bases with its brief breakfast menu and offers a wide range of sandwiches, wraps and salads for lunch. The morning starts with bagels, pastries, pancakes and breakfast sandwiches with eggs, bacon, sausage or ham. Sandwich options range from pesto chicken or turkey on wheat to cheeseburgers to the panini-style Blue Mambo with grilled chicken breast, blue cheese and purple onion. The Orient Express salad serves grilled chicken over greens, shredded carrots and Chinese noodles tossed in sesame ginger dressing. The Café supports Covenant House. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $


CREPES á LA CART
1039 Broadway St., 866-2362; www.crepesalacarts.com
For a quick lunch or a midnight pig-out, this hole-in-the-wall creperie has you covered. The signature á la Cart crepe is stuffed with grilled chicken, ham, spinach, broccoli, red onions, mushrooms and cheese with a drizzle of honey mustard. The sweet trifle crepe has strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, chocolate chips and angel food cake sprinkled with brown sugar and cream. Breakfast, coffee and frozen drinks are available all day long. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $


CROISSANT D'OR
617 Ursulines St., 524-4663
A tiny Parisian oasis on a quiet side street, Croissant d'Or's sweet and savory pastries are worth their weight in gold. Try a crusty housemade baguette, savory pastries smothered in béchamel, or light-as-air éclairs stuffed with rich chocolate cream. The interior courtyard is a charming al fresco oasis with a fountain. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $


THE DELACHAISE

3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858; www.thedelachaise.com
Inside its tiny, Art Nouveau-styled wedge of a building, the Delachaise pours distinctive wines, liquor and beer from around the world while the kitchen does some of its own globe-trotting. Chef Chris DeBarr serves everything from French fries cooked in duck fat to daily pasta and risotto specials. There are creative small plates and cheese and charcuterie boards. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


THE DELI AT TREASURE CHEST CASINO
5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, (800) 298-0711; www.treasurechest.com
Treasure Chest offers several dining options and The Deli is where you go when you want a good sandwich. There are fried shrimp and hot sausage po-boys as well as hotdogs and hamburgers. Daily specials like red beans and rice, hot tamales and chicken-fried steak change regularly. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


DRY DOCK CAFÉ

133 Delaronde St., 361-8240; www.thedrydockcafe.com
Ride the quaint Algiers Point ferry and drop anchor at this Westbank 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. Entrées include crawfish pasta in creamy sauce topped with Parmesan cheese, as well as changing specials like blackened redfish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$


ELIZABETH'S
601 Gallier St., 944-9272; www.elizabeths-restaurant.com
There always seems to be something new cooking at this café, which combines down-home ambiance with creative takes on casual Southern cooking. Blue cheese oysters and boudin balls make tempting starters. Braised rabbit with roasted garlic and seared salmon with pepper and dill relish are popular dinner choices. The kitchen's signature praline bacon is good at breakfast and finds its way into dishes later in the day as well. No reservations. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. 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. For starters, try the spicy tomato dip. The Mediterranean kebabs present a choice of beef, chicken or shrimp and come with a side of hummus and small Greek salad. The chicken portobello roll has fresh red pepper sauce. The newly renovated outdoor patio is ready for spring. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


FLORA GALLERY & COFFEE SHOP

2600 Royal St., 947-8358
There's a bohemian vibe to this cozy café as regulars sip espresso drinks and fresh juice while playing chess, checking out fliers for arty downtown happenings and catching up on neighborhood gossip. The small kitchen offers an eclectic menu of baked goods and lunch fare that ranges from Tex-Mex to Middle Eastern items. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $


FROSTY'S CAFFE
3400 Cleary Ave., Metairie, 888-9600; 2800 Manhattan Blvd., Suite B, Harvey, 361-9099
Frosty's offers a wide variety of signature bubble teas, ranging from sweet and familiar flavors (strawberry or mango) to the more exotic (jasmine green tea with jellied lychee or the avocado shake). For a fusion of French colonial cuisines, try the Vietnamese po-boy. The Metairie location has a larger menu of Vietnamese dishes. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $


GAMBINO'S BAKERY

300 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 391-0600; 4821 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-3620; http://gambinos.info
Known for its February infusions of heavenly cinnamon-laced King Cakes, this Crescent City institution also bakes pies, petit fours and doberge cakes year-round. Beyond the sweet thrills of its bakery, The Café at Gambino's (Metairie location) offers plenty of items for a lunchtime nosh, including muffulettas, hot panini sandwiches, salads and gourmet soups. The Gretna location is a bakery only. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


GELATO PAZZO CAFÉ
8115 Oak St., 304-6908; www.gelatopazzo.com
From paninis to homemade gelato, Italian treats abound at Gelato Pazzo. Panini sandwiches are served on grilled ciabatta bread and include the grilled shrimp panini, large Gulf shrimp with mixed greens, grilled Roma tomatoes and house-made fresh basil pesto. Basic gelato favorites like chocolate chip, vanilla and blood orange are always available. Changing specials include flavors like Cherry Mania, made with Smith's creamery milk and Italian Amarena cherries, and layered with Italian chocolate straciatella throughout. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $


GOOD EARTH MARKET AND Café

821 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 674-4329
Good Earth's many wraps on whole-wheat tortillas are a healthy and popular lunch item, but don't overlook the daily specials. There is international appeal in the mix of tacos and dishes like chicken cacciatore, beef stroganoff and Indonesian stew. Tender cochon de lait is made daily. Extra-large salads and a changing selection of soups complete the menu. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


HICKORY CHICKORY CAFÉ
1827 Hickory Ave. Ste. E, Harahan, 738-2220; www.hickorychickorycafe.com
Sometimes the little things set a place apart — like the mini-doughnuts at the kid-friendly Hickory Chicory. Dunk them in coffee or one of the many dipping sauce choices like chocolate, strawberry, caramel, banana, lemon or orange. Vegetarian red beans and rice is available, or add on andouille sausage, which is sautéed with onions, bell peppers and tomato. Hickory also serves homemade soups, panini sandwiches and salads. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


LA BOUCHERIE COFFEE HOUSE & CAFÉ

339 Chartres St., 581-6868
A series of interconnecting rooms lures visitors through this casually elegant coffeehouse and lunch spot. The baristas serve a complete line of coffee drinks and an array of teas, plus pastries and sweets. The lunch crowd comes for daily specials, salads and sandwiches like the Conti Club, which layers house-roasted turkey breast, smoked bacon, Swiss and cheddar cheese on wheat bread. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $


LA BOULANGERIE
4600 Magazine St., 269-3777
La Boulangerie has moved but is still one of the city's most popular bakeries for fresh baked breads and French pastries like flaky croissants. The menu has expanded and includes more panini sandwiches, small pizzas and salads. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, early dinner Mon.-Sat. Checks. $


LA DIVINA GELATERIA
3005 Magazine St., 258-5313; www.ladivinagelateria.com
At La Divina, gelato and sorbets are made in-house every day from fresh ingredients like strawberries and citrus and imported items like Sicilian pistachios and French chocolate. Try the créme brulée gelato or the plum Beaujolais sorbet. For a meal, panini choices include prosciutto and chevre cheese with a spicy pepper sauce and tuna with artichoke and purple olive tapanade, both on ciabatta bread. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


LA MADELEINE

601 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-8662; 3300 Severn Ave., Suite 201, Metairie, 456-1624; 3434 Hwy. 190, Mandeville, (985) 626-7004; 5171 Citrus Blvd., Suite 2000, Harahan, 818-2450; www.lamadeleine.com
A convenient cafeteria-style of service and a menu of French café classics have made the La Madeleine chain a local favorite. There are always American and darker French roast coffees to choose from. The bakery prepares breakfast pastries, potato galettes, salads and sandwiches like the croque monsieur. The tomato-basil soup is a popular hot item. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $


LA VITA
3201 Esplanade Ave., 948-0077; www.lavitapizza.com
This casual Italian restaurant from the same group that runs Angeli on Decatur Street and Del Forno offers pizza, salads, calzones, panini sandwiches and pasta dishes. The menu has new items like the arugula salad tossed in a honey balsamic vinaigrette with shaved Reggiano cheese and extra virgin olive oil. A popular entrée is the veal Marsala, a 6-oz. pan-seared veal cutlet topped with Marsala wine sauce with sautéed portobello mushrooms. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$


LAFITTE'S CAFÉ
6325 Elysian Fields Ave., 284-7878; www.lafittescafe.com
Lafitte's serves wraps with a wide selection of fillings, burgers and patty melts, salads, sandwiches and baked potatoes. Dig into appetizers such as fried pickles, chili cheese fries and baskets of fried seafood. There's also free wireless Internet. No reservations. Breakfast Sat., lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $


LAKEVIEW BREW COFFEE CAFÉ

5606 Canal Blvd., 483-7001
Lakview Brew offers a wide selection of specialty drinks including espresso, cappuccino, several lattes, hot and iced chai tea, hot chocolate and others. Pastries and baked goods are available for breakfast. The lunch menu includes soups, gourmet salads and sandwiches on croissant, in an herb wrap or as a pressed panini. The Brew Roasted Veggie is filled with grilled red and yellow peppers, zucchini, squash, spinach, red onions, mushrooms and Romano cheese. No resesrvations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $


LAUREL STREET BAKERY
5433 Laurel St., 897-0576
Home to the "hottest muffins in town," this patisserie serves a variety of classic bakery fare: bagels (boiled and baked daily), cinnamon rolls, quiche, scones and quick breads including zucchini and banana. Cakes are prepared for all occasions. Lunch choices include sandwiches such as ham and Swiss on a homemade croissant. Outdoor seating is available for sunny days. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $


LORETTA'S TOO/HE-BREW
2101 N. Rampart St., 944-7068; www.lorettaspralines.com
This Marigny corner café bakes a variety of pastries in-house, including blueberry, chocolate-chip, lemon poppy seed and signature carrot "sunrise" muffins. Stop by on Friday afternoons for New Orleans-style lunch specials like fried and baked chicken, stuffed bell peppers and seafood plates. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Fri. Cash only. $


MADDIE'S PLACE
3200 Severn Ave., Suite 108, Metairie, 456-7075
Relax with a cappuccino, cool off with an iced chai or grab a bite at this cozy café on Severn. The European-style coffeehouse serves homemade sandwiches and salads. Maddie's famous chicken salad is made with grilled breast meat, eggs and mayo and is available in a sandwich or on top of a salad. The Swiss turkey salad rests smoked turkey on Romaine and spring mix with Swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, cranberries and walnuts dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Fri. Credit cards. $


MELIUS CAFÉ
1701 Lake Ave., Metairie, 828-9446
At Melius Café, weekday specials range from red beans and rice with smoked sausage on Monday to roast beef po-boys on Tuesday to taco plates with rice and beans on Thursday. Friday is shrimp po-boy day. Regular sandwich options include the Melius burger, BLTs, patty melts with grilled onions and Swiss cheese, and cheese sandwiches on thick Texas toast. Melius also serves breakfast items like omelets, and eggs and toast. No reservations. Breakfast and dinner Mon.-Sat., lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


MOONLIGHT CAFÉ
1921 Sophie Wright Place, 561-1255
Moonlight reopened to the same kind of night owl hours for which it has long been known, but the new menu focuses on Louisiana and Southern fare. In addition to burgers and salads, look for meats slow-cooked to aromatic goodness in the smoker. Breakfast on the weekends now features dishes like grillades and grits, and biscuits smothered in gravy. No reservations. Breakfast Sat.-Sun., lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$


MUGGS Café
3445 Esplanade Ave., 324-9482
This quaint lunchtime café offers daily lunch specials that rotate out every week. Monday means beans. Tuesday features Italian dishes. Thursday is for beef, and Friday brings seafood. Everyday, the chicken salad is made with grapes and olives. Muggs' slow-cooked garlic roast beef is available as a po-boy or as a plate) also can't be beat. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $


NATZ Café
2101 Paris Road, Chalmette, 276-9095; www.flourpowernola.com
Formerly known as Flour Power, the café has preserved its menu of dishes like the Flour Power Salad, which is a salad of mixed greens, goat cheese, fresh sliced strawberries, candied pecans and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It also offers the wonderful Flour Power desserts. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $


N'AWLINS FLAVA CAFÉ
830 N. Rampart St., 324-6420; www.nawlinsflavacafe.com
There's plenty of flavor on this café's menu, mixing Cajun, Creole and soul food dishes and also offering burgers and other bites. Garlic shrimp pasta features jumbo shrimp in creamy garlic sauce over pasta with garlic bread and salad on the side. The Country Soulfood Platter rounds up fried chicken, a ham hock, pig feet, chitlins, collard greens, candied yams, dirty rice and cornbread. Delivery available in the French Quarter. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$


OAK STREET CAFÉ
8140 Oak St., 866-8710; www.oakstreetcafe.com
A piano player is usually at work here in the morning, playing bluesy tunes as regulars file in for donuts, coffee and breakfast dishes like the Creole spinach egg nest with poached eggs on a bed of spinach and cream cheese over English muffin halves. Po-boys and daily plate lunch specials are served in the afternoon. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $


PALM COURT JAZZ CAFÉ
1204 Decatur St., 525-0200; www.palmcourtjazzcafe.com
The Palm Court offers a winning combination of traditional New Orleans jazz and Creole cooking. Starters include gumbo with chicken, andouille and okra. Equally traditional fare like shrimp Creole is popular at the supper club. The chicken sardou is served on a bed of creamed spinach over artichokes with oyster sauce. Or try the shrimp ambrosia cooked in fennel and served over spinach pasta. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


PARADISE CAFÉ
3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-4141
Warm up with a cup of cream of cauliflower or zucchini and squash soup. Or dig into barbecued brisket, an avocado stuffed with chicken salad, chicken quesadillas, smoked sausage or pork chops 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
Many locals drop into this quaint café for home-cooked breakfasts and lunches of po-boys and blue plate specials like the red beans and rice. Since its in Ponchatoula, home of the annual Strawberry Festival, strawberry daiquiris are always an appropriate beverage choice. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $


PUCCINO'S

Lakeside Shopping Center Annex, 17th Street at Severn Ave., Metairie, 835-3151; 5200 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-9970; www.lovepuccinos.com
Beyond coffee drinks like the signature Frozen Puccino—a malted coffee and ice cream concoction—and other coffee and tea creations, Puccino's serves sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries. The breakfast menu features omelets, fritattas and the Puccino's buttermilk waffle sandwich with two eggs, cheddar cheese and ham or bacon. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $


REFUEL COFFEE AND NOSH
8124 Hampson St., 872-0187
Customers order at the counter and then settle in to the stylish dining room at this casual café. Refuel's breakfast and brunch specialties include corned beef hash, huevos rancheros and some seriously creamy grits. At lunch, the Cuban sandwiches are grilled crisp, and there are entrée plates built around marinated flank steak, tuna and salmon. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Fri., brunch Sat-Sun. Credit cards. $


RENDEZ-VOUS CAFÉ
3001 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 367-6013
Aromatic hookah pipes, coffee drinks and beer and wine are some of the indulgences at this wide-ranging eatery. At breakfast time, try the Western omelet with bacon, sausage, ham and cheese with pancakes or toast on the side. Dinner specialties include classic chicken Parmesan covered with sauce and served over pasta. One new area of the menu features Mediterranean favorites such as hummus and baba ghanoush. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $


RICCOBONO'S PANOLA STREET CAFÉ

7801 Panola St., 314-1810
Regulars rarely need menus at this cozy, family-run café tucked away in the University neighborhood. Some neighbors build their schedules around daily lunch specials like hamburger steaks and fried catfish. At breakfast time, the standard egg and pancake options are augmented by dishes like the crawfish omelet and crab cakes Benedict. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $


RIVERSHACK TAVERN
3449 River Road, Jefferson, 834-4938; www.therivershacktavern.com
Long known as a honky tonk with plenty of draft beer and road food, the Rivershack has an ambitious kitchen now, and even the sandwiches are big productions. The Usual Suspects is a grilled deli-style lineup of corned beef, pastrami, debris and Swiss cheese. Weekday lunch specials range from traditional red beans to braised rabbit with spaetzle dumplings to peanut-crusted soft-shell crab with basmati rice and tandoori cream. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


ROYAL BLEND

204 Metairie Road, Metairie, 835-7779; 621 Royal St., 523-2716
Royal Blend is more than a coffeeshop. It offers a full range of sandwiches, salads, wraps, weekly specials, plus muffins, pastries and desserts. The baked potato salad and the chicken salad sandwich with bacon and avocado are particular favorites. Baristas make specialty lattes and other caffeinated creations. An impressive indoor magazine stand gives you plenty to read while you nosh and sip at the Metairie location. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $


STAR CAFÉ

2186 Florida St., Mandeville, (985) 674-9920; www.starcafe.com
The creative menu at Star Café gives diners options such as the cleverly named Pearis Stilton salad, which sets blue cheese, poached pears and walnuts over spring mix greens with a vinaigrette dressing. Homemade breads make Star's sandwiches stand out. The Kevin Bacon chicken sandwich on fresh focaccia has tomato-garlic aioli, feta cheese and fresh vegetables on top of two chicken breasts. Build your own burger or order the daily burger special, such as the mushroom-Swiss or jalapeño-Cheddar. Kids eat free on Wednesdays. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


SURREY'S CAFÉ & JUICE BAR

1418 Magazine St., 524-3828; www.surreyscaféandjuicebar.com
Fresh-squeezed juice and vegetarian dishes are hallmarks of Surrey's, but not everyone necessarily seeks out the menu's lightest choices. Bananas Foster stuffed French toast is stuffed with bananas, cream cheese and brown sugar and served bathing in rum sauce. The Surrey's club is stacked with turkey, goat cheese, bacon, mixed greens and tomato on either seven grain or sourdough bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and brunch Wed.-Sun. Cash only. $


THEN, NOW & NEXT CAFE
6401 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-5700; www.fourpointsnola.com
Inside the Sheraton Four Points Hotel, this bright and inviting café has a constantly changing menu that sticks to familiar flavors. Bayou Fettuccini is a dish of pasta tossed with large Gulf shrimp and tasso in spicy cream sauce. Twin grilled crab cakes are served with lemon-butter sauce. There are always roast beef dishes and low-calorie options. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


TOUT DE SUITE
347 Verret St., 362-2264; www.toutdesuitecafe.com
Tout de Suite breakfasts include egg dishes and rotating weekend specials like huevos rancheros and buttermilk biscuits with gravy. For lunch, try a chicken panini with apple smoked bacon and Swiss cheese. Fresh salads combine greens with items like fruit, nuts, chicken or seared salmon. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


VAZQUEZ RESTAURANT
515 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 893-9336
At Vazquez, specials change on a daily basis and include dishes like red beans, pork chops, stuffed crabs and the Cuban sandwich. Vazquez also offers its own take on the club sandwich. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $


VIANNE'S TEA SALON & CAFÉ
544 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5683; www.viannes.com
High tea is a three-course affair at this charming Old Mandeville spot. The event consists of housemade scones served with lemon curd, cream and jam, tea sandwiches and canapés, and an assortment of mini-desserts. The café serves more than 100 loose-leaf teas either hot or iced. The lunch menu includes items like peanut chicken salad, which pairs Mandarin oranges and crushed nuts with a panéed chicken breast. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


VITALITY JUICE, JAVA & SMOOTHIE BAR
322 Dalwill Drive, Mandeville, (985) 727-3482; 1915 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 737-1901; 2309 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-3488; www.vitalityjuice.com
Vitality specializes in organic coffees, smoothies, juices, teas, soups, sandwiches and desserts. Popular fruit smoothies include the Spunky Monkey, made with strawberry, orange and banana. The Caesar Gone Skinny salad is made with homemade low-fat Caesar dressing, free-range grilled chicken with Romaine lettuce and Parmesan cheese. No reservations. Breakfast and early dinner Mon.-Sat., lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $


YE OLDE COLLEGE INN
3000 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-3683; www.collegeinn1933.com
This Uptown stalwart moved to a new building after more than 70 years of service, but the regulars still come in for their old favorites. The veal cutlet still covers the plate, and the hamburger is still made on a uniquely airy Leidenheimer bun. The kitchen also prepares more ambitious daily specials. Reservations accepted for six or more. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 


CAJUN


BON TON CAFÉ

401 Magazine St., 524-3386; www.thebontoncafe.com
Amid the Creole traditions of New Orleans, the Bon Ton has been serving authentic Cajun fare since 1953. One specialty, the namesake redfish Bon Ton is seasoned, seared on the grill and finished in the broiler with lemon butter sauce. Classic dishes include crawfish etouffée and turtle soup. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$$


COCHON
930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2123; www.cochonrestaurant.com
Chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski have made their porcine mark on Cajun cuisine, and Cochon is a familiar stop for many local and out-of-towners. While the pork dishes like Louisiana Cochon with turnips, cabbage and cracklins are mouthwatering, there are other offerings such as rabbit and dumplings with braised Mississippi rabbit and vegetable stew baked in a cast iron skillet. Reservations Reccomended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


THE CORNER SPORTS BAR AND GRILL
500 St. Peter St., 522-2999
Located within a stone's throw of Jackson Square, patrons will find a menu of New Orleans staple items like gumbo, shrimp Creole, red beans and jambalaya. Also try the restaurant's own inventions like crawfish chicken, a marinated chicken breast topped with crawfish tails in a thick roux with peppers and mushrooms on a bed of white rice. No reservations. Breakfast, Fri.-Sun, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


LAZY RIVER
Jax Brewery Millhouse, 600 Decatur St., Suite 101, 588-2853; www.patobriens.com/lazyriverneworleans.html
Southern food and hospitality invite even the most motivated Quarter visitor to sit for a lazy spell at this riverfront restaurant. Hang out on the terrace and watch the ships go by or grab a table inside to try the mango margarita, the muffuletta made on focaccia bread, spicy meat pies, crawfish bread or roast beef po-boys. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $


MULATE'S CAJUN RESTAURANT
201 Julia St., 522-1492; www.mulates.com
This Warehouse District destination offers a taste of the Cajun countryside paired with the unique sounds of the region and a dance floor to flaunt your two-step. As Cajun bands perform for the evening crowd, the kitchen dishes out favorites like grilled catfish Mulate's topped with crawfish etouffée, chicken and sausage jambalaya, blackened fish, crabmeat au gratin and platters of grilled and fried seafood. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 




CARIBBEAN


COCO HUT

2515 Bayou Road, 945-8788
Caribbean flavors give this tiny but bright café some sweet and spicy appeal. The menu is made of dishes posted on signs at the front. The jerk chicken is grilled dark meat chicken served with rice, peas and plantains. For seafood, try the grilled red snapper served with a salad, vegetables and fried plantains. Other specials might include curry or stewed meats. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Checks. $$


WEST INDIES CAFÉ
1600 St. Charles Ave., 571-2015
West Indies offers dishes from Latin America and the Caribbean including ceviche, yucca meat pies called carimanolas and grilled skirt steak with Argentine chimichurri sauce. There are also salads, seafood dishes with mussels, shrimp and grilled fish and chicken and steak. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards, checks. $$

 




CHINESE


ASIAN SUPER BUFFET

3900 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 712-0899; www.asiansuperbuffett.com
The items change daily, but with seven buffet lines, you're bound to find many of your favorite Chinese dishes such as sweet and sour chicken or beef and broccoli. American fare like pizza, garlic bread and apple pie increase your options. Mongolian barbecue dishes are cooked to order and allow diners to choose their own meats and vegetables. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon. — Sat, dinner buffet all day Sunday. Credit cards. $


AUGUST MOON

3635 Prytania St., 899-5129; www.augustmoonneworleans.com
August Moon offers a wide variety of Chinese and Vietnamese selections from curry to moo shu pork to Szechuan dishes. The crispy lemongrass shrimp features jumbo shrimp pan-seared with onions and minced lemongrass and served with vermicelli and nuoc cham sauce. The extensive menu is broken down into helpful categories such as chef's specialties, popular chinese dishes and low-cholesterol items. Brown rice is available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


CHINA DOLL
830 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 366-8822
Cantonese cuisine is the specialty at China Doll. House specialties include the crab rangoon, a fried wonton filled with crabmeat, spices and velvety cream cheese. Lunch combinations abound, complemented by shrimp fried rice and choice of egg roll or cho cho, a crispy wonton made from pork and shrimp. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


CHINA ORCHID RESTAURANT
702 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-1428
Familiar favorites fill the comprehensive menu at this American-Chinese restaurant. The empress chow mein, for instance, has crispy thin noodles topped with scallops, shrimp, chicken, beef and vegetables in brown sauce. Vegetarian options abound, and the budget-friendly prices appeal to families and college students alike. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CHINA ROSE
3501 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 887-3295
China Rose offers many Chinese seafood specialties. The Lomi Lomi combines jumbo shrimp, pineapple and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, fries them golden brown and serves them on a bed of sautéed vegetables. The Seafood Festival is a round-up of shrimp, scallops and Chinese vegetables cooked in light white sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CHRISTINA'S EMPRESS OF CHINA
429 Wall Blvd., Gretna, 392-3939; www.empressofchina.net
Elegance and comfort converge at Christina Tsang's restaurant. Chef's creations include the Empress poached salmon served atop fresh ginger and scallions. The Tangeri beef is flash-fried beef and orange peel served with a sweet, peppery sauce. Christina's also offers lunch specials of sweet-and-sour chicken (with sides of either fried or steamed rice, egg roll and tea) and family-style suppers with dishes like moo shu pork with plum sauce. Reservations recommended for four or more. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $


CHUN LEE RESTAURANT
1100 Elmwood Park Blvd., Harahan, 733-8562
An American-style Chinese restaurant with 25 years under its belt, Chun Lee is still going strong with its newest addition to the menu, sesame chicken. Mandarin chicken and General Tso's chicken are both served with an egg roll and fried rice. The Chun Lee Special Platter inlcudes balamaki, fried shrimp, rumaki shrimp, an egg roll, paper-wrapped chicken, ribs, a fried wonton and barbecued pork. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


DOUBLE DRAGON
8236 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 433-4333
Seafood is the specialty here, especially in dishes like salt-and-pepper soft-shell crabs or whole deep-fried red snapper served with Hunan sauce. For fowl, General Tso's chicken is a popular choice. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $


EMPIRE Café
1633 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 951-8686
Empire Café's buffet lays out a variety of regional Chinese dishes with no wait. Best of all, it always costs less than $10. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


FIVE HAPPINESS
3605 S. Carrollton Ave., 482-3935; www.fivehappiness.com
Five Happiness specializes in regional Chinese cuisine for dining in, pick-up or delivery. Daily lunch specials include a choice of soup, shrimp fried rice and fried wonton. For dinner, try the Triple Dragon, a trio of chicken, beef and shrimp simmering in hot garlic sauce. All dishes can be altered for preferred spice level. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


FONG'S CHINESE RESTAURANT

2101 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-9928
Fong's has long been a popular Kenner destination for Chinese cuisine. Regional dishes use a great variety of shrimp, pork, chicken, beef and vegetable ingredients. Staple appetizers include wontons and crab rangoon. The Triple Treats platter includes beef, pork and chicken stir-fry with Chinese vegetables like bok choy, baby corn and snow peas. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


JUNG'S GOLDEN DRAGON RESTAURANT
4417 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-6081
Jung's offers generous luncheon specials combining fried or steamed rice plus an egg roll or fried wonton starting at $5. Jung's offers dishes like Empress chow mien, which includes shrimp, chicken, pork and beef sautéed with fresh Chinese vegetables in brown sauce served over crispy pan-fried noodles. The shrimp with honey pecan is Gulf shrimp sautéed with Chinese vegetables in a sweet brown sauce and garnished with crispy honey pecans. Delivery available. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards.$


MANDARIN HOUSE
3501 Severn Ave., Metairie, 779-0888
Known for its popular seafood bar, which boasts boiled shrimp, crawfish, king crab and more, the buffet at Mandarin House offers roughly 300 items including Chinese dishes, sushi and dessert. Meat dishes range from barbecued pork to teriyaki chicken. Cakes, cookies and fresh fruit satisfy the sweet tooth for dessert. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


RED STAR CHINESE RESTAURANT
8330 Earhart Blvd., 861-1933; www.redstarchineserestaurant.com
Red Star is a favorite for delivery Uptown and Mid-City and for diners to drop in for house specials like the beef and scallop combination with brown sauce or the spicy ta-chien chicken with vegetables. The kitchen also has a lighter menu of dishes prepared with no addedsalt, sugar or corn starch. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


TEA GARDEN
1918 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-9455
Whether you're looking to feed yourself or your whole family, Metairie's Tea Garden is a good choice. Many classic Chinese dishes can be found on the menu, from daily lunch specials such as moo goo gai pan to General Tso's chicken. Family dinners such as kung bo shrimp and sweet-and-sour pork are a bargain at just over $10. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $


TREY YUEN CUISINE OF CHINA
600 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-4476; 2100 N. Morrison Blvd., Hammond, (985) 345-6789; www.treyyuen.com
The Wong brothers bring the Orient to the Northshore. There are ambient touches like fishponds and a pagoda-style building, but the food is why loyal patrons return. Try the crawfish with spicy lobster sauce, which features crawfish tails, pork, peanut oil, garlic, ginger and egg wok sautéed and served over a bed of rice. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

 




COFFEE & DESSERT


ANGELO BROCATO'S

214 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1465; www.angelobrocatoicecream.com
New Orleans' most famous purveyor of ice cream is a Mid-City sweet shop that also provides ice creams and pastries to restaurants all over town. Brocato offers 24 flavors made fresh with milk, cream, fruit, nuts and nut pastes, as well as Italian ice specialties like spumoni or cassata. With spring comes blood-orange ice, and in March, Brocato's will make Louisiana strawberry ice. Pastries and baked goods include several types of Sicilian cannoli, which are crispy ricotta cheese-filled pastry shells with semi-sweet chocolate chips or dipped in pistachio nuts. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $


BELLA BREW

2701 Airline Drive, Suite L, Metairie, 846-9930
This coffeehouse and lunch spot offers a mix of coffee drinks, juices, pastries, quiches and salads as well as daily lunch specials. The frozen coffee punch is an espresso drink of ice cream blended with chocolate and topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. The lightly spiced shrimp salad rests in half an avocado surrounded by greens, tomato and egg. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


BEN & JERRY'S ICE CREAM

3500 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-5656; www.benjerry.com
The famous New England brand Ben & Jerry's is every ice-cream lover's dream come true. In addition to ice cream in basic flavor varieties, there are specials like the waffle cone sundae filled with any flavor and topped with hot fudge or caramel, whipped cream and a choice of toppings. For something a little lighter, there's the strawberry kiwi smoothie made with non-fat sorbet and fresh fruit. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CC'S COFFEEHOUSE
Citywide; www.communitycoffee.com
CC's brews a full range of specialty coffee drinks and has all the extras to wake up in the morning or settle in for an afternoon of studying. A locally founded chain, Community Coffee serves its own special blends. Sweet options include pastries, muffins and cookies. Many locations also have wireless Internet. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $


CAFÉ DU MONDE

Citywide; www.cafédumonde.com
Café du Monde is a landmark built on coffee and donuts. Café au lait with chicory and airy beignets loaded with powdered sugar have made the original location world famous and spawned new coffee stands throughout the area. Even with the relatively recent addition of orange juice and a soda fountain, the brief menu might as well be written in stone. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $


CAFÉ LUNA
802 Nashville Ave., 269-2444
A cozy coffeehouse with a grand porch overlooking Magazine Street, Café Luna is the perfect place to relax with a book, a cup of joe or a few friends. Pastries and panini 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 early dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CAMPBELL'S COFFEE & TEA
516 S. Tyler St., Covington, (985) 246-6992
This Covington café specializes in home-baked items like blueberry, carrot and banana-nut muffins, scones and cinnamon rolls with plenty of butter cream icing. Changing soup specials include broccoli and cheese, chicken enchilada or shrimp and corn bisque. Paninis are another house specialty, with toppings like roast turkey, ham, artichoke and various cheeses. The Muffulini presses olive salad, salami, ham, Swiss, provolone, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes on ciabatta bread. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


CHERRYONTOP

7712 Maple St., 861-4490; www.cherryontop.mobi
Dietary guilt need not be included with a visit to Cherryontop, which serves low-calorie frozen yogurt with a variety of toppings. The stacké layers yogurt with a nectar snowball and big bulging blueberries on top. The blendé blends blueberries, strawberries and bananas with frozen yogurt, shaved ice and juice. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


COFFEA COFFEEHOUSE GALLERY
3218 Dauphine St., 342-2484; www.coffeacoffeehouse.com
It's no wonder regulars tend to linger long at this coffee shop and café. The walls are adorned with a combination of paintings by local artists and found object constructions. Even the café's funky mismatched furniture is interesting. Some folks run in for just a cup of coffee, and others stay for light meals of crepes, homemade biscuits, New York bagels and daily specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $


COLD STONE CREAMERY

624 S. Carrollton Ave., 218-8900; www.coldstonecreamery.com
Order your favorite ice cream flavor and watch the counter attendants blend it before your eyes on a cool granite slab. One local hit is the Cheesecake Named Desire, a graham cracker-crusted cheesecake layered with ice cream and topped with raspberry sauce and whipped raspberry frosting. Mixing items include a wide variety of nuts, fruit and candy. Shakes and smoothies are also available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


CREOLE CREAMERY
4924 Prytania St., 894-8680; www.creolecreamery.com
This popular Uptown ice cream parlor offers nostalgic décor but very modern tastes in the freezer cases. Beyond the large selection of chocolate variations, the menu boasts exotic flavors such as mascarpone with lemon zest and hibiscus with sweet cranberry. The black and gold crunch — French vanilla accented with chicory, Oreos and chocolate chips — is a favorite. Then there are extra toppings to consider. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $


ESPRESSO EXPRESS

One Shell Square, 701 Poydras St., Suite 116, 524-5115
Located inside One Shell Square, this bustling café draws folks from offices all over the CBD for hot breakfasts and fresh lunch choices. Breakfast tacos, muffins and cinnamon rolls start out the day. At lunch panini-style sandwiches and daily specials take center stage. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


FAIR GRINDS COFFEEHOUSE

3133 Ponce de Leon St., 913-9073; www.fairgrinds.com
Fair Grinds makes its café au lait with high-quality dark roasted coffee and scalded milk. Light fare includes locally prepared pastries, desserts, breads and ice cream. There's plenty of outdoor seating to take advantage of during pleasant weather. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash and checks. $


FUEL COFFEE HOUSE
4807 Magazine St., 895-5757
Fuel up for the day with coffee and a breakfast sandwich of scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin. The coffeehouse also serves fresh vegetarian soups like split pea or black bean. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $


HAAGEN-DAZS
Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., 861-2500
The name Haagen-Dazs is, of course, synonymous with luscious ice creams, but this Riverwalk franchise also offers a variety of coffee drinks, including rich lattes and frothy cappuccinos. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


HENRY'S BAKERY & DELI
2313 St. Claude Ave., 944-2622; 3400 S. Claiborne Ave., 894-8894
Proprietor Dwight Henry has made a name for himself at his old-school bake shops, offering some classic renditions of nearly lost New Orleans pastries. The buttermilk drops sell out very early, but regulars duck in for donuts throughout the day. The deli serves righteous portions of soul food classics at lunch and breakfast every morning. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $


HERSHEY'S ICE CREAM PARLOR
70456 Hwy. 21, Suite 400, Covington, (985) 809-7445
Did someone say Hershey? It practically guarantees a chocolaty experience at this Covington ice-cream parlor, even if it isn't related to the famous chocolate magnate. The local Hersheys boast more than a century of experience, producing contemporary flavors such as and Moose Tracks and Cappuccino Crunch as well as good old-fashioned vanilla. And it doesn't have to be your birthday to snag a scoop of the birthday cake flavor. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


MARBLE SLAB CREAMERY
4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-2167; www.marbleslabcreamery.com
Marble Slab is named for the cool marble slab used to blend ingredients. The ice cream parlor offers a very large selection of flavors and mix-ins like bits of cookies, candy, nuts, fruit, marshmallows and more. One popular flavor is the cheesecake ice cream with fresh strawberries. Or try the sweet cream ice cream with crushed Oreos. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


MARIGNY PERKS
2401 Burgundy St., 948-7401; www.marignyperks.com
This neighborhood coffeehouse offers many perks to its Marigny regulars. With free Wi-Fi and a dog-friendly atmosphere, patrons feel right at home as they sip coffee, surf the Web and enjoy one of the shop's signature desserts like red velvet or Cookies & Cream cupcakes, or the banana nut bread. The menu includes spinach quiche, sandwiches, salads and soup. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $


MAURICE FRENCH PASTRIES
3501 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 885-1526; 4951 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 455-0830; www.mauricefrenchpastries.com
Under the direction of owner/chef Jean-Luc Albin, Maurice's conjures up confectionery delights for any occasion. The profiterole—a glazed pastry puff with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream on top—is a popular choice. Also try fresh tarts and traditional English trifles, which feature layers of mixed fruit, fresh cream, custard and cake. Classic desserts include red velvet cake, tiramisu and carrot cake. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $


MOCHACCINO'S
1005 Lee Road, Covington, (985) 809-1111; www.mochaccinos.com
Mochaccino's offers regular and flavored coffees, pastries and a menu of sandwiches and light entrées. For those who don't consider dessert a food group, there are wraps and panini sandwiches like the Philly cheese. Italian pasta salad is piled high with rotini and strips of salami and provolone. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $


MOJO COFFEE HOUSE
1500 Magazine St., 525-2244
Brewing good mojo daily at the erstwhile original Rue de La Course in the Lower Garden District, this corner spot is keeping the neighborhood coffeeshop scene alive and well. Besides coffee and the assortment of fresh baked goods, Mojo offers bubble teas and a variety of limeades and lemonades. Sidewalk tables make for fine social sipping. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $


MORNING CALL
3325 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-4068; www.morningcallcoffeestand.com
Morning Call flourished for more than a century at its original spot on Decatur Street in the French Quarter before it moved to Metairie in 1974. But it's still serving the same rich chicory coffee and light, airy beignets it always has. The doughnuts arrive fresh and hot with a liberal dose of powdered sugar. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Cash only. $


PJ'S COFFEE & WINEBAR
5359 Mounes St., Harahan, 731-2905; www.gourmet-ideas.com
PJ's to the max, this enhanced coffeeshop has all of the specialty coffees of the chain, plus a selection of beers and wines from around the world. Bagels, muffins or other baked goods coupled with a fresh cup of hot coffee are a pleasant way to start your morning. Panini sandwiches, soups, salads and small tapas-style dishes pair nicely with a drink in the evening. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


PJ'S COFFEE OF NEW ORLEANS
Citywide; www.pjscoffee.com
Grab a cup of coffee and a fresh pastry or one of the other baked goods at any area PJ's to start the day with some local flavor. Some of the choices include blueberry muffins, cranberry muffins and croissants in the morning. Popular sweet options include carrot cake, bourbon pecan pie and lemon squares. Many locations offer wireless Internet connections. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $


RUE DE LA COURSE

1140 S. Carrollton Ave., 861-4343; 3121 Magazine St., 899-0242
Fresh cupcakes are the newest addition to the pastry selections at this comfortable coffee shop, popular with students, as well as longtime Uptown denizens. Caffeine cravers will find a full range of house-roasted coffee and espresso drinks, flavored iced coffees and specialty teas. The layered caffe latte is the house specialty. Sandwich options include a choice of bread, like dark black forest or seven-grain bread, meats like roast beef, turkey or chicken salad and a range of toppings like peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and sprouts and choice of cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $


ST. JOHN'S COFFEEHOUSE

535 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 893-5553; www.stjohnscoffeehouse.com
If you care where your coffee came from, you may be pleased to know that St. John's offers organic, fair-trade coffee selections. There's a full selection of tea, smoothies and shakes. Gourmet sandwiches and wraps, including plenty of vegetarian options, are served daily at lunch. Try the signature Sedona sandwich, perked up by a Southwest cream-cheese spread. Ice cream, pastries and desserts also are available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $


SOUND CAFÉ

2700 Chartres St., 947-4477
Well-crafted coffee drinks and a sense of community are the main draws at this modern classic of a coffeehouse, located on a quiet Marigny corner. Brownies, cookies and cakes may beckon to your sweet tooth but there also are bagels and sandwiches made on fresh French bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $


STILL PERKIN'
2727 Prytania St., 899-0335
Known for its refreshing iced coffees and decadent granitas, Still Perkin' also offers a wide array of salads, sandwiches, pastries and bagels, complete with homemade cream cheeses like tomato basil and chive. Located across the street from historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, this java house offers free Wi-Fi and sunny corner windows perfect for studying. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $


SUCRE
3025 Magazine St., 520-8311; www.shopsucre.com
This is more than just a pastry and gelato shop, but after a savory portabello mushroom sandwich on foccacia bread, there's no reason not to reward yourself with a little dessert. French macaroons, sandwiched with luscious creams and ganaches, come in a variety of flavors like orange marmalade and pistachio. Xocolat Sucre is a dense chocolate cake layered with chocolate cream and finished with chocolate mousse. Only sweets and coffee offered in the evening. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


YOU-GURT

7638 Maple St., 304-8432; www.yougurt.net
At this new self-serve yogurt parlor, customers mix their own yogurt from a selection of 14 nonfat soft-serve flavors, toss in any of the dozens of fresh fruit and dry toppings and pay by the ounce. Hummus, edamame and chicken quesadillas add savory choices to the menu as well. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $


Z'OTZ COFFEEHOUSE

8210 Oak St., 861-2224
Students and bohemians flock to Z'otz at all hours for organic, fair-trade coffee, hubcap-sized cookies, vegan baked goods and exotic drinkables like bubble tea and yerba mate. A changing lunch menu includes items like miso soup, stuffed grape leaves and grilled cheese sandwiches. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Cash only. $

 


CREOLE


21 W RESTAURANT

100 Tyler Square, Covington, (985)-892-3982; www.21wrestaurant.com
Chef Grant Wallace creates a menu that reflects his Creole-Cajun and classical French training. Cases in point are the rabbit tenderloin appetizer, fried rabbit tenderloin topped with a mushroom demi-glace and the baked fresh Gulf fish stuffed with mirliton, shrimp and tasso dressing, topped with béarnaise and served with asparagus. Reservations recommended. Lunch, Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$


THE ALPINE
620 Chartres St., 523-3005; www.thealpinebistro.com
Though its name sounds lofty, the Creole and Cajun cuisine that the Alpine turns out is strictly bayou. Jambalaya, red beans and rice and etouffée all make appearances. Original dishes range from the smoked duck to grilled ahi tuna "La Boheme," topped with spicy barbecue shrimp. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch and late-night Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


ANTOINE'S RESTAURANT
713 St. Louis St., 581-4422; www.antoines.com
Antoine's is the city's oldest restaurant and remains true to its French-Creole heritage and menu of original creations. Filet de Truite aux Ecrevisses/Crevettes Cardinal features grilled or fried trout with crawfish tails and shrimp in white wine sauce. For an appetizer, the Huitres á la Foch rests fried oysters on toast buttered with paté de foie gras and adds Colbert sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., Dinner Thu.-Sat. and Mon., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$


ARNAUD'S RESTAURANT
813 Bienville St., 523-5433; www.arnauds.com
For more than 80 years, Arnaud's tuxedoed waiters have been serving classic French Creole dishes in highly civilized form just steps from the chaos of Bourbon Street. Legend has it that the special soufflé potatoes were inadvertently created by the French King Louis Philippe's chef when he double-fried the monarch's side dish to reheat it. Dipped in rich béarnaise sauce, they're a royal treat. The restaurant also is known for its signature spicy remoulade sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$


BRENNAN'S RESTAURANT
417 Royal St., 525-9711; www.brenn ansneworleans.com
Brennan's storied breakfast represents the pinnacle of culinary decadence. Start the day with the brandy milk punch and ease into rich hollandaise-laden courses of poached eggs or veal and crabmeat. For dessert there is the restaurant's original creation, bananas Foster, made tableside. In the evenings, classics like the trout amandine and crabs béarnaise shine in traditional Creole style. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$


BROUSSARD'S RESTAURANT
819 Conti St., 581-3866; www.broussards.com
This French Quarter institution is known for both its pretty courtyard and elegant dining rooms. Pompano Broussard's combines grilled pompano, scallops and shrimp in a phyllo pastry shell complemented by a mustard-caper sauce. The Louisiana bouillabaisse simmers shrimp, scallops, mussels, fish and oysters in a savory saffron-tomato broth and is garnished with crabmeat and rouille croutons. The veal chop and the wild game grill are popular meat selections. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$


CAFÉ ADELAIDE AND SWIZZLE STICK BAR

300 Poydras St., 595-3305; www.caféadelaide.com
Chef Danny Trace brings a master's approach to contemporary Creole cuisine by turning Southern favorites like corndogs into something new but familiar: Shrimp and Tasso Corndogs with a five-pepperjelly, pickled okra, chicory greens and Crystal hot sauce butter. Warm up with Trace's three-course winter package: absinthe oysters and caviar followed by a main course of cracklin'-crusted duck breast and concluding with Ponchatoula strawberry cheesecake. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$$


CAFÉ ATCHAFALAYA

901 Louisiana Ave., 891-9626; www.caféatchafalaya.com
The bright and spacious renovated interior of this edge-of-the-Garden District café is a pretty spot to enjoy creative Creole cooking. Redfish Barataria is a breaded and pan-seared fillet topped with shrimp, crab and smoked tomato cream, resting on a bed of artichoke and fennel relish. Stuffed flounder actually wraps fillets around a Louisiana oyster dressing and is complemented with a spicy sriracha butter sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


CAFÉ PONTALBA
546 St. Peter St., 522-1180
From its perch right on the corner of Jackson Square, Café Pontalba offers a menu tour of New Orleans favorites. Dishes like etouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, red beans and po-boys are mainstays. Fried seafood options like shrimp, oysters and catfish also are popular choices. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


CAFÉ RECONCILE
1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 568-1157; www.caféreconcile.com
There are two missions at this nonprofit Central City café. One is to help young people gain experience for productive careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The other is to provide delicious home cooking in a cafeteria format. The menu changes daily, but some of the regular dishes include smothered pork chops, fried catfish, shrimp etouffée, shrimp Creole and white beans and shrimp. For dessert, try the bananas Foster bread pudding. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $


CLANCY'S
6118 Annunciation St., 895-1111
With a collection of dining rooms tucked away in a quiet Uptown corner spot, Clancy's has emerged as a bastion of modern Creole cooking. Starters include fried oysters topped with Brie and served on a bed of wilted spinach. A popular entrée is the smoked pork loin served with green peppercorn demi-glace. The entrées change frequently but stay focused on local seafood and high-quality steaks and chops. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$


COPELAND'S RESTAURANT
680 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 809-9659; 1001 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 620-7800; 1319 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 617-9146; 1337 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 643-0001; 1700 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey, 364-1575; www.alcopeland.com
Al Copeland's flagship restaurant showcases his take on many of the most popular Cajun and Creole dishes. There are traditional offerings like shrimp Creole and etouffée as well as seafood combinations like crab-stuffed catfish bordelaise. Pasta dishes include shrimp and tasso over bowtie pasta and chicken Alfredeaux. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$


COURT OF TWO SISTERS
613 Royal St., 522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.com
Jazz brunch is a daily affair at the Court of Two Sisters. The seafood omelet is a mix of crawfish, crabmeat, shrimp, onions, red and green peppers and garlic with cream sauce on top. Buffet dishes range from boiled shrimp, pasta salads and hot entrées like grits and grillades to pies, cakes and ice cream. The á la carte dinner menu favors classic dishes like veal Oscar, cutlets of baby white veal crowned with crabmeat, asparagus and hollandaise. Traditional Creole dishes include turtle soup, baked oysters and many others. Reservations recommended. Lunch, brunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$


CRABBY JACK'S
428 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 833-2722
Creole touches are a hearty lunchtime attraction on Jefferson Highway. Chef Jack Leonardi of Jacques Imo's takes more refined dishes and makes them into big po-boys and lunch plates. The duck po-boy uses slow-cooked duck bathed in Jack's famous brown gravy on French bread. Fried green tomatoes come in a po-boy topped with remoulade sauce. Side dishes include jambalaya, dirty rice and potato salad. Delivery available . No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


DICK AND JENNY'S
4501 Tchoupitoulas St., 894-9880; www.dickandjennys.com
A sturdy little bargeboard house on Tchoupitoulas Street might not seem like a likely culinary attraction, but try telling that to the people waiting for a table at Dick and Jenny's. Meals start with local seafood in appetizers like corned-fried Louisiana oysters with Southern slaw and New Orleans remoulade . Entrées include dishes like grilled sea scallops and Gulf shrimp drizzled with wasabi vinaigrette around a seared pineapple ring topped with coconut rice and Asian sesame slaw. The menu also offers a vegetarian plate and children's entrées. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$


DOOKY CHASE RESTAURANT
2301 Orleans Ave., 821-0535; www.dookychaserestaurant.com
"And still I cook," world-famous Chef Leah Chase once said in the title of one of her cookbooks. This New Orleans Creole soul-food landmark, in business since 1941, returned last fall for takeout and private events only thanks to a massive renovation featuring colorful dining rooms and a new bar. Chase still delivers the classic items, including stuffed shrimp, fried chicken and rich Creole gumbo thick with seafood and sausage. There are tentative plans, labor issues depending, to open back up the dining room for the spring. No reservations. Lunch and dinner takeout Tue.-Fri. Credit cards. $$


FEELING'S CAFE
2600 Chartres St., 945-2222; www.feelingscafe.com
Housed in a historic former home in the picturesque Marigny, Feelings café is both cozy and elegant with an old New Orleans vibe. Try the fried eggplant medallion topped with shrimp, crawfish and sausage in hollandaise sauce over rice. No reservations. Dinner Thu.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$


FRENCH MARKET RESTAURANT
1001 Decatur St., 525-7879
A bounty of boiled and fried seafood from the Gulf awaits visitors to the French Market Restaurant. The Bayou platter is a popular option to get a taste of classic local dishes, including red beans and jambalaya. Snag a table on the balcony for a view overlooking the French Market itself. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


FRENCH QUARTER BISTRO AT THE MAISON DUPUY

1001 Toulouse St., 586-8000; www.maisondupuy.com/fqbistro.html
Patrons can take in a nice view of the Quarter while enjoying some of the Creole cuisine that New Orleans is famous for. The "Taste of New Orleans," with ample portions of jambalaya, crawfish etouffe, gumbo and red beans and rice allows guests to sample a little bit of everything. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


GALATOIRE'S RESTAURANT
209 Bourbon St., 525-2021; www.galatoires.com
Legendary Friday afternoon lunches at Galatoire's famed hundred-year-old first-floor dining room are a veritable who's who of New Orleans' society. Seeing and being seen takes second place, though, to chef Brian Landry's touch with tried-and-true specialties like crabmeat a la maison, shrimp remoulade and trout meuniere. Finish a meal with a festive flaming café Brulot. Reservations accepted for the upstairs dining room. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$


GUMBO SHOP
640 St. Peter St., 525-1486; www.gumboshop.com
Soaring ceilings and a lush courtyard set the scene at this modern French Quarter classic. Most meals begin with one of the kitchen's namesake gumbos and while the jambalaya, etouffée and po-boys are popular options some lesser-known gems include the alligator sauce piquant and the chicken espagnole simmered in a brown sauce with mushrooms, shallots, wine and garlic. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


IGNATIUS EATERY & GROCERY
4200 Magazine St., 896-2225
Ignatius is a fun eatery with old corner grocery charm. Cans and boxes of familiar local staple products line the walls of the dining room. The menu of Creole favorites includes seafood gumbo, roast beef po-boys, red beans and rice, jambalaya and bread pudding. Start off with a cup of crawfish corn chowder then look to the board for a daily or weekly special. No reservations. Lunch and dinner. Wed.-Mon., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $


JACQUES-IMO'S Café
8324 Oak St., 861-0886; www.jacquesimocafe.com
Jacques-Imo's Café boisterous bar, funky murals and spirited take on Creole cooking make it a favorite with locals and visitors alike. No dish is too down-home or refined for its kitchen to work into its repertoire from fried chicken to blackened fish to Cajun bouillabaisse. The bronzed veal chop is accompanied by "red flannel" hash made with beets, potatoes and Brussels sprouts and topped with tasso-scallion cream sauce. Shrimp and alligator sausage cheesecake is one of the café's classics. Reservations accepted for five or more. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$


JEAN LAFITTE'S RENDEZVOUS
240 Bourbon St., 523-6820; w ww.jeanlafittesrendezvous.com
Named for New Orleans' citizen pirate, this bustling eatery serves up treasure troves of seafood and other dishes that have made the city famous. Entrées range from zesty New Orleans barbecue shrimp served over garlic mashed potatoes to the Cajun rib-eye, which is seasoned with Cajun spices and blackened in a skillet. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$$


JUNIPER
301 Lafitte St., Mandeville, (985) 624-5330; www.juniperrestaurant.net
At Juniper, the menu changes every week, so serving contemporary Creole cuisine is always an evolving work. You might try the quail stuffed with crawfish and andouille, served with Jack Daniels cane syrup and grits. The fried eggplant pirogue carries shrimp, crabmeat and crawfish tails all simmered in garlic cream and topped with choron sauce. The filet Juniper with a crab and crawfish cake and Creole hollandaise is also popular. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$


MANDINA'S RESTAURANT
3800 Canal St., 482-9179; 4240 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 674-9883; www.mandinasrestaurant.com
The New Orleans Mandina's is remodeled and back to normal, but one of the benefits of Katrina is that now diners on the Northshore can enjoy the same Creole classics on their side of the lake. Stacks of fat onion rings are popular appetizers. House specialties also include starters like turtle soup with sherry, and the standby entrée is the trout meuniere with a thick brown sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $$


MÉLANGE
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St., 524-1331; www.ritzcarlton.com
The aptly named Melange serves a mix of its own dishes and some classic creations from the city's most popular traditional restaurants. The trio of crab combines crabmeat imperial, a crab cake with remoulade sauce and a Napoleon of crabmeat and avocado with cilantro and diced tomato with red onion and basil. The redfish is blackened and served with a decadent saffron crab risotto and shrimp bisque sauce. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Thu.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$


NEW ORLEANS BISTRO
27431 Hwy. 190, Lacombe, (985) 882-7282
Even though this restaurant is on the Northshore, traditional Creole cuisine is at the heart of the menu. House specialties include stuffed shrimp Creolaise (Louisiana shrimp stuffed with white lump crabmeat and fried till golden) and redfish Toulouse (fried redfish fillet topped with artichokes, mushrooms and shrimp in white wine cream sauce. There are also staples such as rib-eye steaks, salads, wraps and the spicy Voodoo Shrimp appetizer. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$


NEW ORLEANS FOOD AND SPIRITS
208 Lee Lane, Covington, (985) 875-0432, www.neworleansfoodandspirits.com
This seafood specialist serves up a boatload of dining options. Voodoo rolls are stuffed with crawfish and cheese, flash fried and served with Creole honey mustard. Seafood entrées include a sampler platter and the popular crab cakes Pontchartrain. For landlubbers, the smothered rabbit with white beans and rice is a popular lunch special. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Tue., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$


OLD COFFEE POT RESTAURANT
714 St. Peter St., 524-3500;
The Old Coffee Pot is one of the few restaurants where diners can still find the traditional Creole rice cakes called calas, a breakfast treat sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with syrup. Breakfast also features eggs Jonathan, a variation on eggs Benedict that adds tomato and shrimp. Lunch and dinner offer an array of fried local seafood and crowd pleasers like gumbo, crawfish etouffée, shrimp Creole, bread pudding and bourbon pecan pie. Reservations recommended for 10 or more. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 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. Entrées include classic shrimp Creole and crawfish etouffée. For dessert, try homemade bread pudding or fruit cobbler. Reservations recommended. Dinner Thu.-Tue. Credit cards. $$


PALMETTOS ON THE BAYOU

1901 Bayou Lane, Slidell, (985) 643-0050; www.palmettosonthebayou.net
Diners couldn't ask for much more from a bayou location than they'll find at Palmettos. The deck is a perfect place to dine overlooking the cypress lined bayou. Eggplant Palmettos starts with crispy eggplant and adds a shrimp- and crab-laden seafood sauce. Palmettos' shrimp pasta is flavored with roasted garlic, tomato and artichoke hearts. Steaks, fish and other Louisiana specialties complete the menu. Live jazz livens things up on Friday nights. Reservations recommended. Dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

PAMPY'S CREOLE KITCHEN
2005 N. Broad Ave., 949-7970
With Chef Mike Jacobs at the helm, Pampy's lives up to its name by serving Creole classics, particularly the seafood-stuffed bell pepper and fried chicken made famous by the late Austin Leslie. Other Creole favorites include the deep-fried Cornish hen and New Orleans barbecue shrimp served with the heads and tails on. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

Pere Antoine
741 Royal St., 581-4478
This French Quarter mainstay boasts an ample menu of local favorites including Cajun crawfish pie, two pies stuffed with spicy crawfish tails, deep fried, served on a bed of rice and topped with etouffée. St. Nona's Catch is the restaurant's version of a fish-of-the-day, which is served on crisp eggplant medallions and topped with crabmeat with lemon butter sauce. Reservations recommended. Breakfast Fri.-Sun., lunch, dinner and late night daily. Credit cards. $$

PETUNIA'S

817 St. Louis St., 522-6440; www.petuniasrestaurant.com
This cozy Quarter café specializes in enormous crepes named after saints (Marie, Michael, Peter and James), each offering a choice of meats, sauces, cheese and vegetables. The menu boasts many Cajun dishes from jambalaya to blackened steak, plus a few offbeat creations like the shrimp Barataria in a smothering curry and dill sauce over rice. Reservations recommended for dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

TUJAGUE'S RESTAURANT
823 Decatur St., 525-8676; www.tujagues.com
After 150 years of business, Tujague's is one of the city's senior Creole establishments. It adheres to its longtime prix fixe menu with a small number of entrée selections complemented with other signature courses. The chicken Bonne Femme is seasoned chicken pan-fried with garlic and served with cottage fries. Crawfish Bayou Teche serves crawfish tails over fried eggplant with a crabmeat dressing. The brisket with tangy horseradish sauce is a signature dish. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

 


DELI


ACQUISTAPACE'S SUPERMARKET

125 E. 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 893-7554; www.acquistapace.com
Acquistapace is more than just a supermarket. It also offers signature deli sandwiches such as the popular hot roast beef. Customers also may pick from daily specials like Wednesday's spaghetti and meatballs, Thursday's fried chicken and Friday's seafood. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

CENTRAL GROCERY
925 Decatur St., 523-1620
Generations have made the delightfully Old World Central Grocery their stop for its signature muffuletta. The big round sandwich is a symphony of cured Italian deli meats and cheeses topped off with freshly made olive salad. The shop also offers grocery staples and Italian specialty items. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

THE GROCERY

2854 St. Charles Ave., 895-9524; www.thegroceryneworleans.com
Pressing decisions await customers at the counter of this Uptown corner deli, which specializes in hot pressed sandwiches. The chicken pesto melt boasts sliced chicken breast, provolone, sun-dried tomato pesto, sautéed onions and Creole mayo on French bread. The Milan special features roast beef on wheat pressed with onions, garlic horseradish mayo and cheese. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

GUILLORY'S GROCERY
3708 Derbigny St., Metairie, 833-1390
Homemade hot tamales, jambalaya and rotating daily specials like fried pork chops and red beans and rice with smoked sausage are just a few of the hearty dishes on the deli menu at Guillory's. The deli also offers a long list of po-boys, burgers and salads and is known as the home of the "krispy crunchy chicken." No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

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 or French bread. Box lunches come complete with a drink and a cookie. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

KOSHER CAJUN NEW YORK DELI & GROCERY
3519 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-2010; www.koshercajun.com
If you have a hankering for a New York-style delicatessen sandwich or other specialties, stop by Kosher Cajun in Metairie. Basics like matzo ball soup are always on hand. The J&N combines hot corned beef and pastrami on New York rye bread with deli mustard, horseradish and coleslaw and is served with a barrel pickle on the side. Deli side dishes include potato latkes and knishes of potato, sweet potato and broccoli. Entrées 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, 896-7350; www.martinwine.com
Come for the wine and stay for lunch. The sandwiches are large and memorable, but don't miss out on their salad selections like the coriander-crusted seared tuna loin served with a fresh cilantro, lime and avocado relish or the lump crab salad ravigote, which is Louisiana lump crabmeat minced with shallots, herbs and lemon ravigote, served on steamed fresh artichoke leaves. No reservations. Lunch daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

MR. ROO'S DELI & CATERING

3501 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-4010
Mr. Roo's offers filling and offbeat seafood plates with catfish, shrimp and oysters, all grilled with garlic butter sauce and served over pasta. The homemade remoulade sauce is put to good use in a salad with boiled shrimp, greens, cheddar cheese, egg and tomato. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

MUFFULETTA'S DELI
3244 Severn Ave., Metairie, 889-1112
Muffaletta's version of the classic New Orleans sandwich is layered with mortadella, ham, salami, provolone and olive salad. Another house favorite is the club po-boy, dressed with ham, turkey, bacon, roast beef and American cheese. Muffaletta's roast beef po-boy features homemade shredded roast beef and gravy. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $


OBEE'S SOUP, SALAD AND SUBS
920 Gravier St., 589-0077; www.nolaobees.com
Obee's is a reliable, quick stop for breakfast or lunch. Grab a breakfast bagel with your choice of meat, eggs and cheese in the morning. The lunch menu offers panini-pressed cheese sandwiches and gumbo, French onion soup and Creole tomato bisque. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

STEIN'S MARKET & DELI

2207 Magazine St., 527-0771
The Garden District has its own outpost for New York delicatessen food. Try out the Rachel sandwich, the sister sandwich to the classic Reuben with hot pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on Jewish rye bread from New York, or Thursday's special, Italian roast pork sandwich with sautéed broccoli, aged Provolone on housemade ciabatta bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

VERTI MARTE
1201 Royal St., 525-4767; www.vertimarte.com
This corner deli has kept the French Quarter fed at all hours for many years. One of its signature sandwiches, called All That Jazz, includes a medley of grilled ham, turkey and shrimp with Swiss and American cheeses, plus grilled mushrooms and tomatoes on grilled French bread with "Wow" sauce. Deli-case favorites include chicken Creole, Cajun red beans, barbecue brisket or ribs, and lasagna. Limited delivery. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $

ZARA'S MARKET
4838 Prytania St., 895-0581
Folks stop in to make groceries at Zara's but also to visit the deli in the rear of the store for sandwiches and hot meals to go. Monday's red beans and rice with sausage is a regular special. Other favorites include eggplant and veal Parmesan, muffulettas, and Italian meatballs served piping hot on a po-boy or over spaghetti. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

 


DINER


BETSY'S PANCAKE HOUSE

2542 Canal St., 822-0213
Betsy doesn't live and die by the flapjack. Just as popular are the Belgian waffles with bananas, nuts and whipped cream. One of the most reliable deals in town is the breakfast special of eggs, bacon, grits and pancakes for $4. The Western omelet breaks eggs with ham, onion and bell pepper with picante sauce on top. The lunch menu features an array of sandwiches and po-boys. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Sun.-Fri. Credit cards. $

CAMELLIA GRILL
626 S. Carrollton Ave., 309-2679
College students, tourists, families, punks and cops all queue up at this landmark diner for inexpensive meals of omelets, sandwiches and hot pie off the grill. The chili cheese omelet may be the ultimate in decadence. For others, Camellia's cool milkshakes, called freezes, are tops. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CLOVER GRILL
900 Bourbon St., 598-1010; www.clovergrill.com
Fast-talking waiters serve up burgers, omelets and overstuffed sandwiches with a side of sass at this Bourbon Street hot spot. The monster burgers are made with a full half-pound of fresh beef grilled to perfection under a genuine hubcap. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night Mon.-Wed., open 24 hours Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $

DEJA VU RESTAURANT & BAR
400 Dauphine St., 523-1931; www.dejavunola.com
A late-night service-industry hot spot, Déjá Vu's wee-hours clientele is as varied and colorful as its extensive menu. From three-egg omelets to burgers to steaks, this bustling diner has plenty to satisfy comfort-food cravings at any hour. There's plenty of fried local seafood in po-boys and on platters. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

DOT'S DINER
Citywide
Dot's offers diner-style comfort food from bottomless cups of coffee at breakfast to lunch and hearty dinner specials like pork chops or bone-in ham steaks. Stop in any time of day for excellent deals on breakfast plates such as the B1 (two eggs, grits and toast). For lunch, there are a variety of popular diner classics, burgers and sandwiches. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

HUMMINGBIRD GRILL
5708 Citrus Ave., Harahan, 305-1980
This casual diner offers a fun lineup of hearty comfort food. The Garbage burger collects a pile of mushrooms, bacon, cheddar, onion straws, chili and a fried egg on top. The Hummingbird club layers sliced turkey, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, lettuce and tomato on seven-grain bread. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

JUKEBOX CAJUN DINER
2560 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-1112
The restaurant brings back jukebox memories with its diner-inspired menu of big breakfasts and daily lunch and dinner specials. If you arrive before noon, try the made-to-order omelets, pancakes or waffles topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Lunch specials include white beans and rice with pork chops or chicken. Patty melts, BLTs and fried or grilled shrimp are also favorites. March welcomes the return of "Cruise Night," a classic car show on the third Saturday of every month. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

KOZ'S
6215 Wilson St., Harahan, 737-3933; www.kozcooks.com
A wide selection of po-boys, soups, salads and dinner specials with fried seafood adorn the menu at Koz's. Fried or grilled redfish, fried chicken plates and garlic-stuffed roast beef, cooked daily for po-boys served with gravy, are among the most popular options. Plates come with a choice of side dishes like baked macaroni and cheese, chili cheese fries, mashed potatoes, onion rings, coleslaw or potato salad. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

LA PENICHE RESTAURANT
1940 Dauphine St., 943-1460
Classic diner fare, late-night hours and plenty of neighborhood color make this corner café a standby for locals. Its version of eggs Benedict assembles poached eggs, Canadian bacon, grilled tomatoes and hollandaise sauce on top of an English muffin. The seafood platter combines fried shrimp, oysters, catfish and soft-shell crab with potato and salad. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

RUSSELL'S MARINA GRILL
8555 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-9980
Russell's serves up a tasty, inexpensive menu of classics all day long, starting with dishes such as eggs Benedict with a homemade hollandaise sauce as well as old standards like scrambled eggs, grits and ham. At lunchtime, 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. $

ST. CHARLES TAVERN
1433 St. Charles Ave., 523-9823
Late-night/early morning diners often come to the Tavern looking for eggs, po-boys and burgers but find there's much more on the menu than simple fare. The chicken and andouille hash is a mix of shredded deep-fried chicken, andouille, green peppers, onions and garlic tossed with red new potatoes boiled in crab boil, and topped with a couple of eggs. The Tavern also serves up hearty entrées like Mary Elaine's meatballs served in a red sauce on a bed of fettuccine Alfredo. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

SLIM GOODIES DINER
3322 Magazine St., 891-3447; www.slimgoodies.com
Follow the flying fried egg up Magazine Street to Slim Goodies, where breakfast specialties like the Creole Slammer (hash browns, veggie chili, cheddar cheese, eggs and smoked tempeh) and the Jewish Coonass (potato latkes topped with spinach, eggs and crawfish etouffée) ensure this neo-retro diner is always packed. Ask for a seat on the relaxed backyard patio if there's no room up front. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $

STEVE'S DINER
828 Gravier St., 522-8198; www. steves-diner.com
This old-school diner offers free Wi-Fi service and memorably named items like NOLA's Best Scratch Breakfast Biscuit — a homemade buttermilk biscuit with fresh scrambled eggs with crisp bacon or sausage patty. At lunch, the bacon and cheddar burger is an 8-oz. Angus beef patty char-grilled to order, served on a grilled bun, topped with a mountain of cheddar cheese, crisp bacon and dressed with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. Catering available. $

 


FONDUE


THE MELTING POT

1820 St. Charles Ave., 525-3225; www.meltingpot.com
The new Mediterranean-accented menu at the Melting Pot features items such as garlic and herb chicken and balsamic sirloin. However, you can still dip into a traditional cheese fondue — 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. For dessert, the chocolate fondue is perfect for dipping chunks of fruit. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

 

FRENCH


BISTRO 38

3838 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 836-5253; www.bistro38restaurant.com
Rustic, hearty dishes comprise the menu at this country French bistro. The 12-oz. rib-eye is prepared with Dijon, parsley and butter and served with wedged potatoes and French green beans. For those in the mood for seafood, Dominique's Louisiana bouillabaisse combines fresh fish, shrimp, oysters and crawfish in a rich seafood broth. For dessert, there are crepes, bananas Foster and chocolate mousse. Lunch features more New Orleans-style salads and sandwiches. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, Sun. brunch. Credit cards. $$$

CAFÉ DEGAS
3127 Esplanade Ave., 945-5635; www.cafédegas.com
Springtime along Esplanade Avenue practically insists on a stop at Café Degas and its quintessential French bistro atmosphere and covered-patio dining area. For starters, try the pan-fried sweetbreads served over citrus-marinated artichokes with Meyer lemon marmalade for dipping. Popular dishes for spring include Dijon-crusted rack of Australian lamb, served with hushpuppies and a rosemary demi-glace. Housemade hogshead cheese is served with baby greens, Creole mustard and pickled okra. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ LYNN
3051 E. Causeway Approach, Mandeville, (985) 624-9007; www.cafélynn.com
A contemporary restaurant with a romantic atmosphere, Café Lynn serves classic French-Creole cuisine with local flair. The restaurant's signature dish is a blend of local seafood stuffed inside roasted eggplant. The scallops Provencal is a dish of pan-seared sea scallops served with fresh herbs, persillade and pistou, blends of parsley, basil, olive oil and garlic. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHATEAU DU LAC WINE BISTRO
2037 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-3773; www.chateaudulacbistro.com
Unlike its French-Creole cousins, this recently re-located bistro is exclusively French, with a menu relying on continental classics like escargot bathing in garlic butter, seared foie gras with port, coq au vin and the timeless steak au poivre, an 8-oz. filet with a black pepper crust. Lighter fare includes a goat cheese papillotte with goat cheese, artichoke and tarragon. Reservations preferred. Lunch and dinner Tue.- Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

CIRO'S COTÉ SUD
7918 Maple St., 866-9551; www.cotesudrestaurant.com
A charming bistro located among the quaint shops and storefronts of Maple Street, this French restaurant serves up classics and house favorites like the Moules au Bleu, a bowl of steamed mussels in a bleu cheese cream sauce, as well as other specialties like the Magret de Cannard aux Peches, a crispy skin duck breast served on a bed of house mashed potatoes and topped with a bourbon reduction sauce with prunes, apricot and peaches. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon. Checks. $$

FLAMING TORCH RESTAURANT
737 Octavia St., 895-0900; www.flamingtorchnola.com
A quietly unassuming neighborhood restaurant, the Flaming Torch's menu is anything but. In addition to traditional dishes like the Daube with its fine slices of top-round beef braised in red wine for hours with vegetables, it also offers tasty seafood entrées like the Oyster la Madrague, pan-fried oysters rolled in a grilled eggplant tomato sauce and topped with melted Gruyere, or the Crevettes Sazerac, jumbo shrimp with red bell peppers, herbs, saffron, rye bourbon and beer, served with toasted baguette slices. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. 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 offers classic bistro cuisine and a bit of a Francophile experience. Steamed mussels and fondue are great starters to share. Classic mussels are steamed in white wine with garlic and fresh herbs and served in a big bowl. Entrées include savory crepes, steak, roasted chicken and whole fish off the grill with a sauce of capers and lemon butter. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$

LA PROVENCE
25020 Hwy. 190 E., Lacombe, (985) 626-7662; www.laprovencerestaurant.com
French master chef Rene Bajeux straddled two worlds when he brought French provincial cooking to his urbane downtown bistro. Now he brings his touch with terroir, or cooking "of the earth," to the more rural setting at La Provence. The menu changes every day, but in wintertime you might find lamb shank, bouillabaisse or the lavender duck, accompanied by local produce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Wed.-Sun., 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. For an appetizer, try the braised baby veal cheeks. The veal is slowly braised in red wine and veal stock and then served with greens in horseradish vinaigrette. Kurobuta pork belly is marinated, roasted and served with a salad of cucumber, tomato and basil, and a parsley crouton. Changing seafood dishes include fish such as cod, grouper and yellowfin tuna. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

MARTINIQUE BISTRO
5908 Magazine St., 891-8495
When there's a chill in the air, the bistro is a great place to warm your body and spirit with satisfying French fare like the Guinness-braised lamb shank with leeks, fennel, apple-smoked bacon and caramelized onions. Molasses-cured duck breast is oven-roasted and served with a leg of duck confit and dried cherry Kirsch demi-glace . Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

ORLEANS GRAPEVINE WINE BAR AND BISTRO
720 Orleans Ave., 523-1930; www.orleansgrapevine.com
Duck into this urbane hideaway just behind St. Louis Cathedral for creative bistro cuisine and one of the city's largest selections of wine by the glass. Dig into plates of sautéed calamari served with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and green onions in a Dijon-vermouth beurre blanc, or an entrée of pan-seared ahi tuna crusted with sesame. The double-cut pork chop is served with sweet potato and wild boar sausage hash on the side. No reservations. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$$

RICHE BY TODD ENGLISH
228 Poydras St., 533-6117; www.harrahs.com
Housed in the ground floor of Harrah's hotel, celebrity Chef Todd English's Riche pampers diners with classic French cuisine. Favorites include the cassoulet of white beans with lardons, andouille, merguez sausage and pulled duck meat baked in the oven with toasted breadcrumbs and served with a braised lamb shank. The bouillabaisse is a savory catch of Maine lobster, Littleneck clams, Prince Edward Island mussels, scallops, Gulf shrimp and potatoes in a lobster-saffron broth. Save room for Riche's delectable desserts like Grand Marnier soufflé. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

 

GOURMET TO GO


BREAUX MART
315 E. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, 262-0750; 605 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 433-0333; 2904 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-5565; 3233 Magazine St., 262-0750; 9647 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-8146; www.breauxmart.com
Take a break from grocery shopping and swing by the deli at Breaux Mart, which has a wide variety of dishes and changing daily specials. On Wednesdays, fried crispy or lemon-baked catfish are the specials of the day. Other popular dishes include ribs, savory beef brisket 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., 899-7303
Chez Nous is the place to stop 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 home. This one-stop shop offers wine and packaged gourmet-to-go meals. The kitchen's ever-changing menu fills a complete monthly calendar of tempting choices. For those that just can't wait to get it home, a few small tables allow for dining in. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

DORIGNAC'S
710 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 834-8216; www.dorignacs.com
This gourmet emporium is known for its wide selection of wines and bakery as wwell as its kitchen. Juicy rotisserie chickens offer an easy solution for lunch or dinner. Fresh daily soups, hot wings, sandwiches, quiche and lasagna provide quick meals to go. The cakes, pastries and breads have people crossing town again and again to satisfy a sweet tooth. The store also offers an excellent selection of wines. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

HUGH'S WINE CELLAR
4250 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 626-0066; www.hughswinecellar.com
The wines are divine at Hugh's. Even better, they're complemented by a menu that includes a large number of soups, salads and sandwiches. The latter are well-represented by the crab brioche — lump crabmeat and dill Havarti topped with remoulade. The paté and cheese plate is a great match for any number of vintage bottles. Catering is available. Reservations accepted. Lunch and light early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

LANGENSTEIN'S

800 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-6682; 1330 Arabella St., 899-9283; www.langensteins.com
In addition to premium cuts of all varieties of meats, this gourmet grocery store offers prepared foods, catering and all the necessary ingredients for the serious home cook. Deli specialties include muffulettas, seafood gumbo and crawfish etouffée. The gourmet-to-go selections are available in family-size portions. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROBERT FRESH MARKET

5016 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 885-7005; www.robertfreshmarket.com
When you just don't feel like donning an apron and sweating over a simmering pot of red beans all day long, you can always count on Robert for many New Orleans favorites. Some of the daily dishes include Creole Chicken Grand with lemon and roasted garlic over linguine, Jamaican jerk pork chops, and spaghetti and beef daube with red gravy. Cornmeal-crusted catfish with jalapeño tartar sauce is available every day. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

ST. JAMES CHEESE COMPANY
5004 Prytania St., 899-4737; www.stjamescheese.com
St. James offers more than 100 varieties of fine cheese from around the world. A small menu of sandwiches, salads, cheeseboards and charcuterie plates are available for take out or dining in. The Grafton cheddar sandwich pairs the cheese with smoked turkey, basil, tomato and avocado on ciabatta. The Ploughman's lunch includes portions of stilton, cheddar, goat's cheese, Yorkshire, chutney, paté, a green salad and hearty bread. Customers can bring their own wine and there's a wine shop next door. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

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 features daily specials and inventive standards such as the barbecue chicken salad with grilled Vidalia onions, celery hearts and blue cheese dressing. The seared salmon sandwich is topped with bacon, avocado, farmer's cheese and roasted tomatoes and served on sourdough bread. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

WHOLE FOODS MARKET
5600 Magazine St., 899-9119; 3420 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-8225; www.wholefoods.com
The nation's largest natural foods grocer has a long history in New Orleans and it offers a wide range of gourmet and organic products including hot and cold food stations that serve specialty dishes like citrus-marinated salmon, peppers and olives. Prepared foods include soups, salads, pizza, sandwiches, baked goods and more. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

 



GREEK


MR. GYROS

3620 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 833-9228; www.mrgyrosnola.com
Mr. Gyros dishes up fresh, homemade Greek delicacies like spanakopita, Grecian pizza, calamari, and mousaka, a dish of baked eggplant and ground lamb. There are pasta specials, fish specials and two soups to choose from every day. Of course, several types of gyros are served with steak fries on the side. For dessert, try tiramisu, strawberry cake or baklava. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 



INDIAN


NIRVANA INDIAN CUISINE

4308 Magazine St., 894-9797; www.insidenirvana.com
Nirvana offers all the cornerstones of Indian cuisine, from curries and tandoor to biryani and naan. Some of the specialties include butter chicken, a roasted chicken breast in a tomato and butter sauce. The Saag paneer is a dish of curried spinach made with housemade Indian cheese. Try the affordably priced buffet at lunch and cleanse the palate with rice pudding or saffron kulfi and Indian-style ice cream. Reservations recommended for five or more. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

SALT & PEPPER
400 Iberville St., 561-6070
Though it might look like many quick-serve joints from the outside, this unassuming eatery cooks up aromatic dishes and halal meals from Pakistani and Indian cuisines with seasonings quite a bit more exotic than just salt and pepper. The biryani is made with long-grain basmati rice cooked with saffron, Indian spices and your choice of chicken or goat. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TAJ MAHAL INDIAN CUISINE
923 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-6859
Taj Mahal celebrates a quarter-century serving curry, naan and other subcontinental specialties. While it's still cool, start a meal with cauliflower soup. Traditional dishes include tikka masala with pieces of marinated chicken cooked in a tandoor oven and finished with tomato gravy. Bhindi masala is made with Louisiana okra, onions, tomatoes and abundant Indian spices. Shrimp curry is made with Louisiana shrimp and fresh coconut. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

Tandoori Chicken
2916 Cleary Ave., Metairie, 889-7880
Tandoori offers traditional Indian cuisine and more. Appetizers include standard dishes like vegetable samosa: potatoes and peas stuffed in a crispy patty. Popular entrées include chicken pecan masala, served in tomato and cream gravy and the spinach and cheese with homemade cheese and cream. Desserts include rice pudding. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

THAT INDIAN PLACE
201 St Charles Ave, Second Floor, 975-5664; www.thatindianplace.com
Indian food has been spicing the air of the Place St. Charles food court thanks to this take-out-only café. Tuesday's special of chutney shrimp is cooked with mangos, tomatoes, chiles and ground spices, and kicap chicken is made with a dark soy sauce, peppers and curry leaves. There are many options for vegetarians, and fresh fruit smoothies are available for lunch or breakfast. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

 

 



ITALIAN


ADOLFO'S

611 Frenchmen St., 948-3800
A quirky assortment of local art adorns the dimly lit walls of this cozy, romantic café above the bustling Frenchmen Street. The menu features Italian specialties like eggplant Parmesan and veal piccata. Signature sauces like the Verde — buttery spinach with a nutmeg bite — top chicken, steak, veal and a daily variety of fresh fish. Reservations accepted for four or more. Dinner daily. Checks. $$

ANDREA'S RESTAURANT
3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583; www.andreasrestaurant.com
When it comes to Northern Italian cuisine, chef Andrea Apuzzo's artistic flair has made his namesake restaurant a citywide favorite. For a special taste of the Old World, try the Trota Bayou la Fourche, a fillet of speckled trout sautéed in olive oil and served with lump crabmeat in lemon cream sauce. Steaks, beef tenderloin and homemade pastas round out the menu. For dessert, there is an English-style trifle with layers of chocolate and vanilla sponge cake interspersed with cream, fresh strawberries, candied fruit and whipped cream with hints of Grand Marnier. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ANSELMO'S
3401 N. Hullen St., Metairie, 889-1212
For classic Italian comfort food, Anselmo's has meatballs and red gravy served over angel hair pasta. For something a little more out of the ordinary, order the house special crawfish pasta Adrienne, which is penne pasta tossed with crawfish and mushroom cream sauce. Besides traditional Italian cuisine, there are several locally inspired seafood entrées. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ASSUNTA'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
2631 Hwy. 190, Slidell, (985) 649-9768; www.assuntas.com
Assunta's offers Italian seafood dishes like Frutti di Mare with mussels, clams, shrimp, crawfish, oysters and scallops sautéed in olive oil, garlic and diced tomatoes, and hearty pasta-based dishes like lasagna. For dessert, there's Spumoni, cheesecake and tiramisu. Reservations accepted for eight or more. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

BACCO
310 Chartres St., 522-2426; www.bacco.com
Bacco combines Creole and Italian flavors in an elegant restaurant inside the chic W Hotel French Quarter. Popular dishes include lobster ravioli, which fills housemade ravioli with lobster and Gulf shrimp and bathes them in a champagne butter sauce. The garlic and rosemary pork tenderloin is hickory grilled and served with wilted escarole, rustic mashed potatoes and a sweet and sour prune sauce. Many of the pastas are made in-house. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BRAVO CUCINA ITALIANA
3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-8828; www.bravoitalian.com
There's more than just traditional Italian fare to applaud at Bravo. In addition to lasagna, pasta and pizza, this restaurant fires up unique creations such as fried shrimp topped with charred tomato and lemon-butter sauce. Hickory wood-grilled salmon is served with crispy potatoes and lemon-caper butter sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ DIBLASI
1801 Stumpf Blvd., Terrytown, 361-3106
Traditional Italian dishes served in a pleasant ambience is what Café DiBlasi is all about. Popular dishes include osso buco of baby veal shanks roasted in veal broth and served with red sauce. The bracioloni wraps Italian meat and cheeses into a round and simmers it in a tomato sauce. The dish is served with pasta and a garden salad. Italian favorites such as lasagna and spaghetti are also available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ DITALI
2104 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-0058
The only requirement to dine at this West Bank Italian eatery is a healthy appetite. Regulars love the chicken Pomodori served with onions, bell peppers and 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 daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ GIOVANNI
117 Decatur St., 527-2154; www.cafégiovanni.com
At this spacious café, chef Duke LoCicero takes an innovative approach to Creole flavors and Italian cuisine. Duck Classico is a roasted half-duck with a sweet Marsala and roasted garlic glaze and served with mashed potatoes. The Quattro Formaggio al Forno is lightly breaded veal baked to a golden brown, topped with four cheeses and served with penne pasta tossed in the chef's special marinara sauce. The café has a large lounge and martini menu. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit Cards. $$

CARMELO RISTORANTE
541 Decatur St., 586-1414; www.ristorantecarmelo.com
Breezy balcony seating overlooking the Mississippi makes for a perfect perch to enjoy Carmelo's upscale Italian menu. The house specialty lobster Fra Diavolo dresses whole steamed lobster in spicy marinara with clams, mussels, shrimp and calamari, all served over linguine. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

CARMINE'S ITALIAN SEAFOOD & GRILL
4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 455-7904
Carmine's is a popular spot for Italian and Creole cooking. The seafood-stuffed artichoke is a steamed artichoke loaded with shrimp and fish served with dill cream sauce. Veal Bucktown features panéed veal topped with crawfish cream sauce, served over angel hair pasta with red sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

COSCINO'S PIZZA ITALIAN RESTAURANT
1817 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 727-4984; www.myspace.com/coscinospizza
Pizza is only part of the story here. Coscino's menu has all sorts of Italian specialties including Parmesan dishes, lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs. Make up your own pizza with a variety of toppings or order one of the Coscino specialties. The grilled chicken Caesar calzone is new to the menu. Live music and American Idol viewing parties add to the fun. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

DIA ROMA CAFÉ

3712 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-6663
Dia Roma Café makes its sauces fresh on the premises and the results are big, delicious meals like spinach lasagna with homemade Alfredo sauce, cheese, onions and secret spices, served with salad and garlic bread. For lunch, try the Dia Special Sandwich with mozzarella cheese, Genoa salami, ham, pepperoni and grilled onions. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

DIMARTINO'S FAMOUS NEW ORLEANS MUFFULETTAS
1788 Carol Sue Ave., Terrytown, 392-1150; 3900 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, 392-1150; 6641 Westbank Expressway, Marrero, 341-4096; www.dimartinos.com
Of course, the hallmark of DiMartino's is its muffuletta, piled high with sopressetta salami, ham, Swiss and provolone cheeses, mortadella and housemade olive salad on a seeded loaf. Other sandwiches include the roast beef po-boy made with slow-cooked beef served on a crusty French bread loaf. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

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 sautéed veal 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. There are always many veal, steak and pasta dishes to choose from as well as a long list of daily specials. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

FAUSTO'S BISTRO
530 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-7121; www.faustosbistro.com
Fausto's has been serving Italian classics and local favorites since 1990. The veal saltimbocca is one of the bistro's specialties. Tender veal medallions are sautéed with fresh mushrooms, Italian herbs and crowned with prosciutto and mozzarella and flamed in Marsala wine. Another popular choice is Fausto's frutti di mare with crab claws, oysters, mussels, crawfish, shrimp, calamari and fish in a garlic and seafood reduction sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FAZZIO'S
1841 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 624-9704
Fazzio's fuses Italian and Creole traditions on dishes like fettuccini Alfredo with crawfish, and angel-hair pasta topped with crabmeat in cream sauce. Signature entrées include chicken or veal prepared either piccata-, Marsala- or parmigiana-style. There also are steaks and changing daily specials. Appetizers include the sweet and spicy Bang Bang shrimp or the seared ahi tuna. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

GIORLANDO'S RESTAURANT

741 Bonnabel Blvd., Metairie, 835-8593
Giorlando's offers fried seafood platters and Creole- and Italian-inspired entrées like shrimp fettuccine and spaghetti with meatballs served with homemade sauce. Po-boys served on crusty French bread are favorites at Giorlando's, which cooks its own roast beef for sandwiches. Giorlando's big muffuletta is also a popular choice. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

IMPASTATO'S RESTAURANT
3400 16th St., Metairie, 455-1545; www.impastatos.com
Chilled shrimp Capri is a hot new favorite at this Sicilian family-run restaurant. Chef Joe Impastato serves up traditional veal marinara, veal Parmesan and osso buco. Shrimp scampi, trout amandine, Maine lobster and soft-shell crabs are popular seafood entrées. Signature salads are named for famous local figures. The salad of asparagus, black olives, tomatoes, artichokes, hearts of palm and crabmeat is named for Saints owners Tom and Grace Benson. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

IRENE'S CUISINE
539 St. Philip St., 529-8811
The breezes around the kitchen door of Irene's perfume surrounding blocks with the scent of roasting garlic. Step inside and try the cioppino, an Italian fish stew given a New Orleans spin with redfish, Gulf shrimp, clams and mussels in spicy tomato and fennel broth. Cannelloni al forno is baked pasta stuffed with veal, pork, cheese or eggplant. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

JUST ITALY DELI & MARKET
708 Aris Ave., Metairie, 832-9292; www.justitalydeli.com
This relatively young deli stays loyal to the red, white and green with authentic Italian sausages, pasta dishes, salads and homemade garlic bread, all made fresh daily. The long list of Bellini's paninis gives you plenty of piping hot pressed sandwiches to choose from. Just Italy offers a muffuleta on an Italian round of bread or on foccaccia or ciabatta . No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

LA ROSETTA
348 Robert Blvd., Slidell, (985) 649-9003; www.mylarosetta.com
Birds of a feather flock together at this Slidell Italian restaurant with specials like the Pollo La Rosetta, a boneless breast of chicken stuffed with spinach, mozzarella cheese, ham and sweet basil, topped with a mushroom and basil white wine cream sauce. La Rosetta duck is an 8 to 10-oz. lean duck breast served with Grand Marnier lavender sauce. Reservations required. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LOUIE & THE REDHEADED LADY
1851 Florida St., Mandeville, (985) 626-8101; theredheadlady.com
Louie reigns supreme for Italian classics and fried Southern comfort food. Veal and eggplant Parmesan dishes are served in the traditional fashion — battered, fried crispy, doused in marinara and mozzarella and served over angel hair pasta. For seafood lovers with an appetite, there's all-you-can-eat fried shrimp ($10.99) or catfish ($9.99) deals. No reservations. Breakfast and dinner Wed.-Sat., lunch Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

MAPLE STREET CAFÉ
7623 Maple St., 314-9003; www.maplecafé.net
Maple Street Café offers a fresh take on Mediterranean cuisine. The lemon chicken entrée is a popular dish of breaded chicken topped with lemon zest and served over fettuccini Alfredo. There are also daily fish specials. The oysters amandine with white wine and lemon butter makes an intriguing starter. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$

MAXIMO'S
1117 Decatur St., 586-8883
For years, Maximo's was an elegant enclave on lower Decatur offering fine Italian food and one of the city's most extensive selections of Italian wine. The restaurant is due to reopen soon with the same chef and many of its popular dishes including crawfish Diablo, a penne pasta dish with crawfish tails in garlic and green onion cream sauce. The menu ranges from crab claws bordelaise and angel hair Marsala to roasted whole fish, osso buco, rack of lamb and veal Fontina. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$$

MIMI'S ITALIAN AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
10160 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-6464
Mimi's makes classic Italian fare like veal Parmesan over angel hair pasta, but don't miss some of the unique dishes like the balsamic and honey-glazed duck which is served with blueberry gastrique, sweet potatoes and tasso. For dessert, try the lemon coconut ice cream sandwich. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MOSCA'S
4137 Hwy. 90 W, Avondale, 436-9942
New Orleanians make the pilgrimage out to Mosca's for signature dishes like oysters Mosca. Many dishes, like the chicken cacciatore, are served family style — so bring some friends. Reservations accepted except on Saturday. Dinner Tue.- Sat. Cash only. $

NUVOLARI'S
246 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 626-5619; www.nuvolaris.com
Nuvolari's was originally a country store in the '30s, but the food served in its dining rooms today is refined Louisiana-influenced Italian cuisine. Try the redfish with citrus meuniere, haricots verts and jumbo lump crabmeat or the osso buco. The menu changes daily, and Nuvolari's deep wine list can match the variety. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

OLIVE BRANCH CAFÉ
1995 Barataria Blvd., Marrero 348-2008; 5163 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, Algiers, 393-1107; www.olivebranchcafe.com
This duo of casual eateries serves gourmet pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches. For a new twist on a classic, try the muffuletta sub or the tomato basil wrap sandwich. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PIZZA FLORENCE
4445 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-7888; www.pizzaflorence.net
Pizza Florence offers pizza and much more. Seafood pasta features shrimp and crawfish tossed with penne pasta in a creamy Alfredo sauce. The chicken feta wrap combines a marinated chicken breast with roasted red peppers, red onions and feta cheese. Gourmet pies include barbecued chicken, garlic shrimp, Hawaiian and chicken Alfredo pizzas. There are also salads, many toasted sandwiches and a kids menu. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RAGUSA'S SICILIAN DELI
3363 Severn Ave., Metairie, 454-2723
Ragusa's is a deli and bar with a full pizza menu but may be best known for its artichoke soup and artichoke bread. Specialty pizzas include the Mangia, which comes with olive salad, salami, ham and provolone. The Hellbelly is topped with hot sausage, jalapeños and pepper Jack. Also offered are po-boys, sandwiches and daily lunch specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

RISTAURANTE DA PIERO
401 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 469-8585
Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, this Kenner standout makes its own homemade pasta including ravioli, strozzapreti and tortelloni. Meals start with a basket of the distinctive Italian flatbread called piadina and lead to delicious dishes such as the veal chops with a demi-glace made with shitake mushrooms and served with heirloom vegetables and potatoes. Opera singers perform in the evening. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

RISTORANTE DEL PORTO
501 E. Boston St., Covington, (985) 875-1006; www.delportoristorante.com
In the heart of Covington, Ristorante del Porto serves inspired Italian fare with a homemade touch. Warm yourself up with the housemade duck with shiitake mushrooms and baby spinach. The antipasti plate is a mix of cured meats, cheeses, grilled vegetables, caponata and crostini. House-crafted pastas augment rustic dishes like pork bolognese over tagliatelle. Seafood specialties include seared diver scallops over cauliflower puree. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RISTORANTE FILIPPO
1917 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie, 835-4008
Fresh Louisiana seafood with Italian twists, a veal chop with risotto, rib-eye la pizziolla, and ravioli Alfredo with mushrooms are but a few of this season's offerings at Ristorante Filippo. The grilled pork chop finished with a savory sweet red wine sauce is a current hit. Popular starters include oysters Originato, lightly dusted with Italian bread crumbs and baked with Romano cheese, olive oil and fresh parsley. The crab salad features lump crabmeat, olives, marinated artichokes and vinaigrette dressing. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SALVATORE RISTORANTE
3226 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 455-2433; www.salvatorerestaurant.com
Chef Sal prepares Sicilian-style charbroiled oysters with generous amounts of garlic, Romano and Parmesan cheeses and Pinot Grigio. Starters include panéed asparagus and sautéed crabmeat in a lemon butter caper sauce. Veal osso buco and fettucine Alfredo with mushrooms are favorites. Trout Salvatore is a fillet served with shrimp, crabmeat and mushroom sauce. Reservations recommended. Brunch Sun., lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$.

SANDRO'S TRATTORIA

6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-7784; www.sandrostrattoria.com
The aromas of freshly baked bread and roasted garlic fill the intimate dining room at this family-run spot. House specialties include mussels in tomato and garlic sauce over pasta. Aunt Vera's lasagna features handmade pasta. Panini and Italian-style po-boys with fried seafood on ciabatta make up a large sandwich menu. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SEMOLINA ITALIAN BISTRO
3226 Magazine St., 895-4260; www.semolina.com
The folks who brought the popular chain into the market have taken a different tack with their latest creation, Semolina Italian Bistro. The Italian emphasis pays off with dishes like angel hair marinara, linguine Alfredo and 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 garlic lemon butter sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SPECIALTY ITALIAN BISTRO
2330 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 391-1090
Specialty Italian Bistro offers all sorts of classic Italian dishes and gives Roman accents to some local favorites. For example, the Italian roast beef po-boy is topped with Parmesan cheese and marinara sauce. Try specials like the shrimp scampi or entrées of spinach lasagna, chicken or eggplant Parmesan, chicken Alfredo pizza, shrimp Florentine calzones, Caprese or artichoke salads. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TECORO'S SEAFOOD & ITALIAN RESTAURANT
3525 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-5550; www.tecoro.com
TeCoRo's may sound Italian, but it's actually a combination of the names of the three owners: Terrie, Corliss and Rose. Italian classics and local favorites fill its large and varied menu. The Mobster Lobster used to swim with the fishes, but here the Maine émigré is outfitted with a crabmeat dressing, crawfish cream sauce and served with potatoes and corn. The eggplant Napoleon layers fried eggplant medallions with mozzarella cheese and creamy sauce with baby spinach, crawfish tails, andouille sausage and tasso. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TODARO'S RESTAURANT
2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 362-8522; www.todarosrestaurant.com
Todaro's offers fine Italian dining in a comfortable setting. Start with a blue crab butternut squash bisque or tomato basil soup. The osso buco features three petit veal shanks with rich pecan and jalapeño gravy served over buttered fettuccine. Seafood lovers favor the fried calamari gnocchi and the ahi tuna, which is peppered and served with sherry mushroom risotto and balsamic vinegar reduction. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TOMMY'S CUISINE
746 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-1103; www.tommyscuisine.com
Tommy's eccentric menu blends Italian and French cuisine to give its Creole dishes a worldclly flair. The soft-shell crab is fried and served over linguini with fresh basil and Roma tomatoes in crawfish sauce. Duck Tchoupitoulas is as hard to resist as it is to spell, delivering a roasted duck deglazed with raspberry demi-glace with wild rice and fresh spinach. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

TOMMY'S WINE BAR
752 Tchoupitoulas St., 525-4790
An urbane ambience and extensive wine list are the calling cards of Tommy's Wine Bar. Sharing management, a kitchen and a name with its neighbor, Tommy's Cuisine, means patrons can expect a lot more than bar snacks. Light bites at the wine bar include shrimp remoulade, duck salad over spinach, crabmeat maison and mussels steamed in white wine with sautéed tomatoes and caramelized garlic. No reservations. Light dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TONY ANGELLO'S
6262 Fleur de Lis Drive, 488-0888
Known for its homemade tomato sauce, Tony Angello's offers classic Italian dishes. The veal spiedini features medallions of veal round stuffed with eggplant. The Eggplant Tina tops eggplant medallions with Romano cheese and tomato sauce. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TONY MORAN'S RESTAURANT
240 Bourbon St., 523-4640; www.ruebourbon.com
Located in the historic Old Absinthe House, Tony Moran's combines classic Italian favorites and New Orleans seafood with unmistakable French Quarter ambiance. Oysters with pancetta marries local bivalves with Italian bacon for an irresistible appetizer. Popular entrées include pappardelle with mushrooms, peas, prosciutto and cream. Simple Creole dishes include Gulf fish topped with lump crabmeat and lemon-butter sauce. Reservations preferred. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

VENEZIA
134 N. Carrollton Ave., 488-7991
Venezia is an old neighborhood favorite for homestyle Italian dishes. A generous antipasti plate starts many a meal here. Venezia pizza pies, pasta dishes, seafood dishes and veal specialties ensure contented customers. Eggplant Vatican is an eggplant cut in half, hollowed out and deep fried, filled with crawfish, shrimp and crab cream sauce served with a side of fettuccine Alfredo. Reservations accepted. Lunch Wed.-Fri. and Sun., dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

VENEZIA II
587 Central Ave., Jefferson, 734-3991
One of those rare instances where the sequel is just as good as the original, Venezia II takes after its Mid-City sister location with pizza pies and casual Italian cuisine. The house special is a loaded pie with pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, white onion and artichoke hearts. The restaurant also offers fried seafood and daily specials like the trout Cynthia topped with shrimp and crawfish in cream sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

VINCENT'S ITALIAN CUISINE
7839 St. Charles Ave., 866-9313; 4411 Chastant St., Metairie, 885-2984; www.vincentsitaliancuisine.com
The aromatic evidence of Italian cooking greets guests at Vincent's, where dishes like osso buco and veal picatta are joined by locally inspired choices like the corn and crabmeat bisque. Cannelloni is a house specialty prepared with homemade pasta that is stuffed with ground baby veal, pureed spinach and parmesan cheese, baked on a bed of Alfredo cream and topped with a light red sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 



JAPANESE/SUSHI


HANA JAPANESE RESTAURANT

8116 Hampson St., 865-1634
A lively atmosphere and neighborhood vibe keeps things hopping at this sushi bar, which is known for its extra-large special rolls. Combinations of salmon, tuna, snow crab, cucumber, avocado, egg and shrimp tempura abound. One particularly popular house special is the fried soft-shell crab roll with spicy mayo sauce. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HORINOYA
920 Poydras St., 561-8914; www.horinoya.com
Artistic presentations of sushi and hard-to-find delicacies like monkfish liver and Japanese favorites like natto are the hallmarks of this chic downtown Japanese restaurant. Horinoya's lunch specials are ideal for a quick midday lunch and it also features an extensive menu of raw and cooked cuisine that is worth exploring come dinnertime. Horinoya's menu includes many Japanese ingredients not found in all local sushi restaurants. Reservations accepted for dinner. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

KANNO CALIFORNIA SUSHI BAR
3205 Edenborn Ave., Metairie, 455-5730
Sushi lovers swear by the innovative specialty rolls and signature Fantasy Sauce that Japanese-born chef "Elvis" dreams up at the cozy, authentic sushi bar he owns and runs with his wife, Lin. Spicy snow crab, lobster tail meat and wasabi cream sauce come together in the lobster dynamite roll. The lighter South Beach roll has tuna, crab and avocado but no rice. The spicy soft-shell crab soup is a must-have starter when available. Kanno regulars like to conclude a meal with a plate of Lin's homemade chocolates. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

KYOTO
4920 Prytania St., 891-3644
Named for Japan's ancient capital, Kyoto is an intimate restaurant with a sushi bar and small dining room. The menu features a full range of Japanese cuisine including tempura, soups with thick udon noodles and creative handrolls from the sushi bar. The Sara Roll features spicy shrimp and avocado topped with crunchy bits and chili sauce. The ceviche roll wraps fresh vegetables and sprouts in fresh whitefish and tops it with lime cilantro sauce. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

LITTLE TOKYO
310 N. Carrollton Ave., 485-5658; 1521 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 831-6788
Little Tokyo's large sushi bar features an extensive list of nigiri pieces and rolls. There's nothing little about the restaurant's signature Love Boat for two, which includes tempura shrimp and vegetables, chicken and beef teriyaki, sashimi, sushi and fresh fruit. Salads, noodle soups and cooked dishes offer diners plenty of alternatives to sushi. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

LITTLE TOKYO
590 Asbury Drive, Mandeville, (985) 727-1532; www.littletokyosushi.com
When Northshore residents want a hometown spin on sushi, they might look to Little Tokyo. The Mandeville roll is made with whitefish, snow crab, asparagus and roe wrapped up in seaweed and fried, with sides of chef sauce and eel sauce. New on the menu is the Twinny roll, with tuna, fried shrimp, yellowtail, avocado and snow crab. For a little heat, try the Tamaguchi roll with spicy salmon and snow crab wrapped in soy paper. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MEGUMI YAKIMONO AND SUSHI BAR
4700 Hwy. 22, Suite 11, Mandeville, (985) 845-1644; www.megumirestaurant.net
You can find sushi here, but the Yakimono grill is a less common feature of local Japanese restaurants. Skewers of marinated meat, seafood or vegetables are carefully cooked on Megumi's special grill. There's also a noodle menu, numerous teriyaki dinners, and, for a quick Creole fix, New Orleans-style crab cakes. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MIKIMOTO JAPANESE RESTAURANT

3301 S. Carrollton Ave., 488-1881; www.mikimotosushi.com
The petite sushi bar here turns out an enormous variety of raw and cooked fish creations, like the Bayou roll with seaweed salad and cucumber rolled in rice and wrapped with tuna tataki and whitefish. Mikimoto is home to a unique drive-through lane for phone-in orders to go. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MIYAKO SEAFOOD & STEAKHOUSE
1403 St. Charles Ave., 410-9997; www.japanesebistro.com
Variety is served well at this Japanese bistro on the Avenue. Patrons can reserve a seat at the hibachi grill for a dramatic presentation of surf 'n' turf specials like the Hibachi Miyako special which comes with Japanese clear soup, house salad with ginger-carrot dressing, mixed vegetables, hibachi noodles, filet mignon, shrimp and lobster. The sushi bar offers a similarly comprehensive selection of fish and handrolls. The Ichiban Roll Combo includes miso soup, house salad, a dragon roll, double spicy roll and California roll. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

NINJA SUSHI
8433 Oak St., 866-1119
On busy nights, guests at Ninja lounge around the ground-level bar before being ushered up to what the restaurant's many fans regard as the Mt. Fuji of sushi. Fresh cuts of maguro, salmon and snapper issue forth from the long sushi bar and the kitchen produces a full array of soups and cooked Japanese dishes, including the broiled neck of yellowtail and ice cream balls in rice paper wrappers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

OKI NAGO
2712 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 780-8588; www.okinago.com
Oki Nago's diverse buffet has a wide variety of new and traditional Japanese dishes including cold noodle salads, pickle salads, shrimp dishes, breaded and fried meats prepared katsu-style, yakimeshi, which is a Japanese version of fried rice, and a host of other popular dishes. Domburimono dishes feature bowls of rice topped by meat or omelets. There also is a large selection of rolls and sushi from the sushi bar. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

ROCK-N-SAKE OF NEW ORLEANS
823 Fulton St., 589-7253; www.rocknsake.com
Rock music and saketinis set the tone at this urbane sushi restaurant. The LSU roll is made with tempura shrimp and cream cheese seaweed paper and is topped with crab, avocado and tuna, plus a dash of eel sauce. There also are creative cooked menu items like the beef and asparagus maki with thin-sliced beef rolled around asparagus, grilled and topped with teriyaki sauce. No reservations. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun., late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ST. CHARLES JAPANESE SUSHI BUFFET

2100 St. Charles Ave., 267-0799
The Avenue's newest Japanese restaurant offers all-you-can-eat sushi and an á la carte menu. Lunch specials include roll combos and bento boxes filled with sushi, shrimp tempura or chicken, beef or salmon teriyaki. The kitchen also prepares rice and noodle dishes, breaded chicken katsu and chicken tempura. Nigiri sushi choices include a familiar lineup of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, eel and sea urchin, and handrolls feature American favorites like California and Philadelphia rolls. Party platters are available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$

SAKE CAFÉ
126 Lake Drive, Covington, (985) 809-6689; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 468-8829; 1130 S. Clearview Pkwy., Harahan, 733-8879; 4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 779-7253
Sake Café put a little local inspiration behind the New Orleans roll. It combines spicy crawfish, crunchy tempura bits, avocado, tuna and snow crab with tobiko caviar, topped with an avocado-eel sauce. The sweet chili crispy fillet is grouper served in a sweet chili sauce. Sake features happy hour specials every day from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SAKE CAFÉ UPTOWN
2830 Magazine St., 894-0033
Occupying perhaps the city's most radically redesigned drug store, Sake Café turns out elegant sushi creations in a hip, upscale environment. For an appetizer, try the pan-seared scallops with a sake martini. Stand back for the TNT sushi special, which pairs yellowtail and tuna mixed with a layer of tobiko and sushi rice, topped off with a quail egg. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SAPPORO JAPANESE RESTAURANT

5000 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 779-9288
Sapporo features sushi and hot entrées from the kitchen including a popular fried rice dish. The extensive menu includes all the classic sushi specialties, plus some new creations like the Sapporo special roll with snow crab, salmon, tuna, vegetables and special sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SEKISUI SAMURAI
239 Decatur St., 525-9595; www.sekisuiusa.com
Some of the specials at this Vieux Carre sushi bar have more to do with Louisiana flavors than Japanese traditions. One delicious example is the Decatur roll with spicy crawfish, fresh garlic and cilantro rolled up with seared white tuna. The ocean pyramid special appetizer is an edible sculpture of tuna, salmon, yellowtail and green and orange tobiko, plus avocado and ponzu sauce. Recent additions include a host of new skewer appetizers and grill items. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SHOGUN JAPANESE RESTAURANT AND STEAKHOUSE
2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-7477
One of the area's oldest sushi establishments, Shogun features the zen balance of raw fish and hibachi grilled meats. Table seating is available, but many regulars head straight for the hibachi tables where an array of steak, shrimp, chicken and vegetables are cooked with flair by chefs working a chopstick's length away. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SUSHI BROTHERS
1612 St. Charles Ave., 581-4449; www.sushibrothers.net
Sushi Brothers offers a wide range of nigiri sushi and special rolls. The restaurant's namesake roll wraps salmon tempura, cream cheese and avocado inside seaweed, puts more salmon and avocado on the outside and tops it all with the house special sauce. The Sunshine roll binds tuna, salmon, yellowtail, barbecued eel, snow crab, asparagus and avocado with soy wrap. Other Japanese specialties include soba and udon noodles, tempura, grilled meats and teriyaki dishes. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Takumi
2800 Magazine Street, 265-0421; www.takumineworleans.com
Takumi combines refined modern Japanese cooking with sushi. There is sushi, sashimi and marbled Kobe beef as well as specialty dishes like Ise-Ebi Taraba, grilled Japanese spiny lobster stuffed with shrimp and wild mushrooms and king crab with sea urchin paste served with wasabi steam rolls and vegetables. For a New Orleans spin, try the Spicy Miso Gumbo that comes with oysters, shrimp, fried soft shell crab, okra, cilantro, Cajun and Japanese spices. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

TENNOU SUSHI BAR
1818 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 366-3898
Fans of this West Bank sushi bar often opt for combinations of sushi, cooked meats and soups. There are also bargain-priced bento box dinners. In addition to large sushi rolls and sashimi, dishes such as baked green mussels and fried dumplings are popular choices. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

WASABI
900 Frenchmen St., 943-9433; www.wasabirestaurant.com
This Marigny sushi spot offers traditional rolls like the Philadelphia as well as creative options like the specialty French Quarter roll, fresh salmon and yellowtail tuna in spicy mayo and tempura batter with snow crab salad in the house pink sauce. Appetizers include barbecued tuna, pan-fried gyoza dumplings and shitake mushrooms stuffed with shrimp and sautéed in sake and soy sauce. Entrée selections include an array of noodle dishes, soups, sushi and combinations and jumbo shrimp covered in a velvety cream sauce. Plum, ginger, green tea and red bean ice creams and tempura cheesecake are served for dessert. Reservations accepted. Lunch and Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

YUJIN JAPANESE RESTAURANT
323 N. New Hampshire Blvd., Covington, (985) 809-3840
An assortment of Japanese specialties and sushi rolls beckon at Yujin. The Burning Man roll combines spicy tuna, tempura crunch, hot pepper and avocado. Cooler heads prevail with the snow crab salad, a creamy, crabmeat-stuffed avocado served over greens with carrots and asparagus. Desserts include pineapple sorbet and exotic ice cream flavors like green tea, plum wine and red bean. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

YUKI IZAKAYA
525 Frenchmen St., phone n.a.
This new hot spot on Frenchmen Street has turned the former back bar area of Café Brasil into a slice of Japanese night life, complete with a wide range of sakes, Japanese beers and exotic bar snacks. The menu changes frequently, but features small plates of treats like crab dumplings, peppery French fries with wasabi mayonnaise and steamed clams with sake butter. No reservations. Dinner and late-night service Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

 



KOREAN


GIMCHI

3322 N. Turnbull Drive, Metairie, 454-6426
When you hear the name Gimchi think kimchi, the spicy cabbage concoction that is practically the national dish of Korea. This new Metairie restaurant specializes in all things Korean, including traditional table-mounted barbecue units where guests can grill their own meats. A full sushi bar adds more options from the Far East. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

KOREA HOUSE
3540 18th St., Metairie, 888-0654
Tucked away in an unassuming strip off of Severn Avenue in Metairie is a wealth of Korean cuisine. The menu includes seafood dishes and beef that is cooked on grills embedded in the tables. The kitchen offers fried whole fish marinated in soy, garlic and onions as well as specials like the Kal Bi, grilled short ribs marinated in a special house sauce. Dol Sot Bibimbob is a dish of beef and vegetables over rice served in a hot stone pot. Most meals are accompanied by banchan, small plates of Korean-style pickled and spiced vegetables. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 



LATIN AMERICAN


BARU BISTRO & TAPAS

3700 Magazine St., 895-2225, www.barubistro.com
Chef Edgar Caro is inspired by his hometown, Cartagena, Colombia, along with influences from Cuba, Puerto Rica and the Caribbean. He's fused those elements to create tapas dishes such as Mazorca, grilled corn with Salao cheese, pink sauce and crunchy potato sticks. His quaint Uptown café also offers entrées like Lechon Cubano, slow-roasted pork shoulder served with coconut rice and ensalada de Papas. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

BARU CAFÉ
3235 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-5404
Baru Café offers a flavorful tour of Caribbean-style Colombian cooking. A roasted corn salad with fried potato sticks and farmer's cheese is a popular appetizer, as are ceviche and mashed yucca stuffed with beef. The cazuela is a bouillabaisse of clams, mussels and shrimp in a garlic broth. Entrées include a 12-oz. rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce, highly seasoned tilapia with coconut rice, and spicy Caribbean shrimp. Stop in at lunch for pressed Cuban sandwiches or wraps of grilled garlic shrimp with cheese. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CARNAVAL GRILL & BAR & CHURRASCARIA

2501 Canal St., 822-4639
Try steak and other meats roasted on skewers in the Brazilian steakhouse style at this Mid-City restaurant. The lunch buffet features grilled beef, lamb, pork, chicken and sausages. There is also a bar of hot and cold salad items like rice and beans, shrimp stew and fried plantains. Wash it all down with a Brazilian fruit soda. Live music and DJs provide entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. No reservations. Credit cards. Lunch and dinner daily. $$

CHURROS CAFÉ
3100 Kingman St., Metairie, 885-6516
Home of the sweet fried dough stick also known as a Cuban beignet, Churros offers a wide array of home-style Cuban favorites. The Cuban sandwich is piled high with ham, pork, pickles, mustard and cheese, pressed on the grill. The congri yucca roast pork is marinated pork roasted to perfection and served with congri, rice cooked with black beans, and cassava with garlic sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

COUNTRY FLAME

620 Iberville St., 522-1138
The Country Flame's large menu of Spanish, Mexican and Cuban dishes offers a pan-Latin range of choices for fast, inexpensive meals. House specialties include shredded beef over rice with black beans, pressed Cuban sandwiches, tamales, several types of fajitas, tacos and carne guisada, which is a Spanish version of beef bourguignonne. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

JAZZ TACOS
307 Exchange Alley, 872-0015
Familiar fare like tacos and tostadas are done Honduran style at this tiny, family-run operation nestled along a quiet, stone lined pedestrian alley in the heart of the French Quarter. Enchiladas are made with corn tortillas bulging with beef and topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Fajitas, pupusas, quesadillas and burritos are also popular choices. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

LA CASA GOMEZ
643 Lotus Drive, Mandeville, (985) 624-8667
This eatery has turned many a Northshore dweller on to its classic Cuban sandwich made with tender roast pork and layers of ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on French bread. Dishes of grilled meats and onions as well as fajita-style platters, are equally popular. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

LIBORIO'S CUBAN RESTAURANT
321 Magazine St., 581-9680
A taste of Cuba and the ambiance of an old Havana café await behind the door of this CBD institution. Daily specials include Monday's Cuban beef hash with garlic, raisins and tomato sauce and Friday's seafood paella. Classic Cuban dishes include ropa viejo, stewed beef brisket and roasted pork. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PUPUSERIA & RESTAURANTE LA MACARENA
8016 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 464-4525
La Macarena's menu is always evolving. Try its slate of tacos including jalapeño tacos, Argentine chorizo tacos and filet mignon tacos. Namesake pupusas are stuffed cornmeal treats that are to some Latin American cities what the hot dog is to New York. There are also seafood dishes and soups. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash and checks. $$

SERRANO'S SALSA COMPANY
4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 780-2354; www.serranossalsacompany.com
Serrano's "cuisine de Latin America" features calamari salad, chile oyster tacos, apricot-glazed pork tenderloin and Argentine beef salad. Serrano's also offers regional specialties from across Central America and the Caribbean and particularly Mexican favorites. The bar is stocked with dozens of tequilas and rums and pours them into a colorful and potent array of cocktails. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

 

LOUISIANA CONTEMPORARY


7 ON FULTON

701 Convention Center Blvd., 525-7555; www.7onfulton.com
Located inside the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, 7 on Fulton may be the best kept secret on Fulton Street. The spacious dining room has large picture windows looking out on Futlon. The menu features creative contemporary Louisiana cooking. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ALLEGRO BISTRO
1100 Poydras St., 582-2350
This upscale CBD lunch spot aims high with soups, pastas and sandwiches like the tenderloin and Brie sandwich. Weekly specials include dishes like New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, featuring peeled shrimp smothered in spicy sauce over garlic mashed potatoes. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

ANATOLE

600 St. Charles Ave., 274-0105
At Anatole, chef Raymond Toups serves a menu of Louisiana seafood and chop-house classics. The aged rib-eye, cognac-flamed filet mignon, center-cut pork chop and brawny steakhouse cuts. Seafood dishes include Grand Isle shrimp and Atlantic salmon. Anatole is also famous for specialty drinks like the Neutral Ground, a frothy concoction of vanilla vodka, coffee liqueur and freshly brewed coffee. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

ANNADELE'S PLANTATION

71495 Chestnut St., Covington, (985) 809-7669; www.annadeles.com
Guests flock to Annadele's for its pretty vistas of the Bogue Falaya River and the restaurant's gourmet menu. Chef Ronald Bonnette offers a Louisiana strawberry salad with mesculin greens tossed in a vanilla bean vinaigrette with shaved red onions and toasted almonds. A nice starter is the smoked shrimp savory cheesecake topped with classic New Orleans barbecue shrimp. For a main course, try the Gulf fish prepared amandine- or meuniere-style and served with Brabant potatoes and cream spinach. 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 at Austin's offers charm one might not expect to find when parking in front of the small strip mall where it is located. But once inside, the setting is warm and inviting. Try the pecan-crusted trout, which is served with a meuniere sauce, potatoes and seasonal vegetables. 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. Reservations accepted. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BEGUE'S RESTAURANT AT THE ROYAL SONESTA
300 Bourbon St., 553-2278; www.beguesrestaurant.com
Named for Madame Begue, a New Orleans culinary icon from the 19th century, this opulently-appointed hotel restaurant features modern interpretations of Creole cooking. Friday's bountiful seafood buffet is a popular attraction. Off the á la carte menu, try classics like sherried turtle soup or something more exotic like the framboise-braised bison rack, served with Parmesan potato gratin. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

BISTRO AT THE MAISON DE VILLE
733 Toulouse St., 528-9206; www.maisondeville.com
Chef/proprietor Greg Picolo oversees both the intimate kitchen and cozy dining room at the Bistro. Try out some of his latest offerings including duck cassoulet which is duck confit, breast of duck and Italian sausage with cannellini beans. Other dishes include seared foie gras with wild rice and Moules Frites, mussels steamed in white wine sauce and served with homemade French fries. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BOMBAY CLUB
830 Conti St., 586-0972; www.thebombayclub.com
With overstuffed leather armchairs, rich wood and stately portraiture, the Bombay club oozes English manor charm. Icy martinis from the extensive cocktail menu are a perfect prelude to the kitchen's creative offerings. Try the Cajun-grilled sirloin or pancetta-wrapped diver scallops. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BRIGTSEN'S RESTAURANT
723 Dante St., 861-7610; www.brigtsens.com
Frank and Marna Brigtsen welcome guests into their converted shotgun house for a tour de force of contemporary Louisiana cuisine. House specialties include roast pork tenderloin with sweet potato dirty rice and pork debris sauce, blackened yellowfin tuna with smoked corn sauce, red bean salsa and avocado sour cream and a unique seafood platter without a single fried item. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CAFE AMELIE
912 Royal St., 412-8965; www.princessofmonaco.com
A gorgeous courtyard and historic Creole carriage house offer romantic charm at this hidden gem in the heart of the French Quarter. Start a meal with the crab cake thick with local jumbo lump crabmeat and topped with a citrus drizzle. Entrées include dishes like roasted salmon with horseradish cream. Reservations recommended. Breakfast Sat., lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

CALAS BISTRO AND WINE CELLAR
910A W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 471-2200; www.calasbistro.com
Named for the sweet, deep-fried rice cakes that used to be a Creole staple, Calas features a tasting menu-style appetizer that combines shrimp, jambalaya and andouille versions of calas, all served with a green onion pepper jelly dipping sauce. The grilled seafood platter includes Gulf fish with roasted tomato and caper buerre blanc, baked oysters Rockefeller, a barbecue shrimp spring roll and crabmeat ravigote. Sweet dessert options include piña colada cheesecake and lemon icebox créme brulée. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHOPS BISTRO
111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 218-8969
Located off the lobby of the Heritage Plaza building right on the Jefferson Parish line, Chops is a power-lunch destination during the day and a place for strong cocktails, steaks and seafood in the evening. For an appetizer try the pan-seared crab cake with smoked jalapeño tartar sauce. Seafood entrées include blackened redfish and grilled yellowfin tuna. There are classic desserts like vanilla bean créme brulée. The kitchen creates daily lunch and dinner specials. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

THE COLUMNS — ALBERTINE'S TEA ROOM

3811 St. Charles Ave., 899-9308; www.thecolumns.com
You don't need to be friends with the rich and famous to enjoy a leisurely meal in this stately St. Charles Avenue landmark. The Columns is a Gilded Age treasure built in 1883 and now run as a hotel and restaurant. Drop in for a classic American breakfast or for brunch with Southern flair and live music. Bistro plates include buttery escargot with toasted croutons as well as "retro burgers" — mini-burgers with sautéed onions. Reservations recommended. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

COMMANDER'S PALACE
1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com
Chef Tory McPhail's menu is vast and ever-changing modern Creole affair. McPhail's "Creole Favorite" prix fixe dinner includes turtle soup with sherry, Creole-spiced Gulf fish served over Creole boiled vegetables with Fingerling potatoes, artichokes, charred lemons and brown butter vinaigrette, and concludes with Commander's signature bread pudding soufflé. Reservations required. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

The Country Club
634 Louisa St., 945-0742; www.thecountryclubneworleans.com
Chef Miles Prescott is launching a new menu for The Country Club with appetizing first courses like juniper pork rillette with ciabatta, fig mostarda and fruit, and Low-Country style crawfish dirty rice cakes with lime and aioli. Entrées include braised beef cheeks and jus served over creamy polenta. Drunken Scallops are complemented by a plum wine reduction and cream of salsify. There also is a poolside and bar menu available. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon., brunch Sun. Reservations accepted. Credit cards. $$

THE DAKOTA RESTAURANT

629 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 892-3712; www.thedakotarestaurant.com
The Dakota is a well-established Northshore destination for updated French and Louisiana cooking and has an excellent wine list. For appetizers, there are the popular Brie and crab soup, and the more rustic shrimp and grits. Spring is a good time for local seafood, particularly soft-shell crabs, but there is always salmon poached in olive oil. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

DANTE'S KICTHEN
736 Dante St., 861-3121; www.danteskitchen.com
A charming cottage in Riverbend sets the scene for contemporary Creole dining with a strong emphasis on local ingredients. The crabmeat and Brie French toast is stuffed with Louisiana blue crabmeat and served with onion thyme relish and smoked tomato sauce. The daily roasted Gulf fish is topped with a salad of shaved beets, apples, fennel, goat cheese and micro greens. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Mon., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE DIPLOMAT BAR AND GRILL

535 Tchoupitoulas St., 571-2000; www.thediplomatbarandgrill.com
One of the newest additions to the downtown dining scene, The Diplomat serves local favorites from the Creole cookbook. Creole seafood gumbo brims with shrimp, crabmeat, oysters and tomatoes. Shrimp Creole has a base of peppers, yellow and green onions, garlic, tomatoes and herbs, and is studded with shrimp and served over rice. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., breakfast Sun. Credit cards. $$

DISH ON FIRST

2142 First St., Slidell, (985) 781-1440
Dish takes a creative approach to contemporary Creole cooking. Crab and crawfish beignets are prepared with Louisiana crawfish tails and lump crabmeat, fried to golden brown and served with Creole mustard and mango chutney. Appetizers include fried asparagus with blue-cheese dip and eggplant medallions complemented by crawfish cream sauce. Marinated and grilled duck breast is cooked to order and can be served on top of a salad or as an entrée with warm mango sauce and a couple of side items. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

DOUG'S RESTAURANT

348 Robert Blvd., Slidell, (985) 649-1805
Doug's still turns out the same French-Creole dishes that have been drawing regulars for years. Longtime favorites include appetizers like the corn and crab bisque and crabmeat au gratin. Entrées are dominated by thick-cut steaks and specialties like fried oysters with sautéed artichokes, mushrooms and lemon pepper sauce. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and local checks. $$

EAT NEW ORLEANS

900 Dumaine St., 522-7222; www.eatnola.com
The space long known as the Quarter Scene was treated to a stylish makeover to become eat New Orleans. The menu is a combination of downhome standards and gourmet dishes at affordable prices. Appetizers include blue cheese and fig torte. For an entrée, try the stuffed bell pepper with Caesar salad. Shrimp and grits are a popular brunch dish. Customers are welcome to bring their own wine. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

EMERIL'S DELMONICO

1300 St. Charles Ave., 525-4937; www.emerils.com
Classic and contemporary merge in perfect harmony at this St. Charles Avenue institution where New Orleanians dined for a century before chef Emeril Lagasse took the helm. Delmonico still exudes the air of old-line tradition. Start a dinner with the sweet-and-sour calamari or a classic Caesar salad prepared tableside. Entrée choices include prime steaks, pan-fried redfish meuniere or amandine, and the Duo of Lamb, a Colorado lamb chop and garlic fennel lamb sausage. Desserts such as traditional bananas Foster and baked Alaska also are finished tableside. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

EMERIL'S RESTAURANT

800 Tchoupitoulas St., 528-9393; www.emerils.com
A brush with fame is one draw to the flagship restaurant of New Orleans' best-known celebrity chef, Emeril Lagasse, and the kitchen lives up to the superstar reputation. The menu showcases the eclectic and well-traveled tastes for which Lagasse is known. Entrée choices include andouille-crusted redfish with Creole meuniére sauce, grilled filet of beef with red onion marmalade, marrow butter and oxtail jus, and duck schnitzel with roasted shallots. The banana cream pie is the restaurant's signature dessert. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

ETOILE
407 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 893-8873
A bustling and lavishly decorated bistro owned by the artist James Michalopoulos, Etoile serves modern takes on familiar Louisiana and French cuisine. The varied menu includes classics such as mussels steamed in white wine and dill and creative combinations like a pork chop topped with black-eyed peas, fried okra and house Worcestershire. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

GAUTREAU'S RESTRAURANT
1728 Soniat St., 899-7397; www.gautreausrestaurant.com
A fine-dining enclave tucked away on an Uptown side street, Gautreau's has been enticing patrons to sample its contemporary Creole cuisine for years. The halibut is crusted with Parmesan and served with chanterelle mushrooms and tomato confit risotto. Grouper is sautéed and served with lobster, gnocchi, asparagus and mushrooms. Desserts range from sorbet to fine cheeses to a vanilla bean créme brulée. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

HERBSAINT BAR AND RESTAURANT

701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; www.herbsaint.com
Donald Link cooks modern Creole cuisine infused with European influences at this casually elegant restaurant. Savor smothered Kurobuta pork belly with hoppin' john and collard greens, or sautéed Louisiana jumbo shrimp with house-cured bacon risotto and salsa verde. The menu also features excellent small plates, including Dijon-horseradish beef short ribs and fried frog legs. There's fried apple and pear tart with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

HOOKAH CAFÉ

500 Frenchmen St., 943-1101; www.hookah-cafe.com
Situated at the entrance to Frenchmen Street, Hookah Café lures passersby with its namesake water pipes full of aromatic tobacco. The kitchen produces creative contemporary dishes like a Napoleon of fried green tomatoes, shrimp, crawfish and crabmeat topped with butter cream sauce. The Marigny Bouillabaisse is a big mix of drum fish, shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat and mussels in a sauce of white wine, seafood stock and Dijon mustard with tomatoes, leeks, fennel and garlic confit. Reservations recommended. Dinner and late-night Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

HOUMAS HOUSE PLANTATION

40136 Hwy. 942, Darrow, (225) 473-9380; www.houmashouse.com
Halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is Houmas House, a stunningly renovated 18th century plantation home. Casual lunches are served at Café Burnside and elegant dinners are served at Latil's Landing. House specialties include appetizers like crab cakes and the bisque of curried pumpkin with crawfish and corn. Many dishes use locally available seafood and produce. The café serves sandwiches and salads. Reservations recommended. Café Burnside: lunch daily. Latil's Landing: dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

JACMEL INN
903 E. Morris St., Hammond, (985) 542-0043; www.jacmelinn.com
A fine-dining destination in Hammond, Jacmel Inn is known for its roast duckling served with sweet potatoes glazed in sugar cane syrup, duck cracklins and blueberry wine gastrique. For a marriage of land and sea, try the diver scallops wrapped in prosciutto and plated with mushrooms and risotto. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

K-PAUL'S LOUISIANA KITCHEN
416 Chartres St., 524-7394; www.kpauls.com
Chef Paul Prudomme has passed the torch on to his protege Paul Miller at K-Paul's and it remains a popular destination for bold south Louisiana cooking. Some of the more famous dishes include turtle soup, gumbo with housemade andouille, and blackened Louisiana Drum prepared in a cast-iron skillet and served with fresh Louisiana crab meat and chipotle compound butter with a side of potatoes and veggies. More creative fare includes the restaurant's version of an eggplant pirogue — seasoned, battered and deep-fried eggplant stuffed with julienne beef and fresh Louisiana shrimp in a special pork and veal sauce with chicory coffee. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

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 exposed stainless-steel kitchen, dining area and marble bar. Chilled seafood tasting platters are a specialty. For entrées, try the pan-seared salmon glazed with Tabasco and Steen's cane syrup and served on a bed of roasted mirliton and shrimp ragout. Sautéed redfish is served over stone-ground grits with crab and leek confit. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

LA PETITE GROCERY
4238 Magazine St., 891-3377; www.lapetitegrocery.com
La Petite offers an elegant setting for contemporary cooking in what used to be a corner grocery. The gratin of blue crab is blue crab baked in Brie cream. Crispy duck breast is served with caramelized turnips, dandelion greens and lavender-scented duck jus. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LAFITTE'S REAL NEW ORLEANS

300 Canal St., 212-3230
Lafitte's puts a familiar name on contemporary Louisiana cooking. The Royal Street rib-eye is a 12-oz. steak served with classic maitre d'hotel butter and sides of sweet corn macque choux and rosemary roasted potatoes. The salmon fillet salad rests a spice-rubbed, grilled fillet over greens mixed with carrots, squash, red onions, red bell peppers and dressed with Dijon vinaigrette. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Lago
900 Harrison Ave., 486-8282; www.lagoneworleans.com
Whet your appetite at this Lakeside dining establishment with one of Lago's specialty appetizers such as the Prince Edward Island mussels sautéed in white wine and herb butter and served with toast points. Other appetizers include the shrimp and crab martini with Gulf shrimp, lump crab and tomato confit with horseradish oil and avocado puree. The duck and tasso won tons are also a good choice, duck and tasso blended with cream cheese and served on a bed of Asian slaw. For entrées, there is housemade butternut squash ravioli served with hazelnut brown butter and crispy sage. Sides include sautéed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, tomato grits and sweet potato puree. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Tue.- Sun. $$$

LE CITRON BISTRO
1539 Religious St., 566-9051
Housed in one of the oldest buildings Uptown, the bistro combines some of the flavors of the past with a nod to the present in entrées like the General Ripley, a soft-shell crab over a filet of beef with a horseradish Creole mustard sauce. The classical New Orleans dish pampano en papillote features pompano cooked in parchment paper and served with a side of vegetables. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sat, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

LE PARVENU

509 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 471-0534
Chef/owner Dennis Hutley loves to prepare innovative Creole cuisine, and the menu changes often at his Kenner restaurant. One of Hutley's culinary inventions is the oyster dubloon, a sautéed corn-crusted oyster flattened into a disk and topped with lump crabmeat and lemon-butter sauce. An addition to the dessert menu is a warm lemon crepe topped with citrus sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

LOLA RESTAURANT

517 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 892-4992
Set inside a historic train depot building, Lola prepares informal but carefully made meals near the Covington courthouse. The Cobb salad or any one of the pressed focaccia sandwiches are superb lunchtime options. Come for dinner on Friday or Saturday and you'll be treated to specials like oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes and baked trout with seafood stuffing. Reservations recommended for dinner only. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LOUISIANA BISTRO
337 Dauphine St., 525-3335; www.louisianabistro.net
Louisiana Bistro showcases contemporary Louisiana cuisine with a twist. Though the menu changes frequently, some popular dishes include the Creole surf-and-turf combining pan-seared filet mignon with crawfish scampi, and alligator tenderloin scallopini served with wine and caper veloute. Crab-stuffed rainbow trout is complemented by jalapeño hollandaise. Baby-back ribs come with down-home sides of bourbon mashed sweet potatoes and greens. Just say "feed me" to order the chef's tasting menu. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

LÜKE RESTAURANT

333 St. Charles Ave., 378-2840; www.lukeneworleans.com
German and French traditions combine to create a distinctive cuisine in Europe's Alsace region. John Besh does it one better by adding a serious dose of Louisiana seafood at his latest restaurant. Chef Jared Tees presides over the daily menu of housemade German-style sausage, sauerkraut, veal, steak au poivre and cassoulet. There are also platters of chilled raw seafood, redfish courtboullion and Gulf shrimp. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

MAT & NADDIE'S
937 Leonidas St., 861-9600; www.matandnaddies.com
This beautifully converted Riverbend shotgun home offers several intimate and connected dining rooms inside and a spacious deck outside overlooking the levee. The kitchen creates intricate dishes like grilled venison medallions baked with Gruyere spaetzle and served with blanched carrots, green beans and a cream-enhanced caraway veloute sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon. and Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MEAUXBAR BISTRO

942 N. Rampart St., 569-9979; www.meauxbar.com
This intimate corner café combines French bistro classics, Louisiana ingredients and some Asian touches for a creative and appealing cuisine all its own. First courses range from salad lyonnaise to mussels in red curry broth to boudin blanc served with sugar cane Creole mustard sauce. The nightly menu may include options like classic steak frites with sauce au poivre, saffron fish stew, or whole trout in lemon caper beurre blanc. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.- Sat. Credit cards. $$

MICHABELLE INN & RESTAURANT
1106 Holly St., Hammond, (985) 419-0550; www.michabelle.com
Michabelle is a country inn and restaurant that offers a prix fixe menu. Entrées include uncommon seafood options like frogs legs and grey snapper. On the meat side, there may be beef tenderloin or rack of lamb. Dessert is not included in the set meal, but dishes like Grand Marnier cheesecake and fresh strawberries Romanoff are available for $5 extra. Reservations required. Dinner daily. Credit Cards. $$$

MILA

817 Common St., 412-2580; www.milaneworleans.com
After making names for themselves at their Abita Springs restaurant Longbranch, husband-and-wife duo Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing have brought their creative, cosmopolitan interpretation of Southern cuisine to the CBD. Signature dishes include oysters Rockefeller "deconstructed," pig cheeks with langoustines and New Orleans-style barbecue lobster. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sun. Credit cards.


MR. B'S
201 Royal St., 523-2078; www.mrbsbistro.com
Mr. B's combines traditional and creative Creole cooking and is known for its shell-on version of New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp and its Gumbo Ya Ya with chicken and andouille in a smoky roux. Dinner entrées range from Gulf fish cooked on a wood grill to filet mignon to duck risotto. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

MURIEL'S JACKSON SQUARE
801 Chartres St., 568-1885; www.muriels.com
Freshly baked breads begin meals at this picturesque restaurant on the corner of Jackson Square. Popular starters include sautéed shrimp with fennel Herbsaint cream, shrimp and goat cheese crepes, and the salad Midi with champagne-marinated tomatoes, basil, avocado and feta cheese. For an entrée, try wood-grilled redfish or rib-eye steaks, or seared tuna with wasabi vinaigrette. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE NEW ORLEANS GRILL AT THE WINDSOR COURT
300 Gravier St., 523-6000; www.windsorcourthotel.com
The anglophile elegance of the Windsor Court is quite a change of scenery from tree-lined Esplanade Avenue where chef Greg Sonnier previously cooked for his now-defunct Gabrielle Restaurant, but his refined cooking is right at home in the New Orleans Grill. His signature slow-roasted duck with sautéed wild mushrooms, roasted red peppers, duck drippings and an orange sherry sauce is already a house favorite. Other dishes with rustic accents include Low Country-style she crab soup, a sausage tasting plate and barbecue shrimp pie. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

NOLA RESTAURANT

534 St. Louis St., 522-6652; www.emerils.com
With its French Quarter address, central elevator and three floors, NOLA may be the most urbane setting for celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse's cooking, but the cuisine has plenty of regional accents. Appetizers include crispy veal sweetbreads and roasted clams with apple-smoked bacon in beer broth and focaccia bread. Entrées include garlic-crusted Texas redfish and grilled pork porterhouse with brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

O'DONNELL'S RESTAURANT
131 S.W. Railroad Ave., Ponchatoula, (985) 386-4077; www.odonnells-restaurant.com
Tiny Ponchatoula offers big flavors at O'Donnell's. Louisiana favorites include crab cakes, soft-shell crab and shrimp pasta. There are also creative dishes with international accents like beef spring rolls and panzanella salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers and bread. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

ONE RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
8132 Hampson St., 301-9061; www.one-sl.com
Intimate and cosmopolitan sums up the vibe at this Riverbend café. There are seats perched on the edge of the open kitchen and bar patrons get a good view of chef Scott Snodgrass' work as well. The menu changes frequently, but some popular dishes include stewed country ribs in a red wine demi-glace, pan-fried rainbow trout, and orechiette pasta with wild mushrooms and roasted tomatoes. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PAILLARD'S RESTAURANT
717 Orleans Ave., 523-2222 ext. 6001; www.bourbonorleans.com
The signature restaurant of the Bourbon Orleans hotel, Paillard's serves a combination of down-home Southern cooking and contemporary cuisine. Dishes range from the gumbo of the day to Asian-accented seared ahi tuna with sesame glaze over cucumber salad. Steamed mussels are given a boost by andouille sausage in a fresh herb and wine broth. Braised lamb shank with rosemary jus is served with tabbouleh and grilled squash. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

PALACE Café
605 Canal St., 523-1661; www.palacecafe.com
Located in the beautiful Werlein building, Palace Café is an elegant standout among the bustle on Canal Street. Sidewalk café seating offers a pleasant al fresco dining option in cool fall weather. Chef Darin Nesbit's menu features contemporary Creole cuisine including stuffed rabbit, crabmeat cheesecake and Gulf fish dishes. One of the café's signature dishes is the pepper-crusted duck breast fanned out over citrus confit salad and topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

PAT O'BRIEN'S COURTYARD RESTAURANT

624 Bourbon St., 525-4823; www.patobriens.com
Pat O'Brien's is well known for its hurricane cocktail, courtyard setting and rollicking piano bar, but did you know it also has a restaurant? The kitchen cooks classic Creole and contemporary dishes. Choices include traditional favorites like shrimp Creole and crawfish etouffée. There are also grilled fish entrées and penne pasta topped with Gulf shrimp. Recently added items include a focaccia muffaletta and short ribs. No reservations. Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PATOIS
6078 Laurel St., 895-9441
Nestled at the corner of Laurel and Webster streets, Patois fuses the elegance of an upscale restaurant with the warmth and ease of a neighborhood bar. The airy, front-and-center bar is open seven nights a week for casual cocktails and, in the future, small-plate meals. The dinner menu abounds with distinctive flavors from panéed Mississippi rabbit to boudin-stuffed smoked pork chop to Portuguese seafood stew. Reservations required for Friday and Saturday dinner. Lunch Fri., dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

PELICAN CLUB

312 Exchange Place, 523-1504; www.pelicanclub.com
Elegant dining rooms and a stately bar greet guests at this contemporary Creole restaurant. A popular starter is the seafood martini, a fresh mix of Maine lobster, jumbo lump crabmeat and Gulf shrimp with a jicama salad and eight-herb ravigote all served in a martini glass. The Louisiana cioppino stew includes shrimp, mussels, Gulf fish and scallops with a side of linguine in a basil-tomato sauce. The trio of duck entrée offers portions of duck confit, barbecue duck and duck breast with dirty rice and warm cranberry orange port sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

PERISTYLE RESTAURANT

1041 Dumaine St., 593-9535; www.peristylerestaurant.com
Chef Tom Wolfe prepares his elegant take on refined French and Louisiana cooking at this elegant restaurant. Crispy veal sweetbreads are lightly pan-fried and set on a confit leek fricassee with fennel and garlic reduction. The Gulf fish amandine comes piled with toasted almonds, wilted leek-potato hash and garlic-sautéed Louisiana greens. New items include a chicken consomé appetizer with torn herbs, and a slow roasted cane-syrup glazed duck entrée. 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 just across the street from City Park features a contemporary Creole menu by executive chef Gus Martin. Starters include Crystal P&J oysters, which are andouille-crusted, flash fried, finished with Crystal butter sauce and presented with a slaw of mirliton, peppers and red onions. The cast iron skillet-blackened redfish is served with a peppery crab cake, blue crab butter sauce and red pepper salad. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

THE RED MAPLE RESTAURANT

1036 Lafayette St., Gretna, 367-0935; www.theredmaple.com
Red Maple has been a West Bank dining destination since 1963, serving steaks and Louisiana seafood in the heart of Gretna. Be sure to clear your schedule for prime rib night on Thursdays. Appetizers include crab cakes and char-grilled oysters from the new oyster bar. Don't forget to save room for Red Maple's bread pudding. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT AUGUST
301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.rest-august.com
Celebrated local chef John Besh mixes up the menu at his flagship restaurant, working with seasonal ingredients and changing culinary themes. Signature dishes include gnocchi tossed with blue crab and truffle oil. For an entrée, try rabbit cooked two ways with artichokes and squash blossoms. Five-course tasting menus with wine pairings are always available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT CUVEE

322 Magazine St., 587-9001; www.restaurantcuvee.com
Describing his cuisine as contemporary Creole-Continental, chef Bob Iacovone blends regional ingredients with European influences. Some popular dishes include Napoleon of spiced shrimp and crisp mirliton with remoulade sauce. There is smoked duck breast cured with cane syrup and served with risotto and foie gras. For dessert, try the banana toffee bread pudding. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Thu., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT CYPRESS
4426 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 885-6885
The atmosphere at this suburban restaurant is less formal than many venues that serve fine contemporary Louisiana cuisine, but Cypress' kitchen uses a careful hand and fine ingredients for its refined creations. Duck confit spring rolls feature a rich mixture of cream cheese and caramelized onions. For an entrée, try veal stuffed with crabmeat and portobello mushrooms. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RIB ROOM

621 St. Louis St., 529-7045; www.omniroyalorleans.com
The Rib Room is a bastion from the golden age of grand hotel dining, delivering high-end meals in an elegant setting. Slow-roasted meats, including prime rib and rotisserie chicken, are house specialties. Roasted prime rib au jus is served with a baked potato. The sautéed seafood platter includes Gulf fish, crab cakes with meuniere sauce and wilted spinach. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ROUX BISTRO

500 Canal St., 595-5506; www.sheratonneworleans.com
Chef Chris Brown prepares inspired renditions of New Orleans- and European-style dishes at this well-appointed restaurant in the Sheraton Hotel. Specialties include crawfish beignets in remoulade sauce and a hearty, rib-sticking cassoulet made with red beans, duck confit and duck sausage. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

STEAMBOAT NATCHEZ
Toulouse Street Wharf, 586-8777; www.steamboatnatchez.com
Paddlewheelers used to rule the Mississippi River. Now the pleasure boats are for relaxing. The Natchez offers live jazz and updated Louisiana cooking on its evening cruise. Dishes include local seafood, beef and chicken dishes. For sides there are items like spinach Southern style, a creamy casserole with a variety of fresh cheeses and topped with toasted breadcrumbs. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon-Sun.Credit cards. $$$

STELLA!
1032 Chartres St., 587-0091; www.restaurantstella.com
The restaurant's name may be a New Orleans literary reference (think streetcars, desire, etc.), but local chef Scott Boswell's cuisine draws influences from around the globe, especially Asia. Some recent highlights from the ever-changing menu included crisp veal and shrimp gyoza dumplings with tempura shiso leaf and spicy peanut sauce. Beer-battered Hawaiian sunfish with sweet potato purée, curried taro root chips and spicy red chili caramel is another exotic combination of flavors. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

SUGAR HOUSE
Embassy Suites, 315 Julia St., 378-4000
This restaurant is named for the original hotel built on the site for the 1984 World's Fair. The restaurant pays homage to New Orleans with dishes such as sautéed trout with candied lemon, sides of jambalaya and red beans. The New York strip is served with Creole butter. For dessert, there is bananas Foster cheesecake. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SWEET FIRE & ICE
701 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 831-3437; www.alcopeland.com
Sometimes with so many dining options in Metairie, you need to come up for air. Sweet Fire & Ice offers flavored air on tap in the area's only oxygen bar. The dining menu includes starters such as Southwestern chicken salad and crab rangoon. Entrées range from shrimp and tasso pasta to steaks. There are also many choices on the specialty drink list at the bar and the signature "Original Cheesecake by the Scoop" with toppings in a martini glass for dessert. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

SWEET LORRAINE'S JAZZ CLUB
1931 St. Claude Ave., 945-9654; www.sweetlorrainesjazzclub.com
One of the city's top venues for contemporary jazz also has something cooking in the kitchen. Try the blackened catfish fillet topped with sautéed mushrooms and served over spinach. Sweet Lorraine's chicken wings are battered with the kitchen's spicy blend of seasonings, fried golden brown and served with French fries. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night Mon..-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

UPPERLINE RESTAURANT
1413 Upperline St., 891-9822; www.upperline.com
Upperline is marking 25 years in business, but the collection of paintings and sculpture spread throughout the dining rooms have always made the restaurant a celebration of New Orleans character. Upperline is the creator of the city's signature fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade. Another one of its signature dishes is the roast duck served with garlic-port or ginger-peach sauce. The oysters St. Claude are a rare treat that some diners even order for dessert. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

VIZARD'S ON THE AVENUE
2203 St. Charles Ave., 529-9912; www.vizardsontheavenue.com
The inventive, often playful cuisine of veteran New Orleans chef Kevin Vizard is on display at his Uptown restaurant. Mainstay dishes include filet mignon with Parisienne potato and a golden raisin and port wine demi-glace. Vizard's own version of the BLT is a combination of bowfin caviar, latkes and taramasalata. The distinctive Black And Blue dessert is a soft-centered dark chocolate and blue cheese cake with port wine reduction and chantilly cream. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

WATER STREET BISTRO

804 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-3855
With the waters of the Tchefuncte River running just outside, this cozy café invites guests to linger on its picturesque front porch. Mediterranean-inspired linguine with Gulf shrimp — spiked with the sharp, salty flavors of olive, caper and feta — is just one highlight. There are also entrées of duck, lamb and veal. Homemade desserts include flourless chocolate cake. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

WOLFE'S IN THE WAREHOUSE
859 Convention Center Blvd., 613-2882
This stylish Warehouse District space is a showcase for chef Tom Wolfe's big, bold-flavored contemporary Louisiana cooking. The signature Duck-Duck-Goose combines a crispy leg of duck confit, slices of pastrami-cured duck breast over a warm bacon lardon-frisee salad, seared foie gras and a dried cherry and fresh tarragon duck demi-glace. Scallop ceviche floats in a tomato gazpacho with a dollop of candied lemon-chive sour cream. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri. Brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ZÖE BISTROT
W Hotel, 333 Poydras St., 207-5018
The chic ambience of the W Hotel extends into its elegant, European-style bistro, Zöe. The menu changes frequently but is informed by an approach blending Old World French techniques with regional ingredients. Try the seared sea scallops or the Gulf Coast crustacean shooters, which pair crabmeat, shrimp and oysters with flavored vodkas. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

 



MEDITERRANEAN/MIDDLE EASTERN


ACROPOLIS

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

ALBASHA GREEK & LEBANESE RESTAURANT

1958 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 867-8292; www.albashabr.com
Albasha offers Greek and Lebanese favorites. Diners can choose from chicken shawarma, gyro plates of mixed beef or lamb, or lighter fare such as salads topped with feta or tabbouleh. The vegetarian plate is loaded with hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, tabbouleh and more. For dessert, there's baklava drizzled with honey and ashta, a phyllo pastry with cream cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ARABESQUE
127 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-7233
Cozy and intimate in an artfully renovated shotgun house, Arabesque offers an eclectic menu of tapas-style small plates and entrées drawing from Middle Eastern, Caribbean and Latin American traditions. Appetizer dips like hummus or baba ghanoush are part of an eclectic mix including New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, Italian-style antipasto and entrées of steak and pasta. A unique dish features Arabian pancakes with pistachio gelato. No reservations. Dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards.


ATTIKI BAR & GRILL
230 Decatur St., 587-3756
In some Middle Eastern areas, tobacco is served as a course with dessert after a dinner with friends. Attiki follows that tradition by offering a selection of flavored tobaccos to smoke in imported hookah pipes. Regular dining options include Attiki kebabs of marinated tenderloin tips or seafood. The menu also offers other Mediterranean dishes and sandwiches. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

BABYLON'S CAFÉ
7724 Maple St., 314-0010
Babylon's prepares many familiar Middle Eastern grilled meats and garlicy dips, but it offers its own unique crusty rolls besides pita bread. Menu mainstays include kebabs, gyros, shawarma and vegetarian dishes such as hummus, baba ghanoush and falafel. Patrons are welcome to bring their own wine. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BYBLOS
1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773; 3218 Magazine St., 894-1233
Upping the ante for local Middle Eastern restaurants, Byblos restaurant features popular items from chicken shawarma to falafel to a wide range of lamb dishes. The drunken halloumi appetizer is Cypriot cheese lightly pan-fried with ouzo, served over tomato slices with garlic aoili. Belly dancers from the local Sisters of Salome dance troupe perform Thursday nights at the Uptown restaurant. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BYBLOS MARKET
2020 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-9777
Join the throng at the counter of this quick-serve deli and market for affordable Middle Eastern fare. Sandwiches and kabobs are prepared to order from meats roasting on spits. Fresh salads, stuffed dolmas and platters of meat with hummus and pita make complete meals. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CASABLANCA

3030 Severn Ave., Metairie, 888-2209
Casablanca offers a variation on the Middle Eastern culinary scene, blending traditional fare with an array of Moroccan options. A favorite is the Tanzia Fassi, a dish of baked lamb with sautéed onions, prunes and sliced almonds with Moroccan spices. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner Sun.-Thu. Credit cards. $$

CASTLE CAFÉ
716 West 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 875-1123; www.castlecaféla.com
Castle Café serves popular Mediterranean dishes. The gyro plate is a big serving of beef and lamb with hummus and a green salad. The chicken shawarma plate is a tender marinated chicken breast roasted on the rotisserie. Other options include Moroccan couscous and meat kebabs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

CLEOPATRA MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE
2701 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 361-1113; www.cleopatramediterraneancuisine.com
Harvey's authentic Mediterranean restaurant earns its reputation from its flavorful kibbe and falafel, which go well with a side of creamy lebna or hummus. Entrées like the kebab barg is a feast of charbroiled beef tenderloin, grilled tomato, hummus, rice and salad. A vegetarian plate includes portions of couscous, hummus, falafel, vegetarian dolma and tabbouleh. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DIXIE GYRO
110 Carondelet St., 523-6614
Hot beignets in the morning give way to a selection of Middle Eastern classics at this quick and inexpensive downtown standby. Choose from beef, lamb or chicken sandwiches on pita bread or one of the many vegetarian options like the Greek salad and falafel. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

JAMILA'S MEDITERRANEAN TUNISIAN CUISINE
7808 Maple St., 866-4366
This unassuming Maple Street storefront is the home of exotic Tunisian delights. Jamila's specialties include merguez lamb sausage and zucchini bisque with crawfish. There also are couscous dishes and steaming clay pots of lamb tagine (Moroccan stew). On Saturday nights, a belly dancer adds more excitement to the already lively scene. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

LEBANON'S CAFÉ
1500 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-6200
Check the specials board at this Carrollton Avenue café for unexpected dishes like Indian-style samosas or a platter of musaha with beef, cheese, tomato sauce and vegetables over basmati rice. The regular menu covers Middle Eastern standards like kebabs and falafel sandwiches. There also are lamb chops and steaks off the grill. Customers are welcome to bring their own wine. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MONA'S CAFÉ
Citywide
Once an unassuming combination grocery/restaurant in Mid-City, Mona's now has cafés throughout the city and on the Northshore. The menu of affordable Middle Eastern food includes gyro sandwiches and platters, falafel, and kebabs of chicken, lamb and beef. Soups and salads include a hearty lentil soup, tabbouleh, and a yogurt and cucumber salad. The small plates include safeiha, essentially a small pizza of pita bread topped with ground beef and lamb, tomatoes, onions, parsley and spices. Dips include hummus and baba ghanoush. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

NILE CAFÉ
3100 Magazine St., 897-0920
Start with the excellent red lentil soup or the baba ghanoush dip to see what sets this Magazine Street Middle Eastern restaurant apart from its peers. A distinctive blend of seasonings enlivens the kebabs and the other grilled meat plates. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PHOENICIA RESTAURANT
4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-9950
Phoenicia offers a wide range of Middle Eastern dishes. Choose from spicy shrimp, chicken or beef kebabs, lamb chops, grape leaves or several vegetarian options. Appetizers and dips include hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh. Salmon kebabs and falafel with halloumi cheese put pleasant twists on conventional Middle Eastern dishes. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PYRAMIDS CAFÉ
3151 Calhoun St., 861-9602
Chicken, lamb and beef kebabs are served as sandwiches at Pyramids or as the centerpiece of hearty meals complete with hummus, salad and pita bread. Those who can't decide might simply pick the Pyramid platter for a sample of hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, grape leaves, falafel, kibby and lebna. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

 

MEXICAN/SOUTHWESTERN


ADOBE CANTINA

1200 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville, (985) 624-2990; 1905 W. Thomas St., Hammond, (985) 419-0027; www.adoberestaurant.com
These cantinas offer a big menu of Mexican favorites. Fish tacos are filled with fresh mahi-mahi. The chimichangas, essentially fried burritos, are stuffed with steak, ground beef or chicken and served with rice, beans, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. The dessert menu now includes cheesecakes and more traditional Mexican sweets. Reservations accepted Mon.-Thu. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CARRETA'S GRILL
1340 Lindberg Drive, Slidell, (985) 847-0020; 2320 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-6696
A salt-rimmed margarita and velvety queso are the starters of choice at this popular Mexican restaurant. Classics such as burritos, tacos, enchiladas and fajitas are available á la carte or as combo plates. The spicy shrimp will tantalize your tongue long after you head home. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CARROLLTON STATION
8140 Willow St., 865-9190
While singer/songwriters sometimes give a country twang to the music hall end of the tavern, Tex-Mex fare takes center stage in the kitchen. Tacos, burritos and quesadillas are popular choices. On the alternative side there is a tuna wrap with spicy dipping sauce. No reservations. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CASA GARCIA
800 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 951-8226; 8814 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 464-0354
Fans of this casual, family-friendly Tex-Mex cantina go straight for dishes like tamales, tacos and enchiladas. Specialties include steak á la Tampiqueña, a butterflied cut of tenderloin topped with caramelized onions and served with a cheese enchilada, rice, beans and choice of soup or salad. Seafood enchiladas are flour tortillas stuffed with white lump crabmeat and shrimp sautéed with wine, butter, green onions and spices. No reservations. Metairie: lunch and dinner daily. Mandeville: lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CHEVY'S FRESH MEX
1201 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey, 368-2100; 3330 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-7788; www.chevys.com
Chevy's puts a premium on freshness and proves it by making fresh salsa several times a day. Try it on the fish tacos, which feature two flour tortillas filled with grilled fish and served with rice and beans. Fajitas come with mesquite-grilled chicken, beef, shrimp or vegetables. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CUCOS
1300 Gause Blvd., Slidell, (985) 641-4706; 2000 SW Railroad Ave., Hammond, (985) 345-2634; 5953 W. Park Ave., Houma, (985) 868-0800
The Cucos chain offers an extensive menu of Mexican selections and a long list of specialty cocktails. The sound of sizzling fajita plates fills the dining room. Many diners choose combination platters like El Presidente, which comes with beef and cheese enchiladas, a burrito, a taco, and rice and beans. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

EL GATO NEGRO

81 French Market Place, 525-9752; www.elgatonegronola.com
The airy, French-café atmosphere is left over from the previous tenant of this French Market spot, but the menu is as authentic as Mexican dining gets. Chicken, beef and fish are tucked into housemade tortillas and hit with a dice of cilantro and squeeze of lime. There are always new Mexican specials to try. Begin a meal with a fresh carrot juice-infused margarita for a surprising take on a classic. No reservations. Breakfast Sat.-Sun., lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

FELIPE'S TAQUERIA
6215 S. Miro St., 309-2776; www.felipesneworleans.com
The service may be as quick as fast food and the prices just as easy on the wallet, but the food at Felipe's is exponentially better thanks to authentic recipes and fresh ingredients. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and nachos come with a choice of meats like pork carnitas or chopped steak, and the complimentary salsa bar has a rainbow of spicy options to dress them up. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FIESTA LATINA RESTAURANT
1924 Airline Hwy., Kenner, 468-2384; www.fiestalatinarestaurant.com
Pupusas are the house specialty here. The thick corn disks are filled with cheese or crunchy pork and covered with a tart cabbage slaw. The fried tilapia with rice, beans, salad and plantains or tortillas will fill up anyone, but don't miss out on desserts like flan and rice pudding. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

GEORGE'S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
1461 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-4342
Mexican staples like fajitas are popular at George's. Flat irons of sizzling beef or chicken arrive at your table with guacamole, pico de gallo and flour tortillas. The shrimp á la Mexicana features butterflied shrimp sautéed in spicy sauce made with tomatoes, onions and sweet peppers. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

JUAN'S FLYING BURRITO

2018 Magazine St., 569-0000; 4724 S. Carrollton Ave.,486-9950; www.juansflyingburrito.com
A penchant for rice and beans isn't the only common ground between Tex-Mex and New Orleans cooking on the menu at these popular restaurants. Pork and slaw tacos combine barbecue tang with south-of-the-border bite. Veggie burritos on wheat tortillas are a meatless favorite. Try a blueberry mojito with chips and salsa while waiting on one of the rotating daily specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

LA CARRETA

107 Carrolwood Drive, LaPlace, (985) 651-9991; 108 NW Railroad Ave., Hammond, (985) 419-9990; www.carretarestaurant.com
La Carreta is known for rollicking good times, big margaritas and its friendly atmosphere. The large menu is full of popular Mexican dishes like queso dip, quesadillas, fajitas, carnitas, enchiladas, chiles rellenos and spicy shrimp. The La Carreta Dinner is a big round-up of meat with a beef burrito, beef enchilada, beef taco and bean chalupa. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

NACHO MAMA'S MEXICAN GRILL

1000 S. Clearview Pkwy, Harahan, 736-1188; 3242 Magazine St., 899-0031; www.nachomamasneworleans.com
Margaritas and Tex-Mex favorites keep the dining rooms busy at these Mexican/Southwestern cantinas. Mama's Nachos are a pile of corn tortillas with a choice of chicken, ground beef, steak or pork loaded with black olives, jalapeños, sour cream, fresh pico de gallo and melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. The grilled 8-oz. salmon steak is rubbed with sugar and spices, grilled, topped with mango salsa and served with Spanish rice, black or refried beans and tortilla chips. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

SI SENOR AT COSIMO'S

1201 Burgundy St., 522-9715
The kitchen at Cosimo's takes diners to the border if not south of it. The Tex-Mex grill rolls gourmet burritos with spinach, tomato, olives and feta in the Mediterranean, and barbecued chicken, onions, mushrooms, peppers, cilantro, rice and beans in the BBQ Chicken version. Hot off the grill, there are burgers, Philly steak sandwiches and fajitas. Bar customers also can graze on nachos, quesadillas, Buffalo wings and chili cheese fries. No reservations. Dinner and late-night dining daily. Credit cards. $

SUPERIOR BAR & GRILL

3636 St. Charles Ave., 899-4200; www.superiorgrill.com
Follow an afternoon siesta with happy hour at Superior Grill daily from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., where two-for-one margaritas and mixed drinks keep the cantina jumping. Menu favorites include the Superior parillada mixta for two: a platter of mesquite-grilled beef and chicken fajitas, shrimp and baby back ribs. With options like huevos rancheros and Bloody Marys, Superior's weekend breakfast is a sure-fire way to jump start the day. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat. and Sun. Credit cards. $$

TAQUERIA CHILANGOS

2723 Roosevelt St., Kenner, 469-5599; www.taqueriachilangos.com
Patrons had to chase the flavors of Taqueria Chilangos when it was a roving taco truck serving Jefferson Parish. Now there's an explanded menu of Mexican dishes offered at the restaurant. There's a full bar and dishes like chile rellenos, burritos, tacos and brisket. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TAQUERIA CORONA
1827 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 738-6722; 3535 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-5088; 5932 Magazine St., 897-3974
Taqueria Corona's cozy cantinas offer tart margaritas and Mexican and Latin American fare with authentic flair. Fried fish tacos with shredded cabbage, cebolitas and gooey shrimp and cheese-filled flautas are specialties. Taco choices run the gamut with fillings from rib-eye and cow tongue to chorizo. Also try the Mexican pizza or the big California-style burritos. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TAQUERIA GUERRERO MEXICO

208 N. Carrollton Ave., 484-6959
This Mid-City taqueria fits right into the neighborhood with its inexpensive lineup of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas. There's a big-screen TV constantly screening Mexican soap operas or soccer, but diners tend to pay closer attention to chips and spicy dips during quick lunch breaks. The menu has expanded recently and now includes fajitas and pupusas. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TOMATILLO'S
437 Esplanade Ave., 945-9997 www.tomatillosnola.com
This colorful Mexican café fits right into the funky Frenchmen Street vibe with live music in the café and courtyard most evenings. Try the vegetarian fajitas Verdura for a healthy feast. Off the grill, there is Sauza tequila-marinated pollo Borracho, topped with queso blanco, fiesta ranch sauce and pico de gallo. The menu ranges from tortilla chicken soup to spicy grilled rib-eyes. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

VERA CRUZ
7537 Maple St., 866-1736
Vera Cruz has a flair for the dramatic as sizzling fajita platters arrive with either grilled chicken, steak or shrimp. Tacos, nachos and quesadillas are popular. The Burrito Loco seems to deliver half the kitchen's inventory in a single tortilla stuffed with shrimp, steak, bacon, pepper Jack cheese, refried beans and rice, plus a coating of cilantro sour cream or queso crawfish sauce. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

 



MUSIC & FOOD


THE BEACH HOUSE

2401 N. Woodlawn Ave., Metairie, 456-7470
The closest shoreline with ample surf and sand sits nearly 90 miles from New Orleans. If that's too far to go, head to the Beach House, kick back and enjoy the casual surf vibe. The Beach burger is a half-pound patty of beef ground in house and cooked to order. Other favorites include boiled lobster and grilled or fried shrimp and catfish. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFE NEGRIL
606 Frenchmen St., 944-4744
This Marigny music hall features a mix of roots music and reggae on the improvised stage in front. The grill in the back is open during club hours and serves a limited menu of burgers, barbecue and ribs. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CLUB 300 JAZZ BISTRO
300 Decatur St., 581-2534; www.neworleansjazzbistro.com
Live jazz, swing, Latin music and other performances fill the entertainment calendar at this two-story townhouse. The kitchen specializes in dishes like filet mignon, lobster, pork loin and grilled trout stuffed with shrimp. Try the bronzed redfish with lobster cream sauce or the 14-oz. pork chop served over sweet potato gnocchi. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

COLUMBIA STREET TAPROOM & GRILL
434 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 898-0899; www.columbiastreettaproom.com
Sometimes it's easy for customers to focus on the Taproom and not the Grill at this bar and grill with the large tap selection. The grill not only features live music Thursday through Saturday, but especially on Thursday delivers acoustic music and a three-course dinner special, which offers everything from prime rib to seared tuna. There's also a variety of gourmet burgers, including the Black 'n' Blue, which is blackened in a skillet and served with blue cheese. Lunch entrées include daily fresh grilled-fish specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

DONNA'S BAR AND GRILL

800 N. Rampart St., 596-6914; www.donnasbarandgrill.com
Donna's is the jazziest of juke joints, a low-frills barroom sitting across from Congo Square. But the kitchen turns out home-cooked New Orleans-style dishes like red beans and rice served with grilled smoked sasuage. The Charlie burger is a half-pound patty grilled to order, dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayo, and served with fries. The small menu of dishes changes nightly. No reservations. Dinner Thu.-Sun. Cash only. $

JIMMY BUFFETT'S MARGARITAVILLE CAFÉ

1104 Decatur St., 592-2565; www.margaritaville.com
Margaritaville is as much about Jimmy Buffett's way of life as his way of dining. The large, colorful eatery brings together live music and a menu full of Gulf Coast and Southern dishes. The Cheeseburger in Paradise is topped with American cheese and served dressed. Broiled shrimp and andouille sausage top the red beans and rice. The menu takes its inspiration from port cities from Texas to the Delta to Key West to the Caribbean. There is also a special menu of tropical and frozen drinks and top-shelf margaritas. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LE BON TEMPS ROULE
4801 Magazine St., 895-2600
Boasting a weekly who's who of local music, this Uptown hot spot also provides fuel for the late-night tank. The tavern kitchen in back offers burgers, po-boys and quesadillas among its 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
Diners have added incentive to sweat to the live, local music (Cajun, zydeco and roots) or work it off with a few frames of bowling when they start their evening with dinner at Rock 'n' Bowl. Classic pub grub includes burgers and cheese fries, but you never know when there's a pot of red beans being set up. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SNUG HARBOR JAZZ BISTRO
626 Frenchmen St., 949-0696; www.snugjazz.com
Char-grilled steak dinners with all the trimmings and hefty burgers fortify diners for hot sets from local and touring jazz luminaries in the upstairs showroom. Local specialties like spicy, buttery peel-and-eat barbecue shrimp are a savory treat for locals and tourists alike. Reservations accepted. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

NEIGHBORHOOD



ALIBI BAR AND GRILLE
811 Iberville St., 522-9187; www.alibineworleans.com


This side-street spot doesn't truly hop until the wee small hours, when Bourbon Street's bartenders, waiters and exotic dancers start pouring in for post-shift drinks and snacks. Popular late-night fixes include delectably greasy standards straight from the fryer, like cheese sticks, jalapeño poppers and chicken fingers; there's also a selection of salads, po-boys and burgers. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BALCONY BAR & CAFÉ
3201 Magazine St., 894-8888
The Balcony Bar is known for its huge selection of beers on draft and as a late-night draw for the Uptown party set. Belly up to the kitchen window to order tavern grub like the Balcony burger, a half-pound patty with sautéed onions, mushrooms and green peppers topped with bacon and jalapeños. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BRUNO'S TAVERN
7538 Maple St., 861-7615; www.brunostavern.com
A popular hangout for both college students and those who shelved their textbooks long ago, Bruno's has been slinging drinks and helping students blow off steam since 1934. The tavern's ever-expanding menu is available throughout the day and includes such temptations as Boudreaux cheese fries: sweet potato fries smothered with roast beef debris, gravy and blue cheese, then broiled with golden raisins and spiced pecans. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BUFFA'S LOUNGE
1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038
The Border of the Quarter Café inside Buffa's homey neighborhood bar serves up pub grub with a twist, including fresh, crisp salads and Cajun-seasoned steaks, plus burgers and sandwiches. The breakfast menu, featuring fluffy housemade biscuits in sausage gravy and build-your-own omelets with up to 10 fillings, is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

CADDYSHACK
3217 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie, 833-1799
For a casual lunch or a quick bite and a drink, head to Caddyshack, where the menu is loaded with sandwiches, burgers, wraps and salads. Daily specials include spaghetti, red beans on Monday and fried seafood platters on Friday. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

CAFÉ FRESCA
4441 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 887-2010
Drop into Café Fresca for homemade soups, 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 taste of the Southwest, combining marinated and char-grilled chicken breast with mashed avocado, tomato and onion relish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFÉ MASPERO

601 Decatur St., 523-6250
Maspero has long been a French Quarter
mainstay with lines spilling out the door on weekends for inexpensive, hearty fare like fried shrimp po-boys and jambalaya. Try the signature fresh strawberry daiquiri, or warm up with a crock of French onion soup. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

CHARTRES HOUSE CAFE
601 Chartres St., 586-8383; www.chartreshousecafe.com
This landmark building, erected in 1795, has a particularly modern distinction — it's the first restaurant in New Orleans to offer spirits frozen at 5 degrees to impart a bracing flavor. Beyond cocktails, the Chartres House offers a full menu of hearty pub grub, including duck quesadillas, Tabasco hot wings and an eggplant Napoleon topped with spicy Cajun crawfish sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sun. Credit cards. $$


CLUB DECATUR
240 Decatur St., 581-6969
The pizza oven keeps the big slices coming to satisfy late-night hunger pangs, though Club Decatur also offers a menu of substantial sandwiches. One house favorite is the Fiesta Delight, a footlong sub with layers of mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, salami, ham, black olives and onions all baked in the oven and dressed to order. Delivery available. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

COOP'S PLACE
1109 Decatur St., 525-9053; www.coopsplace.com
This deceptively homey tavern has earned a loyal following for top-notch Cajun-spiced eats at great prices, often served into the wee hours. Try the chicken Tchoupitoulas, topped with a cream sauce packed with shrimp and studded with spicy andouille bits with a side of juicy green beans smothered in bacon sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CORNER CAFÉ

3316 Green Acres Road, Metairie, 454-1008
Corner Café is what you would expect of a neighborhood café — straightforward hearty meals like pancakes and sausage for breakfast, a good variety of seafood and po-boys for lunch or dinner. Tasty desserts include bread pudding and turtle cheescake. Reservations accepted. Breakfast Tue.-Sun., lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

DAISY DUKES

121 Chartres St., 556-9662
Stop by Daisy Dukes any time of the day or night when you need a healthy dose of Southern hospitality and regional cooking. One popular special is the rib-eye steak with roasted potatoes, mixed vegetables and special sauce for $14.99. There are also freshly shucked oysters. Traditional breakfast plates and egg dishes are available anytime. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $$

THE EDGE BAR & GRILL
3400 Hessmer Ave., Metairie, 780-2266
This down-home watering hole offers a full range of sandwiches, steaks and ribs, bar appetizers for grazing, and changing daily lunch specials. Try the grilled tuna served over angel hair pasta with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Popular specials include fried chicken, stuffed peppers and old-fashioned butter beans served with a side of baked macaroni. Tuesday and Thursday are steak nights. Sandwiches are stuffed with everything from hot sausage to fried oysters to veal Parmesan. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

FIORELLA'S CAFÉ
45 French Market Place; 1136 Decatur St., 528-9566
The nautical décor at Fiorella's belies its practiced hand with fried seafood plates and po-boys, although regulars know the real gem is the famous crunchy, but juicy, well-seasoned fried chicken. Southern soul food is served late into the night with sides like potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and crisp fries. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FRANK'S RESTAURANT
933 Decatur St., 525-1602; www.franksrestaurantneworleans.com
What started as a small storefront deli has evolved over the years into a full-service Italian restaurant with many traditional dishes and local favorites. The muffuletta is always popular, and more elaborate dishes include the crawfish Gagliano with garlic, green onions, fresh sweet basil and other seasonings over angel hair pasta. Snapper Jack is a deep-fried fillet smothered in shrimp, crawfish and crab over pasta. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$


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 or alligator soup before taking on a platter of spicy boiled crawfish, fried chicken or a fried seafood po-boy. Muffulettas are also back. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FURY'S
724 Martin Behrman Ave., Metairie, 834-5646
This casual neighborhood restaurant features a familiar lineup of Italian and seafood staples such as boiled and fried shrimp, fish dishes, veal parmigiana and stuffed manicotti. There is also fried chicken, red beans on Monday and hot gumbo every day. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

GENNARO'S
3206 Metairie Road, Metairie, 833-9226
Locals rely on Gennaro's for homemade plate lunches, desserts, and New Orleans favorites like po-boys and fried seafood, all available 24 hours a day. Pork roast with smothered green beans, corned beef and hamburger steak served with gravy and potatoes are all popular daily specials at this Metairie Road institution. The chicken salad croissant is also a perennial favorite. No reservations. Open 24 hours daily. Credit cards. $

HOBNOBBER'S CAFÉ
5928 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie 734-8448; www.hobnobbercafe.com
This neighborhood eatery offers a signature catfish fillet with crawfish sauce. The creamy corn and crawfish bisque is also a winner. Red beans and rice on Mondays is always a popular dish. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

HONEY DEE'S CAFÉ & CATERING
2001 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 464-1991
Honey Dee's is busy as a bee serving daily specials like the Bourbon Street steak burger, a 12-oz. hamburger steak char-broiled and covered with steak sauce, grilled onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese served on a 9-inch po-boy roll and accompanied with French fries. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Sun.-Fri., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

JOEY K'S RESTAURANT
3001 Magazine St., 891-0997; www.joeyksrestaurant.com
Creole pot cooking, fried seafood and 18-oz. frozen schooners of beer or margaritas are some of the specialties at this popular Uptown restaurant, where neighbors and families gather for inexpensive meals. Choose one of several daily specials from the blackboard: Tuesday offers a veal cutlet or stewed chicken with creamed potatoes and green beans and Friday features all-you-can-eat catfish. No reservations. Breakfast Sat., lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

K.Y.'S OLD TOWNE BICYCLE SHOP
2267 Carey St., Slidell, (985) 641-1911
The roast beef po-boy is reason enough to head to K.Y.'s Old Towne Bicycle Shop. It's made with slow-roasted beef cooked in house, sliced thin and dressed to order. There are also burgers and fresh grilled seafood from the Gulf such as amberjack, yellowfin tuna or mahi mahi, which can be served on sandwiches or platters. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

LA FINCA
542 Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 512-1993
The most popular options at this Mid-City bar include burgers and ham sandwiches, but there are also south-of-the-border options like tacos and fajitas. Hot specials include stewed pork, shrimp etouffée, fried fish and New York strip steak. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

LAKEVIEW HARBOR
911 Harrison Ave., 486-4887; www.lakeview-harbor.com
Dining choices at Lakeview Harbor include steaks, seafood and chicken, not to mention meal-sized loaded baked potatoes. The popular cheeseburgers can satisfy any appetite. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LI'L DIZZY'S CAFÉ
610 Poydras St., 212-5656; 1500 Esplanade Ave., 569-8997
The Creole soul-food legacy of the Baquet family continues to win new fans and delight old friends at Li'l Dizzy's two locations. At breakfast, try the waffles topped with strawberries or bananas and served with a side of ham, bacon or sausage. Lunch brings options like po-boys, Creole gumbo with two types of sausage and plates such as trout Baquet gilded with butter and topped with crabmeat. The Poydras location also features different daily specials. Reservations accepted. Poydras location: breakfast and lunch daily, brunch Sun. Esplanade location: breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

LIUZZA'S BY THE TRACK
1518 N. Lopez St., 218-7888
This neighborhood bar offers Creole gumbo and sandwiches. Try po-boys made with garlic oysters, barbecue shrimp, hot sausage, fried catfish or roast beef. The Reuben sandwich is finally making its return from the pre-flood 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
A longtime Mid-City neighborhood institution, Liuzza's is the place for warm and hearty dishes like home-cooked lasagna or the special Frenchuletta, Liuzza's version of the muffuletta. It comes with grilled meats, melted cheese and housemade olive salad. Crawfish Telemachus is another local favorite with spicy crawfish tails in cream sauce over angel hair pasta. Appetizers include fried pickles, onion rings and a host of other options that go great with frosty schooners of draft beer. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Cash only. $$

MR. ED'S SEAFOOD AND ITALIAN RESTAURANT
1001 Live Oak St., Metairie, 838-0022; www.mredsno.com
Mr. Ed's serves seafood, po-boys, muffulettas, fried chicken and Italian dishes. Recent additions to the menu are panéed trout topped with crabmeat and jumbo lump crabmeat au gratin. Stuffed artichokes, bell peppers and eggplant casserole with crabmeat and shrimp are longtime favorites. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

NAPOLEON HOUSE
500 Chartres St., 524-9752; www.napoleonhouse.com
Napoleon House stands out for its quintessential French Quarter atmosphere, specialty drinks like the singularly refreshing Pimm's Cup and its preference for classical music. Its version of the muffuletta is heated to melt the Swiss and provolone cheeses. The ratatouille calzone combines roasted seasonal vegetables in Dijon vinaigrette. Sandwiches include po-boys of roast beef, corned beef and pastrami as well as a couple of vegetarian paninis. More familiar New Orleans dishes like red beans, jambalaya and seafood gumbo also are served. No reservations. Lunch daily. Credit cards. $$

ORLEANS SEAFOOD

3301 S. Claiborne Ave., 821-5007
Orleans Seafood might not be what one expects on first glance. Though the restaurant does resemble the taco chain that occupied the building where it is housed pre-Katrina, the menu is now a mix of gumbo, po-boys, local seafood dishes and Chinese cuisine. Some of the Asian specialties include General Tso's chicken, pepper steak and shrimp and broccoli, and can be adjusted for preferred levels of spicy heat. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

OSCAR'S RESTAURANT & BAR
2027 Metairie Road, Metairie, 831-9540
Oscar's is best known for juicy burgers and overstuffed baked potatoes. Also notable is the restaurant's version of a local favorite sandwich. The Oscarletta combines olive salad, Italian salami, mortadella, ham, and Swiss and Monterey jack cheeses on French bread. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. 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, emerging from the kitchen dripping with gravy and tender bits of meat. Crispy fried oysters and shrimp are served as plates or po-boys, as are some unexpected bar snacks like fried pickles and boudin balls. Don't forget to skip work and check out New Orleans' biggest St. Patrick's Day block party that takes place on Parasol's doorstep. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PARKWAY BAKERY & TAVERN
538 Hagan Ave., 482-3047
In less than four years, the refurbished and polished Parkway Bakery & Tavern along Bayou St. John seems to have outshined its predecessor by the same name, thanks in part to one of the most popular roast beef po-boys in town. But that shouldn't stop customers from limiting themselves, as the meatball, catfish and even the new corned beef po-boy get lots of attention. There are also local renditions of jambalaya and, for dessert, bread pudding made fresh each day. The bar out front doesn't detract from the family vibe, with diners eating upstairs and out on the side patio as the weather heats up. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $

ROCKY & CARLO'S RESTAURANT AND BAR
613 W. St. Bernard Hwy., Chalmette, 279-8323
Diners head to Rocky & Carlo's for casual and hearty Creole-Italian fare. In midwinter, plenty of customers were choosing the onion rings and the veal cutlet Parmesan, as well as the old standbys of roast beef, hamburger steak, spaghetti and meatballs, and Rocky and Carlo's famous mac and cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sat. Credit cards. $

SCHIRO'S CAFÉ & BAR

2483 Royal St., 944-6666; www.schrioscafe.com
Groceries, a bar, laundry machines and a guesthouse make Schiro's more than just a café. The menu of New Orleans pub grub — think burgers and red beans — is augmented by inventive daily specials like lasagna with bread and salad or spicy Indian curry. No reservations. Lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SHIMMY SHACK
1855 Dock St., Harahan, 729-4442;
Shimmy on over to the Shack for pub grub and more elaborate options like the fried oysters served on a bed of sautéed spinach and pita bread and topped with Brie and bacon. The 20-Things chili is said to be made with at least 20 ingredients, not counting the garnish of corn chips. Simpler fare includes an array of half-pound hamburgers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


SMILIE'S RESTAURANT
5725 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan, 733-3000; www.smiliesrestaurant.com
Specialties like beef brisket, home-style Italian dishes and New Orleans seafood make Smilie's the type of place that the whole family can enjoy. Classic staples appear alongside fancier fare like trout Lafitte, a fillet fried golden brown and topped with creamy crawfish sauce. Veal Augie is panéed baby veal covered with lump crabmeat, fresh mushrooms, shallots and a touch of hollandaise sauce. Smilie's also features live music by Julio and Caesar on Sundays. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

SMOOTHIE KING

Citywide; www.smoothieking.com
The city's largest smoothie chain has a blend for everybody, from spring-break dieters to beach-ready body builders and everyone in between. Fine-tune your favorite smoothie by adding enhancers like Immune, Energy, Female Balance, or Muscle Builder. Supplement your liquid intake with snacks like lean jerky, high-protein cookies or a wide assortment of protein bars. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

SOUTHSIDE CAFÉ

3154 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell, (985) 643-6133; www.southsidecafé.net
Southside serves burgers, sandwiches and much more. The panéed tuna remoulade is a half-pound tuna steak flash fried on the outside with Italian breadcrumbs and served with white remoulade sauce. The Pontchartrain Pig is thinly sliced center-cut pork tenderloin with barbecue sauce and melted Swiss cheese served on Texas toast dressed with coleslaw. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

 



PAN-ASIAN


ASIAN PACIFIC CAFÉ

3125 Esplanade Ave., 945-1919
This onetime Esplanade Avenue cottage is now a haven for sushi and plenty of cooked Asian dishes. Take a table on its beautiful deck or side garden for dishes like the Bayou Delight, made with crawfish and snow crab in a pineapple and mango mixture with special sauce. For sushi, sample the mango blue crab roll, a soybean wrap with Romaine lettuce, blue crabmeat chunks, mango and cucumber with sweet chili sauce. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

BAMBU AT HARRAH'S CASINO
4 Canal St., 533-6000; www.harrahs.com
Bambu has a winning combination of Asian-inspired specialties from sushi to hot entrées. The menu combines standards from Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese cooking, plus specialties like Cantonese barbecued duck and pecan-battered shrimp. No reservations. Lunch Fri.-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. Entrées include sesame-seared tuna, honey-walnut shrimp, marinated and wok-seared duck served with ginger-soy glaze, and Thai-style red snapper. The menu takes cues from Japan, Mongolia and many Chinese regional cuisines. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

HIP STIX ASIAN FUSION RESTAURANT & BAR
870 Tchoupitoulas St., 581-2858; www.hipstixasianfusion.com
Discover the Far East in the Warehouse District with dishes like Siam Street Noodles: stir-fried rice noodles with a coconut curry sauce, green onions, julienne bell peppers, bean sprouts and your choice of beef, shrimp, chicken or tofu. Another tasty Vietnamese option is the Stir-Fried Beef Vermicelli Bowl, with beef marinated in Asian spices and served over vermicelli rice noodles and crisp greens. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

HOSHUN RESTAURANT
1601 St. Charles Ave., 302-9716
Hoshun draws on the cuisines of China, Japan, Vietnam and other south Asian countries. There is pho soup and Vietnamese spring rolls, pad Thai, sushi and more. For entrées, try dishes like General Tso's Chicken, Hunan steak, Kung Pao shrimp and other regional Chinese specialties. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

KING BUFFET
601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-4383
This bustling buffet restaurant offers many dishes from a wide variety of Asian cuisines. Chinese standards comprise the greatest number of dishes with regulars like beef with broccoli and sweet-and-sour chicken. There also are dishes from Thailand, some Japanese specialties and plenty of sweet desserts. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PANASIA
500 St. Charles Ave., 525-4555
Panasia bridges the gap between Thai, Vietnamese and American cuisine. Favorites include pad Thai, Thai-style curries and spicy soups. Vietnamese vermicelli noodle dishes and rice plates also are available. A marinated and grilled pork chop is served with a horseradish sauce, sautéed mushrooms, onions, rice and salad. More Louisiana-inspired dishes include the seafood, shrimp or fish platters, which offer fried seafood plus French fries, hushpuppies and steamed vegetables. The café has scenic views of St. Charles Avenue and Lafayette Square. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SARA'S
724 Dublin St., 861-0565; www.sarasrestaurant.com
A fusion of Creole and Asian cuisine sets Sara's apart. The menu starts with appetizers like crawfish egg rolls, samosas, hummus and Korean-style barbecue beef. Entrées include Indian classics such as shrimp vindaloo and saag paneer made with spinach and cheese, plus sesame-crusted salmon and Muscovy duck served with a port-plum wine reduction sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

STREETCAR BISTRO
201 Baronne St., 565-5455; www.streetcarbistro.com
"The Pacific Rim meets New Orleans" is the motto of this downtown restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options daily. The weekday "executive power buffet" is popular, and has choices ranging from etouffée to a Chinese hot pot station. Filipino dishes are offered everyday, and on Sunday afternoons the kitchen prepares an entire Filipino buffet. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 



PIZZA

ANGELI ON DECATUR

1141 Decatur St., 566-0077
The picture windows at Angeli give its tables a good view on a bohemian stretch of Lower Decatur. The menu combines Middle Eastern and Italian cuisines with aplomb, topping pizzas with everything from standard pepperoni to feta, sun-dried tomato, roasted garlic and artichoke hearts. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

BROOKLYN PIZZA
4301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 833-1288
New York-style pies are the main attraction 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, as well as a hearty Philly cheesesteak, Italian salads and pasta dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

CAFÉ NINO
1510 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-9200
Fast food-style booths and a quick-serve line may dominate the décor, but the real ambience comes from effusive chef-owner, Nino Bongiorno, who makes everyone feel at home. Customers have a choice between thin-crust pizza or thick-crust Sicilian pies, plus an array of entrées like chicken or veal Marsala, eggplant parmigiana and pasta with meatballs. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Checks. $$

CAFÉ ROMA
Citywide
Several independent Café Romas offer gourmet pizza. Delivery is available from locations in the Lower Garden District, North Causeway Boulevard, Gretna and in the French Quarter. There is a wide variety of toppings. Other menu items vary by location. The Lower Garden Café Roma offers pasta dishes. Turtle Bay offers salads, sandwiches and some appetizers. No reservations. Delivery available from some locations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DITALI'S PIZZA
8160 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 393-1160
Ditali's specializes in New York-style thin-crust pizza, hearty pasta entrées and succulent sandwiches. Sink your teeth into a Philly-style cheesesteak loaded with peppers, cheese and onions. Or, build your own masterpiece from a 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
Fresco's Italian and Mediterranean menu features gourmet pizzas, salads, sandwiches on freshly baked bread and dishes like the peppery portobello mushroom pasta. The chicken Caesar wrap is the most popular entrée and many guests begin with a Mediterranean spicy tomato dip with pepper paste, walnuts and feta cheese. Delivery available. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

GIO'S PIZZA & SPAGHETTI HOUSE
4941 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, 885-3515
Specialty pizzas with toppings like roasted eggplant and garlic are favorites at this friendly Italian eatery, where the staff and clientele will make you feel like family. Gio's meat combo pizza boasts homemade meatballs and piles of ham, pepperoni and Italian sausage. Classic Italian dishes also are mainstays. Try the cannelloni with chicken, spinach and ground beef stuffed into pasta and covered in cheese. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

ISABELLA'S PIZZERIA
4250 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 674-5700; 70452 Hwy. 21, Covington, (985) 875-7620
This Northshore pizzeria is known for laying it on pretty thick, and it doesn't get any thicker than the signature Isabella pizza. The 16-inch pie comes loaded with everything. For starters, consider spinach or artichoke with pesto or garlic-herb sauce. Need more variety? Check out the Four Seasons: a quarter-pizza each of four different gourmet options. Reservations accepted for large groups. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

ITALIAN PIE

Citywide; www.italianpierestaurants.com
Italian Pie specializes in gourmet pizzas, but many of the same combos also are served in calzones, salads, pastas and sandwiches. Specialty pies include the combination, which has pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, mushrooms, onions, peppers and black olives. The roasted garlic pie comes with chicken or shrimp. The Florentine calzone is stuffed with spinach and artichoke, a mix of cheeses and chicken or shrimp. Italian Pie also offers a small selection of wrap sandwiches. Delivery available. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

La Vita DEL FORNO

801 Frenchmen St., 944-6854
The wood-burning oven at La Vita del Forno turns out crisp, thin-crust pizzas in old-school Italian style. Try the classic pizza margherita, topped with fresh basil, mozzarella and tomato, or choose from the variety of salads, sandwiches and pastas. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


LOUISIANA PIZZA KITCHEN
95 French Market Place, 522-9500; 615 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-5900; louisianapizzakitchen.com
Overlooking the French Market, Louisiana Pizza Kitchen is a casual spot for gourmet pizza and pasta. The Four Seasons Pizza combines artichoke hearts, mushrooms, snow peas, sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. The chicken roulade is a chicken breast stuffed with andouille and crawfish dressing served over fettuccine and topped with tomato and basil cream sauce. There also is a large menu of salads, pita wraps, calzones and pasta dishes. The French Market location has an extensive wine list as well. Reservations accepted for large parties only. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MANGO MANGO
201 Bourbon St.; 236 Bourbon St.; 333 Bourbon St.; 400 Bourbon St.; 524-0114; www.mangodaiquiris.com
Belly up to the bar at the Bourbon Street pit stops of Mango Mango for the double delight of a daiquiri and a slice of pizza to go or hot soft pretzels. The drink menu ranges from the namesake mango daiquiri to blue raspberry to the potent 190 Antifreeze. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

MARK TWAIN'S PIZZA LANDING
2035 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-8032; www.marktwainspizza.com
In homage to the famous author and namesake of the joint, this Metairie pizza parlor offers a pie inspired by one of Twain's classics, Innocents Abroad. Crust brushed with garlic butter is piled high with Genoa salami, fresh tomatoes, quartered artichokes and Italian sausage with basil. The place also offers sandwiches and po-boys including roast beef that's seasoned with garlic and freshly ground black pepper, then slow-cooked for six hours in the oven. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MILANO'S PIZZA
3002 Cleary Ave., Metairie, 780-7500
Milano's spins dough into a long list of specialties like the chicken Alfredo pizza and the artichoke pie, which has garlic sauce, feta, mushrooms, onion and artichokes. Milano's Mardi Gras pizza, served with a bisque sauce, Gulf shrimp, mozzarella, green onions and fresh tomatoes, is one of the more creative menu selections. Milano's also makes specialty subs, calzones, chicken wings, tenders and salads as well as a macaroni and cheese made with penne pasta and four cheeses. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MONA LISA RESTAURANT
1212 Royal St., 522-6746;
A French Quarter favorite for more than 20 years, Mona Lisa serves pizza and pasta dishes in a cozy café setting. Specialty pizzas include barbecue chicken; the Mediterranean, with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, black olives and garlic and the Hawaiian, with pineapple and ham. Mona Lisa's also serves dishes like eggplant Parmesan, penne veal and pasta bolognese. Mona Lisa's now offers its own wine list. Reservations accepted for six or more. Lunch daily and dinner daily. 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. The lasagna is a five-layer tower of meat, ricotta and sauce and is accompanied by garlic bread. And since we are in Louisiana, of course Mo's also offers a classic muffaletta. 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. The Queen's pizza pairs spinach, artichoke, mushrooms and feta with a white olive oil-based sauce. Straight-up pepperoni or onion and pepper combinations are classic. Grab it to go or enjoy the Magazine foot traffic at one of the sidewalk tables. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PAPA JOHN'S PIZZA
Citywide; www.papajohns.com
Papa John's is an old-school pizza delivery chain that offers all sorts of exotic new flavors, specialty pies, appetizers and meal deals. Specialty pies include an Italian meat trio, barbecue chicken and bacon, Hawaiian barbecue, spinach Alfredo and the Works. Sides include garlic Parmesan breadsticks, cheese sticks, wings in a spicy Buffalo or mild barbecue sauce and chicken strips. Online ordering, take out and delivery available. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

PEPPERONI'S CAFÉ
8123 Hampson St., 865-0336
Pepperoni's serves pizza and much more. The shrimp pasta tosses Gulf shrimp with basil in Alfredo cream sauce and serves them over fettuccini. Specialty pies include a Hawaiian, a Meat Lover's and Super Vegetarian as well as a four-cheese pizza and a Breakfast pizza with egg, mushrooms, onions and peppers. There are also calzones, po-boys, wraps and salads. The Express Lunch special is $6.99 for an entrée and side. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PIZZA HUT

Citywide; www.pizzahut.com
Pizza Hut offers a variety of crusts from thick and soft to thin and crispy. Topping selections range from classics like pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms and olives to bacon, pineapple, banana peppers, anchovies, jalapeños and chicken. The Meat Lovers pie is loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, bacon and ground beef. The Shrimp Supreme is studded with seasoned shrimp, fresh mushrooms, onion and green peppers. Extras include breadsticks, cheese sticks and cinnamon sticks. Delivery available. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

PIZZA MAN OF COVINGTON
1248 Collins Blvd., Covington, (985) 892-9874
The element of surprise is present at this Northshore eatery, which always has a daily ingredient that can't be found on the regular menu. Build your own pie with toppings like prosciutto, andouille, crabmeat, eggplant and pesto. Right now the delicacy du jour is fresh asparagus. The Wow pizza combines crabmeat, artichoke hearts, fresh garlic and Romano cheese. "Our Special" features pepperoni, housemade Italian sausage and lightly blanched green peppers. No reservations. Dinner daily. Checks. $$

R & O'S PIZZA PLACE
216 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 831-1248
R&O's offers everything from pizza (now in three sizes) and traditional Italian dishes to po-boys, fried seafood platters and the restaurant's famous hot tamales. Gravy fries are topped with brown gravy and roast beef debris. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

REGINELLI'S PIZZERIA
741 State St., 899-1414; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner, 712-6868; 874 Harrison Ave., 488-0133; 3244 Magazine St., 895-7272; 5608 Citrus Blvd., Elmwood, 818-0111; www.reginellis.com
Reginelli's serves a wide range of pizzas with international flavors as well as salads and appetizers. The hefty Mediterranean pizza is loaded with roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, spinach and roasted red peppers with a garlic-herb sauce. A popular salad features 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 GOURMET PIZZA
3222 Magazine St., 891-5152
Specialty pizzas like the Wild Tchoupitoulas pie with red sauce, pepperoni, sausage, red peppers and jalapeños make a big impression at this casual pizzeria, but Rocky's also cooks up panini-style sandwiches on fresh bread. The grilled chicken breast sandwich has mozzarella, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions and garlic mayo. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

ROMA PIZZERIA
3441 E. Causeway Approach, Mandeville, (985) 674-3300
Roma Pizzeria traditionally prepares a crisp-crust pizza with its stone deck ovens, but now you can order a Sicilian-style deep-dish crust on the 12-inch pizza. One popular pie is the Supreme which has pepperoni, crumbled Italian sausage, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella. For dessert, order a cherry or apple pizza with streusel topping and icing. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

ROMAN PIZZA
7329 Cohn St., 866-1166; www.eatromanpizza.com
Two friends of Roman Pizza's management who performed heroic services for neighbors in the aftermath of Katrina now have a pizza named for them, the Juan and Deen's special, which combines pepperoni, jalapeños and extra cheese. The restaurant has "twofer" deals with discounts when ordering two pizzas at once, and the kitchen can prepare a range of sandwiches and Italian dinners. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

ROTOLO'S PIZZERIA

201 Decatur St., 948-3287; www.frenchquarterpizza.com
All your favorite pizza options are offered at this airy, colorful pizza parlor, as well as pastas, sandwiches, salads and bar snacks. A nod to local food traditions is the muffaletta pizza, which includes pepperoni, salami, Canadian bacon, olive salad and mozzarella cheese. New to the menu are the heart-healthy roasted vegetable sandwich with melted provolone and the roasted turkey sandwich with housemade chipotle mayo. Rotolo's also promises sno-balls once the weather warms up. Delivery available in the French Quarter and limited areas. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

SLICE
1513 St. Charles Ave., 525-7437; slicepizzeria.com
Order one thin-crust 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. Other menu offerings Include the barbecue shrimp po-boy and the muffuletta panini. For a more refined experience, try Chef Paul's Wednesday Wine Prix Fixe, featuring an off-menu appetizer and entrée, two glasses of wine and dessert with coffee. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

SUGAR PARK TAVERN
800 France St., 940-6226; www.sugarpark.com
Fans of New York-style thin-crust pizza have been flocking to this neighborhood joint for a taste of the real thing. But while the crust is a New York classic, some of the topping combinations are decidedly nontraditional, like the "Who's Your Mama!" pizza with shrimp, corn, pineapple, hot adobo sauce or the "A Pizza Named Desire" covered with shrimp, andouille and jalapeño. Delivery available. No reservations. Dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $

THEO'S PIZZA
4218 Magazine St., 894-8554; www.theospizza.com
Theo's version of the thin-crust pizza has a distinctive cracker-like base. From there, toppings are limited only by imagination; the Eccentric specialty pizza packs garlic, chicken, spinach, peppers, jalapeños, yellow squash, spicy tomatoes and Parmesan, mozzarella, and feta cheeses. Pizza aside, Theo's also dishes up toasted sandwiches and salads. Stop by Mondays and Tuesdays for $1 beers and Wednesdays for $10 bottles of wine. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

WAREHOUSE DISTRICT PIZZA
1068 Magazine St., 529-1466
Warehouse District Pizza serves 10- and 14-inch pies with a choice of traditional red sauce or the house specialty spicy sauce. In addition to traditional pizza toppers, a wide array of deliciously oddball alternatives include duck, pheasant sausage and barbecue chicken. Two types of salad are available to kick-start your meal. 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 in July 2006 and offers a full range of pizzas, calzones, subs and salads. Corn and crab bisque served Creole style in a French bread bowl. The shrimp calzone is a sort of pizza dough turnover stuffed with shrimp, roasted mushrooms, garlic, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan cheeses served with a marinara sauce on the side. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

WORLD'S HEALTHIEST PIZZA
6307 S. Miro St., 865-0244; 8120 Hampson St., 865-0221; www.worldshealthiestpizza.com
For pizza with a purpose, be sure to sample the pies at this memorably named, growing local pizza chain. Both locations feature a special fiber-rich crust that management says can make the act of eating pizza an exercise in better health. Salads and breadsticks made with the same high-fiber crust recipe are available, and the Hampson location offers "take-and-bake" pies for home. Delivery available in the Uptown university area. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 

SANDWICHES & PO-BOYS

BARCIA'S GROCERY
3633 Annunciation St., 899-9111
The corner grocery is a fixture in New Orleans neighborhoods, and this one serves po-boys, club and roast beef sandwiches and more. Breakfast sandwiches are available to go in the morning. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.- Fri. Cash only. $

BEAR'S RESTAURANT

128 W. 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 892-2373
This Northshore favorite celebrated its 31st anniversary in January, and continues to specialize in huge po-boys that only a bear-size appetite can handle. The hands-down top seller, according to management, is the home-cooked roast beef po-boy slathered with your choice of gravy or barbecue sauce. Also available are shrimp, chicken and cheeseburger po-boys. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAJUN MIKE'S PUB 'n' GRUB
116 Baronne St., 566-0055; www.cajunmikes.com
The sandwiches at this local tavern can pack a punch. The namesake Cajun Mike combines roast beef, Swiss, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye, while the Streetcar Special layers turkey, havarati, cucumbers and tomatoes on sourdough. Check out the "Welfare Wednesdays" happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with bargain-priced drinks and appetizers. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CHEESESTEAK BISTRO
528 N. Columbia St., Covington, (985) 875-9793
This Northshore hoagie haven serves up beefy sandwiches dripping with a wide range of dressings. Fans of authenticity will enjoy the Cheesesteak Deluxe, which comes dressed with mayo, onions and mushrooms. Accompaniments include salads and baked potatoes. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CHICKEN SUE'S
203 W. Harrison Ave., 371-5546
Helping Lakeview rebuild one mixed dinner basket at a time, Chicken Sue's specializes in chicken fried hot and fresh to order. The list of po-boys and sandwiches ranges from fried shrimp or hot roast beef with gravy to pulled pork or a pressed, buttered Cuban. Don't miss eggplant fries for an offbeat side order. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., early dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

COME BACK INN
3826 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-1623; 8016 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 467-9316
Daily specials, big sandwiches and children's meals keep regulars coming back to this casual café. The shrimp, oyster and catfish combination dinner is a fitting match for hearty appetites, or try the muffuletta, made with the kitchen's own olive salad. No reservations. Williams Boulevard location: lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. West Metairie location: lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

DANNY & CLYDE'S

Citywide; www.dannyandclydes.com
Danny & Clyde's offers a quick stop for a satisfying sandwich. The chain made its name with big po-boys and sandwiches, but the menu has many options and even catering platters at some locations. Fried seafood, muffulettas and roast beef are the mainstays. Dinner plates are available, accompanied by a choice of sides like fries, coleslaw and potato salad. Breakfast sandwiches can be served on as small a platform as a biscuit or as large as a po-boy roll. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

DARRYL'S
2625 Florida St., Mandeville, (985) 727-9757; www.poboyman.com
Darryl's specializes in po-boys, and this time of year, the oyster po-boy is very popular. Other seafood items such as catfish and shrimp are ordered often, but the roast beef po-boy is the main attraction, so much so that Poboyman.com will ship the ingredients to you so you don't have to go without your po-boy fix regardless of where you are. The specialty features home-cooked beef sliced thin, piled high, drenched in gravy and dressed to order. Beef for the cheddar cheese burger is ground in-house and grilled to order. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

DOMILISE'S PO-BOYS
5240 Annunciation St., 899-9126
Po-boys are a rich tradition at this backstreet monument to casual New Orleans cooking. Place your order at the counter and get ready for home-cooked roast beef po-boys with gravy and Creole mustard or shrimp and oysters breaded, fried and coated in hot sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat. Cash only. $

GATTUSO'S DELI
435 Huey P. Long Drive, Gretna, 368-1114; www.gattusosdeli.com
Gattuso's has served burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads to Gretna diners for years. It offers six different types of club sandwiches, and appetizers include calamari, fried pickles and crab and corn bisque. Entrée features are 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 and checks. $

GO-GO GOURMET MARKET & CAFÉ
838 Derbigny St., Gretna, 361-5012
Go-Go offers burgers and creative dishes like the Bayou burger, a combination of andouille sausage and ground beef topped with Creole mustard sauce. For something a little richer, the Big Blue burger is made with Maytag blue cheese crumbles. On the seafood side, go with grilled yellowfin tuna on a bed of organic greens, tossed with wasabi vinaigrette. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

JAZZY PO-BOYS
7908 Earhart Blvd., 866-4266
Recently relocated to the Uptown area, Jazzy Po-Boys still offers its carefully crafted renditions of New Orleans' favorite sandwiches, with slow-cooked roast beef, hot sausage and fried seafood among the options. Check out daily plate-lunch specials like smothered pork chops with hearty sides. The original Port Street location is now available for private parties. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tues.-Sun. Cash only. $

JOHNNY'S PO-BOYS
511 St. Louis St., 524-8129
This homey neighborhood mainstay will put whatever you like between halves of pillowy Leidenheimer's French bread, from fried seafood to a burger to deliciously messy hot roast beef and gravy that'll melt in your mouth. Early in the day, try the full breakfast menu. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

MAGAZINE PO-BOY SHOP
2368 Magazine St., 522-3107
With a full menu of classic po-boys that includes shrimp, roast beef, Italian sausage, hot sausage, catfish, oyster and veal cutlet, this eatery has what you're looking for when you're in desperate need of a good sandwich. Plus, there is a variety of breakfast options like omelets, breakfast burritos and combination plates. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

MANO'S PO-BOYS
6943 Saints Drive, Metairie, 734-0922
Mano's offers a big line-up of po-boy options from the usual suspects to veal Parmesan, chicken Deluxe, BLT and meatballs. Hot lunch plates change daily from red beans with pork chops or smoked sausage on Monday and stuffed bell peppers on Wednesday to all sorts of fried seafood options on Friday. Breakfast starts with big biscuits combined with egg and ham, bacon or sausage. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

Market Wego
100 Westbank Expressway, Westwego, 436-9966
Located in the Westwego Shrimp Lot, the market specializes in boiled and fried seafood as well as po-boys like the green onion sausage po-boy: freshly made green onion sausage patties hot off the grill and dressed on top of French bread. The fried catfish platter sports deep-fried catfish fillets on top of French bread and is served with fried fresh okra and French fries. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MCALISTER'S DELI
Harrah's Casino, 4 Canal Street, 598-1930; 1000 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite A13, Kenner 466-1500; 2701 Airline Hwy., Suite T, Metairie, 830-4030; www.mcalistersdeli.com
Signature sandwiches and fully loaded baked potatoes are the main draws at locations of this national chain. The Patriot sandwich loads up turkey and Swiss on wheat berry bread with orange and cranberry sauce while the Big Nasty is an open-face mess of roast beef with gravy and melted cheeses. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MIKE SERIO'S PO-BOYS & DELI
133 St. Charles Ave., 523-2668
Po-boys rule the menu at Mike Serio's, but LSU sports definitely dominate the décor. No Johnny-come-lately to Tigers fanaticism, Serio's has served roast beef po-boys, fried seafood and plate lunches amid the purple and gold trappings for years. The muffuletta is a particular specialty, and daily lunch offerings include jambalaya or spaghetti and meatballs. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

MR. POOR BOY
10202 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-1170
Obviously po-boys are available here, but the daily hot-plate specials are what Mr. Poor Boy regulars rave about. Dig into specials like red beans and rice, catfish platters, chicken-fried steak, stewed chicken with rice and gravy, and gumbo on Friday. Po-boy choices feature the popular home-cooked roast beef as well as salami, different types of sausage, meatball and fried seafood. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $.

MONSTER PO-BOYS
1814 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville, (985) 626-9183
You can imagine what the draw is at this Mandeville eatery, but giant, overstuffed po-boys are hardly the only things offered. Lunch specials like lasagna, roast beef, fried veal and shrimp rotini cater to hearty appetites. If you stick with the namesake, house-made roast beef, meatballs and fresh seafood are among the monstrously good options. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Fri. Credit cards. $

MOTHER'S RESTAURANT

401 Poydras St., 523-9656; www.mothersrestaurant.net
Debris has a happy connotation at Mother's, where instead of storm-damage refuse the term has long referred to the bits of slow-cooked roast beef served in a flavorful gravy on French bread. Mother's po-boys come dressed with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce, Creole or yellow mustard and pickles. The house special sandwich is the Ferdi, with baked ham and debris. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

P & G RESTAURANT
345 Baronne St., 525-9678
Quick breakfasts and hearty lunches are the name of the game at this bustling downtown diner. For lunch, feast on a po-boy or one of the daily specials like red beans and rice, fried shrimp or catfish. The fried seafood combination platter is a lunch challenge that's not for the meek of appetite. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

PARRAN'S PO BOYS
3939 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-3416
Parran's has a huge range of sandwiches from the club to chuck burgers to traditional po-boys such as shrimp, oyster and ham and cheese. But the menu at this self-proclaimed "home of the seafood muffuletta" also boasts po-boys you won't find in most places such as tuna steak, grilled Genoa salami and prime rib. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat, dinner Fri. Credit cards. $$

QUIZNOS
Citywide; www.quiznos.com
The relative newcomer on the national franchise block, Quiznos offers a full range of Italian-style subs as well as popular new twists like mesquite-accented meats, smoky barbecue sauces, and guacamole on its turkey and bacon sub. The menu includes everything from BLTs to honey-mustard chicken and bacon sandwiches to cheese melts. Getting away from the bread, Quiznos offers many items in salad versions alongside Cobb and chicken Caesar salads. Breakfast items are available at some locations. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

RADOSTA'S FAMOUS PO-BOYS
249 Aris Ave., Metairie, 831-1537
Everything at this family-run restaurant owned by brothers Mark, John and Wayne Radosta is homemade, including hot Italian sausage, Italian meatballs, roast beef and gravy for po-boys, and ground chuck for juicy burgers. A full range of po-boys is offered, including fried shrimp, oyster, catfish, soft-shell crab, and the Joan Special, a grilled shrimp po-boy. Radosta's cooler is now stocked with 75 imported and domestic beers. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RAG'S OLD FASHIONED PO-BOYS
4960 Hwy. 22, Mandeville, (985) 792-1744
Rag's has everything that a good po-boy shop should: classic po-boys including roast beef, soft-shell crab, shrimp, and potato with gravy. But don't miss out on house specials like shrimp Parmesan — fried shrimp over angel hair pasta with provolone cheese and marinara sauce — or Catfish Lafitte, a fillet of catfish over pasta with a crawfish cream sauce. No reservations. Lunch and 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
Dozens of rolled-sandwich concoctions, served cold or grilled, jostle for board space at this unique eatery. Some options include the Peachtree Melt with baked ham, Swiss, Brie, peaches, pepper relish and a side of fresh dill horseradish sauce, or try the Santa Fe chicken with melted jalapeño Jack cheese, onion, tomato and ranch dressing. Vegetarians also can choose from a wide array of wraps stuffed with spinach, pineapple, cheese or hummus. Soups and salads are also served. No reservations. Tchoupitoulas location: lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Poydras location: lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

SAM'S POBOYS
260 Brooklyn Ave., Jefferson, 835-0689
Sam's offers a huge array of sandwiches on bun, toast or French bread. If the regular selection of po-boys, hot or Italian sausage, barbecue beef, liver cheese or hogshead cheese isn't enough to choose from, stop in any day except Friday for the breaded veal cutlet sandwich or on Wednesday for the chicken Parmesan sandwich. There also are daily lunch specials like Monday's red beans and rice with either smoked sausage or breaded veal plus salad and French bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

SHAGGY'S SEAFOOD AND SANDWICH SHOP
4413 Banks St., 484-4440; myspace.com/shaggysseafood
Shaggy's prides itself on being the New Orleans' home of the Chicago-style Vienna beef hot dog. Try the Dog of the Day special: $4.99 gets you a choice of hot dog with fries. Also available is the fried pork chop po-boy. Other po-boys include hot sausage and seafood varieties. Boiled seafood is also available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Tue.-Sat. Cash only. $

SHORT STOP PO-BOYS
119 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 885-4572
Jambalaya is back at Short Stop Po-boys, where more than just the namesake sandwich is served. Short Stop's seafood gumbo has a thick roux, okra, shrimp and crabmeat. Soup specials change daily. Roast beef for po-boys is prepared in-house with rich gravy, and the sandwiches are served dripping in the specially seasoned sauce. Fried crawfish tails provide a different spin on seafood po-boys. The four-meat special puts all the most popular cold cuts together on one sandwich. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

SOUTHERN PO-BOYS
720 Claiborne Drive, Jefferson, 835-3035
Southern Po-Boys makes sandwiches with everything from roast beef with gravy to fried shrimp or oysters to chicken-fried steak and veal. Hot plates include smothered pork chops with sautéed onions and brown gravy over stewed cabbage and rice, and stewed okra with shrimp over rice. Fried soft-shell crabs are served atop fettuccine with a white wine cream sauce. New salads include spinach or Caesar, both with grilled shrimp or chicken. No reservations. Lunch Mon.- Fri., dinner Fri. Cash only. $

SUBWAY
Citywide; www.subway.com
Reggie Bush and Subway's Jared may not seem like the best combo for a TV ad, but the nation's largest chain of sandwich shops gets some local points for trying. Meal deals are available with cold and hot subs, salads and 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 runs 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. $

WELTY'S DELI
336 Camp St., 592-0224
Freshly made dressings and sauces and quality deli meats piled high help make Welty's a standout for quick, casual lunches in the CBD. The popular Reuben sandwich is layered with corned beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. A lighter option is the veggie sandwich with roasted mushrooms, artichoke hearts, red peppers and eggplant. Meal-sized salads, daily specials and an array of coffee drinks are available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

 

SEAFOOD


II TONY'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
105 Hammond Hwy., Metairie, 831-0999; www.two-tonys.com
A Bucktown institution, Two Tony's serves Italian-Creole cuisine along the lake, including specialties like a grilled seafood platter loaded with Gulf shrimp, oysters, Louisiana blue crab cakes, farm-raised catfish seasoned lightly and grilled with extra virgin olive oil. The menu also offers artichoke-stuffed chicken — garlic, herbs and spices blended with artichoke hearts in a light dressing then rolled in a boneless chicken breast, fried golden and topped with a herb cream sauce. Reservations recommended. 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
Fried, grilled, on the half-shell or spilling out of a dressed loaf of French bread, bivalves are a main draw at Acme. For something more land-based, try the aptly named Ten Napkin roast beef po-boy, that swims in gravy. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ADAM'S CATFISH HOUSE
8523 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 392-0541
Take a wild guess what the specialty is here. Catfish comes grilled, fried or served atop salad greens tuna salad-style. The whole fish platter is an entrée of three fresh fish on the bone, served with French fries, hush puppies and coleslaw. Adam's also offers a children's menu and appetizers like a fried onion, fried vegetables and fried pickles. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

ANDREW JAEGER'S
4250 Hwy. 22, Suite B, Mandeville, (985) 624-2300
Andrew Jaeger's offers a mix of Louisiana seafood dishes and Italian dishes that feature seafood. There are many baked oyster dishes and oysters en brochette wrapped in bacon. There are steaks and veal entrées, including baby white veal topped with jumbo lump crabmeat in garlic butter sauce. Italian specialties range from mussels in red sauce to seafood stew. A children's menu also is available. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

BIG AL'S SEAFOOD
1377 Annunciation St., 265-0324
An historic firehouse is the setting for a new purveyor of traditional Louisiana-style seafood, Big Al's, which recently expanded from its home base in Houma. Start with a dozen raw or grilled oysters, then tackle one of Al's overstuffed po-boys, a huge seafood platter or specialties like fried frog legs, alligator or batches of seasonal boiled seafood. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun. Credit cards.

BIG DADDY'S SEAFOOD
1023 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 301-1907
While this Metairie market specializes in fresh seafood, it also carries prepared foods to go, such as seafood gumbo and stuffed artichoke. But patrons also can order boiled crab, crawfish or shrimp and dine in. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

BOURBON HOUSE
144 Bourbon St., 522-0111; www.bourbonhouse.com
Large picture windows for watching people on Bourbon Street from the tables at Bourbon House give diners a touch of excitement along with the taste of Creole cooking. 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 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 seafood salads. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP COMPANY
429 Decatur St., 522-5800; www.bubbagump.com
Drawing on the fame of 1994 hit film Forrest Gump, this whimsical seafood restaurant is decked out in film memorabilia. The references even continue on the menu, where customers find the Run Forrest Run smoothie 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 experience. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CASAMENTO'S

4330 Magazine St., 895-9761; www.casamentosrestaurant.com
In business since 1919 in its iconic, tile-covered 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 on an Oyster Loaf — fried and served on thick slabs of Texas toast. Shrimp, soft-shell crabs and fried crab claws share the spotlight. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Cash only. $$

CATE STREET SEAFOOD STATION

308 S. Cate Ave., Hammond, (985) 340-3891; www.catestreetseafoodstation.com
Get all sorts of seafood fixes at Cate Street, which serves steaks, seafood and pasta. There is a full sushi menu and creative options like the New Orleans Saints roll with cream cheese, snow cab, jalapeño, avocado, fried escolar and eel sauce. Pan-fried redfish with Gulf shrimp, crab and seafood cream sauce satisfies heartier appetites, but grilled oysters and broiled Maine lobster also are popular. If you prefer beef, try the Black Angus rib-eye. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

De-No Seafood
505 Gretna Blvd., Gretna, 362-4608
This family-friendly restaurant is the pride of Dennis and Norean Rojas. The couple offers a good variety of seafood platters including shrimp, oyster and catfish as well as pasta dishes like shrimp Alfredo and crawfish Monica served on angel hair pasta. There also is a kids' menu and desserts such as apple cobbler and pecan pie. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

DEANIE'S SEAFOOD
841 Iberville, 581-1360; 1713 Lake Ave., Metairie, 831-4141; www.deanies.com
Regulars at Deanie's know where to get more bang for their seafood buck. The giant seafood platter is a bounty of fresh shrimp, oysters, catfish, soft-shell crabs and crawfish balls, comes with fries and feeds four. Barbecue shrimp is another popular choice, jumbo head-on shrimp sautéed in Deanie's unique blend of seasonings, in addition to other items like stuffed flounder and the Bucktown Boil seafood pizza. No reservations. French Quarter: lunch and dinner daily, Metairie: lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

DESIRE OYSTER BAR
300 Bourbon St., 553-2281
The flashing sign over the door has long served as a gateway announcement of Bourbon Street's many temptations; here, a lust for fresh seafood can be more than sated, whether you like your bivalves raw or Rockefeller. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DOCKSIDE SEAFOOD & OYSTER BAR
1820 Dickory Ave., Harahan, 736-9666
Raw and charbroiled oysters reappear on Dockside's menu for fall in addition to rib-eyes, pork chops, fried chicken, seafood platters and daily specials. Shrimp, catfish and crab also are available in a variety of preparations from boiled and spicy to golden-fried. Sides include sweet potato fries, hushpuppies and Dockside potatoes — deep-fried, boiled red potatoes. The seafood extravaganza platter feeds four. For dessert there's bread pudding, ice cream, pecan pie and cheesecake. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DON'S SEAFOOD HUT
4801 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-1550
Don's has everything under the sea, or at least everything the locals crave. Beyond the requisite fried seafood platters, there's seafood salad with boiled shrimp, crawfish tails and lump crabmeat, a grilled fish of the day and broiled or fried soft-shell crabs. Start your meal with one of the savory gumbos or the crawfish bisque. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

DRAGO'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & OYSTER BAR
Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras St. 584-3911; 3232 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie, 888-9254; www.dragosrestaurant.com
If you've never had Drago's charbroiled oysters — shucked and grilled in their own juices and topped with grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses and a sauce of butter, parsley and garlic — then you're missing out. When you go there to correct this culinary oversight, try out some of the restaurant's other famous dishes like lobster Marco and other seafood specialties. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FRIENDS COASTAL RESTAURANT

407 St. Tammany St., Madisonville, (985) 845-7303; www.friendscoastal.com
Friends Coastal lives up to its seafaring name. The Cajun Lobster is actually a Maine lobster boiled to perfection with savory spices. The seafood lasagna layers sheets of pasta with spinach, Gulf seafood and a béchamel sauce, and the blackened "katfish" is seared in a hot iron skillet and topped with bronzed shrimp, crabmeat and key-lime butter. If your sea legs abandon you, dig into Caribbean jerk chicken or Quesadillas Gigante. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

GW FINS
808 Bienville St., 581-3467; www.gwfins.com
The menu at this upscale seafood establishment changes frequently as chef Tenney Flynn stocks his kitchen with a wide range of fresh fin fish and shellfish flown in from around the world. The Chilean sea bass is braised in a hot-and-sour shrimp stock with Asian vegetables. Sea scallops from New Bedford, Mass., are grilled over hickory and oak and served with risotto and mushroom butter. Reservations recommended. Dinner nightly. Credit cards. $$$

GALLEY SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

2535 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-0955
Boiled seafood is a favorite at Galley, but there's a wide range of other preparations to choose from including fried and blackened items. Creole dishes, seafood-topped jumbo salads and gumbo brimming with shrimp, oysters and okra round out the menu. Featured at Jazz Fest, Galley's Louisiana soft-shell crabs are knock-outs. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

GRAND ISLE RESTAURANT

575 Convention Center Blvd., 520-8530; www.grandislerestaurant.com
This Joel Dondis' restaurant offers delicious non-seafood options, but dishes like Shrimp Romesco — fresh shrimp in Romesco sauce with fresh spinach and Manchego cheese croutons — and Potted Crab — Louisiana jumbo lump crab with shallot butter — are worth skipping a steak or meatloaf for. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

GULFSTREAM RESTAURANT
1755 St. Charles Ave., 524-1578; www.hillstone.com
This stylishly designed St. Charles Avenue restaurant reels in the crowds with a seafood-focused menu, a lively bar scene and live music nightly. Try oysters St. Charles, a combination of fried oysters on a bed of creamed spinach with hot sauce and aioli, or go for an ahi tuna burger. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

HARBOR SEAFOOD
3203 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-6454
Seafood draws customers to this busy Kenner restaurant and seafood market. Look for local favorites such as the crabmeat-stuffed eggplant pirogues, seafood gumbo and fresh raw oysters. Wash them down with a beverage from the fully stocked bar. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

JACK DEMPSEY'S
738 Poland Ave., 943-9914
The food here packs a wallop just like its namesake. Your stomach won't be sore, but it will be full after meals such as the Jack Dempsey seafood platter which has heavyweight servings of gumbo, shrimp, oysters, catfish, redfish and crawfish pies. It's enough for two, maybe three if you're watching your weight for your next bout. Every dinner comes with a choice of fries, potato salad or baked macaroni and cheese. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat. and dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

JOHNNY TRAUTH'S SEAFOOD BISTRO
2121 25th St., Kenner, 471-0808
The seafood is always good at Johnny Trauth's, but it's extra enticing on Tuesday nights, when all-you-can-eat snow crab legs are just $17.99. The broiled catfish stuffed with crabmeat is a popular choice all the time, as is the broiled redfish topped with crab meat au gratin. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

KENNER SEAFOOD INC.
3140 Loyola Drive, Kenner, 466-4701; www.kennerseafood.net
Customers can pick up fresh seafood from the market or enjoy a meal at Kenner Seafood. Soft-shell crab Marie features a fried jumbo crab over angel hair pasta complemented by crabmeat sauce with salad and garlic bread on the side. The market sells everything from fish, shrimp, live crabs and crawfish to boudin, alligator and crawfish bread. Daily specials include raw oysters and fried shrimp plates. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

KJEAN SEAFOOD
236 N. Carrollton Ave., 488-7503
Kjean is a seafood market that makes the best of its daily catch. Fried shrimp, oysters and catfish are available in po-boys or on platters. There are also stuffed crab plates and soft-shell crabs. The sandwich list also offers hot or cold ham or roast beef, burgers or meatballs on French bread or bun. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. $

LANDRY'S
400 N. Peters St., 558-0038; 8000 Lakeshore Drive, 283-1010; www.landrysseafoodhouse.com
This family-friendly national seafood chain has offered the bounty of the ocean since 1947, offering diners across the country a taste of the Gulf. Try the bacon-wrapped shrimp en brochette with seafood stuffing, Jack cheese and jalapeños, or pick your own fresh lobster from the tank. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MIDDENDORF'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Hwy. 55 (off Exit 15), Manchac, (985) 386-6666; www.middendorfsrestaurant.com
There may be a new owner of this landmark waterfront seafood house, but its many fans have been relieved to discover little else has changed. The Middendorf's special is still ultra-thin fried catfish with hush puppies and tartar sauce. The menu also includes crawfish cakes, fried shrimp and oysters, barbecue oysters, broiled whole flounder, fried or broiled chicken and sandwiches. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

MORTON'S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
702 Water St., Madisonville, (985) 845-4970; www.mortonsseafood.com
Morton's is a Madisonville landmark. Its "seafood boats" — hollowed bread loaves stuffed with shrimp, oysters or catfish — are a specialty, as is the charbroiled fresh catch. Fried versions of everything and creamy pasta dishes can be offset by a few heart-healthy menu items. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

OCEANA GRILL
739 Conti St., 525-6002; www.oceanagrill.com
Seafood is the specialty at this colorful café just off Bourbon Street. The redfish Amer is topped with a crawfish cream sauce, and the chef's La Boheme special tops grilled ahi tuna with New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. Order fried catfish, shrimp or oysters in po-boys or on platters with jambalaya and a vegetable on the side. Try the smoked duck or garlic filet mignon for meatier meals. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Sat., brunch Sat. - Sun. 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 Manale has always featured a mix of Creole and Italian dishes, especially with seafood. Barbecue shrimp are served head-on and doused in spicy, tangy sauce. The combination pan roast features oysters, shrimp and crabmeat with a blend of shallots, parsley and seasoning. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

PONTCHARTRAIN POINT WEST END
8536 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-4233
A traditional New Orleans seafood house situated near the lake, Pontchartrain Point is a family-oriented eatery serving big portions of local favorites. The Creole crab cakes are served over penne pasta in a spicy cream sauce. Redfish Pontchartrain is a fillet of redfish topped with lump crabmeat, mushrooms and green onions in lemon-butter sauce and served with the vegetable of the day. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

QUARTER VIEW RESTAURANT
613 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie, 887-3456
Now offering boiled shrimp, crawfish and fresh Maine lobster every day, Quarter View specializes in all the fruits of the sea. The fried, boneless fillet of trout is stuffed with crabmeat dressing and topped with Cajun crawfish cream sauce. Grilled oysters with garlic-butter sauce are served with French bread for mopping the plate clean. Quarter View's platter of fried seafood includes shrimp, oysters, fish, stuffed crab and soft-shell crab. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. 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. Entrées include delicately grilled mahi mahi and certified Black Angus steaks. Po-boys have returned for lunch beside the always available and potent hurricane drink. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RED FISH GRILL
115 Bourbon St., 598-1200; www.redfishgrill.com
Fresh Gulf fish and shellfish are the main attractions at this end of Bourbon Street. There's a raw oyster bar to enjoy a dozen on the half-shell before settling in at a table. Barbecue oysters are flash fried, tossed with Crystal barbecue sauce and served with housemade blue cheese dressing. The hickory-grilled redfish is topped with blue crab meat and lemon-butter sauce and complemented by tasso and mushroom Pontalba potatoes. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

RESTAURANT DES FAMILLES
7163 Barataria Blvd., Lafitte, 689-7834
Located on the edge of the Jean Lafitte nature preserve, there's no telling what bayou creatures might be lurking just beyond the door of this quaint Lafitte establishment, likely attracted by the aroma of its delicious seafood dishes. The catfish Foster is a lightly battered catfish fillet topped with green onions, artichoke bottoms and mushrooms sautéed in butter and wine. Pasta Lafitte is crabmeat, shrimp and green onions in spicy cream sauce served on a bed of angel hair pasta. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

Rick's Catfish Cabin
78461 Hwy. 437, Covington, (985) 893-7274
The cabin sticks to what it does best: hearty seafood platters with catfish, butterfly shrimp, oysters, stuffed crab, stuffed shrimp, French fries and Rick's original hushpuppies. Patrons also can get platters that are exclusively catfish, shrimp or oysters. No reservations. Lunch Tues.-Fri., dinner Thurs.-Sat. Cash and checks only. $

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 fishing trip a little further down South with Latin-influenced 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 entrées include a generous cut of tuna wrapped in Serrano ham and escabeche of Gulf fish. Pressed sandwiches on warm, crispy French bread like the jamon with manchego and Spanish sausage with tomato are crowd pleasers. Check out the tapas menu on your lunch break. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SALTWATER GRILL
1340 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-6640
With a portion of the restaurant now devoted to a retail seafood counter, you know the fish coming through the kitchen has to be fresh. In addition to grilled and blackened fish choices, the menu at this family-friendly restaurant includes fried seafood po-boys, red beans and rice, hamburgers and grilled chicken. Reservations accepted for five or more. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$

SEAFOOD GALLEY AND DELI
509 Tyler St., Covington, (985) 892-3287
At Seafood Galley, you can order New Orleanians' favorites — shrimp, oysters, catfish, crab and crawfish, when in season, on po-boys or platters. But lunch specials also appeal to the local palate: red beans and rice, meatballs and spaghetti, chicken-fried steak or meatloaf, for example. The specials come with salad, a vegetable and bread. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

SEITHER'S SEAFOOD
279 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 738-1116; www.seitherseafood.com
When it's in season, crawfish is the specialty at Seither's. Otherwise, po-boys and fried seafood platters remain the constant attraction at this casual eatery. Crab cakes are made with jumbo lump crab is served over pasta with crawfish cream sauce. Blackened shrimp are served with garlic mashed potatoes, Cajun corn, garlic bread and salad. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

ZEKE'S
1517 Metairie Road, Metairie, 832-1133
Casual New Orleans classics rule here in the heart of Old Metairie, where Zeke's has gained a reputation for boiled shrimp and crawfish as well as raw and char-grilled oysters. For entrées, consider the bratwurst sausage and onions with warm German potato salad or sauerkraut. The grilled fish of the day could be anything from mahi mahi, to amberjack and salmon. Daily and monthly specials are offered. Dessert options include homemade bread pudding. 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 pour in for fried and boiled seafood. The po-boys use bread from John Gendusa's Bakery next door, and the crabs, shrimp, crawfish and fish come fresh from local waters. Try a generously piled seafood combination platter featuring shrimp, fish and oysters with crinkle-cut fries, side salad and bread, or take home a pint of boiled crabmeat. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

 



SOUL FOOD

BUSTER'S SOUL FOOD

2135 St. Charles Ave., 522-6602
Formerly Igor's Bar-B-Q Mama, Buster's Soul Food mixes up the menu with pork chops, smothered chicken, seafood and alligator sausage po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo and more. Barbecue ribs are a specialty here, but also check out the daily specials. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFÉ MADEA'S
731 Common St., 558-3998
This tiny downtown café provides customers with huge portions of enormously flavorful soul food staples. Dishes like red beans, jambalaya, gumbo, pork chops in gravy, chicken pot pie and fried catfish keep regulars coming back. Burgers, salads and sandwiches provide somewhat lighter options. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., early dinner Fri. Cash only. $

DUNBAR'S CREOLE COOKING
Loyola University Broadway Activities Center, 501 Pine St., 861-5451
Plans are underway to bring this legendary Uptown soul food spot back to Freret Street near its original pre-Katrina home. Meanwhile, those with a hankering for Dunbar's famous fried chicken, red beans, gumbo and breakfast pork chops still find their fill at the restaurant's post-storm spot in the activities center at Loyola University, which is open to the public. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

HOUSE OF BLUES
225 Decatur St., 310-4999; www.hob.com
Though the House of Blues has outposts all over the country, the menu at the New Orleans restaurant stays strictly down home. Try the filé gumbo made with shrimp and smoked turkey, or Southern-style sides like skillet-baked rosemary cornbread with maple butter. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

PRALINE CONNECTION
542 Frenchmen St., 943-3934; www.pralineconnection.com
Praline Connection serves as a local supplier of down-home, Southern and New Orleans comfort food — fried, fresh and filling. Dishes like red beans and rice, filé gumbo, jambalaya, stuffed bell peppers and savory stewed chicken satisfy the soul and the belly. Home-style meatloaf, stuffed crab, crawfish and shrimp etouffée, fried chicken, fried okra and fried pickles also make hearty meals. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

WILLIE MAE'S SCOTCH HOUSE
2401 St. Ann St., 822-9503
Willie Mae Seaton is passing the torch to her granddaughter Kerry Seaton at her iconic, award-winning restaurant, which was renovated and reopened after Katrina. The restaurant was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as an "American Classic." Kerry serves all the favorites, including the renowned fried chicken. Familiar rotating daily specials remain, including red beans and butter beans, smothered veal, stewed chicken, fried catfish and trout. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

 

STEAKHOUSE


BEEF CONNECTION
501 Gretna Blvd., Gretna, 366-3275
West Bank beefeaters know to go to the Beef Connection for large cuts of New York strips, rib-eyes and T-bones. Lunch is a bargain because steaks come with a selection of two sides such as creamy potatoes au gratin or the vegetable of the day. The steakhouse also cooks seafood, from grilled salmon or tuna to Maine lobster, and has catfish specials on Fridays. 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
Dazzling décor transports guests from the gaming hall of Harrah's Casino to the world of chef John Besh's steakhouse. From the amber bar to the bright open kitchen, the steakhouse sets the stage for decadent meals of classic, generously sized steaks like the 38-oz. cowboy rib-eye steak or big New York strip. Gulf seafood dominates the appetizer menu and there are rustic elements like Jacob's andouille in the gumbo. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

CHEF'S CORNER
710 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-0900
A new neighborhood option for those with carnivorous urges, Chef's Corner specializes in surf-and-turf combinations. All the classic cuts are offered, and the house version of barbecue shrimp serves shrimp sautéed with herbs and white vermouth. Lunch specials include red beans, blackened chicken or tilapia and beef tips with peppers and onions. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CRAZY JOHNNIE'S STEAKHOUSE
3520 18th St., Metairie, 887-6641; www.crazyjohnnies.net
Whatever the state of Johnnie's mental health, it doesn't hinder the menu at this Metairie restaurant. There are grilled steaks and seafood dishes such as the crawfish Johnnie and New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. The filet mignon with garlic butter and seasoned Crazy potatoes is a house favorite. When you see just how affordable the steaks are, you'll understand why the place is always hopping. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CRESCENT CITY STEAKHOUSE
1001 N. Broad St., 821-3271; www.crescentcitysteaks.com
The Vojkovich Family has run this Mid-City favorite since 1934. Except for the interruption of Katrina, it's been business as usual. There are curtained booths available for privacy — all the better to gear up for the porterhouse for two. Other steaks include T-bones, New York strips and prime filets, all best accompanied by a signature side order of garlic and parsley bordelaise sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

DICKIE BRENNAN'S STEAKHOUSE
716 Iberville St., 522-2467; 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 served with creamed spinach and Pontalba potatoes. The steak is also topped with flash-fried oysters and finished with a béarnaise sauce. The barbecue rib-eye is a prime 14-oz. steak grilled over an open flame and topped with Abita beer barbecue shrimp and served with garlic mashed potatoes. Stand-out sides include onion rings with 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 HOUS
E
700 Bourbon St., 595-3172; www.emberssteakhouse.com
The scene outside its doors on Bourbon Street may be smoking, but the Embers kitchen is focused on grilling and frying. The menu of steaks, seafood and Italian dishes ranges from T-bones, strips and filets to fried shrimp, oysters, crawfish fettuccine and veal Parmesan. The crowd-pleasing Cajun platter features fried catfish, red beans and rice, and jambalaya with andouille sausage. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat.-Sun, dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FIRE OF BRAZIL
725 Iberville St., 552-4446; www.fireofbrazil.com
At this distinctively South American breed of steakhouse, diners' choices are reduced to a simple yes or no. Waiters rove the dining room with huge skewers offering a dizzying array of various cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, pork and sausage, all of them sliced directly onto the plate. Meals include rice and beans and a large buffet of salads and side dishes. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

KEITH YOUNG'S STEAKHOUSE
165 Hwy. 21, Madisonville, (985) 845-9940; www.keithyoungs.net
Keith Young's sign announces "Steaks — chops — Gulf fish," and indeed, you'll find prime cuts of meat with seafood extras thrown in. A 14-oz. strip and a towering filet mignon are just two stars on the menu, which also includes crab cakes, fried oysters and old-fashioned side items. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

LA BOCA
857 Fulton St., 525-8205
Argentine steak houses are all the rage, and this Warehouse District hotspot is no different. Inspired by the steakhouses of Buenos Aires, the meat is served with piquant chimichurri sauces. La Boca also offers pastas and stellar sides like crispy fries and grilled provolone cheese with herbs and olives. SIN night on Thursdays from 9 p.m. to midnight offers service industry workers half-priced menu items. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

LONGHORN STEAKHOUSE
69368 Hwy. 21, Covington, (985) 875-1100; www.longhornsteakhouse.com
At Longhorn, the filet mignon comes not only in sizzling butter but also wrapped in hickory-smoked bacon or topped with pungent blue cheese. The more traditional options such as the rib-eye, New York strip and prime rib are just as popular. For variety, Longhorn offers fish, shrimp and chicken dishes as well as a children's menu. The Caramel Apple Goldrush dessert is a clutch of sliced sautéed apples coated in cinnamon and baked into a golden pastry shell. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MORTON'S STEAKHOUSE
One Canal Place, 365 Canal St., 566-0221; www.mortons.com
Morton's is known for generous portions of USDA prime beef. The Cajun rib-eye steak is a 16-oz. cut marinated for 60 hours in Cajun seasonings. Maine lobsters are flown in daily and are split down the middle of the tail, baked and served with drawn butter. Other steakhouse favorites range from iceberg salads with blue cheese dressing and Caesar salads to big porterhouses or New York strips. For dessert, plan early for a chocolate, lemon, raspberry or Grand Marnier soufflé. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Closed all major holidays. Credit cards. $$$

N'TINI'S
2891 Hwy. 190, Suite D, Mandeville, (985) 626-5566
Match your swinging attitude with the martinis and steaks at N'Tini's. The menu offers New Orleans-accented surf and turf. The crab cake Napoleon layers two crab cakes and eggplant medallions and tops them with lobster in a brandy cream sauce. Tournedos are two 6-oz. filets atop fried eggplant medallions and are served with different sauces. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

OUTBACK STEAKHOUSE
60 Park Place Drive, Covington, (985) 893-0505; 830 E. I-10 Service Road, Slidell, (985) 649-4329; 1601 Barataria Blvd., Marrero, 341-5544; 2746 Severn Ave., Metairie, 455-6850; www.outback.com
Outback spices up its menu with some colorful Australian lingo, but many of its popular items are familiar to diners on this side of the world. The fried, or Bloomin', onion has plenty of crispy straws to feed a table full of hungry folks. The Kookaburra wings, bathed in hot sauce, look suspiciously like the Buffalo variety. For entrées, the portions are ample at the steakhouse chain, whether you order a slow-roasted sirloin or a fillet of fish crowned with lobster and crab. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE
3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-3600; www.ruthschris.com
From the petite filet to the porterhouse for two and everything in between (New York strips, T-bones, rib-eyes and bone-in cowboy steaks), Ruth's Chris can fulfill your every sizzling steak dream — or fulfill your sea fantasies with ahi tuna and lobster fresh from Maine. Other seafood dishes featured just in time for Lent include the jumbo blackened shrimp with Maine lobster claws in an Asian ponzu sauce served over bok choy with shiitake mushrooms. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

SEASONS STEAK AND SPIRITS

1398 Front St., Slidell, (985) 649-7558; www.seasonssteakandspirits.com
Seasons' wide menu appeals to steak lovers with its Black Angus cuts, which can be topped with mushrooms, seafood and cheese. But the kitchen turns out plentiful pasta and seafood, too. The restaurant's fresh, herb-basted barbecue shrimp are a popular choice for less-carnivorous guests. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SHULA'S STEAK HOUSE
614 Canal St., 586-7211; www.shulas.com
Football lore and the lure of great steaks combine for a unique experience at the local link in NFL hall-of-famer Don Shula's restaurant chain. The menus are hand painted on official NFL game footballs and signed by Coach Shula himself. One of the featured entrées is the 48-oz. porterhouse. Those who can finish it are invited to join Shula's 48-Ounce Club. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

STAR STEAK & LOBSTER
237 Decatur St., 525-6151; www.starsteak.com
Steaks and Maine lobster are the bread-and-butter at this unpretentious Decatur Street eatery. A house special is the 16-oz. prime rib with baked potato, soup or salad for $16.95. Another sure bet is the filet mignon with shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat and lobster stuffing, all topped with red wine mushroom sauce. A wide range of local seafood dishes rounds out the menu. Reservations accepted. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

THE STEAK KNIFE RESTAURANT & BAR
8550 Pontchartrain Blvd., 488-8981; www.steakkniferestaurant.com
Long a fixture on Harrison Avenue, the Roth family's Steak Knife offers big steaks and fresh seafood. The 14-oz. rib-eye and sirloin strip, the filet mignon and the huge, 24-oz. porterhouse come with an array of steakhouse side dishes. The pepper-crusted yellowfin tuna steak is seared and served with a wasabi, soy and ginger reduction. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

YOUNG'S RESTAURANT

850 Robert Blvd., Slidell, (985) 643-9331
Young's is known for its rather old-fashioned atmosphere, and the kitchen is old school, too, cutting steaks in house by hand, from the petite filet and sirloin up to the 14-oz. rib-eye. Beef entrées come with a green salad and baked potato. Veal chops are also on the menu. For the sake of variety, try fresh seafood options like yellowfin tuna or a number of shrimp dishes. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$$

 

TAPAS / SPANISH


Café GRANADA
1506 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-1612
Formerly known as Fiesta Bistro, the menu and overall focus of this Carrollton café is now firmly set on Spanish cuisine. There is a wide range of hot and cold tapas, including many vegetarian choices. A classic paella comes with shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, chunks of chicken and peas, and another house specialty is the twice-braised lamb shank, which uses both white and red wines. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LAURENTINO'S RESTAURANT
4410 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie, 779-9393
The Spanish cuisine at Laurentino's offers a wide variety of menu items. You'll find 30 tapas, 30 entrées, five soups and three salads. The paella Valencia includes rice cooked in a saffron broth with shrimp, mussels, calamari, chicken, andouille sausage and fresh vegetables. Among the many small plates of tapas is garlic shrimp, which features Gulf shrimp sautéed in olive oil with roasted garlic, cayenne pepper and Spanish paprika then flamed with Spanish sherry. Spanish soups include gazpacho, lentil soup, garlic soup and fabada, made with white beans, sausage, ham and chorizo. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat., lunch and early dinner Sun. 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. Tuna, trout, roast duck and rack of lamb are staples, too. The new weekend specials feature local fish including grilled redfish topped with tomato, kalamata olives and basil salsa. Corn flan is topped with créme fraiche, crabmeat and caviar. Lola's now offers Spanish and California wines, but diners can also bring in their own bottles (with $5 corkage fee). No reservations. Dinner daily. Cash and checks. $$

MIMI'S IN THE MARIGNY
2601 Royal St., 872-9868
The authentic tapas menu lends itself agreeably to any appetite, whether you're in the mood for a nibble or a multi-course meal of Castilian snacks. Try a variety of hot and cold offerings, from the rich and savory mushroom Manchego toast to dessert-worthy honeyed goat cheese croquetas, washed down with a glass of Rioja. Other small plates include ceviche, Spanish cheeses and cured meats, empanadas and shrimp and calamari dishes. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

VEGA TAPAS CAFÉ
2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.com
Starting with red or white sangria, Vega Tapas Café indulges diners with Spanish flavors and creative cooking. Owner Glen Hogh has returned to the kitchen since the flood, with offereings such as grilled shrimp over artichoke ragout and olive tapenade. Also look for pink peppercorn-crusted beef carpaccio with marinated wild mushrooms. Sweet potato pudding with saffron gelato is a perfect way to end the evening. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

 


THAI


BASIL LEAF

1438 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-9001
It's a good choice for those who want to Thai one on. The whole coconut curry with sea scallops, shrimp sautéed with coconut meat and eggplant in red curry served in a coconut shell with jasmine rice, and, of course, pad Thai, with spicy rice noodles wok sautéed with shrimp, chicken, bean sprouts and peanut, are two of their best dishes. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., 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 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 far away. An extensive menu of Thai dishes is available. Reservations recommended for parties of five or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LA THAI CUISINE
4938 Prytania St., 899-8886
Recently moved to its new Prytania Street location, La Thai still offers classic Thai favorites in addition to a few new dishes. Entrées include a variety of seafood dishes like shrimp, crab cake, soft-shell crab or Chilean sea bass, a panko-crusted Chilean sea bass with spicy coconut green curry, jumbo lump crabmeat, sautéed veggies and jasmine rice. More traditional options include pad Thai, pan-seared scallops, filet mignon duck delight or panang curry with shrimp, chicken or crawfish. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.- Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SINGHA THAI
413 Carondelet St., 581-2205
Devotees of this downtown Thai café line up for lunch with clients and coworkers alike, though business talk quickly gives way to menu decisions. The kitchen cooks up classic renditions of popular Thai dishes like tom yum koong soup with shrimp and lemongrass, pad Thai and many rice and noodle dishes with beef, chicken or shrimp. At dinner, try the crispy ginger fish. No Reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

SUKHOTHAI
1913 Royal St., 948-9309; www.sukhothai-nola.com
This Marigny triangle Thai eatery tempts diners with its selection of authentic dishes in a range of spice levels. The seafood glass noodle salad is a spicy mix of tomato, cilantro and glass noodles served with calamari, shrimp, scallops and mussels topped with chile-lime dressing. Try the panko-crusted shoft-shell crabs on a bed of onions, bell peppers, celery and egg stir-fried with yellow curry. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

 

VIETNAMESE


DONG PHUONG ORIENTAL BAKERY AND RESTAURANT

14207 Chef Menteur Hwy., 254-0214
Dong Phuong is a centerpiece of the cohesive Vietnamese-American community in eastern New Orleans. It's the place where residents drop in throughout the week for fresh, Vietnamese-style French bread, savory pastries and colorful sweets. The banh mi sandwiches from the deli counter are fast, inexpensive and come stuffed with fresh vegetables and meats. In the restaurant area, customers linger over bowls of beef soup or noodle dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $

DOSON NOODLE HOUSE
135 N. Carrollton Ave., 309-7283
Doson Noodle House offers a mix of popular Chinese dishes and Vietnamese options like big bowls of pho soup served with bean sprouts, herbs and lime wedges and stir-fried dishes of chicken or shrimp with rice or noodles. The seasonal whole fish, steamed or fried, is a popular specialty. Appetizers include spring rolls and dumplings. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

HOA HONG NINE ROSES
1100 Stephens St., Gretna, 366-7665
Bottomless vermicelli bowls with fresh cucumber, mint, cilantro and shredded lettuce with your choice of beef, chicken, pork, or sugarcane shrimp are just one of the reasons diners keep coming back to this authentic Vietnamese restaurant. The seafood house soup and the hot and sour soup with okra and pineapple are perfect on hot or cold days, and some items are cooked at the table like strips of beef which are then wrapped in rice paper with herbs, vegetables and sauces. Aside from other traditional Chinese and Vietnamese fare, Nine Roses offers an extensive selection of vegetarian entrées. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Tue. Credit cards. $$

JAZMINE CAFÉ
614 S. Carrollton Ave., 866-9301
When a chilly day rears up, sometimes a bowl of beefy pho soup with noodles, fresh herbs and hot sauce is just the antidote. Jazmine offers a wide selection of this and other traditional Vietnamese soups, plus rice and noodle dishes, tamarind fish, crepes stuffed with pork and shrimp and fresh spring rolls stuffed with rare tuna. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

KIM SON
349 Whitney Ave., Gretna, 366-2489
Kim Son offers a long list of Vietnamese dishes and Cantonese- and Szechuan-style Chinese dishes. For meat lovers, the Bo 7 Mon is a seven-course feast of Vietnamese-style beef dishes. The meat comes cooked and served a variety of ways with basil, cilantro, lemon, onion and fish sauce. 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 TAU BAY

113 Westbank Expwy., Gretna, 368-9846
Pho 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 pork. Seafood can also be added to soups. The huge menu lists everything from fresh spring rolls made with rice paper and served with peanut sauce to vermicelli salads topped with your choice of shrimp, pork, tofu or egg rolls. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

TAN DINH
1705 Lafayette St., Gretna, 361-8008
Tan Dinh takes and authentic and upscape approach to Vietnamese dishes. The chicken-and-beef rice-noodle soup, or pho, comes with a side of sprouts, jalapeños, basil and lime so diners can season the refreshing soup to their liking. Marinated roast duck with sticky rice is also popular. Also try the Korean-style beef short ribs. The restaurant now serves a selection of wine and sake. Rich, thick Vietnamese iced coffee is made with condensed milk. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $

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 and beef to pork and vegetables. Pho Ga is a rice noodle soup with chicken in a rich aromatic broth that arrives at the table with a basket of fresh basil, bean sprouts, jalapeño slices and limes. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

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