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ITALIAN 

II TONY'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT AND SEAFOOD
105 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie 831-0999
www.two-tonys.com
This father/son operation serves up some of the most popular Italian fare in Bucktown, including the baked eggplant, crabmeat and shrimp au gratin. Also consider the steak and grilled shrimp. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Credit cards. $$

ADOLFO'S
611 Frenchmen St. 948-3800
Chef Adolfo makes magic in this tiny restaurant above the Apple Barrel Bar. Handmade cannelloni, fresh pasta, a rack of lamb fried with rosemary, mint and garlic butter, and several fresh fish specials every night are just a couple of the attractions. Reservations required for parties of four or more. Dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $$

ANDREA'S NORTHERN ITALIAN & SEAFOOD CUISINE
3100 19th St., Metairie 834-8583
www.andreasrestaurant.com
The Apuzzo family's restaurant incorporates fresh seafood into northern Italian cuisine. Of the pasta dishes, try the ravioli Langostine Andrea, where homemade ravioli is stuffed with Louisiana crawfish and tossed with a bell pepper and crawfish sauce. The cannoli and bread pudding are also made in-house. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$$

ANDY MESSINA'S RESTAURANT
2717 Williams Blvd., Kenner 469-7373
www.messinas-restaurant.com

For 40 years the Messina family has favored its patrons with dependable, authentic Italian classics. The veal Spedine is stuffed with eggplant dressing, then baked with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Customers swear by the shrimp and crab claw scampi and the chicken cacciatore. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

ANSELMO'S
3401 N. Hullen St., Metairie 899-1212
For a rich, delectable taste of the sea, try Anselmo's enormous Italian shrimp, which swim in a rosemary cream sauce. Meat lovers count on the osso buco, and light lunchers swear by the salad Alyse, with greens, Gorgonzola cheese, bacon and sugared pecans in a vinaigrette. Daytime delivery available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

BACCO
310 Chartres St. 522-2426
www.bacco.com

Ralph Brennan's Bacco brings the restaurateur's experience to bear on the flavors d'Italia, with homemade pastas and wood-fired pizzas. Chef Haley Gable recommends the black truffle fettuccine served with Parmigiano cheese, Vermouth-steamed mussels, and the lobster and shrimp ravioli served in a champagne butter sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BARRECA'S
3100 Metairie Road, Metairie
831-4546

Barreca's serves up that special blend of New Orleans Italian, where Creole flavors creep in around the edges but there's still plenty of pasta and veal Parmesan to go around. The crabcakes with spicy horseradish sauce and roast duck with Cajun rice are two house favorites. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, dinner Tuesday through Sunday. Credit cards. $$

BRAVO! ITALIAN KITCHEN
1711 St. Charles Ave. 525-5515
3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 828-8828
www.bravoitalian.com

At both locations of this family-friendly restaurant chain, you can watch the action in the kitchen as pastas are tossed and pizzas are slipped into the wood-burning oven. The appetizers are just as exciting, like the fried calamari, the spinach and artichoke dip, and the salmon salad with grilled asparagus and feta cheese. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BRICK OVEN CAFE
2805 Williams Blvd., Kenner 466-2097
When the thin-crust pizza lands on your table with the cheese still bubbling from the heat of the wood-burning oven, you know you're in for a treat. Try the warm flavors of pizza Florentina, topped with roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese and sweet onions, or check out the many pasta offerings. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CAFE DIBLASI
1801-4 Stumpf Blvd., Terrytown
361-3106
Cafe Diblasi doesn't fool around with Italian cuisine, providing West Bank families with masterpieces such as the Braccioloni, where a round steak is filled with prosciutto, mozzarella cheese and seasoned meat stuffing, then rolled and simmered in red gravy. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

CAFE GIOVANNI

117 Decatur St. 529-2154
www.cafegiovanni.com
Chef Duke's early bird menu is a great deal at $19.95 for three appetizers -- choose from crabcakes, crawfish bisque, ravioli and others. Come in on Wednesday through Saturday evenings for live opera singing, and while you're there try the oysters Giovanni (they're fried and served with five sauces), or the breaded eggplant served with crawfish and shrimp in a vodka-dill sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

CAPPITA! ITALIAN BISTRO
2891 Hwy. 190, Mandeville
(985) 626-5752

www.cappita-italian-bistro.com
Cappita translates to ³how amazing!² The menu solicits that response with such well-crafted Italian classics as the Trinity eggplant, where the fried veggie is topped with shrimp, crabmeat and a sherry cream sauce. The chicken and shrimp piccata are hickory-grilled and tossed with lemon-butter sauce and capers. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

CARMINE'S ITALIAN SEAFOOD AND GRILL

4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 455-7904
The pinnacle of Carmine's seafood menu may be the hefty steamed lobsters offered every Monday and Tuesday, while the grilled specialties include a massive 16-oz. ribeye steak. Those with lighter appetites will find plenty to choose from among the salads, pastas and a creative seafood-stuffed artichoke. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

DIA ROMA CAFE
3712 Williams Blvd., Suite O, Kenner 443-6663
The gourmet pizzas are the primary draw for the many regulars who frequent Dia Roma. Vegetarians love the artichoke pizza with feta cheese, mushrooms, onions and garlic sauce, while hungry meat-eaters hanker for the foot-long sub made with homemade bread and stacked with salami, ham, pepperoni, onions and mozzarella. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $ ELEVEN 79
1179 Annunciation St. 299-1179
For an appetizer, try the grilled calamari with pecorino polenta and lemon butter. Then dig in to the signature paneed veal Eleven 79, served with roasted red peppers, asparagus, buffalo mozzarella and a lemon sauce. Reservations required. Dinner Monday through Saturday, late-night Friday and Saturday. Credit cards. $$$

FAUSTO'S BISTRO
530 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-7121
Fausto creates a visual and gustatory feast with the signature frutti di mare, a veritable seafood feast of sauteed crab claws, oysters, mussels, fish, shrimp, calamari and soft shell crab. The chef's daily specials range from osso buco to softshell crab with seafood ravioli in a delicate garlic sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

IL PIATTO
7708 Maple St. 861-0002
www.ilpiattorestaurant.com
The newest addition to the culinary scene on Maple Street is Chef Matt Yohalem's regionally authentic Italian cuisine, similar to his venture in Santa Fe, N.M. (His other local venture, Belle Forche, recently closed.) The creative menu features simply and beautifully prepared dishes such as the pumpkin ravioli with pine nuts and brown sage butter or the bruschetta with house-cured salmon and herbed marscapone. Reservations accepted. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

IMPASTATO'S
3400 16th St., Metairie 455-1545
www.impastatos.com
Families come here to feast on the specialty five-course dinners for $28, with seven choices of entree including veal parmesan, veal roast and roast leg of lamb. The a la carte menu offers slowly braised osso buco or you might happily settle for the trout or lobster. You'll be tempted to save room for spumoni or marscapone tortes. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tuesday through Saturday, late-night Friday and Saturday. Credit cards. $$

IRENE'S CUISINE
539 St. Phillip St. 529-8811
Waiting patiently outside for a seat inside is part of Irene's charm. Regional Italian dishes are as vivid and warm as this candlelit bistro in the heart of the French Quarter. A comforting winter selection is the salmon en croute; salmon with a crawfish mousse and sauteed spinach encased in phyllo dough and baked served with a pinot grigio beurre blanc. The staff recommends the signature apple Normandy for dessert. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MAMMA'S CUCINA
3805 Hessmer Ave., Metairie 780-1700
The menu brings you the spicy, rich flavors of Tuscany and uses the wood-burning grill to full advantage in creating delicacies such as grilled pork chops and tilapia. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner Friday and Saturday. Credit cards. $$

MAXIMO'S ITALIAN GRILL
1117 Decatur St. 586-8883
Try the veal Cattoche, a pan-roasted veal T-bone, or the homemade ravioli, whose tasty fillings change on a regular basis. The desserts aim to please, with a large variety of Italian gelatos, such as the coconut-flavored gelato served in a real coconut shell. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MONA LISA RESTAURANT
1212 Royal St. 522-6746
www.monalisa.micronpcweb.com
Specials include seafood pasta with redfish, clams and shrimp as well as chicken, veal and eggplant Parmesan. Both dishes are served over linguine, with the seafood pasta tossed with a garlic lemon sauce. Delivery available in the French Quarter. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MOSCA'S
4137 Hwy. 90 W., Avondale 436-9942
Homestyle Italian cooking makes the trip over the river and through the parish worthwhile with offerings such as Mosca's special crabmeat salad, oysters bordelaise, chicken la Grande, and shrimp Mosca. The latter two are prepared with olive oil, rosemary, oregano, garlic and dry white wine. Reservations recommended; no reservations accepted for Saturday. Dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Cash only. $$$

NUVOLARI'S
246 Gerard St., Mandeville (985) 626-5619
www.nuvolaris.com
Locals have frequented this Northshore restaurant for more than 20 years, returning for the crabmeat ravioli and the Mediterranean shrimp, which is sauteed with garlic, plum tomatoes, olive oil, black olives and rosemary then served over penne pasta with feta cheese. Other popular choices are veal Parmesan and the Flawless Chocolate Torte. Reservations recommended for parties of four or more. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

OLIVE BRANCH CAFE
1995 Barataria Blvd., Marrero 348-2008
5163 Gen. DeGaulle Drive 393-1107
Italian lovers have a range of specialties to choose from at these West Bank eateries, among them the pasta jambalaya, which features sauteed smoked sausage, chicken breasts, onion and bell peppers bathed in roasted garlic cream sauce and served over penne pasta. Other favorites are gourmet pizzas and shrimp scampi over fettuccine. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

OLIVE GARDEN
1315 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 464-4612
www.olivegarden.com
This chain restaurant promises you'll feel like family here, but you may find yourself slapping the wrists of loved ones trying to steal a taste of the new Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo, which starts with grilled beef medallions drizzled with a balsamic glaze served over fettuccine and spinach tossed in gorgonzola-Alfredo sauce topped with sun-dried tomatoes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PADRINO'S CAFE
8132 Hampson St. 314-9088
A post-fire renovation has Padrino's all spiffed up and ready to serve its signature Italian dishes, including the chicken Padrino: boneless chicken breast stuffed with fresh spinach, mozzarella cheese, smoked Fontana ham and fresh basil rolled in bread crumbs and baked, then topped with a mushroom cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Saturday, dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

PRIMO PIZZA & PASTA
2401 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Kenner 464-4547
Pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, pasta dishes, calzones Š now that's Italian. But that's not all this comfortable cafe offers. On Fridays, there's a buffet of seafood prepared in a variety of ways, not to mention a salad bar and desserts including ³fruity pizza.² No reservations. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $

RISTORANTE CARMELO
541 Decatur St. 586-1414
www.ristorantecarmelo.com
Ristorante Carmelo offers a blend of classic Italian dishes complemented by fresh seafood. Consider the signature Lobster Fra Diavolo -- a whole Maine lobster in a spicy marinara over linguine garnished with seafood. The extensive Italian wine list, more than 350 wines strong, has earned
Wine Spectator's award of excellence. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

RISTORANTE DA PIERO
401 Williams Blvd., Kenner 469-8585
Focusing on Italy's Romagnia region, Piero's specialty is housemade pastas prepared numerous ways, along with beef dishes such as the Filetto al Pepe Verde, medallions of beef tenderloin served with cream sauce flavored with fresh green peppercorns. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards and checks. $$

RISTORANTE FILIPPO
1917 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie 835-4008
The menu created by Chef-owner Philip Gagliano offers inventive dishes of seafood, pasta, scampi and meat. The chef suggests chicken Spedini -- baked chicken breast coupled with prosciutto, topped with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and romano cheese and served with sun-dried tomatoes and kalamata olives over pasta with garlic oil. Reservations accepted. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

ROMANO'S MACARONI GRILL
3410 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 727-1998
www.macaronigrill.com

The diverse menu of this chain offers a number of pasta and Italian choices. One favored recipe, Penne Rustica, features shrimp, grilled chicken and smoked prosciutto smothered with a creamy cheese sauce and then baked in Romano's wood-burning oven. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

SAL & SAM'S
4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie
885-5566
Every day in the kitchen at Sal & Sam's, the chefs cook white veal for hours so that that it's tender enough for osso buco, which they make according to an old Saia family recipe -- tender veal over angel hair pasta with marinara sauce, sauteed eggplant and mozzarella cheese. Reservations recommended. Lunch Monday through Friday, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$$

SALVATORE RISTORANTE
3226 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie 455-2433
www.chefsfreerecipe.com

One of Metairie's many Italian eateries, Salvatore offers classics such as the veal Parmesan: panned baby veal topped with mozzarella cheese, served with angel hair pasta finished with a marinara sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Friday and Saturday. Credit cards. $$

SANDRO'S TRATTORIA
6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie
888-7784
Chef-owner Sandro uses family recipes from the Abruzzi region of Italy to produce dishes such as Aunt Vera's Lasagna: 16 layers of fresh, hand-rolled pasta with three types of imported cheeses and a light pork and veal sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

TOMMY'S CUISINE
746 Tchoupitoulas St. 581-1103
Old World charm and a Creole-Italian menu are the hallmarks of this venture from owner Tommy Andrade. The chicken Rosemarino features roasted garlic, rosemary and olive oil. Chef's specials include crabmeat Sardou, fresh steamed artichoke layered with spinach, crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

TONY ANGELLO'S RISTORANTE
6262 Fleur de Lis Drive 488-0888
Without even looking at a menu, regulars know they'll be taken care of when Chef Tony is in the kitchen. The Feed Me dinner is a multiple-course feast of house favorites. The eggplant Trina is fried eggplant layered with marinara sauce and cheese. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Credit cards. $$

TONY MANDINA'S
1915 Pratt St., Gretna 362-2010
www.tonymandinas.com
The Eggplant Dominic Jude features medallions of eggplant stuffed between a blend of shrimp and crabmeat topped with shrimp Alfredo sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tuesday through Friday, dinner Saturday and Sunday. Credit cards. $$

TORTORICI'S
441 Royal St. 522-4295, 595-3172
www.tortoricis.com
Tortorici's offers specials including the veal Oscar: baby white veal sauteed and topped with fresh crabmeat, mushrooms, roasted garlic, artichoke hearts and a light garlic butter sauce. Enjoy it with Italian roasted potatoes and vegetable du jour. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

VENEZIA
134 N. Carrollton Ave. 488-7991
This classic Mid-City neighborhood eatery shows off old-school Italian charm in dishes such as the eggplant Vatican (a hollowed-out, batter-fried eggplant stuffed with a seafood cream sauce) and the veal parmigiana. Reservations accepted for Monday through Friday only. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

VINCENT'S
4250 Hwy. 22 (Pine Tree Plaza Shopping Center), Mandeville (985) 624-2300
4411 Chastant St., Metairie 885-2984
7839 St. Charles Ave. 866-9313
Vincent's Old World tastes are found in signature dishes such as veal Roberto, which features sauteed baby white veal topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, all under a sherry portobello mushroom beurre blanc. Reservations accepted; recommended for large parties and on weekends in Mandeville. Lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner daily Uptown; lunch Tuesday through Friday and dinner Monday through Saturday in Metairie; lunch Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, dinner Tuesday through Sunday in Mandeville. Credit cards. $$

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