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ITALIAN 

II TONY'S RESTAURANT
105 Hammond Hwy., Metairie 831-0999; www.two-tonys.com
Tony asks that you not be deterred by all the construction near his place; losing his roof only prompted him to give the place a fresh, lively look. Though the menu is smaller than before, favorite dishes like the grilled shrimp pasta Mediterranean are still around. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$.

ANDREA'S NORTHERN ITALIAN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
3100 N. 19th St., Metairie 834-8583; www.andreasrestaurant.com
Chef Andrea Apuzzo is offering a smaller version of his award-winning menu these days. Diners, however, can still get the homemade pastas, fresh fish, prime beef and veal dishes that they have come to know in a luxurious setting at this Metairie restaurant. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ANGELI ON DECATUR
1111 Decatur St. 566-0077
Though no longer open until the wee hours, this sandwich shop on lower Decatur Street favored by locals is still home to pizzas, sandwiches, burgers and salads. Angeli offers vegetarians more selections than just salads, with Mediterranean-style offerings of couscous and pita rolls. No reservations. Late-lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

ANSELMO'S
3401 N. Hullen St., Metairie 889-1212
For fine family dining, Anselmo's delivers the goods with platters of osso bucco, sumptuous seafood and piles of pasta. Choose a Chianti from an extensive wine list to accompany the house filet, a local favorite. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

ASSUNTA'S ITALIAN CUISINE
2631 Covington Hwy., Slidell (985) 649-9768
Assunta and Anne want you to feel at home at their quaint, cozy, Italian restaurant on the Northshore. They'll feed you plates of succulent osso bucco or mussels linguine. Their signature frutti di mare is a combination of shrimp, crawfish, calamari, mussels, clams, and bay scallops sauteed with tomatoes, olive oil and garlic. Reservations accepted for parties of seven or more. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

BACCO
310 Chartres St. 522-2426; www.bacco.com
Chef Chris Montaro offers diners innovative Italian dishes in a Tuscan-style trattoria. Enjoy housemade ravioli stuffed with lobster and shrimp, tossed in a champagne butter sauce and garnished with caviar. The $10 two-course lunch, complete with dime martinis, is still one of the best deals in the French Quarter. Free valet parking. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BRAVO! ITALIAN KITCHEN
3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 828-8828; www.bravoitalian.com
With the Uptown location yet to open, this Metairie eatery is busier than ever, serving up pizzas from its brick oven and other Italian favorites. Dine amid a Roman-ruin decor and sample the popular pasta Bravo, which is tossed with wood-grilled chicken and fresh mushrooms and served with a roasted-pepper sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BRICK OVEN CAFÉ
2805 Williams Blvd., Kenner 466-2097
The Brick Oven Café has been part of Kenner's dining scene since the early 1990s with Italian fare. Their Brick Oven pizza features roasted chicken with garlic, sun — dried tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and sausage; the chicken Sorrentino stacks a chicken breast with eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella, and mushroom-marsala sauce. No reservations (as of press time). Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$.

CAFé DIBLASI
1801R Stumpf Blvd., Terrytown 361-3106
Italian restaurants tend to treat their diners like family, and Café Diblasi is no exception. Locals come for New Orleans-style business lunches and can be seen savoring plates of seafood fettuccine, stuffed bell peppers and paneed veal. Reservations accepted for five or more. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAFé FRESCA
4441 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie 887-2010
It's hard to find fault with the menu here anytime of the day. This little eatery offers breakfast, juicy burgers, crisp salads, fat sandwiches and hot soups. Not to be missed is the eggplant Vincent, made with fried eggplant and shrimp drowned in a crawfish cream sauce over pasta. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

CAFé GIOVANNI
117 Decatur St. 529-2154; www.cafegiovanni.com
Chef Duke LoCicero rolled out a new menu post-Katrina, but it certainly isn't a limited one, with lots of choices from pasta to fish to chicken and veal. Regulars return for the pasta Gambino, a penne pasta dish with sauteed rock shrimp, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes in a multi-cheese cream sauce. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

CARMINE'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT
4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 455-7904
You won't know how you are expected to choose from over 44 traditional Italian dishes that the menu at Carmine's offers. Be it Creole, French or New Orleans style, the food is prepared with fresh local ingredients. If you feel completely overwhelmed by the choices, the seafood-stuffed artichoke with fried catfish and a Louisiana shrimp in a dill cream sauce is a safe bet. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

FAUSTO'S BISTRO
530 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-7121
Chef Fausto serves robust native-Italian cuisine such as thick, hearty lasagna and savory chicken dishes, all lovingly prepared. The tomato sauce is made with fresh ingredients, and the minestrone is loaded with vegetables. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

FAZZIO'S
1841 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 624-9704
Characteristic of Italian eateries, Fazzio's offers a cozy, casual atmosphere where diners can enjoy Neapolitan favorites. Sip some Chianti while you peruse the menu, then indulge yourself and order tender veal Fazzio served with an artichoke cream sauce over pasta. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

FRESCO CAFé & PIZZERIA
7625 Maple St. 862-6363; www.frescocafe.us
Tulane students and other locals love this venue because of its big strombolis, large pizzas, stacked sandwiches and lavash rolls. Come early for a coveted table outside on pleasant evenings. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $

GIORLANDO'S RESTAURANT
741 Bonnabel Blvd., Metairie 835-8593
Time-honored Italian-American classics are the draw at this unpretentious, family-owned restaurant, which cooks up nice-sized helpings of traditional Italian favorites. Satisfy your craving for comfort food with the eggplant Parmesan or spaghetti and meatballs. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

IRENE'S CUISINE
539 St. Philip St. 529-8811
Minimalism be damned at Irene's, from the decor to the dishes. Locals have learned not to mind the restaurant's idiosyncrasies, especially when a plate of baked oysters shows up at the table. The quintessential tiramisu makes for a nice finish while you are basking in the neon glow of the namesake's signage. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

LA ROSETTA
2111 Gause Blvd., Slidell (985) 649-9003
If you can't go to Italy, La Rosetta will bring Italy to you. The small dining room is an intimate setting to enjoy traditional Neapolitan dishes. The chef favors the duck La Rosetta, a delicate roasted breast embellished with a lavender-scented honey sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MIMI'S ITALIAN AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
10160 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge 737-6464
One of the best-kept secrets in River Ridge is Mimi's. Locals who have found this gem go to see what the daily specials are or opt for the crab cake-stuffed portobello mushroom. Mimi's bestsellers are the veal-stuffed eggplant aglio e olio and the balsamic honey-glazed duck with blueberry gastrique. No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

NARDO'S TRATTORIA
6078 Laurel St. 895-9441Nestled in the heart of Uptown, this tiny trattoria offers locals a taste of traditional Italian favorites. Start with seafood eggplant Napoleon, then move on to the chicken Nardo, with paneed chicken topped with shrimp, Italian sausage, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a lobster brandy sauce over fettuccine. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

Nicole's Italian Cuisine
418 Maine St., Jefferson 834-8747
This year-old restaurant sells traditional Italian favorites, all homemade. The sauteed shrimp in aioli with spaghetti and the pizzas are well loved in this family-oriented place. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

NUVOLARI'S
2446 Gerard St., Mandeville (985) 626-5619; www.nuvolaris.com
Nuvolari's was originally a general store in the 1930s. Imbibe some wine from an extensive list at the beautiful mahogany bar before heading into the adjoining dining room for traditional trattoria-style fare. The crab meat ravioli is a favorite as well as the veal piccata or grilled lamb. 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 popular casual eatery serves up gourmet pizzas and more at two West Bank locations. Management says the big meatball or chicken Parmesan subs as well as overstuffed calzones are crowd-pleasers. The restaurant even adds a garlic-bread pizza to every pasta dish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

RISTORANTE DEL PORTO
205 N. New Hampshire St., Covington (985) 875-1006
Chefs David and Torre use fresh local ingredients in their contemporary Italian cuisine. Dishes are delectably prepared and embellished with an uncomplicated assortment of spices and garnishes. The modest, intimate dining room stays full, but a glass of wine from an extensive list can be sipped while waiting at the chic bar or alfresco. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ROMANO'S MACARONI GRILL
3410 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 727-1998; www.macaronigrill.com
Step into this branch of a familiar chain that's appointed with warm lights and Italian ornamentation, and you might feel like you're entering a villa. The menu pleases all ages, from the sophisticated lobster ravioli to the comforting macaroni and cheese. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

SAL & SAM'S
4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 885-5566
The menu and schedule are a little lighter than usual, but the food and service remain the same as always. Tender osso bucco or stuffed bell pepper over pasta take center stage and are a great reason to come out for dinner. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Tue. and Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue. and Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SANDRO'S TRATTORIA
6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-7784; www.sandrostrattoria.com
Sandro's likes to make paninis, and with names like pecco di pollo alla griglia and Vinne Buboccs, they've got to be worth a try. The smell of freshly baked ciabatta will whet your appetite while you ponder which salad, pasta or Tuscan dish to savor. Reservations accepted. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

TECORO'S SEAFOOD & ITALIAN RESTAURANT
3525 Williams Blvd., Kenner 466-5550; www.tecoro.com
The restaurant's name is derived from a combination of three sisters who unite to put together a large menu that offers fried seafood platters, veal, chicken and eggplant dishes. One notable entree is the Cousin Guido's Veal Parmesan, a dish of paneed veal layered with mozzarella over angel hair pasta topped with Alfredo sauce. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

TOMMY'S CUISINE
746 Tchoupitoulas St. 581-1103
Tommy's is the Warehouse District's offering of Creole-Italian fare. Like its former partner, Irene of Irene's Cuisine, the menu is very similar, from the baked oysters to nicely executed pasta dishes. The candlelit atmosphere and well-appointed staff assure a romantic ambience. Reservations accepted. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

VENEZIA II
587 Central Ave., Jefferson 734-3991
This rollicking trattoria has been around since 1957, namely because the food keeps 'em coming back. Faithful customers have a standing order for the eggplant Vatican, and chicken Marsala has been served up repeatedly for those hungry for some authentic Italian cooking. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

VINCENT'S
7839 St. Charles Ave. 866-9313
Chances are you'll wait for a table at this small Uptown Italian restaurant. Most dishes are what you come to expect from Italian melting-pot cuisine, with home-style comfort food favorites like lasagna or spaghetti with meatballs. Try one of the veal dishes when they are available. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

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