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

5359 Mounes St., Harahan, 731-2905;
This PJ's location has all of the specialty coffees of the chain, plus a selection of beers and wines from around the world. Besides the bagels, muffins and other baked goods, the menu includes panini sandwiches, soups, salads and small tapas-style dishes. Icy granitas are a good option to cool off during hot summer months. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

Nothing goes better with a cup of coffee than a fresh pastry or one of the other baked goods at area PJ's. Some of the choices include blueberry muffins, cranberry muffins and croissants in the morning. Carrot cake, bourbon pecan pie and lemon squares are a good afternoon treat. Many locations offer wireless Internet connections. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

717 Orleans Ave., 523-2222 ext. 6001;
Located in the Bourbon Orleans, Paillard's offers a creative take on contemporary Louisiana cooking. Appetizers range from the gumbo of the day to Asian-accented dishes like seared ahi tuna with sesame glaze on top of a cucumber salad, or a tweaked continental classic like steamed mussels with andouille in a fresh herb and wine broth. Chef Will Nolan prepares entrees like roasted rack of lamb and braised lamb shank with a rosemary jus and tabouleh and grilled squash, and seafood dishes like pan-seared scallops with a crispy bacon and white wine sauce, plus fresh vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

605 Canal St., 523-1661; www.palacecafé.com
Located in the beautiful Weirlein building, Palace Café is an elegant standout among the T-shirt and camera shops on Canal Street. Sidewalk café seating was added as part of an effort to return the thoroughfare to its former grandeur. Chef Darin Nesbit's menu features contemporary Creole cuisine including stuffed rabbit, a dark smoky crawfish bisque and Gulf fish dishes. One of the café's signature dishes is the pepper-crusted duck breast fanned out over a citrus confit salad and topped with seared Hudson Valley foie gras. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

1204 Decatur St., 525-0200; www.palmcourtjazzcafé.com
The Palm Court offers the winning combination of traditional New Orleans jazz and Creole cooking. Starters include a traditional gumbo with chicken, andouille and okra. Equally traditional fare like shrimp Creole is popular at the supper club. Entrees include crawfish Nantua, in which crawfish tails are flamed in a brandy cream sauce and served over rice with a green vegetable. The grilled rib-eye steak is served with green peppercorn sauce and English-style roasted potatoes. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

1901 Bayou Lane, Slidell, (985) 643-0050;
Surrounded by cypress trees and the bayou, Palmetto's offers scenic views, al fresco dining on the deck and a menu of local seafood and steaks. Eggplant Palmetto starts with fried eggplant and adds a shrimp- and crab-loaded seafood sauce. A 9-oz. filet mignon is grilled to order and served with demiglace. Reservations recommended. Dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

2005 N. Broad Ave., 949-7970
Former kitchen of the beloved and revered master of Creole cooking, the late Chef Austin Leslie, Pampy's is now helmed by Chef Sellers Johnson, who has been at Pampy's since it opened. Some of Leslie's dishes are back, including his fried chicken with a seafood-stuffed bell pepper. Other Creole inspirations 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. $$

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

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

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

3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 888-4141
Almost lost among the many soups, salads and sandwiches at Paradise Café are the coup-de-grace finishing touches, like adding bacon or tomato to your grilled cheese. Entrees of smoked sausage or pork chops are served with white beans and rice. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Fri., lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

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

538 Hagan Ave., 482-3047
The bar on the Bayou St. John side of this family friendly old-school po-boy shop hosts a solid roster of live music Thursday through Saturday nights. On the other side, the kitchen prepares New Orleans cuisine, with roast beef and shrimp po-boys as well as the new meatball po-boy -- perfect with cold bottles of Barq's. Top it off with a moon pie. Family friendly. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $

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

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. The Frutta del Mare is a pasta dish topped with scallops, crabmeat, oysters and shrimp in a marinara sauce. The classic barbecue shrimp are cooked head on in a signature tangy, spicy sauce. The veal parmigiana is baby veal topped with red sauce and mozzarella cheese. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

624 Bourbon St., 525-4823;
The restaurant at Pat O'Brien's is open again and serves gumbo, alligator bites, burgers and Creole dishes to revelers. Entrees range from traditional shrimp Creole and crawfish etouffee to grilled fish, filet mignon and penne pasta topped with Gulf shrimp, tomatoes, capers, fresh and basil with a lemon-vodka cream sauce. There's even a kids' menu. No reservations. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

100 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula, (985) 386-9581Plump, ripe strawberries -- the pride of Ponchatoula -- are represented well in the refreshingly sweet strawberry daiquiris at Paul's Café. Try one before digging into breakfast and lunch menus of egg dishes, po-boys or blue plate specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

105 Gary Road, Laplace, (985) 652-5099;
There is bait at Peavine, but fishermen can enjoy changing lunch specials like red beans on Mondays or white beans on Thursdays. Fried seafood is available stuffed into po-boys, served on platters or topping salads. Soup options include seafood gumbo and shrimp, crab and corn bisque. No reservations. Lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

615 Bienville St.; 312 Exchange Place, 523-1504;
Seated in classically designed rooms in a former French Quarter townhouse, guests sample distinctive preparations of Louisiana seafood and selections from an impressive list of French, Italian and Californian wines. Specialties include baked oysters, spicy crawfish spring rolls, seared yellowfin tuna topped with scallops and, for something a little closer to land, a trio of ducklings. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

8120 Hampson St., 865-0336
Pepperoni's is still a university neighborhood spot, but is now in the Riverbend. The café offers a variety of wraps on tomato basil or spinach tortillas and fillings include chicken, turkey or vegetarian choices. Pizzas and seafood pasta dishes are popular. For dessert, choose from homemade chocolate cake, tiramisu or New York cheesecake . No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1041 Dumaine St., 593-9535;
Chef Tom Wolfe continues to build on the exalted reputation of this elegant bistro at the edge of the French Quarter. Housemade charcuterie and delicately constructed salads make fine first courses, while the pepper-crusted squab with foie gras sauce and the drum amandine are entrée favorites. Friday lunch is one of the best fine-dining bargains in town with three courses for $24. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

817 St. Louis St., 522-6440;
This homey Quarter joint does breakfast right. Morning options include pain perdu and "white cloud" omelets filled with asparagus and broccoli, and a series of crepes named after saints (Marie, Michael, Peter and James) all with your choice of ham or chicken. They're available for lunch as well. Lunch and dinner also feature many Creole dishes. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville, (985) 674-3436;
Petunia's Place is a family-friendly place. Order your meal at the counter and send the kids to the activity table to make an ornament for the year-round "festivity tree" while your food is being prepared. Dishes include eggplant Acadian, which pairs fried eggplant slices and shrimp and serves them over pasta with both a shrimp cream sauce and a red sauce. For entrees, the praline pork chops are pecan crusted and served with a praline sauce over white rice. No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Tue., dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $

8400 Oak St., 522-4964;
Philip Chan cooks his inspired Chinese dishes Uptown in the Riverbend. A native of Hong Kong, Chan presents regional Chinese cooking that ranges from the fancier presentations of Hong Kong to the spicier Szechuan dishes. The pineapple prawns feature shrimp, pineapple chunks, bell peppers, sugar snap peas with a sweet and sour sauce, all served in a pineapple boat. Other seafood options include fish like whole snapper, grouper and tuna. The menu includes salads, rice and noodle dishes, steak and seafood entrees and ice cream tempura for dessert. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit Cards. $$

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 or pork to more exotic cuts. 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. $

4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 889-9950
Hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh are the familiar staples of this Middle Eastern eatery, but items like salmon kebabs and falafel with halloumi cheese add some nice variety. Spicy shrimp, chicken or beef kebabs, lamb chops, grape leaves and several vegetarian options complete the picture. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

Hearty, affordable, dependable fare is the rule at Piccadilly Caféteria, from a dinner of turkey and gravy to the whole turkey to go. The buffet features local, Southern and American staples including crawfish etouffée, fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese and a colorful, sugary array of pies, cakes and Jell-O. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

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

The familiar pizza chain offers a variety of crusts from thick and soft to thin and crispy and even stuffed crusts with the outer lip of the pie plumped with fillings. Topping selections range from classics like pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms and olives to bacon, pineapple, banana peppers, anchovies, jalapenos and chicken. Large specialty pies are loaded and there is even a low-fat pizza. Extras include breadsticks, cheese sticks and cinnamon sticks for dessert. Delivery available. Hours vary by location. No reservations. $

8536 Pontchartrain Blvd., 282-4233
The café's menu includes stuffed catfish and a buffalo shrimp salad. But familiar sandwiches and po-boys continue alongside the chef's signature entrees like Shrimp and Tasso Louise, served with a spicy cream sauce over linguini. The Creole crab cakes are served with penne pasta and topped with a lightly seasoned cream sauce and garlic crostini. Reservations recommended for large parties. No reservations. Lunch Wed.-Mon., dinner Mon. and Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

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

838 Esplanade Ave., 523-0120;
It's the burgers, baby, and the baked potatoes. That's why there's a line out the door. Fortunately, there also is a bar so waiting is not a hardship. The reliably large and juicy steaks and burgers with loaded potatoes on the side make it worth the wait. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

542 Frenchmen St., 943-3934;
The Praline Connection delivers the kind of food that satisfies the hunger in your belly and your soul. Fried chicken, fried okra, and fried pickles comprise a holy trinity of another sort. There are dishes like red beans and rice, file gumbo, jambalaya, stuffed bell peppers and savory stewed chicken. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

3128 Magazine St., 894-8898; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 835-3151; 5200 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 780-9970;
Now that the mercury's soon to rise, sample the signature Frozen Puccino -- a malted coffee ice cream concoction--or the half-lemonade, half-tea Summer Punch. Hot Italian coffee and espresso are always in season at Puccino's. Menus vary by location but there are sandwiches and breakfast items off the grill and some pastries as well. Free wireless Internet and bright lights make it a great study spot. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

PUPUSERIA & RESTAURANTE LA MACARENA8016 W. Metairie Ave., Metairie, 464-4525Pupusas are to some Latin American cities what the hot dog is to New York, so you know a local restaurant that puts the term in its name will have a major specialty in these stuffed cornmeal treats. The menu ranges quite a bit further, however, bringing in specialties from around Central America and seafood like tropical shrimp salad and garlic shrimp over saffron rice. Reservations accepted. Lunch Fri.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash and checks. $$

PYRAMIDS CAFé3151 Calhoun St., 861-9602; www.pyramidscafe.comFor a meal fit for a pharaoh, start with the Pyramid platter, which has enough hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, grape leaves, falafel, kibby and lebna for two. A more modest appetizer, the musabaha is a spicy blend of hummus with whole chick peas, garlic and hot pepper. The kafka kebab entrée features ground lamb mixed with parsley, onion and garlic. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

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