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Fine dining super-bargains in New Orleans 

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Want to impress a date or friend with a fine meal and/or cocktails but only have a lowbrow bud-get? Here are some solutions:

Bayona's light lunch on Saturday — Bayona offers a $24 three-course lunch featuring 24-cent martinis. This complements its Saturday "light lunch," where diners can mix and match three small plates for $25. 430 Dauphine St., 504-525-4455; www.bayona.com

Cafe B's "b4 Sunset" menu — This Old Metairie gem offers a golden hour (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) three-course dinner special (including warm whiskey bread pudding) for $18.50 Monday through Saturday. 2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 504-934-4700; www.cafeb.com

Commander's Palace lunch special — Twenty-five-cent martinis are legend at Commander's Palace, with an equally enticing two-course lunch special for $20. 1403 Washington Ave., 504-899-8221; www.commanderspalace.com

Coolinary New Orleans — August ushers in the arrival of Coolinary New Orleans, with dining deals at highbrow establishments across the city. Lunches typically run about $20 per plate, while dinners clock in at $35. Dinners at GW Fins (808 Bienville St., 504-581-3467; www.gwfins.com) are always a particular standout. Various locations; www.coolinaryneworleans.com

Coquette lunch special — The $23 three-course lunch at Coquette allows diners to sample from a range of the restaurant's fresh, locally sourced dishes such as pork and mustard green gumbo with new potato salad. 2800 Magazine St., 504-265-0421; www.coquettenola.com

Domenica and Pizza Domenica happy hours — Whether you're searching for the perfect happy hour Uptown or in the CBD, don't overlook Alon Shaya's offering, with half-price cocktails, beers, wine and pizzas from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Domenica: 123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020; www.domenicarestaurant.com; Pizza Domenica: 4933 Magazine St., 504-301-4978; www.pizzadomenica.com

Luke express menu — Offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the "express menu" at Luke features a specialty entree of the day (from lemongrass shrimp meatballs to Tabasco honey fried chicken) paired with a soup for $17. 333 St. Charles Ave., 504-378-2840; www.lukeneworleans.com

Muriel's pre-theater menu — Diners catching a show should consider Muriel's pre-theater menu featuring three courses for $29.95 when you show a ticket to Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre or Southern Rep. 801 Chartres St., 504-568-1885; www.muriels.com


More New Orleans Cheap Thrills:

City Park on the cheap 24 cheap eats in 24 hours10 restaurants where you can BYOBFine dining super-bargainsHappy hours Bargains at museumsHow to see movies for freeFive $10 road trips near New OrleansFree and cheap live storytelling eventsLow-cost dental care

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