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69399 Hwy. 59, Abita Springs, (985) 892-0205
Known for slow-cooked brisket and a menu packed with a variety of barbecue ribs, chicken and pork, Abita Bar-B-Q is a local favorite offering family specials and made-to-order children's plates. Sandwiches are made with brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken breasts, while platter options also include slabs of ribs, turkey legs, half chickens and pork steaks. Side dishes include macaroni and cheese, cornbread, potato salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob or baked beans. Abita now offers bottled beer as well. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

72011 Holly St., Abita Springs, (985) 892-5837;
The culinary outpost for the Abita brewery, Abita Brew Pub is a great stop after touring the brewery or after biking the nearby Tammany Trace. While offering pub-style favorites such as burgers and hot wings, the kitchen also offers fancier dishes such as crawfish pasta, fried quail, pecan-crusted catfish and barbecue ribs. Reservations for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

724 Iberville St., 522-5973; 1202 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 246-6155; 3000 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 309-4056;
The original Acme is the longtime French Quarter favorite for fresh-shucked oysters. But the menu at area locations also includes all sorts of seafood and shellfish and po-boys. After starting off with a dozen on the half shell or an oyster shooter, consider the oysters remoulade, oysters Rockefeller soup or fried crab claw appetizers. Red beans, burgers and smoked sausage po-boys are there for the less seaworthy. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

125 E. 21st Ave., Covington, (985) 893-7554;
Stop by Acquistapace's any time for deli sandwiches such as the hot roast beef, or pick your favorite daily special from choices including Friday's seafood, Monday's red beans and rice with sausage and cornbread and Tuesday's meatloaf with sides. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

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 offers 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. $$$

8523 Hwy. 23, Belle Chasse, 392-0541
For nearly three decades, Adam's has specialized in catfish, serving it grilled, fried and even creating catfish salad along the lines of tuna salad, which it then serves atop greens. The Whole Fish Platter is a whole bone-in fish served with French fries, hush puppies and slaw. Adam's also offers a children's menu and appetizers such as the fried onion, fried vegetables and fried pickles. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

1905 W. Thomas St., Hammond, (985) 419-0027;
The kitchen at this Hammond hotspot creates a wide range of Mexican dishes following traditional recipes. Tacos, burritos, combination platters and big plates of nachos are popular choices, while many a meal ends with fried ice cream. The Monterey fish is mahi mahi sautŽed in virgin olive oil and served over steamed vegetables with rice and a special adobe sauce. Delivery available. Reservations accepted, except on weekends. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

611 Frenchman St., 948-3800
Just above the buzzing Frenchmen Street scene is a romantic little candlelit hideaway where you'll find hearty Italian classics, seafood and local flavors. Bring your appetite and start out with the velvety crabmeat and corn cannelloni or the escargot and then try one of the numerous veal entrees (Parmesan, piccata or shrimp and artichoke) or the fish of the day. Reservations for parties of four or more. Dinner daily. Checks. $$

1958 N. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 867-8292;
Albasha's mix of Greek and Lebanese cuisines includes familiar dishes like chicken shawarma, gyro plates of mixed beef and lamb and salads topped with feta or tabbouleh. The vegetable plate offers a choice of items like hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, tabbouleh and other dishes. For dessert, there's honey-drenched baklava and ashta, a phyllo pastry stuffed with cream cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

5015 Magazine St., 891-3015
Chef Melody Pate creates new menus frequently at her popular Uptown bistro, but dishes like seared yellowfin tuna with chive oil vinaigrette, roasted chicken with braised greens and chorizo vinaigrette, escargot and lobster mashed potatoes speak to a cooking style blending tradition and innovation. A welcoming, relaxing atmosphere, soft lighting and rose petal-colored walls set the tone for this intimate, romantic restaurant. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

2604 Magazine St., 895-4112
From the open kitchen at this former neighborhood bar come steaks and burgers, plus the house specialty, charbroiled Louisiana oysters. The Carpetbagger steak is a surf-and-turf special featuring a 14-oz. rib-eye stuffed with juicy, hot oysters. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily, brunch Sun. Cash only. $$

811 Iberville St., 522-9187;
You won't need an alibi to slide into this bar and grill and graze on large portions of bar food favorites like nachos. The house specialty is the spicy, butter-barbecue shrimp po-boy. It's a favorite spot for French Quarter service industry workers getting off work in the wee hours. Delivery available. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

1100 Poydras St., 582-2350
Located on the ground floor of the Energy Center skyscraper, the kitchen of this upscale CBD lunch spot aims high with weekly specials like New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, a prime filet mignon with demi-glace and crab and crawfish cakes. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

620 Chartres St., 523-3005;
Tucked just off Jackson Square, the Alpine is a French Quarter spot that offers a mix of Creole and Cajun dishes. The kitchen prepares a traditional version of New Orleans barbecue shrimp, cooking the shell-on shrimp in a buttery lemon-pepper sauce flamed with white wine. The smoked duck dish is always slow smoked and served with garlic mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day, but it is offered with a different sauce each day. Brunch options include crawfish omelets and other local dishes. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch and late-night Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

3100 19th St., Metairie, 834-8583;
When it comes to American and 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 sautŽed in olive oil and served with lump crabmeat in a lemon cream sauce. 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 and hints of Grand Marnier. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

1141 Decatur St., 566-0077;
This French Quarter eatery manages to please both tourists and locals. Watch videos projected on the wall while sampling a menu of gourmet pizzas, calzones, pitas, sandwiches and hamburgers. Angeli also serves pasta dishes. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $$

214 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-1465;
Even if you've never stepped foot in Angelo Brocato's Mid-City sweet shop, chances are you've still tasted the impossibly creamy house gelato, which is featured on numerous dessert menus at restaurants all over town. Brocato offers 24 homemade flavors -- including the ever-popular lemon ice -- as well as signature pastries, Italian cookies, cannolis and biscotti. On the warm side, the cafŽ offers espresso, cappuccino and cafŽ au lait. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

71495 Chestnut St., Covington, (985) 809-7669;
This gracious bed and breakfast offers a country atmosphere, views of the Bogue Falaya River and an enticing menu. In the dining rooms of the former plantation home, guests enjoy blackened fish with smoked corn and tomato polenta served with a seared scallop and scallion-infused oil or the magnificent mixed grill with marinated quail, cured duck breast, sweet potato walnut hash, pear and port wine reduction and crisp sweet potato hay. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$$

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. There's something for every appetite at Anselmo's, which complements traditional Italian cuisine with several locally inspired seafood entrees. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

713 St. Louis St., 581-4422;
The Creole institution Antoine's offers a menu of popular and traditional dishes. The restaurant's signature oysters Rockefeller appetizer, invented in 1889, is still a favorite. Oysters Foch rests fried oysters on slices of toast buttered with patŽ of foie gras and complemented by a rich Colbert sauce. Or try the pampano Pontchartrain, in which a fillet of pampano is grilled and served with lump crabmeat sautŽed in butter. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner Mon. and Thu.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

Applebee's goes for a something-for-everyone approach, which means items ranging from steaks to salads, as well as a kid's menu. Entrees include roasted chicken, baby back ribs, fajitas, fried shrimp, pasta dishes and more. Many locations offer packaged dinners to go and menu specials keep tantalizing options affordable. Several flavored cheesecakes, decadent chocolate brownies, cake and apple pie offer sweet conclusions to a meal. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

813 Bienville St., 523-5433;
The 80-year-old Arnaud's tradition continues with signature items such as the spicy shrimp remoulade, frog legs and alligator sausage. Try trout meuniere served the traditional Creole way, using veal stock in the sauce, or go for filet mignon Charlemond. Finish it off with the signature strawberries Arnaud--strawberries marinated in a port wine sauce served over French vanilla ice cream and topped with homemade whipped cream. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

3125 Esplanade Ave., 945-191
9This eclectic and friendly Asian cafŽ serves sushi and many cooked dishes from the cuisines of the Philippines, Japan and China. Try an Asian version of chip and dip by dunking fried wonton wafers into the tuna tartare with its special sweet and spicy sauce, or reel in the Cream Mermaid for fried wonton skins stuffed with Louisiana shrimp and cream cheese. The beef maki features thinly sliced beef rolled around asparagus, grilled and served with a teriyaki sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

3900 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 712-0899
You'd be hard pressed to name any popular pan-Asian food item not included in the long and strong buffet line here, which boasts a seemingly infinite supply of everything from sushi, tempura and sweet and sour chicken to boiled crab, crawfish and oysters. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2631 Hwy. 190, Slidell, (985) 649-9768;
Just across Lake Pontchartrain in Slidell, local seafood is treated to the classic and delicious flavors of Italian cooking at Assunta's. Oysters sautŽed in olive oil and garlic are served over spaghetti. Shrimp Calabrese is cooked in wine with red pepper and green onions. Be sure to save room for homemade cheesecake for dessert. Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

3635 Prytania St., 899-5129;
August Moon offers a wide variety of Chinese and Vietnamese selections from curry to moo shu pork, chicken or beef to Szechuan dishes and a couple of low-cholesterol options with steamed shrimp, chicken or vegetables. The crispy lemongrass shrimp features jumbo shrimp pan seared with onions and minced lemongrass and served with vermicelli and nuac cham sauce. General Tsao's chicken is battered and fried dark meat glazed with a tangy sweet and sour sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

5101 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie, 888-5533;
The intimate dining room of Austin's offers charm that one might not expect to find when parking in front of the row of shops where it is located. But once inside, the warmth and charm is very inviting. Try the pecan-crusted trout, which is served with a meuniere sauce and comes with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. If you're interested in steaks or chops, the veal Austin is panŽed baby white veal topped with lump crabmeat, button mushrooms and green onions. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

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

535 Tchopitoulas St., 599-2111
While Cuban cuisine is the central theme of Azul, the kitchen blends influences of Asia and Europe for unique dishes. Located in the Ambassador Arts District Hotel, the restaurant features dishes like sea scallops pan seared in sesame oil and topped with lump crabmeat in a Spanish saffron sauce. Slow-roasted pork is paired with oranges, garlic and mojo sauce and served over black beans and jasmine rice. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


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