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7724 Maple St., 314-0010
Babylon's menu selections of kebabs, dips and vegetarian dishes are all available with fresh pita bread, but this Uptown café has earned distinction for its special rolls. Served hot and crusty, they provide a different approach to the familiar Middle Eastern standards and are perfect with a plate of hummus or baba ghanoush. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

310 Chartres St., 522-2426;
Romantic Bacco, Ralph Brennan's contemporary Italian restaurant with a Creole flair at the W French Quarter Hotel, invites you to rekindle old flames (or, spark up new ones) over pasta and seafood dishes and decadent truffle martinis. There's everything from vermouth steamed mussels to shrimp and pesto bruschetta to lobster ravioli with a champagne butter sauce. On the Creole side, try pan-seared redfish or veal medallions with crabmeat. Infamous 10-cent martinis are available with purchase of an entrée at lunch during the week. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

414 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 892-5252
Deli-style options at this laid-back Northshore joint include ham and cheese, grilled chicken, tuna and club sandwich po-boys. Monster salads pile items like boiled shrimp, grilled chicken or tuna salad on top of mixed field greens, and the Caesar salad has a creamy dressing. Gourmet-to-go dinners stick to comfort foods like macaroni and cheese and spaghetti. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

3201 Magazine St., 894-8888
The row of beer taps extends almost as far as the eye can see at this Magazine Street tavern, but suds aren't the only attraction. Spring weather is the perfect excuse to head upstairs to the wide balcony over looking Magazine Street and sample the large menu of gourmet pizzas and calzones, burgers and classic bar snacks. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

4 Canal St., 533-6000;
Bambu features the fusion cooking of chef Richard Toy who combines elements of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. Toy offers many of the classics like barbecue duck, but also creates his own original dishes such as the honey wasabi shrimp. For dessert, try his version of bananas Foster. No reservations. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2001 Burgundy St., 371-5260
Soaring ceilings and art deco styling in this 1920s-vintage bank lobby strike a classic tone, while the kitchen produces thoroughly contemporary cuisine in the heart of the Faubourg Marigny. Raw or grilled oysters begin many meals here, while steamed mussels with crisp, thin fries quickly become the center attention at any table. Reservations recommended on weekends. Dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

3633 Annunciation St., 899-9111
The corner grocery is a fixture in New Orleans neighborhoods, and this one serves generous examples of some fixtures of the local diet. Po-boys, red beans and rice and fried pork chops are popular choices, while in the morning the kitchen cooks up eats for breakfast on-the-go. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.- Fri. Cash only. $

3235 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 467-5404
Baru Café is your ticket to the bold flavors of Caribbean-style Colombian cooking. A roasted corn salad with fried potato sticks and farmer's cheese is a popular appetizer, as is ceviche and mashed yucca stuffed with beef. Entrees include a 12-oz. rib-eye steak with chimichurri sauce and highly seasoned tilapia with coconut rice. Stop in at lunch for pressed Cuban sandwiches or wraps of grilled garlic shrimp with cheese. Reservations accepted. Lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

1438 S. Carrollton Ave., 862-9001
This restaurant is a favorite destination for those looking to spice things up with Thai cuisine. Try grilled chicken coconut soup, followed by a traditional mussaman curry with potatoes, peanuts and jasmine rice. Take advantage of half-priced wine specials on Tuesday, and two-for-one sake on Thursday. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

430 Dauphine St., 525-4455;
Chef Susan Spicer presents a global approach to contemporary Creole cuisine at her acclaimed restaurant. Guests dine on specials or perennial favorites like grilled shrimp with black bean cake, crispy smoked quail salad or the sautéed Pacific salmon with choucroute and a Gerwurztraminer sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

326 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy., 484-7390;
Just off Bayou St. John, this brightly adorned coffeehouse offers a full range of coffee drinks, pastries and desserts like cheesecake, deep-dish apple pie and tiramisu. The morning menu includes breakfast burritos, bagels, eggs and a $4 weekday breakfast special of two eggs, bacon, grits and toast. For lunch, there are chicken Caesar salads, shrimp and chicken pasta, sandwiches, wraps and pizzas and daily specials. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2401 N. Woodlawn Ave., Metairie, 456-7470
The closest shoreline with ample surf and sand sits nearly 90 miles from New Orleans. If that's too far to go, head to the Beach House and kick back and enjoy the casual surfering vibe. The Beach Burger is a half-pound patty with beef ground in-house and made to order. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $

4905 Canal St., 488-7357
The Beachcorner is a busy place with a big selection of bar food to graze on, plus burgers and grilled chicken sandwiches. The list includes French fries, fried mushrooms, wings, black bean quesadillas, cheese sticks, fried shrimp, stuffed peppers, sweet potato fries and more. The Beachburger is a 10-oz. charbroiled burger topped with mushrooms and either Swiss, cheddar or blue cheese. The chicken breast sandwich is available Buffalo style or topped with Swiss, cheddar or blue cheese. There is also a tuna steak sandwich. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

637 S. Carrollton Ave., 324-8176
Mid-City's newest coffeeshop is Bean Gallery near City Park. Besides espresso and iced coffee drinks, it offers thick strong Turkish coffee. There are bagels, muffins, croissants and items like carrot or chocolate cake. A small selection of gelato includes chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, strawberry and coffee. Bean Gallery also has begun serving panini sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

128 W. 21st St., Covington, (985) 892-2373
Po-boys big enough to satisfy a bear-size appetite are the calling card of this Northshore favorite, where the specialty roast beef po-boys are covered in either gravy or homemade barbecue sauce. Shrimp, chicken and cheeseburger po-boys are also heavy-hitters. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat. Checks. $

534 N. New Hampshire St., Covington, (985) 875-9390
Among the many breakfast and lunch choices at Beck-N-Call, you'll find traditional items with a twist, such as the turkey club with smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, Romaine lettuce, tomatoes and honey mustard on honey-wheat bread. Daily specials include crawfish etouffée and homemade lasagna. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

501 Gretna Blvd., Gretna, 366-3275West Bank carnivores know where to find the beef. The Beef Connection serves large portions of New York strip, rib-eyes and T-bones, and lunch is a better bargain because steaks come with side dishes. The steakhouse also cooks up seafood from grilled salmon or tuna to Maine lobster and even has catfish specials on Fridays. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

300 Bourbon St., 553-2278:
Channeling the persona of Madame Begue, a New Orleans culinary icon from the 19th century, Begue's features modern interpretations of Creole cooking in the tropical splendor of the Royal Sonesta hotel. Try dishes like lightly fried, garlic-crusted oysters served over creamy leek confit or tilapia served with a truffle corn pancake. Sunday brunch and Friday's seafood lunch buffet are popular meals here. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

3500 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 887-5656;
As the thermometer climbs, head to this location of the Burlington, Vt., ice cream parlor and dig into the company's most celebrated flavors, which come packed with sweet additions like bits of waffle cone, marshmallows or cookie dough. Aficionados appreciate Cherry Garcia, cherry ice cream with cherries and fudge flakes, and the always popular Super Fudge Chocolate. Try the Coffee Heath Bar Crunch for a rich dessert. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1212 Royal St., 522-1230
This French Quarter restaurant has been serving authentic African cuisine for a number of years. Dishes like the "African jambalaya" and okra-based stews show the culinary trajectory that helped create Creole cooking when the cuisines of West Africa melded with European influences in New Orleans. Other favorites include ground nuts and beef stew served with rice, and black-eyed pea fritters. The small dining room makes for a cozy environment. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $$

3010 Holiday Drive, Metairie, 394-2805
Offering an extensive menu with nearly 60 items ranging from fish 'n' chips to tempura-fried shrimp to cheese and bacon potato skins, Bennigan's is a good choice for families and finicky eaters. Also available for adults is a large selection of bottled and draft beers, including seasonal specials on popular imported brews. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4 Canal St., 533-6111;
Walking into chef John Besh's steakhouse, the din of slot machines fades and the focus turns to serious steak and other high-end culinary trappings. If your wallet and your appetite are equally big after a trip through the gambling hall, maybe it's time to take on Besh's 38-oz. rib-eye cowboy steak. No matter how the card tables treat you, the molten dark chocolate cake is always a winner for dessert. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

2542 Canal St., 822-0213
Betsy's is well loved by locals for remaining dependably the same. Though the restaurant was rebuilt after Katrina, regulars can still find their favorite table or stool at the counter and order reliably pleasing breakfast plates of pancakes, eggs, grits and bacon. Sandwiches and lunch plates take center stage later in the day. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Sun.-Fri. Credit cards. $

1023 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 301-1907
While Big Daddy's is a market that primarily offers fresh seafood, it also carries some prepared foods to go, like seafood gumbo and stuffed artichoke. There's seating for patrons to order boiled crab or lobster and dine in. Big Daddy's also caters crawfish boils. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

3838 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie, 846-4538
Chef Dominique Macquet has found a home for his country French cooking. Bistro 38 opens this week and features rustic dishes like braised rabbit and braised lamb shanks. There's also duck cassoulet. The salt-crusted redfish Fleur de Sel uses the fine salt from Normandy. For dessert, there are crepes. Lunch features more New Orleans-style fare of salads and sandwiches. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

4401 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson, 734-3000
From Mexican fajitas to New Orleans' own muffuletta to the good old American burger, the Blue Tomato's menu will keep you on your toes. The kitschy décor matches the eclectic menu selections and adds a fun buzz to the casual cantina. Try a pizza cooked in a stone oven or a pasta dish with long-simmered red sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

3625 Prytania St., 895-7166
Come early for such staples as buckwheat pancakes, waffles and eggs. At lunch time, burgers, fish sandwiches and daily specials take center stage, while the perennially popular huevos rancheros pair corn tortillas, black beans and eggs with ranchero sauce, cheese and salsa. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Cash only. $

830 Conti St., 588-0972;
Famous for its martinis, the Bombay Club also offers updated French-Creole cuisine. The duck duet includes a leg of duck confit and pepper-seared boneless breast served with sweet potato beignets and a Calvados and Vermont maple syrup duck reduction. For a more casual meal, the Bombay burger raises the humble hamburger to a new level with a 10-oz. patty of ground sirloin. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

731 Common St., 525-5113
Bon Mange offers lunch and a gourmet-to-go dinner pick-up option. The lunch menu includes changing homemade soups like crawfish corn bisque and hot potato soup with cheddar, Parmesan, bacon and green onions. The daily hot sausage sandwich option comes from Creole Country. The Cuban-style sandwich features ham, pork, Swiss cheese and pickles. The gourmet-to-go options include changing daily specials like pepper-crusted pork loin with potatoes and a vegetable or half a roasted chicken with horseradish mashed potatoes. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit Cards. $$

401 Magazine St., 524-3386
The Bon Ton Café has been cooking Cajun delights in New Orleans since 1954. The dishes come from original Pierce family recipes and the kitchen offers great starters such as crab au gratin and fried catfish and crawfish. As the main event, try the signature Redfish Bon Ton. For a perfect finish, order bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

BOULE PRIME STEAKHOUSE1202 N Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 809-0969; www.newbouleprimehouse.comFor your first taste of beef at Boule, sample the prime steak bites, an appetizer with medallions of beef on pesto croutons with a Creole bŽarnaise. A smoked, Cajun-style rib-eye and a blackened prime rib seared with horseradish are house specialties, but the kitchen also prepares a wide range of game and seafood, from crispy duck with poached fig reduction to ahi tuna steak and seafood pasta. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BOURBON HOUSE SEAFOOD AND OYSTER BAR144 Bourbon St., 522-0111; www.bourbonhouse.comWith large picture windows separating Bourbon Street from the tables at Bourbon House, there's a touch of excitement along with the taste of Creole cooking inside. Redfish on the half shell is grilled skin-on and served with a side of lemon butter sauce. Diners can sweeten the deal by adding optional crabmeat with a Chardonnay broth. From the raw bar, a platter of fruits of the sea include fresh-shucked oysters on the half shell, boiled Gulf shrimp, marinated crab fingers, roasted calamari and marinated seasonal seafood salads. Breakfast Thu.-Mon., lunch and dinner daily. Reservations recommended. Credit cards. $$$

BOZO'S3117 21st St., Metairie, 831-8666Don't let the funny name fool you. When it comes to seafood, Bozo's is no laughing matter. An excellent meal starts with chicken and andouille gumbo with okra or raw oysters on the half shell before moving on to a hearty platter of shrimp, oysters or catfish served with French fries or potato salad. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

BRAVO CUCINA ITALIAN3413 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 828-8828; www.bestitalianusa.comBravo offers much more than traditional Italian fare. In addition to lasagna, pasta and pizza, this Metairie favorite also fires up unique creations like fried shrimp topped with a charred tomato and lemon-butter and hickory wood-grilled salmon with crispy potatoes, lemon-caper butter sauce and pesto crumbs. Reservations for parties of three or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BREAUX MART315 E. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, 262-0750; 605 Lapalco Blvd., Gretna, 433-0333; 2904 Severn Ave., Metairie, 885-5565; 9647 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge, 737-8146The deli at Breaux Mart has a wide variety of dishes and changing daily specials. On Wednesdays and Fridays, baked or fried fish are common specials. Other popular dishes include ribs and seafood gumbo. Side dish options include macaroni and cheese, dirty rice and candied yams. For dessert, try the apple or peach cobblers. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BRENNAN'S RESTAURANT417 Royal St., 525-9711; brennansneworleans.comThe first family of New Orleans food presents the famous breakfast at Brennan's. Start your morning off with an eye-opener cocktail like a bourbon milk punch and dig into traditional poached egg dishes with toppings like crabmeat and hollandaise sauce. In the evening, taste the trout Nancy topped with jumbo lump crabmeat. Order bananas Foster for dessert and watch while tuxedoed waiters prepare it tableside. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BRICK OVEN CAFé2805 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 466-2097Brick Oven CafŽ has an ample menu of gourmet pasta and pizza, fish, beef, chicken and veal in classic New Orleans Italian-style variations. Brick Oven chicken is a chicken breast grilled and finished in a sautŽ pan with a lemon-butter wine sauce and topped with mushrooms, artichoke hearts and green onions. The redfish piccata is a broiled fillet topped with grilled shrimp and crawfish lemon-butter sauce, all served over angel hair pasta in marinara sauce. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BRIGTSEN'S RESTAURANT723 Dante St., 861-7610; www.brigtsens.comLocated in a converted Riverbend home with dining rooms separated by pre-existing walls, Brigtsen's is perfect for a romantic dinner or an intimate gathering. Dishes change daily, but one familiar entrŽe is the slow-roasted half of a duck served with cornbread dressing and honey-pecan gravy. Brigtsen's seafood platter, referred to as the "Shell Beach diet," is a regular special that rounds up seasonally fresh ingredients and offers them grilled, broiled or sautŽed but never fried. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

THE BROKEN EGG CAFé 200 Girod St., Mandeville, (985) 624-3388 The huge variety of specialty omelets at the Broken Egg is enough to crack you up. But you can also start your day with the stuffed French toast -- brioche bread stuffed with pastry cream, strawberries or blueberries and whipped cream. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

BROOKLYN PIZZA2701 Airline Drive, Metairie, 833-1288New York-style pies are the preferred choice at Brooklyn Pizza. Assemble your own version with a selection of toppings including pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian ham, black olives, banana peppers, salami and ricotta cheese. Brooklyn offers hero-style sandwiches, all available hot, and also a hearty Philly cheesesteak. Plus, there are many Italian salads and pasta dishes. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

BROOKS SEAHORSE SALOON1648 Gentilly Blvd., 218-4217Located just across from the Fair Grounds, Brooks is a bustling bar and serves burgers and sandwiches from lunch through late-night. The grilled chicken sandwich features a marinated chicken breast served dressed and with a choice of fries or potato salad. Brooks also cooks slow-roasted barbecue pork, available on a sandwich or as a platter. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BROUSSARD'S819 Conti St., 581-3866; www.broussards.comEnjoy the warm weather by dining al fresco in the large pretty courtyard at this French Quarter institution. Dishes feature local seafood like crabmeat Broussard's, which bakes crabmeat with artichoke, brie and bŽchamel and serves it with Herbsaint spinach. The veal chop and the wild game grill are popular meat selections. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

BRUNO'S TAVERN 7583 Maple St., 861-7615; A popular hang-out for both college students and those who shelved their textbooks long ago, Bruno's has been slinging drinks and helping college students blow off steam since 1934. The tavern's ever-expanding menu is available throughout the day and includes such temptations as Boudreaux cheese fries made with sweet potato fries smothered with roast beef debris, gravy and blue cheese -- all broiled with golden raisins and spiced pecans. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP COMPANY429 Decatur St., 522-5800; www.bubbagump.comDrawing its inspiration from the 1994 hit film Forest Gump, this colorful French Quarter seafood restaurant keeps the theme going through the use of film references on the menu and walls. There's the Run Forrest Run smoothie, for instance, and the Mama Blue's Southern Charmed Fried Shrimp. A gift shop and music from the film's soundtrack playing in the dining room complete the Gump immersion. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BUD'S BROILERCitywideBud's keeps it simple with charcoal-broiled burgers. If you want to get fancy, add hickory-smoked sauce or grated cheese, or add another burger patty. The menu also features hot dogs, a chicken breast sandwich on a bun and a broiled fish fillet. Sides include onion rings and French fries, which can be spiced up with chili and cheese. Desserts include apple, peach or cherry pies. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Cash only. $

BUFFA'S LOUNGE1001 Esplanade Ave., 949-0038Buffa's old-school stucco walls, elliptical porthole windows and vintage neon are a trip back in time to New Orleans neighborhood bars of yore. The Buffa burger is a hefty, half-pound blackened cheeseburger, and there is always a small but changing menu of sandwiches, like the smoked sausage po-boy. Some of the hot plates include red beans, tamales or penne pasta dishes. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

THE BUFFET AT HARRAH'SCanal Street, at the River, 533-6000; www.harrahs.comThe Buffet tries to keep every diner and every taste in mind with dishes that range from New Orleans to Asian favorites. Hungry gamblers can fuel up for a round at the tables with Southern dishes, Chinese and pizza, among other diverse choices. Unlucky players can drown their sorrows in the impressive flow of the melted-chocolate fountain. Many breakfast items are cooked to order. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily. Credit cards. $$

THE BULLDOG3236 Magazine St., 891-1516; 5153 Canal Blvd., 488-4191; www.draftfreak.comThe packed coolers and rows of taps keep guests from forgetting that the Bulldog is all about the beer. Both locations offer appetizing menus of bar food and hot plates. Some of the favorites among students and sports fans include enchiladas, burgers, sandwiches and variations on pub-grub standards, like chipotle marinated fish tacos, Tex-Mex spring rolls or lightly breaded chicken fingers. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

BULL'S CORNER1036 W. Airline Hwy., Laplace, (985) 652-3544; www.bullscorner.comThe signature steak at this river parish hotspot is the Filet Norton, a chargrilled filet mignon presented on top of a marinated portobello mushroom and topped with Danish blue cheese and garlic sauce. Seafood is the attraction on Tuesday lobster nights and in the house special, catfish Bucktown, which tops pecan-crusted fillets with Gulf shrimp sautŽed in meuniere sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BYBLOS1501 Metairie Road, Metairie, 834-9773; 3218 Magazine St., 894-1233Upping the ante for local Middle Eastern restaurants, the two Byblos restaurants feature popular dishes from chicken shawarma to falafel, plus appetizers like drunken halloumi cheese all served with a high level of presentation and an upscale ambience. Check out belly dancers from the local Sisters of Salome dance troupe on Thursday nights at the Uptown location. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

BYBLOS MARKET2020 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-9777For an inexpensive lunch on the run that beats the fast food restaurants, pull off Veterans Memorial Boulevard and join the throng at the counter of this quick-serve Middle Eastern deli and market. Sandwiches are prepared to order from meats roasting on spits, while fresh salads, stuffed grape leaves and platters of meat with hummus and bread make more complete meals. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BYWATER BAR-B-QUE3162 Dauphine St., 944-4445Smoking for years now, Bywater Bar-B-Que combines down-home flavors with a colorful New Orleans atmosphere in its dining room and lush patio. Choose ribs, chicken, pulled pork or beef brisket, or a combo plate if you can't decide, and pick from sides like jalapeno corn bread. The restaurant also serves sandwiches, salads, soups and pizza. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Tue. Cash only. $


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