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3217 Ridgelake Drive, Metairie 833-1799
Stop in at this popular lunch spot for a hearty sandwich or dive into one of the daily specials. Traditional red beans and rice are served on Mondays. Thursday specials always sport an Italian flair. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

300 Poydras St. (Loews Hotel) 595-3305;
Chef Danny Trace é formerly of Commander's Palace é beefs up the lunch menu with the Adelaide Black Angus burger, topped with Portobello mushrooms, carmelized onions, Gruy é re cheese and housemade steak sauce. The menu showcases Louisiana's varied culinary delights, including the Bocage honey-glazed pork tenderloin, served with Louisiana fig braised cabbage. Reservations recommended. Breakfast and dinner daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

912 Royal St. 412-8965
Chef-owner Jerry Mixon's French Quarter caFÉ , open since May 2005, features live music on Fridays and your choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Try the pan-fried crabcakes served over organic greens with a citrus drizzle or the chicken and andouille gumbo. Reservations recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri., dinner Wed.-Sun., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

3445 Prytania St. 891-5773
Join the Touro crowd at CaFÉ Banquette for one of its popular happy hours, or stop in at mealtime for a chicken quesadilla, a mouth-watering burger (available with your choice of toppings), or the crisp and chewy shrimp po-boy. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner 443-2299
As one of the first Kenner establishments to reopen after the storm, this bustling coffee shop continues to do a steady business, especially for breakfast. Start your day right with the hot breakfast plate, including two eggs, choice of meat, hash browns, and a biscuit. Lunch and dinner feature an array of wraps, club sandwiches and can't-be-beat burgers. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

3127 Esplanade Ave. 945-5635;
Start with a crock of French onion soup, classically served with Swiss cheese and croutons, or a plate of housemade pates and terrines. The menu also features steak frites au poivre, topped with a brandy veal reduction, and marsala-braised veal cheeks with pappardelle and broccoli raab. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

1801-4 Stumpf Blvd., Terrytown 361-3106
Settle into your seat at this West Bank restaurant and find a slice of Italy. Select from traditional pasta, veal and chicken dishes with a New Orleans twist, or step up to the Veal Diblasi é pan-fried and topped with a lemon-cream sauce and lump crameat. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Fri., dinner Sat. Credit cards. $$

813 Decatur St. 525-4544; 1 Poydras St., (Riverwalk) 587-0841; 1401 W. Esplanade Ave. (Esplanade Mall), Kenner 468-3588; 1400 Poydras St. (New Orleans Centre) 587-0842; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 834-8694; 197 Westbank Expwy. (Oakwood Mall), Gretna 587-0849;
Locals and tourists alike compete for tables at the flagship Café du Monde on Decatur Street. Those in the know leave their black clothes at home and revel in the powdery swells of golden-fried goodness. The beignets and caFÉ au lait are a New Orleans staple. No reservations. Hours vary by location; Decatur Street location open 24 hours. Cash only. $

4628 Rye St., Metairie 888-0078;
This Asian-influenced bistro features traditional and exotic fare, including an array of fanciful appetizers such as goat cheese spring rolls with soy lime dipping sauce and duck crepes with mango and cucumber. Lunch features a prix-fixe two-course special. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1241 Decatur St. 524-3689
This idyllic people-watching spot features coffee, tea and pastries as well as wrap sandwiches and salads. The latter options include the Asian tiger salad with chicken, red cabbage, carrots and snow peas topped with a sesame dressing. Got work to do? Bring your laptop and tap into the free Wi-Fi. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

117 Decatur St. 529-2154;
Chef Duke LoCicero's restaurant features Tuscan fare with a Cajun flair. Start your romantic evening with the antipasti for two and an order of oysters Giovanni, then enjoy your choice of pasta and hearty entrees. Meat lovers can combine the two with the Hunter's cannelloni, stuffed with pork, veal, beef, eggplant, pine nuts and four cheeses. Reservations recommended. Lunch Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2324 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-6343
Kick-start your day with an espresso or namesake latte and fuel up with one of the wide selection of breakfast options. For lunch, dive into the grilled shrimp Mediterranean served over house greens with feta cheese, asparagus, and artichokes topped with an Aegean vinaigrette. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

1111 S. Tyler St., Covington (985) 892-3838;
The seafood Alfredo, with shrimp, crawfish and crabmeat served over pasta and topped with fried catfish, has become a mainstay at this Northshore favorite. For lunch, don't miss the pecan-crusted chicken salad, with blue cheese and raisins. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Fri. Credit cards and local checks. $

802 1/2 Nashville Ave. 269-2444
As one of the first Uptown coffee shops to reopen after the storm, CaFÉ Luna has earned a very loyal following. Enjoy a coffee and pastry on the covered porch or settle amidst the laptop crowd for free wireless Internet access. Also try the bagels and panini sandwiches. No reservations. Continental breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2031 St. Charles Ave. (Pontchartrain Hotel) 525-0581;
The menu at CaFÉ Pontchartrain will delight you from the first meal of the day to a sinful finish. Order eggs St. Croix for poached eggs on crawfish cakes topped with hollandaise. Return in the evening for a stunning slice of Mile High Pie é ice cream with a graham cracker crust, topped with meringue and chocolate sauce. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2917 Magazine St. 895-2500
This Uptown eatery has a menu to please all palates. Healthy vegetarian fare stands alongside burgers and the popular bluesy chicken salad, served on spinach with walnuts, carrots, mushrooms, and crumbled blue cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. 568-1157;
Café Reconcile's homespun atmosphere and do-gooder appeal have won it hearts and minds (and hearty appetites) all over the city. The daily menu changes, but standouts include baked chicken and fried catfish. Bargain-priced lunches are served with two sides, a salad, bread, drink and dessert. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

435 Wall Blvd., Gretna 392-2315; 910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 467-8555; 1119 Decatur St. 586-0563; 1901 Sophie Wright Place 524-2419; 2026 Metairie Road, Metairie 833-7662; 4001 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey 340-3535
Although the storm claimed a couple locations, Café Roma is proudly serving gourmet pizzas at many of its restaurants in the metro area. All pasta, breadsticks and focaccia are made in-house, lending this pizza palace warmth and authenticity. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

632 Frenchmen St. 949-3300
Step out of the Quarter and into the Marigny for a relaxing cup of tea or invigorating mug of coffee (there's a wide variety from around the world). Need a nosh? This cozy caFÉ serves pastries, soups, salads, and sandwiches é both of the vegetarian and meaty varieties. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3343 Metairie Road, Metairie 304-8438
Serving up pastries, coffee, cappuccino and espresso for early risers, Café Royale specializes in paninis at lunchtime; check out the Royale Special é ham, turkey, provolone, and mozzarella with housemade roasted red-pepper mayonnaise. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

2529 Dauphine St. 948-8884
Café Unique serves up inspiring soul food that warms the heart as it fills the belly. Start with some gumbo and the daily special, such as traditional red beans and rice on Mondays or cornbread dressing with turkey wings on Wednesday. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

720 Dublin St. 861-4227
Café Volage serves up earthy, innovative bistro fare on its romantic veranda. Try robust dishes like osso buco or lamb shank, finished with a rosemary mushroom demi-glace and served over fettuccine. Lighter fare includes broiled salmon with spinach. Reservations recommended on weekends. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

5024 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie 889-7770
"Metairie's best-kept secret" is a quaint, family-run Italian restaurant, serving homemade and fresh foods, which includes its large selections of soups, sandwiches and entrees. For example, try everything from the meatloaf and lasagna to the shrimp or chicken Alfredo. Reservations accepted for large parties. Limited delivery for large groups. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3900 Hwy. 122, Mandeville (985) 727-4222; 4301 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie 885-4845;
Regulars at both Caffe! Caffe! locations always have something new to choose from with a widely varied menu and daily specials. Salad lovers with dietary restrictions will be pleased by the fat-free and low-sugar dressing options. All 15 housemade dressings are available for purchase to take home. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

116 Baronne St. 566-0055;
Each week, Cajun Mike's adds more items to its menu, but its signature sandwich always makes an appearance. Try Maria's Cubanito: a Cuban sandwich with roasted pulled pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and ham on a buttered roll, then pressed on the grill. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

4141 St. Charles Ave. 891-3200;
Menu updates include Crab Cake Katrina (with fettuccine and crawfish sauce) and the Blue Roof Burger (with blue cheese). There's also pre-K faves like blackened redfish, turtle soup and a "steam menu" starring live lobster and jumbo Gulf shrimp. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4101 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 455-7904
Carmine's has scaled back a bit to adjust to pre-K, but don't let that stop you from enjoying such "surf" items as the seafood-stuffed artichoke or "turf" offerings such as the stuffed pork chop or the 16-oz. rib-eye steak. Finish your meal with bread pudding. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue-Sun. (Reopening on Mondays soon.) Credit cards and checks. $

1200 W. Causeway Approach, Mandeville (985) 727-7212; 1340 Lindberg Drive, Slidell (985) 847-0020; 2320 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 837-6696
Whether you need a light bite, appetizers with your cocktails or a multi-course dinner, you'll find something to please your palate. With its variety of Mexican mainstays and inventive entrees, Carreta's serves affordable fare in a comfortable atmosphere. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

8140 Willow St. 865-9190
Carrollton Station offers live music every Saturday night, but you can satisfy your thirst and appetite here any night of the week. Excellent burgers and chicken sandwiches, cheese fries and onion rings rate above the typical pub grub. No reservations. Late lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

800 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 951-8226; 8814 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 464-0354
You can find both Tex-Mex and fine Mexican cuisine at these restaurants. Fajitas are bestsellers, with a choice of beef, chicken or pork tenderloin marinated in a special blend of spices and cooked with caramelized onions. They're served with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and cheese. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3030 Severn Ave., Metairie 888-2209;
This Moroccan-Middle Eastern restaurant is savory, delectable and kosher. Choose from a wide selection of pita pocket sandwiches for something light, or if you're really hungry, choose an entr é e, such as tanzia fassi featuring lamb baked in a clay pot with onions, prunes and almonds. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner Sun.-Thu. Credit cards. $$

4330 Magazine St. 895-9761;
Deep-fried to a perfect golden brown, the oysters at Casamento's are crispy puffs of heaven. The oyster loaf is a best seller and features a dozen fried oysters sandwiched between pieces of Texas toast é or just get a platter. Shrimp, spaghetti and other meals are available. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Cash only. $$

2 Poydras St. (New Orleans Hilton Riverside) 525-0024; 650 Poydras St. (Poydras Center) 586-0278; 701 Metairie Road, Metairie 831-1449; 900 Jefferson Ave. 891-4969; 910 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 465-0527; 941 Royal St. 581-6996; 1597 Gause Blvd., Slidell (985) 641-3177; 2800 Esplanade Ave. 482-9865; 2917 Magazine St. 891-2115; 3647 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 454-1200;
With locations throughout the metro area, you're never far from a pick-me-up from this popular coffee house chain that has been quickly reopening its locations. Specialty coffees, teas, lattes and cappuccinos abound, plus accompanying snacks from the pastry display. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

923 Decatur St. 523-1620
Celebrating its 100th birthday, this originator of the muffuletta still is king of the huge meal-in-a-sandwich. It's version is plump with layers of Italian meats and cheeses (mortadella, ham, salami, mozarella, provolone) topped with olive salad and served on a whole round plate-sized loaf of Italian bread. Shop for Italian grocery items while you wait. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

131 S.W. Railroad Ave., Pontchatoula (985)386-4077
In Ponchatoula, known as Louisiana's Strawberry Capital, you'll also find a burger "king." The C'est Bon Burger proudly wears the crown, topped with melted Jack cheese, saut é ed onions and mushrooms. Salads, sandwiches and soups make this a great place to stop while shopping. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

7457 St. Charles Ave. 865-8636
Sure to be a hit with the student crowd and late-night revelers, this new addition to the Riverbend serves breakfast all the time. Yup, that's right é 24 hours! It also serves sandwiches and will soon add more menu items. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

3216 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie 838-9935
A good wine list is a tasty complement to Chef Gerald Alvero's varied menu, which offers everything from roast chicken to pizzas to lamb shanks to oyster-artichoke soup to steaks to crab cakes. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

3501 Chateau Blvd., Kenner 465-9444
All pastries are made in-house and if you time it right, they will still be warm. For lunch, choose among the daily specials, soups and salads with housemade dressings. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, late-night Sat.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

3901 Williams Blvd., Kenner 467-0054;
For lunch, you can dine with Croque Monsieur or Madame, or choose from a selection of wraps and paninis. The dinner menu features traditional French cuisine; appetizers include French onion soup and escargots, and the lamb chops Provençale is a standout entr é e. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

528 N. Columbia St., Covington (985) 875-9793
This Northshore meat-and-cheese haven serves up juicy sandwiches with your choice of toppings. For authenticity — and a taste of Philly — try the Cheesesteak Deluxe, complete with mayo, onions and mushrooms. Sides include salads and baked potatoes. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

1201 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 368-2100; 1325 W. Esplanade, Kenner 469-5657; 3330 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 887-7788;
Order the guacamole, which is prepared and seasoned tableside, and share the Sampler with your friends (includes four wings, nachos, a flauta and a quesadilla). All the usual suspects are served here (enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos), and choice of tacos includes grilled fish tacos with chipotle aioli. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

5701 Magazine St. 899-7303
No time or desire to cook? Stop by Chez Nous during the day or early evening to pick up dinner and dessert for the whole family, as well as gourmet sundries and some wine. Lunch features wraps and soups, and there's a small counter for those who wish to eat on the premises. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

830 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 366-8822
If you start your meal with the crab Rangoon and finish with the fried banana served with honey and ice cream, you'll be very satisfied no matter what entr é e you select. China Doll is a great choice for a quick and inexpensive meal for lunch or dinner. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 218-8967
Chef Shaun Holtgreve's restaurant is a great combination of contemporary Louisiana fare and top-tier steakhouse. Stand-outs include a filet mignon served with a veal demi-glace and a blue crab gratin topped with b é chamel and lump crabmeat. Fish selections blackened fish with a molasses hollandaise. Open for lunch starting in mid-April. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

1102 Stumpf Blvd., Gretna 368-6498
This West Bank lunch spot is aptly named; the overstuffed po-boys are well-matched by the delectable Cuban sandwich. It combines ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. Other traditional Cuban fare includes ropa vieja, well-spiced stewed beef, and black beans and rice. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

3100 Kingman St., Metairie 885-6516
Take a break from shopping at the Clearview Shopping Center with lunch at this classic Cuban spot. Don't miss with the pressed Cubano sandwich, made with ham, roast pork and melted cheese. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Sat. Credit cards. $

6100 Annunciation St. 895-1111
This Uptown institution has been satisfying locals and tourists alike for years with its distinct presentation of contemporary Louisiana dishes. Among its array of fine seafood dishes, Clancy's biggest hit is the smoked soft-shell crab with crabmeat. Also popular are fried oysters with brie. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

900 Bourbon St. 598-1010;
This warm and friendly French Quarter diner is both delicious and delightful. The sassy staff will keep you laughing as you wait for your meal. For breakfast, step up to the pork chop and eggs or choose among similarly hearty fare (light bites are also available). Or try one of those famous grilled burgers — cooked beneath that famous hubcap. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

930 Tchoupitoulas St. 588-2123;
The latest from James Beard Award-nominated Donald Link, this Cajun restaurant is expected to open in April in the Warehouse District near the convention center. Look for hearty Acadiana fare like handmade crawfish pies, rabbit and dumplings, boudin with pickled peppers, smoked duck breast with marinated green beans, "Link" sausage with stone-ground grits, black-eye pea and pork gumbo and, of course, cochon du lait. Reservations accepted. Lunch weekdays, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

5860 Citrus Blvd., Harahan 818-0051
Pastries and coffee are the perfect combination, whether you're grabbing it to go or settling into one of their cozy tables. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

3431 Houma Blvd., Metairie 780-9445
Get your iced coffee, frozen cappuccino or other chilly treat at this Metairie hot spot. Add a pastry or cookie and you'll be raring to go. (Hot beverages also available.) No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

234 Lee Lane #A, Covington (985) 893-6158; 3510 US Hwy. 190 (Pontchartrain Square), Mandeville (985) 674-2002
The Bluesy Chicken Salad features a grilled chicken breast over fresh spinach, walnuts, carrots and mushrooms with a poppy-seed dressing and crumbled blue cheese on top. Pasta bowls, sandwiches and a breakfast menu make Coffee Rani a good choice any time of day. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards and checks. $

305 Old Covington Hwy., Madisonville (985) 845-2348
Don't let the name mislead you é it's about the seafood in this place, and not the brew. For a heavenly meal, order the Catfish Madisonville: fried catfish topped with a crawfish cream sauce and served with fresh vegetables and new potato salad. Reservations accepted for parties of eight or more. Lunch and dinner Thu.-Sun., dinner Tue.-Wed. Credit cards. $$

415 N. Columbia St., Covington (985)893-035
The wide array of soups, salads, and sandwiches are made on the premises and with organic ingredients. Especially popular is the egg salad sandwich served with Havarti cheese and arugula. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

434 N. Columbia St., Covington (985)898-0899;
Meeting friends for a casual dinner and drinks? You'll find the perfect setting at this Northshore establishment. The menu is a couple of steps above pub grub, though you'll find burgers here as well. Live music most Thursdays through Saturdays. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

3811 St. Charles Ave. 899-9308;
The grand Columns Hotel is best enjoyed on the sprawling front porch. The updated menu features everything from rack of lamb, pasta and brisket to fish and a traditional Southern breakfast. Enjoy live music Mondays through Thursdays and the jazz brunch on Sundays. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sun. Reservations accepted. Credit cards. $$$

8016 W. Metairie Drive, Metairie 467-9316
Come back and check out the Inn's limited menu, which is only limited in that they scaled back on the oven-heavy offerings (for now), like the pizzas. But that hasn't stopped the daily specials. On Fridays, check out the shrimp Creole or the crawfish pasta or etouffee. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

3826 Williams Blvd, Kenner 443-1623
Daily lunch specials include seafood and chicken specialties. For dinner, try the seafood combo dinner, piled high with fried fish, oysters, and shrimp and served with fries and a choice of salads. Stop by on Saturday to order the shrimp Julia, served with a white crabmeat cream sauce over angel hair pasta. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

335 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna 227-2200
With the full complement of coffee and espresso drinks, plus tea and chai, Common Grounds is a popular spot for students, business people, and medical workers from the nearby hospitals. For lunch, try the chunky chicken salad, with shallots, mayonnaise, and Tabasco é available over greens or as a sandwich. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

509 S. Carrollton Ave. 866-9104;
Cooter's — with 15 flat-screen TVs and 45 beers on tap (plus another 400 in bottles) — is the ideal sports bar. Grub includes burgers, sandwiches, fried seafood, and the cheapest dozen oysters in town. Minors are allowed in the restaurant until 8 p.m. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. $

680 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 809-9656; 1001 S. Clearview Pkwy. (opening soon), Jefferson 733-7843; 1700 LaPalco Blvd., Harvey 364-1575;1337 Gause Blvd., Slidell (985)643-0001
Start off with the Sampler Platter (artichoke and spinach dip, Bayou broccoli and Cajun popcorn), add a bowl of Gumbo Ya Ya, and finish with catfish Acadiana for a sumptuous meal. Also choose from pastas, fresh fish, burgers, and sandwiches. Reservations recommended. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $$

4243 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 887-5000
Corky's beef brisket and Memphis-style wet or dry barbecue pork ribs are classics. But the restaurant also offers a half-pound char-grilled hamburger, which comes fully loaded, and a hickory cheddar burger grilled with barbecue sauce. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

500 St. Peter St. 522-2999;
During your next Quarter stroll, stop in at the Corner for a quick drink, a light bite or a full meal. Featuring Cajun and Creole favorites, the menu has something to please everyone. The kitchen remains open 'til last call. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1817 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 727-4984
Coscino's serves some of the classic Italian dishes (especially the spaghetti and lasagna) along with the eponymous, New York-style pie in Mandeville. The lasagna features layered pasta, seasoned beef, red sauce, and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

613 Royal St. 522-7261;
The beauty of the world-famous courtyard will transport you to another time, but the savory fare brings you back to the present. Traditional gumbos and turtle soup au sherry offer the perfect start to a meal. The weekend Jazz brunch is very popular for both tourists and locals. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon. and Thurs.-Sat., jazz brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

428 Jefferson Hwy., Jefferson 833-2722
Jack Leonardi's downscale counterpart to Uptown's Jacques-Imo's is a po-boy palace for the adventurous (hometown favorites are also available). Paneed rabbit is superb, though the real showstopper is with fried green tomatoes and shrimp remoulade. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

4924 Prytania St. 894-8680
A fun place for kids of all ages, this shop features exotic ice cream flavors — like lavender honey, chevre, and green apple — served alongside traditional favorites. Choose from cups, cones, shakes, and sundaes — of which the Tchoupitoulas is the biggest (14 scoops). No reservations. Open daily. Cash only. $

1039 Broadway St. 866-2362
Dozens of varieties of crepes are available for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, including the chicken Florentine crepe, which is stuffed with grilled chicken, mushrooms, red onion and baby spinach, then topped with dill cream sauce. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

527 Decatur St. 522-0571;
Large, healthy salads and crabcakes stand alongside grilled strip steaks and tender brewhouse ribs. Beers change seasonally; order the beer sampler and you can try five specialty brews for one moderate price. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

617 Ursulines Ave. 524-4663
A lovely café to while away the morning and pretend that Europe's streets are beyond the door. Select from a delectable assortment of quiche, croissants (duh) and pastries. The staff also serves espresso and coffee drinks, plus tea. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. until 2 p.m. Credit cards. $

833 Poydras St. (Le Pavillon Hotel) 581-3111;
The soup, salad and pasta bar in the Crystal Room make it an elegant and affordable lunch option. For breakfast, spoil yourself with the Bananas Foster Waffle Le Pavillion é a sinful way to start the day. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1300 Gause Blvd., Slidell (985) 641-4706; 2000 S.W. Railroad Ave, Hammond (985) 345-2634; 2766 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna 393-7766; 5953 W. Park Ave., Houma (985) 868-0800
No matter which location you visit, you'll find a family-friendly atmosphere, reasonably priced Mexican cuisine and popular margaritas. The menu features traditional Mexican dishes, like fajitas, burritos, flautas, enchiladas and tacos. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $


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