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414 N. New Hampshire St., Covington (985) 892-5252
Fresh baked bread, homemade desserts and daily specials speak to the careful preparation, but that doesn't slow the lunch rush on this hopping Covington favorite, where quality meals are turned out fast for diners on the go. The chicken salad sandwich is a perennial favorite while specials like the Creole stewed chicken over rice bring down-home flavor. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

430 Barracks St. 525-0330
This tiny kitchen produces a formidable menu hitting everything from Mexican-style breakfasts to gumbo to frozen yogurt banana splits. The sushi wrap with seared tuna is like a full Japanese meal you can hold with one hand. Wash it down with a smooth fruit juice or a beer. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

534 N. New Hampshire St., Covington (985) 875-9390
Formerly Pogue's Corner Deli, the Beck-N-Call serves soups, salads, wraps and grilled panini-style sandwiches along with a selection of daily specials. The turkey club sandwich comes on honey-wheat bread with smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, romaine lettuce and tomatoes with honey mustard. No reservations. Limited delivery available. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

3625 Prytania St. 895-7166
The many fans of this perennially popular Uptown breakfast/lunch spot rise and shine for buckwheat pancakes slathered in syrup while vegetarians line up for the meatless hash of eggplant, shredded potatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, celery, carrots and eggs. The house specialty huevos rancheros make a fine breakfast or lunch. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Cash only. $

200 Gerard St., Mandeville (985) 624-3388;
A bargeboard cottage with colorful walls, lace curtains and exposed beams sets a homespun tone for comfort food specials such as pot roast, meatloaf, turkey and dressing. At breakfast, the kitchen turns out gourmet omelets such as the Floridian with crab meat, cream cheese and Monterey Jack cheese. Reservations accepted Mon.-Fri., call-ahead seating Sat.-Sun. Breakfast, brunch and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

912 Royal St. 412-8965
This former Royal Street mansion provides a regal setting for Creole meals in the bustling heart of the French Quarter. Snag a café table in the manicured courtyard when the weather is nice and enjoy the menu of "small plates," a collection of bistro fare and New Orleans specialties pared down in size to encourage sampling of a variety of tastes. Sunday brunch is especially beautiful in the courtyard. No reservations. Breakfast Saturday, lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner 443-2299
This is the breakfast place to visit for a variety of coffees and more. Hot egg dishes and pastries can be ordered along with a cup of espresso. The menu doesn't slack off for lunch and offers hefty po-boys, hot soups and stuffed wraps. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

1241 Decatur St. 524-3689
Pull up to a window seat or, better yet, a table outside on the sidewalk to watch Decatur Street scenes while munching on a salad, quiche or sandwich. The breakfast special — a buttermilk biscuit with bacon, egg and cheese — is a steal at only $3. For a light snack, have one of its pastries with a special espresso drink. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2324 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-6343
Coffee drinks are the star of the show at Café Latte, but a menu of sandwiches and salads are available to cut the caffeine. The Greek salad with olives, feta cheese and Romaine lettuce is among the most popular lunch items, as are the club sandwiches and wraps. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

802 Nashville Ave. 269-2444
A diverse mix of neighborhood regulars and Magazine Street travelers partake in coffee, tea and light lunches in this charming Victorian cottage-turned café . A variety of pastries and sandwiches is available, and seating on the shady front porch makes a great perch for a leisurely sit down. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

2917 Magazine St. 895-2500
Cafe Rani's patio is a convenient place to enjoy a large, leafy salad, sandwich or pasta. New menu items will be debuting soon, but regulars can continue to enjoy favorites like the shrimp and eggplant Rani pasta: grilled, breaded medallions of eggplant served over penne pasta in a pesto cream sauce with shrimp, portobello mushrooms and wilted greens. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards. $$

620 Frenchmen St. 949-3300
This cozy spot offers a relaxing atmosphere done in soothing red and gold, as well as wide windows and outdoor seating for observing the bustle of Frenchmen Street. Enjoy gourmet espresso drinks, a variety of teas, and a selection of beer and wine. Snack on fruit sorbets or a cheese plate, or go for heartier fare like the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich dressed with tomato basil pesto, avocado, sprouts and smoked gouda. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards. $

3343 Metairie Road, Metairie 304-8438
Coffee drinks and breakfast pastries greet the morning crowd at Café Royale while paninis and other sandwiches take over for the lunch shift. The Chicken Royale gives marinated, grilled chicken breast the royal treatment with Provolone cheese, Roma tomatoes and mayo on fresh pita bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat, dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards and checks. $

3900 Hwy. 122, Mandeville (985) 727-4222;
Fresh tastes and vivid flavors are the hallmark of the menu, which includes specialties like Roquefort salad with hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, bacon, egg, cherry tomatoes and crumbled blue cheese or a sandwich with spinach leaves, provolone cheese, mayonnaise and sprouts served on seven-grain bread. Save room for Mile High chocolate chip, lemon ice-box pie or other freshly made desserts. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and dinner Mon.-Sat., lunch daily. Credit cards. $

3501 Chateau Blvd., Kenner 465-9444
Fresh coffees, pastries and salads abound at the Chateau, though the café also boasts an impressive menu of hot lunch specials like red beans and rice and crawfish quesadillas. Check out the daily soup selection with highlights including loaded baked potato soup and seafood gumbo. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

5860 Citrus Blvd., Harahan 818-0051;
Cooking from scratch really pays off at Coffee Cottage, where regulars enthuse over the homemade bread and scones as well as the lunch and dinner selections. Some perennial favorites include crawfish pasta, rosemary grilled chicken breast and burgers with sweet potato fries. The white chocolate bread pudding is a rich indulgence for dessert. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Tue.-Sat. Cash only. $

3431 Houma Blvd., Metairie 780-9445
For drinks that pack a sweet, caffeinated punch, regulars suck down cappuccinos and other specialty concoctions. The frozen version remains popular even in wintertime, but there's plenty to warm up to on the menu of fresh scones, muffins and other pastries. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

234 Lee Lane, Suite A, Covington (985) 893-6158; 3510 Hwy. 190 (Pontchartrain Square), Mandeville (985) 674-2002
These Northshore café's feature eclectic menus for varied and healthy eating, along with the full assortment of coffee beverages. Among the most popular salads is the Bluesy Chicken Salad with grilled chicken breast over fresh spinach, walnuts, carrots and mushrooms with a poppy seed dressing and crumbled blue cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

335 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna 227-2200
Combining a full-service restaurant with a coffeehouse and bar, Common Grounds serves uncommonly good fare. Try the signature artichoke Amelia, an appetizer made with artichoke hearts and crab meat lightly fried together, or the marinated, grilled tuna steaks. The Italian cream cake and chocolate mudslide cake await your full attention at the end of the meal. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

617 Ursuline Ave. 524-4463
Offering charm and backstreet serenity near the quiet, down-river end of the French Quarter, Croissant d'Or is a postcard of a café . The café au lait is the most popular drink to accompany the collection of buttery French pastries laying temptingly beneath the glass counter, while croissant sandwiches, sausage rolls and gumbo offer more hearty lunch options. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

400 Dauphine St. 523-1931;
Serving breakfast fare, burgers and fried seafood 'til the wee hours, Dé ja Vu is the destination for hungry revelers and hospitality-industry workers alike in the French Quarter. On both Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. until they run out, they offer an 8-oz. New York strip with fries and mashed potatoes for $6.45 or with a loaded baked potato for $7.99. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

601 Gallier St. 944-9272;
A neighborhood café that draws regulars from neighborhoods all across town, Elizabeth's serves up distinctive takes on Southern and New Orleans-style favorites. The breakfast crowd lines up for candied bacon, grillades and grits at Sunday brunch and eggs Elizabeth with French toast, ham and poached eggs. Po-boys, salads and specials of barbecue beef and pork turn up on the lunch menu. Reservations accepted. Brunch, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

690 Lafitte St., Mandeville (985) 626-9300
Breakfasts of pastries made in-house daily and fresh coffee and specialty drinks give a kick start to the morning, while soups, salads, wraps and daily specials such as the chicken salad bring the customers back again at lunch. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Sat.-Sun. Cash and checks. $

4526 Magazine St. 269-3777
If the heady smell of fresh baked bread doesn't catch your attention as you pass by, the regal blue storefront of this authentic French bakery certainly will. Buttery croissants still oven-warm and the house special fougasse rolls in either herb or olive varieties come spilling out of the baskets, while pain au chocolat and other desserts are specialties of the house. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

547 St. Ann St. 568-0073; 3434 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 626-7004; 5171 Citrus Blvd., Suite 2000, Harahan 818-2450;
A casual setting for classic French country cooking sets this chain apart. Breakfast favorites include the health-conscious yogurt parfait or the savory potato galettes mixed with green onions and herbs. The bistro lunch offers the croque monsieur sandwich, quiches and salads. The creamy tomato basil soup is a sensation and is so popular that it's available in take-home jars. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Wed.-Sun., dinner Thu.-Sat. at Mandeville; lunch daily at Harahan. Credit cards. $

1500 Esplanade Ave. 569-8997
The latest restaurant from the legendary Baquet family (Zachary's) is getting back to business in February, serving up its famous fried chicken, gumbo, stuffed peppers and other classics of casual Creole cooking. Look for cafeteria-style dining initially at Li'l Dizzy's as the menu and hours evolve. Reservations accepted. Call for hours. Credit cards. $

3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-4141
Special touches like homemade dressings for the salads and thick gumbos and soups prepared daily make the Paradise Café a casual little slice of heaven for its regulars. The Paradise club sandwich packs turkey, bacon, lettuce and tomato. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

100 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula (985) 386-9581
Strawberries are the pride of Ponchatoula and at Paul's Café they're put to good use in the ever-popular strawberry daiquiris. Try one before digging into the breakfast and lunch menu of egg combos, po-boys and salads. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

PUCCINO'S 3128 Magazine St., 894-8988; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. (Lakeside Shopping Center), Metairie 835-3151; The beignet may rule certain French Quarter coffeehouses, but at Puccino's the Italian zeppole wears the crown of powdered sugar. In addition to its coffees and espresso drinks, Puccino's offers a variety of panini sandwiches and salads, a soup of the day and a Sicilian muffuletta. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

7801 Panola St. 314-1810
Riccobono's take on eggs Benedict, here called eggs Pontchartrain, combines crawfish with sauteed mushrooms and green onions. Vegetarians do well with the mushroom burger dressed with avocado, sprouts, tomato and cheese on a whole-wheat bun, and a veritable garden of fresh ingredients can be found in its omelets. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

535 E. Boston St., Covington (985) 893-5553;
An authentic community coffeehouse and café in the heart of downtown Covington, St. John's serves nachos piled with pepper jack cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole, and wraps such as the Santa Fe with oven-roasted turkey, baby spinach, Roma tomato, Bermuda onion, provolone cheese, avocado spread and Southwest cream cheese spread. Wash it all down with a specialty coffee drink, an ice cream shake or a fruit-tea smoothie. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash only. $

1418 Magazine St. 524-3828
Sunny mornings implore neighborhood regulars to walk to Surrey's for high-octane coffee, freshly squeezed juices, housemade bagels with smoked salmon and specials like huevos rancheros or migas — eggs cooked with tortilla chips and chiles. Lunch brings equally satisfying fare, especially the barbecue specials. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

544 Gerard St., Mandeville (985) 624-5683;
Set in a cottage and surrounded by the butterfly sanctuary of the adjacent Mizell's Farm, Vianne's is no ordinary café stop. Make a special event out of its various tea preparations, such as the Court Tea which includes soup, salad, fresh baked scones with lemon curd, clotted cream and jam, an assortment of tea sandwiches and savories and the chef's selection of entree plus dessert all served with a large pot of tea from the extensive tea menu. Reservations accepted. Breakfast and lunch Tue.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $


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