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1100 Poydras St., 582-2350
Allegro is an elegant CBD lunch spot during the week and a pre-game party for Sunday Saints games. The weekly menu features five entrees and five pastas, plus starters like crab and crawfish cakes, barbecue shrimp, seafood gumbo and some salads. Main courses might include crab and crawfish etouffee or rosemary roasted chicken. Angel hair pasta with shrimp and crawfish carbonara is also available with whole wheat pasta as well. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri. and open before Saints games. Credit cards. $$

201 St. Charles Ave., 529-3442
A welcome sojourn for those seeking health-conscious alternatives, this natural-food restaurant has plenty to offer by way of green salads, natural juices, smoothies and garden sandwiches. Pleasing not only to the vegetarian, the Apple Seed Shoppe also offers chicken and turkey salads and grilled chicken breast sandwiches. Check out the frozen yogurt for a sweet treat. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

Canal Street at the River 533-6000;
Bambu presents a fusion of Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese cooking. There's everything from a more traditional Chinese barbecued duck to more creative dishes like wasabi shrimp. Bananas Foster crepes add a taste of New Orleans. No reservations. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4 Canal St., 533-6111
This upscale chophouse is yet another culinary gem for celebrated chef John Besh. Housed in Harrah's Casino, Besh Steakhouse has a chic atmosphere and professional yet unobtrusive wait staff. The menu changes every few weeks but offers several standards. The 30-day aged New York Strip, a USDA prime strip with Turbo Dog beer-battered onion rings and roasted bone marrow, is a regular favorite. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

401 Magazine St., 524-3386
Located in the historical 1840s Natchez building in downtown New Orleans, the Bon Ton Café exudes the culinary charm and ambiance of yesteryear. Preparing Cajun dishes from original family recipes, the kitchen offers such delicacies as bread pudding with whiskey sauce and the signature Redfish Bon Ton. Try the Rum Ramsey Cocktail for a delicious aperitif. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $$

Canal Street at the River, 533-6000;
The Buffet always has something to offer, whether it's the Friday night Dungenesss crab special, Saturday night seafood special or midnight breakfast. Dishes range from New Orleans favorites to Asian accents. There's smoked salmon and smoked sausages, jumbo shrimp cocktail and a Creole gumbo. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night dining daily. Credit cards. $$

650 Poydras St., Ste. 102, 568-0278;
See "Citywide" listing for restaurant description.

Riverwalk Marketplace, 1 Poydras St., 587-0841;
See "Citywide" listing for restaurant description.

116 Baronne St., 566-0055;
Well known for "Welfare Wednesdays" and the $1 domestic beers, Cajun Mike's is also a spot to grab some bar food or sandwiches. Patrons can graze on wings, chicken tenders, jalapeno poppers and seafood gumbo. The sandwich options include a Cuban sandwich, cochon de lait, shrimp and oyster po-boys. Mondays feature red beans and rice with sausage. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

833 Poydras St., 581-3111;
The Crystal Room is an elegant setting for any meal. The extensive breakfast menu offers everything from a healthy selection of fruits and grains to omelets, eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles. The dinner menu includes New Orleans French styled dishes of beef Burgundy, filet mignon with maitre d' butter and the fish of the day or shrimp scampi. Local accents include bronzed lemon fish topped with crawfish cream. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$$

110 Carondelet St., 523-6614
This CBD mainstay features Middle Eastern cuisine alongside local favorites. Sandwich options include gyros, souvlaki, koufta kebabs and hot sausage (stuffed into a pita and topped with diced salad and tahini sauce). Traditional po-boys and beignets are also available. Need a bite for breakfast? The Greek omelet tosses feta cheese and gyro meat into the eggs and is served in pita bread. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Delivery available. Cash only. $

701 Poydras St. (One Shell Square), 524-5115
The name says it all — hot coffee fast! Good for the workers in the CBD who need a jolt to get on with their day. Breakfast pastries, paninis, salads and snacks are also available throughout the day. One favorite lunch option is the roasted chicken panini, topped with fire-roasted onions and peppers, Monterey jack cheese and ranch dressing. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

920 Poydras St., 561-8914
This CBD restaurant is as casual as a neighborhood restaurant but well suited to a business lunch. For appetizers the hot-rok beef or washu beef are prepared at the table. The popular deluxe sushi combination includes tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp and squid plus soup and salad. Horinoya offers a long list of sushi and rolls as well as tempura, teriyaki, noodle dishes and traditional Japanese dishes. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Sat. Credit cards $$

417 S. Rampart St., 522-7552;
See "Citywide" listing for restaurant description.

814 Gravier St., 565-5322
Jipang bills itself as a Japanese café — evident in dinner entrees such as the shrimp tempura and assorted sashimi — but there are also pastries and coffee starting at six in the morning. For an extra treat, try the green tea ice cream. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

Hilton Riverside Hotel, 2 Poydras St., 561-0500 ext. 3447
The banks of televisions broadcasting games from around the world is the number one draw to this airy sports hub off the lobby of the Hilton. Servers dressed in referee uniforms deliver a large array of bar food for snacking, plus burgers and sandwiches. The bar is also fully prepped and ready to go. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

321 Magazine St., 581-9680
Cuban cuisine isn't typically as spicy as those of Caribbean and Latin countries. But it uses plenty of black beans, plantains and garlic in creating many staple dishes. Roast pork or the traditional Spanish ropa vieja, shredded beef in sauce, are popular entrees. The pork is also popular in their Cuban sandwich, pressed with ham, pickles and mustard. Liborio also offers sweet fruit sodas. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

4 Canal Street (Harrah's Casino), 598-1930;
This popular sandwich chain has legions of fans for its local outposts. Service is swift, the meals prepared-to-order, and the prices are right. Signature sandwiches include the Patriot (turkey and Swiss on wheatberry bread with orange cranberry sauce), the classic Reuben, and the Big Nasty (open-faced roast beef with gravy and melted cheddar and Swiss cheeses). No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

133 St. Charles Ave., 523-2668
No surprises at Mike Serio's. Po-boys include the usual suspects (roast beef, ham, turkey, shrimp and oysters among them) and come with a bag of chips and a drink. CBD denizens and downtown workers all know a bargain when they see one. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

401 Poydras St., 523-9656;
Perhaps best known for its signature debris po-boy served with shredded cabbage instead of lettuce and Creole mustard, Mother's also serves breakfast all day and a range of po-boys and Creole dishes including crawfish etouffee, shrimp Creole, Jerry's Jambalaya and seafood gumbo. Special po-boys include the Ferdi with baked ham and roast beef, and the Ralph, which is a Ferdi with cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

300 Gravier St., 523-6000;
Every meal is elegant at the New Orleans Grill, especially the eclectic fare available at dinner. Chef Michael Collins' menu is an international tour rooted in local ingredients, such as the Malaysian-style Gulf crab ravioli with lemon grass and green curry. For a continental finish, try the cheese tasting. Reservations accepted for breakfast and lunch, recommended for dinner. Breakfast daily, lunch in the Polo Lounge Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

920 Gravier St., 589-0077;
Downtown office workers duck into Obee's for breakfast croissants with eggs and cheese and a choice of ham or sausage or for more traditional breakfast combos. The second rush of the day comes at lunchtime when customers get soups, subs, salads and sandwiches like the popular Italian with ham, cappicola, salami and provolone cheese. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

345 Baronne St., 525-9678
This busy downtown eatery features breakfast, lunches of po-boys and daily specials like red beans and rice. There's also seafood gumbo, shrimp Creole and more. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

500 St. Charles Ave., 299-8004
Panasia bridges the gap between Thai and American cuisine. Thai favorites include pad Thai, the tom yan (spicy and sour with tomatoes and mushrooms) and the pagoda basil. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

308 St. Charles Ave., 371-5955; 339 Baronne St., 581-1735;
See "Citywide" listing for restaurant description.

301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777;
Chef John Besh's Restaurant August is recognized locally and by foodies everywhere for its inventive dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Such a philosophy can be found in signature dishes such as the crabmeat truffle gnocchi as well as the filet with marrow-stuffed morels and oxtail jus. Reservations required. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

322 Magazine St., 582-9001;
Chef Robert Iacovone's contemporary Creole/continental cuisine continues to turn heads with its blend of regional ingredients and techniques reflecting Louisiana's French and Spanish heritage. Some top dishes include a Napoleon of spiced shrimp and crispy mirliton with remoulade, cayenne beurre blanc and frisee or the tour de force combination of cane syrup-cured-smoked duck breast and whole leg confit, buttermilk bleu cheese-walnut risotto, seared foie gras and pear glace. An elegant d — cor and sophisticated wine service complete the opulent scene. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

One Shell Square, 701 Poydras St., 561-9800;
The options are dizzying at this rolled-sandwich shop, making lunch a suddenly difficult choice. For example, the Peachtree Melt comes with baked ham, swiss and brie, peaches and pepper relish, and is served with a side of fresh dill horseradish sauce. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

444 Common St., 247-0304
Rosey's picked up where Huey's left off, preparing breakfast items, including the popular Belgian-style waffles to order 24 hours a day. Try the burgers and red beans for lunch and dinner. No reservations. Open 24-hours daily. Credit cards. $

614 Canal St., 586-7211;
The NFL's winningest coach is no longer on the sidelines but in the dining room. Each of Shula's steaks is certified Angus beef and is considered "better than prime." Those looking for something other than red meat can sink their teeth into lobster, barbecue shrimp and succulent desserts like the chocolate soufflé for two, or the Mountain Lava chocolate cake. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

828 Gravier St., 522-8198
This old-fashioned cafeteria serves plate lunches and breakfast on the run with New Orleans flair. The fried catfish pecan is gilded with pecan brown butter sauce and comes with your choice of two home-style side dishes. The hickory burger is a hefty half-pound of Angus cooked to order with hickory BBQ sauce and grated cheddar. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

201 Baronne St., 565-5455
The Streetcar calls its po-boys "giants" — so try either a meatball, bronzed chicken, shrimp or oyster po-boy on for size. Specialty plates include the crabcake and shrimp salad with wasabi soy and speckled trout stuffed with crabmeat. Reservations accepted. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

1 Shell Square 524-5008; 204 St. Charles Ave., 561-9600; 302 Baronne St., 523-7827; 1400 Poydras St., 523-6841;
See "Citywide" listing for restaurant description.

444 St. Charles Ave., 585-4383
Some of the more creative dishes for diners to try at the Veranda include the five-spiced grilled watermelon salad appetizer or the open-faced lasagna. On the more straight-forward side, there are rib-eyes, seared redfish and oven-roasted striped bass entrees. Brunch is still a big deal and there are carving stations for prime rib as well as omelets, eggs Benedict and bananas Foster made-to-order. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

336 Camp St., 592-0223
For breakfast, Welty's offers basics of coffee, tea, bagels and pastries, along with croissants, grits and hearty platters. For lunch, there's a range of salads, including the popular Asian chicken salad, and sandwiches, including pastrami topped with a horseradish sauce. Delivery available. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. $

click to enlarge Patrons raise a toast to dinner and jazz at Snug Harbor. - TRACIE MORRIS SCHAEFER


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