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3242 Magazine St., 899-0031;
Margaritas and Tex-Mex favorites keep the bar and dining room busy at this Magazine Street cantina. The combo appetizer rounds up a pile of corn tortilla chips topped with melted cheddar and Monterey cheese, pico de gallo, jalapenos plus some mini chimis, flautas and mamachitas. The ultimate veggie burrito packs a big spinach tortilla with bell peppers, potatoes, onions, spinach, tomatoes, cheese, black beans and jalapenos. It's finished with green tomatillo salsa and two cheeses melted on top. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

500 Chartres St., 524-9752;
This charming spot in the heart of the Quarter is an ideal place to while away an afternoon -- people-watching through the open windows, sipping a Pimm's Cup in the antebellum courtyard and enjoying an enormous muffuletta, Greek salad or assorted cheese board. The bruschetta, another popular choice, is topped with infused olive oil, garlic, mozzarella cheese, sliced tomato and pesto. There's also a number of other po-boys, appetizers, soups and salads. No reservations. Lunch Fri.-Wed. Credit cards. $

6078 Laurel St., 895-9441;
Proprietress Jenry Schorling's upscale reincarnation of what was once a corner bar called Norby's is now an intimate Italian restaurant that is well-loved in its Uptown neighborhood. Inside the dining rooms and bar, patrons enjoy hearty Italian dishes like veal Marsala with a sauce made from wild mushrooms, wine and demi-glace, while the bouillabaisse is a celebration of seafood with fish, shrimp, oysters, mussels and crawfish all served with saffron aioli toast. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

830 N. Rampart St., 324-6420;
mThe Flava Café is bursting with flavors from breakfast through dinner. Drop by early for spicy breakfast burritos, shrimp and grits or peanut butter and jelly pancakes. Or stop in any time for platters like the country soul food sampler, which includes fried chicken, a pig's foot, ham hock, chitlins, oxtail, rice, red beans, greens, yams and cornbread. Another notable combination is the Cajun Creole Trio of red beans and rice, a cup of turkey and sausage gumbo and turkey and gumbo jambalaya. Diners can opt for the addition of shrimp, crab, oysters and crawfish tails to give the gumbo and jambalaya more flavor. Delivery available in the French Quarter. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Cash only. $$

2700 Metairie Road, Metairie, 828-8484
New City Grille features entrees like grilled redfish with lump crabmeat, served with a lemon butter sauce and asparagus spears. Beef options include a spice-rubbed 14-oz. rib-eye steak accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes. Starters include oysters en brochette with a meuniere butter, crispy crawfish spring rolls and shrimp remoulade. The flourless chocolate cake with a Grand Marnier whipped cream is a rich dessert option. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

27431 Hwy. 190, LaCombe, (985) 882-7282
The Creole cuisine at the bistro includes specialties like redfish Toulouse, a fried redfish fillet topped with artichokes, mushrooms and shrimp in a white wine cream sauce. The catfish Katrina stuffs catfish with crabmeat and tops it with a tomato bŽchamel sauce. For lunch, try the voodoo chicken sandwich, a po-boy of paneed chicken breast with a fiery hot sauce. Then ease the burn with bread pudding bathed in a hazelnut cream sauce. Reservations required on weekends. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $$

208 Lee Lane, Covington, (985) 875-0432 This Northshore haven serves up a boatload of seafood including exotic voodoo rolls (stuffed with crawfish and cheese, deep fried and served with Creole honey mustard), a fried seafood sampler and the ever-popular crab cakes Pontchartrain. Also popular is the smothered rabbit with white beans and rice, a lunch special. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

300 Gravier St., 523-6000;
Like everything else at the Windsor Court hotel, the New Orleans Grill is known for its exacting standards and world class presentations. At dinner, American Kobe-style beef short ribs are prepared with cinnamon and star anise essence while the pan-seared red drum has a confit fennel puree and tomato fondue. A cheese plate puts a deliciously elegant finale on the meal. Reservations recommended. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

817 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 837-3382; 1005 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson, 734-1122; 6920 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 455-1272;
With a menu to satisfy everyone, half-pound burgers share the burden with whole-meal salads, one-handed po-boys and signature entrees. New menu items include soft-shell crab with crawfish Lafitte sauce and oyster Rockefeller pasta. Also try the oyster, artichoke, shrimp and corn soup and the chocolate peanut butter pie. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 885-5566
Big appetites are satisfied at the New Sal & Sam's, which offers Italian specialties and a mix of steak, chops and seafood. The double-cut pork chop is marinated with garlic and herbs, grilled and served with potatoes au gratin. The osso buco of slow-roasted veal is served with a light tomato sauce and angel hair pasta. Seafood options include barbecue shrimp, grilled tuna and crabmeat au gratin. Daily lunch specials are now available. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

5201 Magazine St., 891-2376
Doing its namesake city proud, New York Pizza serves up thin-crust pies with a wide variety of toppings. The Super Big Apple pizza piles on almost every ingredient in the kitchen, while straight-up pepperoni or onion and pepper combinations are classic. There is sidewalk seating outside in addition to a few seats inside the busy shop. Delivery available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

8433 Oak St., 866-1119
Ninja's army of devoted disciples makes it one of the busiest sushi restaurants in town. Favorite dishes range from exquisite cuts of maguro, salmon and snapper to steaming bowls of noodles and artful appetizers. Try the neck of yellowtail for a distinctively Japanese treat, while specialty rolls like the namesake Ninja roll with salmon, shrimp, eel, tuna and smelt roe is a single-serving feast. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

4308 Magazine St., 894-9797;
Nirvana offers lessons to the local palate in the intricacies of Indian cuisine, with a menu that includes tandoor dishes, biryani rice dishes, seafood, chicken and fresh-baked breads. Some of the specialties include the butter chicken, which is a roasted chicken breast in a tomato and butter sauce. The saag paneer is a dish of curried spinach made with a housemade Indian cheese. Try the affordably priced buffet available at lunch. Reservations recommended. Lunch daily, dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

534 St. Louis St., 522-6652;
The French Quarter outpost of celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is a tad less formal than his other local restaurants, but the kitchen produces cuisine in line with its owners' worldwide reputation for bold flavors and quality ingredients. Start a meal here with the roasted clams and apple-smoked bacon in beer broth with focaccia, caper aioli and crispy veal sweetbreads before tackling the grilled pork porterhouse with brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes. Be sure to save room for the "NOLA Buzz Bomb" ­ a flourless chocolate torte with bittersweet chocolate mousse and brandied apricots. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

246 Gerard St., Mandeville, (985) 626-5619;
Nuvolari's was originally a country store in the 1930s, but the cuisine served in its dining rooms today is classic Italian. Try the homemade baked gnocchi in pesto cream with mozzarella cheese oil as an appetizer and entrees like salmon piccata, veal Marsala and eggplant Parmesan Florentine with marinara, fresh spinach, provolone and romano. The restaurant's wine list provides plenty of options to match your selections. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$


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