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216 Old Hammond Hwy., Metairie 831-1248
A neighborhood family place that provides a little something for everyone, R&O offers po-boys, Italian dinners and fried seafood dinner platters. Don't miss the popular R&O's Special, made up of ham, roast beef, and Swiss. It's famous gravy fries will return soon. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

249 Aris Ave., Metairie 831-1537
This corner po-boy shop has been around for 31 years and offers more than 45 different kinds of the popular sandwiches, including roast beef and shrimp po-boys, a hamburger po-boy that weighs more than a pound, and hot lunch specials that change daily. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

919 S. Clearview Pkwy., Jefferson 216-2424; 1270 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 809-0250; 1654 Gause Blvd., Slidell (985) 405-1423; 1735 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 297-1622; 4036 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 297-1633;
Starting as a student business plan at LSU business school, Raising Cane's has grown to become a regional fast-food chain favorite by keeping it simple. Its only chicken tenders here, never frozen, marinated for 24 hours and hand-seasoned, then served with a secret dipping sauce, coleslaw that's mixed daily, and Texas toast. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

519 Toulouse St. 522-5226;
This seafood restaurant started in 1969 on a marshy bend in the Mississippi and grew to become a popular chain throughout the Southeast. The menu follows the seafood season with basics like oysters on the half-shell. It also features the Ruby, a signature dish that consists of two redfish fillets topped with seafood stuffing with hollandaise sauce and lump crabmeat. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch Sat.-Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

900 City Park Ave. 488-1000;
Housed in a beautifully renovated historic building across from City Park, this Ralph Brennan-owned restaurant celebrates regional ingredients with classic Louisiana French preparations. Favorites include the fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, butter-crusted baked baby drum, hickory-grilled lamb chops and black pepper-seared salmon. Free valet parking is available. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

852 S. Peters St. 593-9393; 1057 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-6900;
Burgers, chicken sandwiches, French fries and even a tuna steak are some of the basics at this bar and grill. Catch business folks on their lunch break or at happy hour mixing with youngsters who have arrived early to get a jumpstart on the night's festivities as this place turns into a crowded bar at night. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $

115 Bourbon St. 598-1200;
Fishing for New Orleans' definitive seafood dining? Trawl no further than Red Fish Grill, where casual New Orleans seafood creations by Executive Chef Gregg Collier dominate a menu peppered with Big Easy favorites like hickory-grilled redfish, pecan-crusted catfish, alligator sausage and seafood gumbo, bananas Foster and at least seven types of Gulf fish every night. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1036 Lafayette St., Gretna 367-0935
Offering up steak and seafood, this Gretna restaurant isn't afraid to jazz it up with items like stuffed shrimp with crab Rangoon or its signature Duck Maple, a pan-seared duck breast placed over cranberries, wild rice and apricot glaze. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

8124 Hampson St. 872-0187
Traditional breakfasts, omelets, Belgian waffles and cereals open the day for those seeking something to eat with a range of coffees from around the world as well as white, green and red Octavia teas. Lunch and dinner choices include a crispy crabcake salad with lime-spiked avocado, butter lettuce and citrus aioli or go for a hearty open-face or signature sandwich such as the Refuel Club: roast beef, turkey, caramelized onions and cheddar cheese. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tues.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

741 State St. 899-1414; 817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 712-6868; 5608 Citrus Blvd., Harahan 818-0111; 3244 Magazine St. 895-7272;
This New Orleans original provides a steady offering of pizza, sandwiches and salads. It also provides healthy options that make it an agreeable choice for everyone at the table. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

5050 Williams Blvd. (Treasure Chest Casino), Kenner 443-8000;
The menu here is small, so making a decision is easy. Choose from 16-oz. prime rib, roasted chicken or redfish saut — ed with crawfish cream sauce. Each comes with a choice of a fully loaded baked potato or French fries. There's also a salad bar and an assortment of desserts. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

301 Tchoupitoulas St. 299-9777;
Nationally acclaimed Chef John Besh, a recent winning on the Food Network's The Iron Chef and recent James Beard Foundation Award nominee, serves Louisiana contemporary and French dishes. Try the handmade gnocchi with crabmeat tossed with blue crab and black truffle, or the Moroccan-spiced duck that comes with soft polenta, roasted foie gras and local strawberries. He also serves a bread pudding with whiskey ice cream, and the restaurant features an extensive wine list. Reservations accepted. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

322 Magazine St. 587-9001;
Creole Continental food served here by acclaimed Executive Chef Bob Iacovone acknowledges the influences of France and Spain on the foods of Louisiana and uses fresh local, seasonal ingredients. Try the Veal "osso buco," deconstructed, served with spring vegetable cassoulet and marrow-whipped potatoes. Reservations accepted. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

4426 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie 885-6885
Fans of this restaurant keep coming back for the nightly specials. The menu, based in contemporary Creole, has constants like oysters Bienville, jumbo lump crab cheesecake, and fresh crawfish bisque. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

7163 Barataria Blvd., Crown Point 689-7834
Set among moss-draped trees in the bayou town of Crown Point, the atmosphere alone is worth the trip, but there're also romantic-sounding dishes like shrimp Diane, which comes sauteed in garlic-butter sauce with green onions and mushrooms on a bed of angel-hair pasta. Also try the Cajun-Creole seafood dish crabmeat Remick. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

621 St. Louis St. 529-7045
With large windows that look out into the French quarter and an elegant dining room that recently was renovated, the Rib Room serves an array of continental cuisine. Sink into the big, cushy chairs and enjoy dishes like prime rib or the Veal Tanet. Reservations recommended. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

7801 Panola St. 314-1810
Breakfast, breakfast and more breakfast is what customers demand (although it does serve tasty lunch, too). Specialties include crabcakes Benedict, which is two crabcakes and poached eggs topped with hollandaise sauce and potatoes. Also try the Sausalito omelet packed with fresh spinach, mushrooms, shallots and mozzarella cheese. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

3524 Severn Ave., Metairie 455-2266
This Italian-style eatery serves tried-and-true favorites like stuffed crabs with crabmeat dressing served with spaghetti bordelaise, or trout amandine with brabant potatoes. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

800 S. Peters St. 525-3474;
Chef Adolfo Garcia serves Spanish-Mediterranean seafood dishes with a rotating combination of fish and other fresh seafood. Consider the Escabeche of Gulf fish: grilled fish with peppers, olives and caper relish. Check out the unique selection of tapas at lunch or try the four kinds of ceviche available anytime. The Mixto ceviche comes with fish, squid and shrimp with charred peppers and onions. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

205 N. New Hampshire St., Covington (985) 875-1006
Start with the antipasto platter at this contemporary Italian restaurant. That dish features choice meats, cheeses and grilled veggies. Then try the signature Brodetto del Porto that comes with Gulf shrimp, Gulf fish, mussels and clams in a tomato-fennel broth. The eatery also makes its own Italian desserts. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RIVER 127'
100 Iberville St. (Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place) 553-5082;
Enjoy a view of downtown and the French Quarter curved around maneuvering ships on the Mississippi River at this restaurant located on the 11th floor of the Wyndham Hotel at Canal Place. A breakfast buffet starts the day, while a la carte dining is available for lunch and dinner. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

5131 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero 341-3636;
This Florida-based restaurant chain fires up the grill with chicken, shrimp and steak. It also has traditional American food like burgers and a full selection of salads. Kids under age 12 eat free from the kids menu on Tuesdays. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

5016 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie 885-7005;
Many spend their time here making groceries, as the saying goes, but head to the deli for a variety of traditional lunch-counter items as well as crispy fried chicken and Jamaican jerk pork chops with zydeco rice. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

One Shell Square, 701 Poydras St. 561-9800; 5409 Tchoupitoulas St. 891-8373;
Fill up quick on the Key West Cuban Max, which features sliced pork, baked ham, turkey, melted Swiss and American cheeses, dill pickle slices, onions, lettuce and tomato on bread that grilled and served with a side of honey-mustard dressing. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. at Poydras location, lunch and dinner daily at Tchoupitoulas. Credit cards. $

7329 Cohn St., 866-1166;
This neighborhood pizza joint offers everything from plain cheese to specialty vegetarian — including options like eggplant and artichokes— to a range of meat toppings. But the hot sandwiches baked on fresh bread and classic pasta dishes are equally as popular. Catering is available in the New Orleans area. No reservations. Delivery available. Dinner and late-night dining Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

3410 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 727-1998;
This national chain serves traditional Italian food with sophistication. Try the classic Mama's Trio, a healthy serving of three Italian treats on one plate: lasagna, chicken Parmigiana and chicken cannelloni. Also try the family style to-go meals that serve eight people or more. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

610 Poydras St. (Whitney Wyndham Hotel) 212-5656
Customers come to Roth's for quality New Orleans steakhouse fare. Start with shrimp remoulade or crabmeat au gratin. Aside from juicy steaks, there's grilled tuna during Lent. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

201 Decatur St. 948-EATS (3287)
A favorite dish here is the muffuletta pizza, which has pepperoni, salami, Canadian bacon, olive mix and mozzarella cheese over marinara sauce on homemade dough. There also are wraps, calzones, pastas, salads, soups and desserts. Enjoy live music nightly and free wireless Internet anytime. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

500 Canal St. (Sheraton New Orleans Hotel) 595-5506;
Traditional New Orleans favorites are available at this charming dining room, or if you're watching calories, try something from the Lo-carb Lifestyle menu. Stop in the Pelican Bar, reminiscent of a lavish New Orleans courtyard, for an apertif before you eat or a nightcap after your meal. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

204 Metairie Road, Metairie 835-7779; 222 Carondelet St. 529-2005; 621 Royal St. 523-2716;
This New Orleans coffee shop offers several local flavors of java in addition to brews from Africa, South America and Indonesia. It also features a rotating selection of signature soups and sandwiches. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

1140 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-4343; 3121 Magazine St. 899-0242
There's something about this laidback hangout that brings all walks of life together. Maybe it's the fresh brews of coffee or the variety of fresh pastries, including flaky croissants. It also serves sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

8555 Pontchartrain Blvd. 282-9980
Russell's serves breakfast all day but has been forced to curtail its dinner service for now. But you can still sample the wide variety of salads, as well as the wraps sandwiches or the highly recommended fried onion mum. Chase it all down with the Big Al's Bloody Mary. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch. Credit cards. $

119 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie 885-4572Russell's keeps it simple, like all po-boy shops should, providing specialties like roast beef and meatball po-boys and several different kinds of gumbo. It currently isn't taking phone orders, but most of its regular menu is available, including gumbo. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards. $

3633 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-3600; www.ruthschris.comWe miss that veneral Mid-City location, but appreciate the Metairie spot that still provides a filet that's the most tender cut of corn-fed Midwestern beef broiled to perfection. Not a steak fan? Try the barbecue shrimp, sauteed New Orleans style in reduced white wine, butter, garlic and spices. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri. and Sun., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$


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