ANTOINE'S713 St. Louis St. 581-4422; www.antoines.comFounded in 1840 by the Alciatore family, Antoine's is not only the oldest restaurant in New Orleans but also the oldest in America under continuous operation. Antoine's sprawling menu, written in French, features dishes like Pompano en Papillote and grand desserts like baked Alaska, along with the restaurant's most famous creation Ñ oysters Rockefeller in a sauce that tastes as rich as the tycoon for which it was named. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

ARNAUD'S813 Bienville St. 523-5433; www.arnauds.comFounded in 1910 by French wine salesman Arnaud Cazenave, Arnaud's has grown over the generations into a Creole dining palace that rambles through a labyrinth of dining rooms and even its own Mardi Gras museum. The shrimp Arnaud, a tangy remoulade, is the classic appetizer here, and the menu presents the many classics of Creole cuisine. Arnaud's offers a four-course table d'hote menu for $39.50 that draws on mainstays such as speckled trout amandine and chicken Rochambeau. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

BEALER'S RESTAURANT 348 Robert Blvd., Slidell (985) 649-1805 Known as Doug's Restaurant for two decades, the name may have changed at this Slidell institution but regulars still turn out for its traditional Creole cuisine. A family affair run by Floyd Bealer Jr. and Floyd Bealer Sr., the restaurant has recently added steaks. No reservations. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

BROUSSARD'S819 Conti St. 581-3866; www.broussards.comIt's always nice to revisit the longstanding recipes that have kept New Orleanians happy for generations. Take the crabmeat Broussard's: lump crabmeat baked in artichoke-Brie bechamel, surrounded by herbsaint spinach. There's also oysters Broussard's (in all their fried glory) and a heavenly Òcappuccino styleÓ sweet potato, shrimp and corn bisque. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CAFé ADELAIDE AND THE SWIZZLE STICK LOUNGE 300 Poydras St. (Loews Hotel) 595-3305; Opened by the Commander's Palace branch of the Brennan family and named in honor of its late aunt, Café Adelaide offers a playful take on Creole cuisine in a stylish atmosphere. The blue crab and caviar are served with chicory greens, marinated oyster mushrooms, mirliton and Atchafalaya basin bowfin roe. Indulge in a white chocolate martini for dessert. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

CAFé RECONCILE 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. 568-1157; A nonprofit that functions as the hospitality school and job-training grounds for at-risk youth, Café Reconcile also serves breakfast and amazing down-home New Orleans specials at lunch. The gumbo is particularly delicious, and the fried catfish is dished out in generous portions with sides like baked macaroni. The white beans with shrimp over rice is legendary. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Cash only. $

C'EST SI BON7457 St. Charles Ave. 865-8636A slender little glass-fronted building houses C'est Si Bon, a new eatery in a space once known as a gourmet to-go shop. Now the place sells etouffees and other New Orleans specialties to a college crowd, Uptown denizens and others who think ÒIt's so good.Ó No reservations. 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Credit cards. $

CLANCY'S 6100 Annunciation St. 895-1111 Fried oysters topped with melted brie set over wilted spinach is the classic appetizer at this beloved modern classic tucked away on an Uptown side street, although the grilled shrimp with creamy bacon grits is hard to pass up. Regulars dine on grilled drum with smoked salmon, seared scallops and a fillet with crumbled blue cheese before cooling off with a lemon ice-box pie in Clancy's always busy dining room. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

COOP'S PLACE1109 Decatur St. 525-9053 What appears to be another of the many dark barrooms along Decatur Street reveals an excellent late-night menu of local dishes, including the best inexpensive jambalaya around. Look for pasta dishes loaded with local seafood and tasso (a flavorful Cajun ham smoked on premises), blackened redfish and a fried alligator appetizer. Coop's also serves a surprisingly rich wine list. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CORNER OYSTER BAR AND GRILL 500 St. Peter St. 522-2999; www.thecorneroysterbarandgrill.comA French Quarter institution, the Corner Oyster Bar & Grill serves Cajun and Creole cuisine along with a bar menu. Watch virtually any game on one of the 16 televisions and dig into raw oysters and po-boys, fried seafood or a sampler platter called the Taste of New Orleans that brings together the Bayou jambalaya, Creole gumbo and red beans and rice. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

COURT OF TWO SISTERS 613 Royal St. 522-7261; www.courtoftwosisters.comThe world-famous brunch is served in the courtyard and dining rooms of the Court of Two Sisters as well as a new three-course weekday lunch featuring dishes like a grilled veal porterhouse with wild mushroom demi-glace. Dinner brings the restaurant's traditional Creole a la carte menu, prepared by new Executive Chef Peter Chan. Reservations recommended. Lunch and brunch Thu.-Tue., dinner Mon.-Tue., Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

EMERIL'S RESTAURANT800 Tchoupitoulas St. 528-9393; www.emerils.comExpectations loom large at the flagship restaurant of Emeril Lagasse's culinary empire, and from the polished service to the stylish atmosphere to the exquisite contemporary Creole food, the experience does not disappoint. Some menu standouts include quail stuffed with blue cheese and redfish crusted in andouille sausage. Reservations recommended. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

FEELINGS CAFE2600 Chartres St. 945-2222; www.feelingscafe.comA consistent favorite among New Orleans foodies, this picturesque cafe located in the former d'Aunoy plantation is a cozy spot loaded with atmosphere and great food. A consistent winner is the Gulf fish Nicholas, in which a fresh fillet is brushed with Dijon mustard, topped with Gulf shrimp and served on a bed of creamed spinach with new potatoes. No reservations. Dinner Thu.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

GUMBO SHOP640 St. Peter St. 525-1486; www.gumboshop.comGumbo, gumbo and more gumbo Ñ seafood okra gumbo, chicken andouille gumbo and even the vegetable-rich gumbo z'herbes Ñ start out most meals at the Gumbo Shop. From there, this French Quarter favorite provides a tour of classic down-home New Orleans cooking with dishes like crawfish etouffee, alligator sauce piquant and chicken espagnole. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $

LE CITRON BISTRO 1539 Religious St. 566-9051; Le Citron Bistro features Creole and Italian flavors in an intriguing dining room built in a Creole cottage that dates back to 1810. Start off with the Louisiana wild crawfish bisque or fried green tomatoes before turning to entrees such as the catfish St. Jean Baptiste topped with lump crab meat salad, fried sweet potato chips and a papaya sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

MURIEL'S JACKSON SQUARE801 Chartres St., 568-1885; www.muriels.comLocated in the heart of the French Quarter, the menu at Muriel's menu is conceived with an eye toward contemporary style and color while delivering the deep flavors of traditional Creole cuisine. Executive Chef Erik Vené y recommends the wood-grilled barbecue shrimp, pecan-crusted drum, turtle soup and tournedos of beef with blue cheese wontons. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$$

NOLA RESTAURANT534 St. Louis St. 522-6652; www.emerils.comThe second and by far most casual local restaurant by superstar Chef Emeril Lagasse, this bustling two-story restaurant has an open kitchen turning out the ÒBamÓ-master's trademark flavors. There's shrimp pasta with a warm remoulade sauce and duck with andouille sausage spoon bread alongside gourmet pizzas and peanut-crusted mahi mahi. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

ORIGINAL COFFEE POT714 St. Peter St. 524-3500Yes, the java flows early and often at this go-to spot in the French Quarter. But there's also a wide array of New Orleans and Louisiana favorites, from the oysters Rockefeller for starters to the seafood entrees (blackened redfish, trout Conti) to the daily lunch specials (red beans and rice on Monday, natch, or Creole stuffed bell peppers). They also serve a Hurricane we can stand, all syrupy and chilly. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

THE ORIGINAL PIERRE MASPERO'S440 Chartres St. 524-8990The house special ÒMaspero's Kick-Butt chiliÓ is a worthy winter warmer this season, as is the seafood gumbo at the Original Pierre Maspero's. Housed in a historic structure near the newly renovated Supreme Court building, the menu also features fresh oysters and shrimp cocktail, muffulettas, Òhalf-and-halfÓ po-boys with two types of seafood and a spicy buffalo chicken po-boy. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Sun., dinner Thu.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

ORLEANS CAFé135 Decatur St. 581-1136This corner café in the upper Quarter features New Orleans classics such as crawfish bisque alongside a menu of rotisserie meats. Specials include bronzed tilapia topped with a crab meat and the Mardi Gras pasta with shrimp and crawfish served in a Parmesan cream sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

605 Canal St. 523-1661;
For Creole cuisine that blends tradition and innovation, go to Palace Café for divine dishes like the creamy oyster pan roast, shrimp Tchefuncte with garlic, green onion and roasted mushrooms and the deeply satisfying white chocolate bread pudding. Upscale but not formal, the restaurant's tile work, polished brass, woodwork and bustling atmosphere suggest a French bistro. The second-floor windows offer great Carnival parade-viewing on Canal Street. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Fri.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville (985) 674-3436;
Grab a menu and order at the counter before taking a seat for a relaxing meal in this family friendly haven. There's even a kids' activity table so the adults can wind down with meals of Cajun Doodads (flash-fried onion slices marinated in hot sauce), Oysters on Piggyback (fried oysters wrapped in bacon), half-pound burgers and down-home entrees like barbecue pork ribs or pecan-crusted pork chops. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1036 Lafayette St., Gretna 367-0935
The Red Maple's kitchen produces dark, peppery seafood gumbo, fried green tomatoes, seafood-stuffed eggplant with shrimp, oysters, salmon, crab meat and tomato in a lemon-butter sauce and sauteed fresh-fish fillet Franciscan with a buttery meuniere sauce sprinkled with pecans sprinkled and roasted potatoes on the side. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

RIVER 127'
100 Iberville St. (Wyndham New Orleans at Canal Place) 553-5082;
From its perch on the 11th floor of the Wyndham Hotel at Canal Place, the restaurant's broad windows overlook the rooftops of the French Quarter and ships maneuvering the turn in the river below. A breakfast buffet starts the day while a la carte dining is available on a limited menu for lunch and dinner. Look for a return of the restaurant's popular Sunday jazz brunch a little later this year. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

823 Decatur St. 525-8676;
Tujague's prix fixe menu takes guests back in time with each meal at New Orleans' second-oldest restaurant. Shrimp remoulade is a mainstay, as is a boiled beef brisket. After courses of garlic-laden chicken bonne femme and boozy bread pudding, coffee with chicory arrives served in short glasses. Tujague's simple elegance appears virtually unchanged from its antebellum roots. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

1413 Upperline St. 891-9822;
For contemporary Creole cuisine served in a de facto Uptown gallery of eclectic art, diners in the know turn onto Upperline Street to visit with proprietress JoAnn Clevenger and chef Ken Smith. Peppery barbecue shrimp and grillades with grits, fried green tomatoes with remoulade and Tom Cowman's Famous Roast Duck (named for the late chef) and profiteroles with ice cream and bittersweet chocolate sauce are all hallmarks of Upperline's menu. Reservations recommended. Dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$$

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