4841 Tchoupitoulas St. 895-6784
Whether it's for a late-night fix of gooey, waffle-cut cheese fries and overstuffed quesadillas, the good times on the dance floor or the convivial bar scene on the covered patio, F&M has been a destination for generations of the young and young-at-heart. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3133 Ponce de Leon, 948-3222;
Look for this neighborhood favorite in the Faubourg St. John to formally reopen around Jazz Fest in May. In the meantime, the benches outside on the sidewalk remain a gathering place for regulars and neighbors even as storm repairs continue at the coffeehouse. No reservations. Call for hours. Cash only. $

4330 St. Charles Ave. 895-9582
An address on New Orleans' most elegant avenue does nothing to inhibit the good times at this tavern, a favored haunt of those currently living — or reliving college — glory and anyone else who can keep up. Stop in during daylight hours for a more sanguine scene and pull up a table outside to watch the traffic cruise past under the live oaks. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

530 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-7121
Chef Fausto prepares classic renditions of northern Italian and Sicilian favorites at his intimate Metairie bistro, with many dishes featuring his hearty marinara. The house special frutti di mare platter takes particular advantage of the bonanza of local seafood, combining oysters, crab claws, fresh Gulf fish, soft-shell crab and shrimp with mussels and calamari. Lunch weekdays, dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

1841 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 624-9704
Rich, Italian-style cream sauces are a major specialty at this cozy Northshore café where veal, fish and chicken are all done in the Neapolitan way. Sample a glass of wine and dive into the veal Fazzio over pasta with an artichoke cream sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

2600 Chartres St. 945-2222;
Feelings of romance and intrigue come with the territory at this charming restaurant built in a historic Faubourg Marigny plantation house. Sit in the elegant main dining room or outside in the picture perfect courtyard for a menu of Creole cuisine featuring dishes like Gulf fish Nicholas, brushed with Dijon mustard, grilled, topped with shrimp and set on a bed of creamed spinach. No reservations. Dinner Thu.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

4938 Prytania St. 895-1330;
The long-time French Quarter seafood landmark has opened a branch Uptown, dishing up its famous oysters on the half shell and other specialties at the former Vaqueros location. In addition to the action at the long oyster bar, check out New Orleans staples such as jambalaya, shrimp Creole, gumbo and po-boys plus steamed and grilled seafood fish served in lighter sauces. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

900 N. Carrollton Ave. 488-2155
Once a gas station, the building that houses Fellini's was beautifully transformed into a bustling neighborhood café serving a pan-Mediterranean menu of dips, pastas, sandwiches and pizzas. Try the thick Mediterranean burger with its flavorful seasonings and feta cheese or the spicy chicken pizza that lives up to its name with big cloves of roasted garlic, chunks of chicken and optional hot peppers. On nice days, the front patio offers great al fresco dining. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1924 Airline Drive, Kenner 469-5792
Authentic regional specialties of Mexico and Central America are served in this down-home café near the airport. The pupusas stuffed with white cheese, pork and beans are a classic Salvadoran treat while the choripollo — grilled chicken breast with spicy chorizo — is a house favorite. Wash it all down with Mexican beer or colorful agua fresca in flavors including pineapple, tamarind, passion fruit and cantaloupe. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

45 French Market Place 528-9566
This long-time fixture near the French Market has seen a rebirth in recent years as younger Quarter denizens have joined the cops, local workers and random tourists at this down-home restaurant and bar. The fried chicken is popular to the point of virtual cult status, but lighter fare like a combination grilled shrimp and catfish plate also packs local flavor in each bite. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1377 Annunciation St. 566-1950;
Fresh flavors inspired by the cuisine of California wine country inform the menu at this historic firehouse-turned-restaurant with its soaring ceiling and attractive brick interior. Check out the black bean and tasso soup, a warm pear and pancetta salad, braised short ribs or the smoked salmon flatbread topped with sun-dried tomato cream cheese and sprouts. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

3201 Williams Blvd., Kenner 443-3474 or (800) 443-3474
This seafood supplier offers a wide range of shrimp, oysters, spicy boiled crawfish, crab and soups. The market also sells beef, ham and turkey. Fresh seafood is purchased daily and can be shipped overnight to almost anywhere in the country. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3511 S. Carrollton Ave. 482-3935
Reopened just a week ago in the Imperial Room next door to the old restaurant, Five Happiness offers its regular menu, including sizzling jumbo shrimp — jumbo shrimp saut — ed with mushrooms and snow peas served on a sizzling plate with steamed rice. The baked duck is seasoned and marinated before it's cooked in an oven until the skin is crispy. It's served with duck sauce on the side and steamed rice. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

737 Octavia St. 895-0900
Take a few steps off Magazine Street to find the charming atmosphere and classic cuisine of this Uptown French bistro, where low lighting and intimate dining rooms strike a romantic tone. The chef's specialties include calves sweetbread poulette, sauteed liver Lyonnaise and rack of lamb au jus. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

307 Chartres St. 529-9641
This cozy French Quarter café offers hearty breakfasts and fresh-tasting lunches on an attractive block of galleries and boutiques. Go for namesake dishes like the Fleur de Lis omelet with crawfish tails, pepper jack cheese, peppers and onions and Cajun crawfish sauce. The muffuletta panini is also recommended, as are the two-egg breakfast sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

2600 Royal St. 947-8358
The cozy atmosphere and bohemian vibe pour out of the nooks and crannies of this Creole house turned coffee shop like the dark, rich brews being poured behind the service counter. In addition to hot and chilled coffee drinks, Flora's serves light meals with pastries, veggie burritos, bagels and sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

2101 Williams Blvd., Kenner 467-9928
Fong's Triple Treat, which combines succulent pork, fresh shrimp, savory chicken, snow peas and bamboo shoots, certainly is a treat on a menu that showcases the most popular Chinese food at family-friendly prices. Friendly service, potent Polynesian drinks from the bar and generous portions of flavorful food have made Fong's a Kenner dining destination for decades. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1200 S. Clearview Pkwy. (Elmwood Village Shopping Center), Harahan 731-6000
The ambience of an English pub is enhanced by a menu melding Old World flavors like the Newcastle Brown Ale cheese soup with Fox & Hound specialties including "Firecrackers" — fried chicken pieces served as platters or embedded in Firecracker sandwiches. Order from the extensive beer selection, catch a game on one of the many TVs and peruse a menu of pizzas, barbecue platters, burgers and salads. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

100 Marina Del Ray Drive, Hwy 22., Madisonville (985) 792-4000
The Mighty River Burger is a 9-oz. patty smothered in saut — ed mushrooms and onions, topped with bacon, cheddar and Swiss cheese.The Tchefuncte Special shrimp po-boy is loaded with fried shrimp, bacon and Swiss. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

321 Arabella St. 899-9146;
The epitome of the New Orleans neighborhood joint, this Uptown boiled seafood specialist serves up big baskets of hot crawfish this time of year, along with its perennial favorites from the fryer. Start with an order of fried bell pepper rings or try the fried chicken platter. Daily specials like red beans and pork chops are always popular as well. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

1001 Decatur St. 525-7879
A lively restaurant on lower Decatur Street near the French Market, the kitchen here turns out crowd-pleasing New Orleans favorites like red beans and rice, jambalaya, shrimp and oysters, which can all be sampled at once on the Bayou Platter or ordered individually. A particular specialty is the lobster etouffee prepared with rice, shrimp and crawfish. Fresh oysters and boiled shellfish are available seasonally. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

816 Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 892-0125
This recreated French Quarter scene on the Northshore serves the iconic sugar-dusted beignets and richly aromatic café au lait made famous on the other side of the lake in the Vieux Carre. Look for refreshing juices and cool ice coffee for the warmer days ahead plus diner fare for when an order of beignets just isn't enough. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash and checks. $

7625 Maple St. 862-6363
Nice springtime weather signals the highly competitive season for the outdoor tables at Fresco, where neighborhood regulars and folks from the nearby universities can nosh on the pan-Mediterranean menu on lively Maple Street. Whether dining indoors or out, the gourmet pizzas and sandwiches, hummus with pita bread, pastas, lamb and eggplant entrees offers plenty from which to choose. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

5130 Freret St., 891-4080
A college tradition for more than four decades, Friar Tuck's boasts a wide assortment of beer on tap, vintage video games, multiple TVs for sporting events and, of course, a menu of bar food. Try the half-pound Tucks burger or the chicken quesadilla between drafts. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

S5250 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan 733-3401;
This branch of a smoothies franchise offers "really good smoothie and shakes" — and an extensive menu of healthy wraps made with fresh ingredients. Smoothies come in tropical and performance varieties, and nutritional information at the company's Web site makes choosing healthy alternatives that much easier. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

2800 Manhattan Blvd., Suite B, Harvey 361-9099; 3400 Cleary Ave., Metairie 888-9600
The popularity of bubble tea may have peaked, but some places still do it — and do it right. Frosty's is well known for their filling and tasty bubble tea, and mango is Frosty's best-selling flavor. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

724 Martin Behrman Ave., Metairie 834-5646
Just off busy Veterans Memorial Boulevard, Fury's belies its tempestuous name with a friendly, casual atmosphere and a menu of Italian and seafood entrees. Specialties such as gumbo and veal Parmesan are standard fare here, and the dining room is filled with people from the surrounding neighborhoods, who have patronized the place for more than 20 years. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

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