2723 Roosevelt Blvd., Kenner 469-5599
This Spanish-style restaurant has flair and authentic fare. Lamb osso bucco, rabbit and tapas are new to the menu, which includes grilled bison. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1545 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey 263-5333; 3401 Holiday Drive, Algiers 362-9941; 3501 Severn Ave., Metairie 779-0888
A trip through the Mandarin House buffet could start with egg rolls and fried rice and move on to baked salmon and fried chicken. A variety of Chinese and American dishes are served from the buffet line. Reservations accepted at Metairie location. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

201 Bourbon St.; 236 Bourbon St.; 333 Bourbon St.; 400 Bourbon St.; 524-0114
Enjoy pizza by the slice from the Mango Mango oven, or a hot soft pretzel to provide a nice little foundation for all that slurping of daiquiris, cocktails or beer. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

640 Frenchmen St. 945-4472;
Chef Seth Smith's cuisine will leave more of an impression on you than the pretty surroundings. Popular choices include the eggplant-and-squash-based Napoleon Vegetal, and the shrimp, mirliton and green apple cobbler with pomme frites. Friday nights are ideal lounge nights, and the Sunday brunch with $2 mimosas, $3 bloody Marys and the Pfister Sisters as entertainment is a good way to finish the week. Reservations accepted. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner daily, brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

2401 Burgundy St. 948-7401
Amid the cute shotgun and center-hall houses of Faubourg Marigny, a new coffeehouse sprang up inside the former Coffee, Friends And ... location. Breakfast items such as muffins as well as sandwiches at lunch are appealing alongside the selection of gourmet coffees and teas. The coffeehouse also offers free wireless access. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

2035 Metairie Road, Metairie 832-8032
After 21 years, Mark Twain's is practically a landmark in a commercial strip on Metairie Road. Owner Dan Greenbaum says the specialty pizzas are a steady favorite with customers; the Italian pizza with salami, tomato, artichoke, sausage and basil is just one example. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie 896-7300; 2895 Hwy. 190, Suite A-1 (985) 951-8081; 3500 Magazine St., 894-7420 (wine store only);
Martin Wine Cellar has practically returned to its original menu at its Metairie and Mandeville locations, and not a moment too soon. While we patiently await the reappearance of the roasted pork loin sandwich, we'll keep happy with the burger, the Executive Club, and the Martin Salad. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

5908 Magazine St. 891-8495
This quaint, cozy and slightly exotic bistro features an adorable hidden courtyard, where space is a premium for special events and during nice weather. Prince Edward Island mussels and sauteed medallions of pork tenderloin are among Executive Chef Kevin Reese's offerings. A new lunch menu features bistro fare like quiche and Croque Madame sandwiches. Reservations recommended. Lunch Thu.-Sat., dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$

1000 W. Esplanade Ave., Suite A13, Kenner 466-1500;
McAlister's might be a national chain, but it draws scores of diners with its quick service, made-to-order foods and unpretentious atmosphere. Basic sandwiches, salads and potatoes are among the many choices, and the gumbo makes many forget they're dining in a national chain. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

5129 Canal Blvd. 483-7930
Generations of college students have trekked to the end of Canal Boulevard for fun of a liquid-refreshment nature. The old stomping grounds may be gone, but McNulty's Bitter End carries on the tradition with libations, half-pound burgers, chicken sandwiches, fried catfish and meat pies. Not so bitter after all, eh? No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

942 N. Rampart 569-9979
Chef Matthew Guidry prepared French colonial Indo Chine cuisine including an appetizer of ginger-crawfish dumplings with a sesame dipping sauce. For an entr — e try the classic French trout Grenobloise, pan-fried trout that's roasted and dressed with a lemon-butter caper sauce and served with parsley potatoes and hericot vert. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1701 Lake Ave., Metairie 828-9446
All of Bucktown used to be hopping. The Lake Avenue-Old Hammond Highway intersection is still holding on with the reopening of bars and restaurants such as Melius, famous for its French fries smothered in Swiss cheese and brown gravy. The kitchen begins serving omelets, egg specials and other breakfast fare at 6 a.m. on weekdays and stays open for sandwiches and bar food through the late-night hours. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Fri., lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

2801 Dauphine St. 942-4226
The owners of the Melonhead took over the former Aquarians Marketplace building on the border of Faubourg Marigny and Bywater on July 5, just in time for Katrina. They reopened Nov. 11 with a healthy and healthful array of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly offerings including 15 different gourmet sandwiches (with bread delivered by the Bagel Factory), scrambled egg and vegan scrambled egg sandwiches, soups, salads, sea vegetables and a sweet selection of fresh-squeezed juices, all-natural smoothies and a locally grown, organic wheat grass juice. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

1820 St. Charles Ave. 525-3225;
New Orleans' first fondue restaurant of recent vintage, Melting Pot is an interactive dining experience in that diners prepare and then dip the components of their meal. But this fondue is not limited to cheese and stale bread: Pieces of steak, shrimp and lobster are there to tempt you in the "Big Night Out" meal. You may be tempted to start with the dessert menu, specifically the Pure Chocolate. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4133 S. Carrollton Ave. 482-3133;
Kudos are in order to John Blancher, who reopened Rock 'N' Bowl against a barren cityscape and to the gratitude of many music- and fun-starved New Orleanians. He's rebuilding the menu — currently pizza, Buffalo wings and fries — and live music is a calling card Wednesdays through Saturdays. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

30160 Hwy. 51, Manchac (985) 386-6666
In the mood for a road trip, but without the hassle? About a half-hour from downtown New Orleans, Middendorf's serves seafood as we've come to love it. Thin, fried catfish is the most-requested menu item, and it's served on po-boys and as an entree. Boiled seafood, steaks and salads round out the offerings, but customers also come for the stunning view of Lake Maurepas. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

133 St. Charles Ave. 523-2668
A classic sports deli, Mike's invites fans of all foods to try the popular grilled Reuben sandwich, fresh-cooked corned beef, covered with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. Or order the fried oysters, rolled in batter then sizzled until golden brown. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

3301 S. Carrollton Ave. 488-1881;
Mikimoto offers diners extensive sushi choices of new and old favorites, such as the barbecue yellowtail roll and the Tigers Eye Roll with baked squid and smelt roe. The staff recommends the Fuji shrimp, fried shrimp in a ginger sauce, for folks who forgo the raw in favor of the deep-fried. The whimsical South Carrollton roll includes tuna tataki, avocado and snow crab for an Uptown-meets-Far-East taste experience. Reservations accepted for groups of five or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Delivery available. Credit cards. $

3002 Cleary Ave., Metairie 780-7500
This is a small restaurant, well hidden from main-street traffic, but it's worth seeking out. The artichoke pizza with garlic sauce offers flavors both sharp and mellow, and the salads are memorable. A casual atmosphere means a low-key dining experience, but you'll leave full and happy. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2601 Royal St. 942-0690
The decadant Mushroom Manchego Toast is a favorite here, and the post-Katrina menu has been augmented with goat cheese croquets and grilled marinated artichokes. Reservations accepted for large parties. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

10160 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge 737-6464
River Ridge residents have long known about Mimi's Restaurant, an atmospheric little place with an unpretentious but impressive Italian menu. Crabmeat cheesecake, veal meatballs, and veal-stuffed eggplant are among the menu offerings; follow up with a Frangelico Chambord panna cotta. As they say, molto bene! No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1540 Lindberg Drive, I-10 Service Road, Slidell (985) 781-6565;
The old-school menu offers two choices: brisket or catfish, with a green salad and bread pudding. But Minacapelli's brings theatrical entertainment with dinner — May 12-28, Secrets Every Smart Traveller Should Know; and June 9-24, Who's Afraid of Virginia's Wolf Notes?. An optional dessert-and-show price is also available. Reservations required. Lunch Sun., dinner Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

1403 Saint Charles Ave. 410-9997; 3837 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 779-6475
Experience dining Japanese-style — or go for a juicy steak — with specialties from the sushi or hibachi menus, chicken, beef or seafood teriyaki, and lightly battered and fried tempura. Reservations accepted. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

69292 Hwy. 21, Suite 300, Covington (985) 893-9895;
Once you get past the zany names on the menu, you'll see that Moe's serves freshly made burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads, with an emphasis on fresh. The Homewrecker burrito is full of rice, beans, your choice of meat, shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce. On second thought, part of the fun of dining at Moe's is ordering the Pinky Tuscadero or the I Said Posse. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1500 Magazine St. 525-2244
Diehards who bemoan the closing of the "Little Rue" at the corner of Magazine and Race streets can rejoice because new owners last month revived the venerable spot, did a makeover and are ready for the denizens to return. The orange, brown and blue walls provide a funky ambience for customers to enjoy organic and Fair Trade coffees from all over the world as well as milkshake-style bubble teas. Free wireless Internet access is provided, with an ATM on the premises if you're caught short. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

1507 Metairie Road, Metairie 837-8990
Start your day with one of several versions of egg sandwiches or a breakfast platter with two eggs, three pieces of bacon and toast or a muffin. At lunch try the Zorba the Greek panini: sliced grilled chicken breast, tomato, calamata olives, crumbled feta cheese, fresh greens and house Greek dressing on your choice of bread. There's vanilla custard for dessert. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., lunch and dinner Mon.-Sun. Credit cards. $

1212 Royal St. 522-6746
New owners and new management at this 18-year-old French Quarter staple have promised to keep doing what Mona Lisa's customers love best: standard dishes such as the Mardi Gras pasta — linguine tossed with shrimp and sausage in a spicy red sauce. The restaurant has a new license to sell beer and wine, and if you BYO, they'll charge a corkage fee. Reservations accepted for large groups. Lunch and dinner daily. Delivery available in the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny. Credit cards. $$

1120 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-8174; 504 Frenchmen St. 949-4115; 2820 E. Causeway Approach, Mandeville (985) 624-2977; 4126 Magazine St. 894-9800;
Perhaps the city's best-known chain of Middle Eastern restaurants, Mona's takes the mystery out of ethnic food. The Lula Kebab sandwich, chicken Lula and chicken Tecka are among their signature items. Most of the dinnersare said to comply with low-carb diets such as Sugar Busters! That makes it a little easier to order the baklava afterward. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1921 Sophie Wright Place 522-7313
With tabbouleh and hummus on the menu, Moonlight Café could be considered a restaurant with Middle Eastern leanings. But its entrees are all-American: seafood platters, burgers, barbecue chicken and even a taco salad, with pecan pie for dessert. And the kitchen is open till midnight. Delivery available. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards and checks. $

3325 Severn Ave., Metairie 885-4068
Love beignets but work in Metairie? Morning Call Coffee Stand, across 18th Street from Lakeside Shopping Center, serves beignets and coffee to folks in need of a sugar fix and/or a caffeine jolt. Either way, it tastes good — like home. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only. $

702 Water St., Madisonville (985) 845-4970;
As we head into summer, the Tchefuncte River will be busy with boaters and water-skiers. If you prefer a less hands-on approach to this watery world, view it from the windows of Morton's Seafood Restaurant, where seafood and Creole specialties are served in a rustic building. Everything on the menu is homemade, from the shrimp and crab bisque and seafood gumbo to the remoulade and freshly fried platters. Try the lobster and fresh asparagus as well. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Credit cards. $$

365 Canal St. (The Shops at Canal Place) 566-0221;
Morton's has reappeared on the dining scene and procured the best aged USDA prime steaks from Chicago's premier meatpackers. The choicest cuts are displayed on a cart so you can see exactly what you are getting. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

1112 Ave. H, Westwego 341-9650;
The muffuletta and any 20-inch pizza are popular at Mo's, but the lasagna and pizza turnovers are also on the menu. Look for daily specials (such as barbecue beef or the hot sausage po-boy) during the week. Mo's is the restaurant that hosted Mo's Fest, a fundraiser to benefit the Westwego police and fire departments. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

401 Poydras St. 523-9656;
Dine healthily at a New Orleans restaurant, you ask? Yes, it can be done. Mother's breakfast offering of Jerry's Omelet, egg whites scrambled with bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms and turkey keeps your blood pressure low but still tastes good. On the other hand, it may be hard to resist the special sandwiches or the daily specials of baked spaghetti pie or beef stew. Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Morning delivery available. Credit cards. $

131 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna 368-8678
East Bankers may complain about having little reason to visit cute little Old Gretna, but tap into a West Bank secret: Mother's. No relation to the Other Mother's, this establishment serves plate lunches such as fried fish, veal cutlets, hamburger steaks and grilled chicken in a building fronting the courthouse square. After your meal, wander to the levee and engage in some river-gazing. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

1001 Live Oak St., Metairie 838-0022
Reopening after a 2005 fire, Mr. Ed's continues to serve seafood, sandwiches and Italian dishes in the Metairie location. Stuffed artichokes, bell peppers and eggplant are among the selections as well as regular sandwiches and po-boys. Plenty of New Orleanians regard Mr. Ed's as a name in the city's culinary canon because the restaurant preserves a neighborhood feel and the dishes we all love. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards $

3620 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie 833-9228
What you see is what you get at Mr. Gyro's, where Greek and Mediterranean foods are served without fuss and complication. This is a long-time Metairie restaurant not far from the busy intersection of Veterans and Causeway. The house specialty is — well, the name says it all. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3501 Severn Ave., Metairie 885-4010
Mr. Roo's may have a scaled-back menu, but there's still plenty to sample: po-boys (including a hamburger), salads (try the grilled chicken), hot-plate and chef's specials every day, such as the red beans and rice or the stewed chicken. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards.$

201 Julia St. 522-1492Authentic Cajun fare is served against a backdrop of rustic near-Acadiana, complete with live music on Friday nights. Try the catfish Mulate, grilled with crawfish etouffee, or Cecilia, also grilled, with crab meat stuffing, or a seafood platter. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

3535 Severn Ave., Metairie 888-5858
Mulligan's is one of those favored sports bars that's hidden away in a strip mall in Metairie. Maybe the regulars like its semi-secret location? The bar pays homage to the New Orleans Saints, but you can also sing karaoke, play darts or shoot pool and have supper — giant burgers and more — to boot. This is sports viewing in an uncomplicated, fun-loving atmosphere. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

801 Chartres St., 568-1885;
Located in the heart of the French Quarter, the menu at Muriel's is conceived with an eye toward contemporary style and color while delivering the deep flavors of traditional Creole cuisine. Executive Chef Erik Veney recommends the wood-grilled barbecue shrimp, pecan-crusted drum, turtle soup and tournedos of beef with blue cheese wontons. The menu is scheduled to change early this month. At the Sunday jazz brunch, Joe Simon's Jazz is the featured entertainment. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $$$

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