605 Canal St. 523-1661;
Open since 1981, the Palace Caf — is housed in the historic Werlein's music building on Canal Street. They serve signature dishes like crabmeat cheesecake, catfish pecan, andouille-crusted Gulf fish, and the restaurant's original white chocolate bread pudding. Be sure to try Chef Darin Nesbit's seasonal dishes, too. Reservations recommended. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Fri.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

1204 Decatur St. 525-0200;
Life here is relaxing and delicious as jazz and Creole food come together. Try the cheese Goujans, or fried crawfish tails, and soak up the music of the featured jazz performer of the night. Reservations accepted. Dinner Wed.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

500 St. Charles Ave. (Best Western Parc St. Charles) 299-8004
There's more to this St. Charles Avenue restaurant's menu than traditional Chinese and Japanese cuisine. There's also a variety of noodle dishes like pad Thai, with shrimp, chicken, beef or pork, and several different kinds of coconut milk-based soups are available. Reservations accepted. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4 St. Tammany Plaza, Covington (985) 893-9191; 632 Terry Pkwy., Gretna 362-7272; 1531 Metairie Road, Metairie 833-2353; 1819 W. Airline Hwy., LaPlace 652-0123; 1181 Robert Blvd., Slidell (985) 645-3680; 1955 Ormond Blvd., Destrehan 764-9494; 2153 Lapalco Blvd., Harvey 361-3636; 2625 David Drive, Metairie 455-7272; 2993-A Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 674-4000; 3117 Calhoun St. 862-6020; 3624 W. Esplanade Ave., Metairie 885-7400; 3628 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, Algiers 365-8100; 4041 Williams Blvd., Kenner 443-4555; 5009 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero 349-0155; 6861 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan 738-8000;
Try The Works for a little of everything, or specialty pies like the Spinach Alfredo pizza. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $$

235 Derbigny St., Gretna 371-5015
You can choose from a traditional breakfast combo or get all the ingredients — egg, sausage, bacon or ham — on a biscuit or chiabatta bread. Lunch regulars favor the barbecue beef sandwich, dressed up with provolone cheese, barbecue mayonnaise, onion, lettuce and tomato. No reservations. Delivery available. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Fri. Credit cards. $

3717 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-4141
Shop for home and kitchen accents — a new feature here — while enjoying homemade soups, salads, and sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast Mon.-Fri., lunch Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

2533 Constance St. 899-2054; www.parasols.comOnce a year locals gather at this Irish Channel bar and restaurant for the biggest party on St. Patrick's Day. For the rest of the year it serves up po-boys of all kinds including what it claims is "the best roast beef po-boy east of the Mississippi." No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Sun., dinner Thu.-Sun. Credit cards. $

538 N. Hagan Ave. 482-3047
With bands that start every Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m., cheap adult beverages, or a cold Barq's, this Bayou St. John haven soothes the hungry masses with big roast beef and hot sausage po-boys. Call to check on whether seafood is available. No reservations. Lunch and early dinner Tue.-Sun. Cash only. $

100 E. Pine St., Ponchatoula (985) 386-9581
It seems only fitting that a Ponchatoula caf — like this one can truly claim a famous strawberry daiquiri. Open since 1976, they also serve down-home breakfasts, po-boys and more. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Credit cards. $

615 Bienville St./312 Exchange Place 523-1504;
This elegant French Quarter restaurant serves succulent entrees such as the rack of lamb, seared tuna and the Trio of Duckling: a combo of Peking duck leg confit, Chinese barbecue duck and Maigret duck breast served with honey and Louisiana navel orange sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

1041 Dumaine St. 593-9535
This upscale restaurant from Chef Tom Wolfe serves an interesting combination of American- and bistro-style food such as a foie gras that comes pan-roasted on homemade brioche with baby arugula and a balsamic extraction. For an entree try the crispy duck. Reservations required. Lunch Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$$

2020 Hwy. 59, Mandeville (985) 674-3436;
Stop in at this Mandeville eatery for a down-home atmosphere. With quirky comfort items like Cajun Doodads (thinly sliced onions marinated in Louisiana hot sauce and flash fried) on the blackboard menu, you can order at the counter, have a seat and relax. No reservations. Lunch Thu.-Tue., dinner Thu.-Mon. Credit cards. $

4639 Westbank Expwy., Marrero 328-2222
Here the Philly steak meets the po-boy. Purists can get the traditional-style Philly on Amoroso hoagie bread that's shipped in twice a week from Philadelphia, or you can throw shrimp, hot sausage and hot sauce in with your steak, making for a unique New Orleans combination. A new location will open soon on Airline Drive. No reservations. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner Sun.-Thu. Credit cards. $

4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 889-9950
This Lebanese-influenced Middle Eastern restaurant serves an array of grape leaf dishes, but the grilled lamb chops are top sellers. Reservations accepted Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2222 Clearview Pkwy., Metairie 454-6271; 4150 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, Algiers 392-7030;
The first Piccadilly started in Baton Rouge more than 60 years ago, and the chain now spans across the Southeast. The buffet sticks to the basics with turkey and gravy, fried chicken and daily specials. Red Velvet Cake is a dessert classic here. Mid-City diners are hoping for a speedy reopening. No reservations. Lunch and dinner buffet daily. Credit cards. $

4445 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-7888
A variety of pizzas and salads can be found here, located at the intersection of Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Clearview Parkway. Especially popular are healthy and filling wraps like chicken Caesar, spinach and artichoke, and a shrimp Florentine wrap. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

644 Camp St. 529-3658; 800 Metairie Road, Metairie 828-1460; 945 Magazine St. 525-0522; 1600 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 871-9326; 1808-B. W. Airline Drive, LaPlace (985) 359-7575; 2963 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 674-1565; 3700 Orleans Ave. (American Can Company) 934-1192; 4100 Gen. DeGaulle Drive, Algiers 392-4280; 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd. (Clearview Shopping Center), Metairie 885-4543; 4480 Hwy. 22, Mandeville (985) 624-9015; 5300 Tchoupitoulas St., 895-2007; 5359 Mounes St., Harahan 731-2905; 10158 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge 738-7797; 61103 Airport Road, Slidell (985) 847-9474; 70456 Hwy. 21, Covington (985) 875-7894;
The first PJ's opened in 1978 on Maple Street and has swelled with locations all over Louisiana and the South, and boasts its own roasting facilities. In addition to coffees and teas, PJ's offers a selection of pastries and desserts daily. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

1827 Hickory Ave., River Ridge 738-2220;
In addition to coffee, tea and pastries, you can get soups, salads and sandwiches at this River Ridge coffee house. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards. $

8536 Pontchartrain Blvd. 282-4233;
Located in the tattered West End, this restaurant holds strong with standard seafood fare, combined with some Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana. Reservations accepted. Lunch Wed.-Mon., dinner Fri-Sat. Credit cards. $$

81250 Old Military Road, Bush (985) 892-9742;
Pontchartrain Vineyards has added bistro fare to its repertoire. Sample the Cheese Plate (French brie, vintage cheddar, bead and walnuts) or the Meat & Cheese Plate (French brie, vintage cheddar, prosciutto, bread and walnuts). The new, monthly Steak Dinner Series next falls on April 22. Reservations and prepayment required. Lunch daily. Credit cards. $

838 Esplanade Ave. 523-0120;
Big drinks, big burgers, and big baked potatoes at this bamboo-lined bar and restaurant satisfy big appetites. With a drink menu that's longer than the food menu, customers use this as a launching point for a night in the Quarter or Marigny. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

542 Frenchmen St. 943-3934;
We all need food that warms and invigorates the soul sometimes, and that's what has made Praline Connection famous. Its down-home Cajun-Creole specialties include fried chicken with or without red beans and rice, greens, cornbread, fried dill pickles or okra, and chicken livers. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

3128 Magazine St. 894-8988; 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd. (Lakeside Shopping Center), Metairie 835-3151; 5200 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 780-9970;
This local coffee shop boasts its Italian caf — influence with authentic cappuccinos and zepoles (like an Italian beignet). It also features a soup of the day, and an Italian muffuletta. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

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