817 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 468-8829; 1130 S. Clearview Pkwy., Elmwood 733-8879; 4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 779-7253
Check out the sushi creations, or if you prefer something cooked there's the blackened tuna dinner, which starts with sea tuna covered in pepper and teriyaki sauce and then blackened. The stuffed shrimp dinner features eight shrimp stuffed with crabmeat and served with wasabi peanut sauce. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2830 Magazine St. 894-0033;
Japanese cuisine meets New Orleans flavors in this hip sushi restaurant. Examples of this holy matrimony include the Jazz Roll, the Uptown Roll and the New Orleans Roll. Also try interesting appetizers like Japanese Pizza and their extensive Sake list. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4300 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 885-5566
Veal osso bucco is the pride and joy of this traditional Italian restaurant in Metairie. Feast on this white collar of veal with marrow in the bone that comes with angel-hair pasta and a light marinara sauce. Reservations recommended. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

400 Iberville St. 561-6070
Indian, Pakistani and a slice of New Orleans make up the food at this French Quarter restaurant. Try flavorful cuts of the Beef kebab, while vegetarians will be pleased to find 35 different vegetarian dishes on the menu. Traditional po-boys are also available. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

1340 S. Carrollton Ave. 324-6640
Set in a row of restaurants on Carrollton Avenue, the Saltwater Grill serves all the traditional seafood dishes fried or grilled. It has a range of salads and po-boys for lunch, and sweet potato fries are available anytime. Raw and char-grilled oyster are back for dinner only; follow them with blackened redfish. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more. Call for hours. Credit cards. $$

627 Bourbon St. 525-8442Sammy's offers steaks and grilled seafood with a Cajun influence. Popular dishes include the steak and shrimp dish, stuffed shrimp with crabmeat dressing and more. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

6601 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-7784; www.sandrostrattoria.comSandro says when you're in his trattoria in Metairie, you can close your eyes and be transported to Tuscany. In addition to offering constants like eggplant lasagna, Sandro keeps his loyal customers on their toes with rotating daily specials. Reservations accepted. Lunch and early dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

724 Dublin St. 861-0565Asian Creole? It actually works here as Asian flavors are blended with local cooking techniques in dishes like pepper-crusted pork chops, honey-ginger scallops and Malaysian steamed mussels in savory garlic-white-wine broth. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

4519 Magazine St. 895.2665;
You'll always find the gourmet lunches here affordable and filling. Consider the lump crabmeat salad with spiced olives, pear tomatoes, cucumbers, Romano croutons and red-wine vinaigrette or the hot meatloaf sandwich with roasted garlic mayonnaise and arugula on French bread. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

2483 Royal St. 944-6666
This locals' spot in the Faubourg Marigny invites you to relax and dine on some comfort food like burgers, spaghetti and meatballs or rib-eye steak with a baked potato. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

509 S. Tyler St., Covington (985) 892-3287Fried oysters, fried catfish and fried soft-shell crab bring people in droves to this popular Covington seafood restaurant. Be sure to check out the weekend specials. Reservations accepted except on Fridays. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

279 Hickory Ave., Harahan 738-1116
Enjoy the treasures of the sea with dishes like barbecue shrimp pasta, which starts with shrimp sauteed with onions, peppers, garlic, butter and Worcestershire sauce on a bed of angel-hair pasta and topped with mozzarella. The restaurant also serves angel-hair pasta topped with crabcakes and crawfish cream sauce or crawfish pies. No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

I239 Decatur St. 525-9595
Focus, breathe and let out the samurai in you at this sushi restaurant tucked among several bars on Decatur Street. Try sushi, tempura and teriyaki, and watch for menu changes coming soon. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

100 Tyler Square, Covington (985) 898-0004; 1121 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 361-8293; 2999 Hwy. 190, Mandeville (985) 626-8923; 3501 W. Chateau Blvd., Kenner 468-1047; 4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd. (Clearview Shopping Center), Metairie 454-7930;
Semolina's invitation to try an adventure in pasta has allowed successful locations to sprout up all over the state since the first one opened in Covington in 1991. Try selections like chicken enchilada pasta, double-cheeseburger pasta, pad Thai, shrimp roban — or create your own dish. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4436 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 780-2354;
Serrano's encourages you to get in touch with your inner Latin lover with dishes from different regions, including Cuban pork carnitas or Bistec Serrano, a house specialty of skirt steak lightly fried and topped with salsa ranchero and queso blanco. The large menu also includes a selection of 50 tequilas and 40 rums. Reservations accepted for 10 more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

408 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 951-8888;
Chinese classics like Szechuan and Kung Pao dishes, Buddhist Delights for vegetarians and affordable pricing make this traditional Chinese restaurant a solid choice. Reservations accepted for large parties. Limited delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1855 Dock St., Harahan 729-4442
The Hot Shimmy may sound like a new dance, but it's actually a sandwich made with a blend of sausage and hamburger. In addition, po-boys and sandwiches, check out daily specials like crawfish on Fridays and steak plates on weekends. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2325 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-7477
In most places, if the staff threw food at you there would be cause for concern, but here that's all part of the fun. Pull up a seat at the hibachi grill and watch masterful chefs chop and dice your food, occasionally flipping a sample in the air for you to catch in your mouth. Regular seating also is available. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

3655 18th St., Metairie 456-2618
Catch a ballgame and cheer your team on at this Metairie sports bar and grill that has a plethora of televisions that are ideal game-watching. A Shooter burger with French fries and a cold beer is the preferred choice among regulars. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

614 Canal St. (JW Marriott Hotel) 527-6726;
Former Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula always enjoyed a challenge, so he has no problem posing one for diners who enter his steakhouse. Whoever can handle the 48-oz. porterhouse steak is welcome into the 48-Ounce Club, currently 30,000 strong across the nation. Or dive into Maine lobsters that weigh in at as much as 5 pounds. Size clearly matters here. Reservations acceped. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

106 Hwy. 190, Slidell (985) 641-4004; 301 N. Hwy. 190, Covington (985) 893-0005; 1723 Manhattan Blvd., Suite T, Harvey 363-3232
You can sample all kinds of Italian food for one price at this buffet-style restaurant with salad and pasta bars in addition to a wide variety of pizzas by the slice. Save room for the dessert pizza and ice cream. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

620 Conti St. (Exchange Alley) 681-0911
Dine inside or on the patio outside and enjoy crawfish boils every Sunday during mudbug season. A bestseller is mahi-mahi tacos, featuring grilled fish with corn chutney and guacamole in a corn tortilla. For a sophisticated taste, try salmon or tuna Napoleon with blackened blueberry soy sauce and fresh avocados on a bed of mixed greens. There also are sandwiches, salads, burgers and crabcakes. No reservations. Delivery available. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

1229 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 831-4002
If a game is on, you'll need to get a seat early at this popular sports bar. Thursday night is steak night, with a filet mignon, creamed potatoes and French bread for $10. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

1513 St. Charles Ave. 525-7437
Neapolitan-style pizza rules, but you can buy pizza by the slice and can add or subtract toppings as you choose. There are also a full coffee bar, Italian sodas and organic teas. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards and checks. $

3322 Magazine St. 891-3447;
"Still cookin' with love" is the motto at this Uptown diner. Favorites include breakfast dishes like the Jewish Coonass or the post-Katrina-inspired Contractor, which comes with just about everything one could eat for breakfast. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash and checks. $

5725 Jefferson Hwy., Harahan 733-3000;
The seafood platter here will surely put a smile on anyone's face. The restaurant also serves Italian favorites, seafood, steaks and even some Cajun dishes. Available for parties and weddings. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

626 Frenchmen St. 949-0696;
Snug Harbor maintains a well-deserved reputation as a top-tier New Orleans jazz club. Less noted but no less worthy is its cuisine — traditional Creole and Cajun fare pepper the menu along with newer creations such as the fish Marigny, topped with Gulf shrimp in a Creole cream sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

1912 Magazine St. 561-0291
The new management at this old-fashioned parlor named in honor of the nearby Sophie B. Wright Historic Park has expanded the menu to include lunch items like tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad, turkey or ham and cheese, as well as chili and soups. There also are new flavors of ice cream to try on top of the sorbets, gelato, pies, cakes and other desserts. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

141 Delaronde St., Algiers 227-2989
This new West Bank venture serves gourmet-to-go meals and fresh baked goods and has recently expanded its reach into the nearby Crown & Anchor pub, elevating its grub above the standard fare. Try one of the "toastie" sandwiches, such as andouille with hurricane sauce or turkey, onion and apple. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

2700 Chartres St. 947-4477
Pastries and bagels are the main breakfast fare, but lunch and dinner feature sandwiches, lasagna and quiche specials that change daily. Sandwiches are served on chiabatta bread and are made with ham, turkey or salami, Swiss cheese and vegetable, served with chips, all for $5. Christmas In the Trenches performs live music on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and early dinner daily. Cash only. $

720 Claiborne Drive, Jefferson 835-3035
For serious po-boys, step up to Southern. Seafood options include shrimp, oyster, catfish and soft-shell crab. For carnivores, try the roast beef with gravy or opt for one with meatballs (made fresh daily). Also serves Italian muffulettas. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

3805 Hessmer Ave., Metairie 455-2231
The wings in this joint are practically flying out of the kitchen. Order 10 or 20 dressed in hot sauce or a savory honey barbecue. Also serving salads, burgers, chicken soft tacos and bar snacks, such as cheese sticks and jalapeno poppers. No reservations. Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

2609 Harvard Ave., Metairie 455-SPUD (7783)
Elevated from a side dish, the potato stands front and center at Spudly's Super Spuds. From simple to stuffed, these spuds aim to excite the taste buds, especially the Super Duper Spud: shrimp, crab and crawfish in a baked potato topped with cheddar cheese sauce and chives. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1031 Decatur St. 593-0006;
Breakfast features exciting takes on standards such as a crab and brie omelet, banana-walnut pancakes or eggs Stanley!, a version of eggs Benedict topped with oysters. Lunch also can be adventurous with po-boys like the Great Korean: barbecue beef with kim chee (pickled cabbage), individual-size muffulettas, oyster, shrimp and soft-shell crab po-boys (served with French fries, onion rings or coleslaw), gumbo and more. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., brunch Sunday. Credit cards. $

8801 Oak St. 861-9293
Former Tulane women's assistant basketball coach Rodnelle Hadley transformed what once was a Gulf station into an eatery that serves a popular 8-oz. Angus beef burger with a choice of Colby Jack or blue cheese served on a bun (you can order French fries instead of the accompanying chips for $1). No reservations. Lunch Tue.-Fri. dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $

1433 St. Charles Ave. 523-9823
Breakfast all day — and late night — makes the St. Charles Tavern a popular spot no matter the hour. The regular menu also features juicy steaks and burgers and will fix your crawfish jones: select from crawfish pies, Monica and etouffee. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and late-night dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $

535 E. Boston St., Covington (985) 893-5553;
Self-proclaimed as "the only real coffee shop on the Northshore," this cozy caf — features a wide array of salads, sandwiches and wraps as well as nachos smothered in cheese with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Or simply grab yourself a cup of Fair Trade joe and some dessert and take advantage of free wireless Internet access. No reservations. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Sat. Cash or checks only. $

237 Decatur St. 525-6151
This restaurant epitomizes truth in advertising. Dive into the lobster feast for two, with twin lobsters and doubles of all sides and dessert. If there's a third in your group, encourage him to try the filet mignon stuffed with a variety of Gulf seafood and topped with a red wine mushroom sauce. For starters, try the popular stuffed mushrooms. Reservations required. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

2727 Prytania St. (The Rink) 899-0335
This cozy coffee shop in the heart of the Garden District offers a welcome respite from walking or Lafayette Cemetery tours. Select from a variety of coffee and espresso drinks or something cold and refreshing and settle inside or on the outdoor patio. Also serving pastries, desserts, salads and panini sandwiches. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

1303 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner 443-4040
Stop by for a $4.95 daily lunch special and choose from a dozen options, including sides. For dinner, try one of the seafood specialties, including Captain Sal's Seafood Platter, piled high with deep-fried shrimp, oysters, catfish and a stuffed crab, with optional soft-shell crab. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

3941 Houma Blvd., Metairie 454-6266
This local pub features a very happy hour with discounted drink specials from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Lunch and dinner specials vary, but solid standards include red beans on Monday and big burgers every day, topped the way you like. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Sat. Credit cards. $

Often billed as a healthy version of fast food, sandwiches at this mega-chain are made with fresh lean meats, cheeses, veggies and breads of your choosing. No reservations. Hours and delivery options vary by location. Credit cards. $

315 Julia St. (Embassy Suites Hotel) 525-1993;
For an affordable and quick option while you're gallery and museum hopping, stop in to Sugar House for a buffet meal. Dinner includes choices from their pizza menu. Breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet daily. Credit cards. $$

800 France St. 940-6226
This pizza palace deep in Bywater features stuffed-as-you-wish calzones and thin-crust, New York-style pizzas ranging from traditional sauce-and-cheese to those with New Orleanians' favorite toppings (crawfish, andouille and more). Menu also offers burgers, sandwiches and salads, with special options for vegetarians. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $

1913 Royal St. 400-0561
The menu features an expansive array of curries ranging from mild to fiery, such as the nicely balanced kaffir lime curry (crisp green beans and choice of beef, pork, chicken or shrimp in a tart-edged, rust-red sauce with green curry). Popular dishes such as pad Thai also are available. Reservations recommended for large parties. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Fri., dinner Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

619 Pink St., Metairie 837-0055; 1051 Annunciation St. 566-0021; 2600 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna 391-0053; 3700 Orleans Ave., Suite 3A 274-0091;
With an eclectic menu ranging from the Siamese riblet appetizer, pecan-crusted chicken salad, Sicilian shrimp, crab and olive pasta and grilled jumbo shrimp Casablanca (spiced shrimp over saut — ed vegetables with Madras curry oil and served with a crabcake), there's something for every palate. At lunch, also choose from sandwiches, burgers and quesadillas. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

3636 St. Charles Ave. 899-4200;
With some of the best outdoor seating along St. Charles Avenue, Superior Grill's self-proclaimed "fabulous Mexican dining" offers a full complement of meals to accompany the fabulous view. Steaks and fish are available alongside the standard Mexican fare. The margaritas are among the most popular in the city. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat., brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1418 Magazine St. 524-3828
A favorite breakfast spot among locals, students and tourists alike, Surrey's features fresh-squeezed organic juices and a wide selection of options for vegetarians, vegans and omnivores. For lunch, choices include the grilled portobello focaccia sandwich and the avocado po-boy. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch daily. Cash only. $

5216 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 888-5242
This comfortable local joint proudly serves the half-pound Swamp Burger, which it claims is one of the area's best burgers. Late-night diners file through regularly, sampling one of the many po-boys, sandwiches, bar snacks and fried seafood. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

2534 Florida St., Mandeville (985) 626-0208; 420 S. Tyler St., Covington (985) 898-2166
Though the area is not known for barbecue, there are some local treasures. Sweet Daddy's — with two locations — is considered one of them. This family-friendly restaurant serves slow-roasted pulled pork, brisket and ribs, with a variety of sides. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

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