2800 Magazine St. 872-9035
A newcomer to the Garden District neighborhood, Table One boasts an impressive pedigree with Executive Chef Gerard Maras, formerly of Ralph's on the Park and Gerard's Downtown. Table One features country French cooking in a casual and comfortable environment, with spacious seating on two floors and on the sidewalk. The braised duckling sweetened with currants has caused a buzz. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

923-C Metairie Road, Metairie 836-6859
This Metairie institution has been pleasing diners for almost 25 years. The traditional menu features lamb, beef and seafood served in a variety of preparations, including curries and tandoori. Vegetarian options also available. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1705 Lafayette St., Gretna 361-8008
This West Bank restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese fare from around the country, including pho, vermicelli noodle dishes and what is locally known as Vietnamese po-boys. Also serving more exotic dishes with rabbit, veal and goat (served four ways). Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Wed.-Mon. Cash only. $

857 Fulton St. 524-9805; 1827 Hickory Ave., Harahan 738-6722; 3535 Severn Ave., Metairie 885-5088; 5932 Magazine St. 897-3974
Stop in to any one of these casual neighborhood restaurants for zesty margaritas, fresh salsa and guacamole and an array of traditional Mexican dishes. Taco options include chorizo, grilled fish and tongue. For something special, order the cebollitas, grilled and seasoned green onions. No reservations. Hours vary by location. Credit cards. $

1432 St. Charles Ave. 525-9996
Forever change your concept of what food from south of the border can be with one trip to this authentic, upscale Mexican restaurant, which serves innovative dishes such as chile relleno with lamb, baked lamb with roasted peppers served over blackberry coulis topped with melted cheese and crowned with cream pecan sauce. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner Tue.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

870 Tchoupitoulas St. 581-2858;
Gather with friends at this stylist and comfortable Warehouse District establishment. The lunch menu features salads, sandwiches and burgers; dinner dresses up with full entrees. Also serving an array of pizzas, including the Tchoup-Atchafalaya, featuring local seafood, peppers, onions, garlic and a spicy hot sauce marinara. Outdoor seating is available, or stay inside and catch the big game on one of the plasma TVs. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

1918 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 833-0668
Serving Chinese fare at affordable prices, the Tea Garden also provides a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. Local influences on the menu include seafood worbar with crawfish, crab, shrimp and scallops in a light brown sauce. Reservations recommended. Delivery available. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3525 Williams Blvd., Kenner 466-5550 www.tecoro.comTeCoRo's offers traditional Italian and Louisiana appetizers; for dinner, try the grilled tilapia topped with the TeCoRo sauce (andouille, tasso, fresh baby spinach leaves and spices) served over angel hair pasta or choose among the chicken, veal, steak and lobster meals. Live music Fri.-Sun. Reservations recommended on weekends. Lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun. Credit cards. $$

1818 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey 366-3898
Large, reasonably priced sushi rolls have placed this West Bank newcomer on the local radar. Lunch specials include Chinese fare, such as chicken teriyaki. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3320 Houma Blvd, Metairie 456-2832; 9851 I-10 Service Road 245-4402
Both locations are family-friendly establishments serving Lone Star State-style baby back ribs, chicken, beef and pork. For your sides, choose among coleslaw, baked beans and potato salads. Crispy fried chicken is also served. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

315 N. Vermont St., Covington (985) 809-7886
Spicy cuisine and a romantic setting make this a popular place to dine on the Northshore. The most ordered dish is the Pad Thai, classic Thai noodles with chicken, eggs and bean sprouts served with a side of ground peanuts and ground chilies. Also popular is spicy red curry. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

4021 Behrman Place, Suite H 368-5694
There are five different types of spring rolls, all with grilled meat: pork, chicken, beef or shrimp. They're wrapped up with cilantro, lettuce, vermicelli, pickled carrots and cucumber, then served with housemade peanut cause. The eatery's specialty Vietnamese-style crepes feature two pan-fried rice-flour crepes with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts inside and served with fresh vegetables. The menu also has a variety of rice dishes, vermicelli bowls and pho. No reservations. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $

4218 Magazine St. 894-8554
This Uptown neighborhood pizzeria has a wide variety of specialty pies, including The Eccentric, with olive oil, garlic, chicken, spinach, Anaheim peppers, feta, jalapenos, yellow squash, spicy tomatoes, pepper-jack, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Or, build your own from their selection of more than two-dozen toppings. Also serving salads and sandwiches. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

3205 36th St., Metairie 834-6272
Open 24-hours, the family-friendly Tic Toc Café knows that the right time for breakfast is anytime. Menu includes burgers, hot and cold sandwiches and entrees with two sides. No reservations. Open 24 hours. Credit cards. $

1827 Front St., Slidell (985) 639-3335; 1896 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 626-1161;
If you're hankering for a hefty hamburger, head to the Times Bar & Grill. The Hulk Burger — weighing in a 1 1/2 pounds — comes topped as you wish. If you finish it (on your own), your picture will be added to the "Hulk Wall of Fame." More moderate burgers as well as wraps, soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta and po-boys available. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards and checks. $

1612 St. Charles Ave. 581-4449
Affordable prices and generous portions have earned this sushi restaurant a loyal following. The menu rounds out with a wide range of salads, soups, tempura, udon and teriyaki dishes. The spacious yet warm room adds a shade of romance to a meal. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

746 Tchoupitoulas St. 581-1103
Chef Tommy Andrade prepares classic Creole-Italian fare, including a lightly battered and fried soft-shell crab, served with linguine topped with a reggiano crawfish sauce. The topping on the pan-sauteed fish Capri gives a gentle nod to French Louisiana — featuring crabmeat, crawfish, capers and artichokes in a beurre blanc sauce. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

240 Bourbon St. 523-3181;
Italian classics are given an update in dishes such as penne pasta topped with sauteed crawfish tails, garlic, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto sauce. The Twice-baked Lasagna Della Casa features homemade lasagna baked with healthy layers of meat, Ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses and creamy spinach. Reservations recommended. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

347 Verret St., Algiers 362-2264
Zena Cooper, a veteran of the kitchen at Uglesich's, handles cooking duties at this neighborhood caf — , which serves up organic Fair Trade coffees and teas, specialty drinks, pastries and different flavors of wheat scones each day. The lunch menu includes a panini tuna melt, which starts with a steak of yellow-fin tuna marinated in soy-ginger sauce and grilled medium rare. No reservations. Breakfast and lunch Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $

2104 Veterans Blvd., Metairie 833-9373
Top-notch service and traditional fare combined with long-standing ties to the community (open over 30 years) keep this pizzeria close to its customers hearts (and stomachs). Tower of Pizza also serves salads and pasta dishes. No reservations. Dinner daily. Cash only. $

600 N. Causeway Blvd., Mandeville (985) 626-4476; 2100 N. Morrison Blvd., Hammond (985) 345-6789
House specialties at this Northshore Chinese palace include fried soft-shell crab with Tong Cho sauce (soy and vinegar reduction with ginger, garlic and crushed peppers), stir-fried Alligator and crawfish tails in a spicy lobster sauce, with black beans, minced pork and onions. Reservation recommended. Lunch Wed.-Fri.; Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

823 Decatur St. 525-8676;
The doors of this historic institution — the city's second-oldest restaurant — have been open for more than 143 years. Meals are served in the traditional Creole manner, from appetizer through dessert, with a choice of four entrees and including the beef brisket with Creole sauce as a mid-course. Be sure to stop by the splendid cypress bar for a cocktail. Reservations recommended. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

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