Acropolis Cuisine. Metairie: 3841 Veterans Blvd. 504-888-9046.
European

Acropolis Cuisine. Metairie: 3841 Veterans Blvd. 504-888-9046.

Acropolis Cuisine Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 3841 Veterans Blvd. 504-888-9046. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS A peculiar new evolution is occurring among ethnic restaurants in New Orleans. And, I suspect, everywhere else. We are enjoying a wider range of international cuisines. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to eat Korean, Colombian, Turkish, Peruvian, or Ethiopian food hereabouts, your choices were between few and none. Now we have all those, and their numbers are increasing. The strange part is that the ethnic cuisines that…

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Irene’s Cuisine. French Quarter: 539 St. Philip. 504-529-8811.
Italian

Irene’s Cuisine. French Quarter: 539 St. Philip. 504-529-8811.

Irene’s Cuisine French Quarter: 539 St Philip. 504-529-8811. Map.Casual.AE DC MC V ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Sometimes, the best way for a restaurant to gain a high profile is for it to keep a low profile. Irene’s doesn’t advertise much, doesn’t have a website, rarely shows up at festivals, has no summer, Reveillon or early-evening specials. Yet it remains so popular that visitors to New Orleans somehow find the corner of Chartres and St. Philip, and put up with a variety of inconveniences to have dinner there. The local diners love…

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Eggplant Lasagna (Eggplant Tina)
Italian

Eggplant Lasagna (Eggplant Tina)

RecipeSquare-150x150 This is my version of the terrific dish called eggplant Tina at Tony Angello’s restaurant in New Orleans’ Lakeview neighborhood. It’s one of the best-loved dishes there, served to a majority of the customers every night. It’s essentially a lasagna made with eggplant in the place of pasta, and a great deal of Romano cheese. The sweetness of the late Mr. Tony’s sauce balances the bitterness of the eggplant.

Click here for recipe details.

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Avo. Uptown: 5908 Magazine. 504-509-6550.

Trying to think of a place for dinner recently, with the limitation that one of us didn’t want Italian, the three of us could think of nothing but Italian restaurants. We finally settled on an Italian restaurant that was just different enough from the standard to make it seem. . . well, not really Italian. Whatever that means. Avo’s take on Italian food is very new to the scene, having premiered only six months earlier. It wasn’t until we were deep into the meal before we saw that not only is Avo’s very Italian but very deep New Orleans-Italian roots.

Avo’s main selling point is its premises, a rebirth of the former Martinique restaurant and its hedge-surrounded, open-air courtyard. That part of the renovation was the deepest: it’s now a weatherproof dining room that nevertheless has an outdoor-dining feeling. If the weather is even remotely nice, they open all the big windows. The menu is different enough from any other in that part of restaurant-loaded Magazine Street to be attractive. You will walk past at least three restaurants between your parking space and Avo. More to come. . .[divider type=""]

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Arabella Casa di Pasta. Marigny: 2258 St. Claude Ave. 504-267-6108.

On the top edge of the Marigny Triangle lies a delicious and slightly unexpected Italian restaurant with a light heart–to judge by the pun-laden descriptions of the many fresh pastas and ingredients to toss it with. It harbors a small array of salads and appetizers, but the focus is on the sizable portions of pasta. I’m in a pasta-hungry stage lately, and I’ve been hooked by Arabella since the place opened. The staff is happily involved in serving your pick from the myriad possibilities that come about with seven pasta shapes (one of them gluten-free), six sauces, and seven miscellaneous toppings. More to come. . .[divider type=""]

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Ristorante Del Porto. Covington: 501 E. Boston St. 985-875-1006.

For me, all Italian food falls into two categories. There’s the cooking that blows me away every time I go to Italy, or to a few restaurants in this country. And then there’s everything else. I like the food in the latter category, but not nearly as much as I like the former. In New Orleans we only occasionally get the memorable stuff. Even when it appears, it has a way of morphing into Category Due. Del Porto is the only restaurant in the New Orleans area that has managed to keep that amazing, herbal, rustic, robust style of cooking over the long term. More to come. . .

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Amici. Uptown: 3218 Magazine. 504-300-1250.

The proudest boast of a majority of New Orleans Italian restaurants is, “We’re a Sicilian family, and our recipes have been passed down over many generations.” One nods one’s head at this knowing that there is as much difference between this Sicilian restaurant and that one than there would be if this one were Roman and that one was from New York. You can even break up all the local Sicilian-rooted places into Early, Middle, and Modern Sicilian. (Let’s see. That would be Frank’s, Impastato’s, and Vincent’s, respectively.) More to come. . .[divider type=""]

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Happy Italian. Harahan: 7105 Jefferson Hwy. 504-305-4666.

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Harahan and River Ridge have a restaurant community all of a sudden. It was a long time coming, after decades of having fewer places to eat out than you have fingers on a hand, and the nearest restaurants rather far away. Some of the new Harahan-River Ridge places are actually innovative, perhaps even unique. At the same time, the nature of the town is that it’s a great place to raise children. The new Harahan restaurants catered to that clientele with what seem like straightforward local dishes, but which often turn out to be quite original. More to come. . .

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Andrea’s. Metairie: 3100 19th St. 504-834-8583.

#14 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries

The restaurant identifies itself as Italian, and most of its customers think of it that way. But since its earliest days the most distinctive part of the kitchen’s work involves seafood. Chef-Owner Andrea Apuzzo makes much of the fact that, with few exceptions, all the fish he serves are bought fresh, whole and filleted in house. It is not uncommon for there to be six or more species of finfish on hand, with pompano, red snapper, trout, redfish, puppy drum, salmon, Dover sole, amberjack and flounder usually available. ¶ The shellfish offering is no less comprehensive, with crabmeat, shrimp, oysters (shucked to order), mussels, clams, lobster and scallops almost always to be had. The range of preparation is equally strong, to the point where it’s possible to say that the chef will cook his seafood in almost any imaginable way. It all adds up to a big enough seafood menu to stand alone. It’s better than any other part of the menu. More to come. . .

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Fury’s. Metairie: 724 Martin Behrman Ave. 504-834-5646.

#26 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries

Some restaurants are time machines. They show us what it was like to eat dine out in the days before everything was artisan this or that. When if you didn’t live in the neighborhood, you wouldn’t even know about the existence of that restaurant’s neighborhood cafe, and they wouldn’t know you. Where nearly all the customers are regulars. And–best of all–how the kitchen cooks the way it did before restaurants could buy everything pre-cut, pre-seasoned, and maybe even pre-cooked. Not to mention probably frozen. Fury’s is a restaurant like that. Its customers remember all those time-machine qualities, because they themselves were around back in those days. More to come. . .

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Marcello’s. CBD: 715 St. Charles Ave. 504-581-6333.

The fastest-expanding restaurant categories in our town are about pizza, barbecue, hamburgers and Pan-Asian concepts. Right behind those is, of all things, Sicilian food. One would think there is already plenty enough of that subset of Italian food, given that most people here with Italian roots trace their lines to Sicily. But those origins are over a century ago, and the cooking in Italy’s Deep South has diverged far from our versions of it. Quite a few new restaurants explore this divide. Two of them, both born with in the past year, are next door to one another. The younger of them, Marcello’s, inspired the greater attention, largely due to a more interesting physical plant and an inspired wine program. . . keep reading. . . .

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Oak Oven. Harahan: 6625 Jefferson Hwy. 504-305-4039.

Oak Oven Harahan: 6625 Jefferson Hwy. 504-305-4039. Map.Casual.AE DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Not many people drive through Harahan or River Ridge en route to somewhere else. Maybe that’s why through most of its history Harahan hasn’t had many restaurants above the neighborhood-joint category. And not many of those, either. With a menu and style in sync with the hippest Italian restaurants in the area, Oak Oven’s opening was bound to attract attention. It did, and that’s almost the only problem facing you and me when it comes…

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Mariza. Bywater: 2900 Chartres St. 504-598-5700.

Mariza ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Restaurateurs Ian Schnoebelen and Laurie Casebonne gave a sharp turn to the rudder of their business a few weeks ago when they announced the closing of their Iris restaurant. (Its last day will be May 24.) That came as a surprise to a lot of people who had become fans of Iris. The restaurant they opened in 2013 was no less unexpected a move. Where the food at Iris was highly original new American and Creole cookery with a lot of polish, their new Mariza is…

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Italian Pie. Uptown: 3706 Prytania St. 504-266-2523.

Italian Pie Uptown 2: Washington To Napoleon: 3706 Prytania St.. 504-266-2523. Map.Casual.AE MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY The success of this burgeoning local chain of pizza shops rests on a menu that aims at a mainstream taste for a clean, pretty pizza, big portions, and flexibility in its combinations. Also here are pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches. While all are similar, some locations are owned by franchisees who might alter the menu a little, with a resulting blip in consistency. The Italian Pie is a great place for families, because…

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Ristorante Da Piero. Kenner: 401 Williams Blvd. 504-469-8585.

Ristorante Da Piero Kenner: 401 Williams Blvd. 504-469-8585. Map.Nice Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY In a century-old cottage in Kenner’s historic Rivertown section, Piero Cenni and his family serve the food of the Romagna region of Italy. That’s a style we don’t see much, outside spaghetti bolognese–and even that is rarely made the way they do it in Bologna, as they do here. Although much of the menu is familiar to fans of Italian cooking, a lot of it is unique to this establishment, and delicious to boot….

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Italian Barrel. French Quarter: 430 Barracks. 504-569-0198.

Italian Barrel French Quarter: 430 Barracks. 504-569-0198. Map.Nice Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Something about this tiny, quirky cafe makes many fast friends. Most nights the place is fully engaged by people who are clearly enthralled to be there. They are quick to tell you how different–and, it’s understoood, how superior–the food is here from that of other Italian restaurants. However, unless you have limited your Italian dining to Venezia or Tony Angello’s, you will not find a lot of new ground broken here. WHAT’S GOOD The…

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Bosco’s. Covington: 141 TerraBella Blvd. 985-612-7250.
Creole-Italian Restaurants

Bosco’s. Covington: 141 TerraBella Blvd. 985-612-7250.

Bosco’s Covington: 141 TerraBella Blvd. 985-612-7250. Map.CasualAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY From every perspective, Bosco’s is two or three times the restaurant it was a few years ago. Owner-chef Tony Bosco moved to much nicer quarters in Mandeville and opened a chic new Bosco’s in Covington. And while the menu has also extended its range, it remains that of the family-style, Sicilian-inspired Italian-Creole restaurant New Orleanians have always loved. Yet they still make muffulettas. That, and a few other dishes here, are the best of their kind…

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RocketFire Pizza Co. Covington: 1950 N Hwy 190. 985-327-7600.
Italian

RocketFire Pizza Co. Covington: 1950 N Hwy 190. 985-327-7600.

RocketFire Pizza Co. Covington: 1950 N Hwy 190. 985-327-7600. Map.Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY These are boom years for the pizza business around New Orleans, bringing us much better pie than we have had at any point in our history. Things are a little different on the North Shore, however. With only a few exceptions, the many new pizza places there are mediocre and thoroughly mainstream. RocketFire, on the other hand, joins Carmelo and Pizza Man in the North Shore gourmet pizza category. WHAT’S GOOD What sets RocketFire…

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Adolfo’s. Marigny: 611 Frenchmen. 504-948-3800.
Italian

Adolfo’s. Marigny: 611 Frenchmen. 504-948-3800.

Adolfo’s Marigny: 611 Frenchmen. 504-948-3800. Map.Casual.Cash only. WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Assemble a menu of familiar dishes, serve them in large portions, and charge a noticeably below-average price. . . and you may have a restaurant phenom on your hands. At the very least, your establishment will be busy all the time. Topic A at Adolfo’s: how hard it is to get a table without a long wait. Topic B: why don’t they take credit cards? (Answer: they don’t have to. When you serve very filling platters at low prices, you…

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Ancora Pizzeria. Uptown: 4508 Freret St. 504-324-1636.
Italian

Ancora Pizzeria. Uptown: 4508 Freret St. 504-324-1636.

Ancora Pizzeria Uptown 3: Napoleon To Audubon: 4508 Freret St. 504-324-1636. Map.Very Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Pizza was created in Naples. In that southern Italian city is a quasi-official body called Association di Vera Pizza Napoletana. It sets strict standards that pizza makers must follow if they are to display the sign identifying their pizzerias as authentic. Ancora thought it would be interesting not only to bring in a wood-burning oven made from stone (from Mount Vesuvius!), but also to follow the rules of the AVPN. Having…

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Dimartino’s. Marrero: 6641 West Bank Expy. 504-341-4096.
Italian

Dimartino’s. Marrero: 6641 West Bank Expy. 504-341-4096.

Dimartino’s Marrero To Lafitte: 6641 West Bank Expy. 504-341-4096. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY DiMartino’s started out as a specialist in the muffuletta, the iconic New Orleans Italian sandwich. It was a good idea, and while DiMartino’s version of it has never been among the top two or three, it was consistently well made. Over time the menu expanded to include most of the other New Orleans basics: poor boys, red beans and rice, seafood platters, and Italian pasta dishes. WHAT’S GOOD The standardization of a chain…

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Dimartino’s. Algiers: 3900 General De Gaulle Dr. 504-367-0227.
Italian

Dimartino’s. Algiers: 3900 General De Gaulle Dr. 504-367-0227.

DiMartino’s Algiers: 3900 General De Gaulle Dr. 504-367-0227. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY DiMartino’s started out as a specialist in the muffuletta, the iconic New Orleans Italian sandwich. It was a good idea, and while DiMartino’s version of it has never been among the top two or three, it was consistently well made. Over time the menu expanded to include most of the other New Orleans basics: poor boys, red beans and rice, seafood platters, and Italian pasta dishes. WHAT’S GOOD The standardization of a chain operation…

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DiMartino’s. Gretna: 1788 Carol Sue Ave. 504-392-7589.
Italian

DiMartino’s. Gretna: 1788 Carol Sue Ave. 504-392-7589.

DiMartino’s Gretna: 1788 Carol Sue Ave. 504-392-7589. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY DiMartino’s started out as a specialist in the muffuletta, the iconic New Orleans Italian sandwich. It was a good idea, and while DiMartino’s version of it has never been among the top two or three, it was consistently well made. Over time the menu expanded to include most of the other New Orleans basics: poor boys, red beans and rice, seafood platters, and Italian pasta dishes. WHAT’S GOOD The standardization of a chain operation dilutes…

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DiMartino’s. Covington: 700 S Tyler St. 985-276-6460.
Italian

DiMartino’s. Covington: 700 S Tyler St. 985-276-6460.

DiMartino’s Covington: 700 S Tyler St. 985-276-6460. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY DiMartino’s started out as a specialist in the muffuletta, the iconic New Orleans Italian sandwich. It was a good idea, and while DiMartino’s version of it has never been among the top two or three, it was consistently well made. Over time the menu expanded to include most of the other New Orleans basics: poor boys, red beans and rice, seafood platters, and Italian pasta dishes. WHAT’S GOOD The standardization of a chain operation dilutes…

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Il Posto Cafe. Uptown: 4607 Dryades. 504-895-2620.
Italian

Il Posto Cafe. Uptown: 4607 Dryades. 504-895-2620.

Il Posto Cafe Uptown 3: Napoleon To Audubon: 4607 Dryades. 504-895-2620. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Il Posto is as much a scene as it is a restaurant. With a menu of Italian-style salads, sandwiches, and soups, it also functions as an upscale coffeehouse–the kind of place where a ground of young adults show up after school or work, or where friends meet to hang out over a meal that’s not quite a full meal. WHAT’S GOOD The ingredients–particularly the breads and cured meats–are of excellent quality….

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Cafe Nino. Riverbend: 1519 S. Carrollton Ave. 504-865-9200.
Italian

Cafe Nino. Riverbend: 1519 S. Carrollton Ave. 504-865-9200.

Cafe Nino Uptown 4: Riverbend, Carrollton & Broadmoor: 1519 S Carrollton Ave. 504-865-9200. Map.Very CasualAE MC V WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY It’s only in very recent years that New Orleans has been blessed with more than a few first-class, made-from-scratch pizzas. For decades, any pizzeria that could bake pies consistently well was worthy of note. Cafe Nino is from that era, and it’s still one of the best–even in competition with the hip new ppizzerias with their wood-fired ovens. Nino makes his pizza in the New York style–thin crust, a little…

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Domenica. CBD: 123 Baronne (Roosevelt Hotel). 504-648-6020.
Italian

Domenica. CBD: 123 Baronne (Roosevelt Hotel). 504-648-6020.

Domenica CBD: 123 Baronne (Roosevelt Hotel). 504-648-6020. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Domenica is the maximum current attempt to duplicate certain culinary practices very common in Italy but rarely seen here. There are three major specialties. The best is pizza, baked in a five-ton, wood-fired oven made of stone. The chef makes a showy array of salumi, curing meats for months in house. The remainder of the menu uses pasta, meats and seafood in about three dozen small and large dishes, most of them rustic in style….

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Nonna Mia. Esplanade Ridge: 3125 Esplanade Ave. 504-948-1717.
Italian

Nonna Mia. Esplanade Ridge: 3125 Esplanade Ave. 504-948-1717.

Nonna Mia Esplanade Ridge: 3125 Esplanade Ave. 504-948-1717. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY The restaurant community on Esplanade near City Park is a bit more bohemian than others, and features a little bit of everything. Here’s the Italian restaurant in the neighborhood. Nonna Mia is primarily a pizza-and-pasta house, with a basic Italian menu just a shade above the ones you might find in a good shopping mall food court. WHAT’S GOOD The standard pizza here uses a thicker crust than you may be used to, although…

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Maximo’s Italian Grill. French Quarter: 1117 Decatur. 504-586-8883.
Italian

Maximo’s Italian Grill. French Quarter: 1117 Decatur. 504-586-8883.

Maximo’s Italian Grill French Quarter: 1117 Decatur. 504-586-8883. Map.DressyAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY During the three years that Maximo’s remained closed following the hurricane, its many fans never gave up hope it would return. It did, early in 2009, with new owners but one of the lead chefs from the old regime. They reopened it with all the hipness, the Tuscan-style roasting, the great fresh ingredients and the first-class wine list it had before. It’s now as if nothing had happened. WHAT’S GOOD The kitchen relies heavily…

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Maple Street Cafe. Riverbend: 7623 Maple. 504-314-9003.
Italian

Maple Street Cafe. Riverbend: 7623 Maple. 504-314-9003.

Maple Street Cafe Uptown 4: Riverbend, Carrollton & Broadmoor: 7623 Maple. 504-314-9003. Map.CasualAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY In a renovated cottage in the middle of one of the busiest blocks of Maple Street, this pleasant cafe captures a clientele from the neighborhood, the university crowd, and the local shopkeepers. The half-Italian, half-Creole menu is appealing and well turned out. And the prices are attractive. WHAT’S GOOD A lightness in cooking style runs through almost everything here. The raw materials are good and fresh, the cooking straightforward and…

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Gio’s Villa Vancheri. Mandeville: 2890 E Causeway Approach. 985-624-2597.
Italian

Gio’s Villa Vancheri. Mandeville: 2890 E Causeway Approach. 985-624-2597.

Gio’s Villa Vancheri Mandeville: 2890 E Causeway Approach. 985-624-2597. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY A restaurant with a real personality at the helm appeals to a lot of people. The chef-owner is an engaging, good-looking fellow who spends a lot of time with the customers in the dining room, telling them how he cooks authentic Italian food. Of course he does. Every Italian chef is the only one who cooks the real thing. Whatever. What can’t be gainsaid is that the premises are charming, the cooking is…

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Eleven 79. Warehouse District: 1179 Annunciation. 504-569-0001.
Italian

Eleven 79. Warehouse District: 1179 Annunciation. 504-569-0001.

Eleven 79 Warehouse District & Center City: 1179 Annunciation. 504-569-0001. Map.CasualAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY No Italian restaurant reaches as far into the back pages of New Orleans Italian cooking than this one does. It cooks the lusty style of food that one would have found in the many Italian cafes in the French Quarter in the opening years of the 1900s. Joe Segreto saw many decades of the evolution to today’s styles, and he serves it all. Joe Segreto’s take on all the cuisines of Italy…

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Brick Oven Cafe. Kenner: 2805 Williams Blvd.. 504-466-2097.
Italian

Brick Oven Cafe. Kenner: 2805 Williams Blvd.. 504-466-2097.

Brick Oven Cafe Kenner: 2805 Williams Blvd. 504-466-2097. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY It appears to be slick and commercial, but the food fulfills all the menu’s promises. The specialties are pizza (indeed baked in a wood-fired brick oven) and pasta, with all the expected accompaniments. The menu is more like one you’d find in the Northeast than in New Orleans. Lots of vegetables, white sauces, olive-oil-and-herb sauces, and seafood. The cooking and service are inconsistent, but unless it’s overwhelmed with customers it’s a fun place. The…

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Bravo!. Metairie: 3413 Veterans Blvd. 504-828-8828.
Italian

Bravo!. Metairie: 3413 Veterans Blvd. 504-828-8828.

Bravo! Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 3413 Veterans Blvd. 504-828-8828. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Bravo! is a large regional chain of Italian restaurants which, like a number of other chains, have latched onto the dirty little secret of Italian food: if you have good recipes and are willing to diversify the menu beyond spaghetti and meatballs, you can create a restaurant that most Americans will find indistinguishable from the gourmet Italian places. They don’t give you the top twenty percent that the best Italian…

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Bosco’s. Mandeville: 2040 La. Hwy. 59. 985-624-5066.
Creole-Italian Restaurants

Bosco’s. Mandeville: 2040 La. Hwy. 59. 985-624-5066.

Bosco’s Mandeville: 2040 La Hwy 59. 985-624-5066. Map.CasualAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY From every perspective, Bosco’s is two or three times the restaurant it was a few years ago. Owner-chef Tony Bosco moved to much nicer quarters in Mandeville and opened a chic new Bosco’s in Covington. And while the menu has also extended its range, it remains that of the family-style, Sicilian-inspired Italian-Creole restaurant New Orleanians have always loved. Yet they still make muffulettas. That, and a few other dishes here, are the best of their…

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