Frankie & Johnny’s. Uptown: 321 Arabella St. 504-243-1234.
Neighborhood Cafe

Frankie & Johnny’s. Uptown: 321 Arabella St. 504-243-1234.

Frankie & Johnny’s Uptown 3: Napoleon To Audubon: 321 Arabella St. 504-243-1234. Map.Very Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS If a Las Vegas casino and a New Orleans neighborhood eatery could somehow merge into a hybrid, it would come out looking a lot like Frankie and Johnny’s. Smiling, happy people would dominate the population. Neon beer signs would flash inside and out. In the middle of the place would be (in fact it’s there now) a single gambling single device: a claw machine with much better prizes…

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Rosedale. Lakeview: 801 Rosedale. 504-309-9595.
Neighborhood Cafe

Rosedale. Lakeview: 801 Rosedale. 504-309-9595.

Rosedale Lakeview: 801 Rosedale. 504-309-9595. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS A curiosity attendant to the rise of the celebrity chef is that, when high-profile chefs open their inevitable spinoff restaurants, the new places they are always downscale from the ambitious restaurants the chefs became famous for. I’ll give you a moment to consider John Besh as an example. His best work was (and still is) at Restaurant August. What followed, however, were Luke (a French bistro), Domenica (a pizzeria), Borgne (a casual seafood house), and most…

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Buster’s Place. Covington: 519 E Boston. 985-809-3880.
Neighborhood Cafe

Buster’s Place. Covington: 519 E Boston. 985-809-3880.

Buster’s Place Covington: 519 E Boston. 985-809-3880. Map.CasualAE DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Not long after my family and I moved to the North Shore in 1990, I got hooked on eating oysters on the half shell in the Covington outlet of the Acme Oyster House. Although the Acme had four locations around town, they managed not only to multiply their customer base but to keep the quality of the then eighty-year-old French vendor of oysters. Perhaps even more miraculous, the physically funky style of the old restaurant…

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Jeff’s Creole Grille. Metairie: 5241 Veterans Memorial Blvd. 504-889-7992.

Jeff’s Creole Grille Metairie 3: Houma Blvd To Kenner Line: 5241 Veterans Memorial Blvd. 504-889-7992. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS Compared with New Orleans proper, its wealthiest suburb Metairie has never come close to having the same wealth of cuisine that the city does. In only one category–Italian food–does Metairie excels. But that appears to be changing. Neighborhood restaurants lately have been popping up all over the sprawling Metairie landscape. The style of these places is more involved than say, a poor boy or seafood shop,…

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High Hat Cafe. Uptown: 4500 Freret St. 504-754-1366.

Every now and then, a New Orleans restaurant will open with a menu combining the food of our city with that of the Delta Country of northwestern Mississippi. Because they are connected by the Mississippi River’s busiest segment, a cultural connection formed two centuries ago between our city and Natchez, Vicksburg, Greenville and Memphis–the main ports of the Delta Country. Eat in any of those places, you’ll notice many dishes and flavors in common with New Orleans eats.

High Hat was (and remains) like the neighborhood cafe you remember in a neighborhood you never visited before in some little Southern town you happened to drive through. Add a feeling that it’s 1949, and you have an accurate image of High Hat and some–but not all–of its food. More to come. . .[divider type=""]

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Vucinovich’s. New Orleans East: 4510 Michoud Blvd. 504-254-5255.

As a ratio of goodness of the food to obscurity, this may be the best restaurant in New Orleans. It’s a throwback to another era. No web site, only open for lunch only on weekdays, nothing on the menu even slightly off the standard New Orleans neighborhood eatery beat. But what they cook they cook well, and serve in obscenely large portions at prices that almost make the many nearby Vietnamese restaurants seem expensive. More to come. . .[divider type=""]

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Rocky & Carlo’s. St. Bernard Parish: 613 W St Bernard Hwy. 504-279-8323.

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Rocky’s is as intense and unreconstructed a piece of whereyaat culture as exists. It’s an old bar and cafeteria-style restaurant serving poor boys (both familiar and unspeakable varieties) and ridiculously overloaded homestyle platters, without a hint of delicacy. Watch other diners carefully, and see some offbeat but quintessentially local tastes express themselves. (Example: baked macaroni and cheese drenched with brown gravy.) This is not brilliant food. But it’s hard to imagine New Orleans without Rocky & Carlo’s. More to come. . .[divider type=""] More to come. . .

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Eat. French Quarter: 900 Dumaine. 504-522-7222 .

Among the most delightful but least-discussed eateries in the French Quarter are the cafes catering to people who live there. That population has seen a long decline, as more residences become businesses. The result is that many of the old neighborhood places have shifted to the visitor trade, with the expected results. Eat has held off this unfortunate trend so well that it has a substantial following among both locals and people who visit New Orleans frequently. More to come. . .

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Liz’s Where Y’At Diner. Mandeville: 2500 Florida. 985-626-8477.

When the exodus from the South Shore to the North Shore became heavy in the 1980s, almost immediately the relocatees started looking for neighborhood restaurants like the ones they’d enjoyed for decades in and around New Orleans. They didn’t find them. The closest approximations were the country-style diners on the major highways, which lacked both charm and good cooking. Eggs Sardou? Pasta with tasso and crawfish cream sauce? Forget about it! By the time of Katrina, the first New Orleans-style neighborhood eateries were finally there, beating the chains in the rush to serve this ballooning market. And so we have places like Liz’s. More to come. . .

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Cafe Freret. University Section: 7329 Freret. 504-861-7890.

Under the cover of a converted antique gas station in the center of the Freret Street restaurant collection, this is a neighborhood place with a menu aimed at a younger diner, of which there are many in the neighborhood. It begins with the standard breakfast menu, starting at the college-student breakfast time of 10 a.m. and going all day long. Then come sandwiches, poor boys and muffulettas. Mixed in with all that are Philly cheese steak sandwiches and Cubanos, and an array of hamburgers. All of this would be better if the oversize portions were to be swapped out for more care in the preparations. More to come. . .

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Katie’s. Mid-City: 3701 Iberville. 504-488-6582.

#9 Among The 33 Best Seafood Eateries

Some of the best restaurants took the longest to return after the hurricane, and their customers were among the happiest to finally see them return. That was a mixture of longing the the past followed by a well-planned bolt into the future. ¶ No restaurant proved that theory better than Katie’s. Scott Craig and his partners made the resurrected Katie’s into the best neighborhood restaurant ever, expanding its former specialties to embrace even more than its big old menu had. ¶ The seafood side of this energy is especially impressive. Here is the best fried seafood platter in town, and that’s only the beginning of it. More to come. . .

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Cafe 615 (Da Wabbit). Gretna: 615 Kepler. 504-365-1225.

It seems strange to say that the best reason to come here is to get a load of the vintage sign outside. That’s almost true. It depicts (in enamel by day, neon at night) a cartoon hare who looks like a blood relative of Bugs Bunny. Under the graphic is the legend “DA-WABBIT Drive In.” (The latter is 1950s lingo for a place with a parking lot.) But it’s the food that makes this old roadhouse worth searching for. All West Bankers know about it, but it’s only a legend to most East Bankers. More to come. . .

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Common Grounds. Gretna: 335 Huey P Long Ave. 504-227-2200.

Although the main function of Common Grounds is to provide a quick lunch for people appearing at the Jefferson Parish Courthouse, the best meal through its history has been breakfast. That’s when the regulars show up. They return late in the afternoon for a light supper if they missed lunch, and perhaps a drink. It also serves as a meeting place or a last cup of coffee, which is pretty good here. keep reading. . . .

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Company Burger. Uptown: 4600 Freret St. 504-267-0320.

Company Burger tapped into two powerful currents: a) the fertile market for anything perceived to be a better-than-average hamburger and 2) the unexpected blossoming of casual eateries on Freret Street. The place was instantly popular, allowing it to open with not just hamburgers but also a full bar with cocktails, offbeat beers, wine, and a stated philosophy. The latter seems to be “We do it our way.” What else could the no lettuce or tomato rule here mean? Read More. . .

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Bobby’s Seafood. Harahan: 9013 Jefferson Hwy. 504-738-2104.

Bobby’s Seafood Harahan: 9013 Jefferson Hwy . 504-738-2104. Map.Very Casual.MC V WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY A combination seafood restaurant and retail market, Bobby’s has live and boiled crawfish, shrimp and sometimes even crabs in season. And a fairly complete list of poor boy sandwiches and fried seafood platters. Because you are clearly not paying anything for atmosphere or fine points of service (you order and pick up at the counter, which has all the charm of a Time Saver), the prices are low and the sandwiches well made and generously stuffed….

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Deanie’s On Hayne. New Orleans East: 7350 Hayne Blvd. 504-248-6700.
Louisiana

Deanie’s On Hayne. New Orleans East: 7350 Hayne Blvd. 504-248-6700.

Deanie’s On Hayne New Orleans East: 7350 Hayne Blvd. 504-248-6700. Map.Very CasualMC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY There was a time when the community of seafood houses along Hayne Boulevard in eastern New Orleans was rivaled only by West End Park. The Little Woods lakefront restaurants fried and boiled seafood very well and served it in large piles. It even had its own signature dish: the fried seafood boat, in which a loaf of bread contained about fried oysters, shrimp and fish for two people at least. The area is making…

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KY’s Olde Towne Bicycle Shop. Slidell: 2267 Carey. 985-641-1911.
American

KY’s Olde Towne Bicycle Shop. Slidell: 2267 Carey. 985-641-1911.

KY’s Olde Towne Bicycle Shop Slidell: 2267 Carey. 985-641-1911. Map.CasualAE MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Although the first thing that longtime regular customers think of with regard to KY’s is its hamburger, over the years its menu has expanded enough for it to claim to be a full-service neighborhood eatery. About the only casual dish they don’t have is–ironically–steak. WHAT’S GOOD As good as the fried and grilled seafood, pastas and poor boys are, the hamburger still reigns supreme. at KY’s. It’s in the upper five percentile at the very…

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Caffe Fresca. Metairie: 4441 West Metairie Ave. 504-887-2010.
American

Caffe Fresca. Metairie: 4441 West Metairie Ave. 504-887-2010.

Caffe Fresca Metairie 3: Houma Blvd To Kenner Line: 4441 West Metairie Ave. 504-887-2010. Map.Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY The lands that lie alongside canal-centered West Metairie Avenue feel more like traditional New Orleans neighborhoods than most other local suburbs. That makes the area fertile for neighborhood cafes. Not only the the familiar kind with poor boys and gumbo and seafood platters, but also places like Caffe Fresca. Despite the coffeehouse-style name, it sports a full menu the likes of which you can find anywhere in America. Slight…

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Cafe Hope. Marrero: 1101 Barataria Blvd. 504-756-4673.
Creole Homestyle Restaurants

Cafe Hope. Marrero: 1101 Barataria Blvd. 504-756-4673.

Cafe Hope Marrero To Lafitte: 1101 Barataria Blvd. 504-756-4673. Map.Casual.AE MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY All you really need to know about Cafe Hope is that the food is astonishingly excellent, served at prices that seem laughably low. It’s right up to the times in style, using interesting recipes and fresh local foodstuffs. What you might want to know is that all of this is cooked by people whose lives recently passed through a tight spot, and who are working to get into the mainstream. The latter perspective is the…

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Capdeville. CBD: 520 Capdeville St. 504-371-5915.
American Gourmet

Capdeville. CBD: 520 Capdeville St. 504-371-5915.

Capdeville CBD: 520 Capdeville St. 504-371-5915. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY On a one-block-long back street in the zone where the Central Business District fuzzes over into the Warehouse District, Capdeville has a highly specific clientele. Those who work in the courts and in law offices dominate the micro-local population. They must break for lunch on a tight (and sometimes off-center) schedule. After they knock off, many of them–particularly the younger professionals, those with not much awaiting at home–favor the prospect of a drink and maybe something…

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Corner Cafe. Metairie: 3316 Green Acres Rd. 504-454-1008.
Neighborhood Cafe

Corner Cafe. Metairie: 3316 Green Acres Rd. 504-454-1008.

Corner Cafe Metairie 3: Houma Blvd To Kenner Line: 3316 Green Acres Rd. 504-454-1008. Map.Casual.AE DS MC V WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY West of Transcontinental Drive in Metairie, dining opportunities become dramatically sparser. And the suburbs don’t have a lot of neighborhood-style cafes to begin with. This little restaurant is wedged into an old strip mall anchored by a convenience store. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and it’s only a little better inside. But from breakfast through an early-ending dinner, they cook everything in house and with greater…

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Tessie’s Place. Metairie: 116 N Woodlawn Dr. 504-835-8377.
Neighborhood Cafe

Tessie’s Place. Metairie: 116 N Woodlawn Dr. 504-835-8377.

Tessie’s Place Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 116 N Woodlawn Dr. 504-835-8377. Map.Casual.MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY A throwback to the neighborhood restaurants of at least fifty years ago, Tessie’s serves all the local favorites from a menu so extensive it’s almost laughable. You can get not just red beans any day but white beans, butterbeans, or blackeye peas. Those are all good, but the best shot is the fried chicken, followed closely by the roast beef poor boy. Enormous portions are also part of the authenticity. WHAT’S…

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Fat Spoon Cafe. Mandeville: 68480 Highway 59. 985-809-2929.
Breakfast & Brunch

Fat Spoon Cafe. Mandeville: 68480 Highway 59. 985-809-2929.

Fat Spoon Cafe Mandeville: 68480 Highway 59. 985-809-2929. Map.Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY The Fat Spoon–aside from its less-than-alluring name–is everything one hopes to find in a local neighborhood breakfast-and-lunch place. The owners actively disdain the widespread practice of cutting open cloned plastic bags of food and warming the contents. Almost everything is made in house–including such troublesome items as soups, red beans and rice, roast beef, and hand-made burgers. WHAT’S GOOD While most of the menu is very familiar, there’s enough originality to make a meal here…

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Stanley. French Quarter: 547 St Ann St. 504-587-0093.
Breakfast & Brunch

Stanley. French Quarter: 547 St Ann St. 504-587-0093.

Stanley French Quarter: 547 St Ann St. 504-587-0093. Map.Very Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Stanley is the crossbreeding of a poor boy shop and a Sunday brunch place. Like the mule and the moulard duck, it has qualities that its parents lack, but it is not likely to have offspring. With its highly visible location on Jackson Square, it is among the best and most popular casual breakfast places in the French Quarter. You can get breakfast any time, but there’s a lot of lunch here, too….

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Rusty Pelican. Mandeville: 500 Girod St. 985-778-0364.
Hamburgers

Rusty Pelican. Mandeville: 500 Girod St. 985-778-0364.

Rusty Pelican Mandeville: 500 Girod St. 985-778-0364. Map.Very Casual.AE DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY A block away from the Mandeville Trailhead of the Tammany Trace walking-biking trail is this relatively new cafe serving a small but focused menu in a minimal way. Deep-frying is the kitchen’s best-honed skill, followed by grilling and blackening. That about covers the good eating options, but all of that comes out hot, well seasoned, and (in the fried items, not the burgers) greaseless. A few specials run daily, most of them more ambitious than…

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The Chimes. Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396.
Cajun Restaurants

The Chimes. Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396.

The Chimes. Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396. The Chimes Covington: 19130 W Front St. 985-892-5396. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC V Website ANECDOTES AND ANALYSIS It’s hard to imagine that the sports industry could possibly grow any larger, but the proof is easy to see. No segment of the restaurant business is booming more than eateries with sports connections. Not the ones owned by sports stars–those always have been mediocre and usually short-lived. But the gigantic restaurants located near major sports facilities, with lots of memorabilia and big television screens….

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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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Crescent Pie & Sausage Company. Mid-City: 4408 Banks St. 504-482-6264.
Neighborhood Cafe

Crescent Pie & Sausage Company. Mid-City: 4408 Banks St. 504-482-6264.

Crescent Pie & Sausage Co. Mid-City: 4408 Banks St. 504-482-6264. Map.Casual.AE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY As the name implies, the Crescent Pie & Sausage Company has addressed the newly-reinforced mania for sausages. They make all their own sausages, in many different styles, some quite exotic. They serve them as is, or plow them under other ingredients in a wide variety of dishes, some of them innovative. WHAT’S GOOD The pies referred to are of three kinds: savory half-moon-shaped fried pies in the Natchitoches style, pizza pies (made…

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Jack Dempsey’s. Bywater/Downtown: 738 Poland Ave. 504-943-9914.
Neighborhood Cafe

Jack Dempsey’s. Bywater/Downtown: 738 Poland Ave. 504-943-9914.

Jack Dempsey’s Bywater & Downtown: 738 Poland Ave. 504-943-9914. Map.Very CasualAE DC DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY With a mix of customers from both local and faraway sources, Dempsey’s fits a popular definition for a great New Orleans restaurant: a funky, Yat kind of place in N old neighborhood, serving enormous piles of food from a menu overwhelmingly dominated by fried seafood. When it’s at its best, it’s not bad, but the size of the portions and low prices are the main selling points. WHAT’S GOOD The fried seafood…

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Armond’s Eatery. St. Bernard: 808 E Judge Perez Dr . 504-271-2009.
Neighborhood Cafe

Armond’s Eatery. St. Bernard: 808 E Judge Perez Dr . 504-271-2009.

Armond’s Eatery St. Bernard Parish: 808 E Judge Perez Dr . 504-271-2009. Map.Very Casual.AE DS MC V WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY Chalmette never had a lot of restaurants above the sandwich-shop level, but the tremendous population loss as a result of Katrina flooding has made it tough for anything to come back. Armond’s is one of the better new places, with a menu of Italian food and seafood. It’s small and not much in terms of atmosphere, but the cooking is good and generous. WHAT’S GOOD The center of the menu…

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Spitale’s Deli. Metairie: 2408 N Arnoult Rd. 504-837-9912 .
Neighborhood Cafe

Spitale’s Deli. Metairie: 2408 N Arnoult Rd. 504-837-9912 .

Spitale’s Deli Metairie 2: Orleans Line To Houma Blvd: 2408 N Arnoult Rd. 504-837-9912. Map.Very Casual.DS MC VWebsite WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY The slice of Metairie just south of the I-10 between Causeway Boulevard and Clearview is a self-contained community. If you don’t live or work very nearby, you’re unlikely to know about the dozen or so restaurants there. Some of them are worth seeking out, and this is one of them. Spitale’s doesn’t look like much, but it’s a first-class poor boy shop, cooking everything from scratch with credible recipes…

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R&O’s. Bucktown: 216 Old Hammond Hwy. 504-831-1248.
Neighborhood Cafe

R&O’s. Bucktown: 216 Old Hammond Hwy. 504-831-1248.

R&O’s West End & Bucktown: 216 Old Hammond Hwy. 504-831-1248. Map.Very CasualDS MC V WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY A restaurant will never go too far wrong with enormous servings at lower-than-normal prices. That has always been the hallmark of R&O’s food–but it’s good, too. Now that nearby West End Park is bereft of its restaurants, R&O and its neighbors in Bucktown are even more important to the casual dining scene, even without a view of the nearby lake. WHAT’S GOOD The three specialties have always shown some distinction. The thin-crust pizza…

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