Located in the swanky Roosevelt Hotel on Canal Street, on the edge of the French Quarter, Domenica dazzles with regional Italian cuisine and one of the best thin crust pizzas in town. Chef Valeriano Chiella, a native of Campania, in Southern Italy, started with parent company BRG Hospitality in 2014 and was named executive chef this year. The real bargain here is at happy hour, when pizza and house wine and beer is half price - so time your visit carefully or your budget will suffer. Pizza, regularly $13-$22, comes in flavors like clam with garlic and parm, and tutto carne with bacon, salami and sausage.
Recommended for Best Value because: One of the best happy hour deals in town, Monday through Friday from 3-5 pm.
Beth's expert tip: Come for the daily half price pizza and wine happy hour, 3-5 pm, but save room for dessert.
The muffuletta is an iconic New Orleans sandwich and Central Grocery is the place where it all started. For the uninitiated, a muffuletta is a loaf of seeded bread layered with Italian meats and cheeses and crowned with a chopped olive mixture. Be warned that Central Grocery's sandwiches are huge and best shared with a friend. And if you want to sit down, get your sandwich to go. There is only a standing-room counter at the Grocery on Decatur Street close to the French Market. It's a place that tourists tend to flock, so be prepared for a bit of a line if you come at peak times.
Recommended for Best Value because: Central Grocery will have you begging for a nap after taking down one of their super sized sandwiches.
Beth's expert tip: Central Grocery is an original, the spot that put muffalettas on the map.
In a city that's po-boy proud, Liuzza's at the Track stands out from the crowd, thanks to the house specialty, a buttery, Worcestershire-fueled gi-normous portion of gulf shrimp slathered between a hot and crusty French pistolette. It's called barbecue shrimp, but there's really nothing barbecued about it. Save room for the gumbo - Liuzza's recipe includes seafood, local sausage, 13 spices and a few secret ingredients. The fried eggplant dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of marinara is a house specialty. Anytime of day, nothing beats a seat at the bar, a bowl of gumbo and a cold beer at this hole in the wall joint.
Recommended for Best Value because: Everything at Liuzza's is delish and your wallet gets off easy.
Beth's expert tip: Fill up on the gumbo before heading out to the Fairgrounds which is in strolling distance.
The Camellia Grill on South Carrollton Uptown dishes a real diner vibe with breakfast and burgers and ice cream concocetions served from 8 in the morning til 7 or 8 at night, seven days a week. One of the secrets of this grill/diner is their amazing milk shakes. Camellia fills cups up to the brim with rich shakes in a variety of flavors using real ice cream. Sit at the counter and enjoy homemade desserts served by snappy bow-tied servers. Besides sweets, Camellia Grill has excellent omelettes and burgers at affordable prices. The friendly staff bring the sweet experience home with a smile.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Camellia Grill is modeled after an old school diner with prices to match.
Beth's expert tip: Don't feel bad chasing a bacon omelette with a chocolate cherry milkshake.
The Milk Bar is a counter ordering joint featuring great sandwiches, salads and shakes. Portion wise, The Milk Bar gives you crazy bang for your buck. Depending on your mood, you can sample anything from a roast beef po-boy to a shrimply the best - grilled garlicky shrimp, pesto and gooey mozz. Impressive salads easily feed two. Try the peanut satay or Mediterranean lamb for starters. Pair your main course with a delicious bag of local favorite Zapp's chips, and then have the "Moo Krewe" lbend up a shake in flavors like go bananas or strawberry fields. The Milk Bar is offering take out and pick up only for now.
Recommended for Best Value because: The Milk Bar makes monster hot grilled sandwiches and po-boys at unmatched prices.
Beth's expert tip: For now, the Milk Bar on Carrollton is offering to go and pick up orders only.
Compact and crowded, Coop's probably isn't on most travelers' agendas which is a crying shame. Located right on Decatur not far from the French Market, Coop's remains a locals' haunt, with its well-worn surfaces and gritty elan. Unpolished, seductive, and even a touch dingy, Coop's is the real deal. Staples like shrimp Creole, Cajun-fried chicken, fried oysters and rabbit and sausage jambalaya are good bets for lunch or order the tasting plate, which features the items above along with ample portions of seafood gumbo and red beans and rice with sausage. Serves til 11 pm for the later night hangries.
Recommended for Best Value because: A tasty array of bargain Cajun and New Orleans specialties delivered with no-nonsense aplomb makes this place a keepr.
Beth's expert tip: If loud bothers you, move along. But this lively French Quarter spot is the real deal as long as you can jump into the fray.
Value on a menu comes two ways - the sticker price and/or what you get for your money. At Katie's in Mid-City, where Scot Craig is chef/owner, the massive portions of Creole-Italian draws armies of regulars for lunch, brunch and dinner. Make a meal out of swoon-worthy (and way rich) savory beignets including the crawfish beignet oozing crawfish, cheddar, mozzarella and jalapenos. Every dish is easily enough for two, from the gooey lasagna to the cochon de lait po-boy piled high on a buttered, lightly toasted Gendusa roll smothered with Creole mustardy slaw. Service is friendly and the welcome is genuine.
Recommended for Best Value because: Massive portions and a welcoming neighborhood vibe makes this place a winner.
Beth's expert tip: If you're seeking a quieter meal, ask to be seated upstairs.
Situated on the edge of the Quarter on Esplanade at Dauphine, Port of Call is known for its huge, char-grilled burgers and loaded baked potatoes. You can also get a steak, but that's not why you line up and wait for a table. It's all about the burgers and the spuds, with one order easily enough for two people - add an extra potato if you must. The eats are cheap, the atmosphere low key, lighting dim and drinks a-flowing. Speaking of drinks, the Monsoon is Port of Call's version of the hurricane and it's beyond potent.
Recommended for Best Value because: The constant lines out the door tell the story - one burger can easily feed two.
Beth's expert tip: This will be the best loaded baked potato you ever have.
Deanie's has been around since the 60s - and so have their prices. Big portions and home-cooked meals makes this family-owned place (deservedly) a lakefront institution. Known for its fresh local seafood and warm service, Deanie's is a local's favorite. The menu is fresh Gulf seafood at its best, a mix of fried, boiled, and sauteed fish and shellfish that delivers some of the best top of the catch seafood in town. Although priced at $42.95, the giant seafood platter easily feeds four, a menagerie of fresh seafood fried in a flavorful combination of yellow flour, buttermilk and seasonings. The broiled stuffed shrimp is another winner, but really you can't go wrong with anything on the plate at this family-friendly eatery.
Recommended for Best Value because: Deanie's is a lakefront institution renowned for its seafood and friendly service.
Beth's expert tip: Don't head to Deanie's on the weekends, current hours are weekdays only, 11-4.