Now with three locations, this colorful joint features indoor/outdoor dining, a full bar and sometimes live music. There are dogs of all breed, from polish sausage and brat to alligator, red hot and crawfish sausage. There's even the Sea Dog - tempura battered fried cod filet served with homemade tartar sauce. Then, choose toppings, which can include chili, cheese - real Cheddar, not the gloppy liquid kind, bacon, ranch, Andouille sauce, guacamole and crawfish rtouffe. The fries are outstanding. Order cocktails or beer, and for the kids, one of the floats, shakes or malts, or ask for a Shirley Temple. Yes, it really is on the menu.
Recommended for Late Night because: Dat Dog dishes powerfully tasty late night eats, especially at the location on Frenchmen Street.
Beth's expert tip: If your 10-year-old just turned vegetarian, she'll love the housemade veggie patty dog.
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 always good bets for lunch, or order the taste plate, which features the items above along with scrumptious portions of seafood gumbo and red beans and rice with sausage. This place serves food late, if you need to circle back at the end of a night on Frenchmen Street.
Recommended for Late Night because: Coop's posts its hours this way: 11 a.m. to close." Enough said.
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.
Located on the edge of the French Quarter on Esplanade just past Bourbon, Port of Call is a divey burger palace known for its loaded baked potatoes overflowing their foil jackets. The place attracts visitors and locals in droves, some for a guaranteed hangover cure on a plate, others for strong drinks like the signature monsoon - the POC version of a hurricane. The eats are cheap, the atmosphere low key and a little grimy, lighting thankfully dim and drinks are always flowing. Although there is a menu - maybe with steak and pizza on it? Nobody ever orders that. It's all about the cheeseburger and baked 'tater. Word to the wise: those aren't real bacon bits, but the bright red nuclear kind that you might want to avoid. Or not.
Recommended for Late Night because: Expect a wait at this popular Esplanade Avenue burger joint, so grab an excellent margarita or signature monsoon while you work up an appetite.
Beth's expert tip: This will be the best loaded baked potato you ever have.
The Mexican love child of local uber chef John Besh and Food Network wunderkind Aaron Sanchez, Johnny Sanchez is the best thing to happen to Poydras Street since Sculpture for New Orleans. A place that gives the option of roasted grasshoppers on the freshly made guac gets a body's attention. The menu is locally charged and full of authentic Mexican flavors. A seasonal specialty, the fried Brussels sprouts "salad" is really a revelatory warm veg dish tossed with bits of roasted squash, pomegranate and queso. The pork belly tacos are sweet with pineapple glaze and savory with swiney goodness. Lamb enchiladas, yellowtail tostados, grilled sweetbread tacos with chorizo - what's not to like? There are some interesting (and pricey) wines by the glass along with a very good house margarita and a full list of sipping tequilas.
Recommended for Late Night because: This hoppin' spot on Poydras seats til 10 during the week and midnight on weekends.
Beth's expert tip: Because the restaurant stays open from 11 am til close, mid afternoon is a sweet spot for avoiding the crowds.
Tujague's is a Southern-Creole restaurant across from the French Market on Decatur that is stretching its boundaries, adding some new dishes to the menu while still maintaining its longtime favorites - hand rolled vegetarian gnocchi is a case in point. The second oldest eatery in town, Tujaque's has been famed for homestyle Creole cuisine since 1856. A newly launched craft cocktail menu and tasty eats at the bar are two good reasons to venture into this historic bar. Every meal is served with fresh French bread, and most ingredients used are bought daily from local producers. Tujague's even brews its own beer, and has an extensive wine list. Prepare to end every meal with some delicious bread pudding.
Recommended for Late Night because: The second oldest restaurant in New Orleans has brought in a new chef and expanded the menu in recent months.
Beth's expert tip: New bar manager Brian Kientz is creating quite a buzz for his inventive craft cocktail list.
Turtle Bay is a hidden gem in the French Quarter. Popular with locals and tourists alike, TB boasts 25 beers on tap along with a belly-busting menu of American favorites like burgers, pizza and chicken wings. Whether cheering on your favorite team, kicking back with some friends, or just taking in the French Quarter atmosphere, Turtle Bay fills the bill. Located on busy Decatur Street, Turtle Bay stays open - and serves food until 3am Sun-Wed and 24 hours Thurs., Friday, and Saturday. Turtle Bay has all the major sports packages so you can get your fill of all kinds of sports action while you chow.
Recommended for Late Night because: Turtle Bay serves food til 3 a.m. Sun.-Wed. and 24 hours Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Beth's expert tip: The $16.95 house special rib eye is big enough for two to share.
Delachaise is that mystery spot that you might cruise right by without noticing during a daylight trip on the St. Charles streetcar. Come evening, and it's another story. The outdoor patio, lit with twinkle lights, is always buzzing with a lively crowd along with couples enjoying date night. This spirited wine bar uptown is easy to love for its long convivial bar, lack of pretense, impressive wine list and most notably the Thai spiced mussels served with goose fat fries. Really everything at this atmospheric French-ish bistro is good, say yes to housemade pate and tender flank steak bruschetta, and double yes to the devilish chocolate souffle. And order a Viognier and Gruner by the glass - a treat for a white wine drinker weary of house Chardonnay.
Recommended for Late Night because: You can get a fab cheese plate at 1 in the morning, perfect.
Local Expert tip: Steak frites after midnight? Don't mind if I do.