Cane & Table

1113 Decatur St., (504) 581-1112; caneandtablenola.com

Flickering with candles, layered with tactile patina and anchored by a smooth marble bar, Cane & Table oozes old New Orleans ambiance. The menu, meanwhile, works new interpretations of the city’s historic ties to the Caribbean, with an approach somewhere between traditional and Tiki. The meltingly tender beef of ropa vieja fills a crock, and whole fish fills half the table and bubbly-crusted fried ribs and crab fritters with miso invite sharing. The same team from craft cocktail lounge Cure operates Cane & Table, which is clear from a cocktail list that is intricate, composed and pricey. The deep courtyard is a good spot for groups on a French Quarter romp. Dinner daily (late night Fri. and Sat.), lunch Fri., brunch Sat. and Sun. $$$

Tana (at Trèo)

3835 Tulane Ave., 504-304-4878; treonola.com

People are still surprised to discover Trèo, a sleek den for craft cocktails and contemporary art on a hard-edged stretch of Tulane Avenue. More surprising still is Tana, the independently run kitchen within, which serves some of the city’s most exciting Italian food. It’s the latest from chef Michael Gulotta, who first earned a following for his modern Vietnamese eatery MoPho. Tana’s short menu is remarkable, with the likes of polenta fritters, pork steak interspersed with peaches and blood orange aioli, handmade tortelli bursting with goat cheese and a flank of branzino all turned into artfully composed bar food. In nice weather, the large patio feels like an urban oasis (complete with bocce ball court). Dinner nightly. $$

+12 

Photo by Ian McNulty - Greg Schatz (at piano) and his band perform at Three Muses, an eatery, bar and music hall on Frenchmen Street.

Three Muses

536 Frenchmen St., (504) 298-8746; and 7537 Maple St., (504) 510-2749; 3musesnola.com

As big as Frenchmen Street has become for New Orleans nightlife, part of its appeal is how intimate and small scale many of its venues remain. Three Muses is the epitome, combining a bar, restaurant and stage in a space about the size of a starter apartment. The food part of this equation has never been better, with a foundation in the Mediterranean and serious sidelines in Asian and Latin dishes. Chef Dan Esses’ small plates are original and wide-ranging, with falafel-crusted mozzarella, lamb sliders and seared scallops with raita alongside ceviche and Korean barbecue. Though casual, reservations are essential to get a table when the jazz, blues and roots acts are performing. The new Uptown location opened just opened with the same approach, a bit more room and a broader menu. Dinner Wednesday-Monday. $$

+12 

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Tracey's Original Irish Channel Bar is like a po-boy shop combined with a sports bar.

Tracey's Original Irish Channel Bar

2604 Magazine St., (504) 897-5413; traceysnola.com

Tracey’s is what you get when you cross a po-boy shop with a sports bar. It also happens to have a good deal more history than its age would suggest. The proprietors here for many years ran the kitchen at Parasol's, just a block down the street. They brought their own house style to the newer address, best shown with the roast beef and soft shell crabs. There's a bar snack menu (boudin balls, fried okra), which fits with the game day crowds. It's a loose, fun place that even has it's own ad hoc sidewalk oyster bar in season -- just a folding table, a shucker and raw oyster bliss. Lunch and dinner daily, late night Fri. and Sat. $

+12 

Advocate photo by J.T. BLATTY-- At Vessel, the cocktail list ranges from the classic to the contemporary, including a rendition of the vodka martini dubbed #gooddecisions.

Vessel

3835 Iberville St., (504) 603-2775; vesselnola.com

It's hard for anything to outshine the ambiance of Vessel, built in a century-old church that literally glows with walls of stained glass. But chef Nick Vella's menu of modern Mediterranean flavors would stand out just about anywhere. If the framework of small plates, bar snacks and shared platters is familiar, Vessel makes it all distinctively different, with lavash flat breads, house-made cheese filling the caramelle pasta and olive oil-braised chicken moated by a flavorful dashi reduction. The bar is a major component of Vessel, both in concept and in how it functions. This is an easy, social spot for shared meals in a one-of-a-kind setting. Dinner daily. $$$

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.