Deanie’s on Hayne

7350 Hayne Blvd., (504) 248-6700

A generation ago, this was the type of restaurant New Orleans recognized as its own, loved dearly but probably also took for granted. Expertly fried seafood, scratch-made gumbo and crawfish bisque, an efficient-yet-affectionate service style that makes every waitress feel like your aunt. These days, though, such characteristics make Deanie’s feel like a throwback, and its role as one of the few remaining eateries in New Orleans East from the old days makes it feel like a survivor (note that it’s unrelated to the better-known Deanie’s of Bucktown). It still feels like home, however, and tastes that way, too. Dinner hours are back, and a new oyster bar was added over the summer. Lunch and dinner (til 8 p.m.) Mon.-Fri. $$

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Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty - A slice of buttermilk custard pie with mayhaw glaze demonstrates the dessert specialty at High Hat Cafe in New Orleans.

High Hat Café

4500 Freret St., (504) 754-1336; highhatcafe.com

High Hat Cafe combines Creole flavor, to the tune of deep dark gumbo and barbecue shrimp, with more of a Deep South angle from catfish with hush puppies and pimento cheese platters. The critical third part of the equation, however, is the way the kitchen and even the bar embrace the fresh and seasonal. A finely fried soft shell crab might be paired with multi-colored bursts of tomato and corn salad. Add the kids menu and you have an anytime cafe with a sense of place that responds closely to modern tastes. Don’t skip the pie. Lunch and dinner daily. $$

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Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Joey K's Restaurant and Bar on Magazine Street in New Orleans.

Joey K’s Restaurant & Bar

3001 Magazine St., (504) 891-0997; joeyksrestaurant.com

As the restaurant scene has grown increasingly diverse, the value of places like Joey K's as real-deal New Orleans eateries grows more clear. It is especially clutch given its location in a hot area where new casual restaurants are likely to work more current trends than the lamb shank, Creole lima beans and ham or liver and onions on weekly blackboard rotation. The appeal gets down to easy meals at a good price and local flavors as true as shrimp remoulade, fried artichoke hearts and spaghetti with shrimp and ham. It's all very much in touch with the neighborhood restaurant spirit. Lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat.$$

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Advocate staff photo by Ian McNulty --Liuzza's by the Track is a classic back street eatery in New Orleans.

Liuzza’s by the Track

1518 N. Lopez St., (504) 943-8667; liuzzasnola.com

This tavern has for many years now been a leading representative of that almost mythical foodie find, the backstreet joint serving outstanding food in a raffish atmosphere that never feels fabricated. Liuzza’s by the Track is still very much a part of its neighborhood, and the dishes on which it hangs its hat — the Creole gumbo with just-poached oysters, the barbecue shrimp po-boy with its mudslide of butter and pepper, the white table cloth-worthy shrimp remoulade — retain the quality and style that got people talking in the first place. Lunch and dinner (kitchen closes at 7 p.m.) Mon.-Sat. $

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Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Munch Factory favorites include shrimp remoulade with fried green tomatoes, spaghetti salad and St. Louis ribs with "Elysian peels" potatoes.

The Munch Factory

6325 Elysian Fields Ave. (504) 324-5372; munchfactory.net

Yes, the name makes it sound like a snack bar, or perhaps a popcorn vendor’s cart. But a quick glance at the menu leaves no doubt that this is a Creole neighborhood restaurant, albeit one with a more modern attitude. Chef Jordan Ruiz applies reverence where it belongs — namely with the Creole gumbo, the shrimp remoulade, the blackened redfish. But from there, the Munch Factory menu can bring waffle-cut cheese fries, loosely bound shrimp burgers bursting with fresh flavor or a plate of ribs with sides as homey as any backyard barbecue platter. Though laid-back, it’s also nice enough for a special dinner in the neighborhood. Lunch Tue.-Fri., dinner Tue.-Sat. $$

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Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Puppy drum with almond green beans, charred lemon and marinated tomato vinaigrette at Ye Olde College Inn.

Ye Olde College Inn

3000 S. Carrollton Ave., (504) 866-3683; collegeinn1933.com

This is a modern New Orleans eatery with an old New Orleans soul. The stack of onion rings, the turkey and sausage gumbo that tastes precisely like autumn and the old fashioned hamburger steak are all vestiges that still ring true, while grilled pompano, shrimp and grits with waffles and a garden-fresh salad of herbs, tomatoes and pork belly with a Vietnamese edge all point to current styles. Most of all, what makes this place tick is the personality brought to it by the staff and customers alike, and that makes it instantly recognizable as homegrown and genuine. Dinner, then a show at the adjacent Rock 'n' Bowl is a great combo. Dinner Tue.-Sat. $$$

Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter, @IanMcNultyNOLA.