Rather than sticking to one type of cuisine, the chefs of Restaurant IPO delight palates with surprising pairings of southern Louisiana and international flavors. Inventive renditions of familiar regional favorites include southern-style egg rolls, with fillings of pulled pork and smoked gouda cheese grits, and blackened tuna, which arrives alongside a serving of housemade kimchi and mashed sweet potatoes tinged with ginger.
Guests enjoy the cuisine and muddled cocktails amid the eatery's rustic, yet somewhat industrial, decor, which features dangling Edison bulbs, and shabby-chic brick walls suspended between exposed wood beams. The dining room also features, "handmade cypress furniture designed and built by a local artisan," according to 225 magazine.
When faced with time off after graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University, Maggie DiMaggio took to baking cake after cake in her own kitchen. Seeing the potential in her baked treats, she soon began taking weekly pilgrimages to the Mandeville farmers' market to sell her cupcakes and fine breads. As the popularity of her creations grew, the special orders began pouring in?so many, in fact, that she had to open a storefront just to manage the demand.
That storefront soon evolved from its humble beginnings into The Chocolate Vine, a European-style bakery that also houses an intimate caf?. To foster a cozy, inviting atmosphere, Maggie furnishes the small eatery with tables and chairs from local antique stores and regularly applies a fresh coat of buttercream icing to the walls. When not crafting almond-, strawberry-, and chocolate-infused cakes , she cooks light lunches with fruits and vegetables from a local produce stand. Maggie also graciously opens up her wine cellar for regular tastings, during which guests sip on eight glasses of her finest reserves.
Often referred to as simply "The Pie," The Original Italian Pie has cropped up in various cities across Louisiana since its inception in 1992. The eatery specializes in gourmet pizzas, with predesigned pies like the garlic shrimp and chicken alfredo, as well as create-your-own varieties. The Italian eats also extend to oven-baked sandwiches, pastas, calzones, and dessert.
In an effort to find a healthy alternative to fast food without sacrificing speediness, the creators of Pita Pit began assembling their signature sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night snacks. At each location, thin, Lebanese-style pitas encircle lean, grilled meats and fresh veggies. Sandwich selections span the spectrum from gyro meat and falafel to turkey and prime rib. The staff empowers customers to make healthy choices by displaying nutrition information for each bread, meat, and post-meal toothpick and corralling a selection of healthy sandwiches, which dining companions can wash down with fruit smoothies.
The only full-menu vegetarian restaurant in andouille-stuffed New Orleans, Café Bamboo features a playfully eclectic menu of Thai-, Latin-, and Cajun-inspired dishes. The gloriously alliterative caramelized cauliflower crustini ($5) tops crunchy french bread with a sweet browned-onion and cauliflower salad, which pairs wonderfully alongside a coconut-blended tomato-anise soup ($4 cup/$6 bowl) with assorted vegetables. The sampler rice bowl ($13) is a veritable United Nations of flavor, featuring Creole tofu in tomato and pepper sauce, peanuty West African mafe, green Thai curry, and vindaloo over a bowl of white or brown rice. Veggie and meat eaters alike can get a taste of southern soul food with the Sol Chik'n Dinner ($13), savory fried soy "chicken" served with Sol bell-pepper relish, cornbread, and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, just like your alternate-universe vegetarian grandma used to make. Night owls will enjoy the late-night menu's selection of fingerfuls of fried favorites such as mozzarella sticks (4 for $5/6 for $6), Chik'n nuggets ($6), and mini egg rolls (4 for $5/6 for $6).
Summon the senses out of bed with the efficiency of a rooster with an alarm clock with Oceana's kicky menu of morning tastes. Try the Cajun omelette ($12.50), with spicy seasonings, mushrooms, and onions, or maw maw's Cajun breakfast ($12), packed with bacon, ham, shrimp, eggs, and rice. Crêpes ($15–$18) call out to lovers of foldable fare with the St. Marie (spinach, cheddar, chicken, and hollandaise) and the St. James (shrimp, crabmeat, onions, red peppers, and cheese). Midday grub includes fried-catfish po’ boys ($9.50), classic cheeseburgers ($9.50), and crab-cake burgers ($9.50). Louisiana-style dinner entrees such as the grilled ahi-tuna "la boheme" topped with barbecued shrimp and served with sautéed veggies ($20) and smoked duck sided with potatoes and vegetables ($21) take care of heartier appetites.