RUFFINO'S ON THE RIVER www.ruffinoslafayette.com
921 Camellia Blvd., Lafayette (Map) - 706-7333
This restaurant has roots extending across the Basin from Baton Rouge and for good reason — Ruffino's on the River delivers the same caliber cuisine right here in Lafayette. Perched on the Vermilion River, diners can start their evening at the bar overlooking the water while enjoying a cocktail and try the crabmeat cheesecake as a starter. It's baked jumbo lump crabmeat with Italian cheeses and topped with a creole meuniere sauce. For dinner, get the cedar plank redfish — redfish baked on a cedar plank and topped with fresh pesto, sliced tomatoes and a balsamic syrup. Save room for the fluffy, pink cotton candy that is complimentary at the end of every meal.
RUTH'S CHRIS STEAKHOUSEwww.ruthschris.com
620 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette (Map) - 237-6123
Daily: Dinner; Friday: Lunch
The bar is discretely dark and has comfy armchairs, best for deep conversations and icy martinis. Start with another kind of martini — the Crabtini served in a martini glass, or the Asian seared ahi tuna. Its steaks are smooth like butter, of course, served sizzling hot straight from the broiler and begging for a big California cab from Ruth's Chris' superb wine list. Sides include creamy potatoes au gratin, asparagus with hollandaise, and creamed spinach. Desserts are just as classic, like the creme brulee or white chocolate bread pudding. Ruth's Chris has also changed to a seasonal menu to better reflect what is freshest in Louisiana. Stop by for happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with select cocktails and appetizers for $7.
104 Republic Ave. Ste. B, Lafayette (Map) - 504-4625
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and dinner
Rachael's offers the traditional Cajun foods like fried seafood platters, meat pies and daily plate lunch specials, but this joint also offers a menu with a healthy side. Build your own lunch or dinner that's low-carb, gluten-free and heart healthy. Try the meatloaf with a side of coconut sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts for a tasty yet healthy home cooking.
RANDOL'S RESTAURANT www.randols.com
2320 Kaliste Saloom Road, Lafayette (Map) - 981-7080
The live Cajun music kicks off every night at 6:30 p.m., providing the setting for Randol's menu of Cajun and Creole classics. Seafood platters are abundant with shrimp, crawfish, oyster and soft shell crab, or sop up a seafood fondue with garlic toast. The White Lake Dreaming Crab Cake is a mound of lump crab meat with bechamel cream and served with a Parmesan cream reduction and a sure bet. For a little variety, try the snapper crusted in Panko and topped with lump crab meat in a spicy curry cream.
R & M's BOILING POINT www.boilingpointrandms.com
7413 Hwy. 90 W., New Iberia (Map) - 365-7596
Monday-Friday: Lunch and Dinner; Saturday-Sunday: Dinner
1516 S. Henry St., Abbeville (Map) - 893-1693
Since 1957, Abbeville's oldest crawfish patio has packed 'em in during summer months with boiled crabs and shrimp boiled in your choice of water, beer, wine or Bloody Mary mix. They start serving crawfish early within the first few weeks of November so snatch the restaurant's most popular appetizer: Crawfish Roll-ups, which is a deep-fried egg roll stuffed with a crawfish etouffee-like concoction. If it's not crawfish season, try the garlic butter grilled oysters or the nightly seafood buffet.
ROBIN'S RESTAURANT www.robincajunfood.com
1409 Henderson Hwy., Henderson (Map) - 228-7594
A well-kept secret in Acadiana, Robin's is a diamond in Henderson with different distinct gumbos of shrimp or crab or a combination. The crawfish bisque is unsurpassed, as well as the frog legs etouffee and the crab meat au gratin. The wine list is extensive, with incredible wines from around the world. Robin's also serves house-made ice cream, including Tabasco and a homemade fig that was created to lure Julia Child to the restaurant. If you love what you eat at Robin's, check out their website as you can order some of their dishes straight to your doorstep.
832 Martin Luther King Road, Cypress Bayou Casino, Charenton (Map) - 924-3334
Rikrak takes Asian-fusion to the bank with the classiest oriental restaurant in south Louisiana. Start with Rikrak's pork gyoza, ginger and pork in a dumpling. Then move on to the ribeye with Asian lime barbecue sauce; the ahi tuna pan seared with lemon butter and ginger mint sauce; or farm-raised sesame grilled duck with mandarin-peach chutney glaze. If you have room, hold out for the pineapple creme brulee.
2418 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette (Map) - 233-6368
Daily: Lunch and Dinner
Boiled shrimp and sushi are always in abundance at Royal Panda's huge buffet, which also offers Chinese food mainstays like lo mein, fried rice and beef and broccoli. Royal Panda will also serve sushi a la carte by request and on the buffet. The buffet holds snow crabs at night and on Sundays, but it costs a little extra.
902 Harding St., Lafayette (Map) - 234-1116
Shop for antiques and stop for lunch. The European bistro is getting a reputation for Lebanese dishes like meat pies, baked kibbe and lentil soup with sausage. Homemade gumbos, Tuscan chicken soup, and a chicken salad with apples on multi grain bread are all popular dishes. Afternoons, coffee and a slice of cake are a well-deserved respite from the buzz of the Oil Center.
ROLY POLY SANDWICHESwww.rolypoly.com
1004 Coolidge Blvd, Lafayette (Map) - 234-2389
Monday-Friday: Breakfast, Lunch and Early Dinner; Saturday: Lunc
Roly Poly creates masterful combinations that elevate sandwich and salad-making into art forms. Try the fan favorite the Basil Cashew Chicken sandwich, which is a soiree of fresh basil chicken salad, spicy Thai sauce, avocado, cashews, plum tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. A recent menu addition is the Peachtree Melt, a divine combination of brie, swiss, ham, peaches and pepper relish with a fresh dill horseradish dipping sauce.
105 St. Landry St., Lafayette (Map) - 534-4135
Monday-Friday: Breakfast and Lunch
This Saint Streets hot spot brings a bit of the past to life serving up dishes created around Bootsie Landry's famous biscuits. You can get your Bootsie's biscuit anyway you like it, but the Coullion is where's it's at — a buttermilk biscuit filled with a fried chicken breast topped with a housemade pecan-praline glaze. If you miss out on breakfast, try a burger or salad from the lunch menu.
RICE KINGS 944-9328
Monday-Saturday: Lunch; Special events
If you spot this bright orange truck that cooks Asian, stop and treat yourself to some authentic flavors like the Korean bulgogi tacos or the kimchi fries. This food truck even serves sushi handmade on the truck — consider Rice Kings the solution to satisfying that sushi craving when on the go.
806 I-10 South Frontage Road, Scott (Map) - 456-8026
Daily: Lunch and Dinner
There's a little Italy inside Rochetto's, created by Fezzo's owners who teamed up with Brady Benton to create an unexpected but authentic menu. The salad's Italian, the sandwiches are Italian, the wine, the dessert, everything says Italy except the purple and gold pizza dubbed Tiger Pride. There are small nods to the Fezzo's influence, including the Cajun crawfish pizza and the Cajun Rage pizzas.
115 Stonemont Road, Lafayette (Map) - 988-9790
Daily: Lunch and Dinner
220 Prescott Blvd, Suite 100, Youngsville (Map) - 451-6198
Monday-Thursday: Dinner; Friday-Sunday: Lunch and Dinner
In the heart of Acadiana's traditional neighborhood developments, River Ranch and Sugar Mill Pond, you can dine inside or enjoy fresh air while people-watching on the patio at Romacelli. Starters include the feta cheese rolls, hummus, roasted beef-topped Turkish flat bread and the Tuscan-seared tuna. Popular pizzas like pesto chicken are one option, or try the avocado sandwich piled with tomato, tuna, mozzarella and garlic sauce.