525 N. Main St., Washington (Map) - 826-7227
Tuesday-Saturday: Dinner; Sunday: Lunch
The town of Washington, settled in 1720, is a quick and pleasant drive from the Hub City. The restaurant has been around since 1977 after being restored from the riverboat warehouse it once was and overlooks Bayou Courtableau. Chef and owner Jason Huguet has a traditional menu with lots of flair and flavor. The setting is gorgeous with the restaurant opening up to a large patio that spills toward the river. There are cottages to rent nearby, making it ideal for receptions.
STEVE & PAT'S www.bontempsgrill.com
1312 Verot School Road, Lafayette (Map) - 706-8850
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
Brothers Steven and Patrick O'Bryan set out to create a restaurant with what they call "urban Cajun food," and the restaurant's unconventional twists on Cajun ingredients provide a Cajun dining experience unlike any other. Don't pass up the swamp legs, which are crispy duck drumettes with a housemade mango sauce and twice-cooked gator legs with a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. The apple and tasso stuffed pork chop is double grilled on the restaurant's wood-burning grill in the back, which gives the meats a wonderfully smoky flavor. Finish the meal with the bananas foster bread pudding for a sweet bite of Cajun heaven.
SAIGON NOODLES www.saigonnoodleslafayette.com
2865 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette (Map) - 456-3317
Tuesday-Sunday: Lunch and Dinner
This restaurant is like the best kept secret that everyone knows about. For a departure from everyday spring rolls, try the autumn or winter rolls. The autumn wraps chives, mint leaves, fried wonton paper and pork patty in rice paper with Saigon pineapple dipping sauce; winter is a mint leaves, cilantro and fried tofu with peanut dipping sauce. Try one of our favorite dishes, the Grilled Pork, Shrimp and Vermicelli Noodles (Bun Tom, Thit, Nuong, Cha Gio), which is served in a pedestal bowl.
SAKURA SUSHI BAR AND GRILLwww.sakuralafayette.com
3217 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 989-9698
Monday-Saturday: Lunch; Dinner Daily
Sushi, sashimi, teriyaki, tempura, katsu, nabemono and donburi all get ace treatment at Sakura. If sushi starvation has you in its claw, Sakura has two huge rolls: the Big Katuna Roll, featuring fresh tuna, escolar, yellowtail, snow crab, masago and chef sauce wrapped in soy paper; and the Big Daddy roll, which marries spicy tuna, snow crab, escolar, chef special sauce and masago wrapped in soy paper, all lined with tuna on the outside. Sakura just keeps getting better with its new menu additions. Take a bite out of a sushi apple with the Golden Apple, a combination of toasted eel, snow crab, cucumber, avocado and tempura flakes all cut in the shape of an apple, or a different kind of spice in the Dynamite Roll, which showcases chili spices.
SAMURAI SUSHI BAR
3545 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette (Map) - 993-2433
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
4702 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 988-4588
Monday-Friday: Lunch and Dinner; Saturday-Sunday: Dinner
Whether you're in the mood for seafood or meat off the sizzling hibachi grill or some imaginative sushi rolls, Shangri-La has options for every palate. For starters, try the Ragin' Cajun, which includes crab paste, crab stick and avocado topped with baked chili crawfish, and the Shangri-La, made with tuna, salmon, crab, avocado and bonito flakes. Shangri-La has dreamed up some dessert rolls as well. The Sweet Summer is made with crab paste, shrimp tempura and cream cheese, topped with mango and sweet mayo, while the Hawaiian Beach rolls shrimp tempura and crab paste under a fruity blanket of strawberry, banana and coconut sauce.
3810 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette (Map) - 406-0024
Daily: Lunch and Dinner
The hibachi grill and sushi bar are always hopping at this Japanese restaurant, and there's an abundance of special rolls on the menu. Two local faves are the Rock Star: fresh yellow tail tuna and salmon, wrapped in soy paper and topped with snow crab, crunchy spicy mayo and eel sauce; and the Lafayette Hot Roll: fresh salmon, tuna, whitefish, crab stick, snow crab, avocado and cream cheese, wrapped and deep fried then topped with spicy mayo, eel sauce and chili sauce.
701 W. Port St., Abbeville (Map) - 898-3311
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
Everyone knows that Shucks! is renowned for some of the best raw oysters in southwest Louisiana (get ‘em pan-broiled, fried or stuffed if you like), but owners David Bertrand and Bert Istre have also tweaked and expanded the menu a bit. There are crab cakes, fried alligator, shrimp remoulade, duck and andouille gumbo and an oyster stew recipe that's winning raves.
8218 Maurice Ave, Hwy. 167 (Map) - 893-2462
Monday: Lunch; Tuesday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
Soop's menu doesn't stray too far from its name, keeping it simple with hamburger steaks and ribeyes. On the seafood front, the Chef's Special overflows with seafood gumbo, shrimp etouffee, shrimp-stuffed bell pepper, crabmeat au gratin, fried shrimp and french fries.
920 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette (Map) - 233-7476
This cozy lunch bistro in the Oil Center offers paninis, wraps, fresh baked quiche specials, stuffed croissants and soups served in bread bowls. Or go light with the huge shrimp salad, chicken pesto pasta salad or the ham and chicken cordon bleu.
SOCIAL SOUTHERN TABLE AND BAR www.socialsouthern.com
3901 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 456-3274
Tuesday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
Social offers a uniquely modern gastropub setting centered around classic comfort foods, craft cocktails and Southern hospitality. The menu rotates seasonal offerings by chef Marc Krampe, but some of the constant popular dishes are the Krab nachos and the smoked shrimp and polenta. The nachos are crispy wontons topped with guacamole and spicy mayo, while the shrimp is Social's take on a modern shrimp and grits — a curry-infused shrimp topped with green tomato relish and a bed of creamy polenta. The desserts change monthly, but pastry chef Amy Salsman is always creating sweet treats to satisfy. Look for special events at Social on their website and don't miss wine down Wednesdays where guests are treated to a complimentary wine tasting starting at 5:30 p.m.
STEVEN'S Fine Food restaurant
208 S. Pierce St., Lafayette (Map) - 261-1102
Monday-Friday: Lunch and Dinner
Located in the blossoming gentrify of Pierce and Buchanan, Steven's is too small to eat in and too good to ignore. For less than $5 you can get three chicken fingers that are the size of adult hands. Pork chop sandwiches, the best fried shrimp, poboys and fried rice round out the menu. Your best bet is to call ahead once you get a menu — when we say it's small inside, it really is.
SULTAN'S Cafe AND GRILLwww.sultanscafeandgrill.com
1503 N. Bertrand Drive, Lafayette (Map) - 456-6020
Monday-Friday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Owner Mustafa Ozen is Turkish. His partner, Ramzi Nassour is Lebanese. The running joke between the two men involves a disagreement about whether the kibbe and kefta, the baba ganoush and chicken shawarma, the Lebanese tea and Turkish coffee, hail from Beirut or Istanbul. For customers who want an all-American menu, there's baked potatoes and steak sandwiches, but for those with a taste for the Mediterranean, go for the tang of yogurty tzatziki.
SOPHI P. CAKESwww.sophipcakes.com
3209 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 456-5582
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and early dinner
Sophi P. was the first to bring attention to gourmet cupcakes in Lafayette, and executive chef Jennifer Melancon has crafted unique cupcakes that no one in town has been able to duplicate. Each season and holiday brings specialty flavors, along with the famous Red Velvet Deluxe, Atomic Chocolate and a total of 20 unique cupcake flavors that will have you struggling on deciding which ones to try. Stop in for a dozen or just a single, sit down with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk for a pick-me-up.
4519 W. Congress St., Lafayette (Map) - 233-8636
Monday-Saturday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
After a hiatus from the Lafayette dining scene, Southside is back and in full force. The burgers are legendary, as are the cases full of sweets and fresh breads. You can also find crawfish and crab burgers on the menu along with salads and shrimp poboys.