BAILEY'S SEAFOOD & GRILL
5520-A Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 988-6464
Tuesday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner; Sunday: Brunch
Ema Haq's renovated Bailey's Seafood and Grill is adjacent to the casual Ema's Cafe and offers an array of South Louisiana and international fare. At lunch time, go for the maple leaf duck salad with a cup of roasted tomato basil with crab. For dinner, go for the tandoori rack of lamb, topped with a mango chutney demi-glace.
1508 W. Pinhook Road, Lafayette (Map) - 237-2860
Monday-Friday: Lunch and Dinner; Saturday: Dinner
Founded in 1978, the unassuming Guidry's Reef is now run by second and third generation Guidrys who ensure consistent and fresh goods. Focus on the fresh lump crab meat au gratin at Guidry's Reef or for purists, sauteed lump crab meat couldn't be simpler. Shrimp comes boiled or fried and there's soft-shell crab that's good on a platter and even better stuffed into a poboy. The seafood combination salad will lull your seafood cravings with its Louisiana crabmeat, crawfish and shrimp. The Homemade Bread Pudding with Pecan Praline Sauce is a sweet way to end your meal.
LA FONDA RESTAURANTwww.lafonda1957.com
3809 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 984-5630
Tuesday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
La Fonda has sustained Lafayette's thirst for margaritas, Tex-Mex and partying since the doors opened in 1957. But beyond Mexican calling cards like carne asada, the house favorite steak is an off-the-menu filet mignon or ribeye topped with sauteed onions and cheese dubbed the Don Briggs Special. If you like the fried rabbit, order one of the best-kept secrets - La Fonda has some of the finest fried chicken in town. The avocado stuffed with either black bean, chicken or shrimp salad is a local favorite on the menu.
135 W. Landry St., Opelousas (Map) - 942-2142
Daily: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
The Palace, located across from the St. Landry Parish Courthouse, has welcomed customers since 1927. Now under new ownership, it's open seven days a week. The menu still offers Cajun specialties like crawfish EtouffEe, bisque and crabmeat-stuffed eggplant in addition to steaks, fish and salads. A local favorite is the smothered calf's liver and onions.
3502 Ambassador Caffery Pkwy., Lafayette (Map) - 504-3002
The Phares family has been in the oyster business for more than 35 years. A perfect dinner at Phares is a dozen raw oysters, a dozen of its fire-roasted oysters sizzled with butter, garlic and Parmesan, then another dozen fried for dessert. Simple grilled fresh fish is a house speciality. End your meal with the homemade cheesecake topped with fresh Louisiana berries. On Tuesdays, $5 martinis and 2-for-1 house wines will wash it all down.
THE ORIGINAL DON'S www.donsdowntown.com
301 E. Vermilion St., Lafayette (Map) - 235-3551
Daily: Lunch and Dinner
The 1934 Don's Beer Parlor has grown into a full-blown institution in Downtown Lafayette with some true Cajun dishes like the half-and-half plates of shrimp or crawfish cooked into an EtouffEe and fried tails or the popular Crawfish Bisque - still served with stuffed crawfish heads. With oysters in season, Don's offers fresh and flavorful choice oysters from Grande Isle. If you're just passing through Downtown, stop in the revamped bar for an Old Fashioned with rock candy swizzle stick - a cocktail as iconic as Don's itself.