BAILEY'S SEAFOOD & GRILL
5520-A Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 988-6464
Tuesday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner; Sunday: Brunch
Ema Haq's recently 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
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.
3134 Johnston St., Lafayette (Map) - 984-5614
Monday-Saturday: Lunch and Dinner
For more than 60 years, the family-owned Judice Inn has been serving up little hamburgers with just the right amount of spice and grease. One's just not enough, and two is sometimes too much. The burgers are dressed with a top-secret sauce. After all those years, there are still no French fries here, so order a bag of Zapp's potato chips. Other notable grill-top items include the grilled cheese and the egg sandwiches. Cool your mouth off from the spicy burger with a handmade chocolate milkshake.
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.
135 W. Landry St., Opelousas (Map) - 942-2142
Monday-Friday: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner; Saturday: Breakfast
Three generations of the Doucas family have operated the Palace, across from the St. Landry Parish Courthouse, since 1927. The menu 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. The Greek salad and deservedly famous baklava are nods to the family's Greek heritage.
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.
THE ORIGINAL DON'S SEAFOOD & STEAKHOUSEwww.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 seafood salad. On a blustery fall day, Don's dishes up a savory bowl of chicken and sausage gumbo perfect to cut the chill in the air. 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.