Station 6 in Bucktown
This working-class neighborhood that borders Lake Pontchartrain was founded more than a century ago as a string of fishing camps that lined the 17th Street Canal along the lake. Although a lot has changed since Katrina, Bucktown is still home to popular seafood eateries like R & O’s and Deanie’s. The newest kid on the block is Station 6, the latest from husband-and-wife chef team Drew Knoll and Alison Vega. The menu includes raw Gulf oysters, a heavenly crab casserole and a fried chicken sandwich with spicy blue cheese sauce. The lake is just over the levee, and a massive pumping station looms next door, which Vega and Knoll thought was station number six. It turns out they misread the map, but the name still has a nice ring to it. Don't miss the buttermilk drop bread pudding, an epic dessert.
105 Metairie Hammond Hwy., Bucktown, LA 70005. 504-345-2936; station6nola.com
While you’re there: Have a daiquiri or two at Daiquiris & Creams, a hopping local joint on Lake Avenue with powerful cocktails and killer karaoke.
Café Henri in Bywater
Historic Bywater is a charming neighborhood with a smattering of funky retail shops and lots of excellent restaurants. Although real estate prices are pushing out the creatives, the attitude still leans toward the bohemian and experimental. Café Henri is the latest reason to investigate. It's run by Neal Bodenheimer, Kirk Estopinal and Nick Detrich, the crackerjack team between craft cocktail go-tos Cure and Cane & Table. The corner eatery delivers comfort fare like juicy burgers, gumbo and wedge salads, along with classic cocktails and (when the weather is steamy) a frozen negroni to die for.
800 Louisa St., New Orleans, LA 70117. 504-302-2357; henri.cafe
While you’re there: Visit the Music Box Village, an interactive outdoor playland populated with ramshackle music-making cottages and spaces straight out of a steampunk fairy tale.
Altamura in the Garden District
This neighborhood of wrought-iron fences, exquisite gardens and lush antebellum homes is already a popular destination for hungry visitors scheming to snag a table at the teal Commander’s Palace on Washington Avenue. Altamura, a Northeastern U.S.–inspired Italian restaurant from New Jersey native Jack Petronella, delivers another kind of comfort to lovers of red gravy and feather-light ricotta gnocchi. While there’s not a thing wrong with Creole Italian fare, the style and flavor are quite different from what’s on the plates in restaurants in NYC's Little Italy, South Philly and Boston’s North End. Named for the Puglia hillside town where Petronella’s grandparents were born, Altamura offers a retro-chic setting and a menu of Italian favorites, including a pasta puttanesca that will make you weep. Even the meatballs pass Nonna muster. Mangia!
2127 Prytania St., New Orleans, LA 70115. 504-265-8101; Facebook
While you’re there: Take the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar back to the Quarter. It's an atmospheric ride that lets you watch the city go by with a clickity-clack soundtrack.
Vessel in Mid-City
This neighborhood just a few miles from the Quarter is anchored by the historic Fairgrounds Race Course on one end and restaurant-dotted Carrolton Avenue on the other. Vessel is close to Canal Street, housed inside a gorgeous onetime church with 25-foot ceilings, a long walnut bar and a terrace. The menu is described as offering coastal Mediterranean fare, with dishes like Gulf snapper crudo with watermelon sorbet and pickled watermelon rind, olive-oil braised chicken with charred okra and grilled pork porterhouse with ginger wilted greens. Try a slice of buttermilk pie with pickled blueberries for dessert.
3835 Iberville St., New Orleans, LA 70119. 504-603-2775; vesselnola.com
While you’re there: Catch music after dinner at Chickie Wah Wah, an intimate venue known for letting artists keep the cover charge at the door (an anomaly in this town). It’s also fun to say.
N7 in Upper 9th Ward
You can’t make reservations at N7, a French bistro across St. Claude Avenue from Bywater, simply because the restaurant doesn’t have a phone. It also doesn’t offer live music, Creole cuisine or New Orleans–inspired decor. What you will find at this unassuming restaurant tucked behind a wooden fence is a candlelit courtyard, French pop music, bistro fare like steak au poivre and mussels, and a solid wine list. Named for the roadway between Paris and the French-Italian border, N7 used to be a tire shop. Now the only thing you can change there is your attitude.
1117 Montegut St., New Orleans, LA 70117. Facebook
While you’re there: Backtrack toward the city on St. Claude Avenue and have a drink at the legendary Saturn Bar, the divey landmark where the Rolling Stones famously partied back in the day.