For more than 25 years this gaily colored cottage filled with a museum's worth of regional art has defined New Orleans Creole bistro fare, combining lusty traditional items like dark gumbo or étouffée with enough elegance to be worthy of white tablecloths. Boisterous regulars know their orders before the cocktails even arrive: perhaps fried green tomatoes with shrimp remoulade, spicy local shrimp with jalapeño cornbread, or duck with ginger-peach sauce. Order the $45
"Taste of New Orleans" menu to sample seven classic dishes. Owner and local character JoAnn Clevenger presides over Upperline like the hostess of a party. New chef Dave Bridges has sharpened the focus without forgetting the history.