Unknown Food Critic / Eyewitness News

We don't need much encouragement to eat seafood in south Louisiana, but the arrival of Lent always ratchets up interest. You don't have to follow the Catholic practice of meatless Fridays to appreciate a good seafood bounty, of course, and all over town people are digging into the local abundance. Here are four places covering a spectrum of restaurant types where you can't go wrong.

Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar. 3203 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 443-6454

Harbor Seafood shares a roof (and ownership) with a busy seafood market, which might explain how it fields one of the most varied menus of local seafood in town. Whether you want it boiled, grilled, blackened, fried, stewed, stuffed or raw, this place has you covered. A visit to Harbor Seafood can be a refresher course in the amazing variety and local abundance. Not only does this prodigious restaurant cover all the bases, it covers them better than most.

GW Fins. 808 Bienville St., New Orleans, 504-581-3467

The original concept for GW Fins was to run a seafood restaurant like a high-end steakhouse. The star ingredient fish in this case, instead of steak had to have the best quality and presentation, and service and ambiance should follow suit as well. The result is an upscale, contemporary seafood restaurant serving an exciting, high-caliber cuisine that still seems like a surprise and a find on each visit, especially given its proximity to the loud end of Bourbon Street. In fact, I think it's one of the best high-end places for seafood in New Orleans.

RioMar. 800 S. Peters St., New Orleans, 504-525-3474

Most of the seafood at RioMar is local, but the preparations and inspiration come from the wide-ranging realm of Latin American seafood. Tart ceviche (done a variety of ways), oysters baked with chorizo and spinach, shrimp cooked with saffron and garlic in toasty short-grain rice, and Gulf fish escabeche, with olives and peppers and vinegar these are some hallmarks of this intriguing and welcoming spot. Visit for lunch, and you can nosh your way through traditional Spanish tapas, including many revolving around seafood.

Seither's. 279 Hickory Ave., Harahan, 504-738-1116

Siether's is one of those scruffy backstreet joints the tourists dream about finding on their trip to New Orleans. It's location deep in Harahan means it's mostly for locals, however, and they know this place has the right stuff. Immense platters of mixed boiled seafood (crawfish, shrimp and crabs altogether) are the centerpieces of most tables here, but you can get just about any local standard done well. Try the BBQ shrimp pasta and be sure to visit the new oyster bar.

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