With so many dining options in New Orleans, sometimes we get stuck in the same old rut, often eating heavily or not venturing away from Cajun and Creole classics. There are more diverse offerings in town than ever, and here are a few to try now.

It is hard to resist a spot like  Noodle & Pie ; it’s home to ramen galore and tucked inside a former Reginelli’ s that the Dante’s Kitchen crew managed to renovate into a space that doesn’t look like a former pizzeria. Here the aqua flooring sparkles like a swimming pool and folks pack the house in close-quarter seating for steaming bowls of noodles and Japanese snack plates that change seasonally. The menu is fresh for these parts, which lack any sort of ramen-mania that has already overtaken places such as New York and even D.C. But now       chef Brian Armour       is building a cult following with small plates ranging from a delicate      octopus          and        pickl     ed     s  hrimp    salad  with  tender bits of fleshy meat tossed in a  light lemon d ressing  to the ever sinful corn fritters that go down faster than funnel cake, and are perhaps just as  deadly. There are  fries dusted in shrimp  cracker and served with a     sriracha aioli     that ar en’t to be missed. Same goes for pretty much any     yakitori     (things prepared on the grill) including the    skewered chicken   , and the on-trend “  hot servings  ,” including  pork belly  a   nd  marrow bone  preparations. But it’s the ramen that’s a true escape. Here, salty and sweet collide in a  heartwarming smoked hen broth for the House  Bowl, which features tender      housemade noodles     , a plump     egg,        pork shoulder   ,   fish cake  ,   b  its of greens   ,   mushrooms   and  no ri. If th at  doesn’t remedy a cold,  pretty much nothing can. As for dessert, there’s a reason it’s called Noodle & Pie, and it doesn’t have to do with pizza.    Pastry chef Mimi Assad    prepares   daily fresh pie  , such as a luscious  Banana Cream  and the nearly absurd  Bac on Pecan  and S’mores pies, a nd they’re the perfect accompaniment to the meal. Who does n’t leave happy after pie?

Cane & Table is a new bar from the owners of Cure and Bellocq, but it’s not just a bar. It is also home to one of the best new restaurants in the city, and we’re not talking bar food or small pla       t       es. While the     craft cocktail     bar serves    proto-tiki drinks    (from the pre-Tiki era), duck beyond the doors into the back cou rtyard and there you’ll find   chef Adam Biderman   (the man behind Company Burg er) and his   sous chef Ean Bancroft   preparing a slew of rustic Colonial   cuisine to pair with these libations. The jerk chicken is a must-try, but there’s also more than meets the eye here. A roster of Latin infused dishes cannot be overlooked, with   skirt steaks   prepared with  safrito  or chimichurri, and rangoon-like con grejitos appearing as small, crispy turnovers filled with creamy        Louisiana              crab       – and disappearing just as quic kly.      Shrimp           poac hed          in         bu tter     are   served  with a refreshing     papaya        salad    that isn’t overtly swee t. There are sides of    tostones    and   plantain    dumplings , worthy of o rdering  on their own. One more thing: for dessert you’ll find elusive  rice  calas making a rare appearance. There aren’t very many places that serve  these deep fried rice fritters of the Creole tradition, let alone in dessert form, perfectly fried and tossed with some powdered sugar – an homage to New Orleans as an historic seaport.


 Noodle & Pie : 741 State St., 252-9431.
 Cane & Tab le: 1113 Dec atur St., 581-1112.
Café Carmo: 527 Julia St., 875-4132, CafeCarmo.com


TRY THIS

The      acareje      (black-eyed pie fritters stuffed with cashew peanut and coconut paste) aren’t to be  missed at     Café Carmo     – whether  or not you order them with     shrimp     or    vegan-style   . This quiet little tropical café  in the Warehouse District blends exotic flavors with healthier fare, including  a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options. Obscure    fruit juices    – such as   graviola   (sort of tas tes like pear) and  Cupucua  (the official frui t of Braz il) –   cocktails   and  adventurous salads  abound. But it ’s the tropical specialties, especially the daily ones, which really shine. On a recent visit a  hot soup featuring crab and shrimp  in a tender broth with hatch chiles was evidence of a very talented kitchen, one that deserves a lot more credit than they’ve seen so far.