In a city that constantly changes, there's something reassuring about Tony Mandola's. This River Oaks establishment has been serving up fresh and delicious Cajun-style seafood since 1982, and although the address has changed — the new building on Waugh has loads of space and New Orleans charm — the loyal clientele follows Tony wherever he goes. Just walk in and you’ll smell the mouthwatering aromas of garlic bread and gumbo cooking away. The classic casual setting is perfect for lingering over chargrilled shrimp, whole fried catfish, crawfish etouffée, oysters, shrimp and crab quesadillas, and a rave-inducing ciopino, an Italian bouillabaisse. For the best deal, drop by for lunch on Tuesday or Thursday and order the $7 T 'n' T special.
It's all in the restaurant family. Tony's wife, Phyllis, is the daughter of the legendary Ninfa Laurenzo. His brother, Vincent, owns Nino's, Vincent's and Pronto. He's a cousin of Damian Mandola, owner of Damian's, and the Carrabba clan is mixed in there somewhere, too.