The best restaurants are the one's where you feel like you've been invited to eat in the owner's own home and he's serving you those old, secret family recipes that you wish your family had handed down to you. That is Lester's Seafood. Lester's Seafood is exactly the place that the West Monroe/Monroe area has been needing for a long time. Surprisingly, there are not really any places to get good New Orleans food around here, even though this is solid Saints fan territory. (Cypress Inn? No. If you have to sit inside away from the bayou view, you can't honestly say that you want to eat there.) Lester's is the real deal. This is no chain restaurant experience, where you are part of a food-serving assembly line and herded around like cattle. If you want that, go to Thomas Road's restaurant row for cookie-cut meals and prepackaged food that's essentially just reheated for you. If you want great food cooked with care and personal service in a relaxing atmosphere, go to Lester's.How does Lester's create that NOLA flavor and atmosphere? In a word, it's because the owner brings everything from New Orleans. The family is from there. So is the french bread they use for the po-boys. It comes from a New Orleans bakery; you won't find it anywhere else here. It melts as you bite into it. Lester also owns docks and boats on the coast, so he harvests his own seafood and hauls it up from the Gulf Coast to Monroe twice a week. Hell, he even brought his chef up with him so the food gets done right; the same chef that's worked for him for years. Lester is not new to the food business. As a supplier, he ships seafood all over the world. He's also owned restaurants for decades. And he loves to talk with you about what he does and get your feedback. In fact, everything I know about the place comes from Lester himself. The family runs the place, and they want you to love the food they serve. And you will. What do they have? You can get anything there from fried platters to a huge array of salads. There are amazing po-boys, baked dishes, gumbo, dips, desserts, and cajun sides. Thursday night is all-you-can-eat boiled crabs. The crabs are seasoned perfectly, with the spices boiled into them, not sprinkled on them like with the crawfish at Cormiers. Keep in touch with Lester's for upcoming specials. Crawfish coming soon! They can also do lots of vegetarian meals. If you don't see what you are looking for, just ask. If you have special dietary needs like low salt, Lester's can accommodate in a way that chain places cannot or will not. They can because everything is prepared when you order it. You can also pick up raw seafood there. It's a market and restaurant. Real New Orleans.Save room for the beignets. They are simply the best. They are sweeter than any others you have had or will have. Like the restaurant's other food, the beignets are an old family recipe. Just beware, if you have them at Lester's, you will not want to eat them at Cafe du Monde on your next trip to NOLA. And all others will likewise seem inferior. They come four to an order. The place opens at 10:30am, so perfect for a late breakfast, too. I like to get an order of beignets and apple fritters. Both delicious.I have eaten there three times in two weeks, and I will be back time and time again. If you want to keep real NOLA flavor around here, support Lester's Seafood. It's new in town, but it brings with it years of family tradition that will make you glad you ventured away from uninspired offerings of Thomas Road's restaurant row. You can get that anywhere, anytime. If you want something personal and local, Lester's is where you must be.