You might think you'll be hard pressed to find good Cajun food outside of Louisiana. It's true, the best Cajun and Creole food might be in the French Quarter in New Orleans, but Cajun cuisine lives well outside the borders of your favorite Mardi Gras state. Thanks to chef Paul Prudhomme and other chefs that share recipes from their Louisiana kitchen, great Cajun restaurants do exist in Texas. In fact, we think Texas has some of the best Cajun food outside of NOLA!
If you're looking for classic Cajun and Creole dishes like boudin (or deep-fried boudin balls), dirty rice, crawfish etouffee, gumbo filé, red beans and rice, crawfish boil, or a good po boy, then these are the places to go. They're not fine dining, but they shouldn't be! They capture the spirit of Creole cuisine perfectly, right here in Texas. If you need a refresher on the difference between Creole and Cajun food, check it out here. Most contemporary restaurants combine the cuisines on their menus, though they are distinctly and historically different.
Because we couldn't pick a best-of-the-best, we listed them in alphabetical order by city. Let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments!
1. The Drunken Oyster in Amarillo
The Drunken Oyster is designed to look like you entered any bar in the French Quarter. You'll be dazzled by their interior design as you browse menu filled with fresh fish and shellfish. They have a ton of Cajun-inspired entrees and appetizers, including voodoo shrimp BBQ and shrimp and grits.
2. Gambino's Cajun Creole in Austin
This farm-to-table is serving up scratch-made Cajun food in the heart of Austin. If you're looking for true Creole cuisine, this is the place to be!
Their menu is small be effective, including some alligator bites with kale slaw that are completely legendary. Don't forget to order beignets for dessert!
3. The Best Boudin Period in Borger
A place that boasts it's this good in the title better live up to its name! Luckily for Panhandle residents, The Best Boudin Period makes some incredible Creole food. Their pepper jack boudin balls give the right amount of Tex-Mex spice to this Southern classic. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu (but we especially love how piled high their po'boys are).
4. Aunt Irene's Kitchen in Dallas
What's Aunt Irene's advice to running a successful seafood restaurant? Using the finest quality ingredients! Their unique twist on Cajun and Creole food takes traditional recipes and puts a creative, modern spin on them. The menu is simple but you'll love their box-style entrees.
5. Jonbalaya in El Paso
This West Texas joint started as a food truck but quickly expanded into a brick-and-mortar restaurant due to popular demand. In addition to Tex-Mex favorites like puffy tacos, they also boast Cajun-inspired cuisine like jambalaya, a bayou burger, and fried okra. Their menu has something for everyone!
6. Tributary Cafe in Fort Worth
From fried green tomatoes to key lime pie, the folks at the Tributary Cafe are doing Southern food justice. Their Cajun-inspired menu is filled with the classic favorites like Cajun fried seafood and deliciously messy BBQ shrimp.
Soon, they'll be offering your favorite Creole brunch in town to go alongside their Cafe du Mond chicory coffee, so stay tuned!
7. Le' Pam's House of Creole in Houston
Chef Pamela Graham is a Houston native who grew up in New Orleans, so she loves serving up classic Creole food like crawfish étouffée, seafood stuffed bell peppers, and fried catfish alongside stewed okra and other Cajun delights. They also might have the best gumbo in Houston!
8. Big Easy New Orleans Style Sandwiches in Plano
For a classic New Orleans sandwich with a Texas twist, you have to check out Big Easy in Plano. The sandwiches are gigantic and they're filled with NOLA po' boy classic fillings like fried oysters and roast beef.
You'll also find your favorite smothered étouffée dishes, fried green tomatoes, and a killer muffuletta sandwich here.
9. Rollin' Tide Boil in Port Aransas
Enjoy a private low country boil on the beach with Rollin' Tide Boil. You'll get to relax by a 3-hour bonfire on Adirondack as they boil up Vidalia onions, spicy sausage, jumbo gulf shrimp, corn, and potatoes. Don't get too full, though, because no bonfire is complete without S'mores for dessert!
10. The Boudain Hut in Port Arthur
For crawfish boils and classic lunch plates, the Boudain Hut is the place to be. They make their boudain daily and present live music five days a week. It's a classic, honky-tonk location right on the border to Louisiana and their authenticity shows.
What did we miss? What's you're favorite neighborhood Cajun or Creole joint? Let us know in the comments where it is - and why you love it so much!
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