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Claw Daddys
Photograph: Courtesy Claw Daddy's

The best Cajun restaurants in NYC

At a Cajun restaurant in NYC, find Southern comfort-food dishes and fried food straight from Louisiana

By John Marshall
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It’s not hard to like the comfort-food dishes at a Cajun restaurant—but some of us are fanatics. For those who yearn to slurp steamy fricassee or whose stomachs grumble on the regular with hopes of fried chicken and well-smothered étouffée, New York has plenty of soul food restaurants. And for the palate unfamiliar with Cajun cooking, here are the best places to start.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best restaurants in NYC

Best Cajun restaurants in NYC

Great Jones Cafe
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Phoebe J.

1. Great Jones Cafe

Restaurants Cajun Noho

Back in the ‘80s, many regarded Cajun cooking as another foodie fad. But this joint has proved them all wrong—and remains one of the only things that hasn’t changed about the neighborhood near Bowery. Regular menu items are printed on the wall in big black letters; specials go on the chalkboard. It’s unpretentious downhome food at its downtown finest.

Infirmary
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Christopher K.

2. Infirmary

Restaurants Creole Upper East Side

At this Upper East Side restaurant, Cajun food collides with haughtily made cocktails—but with surprisingly good results. For a spicy delight, wolf down the Roast Beef & Debris Po Boy while sipping a Silver Tongued Devil (jalapeño-infused tequila with pineapple, ginger and lime).

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Claw Daddys
Photograph: Courtesy Claw Daddys

3. Claw Daddy’s

Restaurants Seafood Lower East Side

This relatively new addition (read: 2012) to the LES includes some worthwhile offerings. Spiked Capri Sun “for adults”? Yeah, it’s here. Big picnic tables for an authentic pass-around-the-bucket boil of fresh seafood? Check. Happy hours with $5 beers on tap and $1 chicken wings? Aye, aye.

Venue says We are temporarily closed, but hope to resume operations and see you all soon!

The Boil
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Vicki C.

4. The Boil

Restaurants Creole Lower East Side

The No. 1 rule of Cajun cooking is that it’s messy. The second rule of Cajun cooking is—you guessed it—it’s messy. Not to worry, though. The folks at the Boil will outfit you with a bib, gloves and bucket before you start gobbling lobster, sending red shells flying in your wake like an efficient wood chipper. Also, the food here comes in plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and paper baskets—so maybe not the ideal place to propose, but the perfect place to eat.

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Bayou
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Peng L.

5. Bayou Restaurant

Restaurants Cajun Staten Island

Come to Staten Island to get a taste of the elaborate, iron-wrought elegance that the French Quarter is famous for worldwide. Gnaw on the Dixie-Land Ribs, savoring their sweet tang while sitting under the ornate swirls of a pink-imbued chandelier. Then enjoy the hunk of authentically simple cornbread that comes with it. Just don’t let the swank digs fool you—you can forget about your fork.

Catfish
Photograph: Courtesy Catfish

6. Catfish

Restaurants Cajun Crown Heights

When casting a line for catfish, here’s a pro-tip: they really love to eat Ivory Soap. It’s weird. And when going to eat at Catfish in Brooklyn, be prepared for this: that redbrick rustic charm so characteristic of NOLA. Head to the tré chill back patio during the $1 oyster happy hour, and slurp some off the shell.

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