Each January signifies more than a new year — it’s the return of crawfish season, which can last until summer. Houston is crawling with innovative crawfish spots, adding their own spin on the delectable crustacean. This list is by no means a definitive ranking of the best crawfish in the city; it serves as a mini-map of spots for crawfish veterans and newcomers to hit this season.
LA Crawfish is one of the earliest innovators of Viet-Cajun style crawfish, and enthusiasts can also order shrimp, crab, seafood po’ boys, fusion pho bowls, micheladas, daiquiris and more. Only a restaurant from Houston can serve Vietnamese, Cajun and Mexican food and beverages on one menu and still seem natural. Multiple locations.
The owners boast a combined 20 years of crawfish farming and cooking, drawing on their Louisiana history to create sweet and savory boils. Crawfish dishes range from 1-pound to 8-pound platters, served with corn and potatoes. For those who find the crawfish a little too spicy, Boil House has daiquiris and beers to help wash down the heat. For those on the go, hit the drive-thru, or have them cater your next gathering. 606 E. 11th St. 713-880-3999.
A Houston staple since it opened in the ’70s, Ragin’ Cajun claims to be the first to serve boiled Louisiana-style crawfish right out of its restaurant. Nearly four decades later, the crawfish continues to garner rave reviews and flocks of fans. The spot has enjoyed the limelight, having been featured on NBC Dateline, the Food Network and other outlets with a national audience. With its distinctive red crawfish hanging above the entrance, it’s hard to miss Ragin’ Cajun. Crawfish is sold by the pound, with the option to add corn, potatoes, shrimp and snow crab. 4302 Richmond Ave. 713-623-6321.
If you’re looking for new ways to eat the tasty crustacean, this downtown staple is a must-stop. Since opening its doors in 1988, Zydeco features family recipes that have been perfected through three generations. Crawfish is served in an etouffee, po’ boy and on a platter with fries and jambalaya. Zydeco also offers catering and bulk orders to go. 1119 Pease St. 713-759-2001.
Clutch City Crawfish
While you can find this Cajun crawfish at Bobcat Teddy’s on the weekends during the season, Clutch City Crawfish also offers curbside and delivery services twice a week. On-site boils are what makes it a tasty local spot for fresh-cooked crawfish lovers in the inner loop. At $6.50 a pound with corn and potatoes, Clutch City offers tasty bugs at an affordable price. 2803 White Oak Drive. 832-722-8921.
A true innovator of the Viet-Cajun-style crawfish, chef/owner Trong Nguyen has been serving up mudbugs for more than a decade. There’s more here to try than crawfish, however, with Cajun-style seafood and wings on the menu, along with Vietnamese- style food such as deep-fried quail and hotpot with oxtail. 11360 Bellaire Blvd. 281-988-8098.
In addition to Louisiana-style crawfish, BB’s offers a Tex-Orleans Style crawfish, simply described as “Cajun with a Texas twist.” Outside of the seafood staples crawfish, crab and shrimp, BB’s lets you load up your boil with vegetables and specialty sausage. We can’t exactly explain why, but spicy alligator andouille sausage is a natural fit in a pot full of spicy mudbugs. Multiple locations.
If breaking apart crawfish shells isn’t your thing, Abe’s has you covered. You can try chicken breast stuffed with crawfish, pork chops covered in crawfish and even crawfish pie. Abe’s opened in Houston in 2001, with the original restaurant operating out of Lake Charles, La. There’s also outdoor seating on the sidewalk for those who can’t help but make a mess. 1080 Clear Lake City Blvd. 281-480-2237.
Why settle for just a crawfish boil when you can have an entire Cajun seafood buffet? Perfect for a weekend day trip, it’s close to a two-hour drive from Houston, Larry’s has an all-you-can eat buffet running Thursday through Saturday evenings. On the weekends, the joint is filled with live Cajun music and dancing. Come for the food; stay for the entertainment. 3701 Pure Atlantic Road, Groves, TX. 409-962-3381.
The Cajun Stop
Another authentic Louisiana restaurant, the Cajun Stop says eating here is akin to being at a “hole in the wall spot” that “resembles a little spot in the Quarter without ever leaving the city.” Offering more than 150 combinations for po’ boys, the EADO restaurant brings depth to its dishes. Orders can be eaten in-house or taken to go. Alcohol, too, like daiquiris and the New Orleans Big Shot, are also eligible for takeout. 2130 Jefferson St. 713-222-8333.