August 15, 2022

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11 Houston crawfish restaurants for every occasion

6 min read
Louisiana may be the crawfish queen, but Houston takes the crown when it comes to...

Louisiana may be the crawfish queen, but Houston takes the crown when it comes to the diversity of flavors and experiences on offer.

Crawfish season begins in February and ramps up in March, when the mudbugs get big and juicy as temperatures warm up. In Houston, there’s Cajun or Viet-Cajun crawfish, formal sit-down dining or takeout-friendly meals and many creative twists along the way.

Here are 11 Houston crawfish restaurants for every mood and occasion.

Cajun Kitchen's Kitchen Special flavor is citrusy and garlicky.

Cajun Kitchen’s Kitchen Special flavor is citrusy and garlicky.

Dave Rossman, Freelance / For the Houston Chronicle

For the best flavor options: Cajun Kitchen

Cajun Kitchen in Houston’s Asiatown is by far one of the best spots in town to eat Viet-Cajun crawfish. The seafood is boiled in Cajun seasoning then tossed in a wok with your choice of sauce. The garlic-butter flavor is simple and satisfying; the Thai basil is fragrant and adds some freshness to the dish; and the Kitchen Special is delightfully citrusy from being cooked with lemons and orange, plus garlic and green onions.

The Viet-Cajun crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles comes in varying levels of spice and with the usual fix-ins like sausage and corn.

The Viet-Cajun crawfish at Crawfish & Noodles comes in varying levels of spice and with the usual fix-ins like sausage and corn.

Karen Warren, Staff / Houston Chronicle

To follow in Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps: Crawfish & Noodles

Crawfish & Noodles is the most famous Viet-Cajun restaurant in Houston, owing to everything chef-owner Trong Nguyen has done to pioneer and advance the cuisine as a whole, and to an appearance in the Houston episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown,” among other food and travel shows. Crawfish & Noodles serves one flavor—boiled in a secret Cajun seasoning blend then tossed with garlic and butter—that comes in four levels of spice.

BB's Tex-Orleans has a dozen restaurants in the Houston area after making a suburban push in Kingwood and Tomball.

BB’s Tex-Orleans has a dozen restaurants in the Houston area after making a suburban push in Kingwood and Tomball.

Courtesy BB’s Tex-Orleans, Photographer

Or if you’re more of a Beyoncé fan: BB’s Tex-Orleans

Beyoncé and Jay-Z dined at BB’s Tex-Orleans in 2016 when the Houston-born singer was on tour, and the restaurant team was starstruck about it for a while. But BB’s was a fan-favorite long before then and now has a dozen locations in the Bayou City area, plus one in San Antonio. The Cajun menu features crawfish boils with one of the widest selections of fix-ins in town, including sausages like the spicy alligator andouille and the sweet-and-spicy pineapple; as well as edamame, Brussels sprouts, boiled egg and more.

The Ragin' Cajun and its crawfish mascot are unmissable on Richmond.

The Ragin’ Cajun and its crawfish mascot are unmissable on Richmond.

Dave Rossman, Freelance / For the Houston Chronicle

For a real Cajun experience: Ragin’ Cajun

You can’t miss Ragin’ Cajun driving by it on Richmond: It has a giant crawfish sculpture on top of the restaurant. In business since 1974, Ragin’ is where you go in Houston for an authentic Cajun experience like you get in southwest Louisiana. The seasoning they boil the crawfish in is a classic blend of cayenne, garlic powder and chile powder. Ragin’ only offers the butter dipping sauce, but you can make your own ketchup-mayonnaise concoction if you have a hankering for the Louisiana-style dip.

Phat Eatery serves Malaysian curry crawfish every season.

Phat Eatery serves Malaysian curry crawfish every season.

Courtesy

For the most unique crawfish boil: Phat Eatery

You’ve heard of Cajun crawfish, you’ve heard of Viet-Cajun crawfish, but have you heard of Malaysian crawfish? Chef Alex Au-Yeung offers a unique boil at his Malaysian restaurant in Katy, Phat Eatery, with a sauce made from curry and coconut milk. The special runs only for about a month during peak crawfish season, starting some time in March—look out for an imminent announcement on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

As well as the cheapest boils in town, Turkey Leg Hut also serves a crawfish mac and cheese-stuffed turkey leg.

As well as the cheapest boils in town, Turkey Leg Hut also serves a crawfish mac and cheese-stuffed turkey leg.

Turkey Leg Hut

If you want the cheapest crawfish: Turkey Leg Hut

Many restaurants in Houston that don’t specialize in crawfish still serve boils when it’s in season. One is Turkey Leg Hut, the famous Third Ward joint that attracts hours-long lines of people waiting for their stuffed turkey legs. Turkey Leg Hut loves to boast that they offer the cheapest crawfish in town, sometimes as low as $5 a pound—and the truth is, you’d be hard-pressed to find cheaper in Houston.

If you’re being lazy and need a drive-thru: Boil House

This small shack on 11th Street in the Heights is shut most of the year, but its doors fling open and its social media comes back to life as soon as crawfish season starts. This year, that day came on Feb. 1 with an announcement that delighted fans of the Boil House’s Cajun crawfish. The restaurant’s best feature, though, is the drive-thru window, where you can order crawfish boiled or live to prepare at home.

Out the Mud is a crawfish delivery service based in Houston.

Out the Mud is a crawfish delivery service based in Houston.

Out the Mud

If you’re being even lazier and need delivery: Out the Mud

A couple from Louisiana moved to Houston after their home flooded and started a crawfish boil catering company. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and events dried up, they quickly pivoted to delivery, which has proved very successful. Out the Mud Crawfish & Catering ships locally in Houston and nationwide. Get a 15-pound box for $175 and a 30-pound box for $350 delivered to your door—and keep an eye out for regular sales.

Crawfish Cafe now has two locations in Houston.

Crawfish Cafe now has two locations in Houston.

Thomas B. Shea/Freelance

If you want to customize your flavors: Crawfish Cafe

Crawfish Cafe now has two locations in Houston, the original one in Asiatown and a new one in the Heights. The restaurant serves crawfish boils with six flavors: Original Cajun, Kickin’ Cajun, Garlic Butter, Thai Basil, Lemon Pepper and The Mix, a garlic butter-lemon pepper blend. Diners can customize their mudbugs further, though, by marrying any two of those flavors together.

A steaming bowl of crawfish pho at LA Crawfish.

A steaming bowl of crawfish pho at LA Crawfish.

BOB OWEN/San Antonio Express-News

For something different than a boil: LA Crawfish

From a stand inside 99 Ranch grocery store to more than two dozen locations in Texas, LA Crawfish has come a long way. There’s plenty of Viet-Cajun boil options in Houston, but LA also offers a Vietnamese dish that’s made with crawfish instead of the traditional beef: the restaurant’s super-popular crawfish pho.

The enchiladas de acociles (or crawfish enchiladas) at Picos.

The enchiladas de acociles (or crawfish enchiladas) at Picos.

Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer

Or even more out of the box: Picos


Picos in Upper Kirby is best-known for its Mexican cuisine that reflects the country’s seven distinct regions. Because this is Houston, there’s some fusion sprinkled into the menu too. The seasonal crawfish enchiladas come in two rolled corn tortillas topped with roasted poblano cream sauce and Chihuahua cheese.

Brennan’s of Houston, which usually has a few crawfish specials every year, is also serving crawfish enchiladas this month, as well as crawfish cakes and crawfish-andouille mac and cheese.

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