HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >


Cajun in (SEA)

Looks like From the Bayou in Parkland, WA closed and its replacement is not getting good reviews. Other Cajun restaurnats in Seattle or driving distance (1 hour)? Please don't not say Celtic Bayou in Redmond (ick!) or my head will explode.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. http://www.sazeracrestaurant.com/ is pretty good and has been around a while.

    http://tomdouglas.com/ettas/index.html isn't cajun but you can see the influence.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Irvington

      Sorry, Irv, neither of those qualify. I see gumbo on one, but neither are Cajun.

    2. I grew up 2 hours from NOLA and I long ago gave up any hope of finding a taste of good cajun or creole cooking up in the PNW (or anywhere west or north of the Gulf states.)

      On the bright side, good quality ingredients are no problem here for those inclined to make it at home - and the internet fills in for what you can't get locally like Camellia red kidneys for beans and rice.

      There's a place called Bayou on First in the market, if you must have someone else do the cooking - but don't say I didn't warn you it wasn't worth the trip.

      Strongly recommend just trying out some recipes at home - if you don't have your own stash of habits, google will abide. Really, it's not rocket science - it's a heckuva lot harder to make a good cake from scratch in my experience than a good crawfish etouffee.

      1 Reply
      1. re: terrier

        From the Bayou in Parkland, WA was rather good, but that's about the only place that came close to authentic Cajun. It was too much of a drive anyways, but sorry it closed. The owners were from Opelousas, which is prime Cajun country.

        I cook it all the time, but it would be nice to eat someone else's every once in a while.

        There was a place near (what was) the King Dome, but I don't remember the name. I'll explore soon and see if I can find it, if it's still open.

        Bayou on First. Agreed. A warning IS in order. There are these sorts of places in every city and none of them seem to have any idea what gumbo is supposed to taste like.

        Try Celtic Bayou in Redmond if you really want to see a massacred version of Cajun. It's so bad, it's hilarious.

      2. we've had dinner and brunch at The Wellington ~ i don't know cajun from creole from southern (but i DO know we got roped into going to Celtic Bayou and hated that place)~ but we VERY much liked the Wellington ~ catfish , fried okra and fried chicken was piping hot and greaseless, my husband had the gumbo and liked it. i remember the dessert portions were small (a pet peeve of mine!) http://www.thewellington.biz/menu.htm

        10 Replies
        1. re: elicia

          Sorry to say, The Wellington closed its doors, rumor mill says that Casuelita's might take over that spot.

          I had a totally mediocre oyster po'boy at New Orleans Creole Restaurant in Pioneer Square many years ago, don't know if they might be worth a try...

          1. re: ceester

            New Orleans Creole Restaurant might be the place I mention above (re:near old King Dome). This was 9 years ago, but the etoufee and the gumbo were very good. I don't know why I didn't go back, but I'll find out soon if it's still there are worth a visit.

            1. re: fooey

              A point in the New Orleans' favor - it's the only bar in Seattle I'm aware of that serves Abita beers (bottles only, unfortunately. Amber, Turbodog, and Purple Haze.)

              The beans and rice I had there was atrocious, but that was years ago. Good fried catfish, but it's hard to screw that up. Haven't tried the gumbo or etouffee.

              1. re: terrier

                We went to the New Orleans Restaurant this weekend. My husband grew up in NO and I spent four years there, so we were excited to try it out. They got points in their favor for having Abita beers and live music, but the food was not at all authentic. We tried three staples: gumbo, jambalya, and a po boy. The po boy was on a hoagie roll instead of French bread, the jambalya had the sauce poured over the rice instead of cooked in, and the gumbo was super thick like a stew. Have the owners ever been to New Orleans?? Plus, both the jambalya and the gumbo were too spicy to be enjoyable. That being said, for those two dishes, behind the overwhelming spice and the lack of authenticity were some decent flavors, so oddly the po boy was the worst dish. We won't go back.

                I have a pet peeve: why do all the southern-style restaurants in the PNW serve prawns?? I grew up in Texas with a mother from Alabama and went to college in Louisiana, so I got a nice, wide sampling of Southern cooking while growing up. But I never ate a prawn until I moved here. They simply don't serve them there -- they serve shrimp. Little, tiny, bite-sized, slightly soft shrimp. To restaurants: you cannot claim to be authentic Southern and serve prawns, so either take them off the menu or admit that you're not trying to be authentic. Thank you.

                1. re: happy2sing

                  In the United States the terms prawn and shrimp are interchangeable and refer to the same thing. Some people reserve the word prawn for U15 shrimp, but that is not a requirement.

                  There technically is a biological difference between animals classified as shrimp and prawns, but the name used at the restaurant or market has no bearing on weather it's a shrimp or prawn.

                  It's kind of like a coke, pop, soda thing. Or better yet; crawfish, crawdad, mudbug. Depending on where you grew up you call them something different.

                  1. re: vanillagorilla

                    That's what I used to think until I went to Ivar's and they had both prawns and shrimp on the menu. Then I noticed that dishes that had "prawns" had meat that was consistently bigger and tougher than dishes that had "shrimp".

                    1. re: happy2sing

                      An individual restaurant is free to call bigger shrimp prawns and smaller shrimp shrimp... but that is beside the point. There is no legal or consistent difference between the two words. I can call/sell any size shrimp a prawn and vice versa.

              2. re: fooey

                there was a place called Franglers that was near the Dome ..long gone, was sort of on the west edge of the ID ..

                1. re: oliveoyl

                  Ah, yes. Gloria and Fran called their place Franglo's, I think. I intended to try i out, but never did.

              3. re: ceester

                I work in Pioneer Square and usually eat at The New Orleans once a month or so. I like it quite a bit. I don't know if it classifies as Cajun (I don't really know what cajun is), but its good.

                Other places to may check out:
                Kingfish Cafe on Capital Hill, and
                Marcela's Cookery in Pioneer Square (http://www.seattleweekly.com/food/blo...)

            2. The two that come to mind immediately are Kingfish Cafe, which may be more generically southern than specifically cajun and that Jazz place on 1st Ave in Pioneer Square (can't remember the name, but I got a bowl of crawfish and an Abita there)

              Also, I think there's another new place in Pioneer Square that was mentioned recently.

              1 Reply
              1. It's not as far away as Parkland, but Alligator Soul in Everett isn't bad:


                The original owner/chef "Hilbo" Craig sold out in '05 and moved to Georgia and I haven't been there since the sale, so caveat emptor.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Square Business

                  Alligator Soul is about as good as it gets around here.


                  1. re: Square Business

                    Stopped in at Alligator Soul the other night and really enjoyed the seafood gumbo. The hush-puppies were not so hot - had little flavor.
                    Crawfish on grits were also good, and a good offering of beers on tap.

                    Alligator Soul
                    3121 Broadway, Everett, WA 98201

                  2. Has any one tried the "The Creole Cafe" also located in Parkland. It's near by Frugals's Hamburgers, behind Fox's? I think they got new owers.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trklady

                      This is about the only Cajun restaurant in the Tacoma area I am aware of. I liked them before the ownership change. Even after the ownership change, they have had traffic issues, it's not a good visible spot for a restaurant. That being said, I have tried it since the ownership change, and I still wonder how much of the dishes are from scratch versus not, but many of the dishes were really good. I wish them sucess, but the location is going to hurt.

                    2. You might check out the newly opened "Crawfish King" in the International District.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bergeo

                        Crawfish King is good- not great and a limited menu. Alligator Soul up in Everett is really much better and a more diverse menu.

                      2. Has anyone tried Toulouse Petite in Queen Anne? I understand they have an amazing Jambalaya...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: soypower

                          I have, and tried the jambalaya (plus the fried duck confit and the shrimp & grits.)

                          Wasn't much of a fan of the fried duck confit (dry bird). The jambalaya was good but I guess I'm not used to having such perfectly separate rice in mine.

                          The grits were the best I've had in years. Definitely order a side of biscuits with these. The shrimp with them were good but tasted no different than the shrimp in the jambalaya, as though they'd both been cooked separately from either dish then added to the plates before serving. I have no problem with that in jambalaya, FWIW - I like shrimp better when not overcooked. I just wouldn't order 2 shrimp dishes at the same time here to avoid redundancy.

                          My better half noted that all three dishes we shared had similar seasoning and heat profiles which led to a one-note dining experience. We could have chosen a better range of dishes.

                          I really wanted to try the crawfish etouffee - my acid test for New Orleans Creole cuisine - but they were out. I will be back to try that.

                          This place is not the pinnacle of authenticity but the flavors are good and we found the prices reasonable at lunchtime for the quality of ingredients and preparation - ~$65 with tip for three dishes, biscuits, and a couple of cocktails.

                          (If you want authentic, the gumbo at Crawfish King tastes like home. It is the only acceptable gumbo I've ever had outside the Gulf Coast.)

                          1. re: terrier

                            I tried the etouffee (for me also a benchmark of NOLA fare) and it was dissapointing, something off in the roux, I think; it came across flat. I did like the gumbo though, as well as the crabs with remoulade. I pretty much concur with Kauffman's assessment in the recent Seattle Weekly review.

                        2. I just ate at Marcela's for the first time last night. Down in Pioneer square, this place seems to be pretty authenic NOLA cuisine. I have a few friends who went to school and lived down there and they swear by this place. The food was great and the service was fantastic. Marcela and Anthony really make an effort to get to know you, and both of them knew our entire groups names by the end of the night.

                          I think both of them moved up here after Katrina and opened this place up, and it really shows that they try to create an authentic NOLA atmostphere.

                          If you go, get the Blackened BBQ Shrimp dinner.

                          Marcela's Creole Cookery
                          106 James St, Seattle, WA 98104

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Mike CP

                            NOLA born and raised here -- the only place I've tried that comes close is Marcela's.

                            I tried the New Orleans several times and gave up, but Marcela's is the real deal.

                            Those of you of a certain age know that nobody "blackened" anything when we were kids (never even heard the term until the 80's) but they have plenty of authentic fare, too.

                            The thing is, home food is almost always better the second day. I guess that's hard to pull off in a restaurant, but my grandma taught me this old jump-rope rhyme that sums up my sentiments on red beans and rice:

                            "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.
                            Some like it hot, some like it cold, some like it in the pot nine days old."

                            You gotta learn to make red beans at home and reheat them over several days to get the best flavor and texture. They should go down like buttered silk. ;0)

                            1. re: JeanV

                              A little off topic but I know this rhyme (as Pease Pudding) from my English childhood, referring to a dish of split yellow peas. Interesting how these things travel. In Scotland in days gone by kitchens had a porridge drawer, lined with something suitable, into which oat porridge was poured and left to get cold. A slice of this was the midday meal for some working men.

                          2. I know of great Cajun food truck I would highly recco http://www.whereyaatmatt.com/

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: landguy

                              I love this truck! I've been stopping by when they are on Dravus on Fridays. I am the first to admit I am not an expert on Cajun, but I find the oyster po'boy and the shrimp and grits very tasty. The shrimp po'boy was a bit bland, though (not bad, just not as good as their other stuff). The guy is super nice, too. I need to try the beignets.