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fried catfish

Who has the best fried catfish in Austin?

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    1. It's definitely NOT going to be found at Catfish Parlour.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bloody hammer

        I decided to give Catfish Parlour another chance recently, and while the catfish was still pretty eh, those hush puppies are crack. I was pretty underwhelmed by Cherry Creek's catfish as well, so I'm still hunting.

      2. The best (other than home cooked) fried catfish I have ever eaten in my life was at "Fred's Fish House" in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. We would gladly drive a few hours from Missouri to eat there. It was top notch.

        So far, the best fried catfish I've had in Austin has been at "The Boathouse" out on 620 & 2222. It's not the same level as Fred's but... it's more than just good.

        I've tried "Catfish Parlour" several times and it's ranged from decent to disgusting. I've written that place off as "not worth the calories".

        1. It amy be hard to believe, but the best I've found is at the Texas Roadhouse. Freshy made with a great mustard sauce on teh side and huge portions (enough for two)

          1. It may be inconsitent, but Pacific Star had some of the best fried catfish I've had in a long time on a couple of visits.

            1. Shoal Creek Saloon on Lamar (at 9th, I think) has fried catfish and hushpuppies that are good, in my opinion. They do a buffet of it for lunch on some days, but I prefer to have it made to order. I'm not a big fan of buffets in general, and fried food tends to get to dried out if it is kept at proper temperature. I have found that when getting an order of it, some of the pieces might not be very large. And you might want to order extra hushpuppies, because your co-diners will steal them from your plate!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ashforth

                I can vouch for SCS also. I have found that the Cherry Creek Saloon, restuarant, or whatever, south has pretty good c'fish as well.

              2. Believe it or not the best fried catfish that I ever had (and I'm talking whole catfish here) was at the Black Eyed Pea at Burnet and 183 many years ago. It was perfectly done all the way through without being dry or wet inside like is usually the case with whole catfish. Unfortunately they took it off the menu some 15 years ago, and I have not found any place that does as well. If you know of any, please let me know. Most everybody now only does catfish filets, which are just not the same in my book.

                1 Reply
                1. re: danny_w

                  Threadgill's has a pretty good fried catfish.

                2. I favor the tortilla-crusted version found at Shady Grove.

                  1. I like the Captains at 5700 N. IH 35. The building is shaped like a boat. They have both whole fish and boneless strips. Well cooked in fresh oil, dredged in cornmeal. Light. Really very good, not at all greasy as with some of the other restaurants mentioned here. I have tried catfish at most of the restaurants mentioned here, and in my opinion the Captains is superior, though I have not beet there for quite a while.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ferd

                      Spot on my friend. It is not as good as Capt Tom's in Houston. But Captain's whole catfish is some great victuals.

                      I love their raw oysters, gumbo, and fried oysters. The other items are ok.

                      But the catfish is some of my favorite ever.

                    2. In Mazatlan last year I sampled a local specialty only found at the Santa Maria lake resorts 50 km out of town in the mountains.
                      They called it, "Chicarones de pescado."
                      A basket of slightly greasy, deep brown pieces of very, very chewy fish.
                      A bonded breading-batter containing a 1 by 2 inch strip of a local fish, most probably channel cat, deep fried in vegetable oil until thoroughly cooked.
                      This was not an ordinary fish and chips--of course, it was highly spiced.
                      Washed down with Pacifico.
                      Lovely wasted afternnon.

                      1. Cherry Creek Catfish on Manchaca has some pretty good catfish. I worked there for several years and never tired of it. At one time we served a fried catfish breaded with crushed corn tortilla chips served with pico de gallo - that was GOOD! You can order baskets of fillets or a whole fish. They have pretty good fried oyster po' boys

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: neverded

                          i believe cherry creek and springhill catfish were originally the same company. would explain the quality of their catfish.

                          1. re: neverded

                            I'll vote for Cherry Creek as fine catfish, but I believe the best is at Quality Seafood on Airport just below 2222. Fish tacos are also great and the fried oysters are the best I have found, if you aren't actually on the coast.

                          2. So I have been lurking on the board for every a year. I come here daily and today I finally joined. I am surprised that no one has mentioned Monument Cafe. It's located in Georgetown and has the best Catfish I have every had. They fry their Catfish whole and its amazing. the outside is crunchy and well flavored and the inside is always moist. The batter is a corn meal base. Anywho it's awesome and I think it's the best.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: justagirl34

                              I will have to give that a try, since I prefer my catfish whole. The few times I have been to Monument Cafe in the past I thought it was way overrated and expensive for what it was, but admittedly that has been a while. I may have to give it another try. Didn't they move to a new location?

                            2. I like Manchaca Firehall, on Friday evenings, they have all you can eat,
                              catfish, with beans, coleslaw, fries, hush puppies, etc
                              or Cherry Creek, if it's not Friday.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: mevans4aus

                                mevans4aus got it right. The Manchaca Firehall Kitchen is the best with all you can eat on Friday nights... Cherry Creek Catfish (across the street from Crockett High School) is very good too.... You don't have to leave good old South Austin for most anything...

                                1. re: tuckspop11

                                  But what about those of us in North Austin? Both of those would be a very long trek for me.

                                  1. re: danny_w

                                    Boat House Grill on 620 (near 2222) has decent catfish: big planks with a good amount of seasoned cornmeal breading. I've never tried those South Austin joints so I can't compare them, but it's definitely better than Catfish Parlour.

                                    1. re: danny_w

                                      we got to go a long ways to see the Express play, but we still do it.
                                      Sometimes you got to travel to get the good stuff.

                                2. Surprised nobody mentioned Quality Seafood ...

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: judiftx1

                                    Has anyone tried the catfish from Golden Chicken/Chick?? I was getting some chicken tenders to go, and saw them fixing up an order. They actually dredged the catfish fillet in some cornmeal mix.

                                    1. re: robbie6805

                                      I'm fond of the catfish at Green Mesquite. I think its some of the better in town.

                                  2. Hyde Park Bar & Grill has excellent catfish - very nice breading, and is accompanied by their fantastic french fries. It's easily my favorite entree on their menu.

                                    1. That farm raised stuff doesnt compare to the fresh variety. Best catfish I've had was in a gas station in the middle of nowhere about 30 minutes outside of College Station. The owner would catch fresh catfish and bring it in and cook it. One day we got it minutes after he fried up a batch he had caught that morning. OMG that was one of my top 10 meals of all time. Had it with fries, hush puppies and tartar sauce.
                                      I'm willing to bet theres some hole in the wall somewhere near Austin that serves fresh catfish. Could be a gas station or tiny shack. Finding it is another matter.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: duncan36

                                        Not a gas station but a food trailer:From a previous post:

                                        Rolled down on the 12th and Chicon zone today for lunch.Spotted a nice looking food trailer crouched down behind a big cement slab on the northwest corner of the intersection:Reggies.
                                        Signs touting Boudin,Fried Fish,Chicken Gizzards and Dirty Rice magnetized me.I parked in the alley,navigated past a couple pretty decent looking hookers[wearing heels...which helped me determine they weren't Austin girls who apparently all bought stock in some flipflop company a few years back]ordered the Fried Catfish Platter which came with either Fries or Dirty Rice and Hushpuppies.Reggie was working the counter,very cool young cat from Beaumont...as soon as I found it he was from Beaumont I knew I was in for something good,those folks over in East Texas really know how to eat.He did not disappoint.My stryofoam box came loaded with 3 big filets,perfectly cooked and sitting on a big bed of nice,hot crispy fries...the hushpuppies were homemade and stand at the top of the hushpuppy pecking order in Austin[best I've had in this town]...service was fast and friendly...got to see a couple drug deals go down in the alley and across the street...guys rolled by blasting Paul Wall and Fabolous in their shiny Cutlasses and Grand Marquis...the sky was clear,ambience was stellar and the food was top notch...set me back $6.75...he stays open past bartime on Friday and Saturday night but is closed on Sunday and Monday.

                                        and from MPH,our Austin board's retired hound emeritus:

                                        Thanks to the tips here, I enjoyed two great lunches at Reggie’s this week. The place was a little hard to find on my first visit. It’s located on Chicon itself, away from the corner of East 12th, but in the same general area as Sam’s and Galloway’s. [I passed up Galloway’s this week to make a second visit to Reggie’s, but I still mean to try their soul food soon.] As scrumptiouschef noted, Reggie’s red trailer is on the back of a concrete slab. The entire area is surrounded by triangular pennants that go all the way around the top of a surrounding chain-link fence, kind of like a banner. There are also about 4 or 5 picnic tables with umbrellas on them, though I had to get my lunches to go. Reggie’s is open from 11 AM to midnight most days, but they stay open until 4 A.M. on Friday and Saturday nights. There was one person ordering on my first visit, and a couple of folks eating at the tables on my second.

                                        Like scrumptious, I loved the catfish basket ($6.75). It came with three large pieces of catfish, hush puppies, and fries. Reggie sure knows his way around a fryer. The coating on the catfish was just cornmeal, salt, and pepper, but it was perfectly done, with moist, flavorful catfish and a good crunch to the coating—even 20 minutes later, when I was able to eat my to-go order. The 1/3-inch thick, square-cut fries weren’t soggy, but they’d steamed somewhat in transit. They were still very good. And, I am in love with Reggie’s hush puppies. I hate hush puppies that are over-fried to the point of being almost jawbreaker-like. The ones at Reggie’s had a texturally pleasing contrast between the just-crisp-enough exterior and the fine cornmeal interior, seasoned with salt, pepper, and green onion. I wonder if they use self-rising cornmeal to make the hush puppies so light. They tasted like they were fried in the same oil as the catfish, which made them even better.

                                        On my next visit I ordered the pork-chop basket (also $6.75), with dirty rice and two slices of buttered toast. The battered and fried 1/2-inch-thick pork chop was chewy but well-fried and tasty, though the unseasoned coating needed a bit of salt. The best part of this meal was the generous side of dirty rice, which was a nice deep-reddish brown color and well spiced without being really spicy. It contained plenty of ground beef and pork, plus chicken giblets. The dirty rice was flavored with the usual mirepoix, salt, and pepper, plus chicken broth. The toast was just standard slices of white bread, toasted and buttered. That day I also ordered a side of fried chicken-gizzards. They used the same batter for these that they’d used for the pork chops, so this dish also needed salt. Chicken gizzards are pretty chewy, and I suppose they’re an acquired taste. I like them generally, and I thought Reggie’s version was very good. They were even better dipped in the Louisiana-style cayenne-pepper-based hot sauce that came on the side.

                                        All baskets are $6.75 (catfish, pork chops, wings, shrimp, and one other item that I forget), and they come with dirty rice, hush puppies, dirty rice, or toast. The sign makes it sound like you only get one accompanying item, but I got two both times. They also offer “sides” (chicken gizzards or boudin) for $4.00, though these servings are big enough to be a meal in themselves.

                                        My favorite items were the catfish, hush puppies, fries, and the chicken gizzards. Overall, Reggie’s serves well-executed, satisfying soul food in a friendly atmosphere. Reggie himself was cooking both days. He had someone helping him with the orders, but he personally thanked me for my business each time. I plan to go back soon.

                                        Reggie's hours are erratic. You have to drive by his trailer and hope that he's there. if you're fortunate enough to find him open you'll have the best catfish and fried hushpuppies in Austin

                                      2. You might give Chow Cafe a try. On Friday they offer Fried Catfish as a Blue Plate special. Nice sized pieces, dredged in corn meal and fried. Served with hushpuppies, another side of your choice (I had the Green Chili Mac and Cheese) and tea. It is only on Friday and cost around $8 as I remember as I have only been a few times. They are located on the corner of I35 and 290E in the old Pyramid restaurant location.

                                        I do love Capt. Benny's and can tolerate Catfish Parlour because they have the coldest beer in town. Their slaw is great as are the hushpuppies. It is a little pricey for catfish and with all you can eat, they are slow to replenish!

                                        1. I totally agree with Manchaca Fire Hall and Cherry Creek Catfish. At Cherry Creek they also have a damn fine fried crawfish basket, too.