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Where is the "real" cajun/Creole in LA county?

Not a NO native, but a huge fan. Just went and miss the food terribly. I've scoured this town up and down, and always find myself disappointed. Here's where I think it's lacking:

1) Gumbo Pot -- not real gumbo.
2) Harold & Belles -- okay, but uber-expensive.
3) Uncle Darrows -- something you'd find at an airport in NO and laugh at

And so on and so on. Where is the real deal? I want to feel like I'm in the quarter, Abita in my hand, wishing I could live here forever...

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  1. You hit the nail on the head. There just isn't enough of a demand for a lot of decent cajun or creole places in this city. I like the catfish po' boy at Gumbo pot, but a lot of hounders diss the place. You can do a search on this board, and read other lamenters as well. Unfortunately, it seems like Harold & Belle's is the best option, haven't been myself but it sounds like expensive soul food to me.

    When we lived in Pasadena, I knew a guy who opened a decent place in Monrovia's old town, but I'm assuming he's long gone, and I can't even recall the name of it. Would crave his jambalaya when I was pregnant.

    Anyway, you can always go 2 hours north to Santa Barbara and go to the Palace Cafe, we used to love that place, although from what I last read, it sounds like some CHers have dissed it. Good luck on your quest and do let us fans no if you find something decent.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Phurstluv

      We also removed a lengthy tangent about organizing a meetup. We're all for that, but we ask that organizers follow our guidelines so that the planning discussion for a private event doesn't clutter the board.


      1. re: Phurstluv

        Bumping this thread up because I'm a big NOLA fan, and I'm still looking.

        Here's a couple of things. I went to Farmer's Market for Mardi Gras last night. Great party as always, and ate from Gumbo Pot (which is, yes, very mediocre.)

        But am I hallucinating or did they change their recipes? I ordered the étouffé, and it was _inedibly_ spicy_. This coming from someone who has no problem with the upper reaches of Scoville scale. It actually looked like Sichuan Boiled Fish: the same layer of chili oil floating on top. I could have eaten it on a dare, I took it back. The big bro who was managing said, "Yeah, it's the spiciest dish on the menu." He happily replaced it with Gumbo Ya-Ya, which was still hella hot and actually pretty tasty although unlike any gumbo I've had in NOLA. It

        Gumbo Pot's blackened catfish sandwich is still my go to at Farmer's Market. And I don't think I remembered that they have $1.15 Gulf oysters, which if you don't mind gulf oysters is a good deal. Got a half dozen and they were delicious and reasonably well shucked.

        The best news to report is that Harold and Belle's now has a spot at the County Fair, and the prices are reasonable. I think that's probably the best gumbo I've had. (It's right near Pink's, where I get a yearly fix, without the line.)

        Any other updates?

        1. re: jesstifer

          I have yet to find really satisfying New Orleans/cajun grub in LA. Whenever I'm dying for a fix of something from back home, I head to Popeye's Fried Chicken for their spicy chicken, and an order or two of their red beans and rice. During Crawfish season, you can find the real deal mudbugs at New Orleans Fish Market on Vernon. Their po-boys are OK, but won't fool anyone who's ever had the authentic stuff. FWIW, I make my own lazy-mans gumbo using one of the box mixes like Tonys or Zatarains and kick it up a notch...saute onions, celery and bell pepper, smoked sausage and shrimp (get shrimp in the shell and peal them and boil the shells for stock - makes a HUGE difference. Add a dash of mace and some chopped parsley and green onions at the end and enjoy. Better than anything I've found around town...

      2. The closest great cajun and creole food? Get on the 10 East and go about 1,500 miles.

        Seriously though, what you've listed is aobut what there is. I used to like the Po Boys at the Venice Blvd Uncle Darrows but I haven't been to the Marina del Rey outlet.

        For muffalettas, which I realize aren't exactly Cajun or Creole but very NO, the deli at Little Dom's on Hillhurst has a good rendition.

        6 Replies
        1. re: sku

          The MDR Uncle Darrow's is fair, at it's best.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Same with the Gumbo Pot, H&Belle's, Ragin Cajun in Hermosa.
            Best I've had hereabouts (and that ain't saying much) is Creole Chef which get's no more than 50% right: which is good -- very good -- for this La.

            1. re: Ciao Bob

              I was a big fan of Creole Chef but Creole Chef closed after being held up at gunpoint. I heard that they are looking to relocate though.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Adjacent to The Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.


                  Creole Chef
                  3715 Santa Rosalia Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90008

            2. re: Phurstluv

              I strongly disagree, it sucks!!!!!!

          2. Here are a couple places on my radar that I’ve been intending to try. I’ve heard good reports about them but can’t personally vouch for them yet.

            Gumbo Shack

            Bayou Grill 1400 N La Brea Ave. Inglewood. Open 11-9

            14 Replies
            1. re: Sam D.

              The Bayou Grille http://www.bayougrille.net/ in Inglewood just got a very good review by Linda Burum in today's LA Times food section. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Burum's taste in food and this place sounds like a real winner.

              If you want to read the review you can find it here: http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

              1. re: Servorg

                Thanks for the link! The description of the étouffée sounds authentic and delicious!

                However, the jambalaya and gumbo are made with turkey sausage instead of andouille; that just ain't right! ;)

                1. re: vinosnob

                  "However, the jambalaya and gumbo are made with turkey sausage instead of andouille; that just ain't right! ;)"

                  I wonder if, with proper spicing, whether you could wind up telling the difference?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    I think so; you just can't fake the pork fat!

                    1. re: vinosnob

                      Been there and it's nothing close to the real deal however they make a good attempt. Rice was dry, gumbo was lacking in meat of any kind, but the service was great and I'm sure there are other things on the menu that may appeal to some. I also went on a Sunday afternoon which may have a been a slow period for them and things weren't fully up to par. In my unsatiated state, I walked across the parking lot to Bodacious Q and had some great ribs and brisket.

                      Bodacious Q
                      637 E University Dr, Carson, CA 90746

              2. re: Sam D.

                I'm not sure if they re-opened under a new name or changed ownership, but Gumbo Shack is now known as Mama Pat's Gumbo and Grille (http://patsgumbogrill.com/). Anyone try the "new" Gumbo Shack yet?

                1. re: mstinawu

                  Your link doesn't work. Please, do tell us where that place is!!

                  1. re: mstinawu

                    You can't end hyper links on CH with any punctuation or it gets caught up in your link's address and corrupts it. Here is a working link: http://patsgumbogrill.com/

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Thanks for the link, Serv, at least now I have an address. Too bad their own link to their menu is also not working <<sigh>>............

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        It actually does work if you go to the top bar and click on Picture Tasks and select export slide show and follow the prompts. Why they elected to set up that particular feature is beyond me however.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Oh for G's sake, are u kidding me?? Too much work. Will try it after I make the kids' dinners, thanks for the info.

                          You going?? My husband went to school in the south and CANNOT get enough cajun food, so I'm scouting out places for him. Not that I don't eat it, love the stuff....

                          1. re: Phurstluv

                            Maybe one of these days. I have Bludso's higher on my list after reading exile on main street kisses review http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7300... and looking over the photos.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Yea, I hear ya, gotta make my way over there too!! We're both bbq 'hounds over here!

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                Made reservations for Little Dom's on March 6, see how their Mardi Gras menu is. This is the blurb:

                                "There will be king cake: Dominick's and Little Dom's are celebrating
                                Mardi Gras this year. Chef Brandon Boudet, a New Orleans native, will
                                be cooking additional dishes (along with what's on the regular menu)
                                for dinner March 5 to 8. Gumbo, jambalaya, crayfish pie and beignets
                                are just some of the offerings. Plus mini king cakes. Prices are $4 to
                                $8. Dominick's, 8715 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 652-2335;
                                www.dominicksrestaurant.com; Little Dom's, 2128 Hillhurst Ave., Los
                                Angeles; (323) 661-0055; www.littledoms.com"

                                Anybody been in the past? How was it? Haven't really had a good bowl of gumbo (that I didn't make myself) in years.

                                Little Dom's
                                2128 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                2. We split a recipe for gumbo to the Home Cooking board. For make-yourself discussion, please go here

                  1. this might be a surprise - but believe it or - ruth's chris has what i think to be a rather good gumbo. it's not an entree, but an appetizer. the full bowl is not a trivial serving portion.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: jacknhedy

                      Interesting. Thanks, we may have to try it there.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        My favorite spot was the now long gone Jonake's (Manchester at the 405 off ramp)....but I have heard good things about La Louisianne.


                        1. re: JazzBeau

                          hey jazzbeau jonake's was my absolute favorite creole restaurant. they made a dish that i cannot remember the name of. maybe you had it. it was a white cream sauce with shrimp over rice. it was the single best cajun dish i ever had. did you ever have a dish like that when you ate at jonakes? if so do you remember the name of the dish?

                          1. re: djatpopular

                            Frank and Joe's Southern Smokehouse in Monrovia was my favorite. Now, the only one I can think of on the eastern side of the county that serves decent Creole is Bourbon St. Bistros in Duarte. On Huntington, between Highland and Mt. Olive in the former Fanara's space.

                      2. re: jacknhedy

                        I'll second that gumbo. Ruth's is a New Orleans export, so their gumbo should be good, and so cool that it is.

                      3. I like New Orleans in Hermosa Beach. She makes an exellent seafood gumbo. They cook to order most things and all their seafood in flown in from N.O.. She is closed on Tues. & Wed. BYOB

                        New Orleans Cajun Cafe
                        140 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

                        12 Replies
                        1. re: JEN10

                          I agree that New Orleans in Hermosa Beach is definitely worth a try if you are looking for cajun/creole food. It may not be perfect, but it is solid and it may be the best our city has to offer for that style of food.

                          As a side note, the Rajun Cajun is just up the street and it is well below mediocre. I would avoid it at all costs if you are looking for authentic NO flavors.

                          1. re: JEN10

                            Just tried the New Orleans Cajun Cafe, FINALLY! I've gotta say, I was impressed, it is the best Cajun food we've had here in LA, since the Cajun Way in Monrovia was around. Everything we ordered was spot on.

                            Seafood gumbo ROCKED. Nice and deep color brown, rich flavor. My DH, who lived in the south for 3 years and regularly craves the stuff was impressed, even though he's not a fan of seafood. He even ate a shrimp, which for him, is huge. Nice buildup of heat and wonderful flavor. So, so happy to find a place around with decent gumbo. Shrimp & oyster po'boy was good, lots of seafood, all fresh, oysters were sweet and briny. Kids enjoyed the hush puppies and bbq ribs, decent flavor, though not as tender as mine, but good flavor on the sauce, St. Louis style, but not too sweet. My husband also enjoyed his red beans and rice, huge bowl, though he did add hot sauce to it, he said it had good flavor. I even really liked the house dressing on their salad, a balsamic ranch with some cheese in it, really tasty.

                            Owner is super sweet, and service may be a bit slow, but not annoyingly so. You can see them making everything fresh to order. Just bummed we ate so much that we couldn't tried the fresh beignets that they make on Sundays only. And they have a liquor license now, didn't have any wine but they do have Dixie's Blackened Voodoo Lager, which my DH loves with Cajun food, and you can't always find it. Prices are a tad higher than listed on their website, and where aren't they rising? But she's flying in fresh fish & shellfish from NO, so it's worth it. Definitely going back, now that I know where it is, I know we'll be craving it again soon.

                            Thanks to JEN10 for alerting me to it. And whenever you're up for it again, JEN10, I'll meet you there for lunch during the week ANYTIME!!

                            New Orleans Cajun Cafe
                            140 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              good to know. Plenty of okra in the gumbo? Not too much sausage as well?

                              What I've noticed is people using way too much pork (cheaper) to try and hide the lack of other ingredients.

                              1. re: epop

                                Well, now that you mention it, we don't recall any okra in our portion, which is actually okay with me as I am not a fan.

                                Not too much sausage, no, just enough, and it was spicy, appeared to be andouille. Had lots of shrimp, small pieces of chicken and some crab leg.

                              2. re: Phurstluv

                                Has anyone tried the Cajun food truck? I'm not particularly familiar w/ food from New Orleans (I've only been there once), but I thought the food from the truck was surprisingly good. The gumbo had a good amount of seafood and sausage and a rich, spicy flavor. The owner (I presume) was also giving out samples of their creole chicken (tender and also surprisingly spicy) and mac and cheese (which seemed to have a nice pasta-to-cheese ratio, although the it was sort of hard to tell w/ the tiny sample I got).

                                Would be interested in hearing opinions of people who are more familiar w/ the cuisine....

                                1. re: ilysla

                                  Have not seen them around, what are they called, the Cajun Truck?

                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    Whoops. Forgot to link to the website:
                                    http://www.crazycreolecafe.com/ (despite being called "cafe," they are indeed a truck


                                    I encountered them 1-2 wks ago when I was walking along Sawtelle. Looks like they'll be in Mid-City on Tuesday.

                                  2. re: ilysla

                                    The owner is pleasant and they sell the best chips I've ever had.

                                    I tried the gumbo sample from the truck and wasn't impressed. It wasn't bad, and I don't feel fully qualified to dismiss it for everyone, but it wasn't what I look for in a gumbo (lots of okra and fresh seafood in a subtle and magical thick broth).

                                    1. re: epop

                                      Didn't try the chips. Hmmm....

                                      No, the broth definitely wasn't thick and subtle (I actually very much liked the flavor, but thought the consistency was a little lacking). Wish I had visited New Orleans (I've only been once) w/ people who were more interested in eating.... ;)

                                  3. re: Phurstluv

                                    P, so glad you enjoyed it. I am living in Boulder Co now or I would meet you. It is one on the places I will truly miss!!!

                                    1. re: JEN10

                                      Bummer!! Well, I definitely owe it to you in sending me there, both my DH and I thank you! and if you ever come back for a visit, let us know, it's still closer than New Orleans!

                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                        I will keep that in mind. If you ever make it to Boulder let me know; we actually have some pretty great places here. Enjoy your next feast at N.O. Cafe!!!

                                2. There was a place in Seal Beach, going towards the ocean about 1-2 blocks off PCH called "Bayou St John". Any one remember it?

                                  It had good cajun food. Have'nt been there for 3-4 years.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: subal

                                    Not from NO myself and by no means am any kind of expert of the quisine, but I enjoy the gumbo at Le Sisters in Chatsworth

                                    1. re: subal

                                      It was awful. Stay away from St. Johns, if it's still there.

                                    2. I agree that the catfish po'boy at the Gumbo Pot is serviceable. And, since the loss of Creole Chef, it's probably where I would go. Stay away from The Gumbo Pot on La Brea for everything -- service is atrocious. Try New Orleans Veiux Carre' in Leimert Park. I didn't love it, but it's got its devotees. Instead of driving to Santa Barbara for Gumbo, drive to downtown Riverside and go to Gram's Mission BBQ. Otherwise, find a friend who's parents or grandparents grew up in NO and can cook. The best LA (state, not city) food I've enjoyed has been at a native's dinner table.

                                      1. I agree and I gave up, ivan.

                                        1. anyone tried Big Mama's in Pasadena?

                                          Big Mama
                                          1721 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

                                          1. Everything I've had in LA is pale in comparison to real NO grub. But, if you want a real taste of a pretty authentic dish, have the red beans and rice at Popeye's Fried Chicken. Best I've had anywhere in LA. Yes, it's a chain, but started by homeboy Al Copeland (quite a colorful character - do a google search on him!) and it's the real deal. I know, one dish but the quintessential NO comfort food. Whenever I'm feeling homesick, it's time for Popeyes...the spicy chicken is also great.

                                            Also, 'tis the season for some crawfish from the New Orleans Fish Market on Vernon. Scoop up a couple o' pounds and a dozen or two of Blue Point oysters and a couple o' cold ones and you're almost there. No great po boys or muffalettas that I've found, but Oh Well! Yet another excuse to visit.

                                            From a former Chalmation...

                                            New Orleans Fish Market
                                            2212 W Vernon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90008

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ferdlap

                                              I have to say that just about anything on Popeye's menu is vastly superior to the Gumbo Pot.

                                              Gumbo Pot
                                              6333 W 3rd St Ste 312, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                              1. re: ferdlap

                                                TOTALLY. Popeye's red beans and rice is the real deal. I often ask for no rice, though, because their rice isn't very good. When I lived in New Orleans years and years ago, I heard many times that Popeye's red beans regularly won the award for best red beans in town. I don't know if it's true, but I can believe it.

                                              2. Doesn't exist in LA.

                                                The only solution is to visit the real deal; they could use the support.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: vinosnob

                                                  I've got to throw my $0.02 in, as a big NOLA booster. Vinosnob's got it right, though I wouldn't go to the length that gnossos2004 does below. There are in fact some lousy restaurants in NOLA; some have been in business a while (I used to think they couldn't stay in business) and more are opening. (I believe I saw a "Bubba Gump's" near the Quarter the last time I was there, an idea about as mind-boggling as opening a Taco Bell in Mexico City, or an Olive Garden in Milan....)

                                                  BUT BACK TO THE QUESTION: Popeye's, chain though it is, is a NOLA born-and-bred chain, and still does BIG business in Louisiana, so it's arguably "authentic", and pretty good, actually.

                                                  Mexico City
                                                  2121 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                                2. As many have said, it unfortunately does not exist. Have been to NO numerous times and in my humble opinion they have the best food in the good ol' US of A, hands down! If you try, you can not get a bad meal, that being said the best item I have found is the Seafood Gumbo at Ruths Chris.

                                                  1. Try Bayou Grill in Inglewood on Labrea and 64th st.
                                                    Our family is from NO, and it is truly hard to find authentic NO food, unless we cook it ourselves.

                                                    Bayou Grill
                                                    1400 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA 90302

                                                    1. How do people feel about Les Sisters in Chatsworth? I enjoyed it but have little points of reference. I am going to Atlanta next month for the first time so I will try to make it a point to educate my palate.

                                                      1. there is one spot in chino hills...boiler stem kettle cooking.

                                                        rite off the 71 & 60fwy... not from the NO either but my goodness i love kwality cajun/creole cuisine...

                                                        1. It's a bit of a drive, but The Palace Grill in Santa Barbara is pretty great. it totally brings me back to NOLA. Their catfish, spicy martinis, and gumbos are delicious! Plus a fun atmosphere and can be a good date place.

                                                          I've also heard good things about Les Sisters, but that's more "soul" style food.