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Sep 6, 2013 07:34 AM

Best Cajun Restaurant in New Orleans?

Added this query to my Additions/Updates post a few weeks back but making it a separate post. Just saw Coop's Place extolled here and wanted to get a consensus on best Cajun eateries in the city. Will be focusing on Creole/New Orleans food during a 5 day stay but would like to go to at least one Cajun place. Thanks!

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  1. The general consensus is that K-Paul's is probably the leader, Bon Ton running in there too although I don't think of them as that similar even though Bon Ton was the first place to offer "Cajun" as its backbone. (You could get some Cajun food in the 1960s and 1970s at various places but it was off the menu and made by a waiter or cook who was from Acadiana. That is how crawfish etouffee got into the city.)

    There is a lot of stuff that calls itself "Cajun" that no one ever heard of in, say,Ville Platte or down in Milton or Grand Couteau. But try to prove it is NOT Cajun. Making-it-up-as-you-go-along is one of the hallmarks of good coonass cooks in my experience. And more often than not you are going to find a key kitchen implement of a talented Cajun cook is a can opener.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hazelhurst

      Well, Mulates calls themselves a Cajun restaurant but I think there is general agreement that it should not go on the "Best" list.

      When I think of Cajun I usually think of the seafood restaurants than work with South LA ingredients. HH's two are a start, but there is also Borgne and, at a lower level, Grand Isle

      1. re: collardman

        From what I have seen--admittedly not a great deal--Brian at Borgne isn't really hitting the Cajun influence...he's frying other fish, as it were. Haven't looked into Grand Isle.

        Of course, lots of things--fried seafood platter, oyster raw or in various guises--are going to be found just about anywhere. ANd New Orleans is going to show an etoufffee here and there, some boudin and Andouille items...these are traditional Acadian things. You might even see potato salad with the gumbo. But for the basics, without trying to play too much of a game, Bon Ton is fine and K-Paul does not usually stray too far although I have seen them go into unbelievable flights of fancy that left we wondering "Why?" (I think back to the Cajun martini when the opened..trickery of the worst form. Jalapeno is a fruit jar of vodka..or gin if you are a purist. Struck me as silly in therms of Cajun but pertsovka is a perfectly valid Slavic potable.

        It should be said the Lilnk over at Cochon is trying to give some idea of Cajun stuff although, as Ihave noted here before, his second version of the place, that he dropped down in Lafayette to mulct some River Ranch dough, closed in about a year.. I found the shaved headcheese to be so risible that I thought I'd be carried off.

        1. re: collardman

          i believe Borgne is selling their style as Canary Islands influenced.

          1. re: kibbles

            Well, ya gotta have a gimmick. I wonder that someone has not seized on Hungarian Settlement and started a Cajun/Creole/Hapsburg-influenced "cuisine." (Oh it comes....)

            1. re: kibbles

              It is the Canary Islands as the roots of the Islanos of lower St. Bernard. So it is supposed to be the cooking of that Cajun/Islano fishing culture.

        2. If you aren't looking for fancy, it's the Acme Oyster House.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Coribdx

            I don't think of that as Cajun at all

            1. re: hazelhurst

              Agreed. Head to Lafayette for real Cajun

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Unfortunately, too many try to attach "Cajun," to New Orleans Cuisine, which is usually more Creole, though could have some minor Cajun influences. Most of the world assumes (do not know where they get this idea), that New Orleans Cuisine IS "Cajun," when it is not. I do not wish to pick nits, but if one DOES want Cajun, then that is different from what they are likely to find in most of the New Orleans restaurants. Many, above, have done a good job of differentiating the differences, and they should be commended. Some will just never get it, but it's because that few, outside of New Orleans, and South Louisiana "get it."

                For the uninitiated, New Orleans Cuisine is NOT Cajun, though there are some influences. It is not Caribbean, though again, there are some influences. It is not Spanish, though there are hints, that raise their heads, since Spain DID own many parts of Louisiana. It is not French, though there are some elements involved.

                Cajun is, well Cajun, and is better experienced in other areas of Louisiana. New Orleans is much more Creole, though there ARE other influences involved.

                If you think that New Orleans Cuisine IS Cajun, then you have read the wrong writers, seen the wrong movies, or have just never done your homework.

                If you DO want Cajun Cuisine, then do a Search of this board for Hazelhurst's recs.. If you DO want New Orleans Cuisine, then do a Search of this board for Hazelhurt's recs..

                There might be influences, BUT, there are differences.


              2. re: Coribdx

                i wouldnt in a million years consider Acme Oyster House a cajun restaurant.

              3. Wish I could fit it in! Farthest out I might go is Westwego for Mosca's,

                2 Replies
                1. re: dineomatic

                  Haven't been back in town since Toups Meatery opened (, but I've heard nothing but good things including from a couple of fellow expats who I sent there, one New Orleans native and one native of Lafayette. Toups calls itself "contemporary Cajun," whatever that means. It's one of the first places I'm headed when next I return!

                  1. re: gumbolox

                    Also not sure what contemp. Cajun might mean, but ALL the meals/cocktails we've had @ Toups' have been entirely satisfying....without exception.

                2. Cochon is worth checking out.

                  just note there arent a lot of cajun restaurants in new orleans, despite the impression many visitors have. new orleans is heavily french creole influenced food. cajun also starts w/ the letter C, and is in Louisiana, but this area isnt known for it. most of the tourist traps will say they do creole & cajun, but they dont. not really.

                  1. With the possible exception of Toup's (which I haven't been to yet but have heard good things), Cochon seems to me to be head and shoulders above the rest - particularly if you focus on Cochon's small dishes which are particularly good.