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A Local’s Guide to Eating the Best Boiled Crawfish in New Orleans this Season

WHERE TO EAT THE BEST BOILED CRAWFISH IN NEW ORLEANS, THE HISTORY OF THE TRADITION, AND TOP TIPS FOR PEELING AND EATING CRAWFISH

Springtime in New Orleans is all about boiled crawfish. When the heat ramps up, even just a few degrees, Louisianians gather friends and family for a traditional crawfish boil. Some head to their favorite local seafood spots for the best boiled crawfish in the city. Either way, the classic Southern tradition is one everyone must experience in their lifetime.

A Brief History of Crawfish Boils in Louisiana

The first people to hunt for crawfish were the Native American Houma Tribe. When the Acadians, or Cajuns, arrived from Canada in the 1700s, they ate crawfish out of necessity and accessibility. Eventually, Cajuns started to incorporate their Canadian roots into their crawfish recipes. They used the seasoning from their lobster recipes to build what is known today as a crawfish boil.

What is the Best Month for Crawfish Season in New Orleans?

Just because the crawfish season starts in January doesn’t mean that’s when they’re the best to eat. The peak months of crawfish season are March, April, and May. Locals usually wait until February at the earliest to indulge in a plate of crawfish.

The Best Places to Eat Boiled Crawfish in New Orleans

Every New Orleans local has a go-to boiled crawfish stop when crawfish season arrives in the spring. Hosting a boil at home isn’t always possible, especially when there are last-minute plans or the crawfish cravings kick in. Each neighborhood has renowned seafood shops where people go for their quick fix of hot-boiled crawfish.

Frankie and Johnny’s in Uptown

Frankie and Johnny’s is a family-friendly spot with award-winning boiled crawfish. Enjoy an affordable spicy plate of crawfish with family and friends in a laid-back environment.

Boil Seafood House in the Garden District

Experience freshly boiled seafood right on Magazine Street at Boil Seafood House. The restaurant caters to all spice levels, flavor preferences, and seafood picks.

Cooter Brown’s in the Garden Distrct

Raw oysters, beer, and boiled crawfish are Cooter Brown’s specialties. The boiled crawfish are award-winning, flavorful, and spicy.

The Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar in Lakeview

Watch the sunset on Lake Pontchartrain and dig into a platter of boiled crawfish at the Blue Crab. This Lakeview favorite serves fresh boiled crawfish and has an extravagant drink menu.

Clesi’s Restaurant & Catering in Mid-City

Clesi’s Restaurant & Catering is a friendly and tasty spot for boiled crawfish. The popular joint in Mid-City has outdoor seating and is dog-friendly.

Melba’s Po’boys in the Faubourg Marigny

Melba’s Po’boys is known for its namesake, but crawfish platters are on every table when the season comes around. The restaurant has two locations, one on Tulane Avenue and one on Elysian Fields.

Castnet Seafood in Gentilly

Another casual and affordable spot for hot-boiled crawfish is Castnet Seafood in Gentilly. The relaxed space is perfect for families or friends looking for a flavorful meal.

The Best Places to Host a Crawfish Boil in New Orleans

Throughout the spring, groups of friends and families gather to host their crawfish boils. Instead of boiling in the backyard, New Orleans has a few nature areas perfect for feasting with a view. Bayou St. John and the Fly offer waterfront views and open space. The sprawling oaks covering City Park provide shade for the hotter months of the season.

Top Tips for Eating Crawfish in Louisiana

Before visiting a local seafood shop or attending a crawfish boil, there are a few tips every attendee should follow. The following suggestions will ensure each boil is just as good as the crawfish:

  • Never criticize the person boiling the crawfish
  • Always keep discarded shells out of the way
  • Remove all hand and wrist jewelry before peeling
  • There is always room for more people at the table
  • Avoid wearing white or light-colored clothing
  • Help with cleanup and peeling leftover crawfish
  • Wash hands with lemon and baking soda to remove smells

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