A Creole Crawl | Austin's Best Cajun/Creole Fare
2016 #ATXBestEats City Guide

UPDATE: This #ATXBESTEATS City Guide has been updated in 2017 to reflect the changing Creole/Cajun scene in Austin. You can find the current guide here. Thanks for visiting! 

Welcome to the 5th annual Creole Crawl, a guide to Cajun and Creole fare in Austin. I've set forth on the delicious adventure to suss out the best of the best Louisiana regional cuisine offered right here, in the heart of Texas. Along the way I've discovered new gems, gone on wild goose chases, revisited old haunts, reconsidered popular favorites, EATEN MY WEIGHT IN GUMBO, and as always, run into some of the very nicest people. Folks who are enamored with and devoted to, the preparation of and feasting on Creole/Cajun cuisine truly are filled with la joie de vivre. Spend a little time with them and you'll see-- it's infectious!

This year, the format is a bit different. For the purposes of this overview, I dispense with my somewhat lengthy history, thoughts, opinions, reviews, etc, and simply share a brief listing of everything that's out there in Austin and surrounds. For more in depth discussion, please visit the inaugural guide, as well as the years, following here, and here. And keep an eye open for individual reviews of each establishment coming soon on Notes from Maggie's Farm.

Sure, I have my favorites--this is right in my wheelhouse after all, and I'll certainly offer the skinny (ironic word, that) in subsequent reviews, but the scene is expanding and folks are catching on to this vibrant culinary scene. so a little brevity will be employed in this latest contribution to the #ATXBESTEATS 2016 City Guide. Or at least I'll try. That doesn't come naturally to me when waxing poetic about roux and gumbo and rémoulade, and smothered greens and dark bitter coffee and gravy poboys, and jazz brunches and pralines and brandy punches and river boats and boudin balls and second lines and crawfish festivals and community cookbooks and bake sales and......................

Local Favorites: Spiced just right

Cypress Grill
Address: 4404 Wm Cannon Dr, Austin, TX 78749
Phone:(512) 358-7474
Hours: Open 7 days. M-F 11a-10pm, S/S Brunch 8:30-2:30pm
Currently craving: Bourbon Milk Punch, Fried Oysters Benedict--make those yolks runny, please

Evangeline Cafe
Address: 8106 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745
Phone:(512) 282-2586
Hours: Kitchen: 11am-9:30pm, Until 10pm Thu-Fri, lunch/dinner, Closed Sunday
Currently craving: Oysters Contraband and a seat by the band.

French Quarter Grille
Address: 13000 N IH 35 #600, Austin, TX 78753
Phone:(512) 832-9090
Hours: Open 6 days. Weekday lunch. Dinner. Closed Sunday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Orange Creme Brûlée and coffee with a shot of brandy

Sawyer & Co
Address: 4827 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone:(512) 531-9033
Hours: Open 7 days Breakfast/Brunch/Lunch/Dinner. Various open and closing times. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Grits and Grillades or Eggs Sardou. This is hard. 

Shoal Creek Saloon
Address: 909 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703
Phone:(512) 474-0805
Hours: Open 7 days, Kitchen open 11am-10pm
Currently craving: Smoked Duck Gumbo and the choir of Creole angels I hear when it's served.

Hidden Gems: Eat like an insider

Cajun Pizza Place
Address: 6001 McNeil Dr, Austin, TX 78729
Phone:(512) 291-7997
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner, 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat til 10.
Currently craving: Crawfish Pirogue, ice-cold Turbodog, and a winning Saints game.

New Awlin's Cafe
Address: 8650 Spicewood Springs Rd #111, Austin, TX 78759
Phone:(512) 394-7200
Hours: Open 6 days for lunch/dinner. Closed Sunday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Homemade pie and genuine Southern hospitality.

Food Trucks: Creole on wheels
Address: 2512 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705
Phone:(512) 645-4112
*Now at Pleasant Valley and E Cesar Chavez 
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Corn fritters and smothered greens

Baton Creole
Address: 1104 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone:(512) 986-3834
Hours: Open 6 days, Closed Tuesday. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Powder-coated Beignets to dunk in my lava-hot bitter coffee

LA 1 Cajun and Creole
Located at St Roch's Bar
Address: 515 Pedernales St, Austin, TX 78702
Phone:(512) 777-4441
Hours: Wed-Sunday, 4-9pm.
Currently craving: Roast Beef Debris Gravy on hot, crisp french fries and some Lou Reed on the jukebox.

Beyond the Limits: Outside of the City

Address: 100 N Main Street, Buda, TX 78610
Phone:(512) 312-4387
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently Craving: Weekend brunch Eggs Cleveland and a stellar $2 Bloody Mary

Gumbo's North
Address: 701 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
Phone:(512) 943-4214
Hours: Open 7 days, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Grilled Shrimp Robert and happy hour on the patio.

Louisiana Longhorn Cafe
Address: 200 E Main St, Round Rock, TX 78664
Phone:(512) 248-2900
Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday, lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently craving: Shrimp poboy and and their ambrosial Hurricane.

Mouton's Southern Bistro
Address: 309 N Hwy 183, Leander, TX 78641
Phone:(512) 260-6300
Hours: Open 7 days, breakfast/lunch/dinner, Call for hours.
Currently craving: these Shrimp and Grits. You'll be sated for days.

Parrain's Louisiana Kitchen
Address: 18653 Farm to Market 1431, Jonestown, TX 78645
Phone:(512) 215-9319
Hours: Open 7 days, brunch/lunch/dinner. Call for hours.
Currently Craving: Cold Abita, boiled crawfish and House-Smoked Boudin

Making Groceries: Dine-In and Retail

Quality Seafood Market
Address: 5621 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751
Phone:(512) 452-3820
Hours: Open 6 days, 10:30am-9pm. Closed Sunday.
Currently Craving: East Coast, Gulf Coast, and grilled- plump, briny oysters with chilled bubbly, please.

Stuffed Cajun Meat Market and Specialty Foods (2 locations) Phone:(512) 918-1600
--Address: 5207 Brodie Ln #125, Sunset Valley, TX 78745
Hours: Open 7 days, 10am-9pm
--Address: 12226 Ranch Rd 620 N, Austin, TX 78750
Hours: Open 7 days, 10am-8pm
Currently craving: New Orleans BBQ Shrimp and a loaf of Gambino's French bread for home.

Honorable Mentions: Worthy of a Word

A few popular spots are worthy of mentions, but may have missed the mark of those above for a variety of reasons:
  • inconsistent service, hours, or quality
  • is one of a large chain 
  • serves a menu not fully devoted to Creole/Cajun food.
  • is terrific. Just not Creole/Cajun. 

Each has a following-- I may or may not be among the following, but I'd be remiss not to include them. Freda's in Cedar Park includes several Cajun/Creole favorites on their seafood-rich menu. I haven't been, but I'm going to have to fix that. I enjoyed a beautifully-prepared fried softshell crab at Surf & Turf, pictured, also in Cedar Park. Northwest Austin's Pacific Star Seafood is cheap. Red's Porch, on South Lamar, has a GREAT patio, Texas-based Pappadeux serves consistently good plates, and speaking of chains, there's still a Razoo's in Round Rock for a quick, very fried Cajun fix. Nubian Queen Lola uses proceeds to feed area homeless, Original New Orleans Poboys newest digs boast the diviest bar on the list, and Turf N' Surf Poboy's only claim to Cajun is blackened seafood at their 2 walk-up locations. But it's damn good seafood, I'll give you that.

Cherrywood Coffee House serves fried seafood and poboys, and their weekend brunch Crawfish Omelet, pictured, is knockout good. Hoover's Cooking, on Manor, is more southern comfort than Cajun/Creole per se, but étouffe smothered fried catfish for breakfast. On biscuits?? Oh yes. Yes indeed. And lastly, newcomer Liberty Kitchen, a chic and hip-swank downtown spot, serves one of the best bowls of gumbo, pictured, I ate in Austin last year. Check out their happy hour.

Mais cher, I think that's IT! But I may be wrong. There are new restaurants springing up in this bustling little mecca of ours every. darn. day. What have I missed? Some amazing new spot of which I haven't yet heard? A gumbo that's off the charts and off the map? A little Cajun food trailer that snuck into town? A Creole pop-up that's just beyond my horizon?

And while we're at it, tell me YOUR thoughts. Who serves your favorites? Know where the perfect jambalaya is on the menu (because in all of my eating, I didn't find one that thrilled me, and a few down right repelled me)? Favorite spot to watch the Saints? The Tigers? The Ragin' Cajuns? Want to offer a little feedback on the places mentioned? LOVE to hear it. Give me your thoughts and let's LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER, y'all.

If you're a guest to Austin, I welcome you. If you're a resident, I congratulate you. If you're hungry for more of Austin's vital culinary scene, be sure to visit the 2016 Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide for the best dining the city has to offer. There's something for everybody, including my most recent #ATXBESTEATS city guides:

Favorite Austin Specialty Food & Wine Shops
On the Outskirts of Town | Barbecue East of Austin
On the Grow | Austin's Farmers' Markets
and new this year, Saffron & Sesame | Middle Eastern Food in Austin

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