The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Crawfish Joints

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For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

Along with Texas oyster season, crawfish season is officially upon us. No Label Brewing out of Katy is offering an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil for only $10 at Ashford Pub this Saturday at 1 p.m., while the Heights Chamber of Commerce is busy prepping for its annual crawfish boil at the SSQQ Dance Studio on March 3. Yesterday, when I spoke to Jim Gossen -- hero of the New South and founder of Foodways Texas -- he talked of hosting a crawfish boil soon to promote membership in Foodways Texas and bring people together.

"I don't want to have a clique," he said of the young organization, which promotes Texas food history and culture. "I don't want it to be this small group of people. This is something that everyone can get involved in. I want everyone to feel welcome."

And that's exactly what a crawfish boil does. It's hard not to feel like part of a greater whole when you're eating crawfish with others: You're in the trenches together, battling through a field of mudbugs and emerging dirty yet victorious at the end of the meal.

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10. Ragin' Cajun

This longtime Richmond haunt is where many Houstonians -- native or not -- tried their first crawfish. While there's usually a line out the door during crawfish season, that's just a sign of loyalty and quality. Ragin' Cajun gets bonus points for its wild Louisiana decor, fabulous zydeco music, handy sink right in the dining room, and the fact that it doesn't charge extra for corn or potatoes. It sells its crawfish in 1.75 pound or 3.5 pound buckets, for $12.99 and $23.99 respectively (which works out to roughly $6.85 a pound).

9. Calliope's

The closest to an authentic po-boy as you'll get in the Bayou City also has great crawfish, and owner Lisa Carnley also consistently pulls in some of the largest, so come prepared. The crawfish are $6.75 a pound right now and available on Fridays and Saturdays, but the price should drop back down to $6.25 a pound as the season rolls along. Calliope's crawfish are a little pricey, but Carnley only orders "jumbo" mudbugs for her restaurant, so you'll get what you pay for.

8. Mardi Gras Grill

The crawfish at this Durham favorite are currently $6.99 a pound (although corn and potatoes are extra, at $1.99 for three of each), and its central location means that this Cajun shack gets swamped early and often despite the high-ish prices. But it also comes with a great backstory: This was the original Floyd's -- Floyd Landry, that is -- and was one of the first places to bring crawfish to Houston.

7. Floyd's

Speaking of... This location of Floyd's is our favorite, with a boat-shaped bar and all-you-can-eat crawfish specials that will keep you lingering all day in sea-breezy Webster, whether you meant to or not. Right now, crawfish is $5.95 a pound and the cayenne-heavy boil is so crazy-spicy, you'll be tasting it on your lips for days.


Location Info

Ragin Cajun

4302 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Cajun Stop

2130 Jefferson St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mardi Gras Grill - CLOSED

1200 Durham Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Floyd's Cajun Seafood House

20760 Gulf Fwy, Webster, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hank's Cajun Crawfish

10800 Bellaire Blvd. #G, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Concert Pub -- Galleria

5636 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Music

Boiling Crab - CLOSED

8300 W. Sam Houston Parkway S., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Danton's Gulf Coast Seafood Kitchen

4611 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Wild Cajun Crawfish

6533 Wilcrest Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Blue Water Seafood

6107 Farm to Market 1960 W. Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Crawfish and Noodles

11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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51 comments
Jorge
Jorge

China Star on 45 south at Gulfgate Mall has the best. You not get unlimited crawfish, but the rest of the food is really good/fresh also. If I dont eat here. I drive to Lake Charles just over the Bridge at STEAMBOAT BILL"S. They have everything 2 keep you coming back!

Bully1977
Bully1977

I guess no one knows about The Crawfish Shack in Crosby,Tx.. It's about 20 minutes outside of Houston.. Hands down,best crawfish in town!.. Best of all,it's BYOB.. If I'm wrong, I will pay for your next crawfish meal at any of these other so-called crawfish joints..

Jamiebramblett
Jamiebramblett

One place I don't see on the list is Live Oak bar and grill. They have crawfish for $6 a pound I believe and it has always been good. The staff is friendly and the crawfish has great flavor. Being from Louisiana, I tend to be a tough critic, but this crawfish is some of the best in Houston.

byron
byron

Crazy Cajun on 290 and Hollister has the best Crawfish in Houston HANDS DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! We make the drive and its well worth it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pam thomas
Pam thomas

The Cajun Craven on Hughes road has really good food and their crawfish are off the chain, that means,very good! they are 5.99 a pound and if you buy 5 lbs or more you get a discount. they also have a garlic sauce they put on them that is optional.

Bravo1014
Bravo1014

the best crawfish joints and po-boys is on the northside name is cajun crawfish # 1 this place is so brand new you can not even find it on google. trust me it is worth come in.

womens chain belts
womens chain belts

   I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon.

Texastiger34
Texastiger34

Crawfish in Houston generally suck. No one knows how to boil here. Get a pot and burner and boil yourself. This list is like a list of the tallest midgets

Ksims1868
Ksims1868

Gotta add Outriggers in Seabrook to this list.  I regularly eat crawfish at Floyd's and Outriggers and I'll tell you Floyd's are GREAT crawfish...but Outriggers has always had them beat year after year.

Ezluvin
Ezluvin

April 14, just checked their wall calendar tonight after my free beer and delicious shrimp po-boy, all you can eat crawfish at Calliope's, she doesn't tell anyone bc it fills up too fast but this is your FYI. She says you have to reserve your spot or they will send you away. There is a second date too but it's later.

Johnny Throbber
Johnny Throbber

Attention all owners of said listed crawfish vendors.  you have now been stricken by the shrillkut kiss of death.  Anytime she writes a glowing comment the doors mysteriously seem to shutter.  Examples: Textile, Xuco Xicana, yelapa playa, gravitas, rockwood room, bootsies, catalan, etc..... Wishing ya'll the best!!

Fulmer
Fulmer

A few thoughts on rankings and omissions. First & foremost; for consistency of execution & quality of crawfish, as well as variation on spiciness, Crawfish & Noodles is heads above their competition. The new location is more spacious and is BYOB until they get their beer & wine license.As many good experiences as I've had at the Boiling Crab, my last 2 visits were less than their usual high quality and not worth the brutal wait if your not there early.LA Crawfish has good crawfish, but their excellent service (ease of ordering & always friendly staff) sets them apart from the crowd. Good wings too.Mardis Gras has slipped recently as their boil has been too salty, but probably one of the better places inside the Loop.My experience at Daily Seafood was not a good one. We ordered 5 lbs and got 9 lbs. We chalked it up to a misunderstanding, but more importantly, the quality of crawfish was mediocre as was the tepid flavor from the boil (we were the first customers that day).Hanks: Fishy smell in the restaurant. Fishy crawfish. Nuff said.Wild Cajun: Really well spiced crawfish and the simple addition of whole scallion I found to be a surprisingly good punctuation to the presentation.The 5 month old LA Crawfish Shack (on Gessner) is turning out some top notch boiled crawfish, but after only 1 visit, I'm curious to see if they can be consistently good.Several other new places have popped up around town. I look forward to visiting them and hearing from others on this topic. It's definitely a good time to be a crawfish lover in Houston.

Doggtyred
Doggtyred

Awfully disappointed that the Crawfish shack in Crosby didn't make the cut.  The guy goes through over 4000 lbs on a weekend day, and its always packed. I drive from Clear Lake up there to get it. 

Swedish Club of Houston
Swedish Club of Houston

Enjoy crawfish prepared the Swedish way!

The Swedish Club of Houston will be having its annual Crawfish Party (Kräftskivan) on Saturday, 3/24/2012 at the Monument Inn.  This year's featured entertainer is Swedish singer/songwriter Sofia Talvik. Reserve now at http://swedishclub.org/ -- $25/adult member, $15/child (12 and under), and $30/adult non member.  SEATING IS LIMITED. Doors open at 6pm, Kräftskivan at 7pm. Sofia Talvik to start at 8pm. Menu: Crawfish expertly prepared the Swedish Way, with dill & salt (served chilled). Also: boiled potatoes & corn, crisp bread & cheese, fried fish & chicken strips, and the Monument Inn's famous cinnamon buns. Beer and soft drinks provided, cash bar for liquor or wine. Bring your own aquavit!

Hoodoo2222
Hoodoo2222

I just ate crawfish at Hanks on Hiway 6 today and only had to wait 15minutes. They were very good and hot!

Tiffgoodson
Tiffgoodson

apparently, you forgot to mention the best place to get crawfish......... THE CRAWFISH SHACK in Crosby, TX has the best crawfish i have ever eaten!!!!!!!!  It is so good, they literally have people waiting in line just to get in!!!!!!!!!  You should go try it!!!!!  I guarantee you it will be number one on your list!

johncoby
johncoby

And again you missed Carlos Beer Garden of Webster. $18 all you can eat. Good food. Good people. Great place to hang out. Oh...BYOC. Bring your own chair cuz they run out! And I have to agree with Floyds on I45. $20 for 5 pounds of BIG crawfish.

Anony
Anony

Shocked that Bayou City isn't listed on this Top 10 list.  Did you visit and not like them?

Urban Swank
Urban Swank

This is a great list! The Boiling Crab tops our list as well.

Urban Swank
Urban Swank

This is a great list! The Boiling Crab tops our lists as well.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

I can vouch for Bluewater's 1960 location. We have been going for over 10 years and I have never walked away upset because of quality. The oysters are amazing right now also. Almost handpicked quality compared to the other places I have been this year.

I'm curious about the LA Crawfish place everyone is talking about this year, Shilcutt. Have you not been? Or did it not rate on your top 10?TA

sbterry
sbterry

Katherine -- I would love to be your host at The Hideaway on Dunvale some time!  I have spoken before about their food -- chicken friend rib eye steak, great burgers, lobster night, steak night, etc., but during crawfish season -- they are some of the best and most reasonably priced around!  Name your date and time -- and I will hook you up!

SirRon
SirRon

Someday you'll mention Seafood Shoppe on Westheimer near the Belt -- and I'll pee my pants. Until then, I'll make my annual mention underneath your crawfish post.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

Aww, man! The wait times at my 2 favorite joints just tripled!

nacho
nacho

forget Ragin Cajun, sure you get 'free' corn and potatos with your order, but you are over paying for below average crawfish, not to mention the rest of the food there is over priced and sub-par.  This place is basically for sheep or people who know about 1% about cajun food

Jaime A Garcia
Jaime A Garcia

Well this list the best list i've seen in a while.can't wait to go to all 10 before the season is over.Any takers?or we can do a crawfish crawl..........

Chuck Anders
Chuck Anders

Everyone knows about the Crawfish Shack... and it's some of the worst you can get lol 

Arthur Langham
Arthur Langham

Agree with @twitter-18059620:disqus

My list removes:

Mardi Gras - Their service is crap and definitely too salty. @sagenicole:disqus had to dip them in water there once to remove the excess salt.

Ragin' Cajun - I've never had good sized crawfish there and their spice is on the bland side.

My list adds:

Bayou City - Consistently delicious!

The biggest omission though - Crawfish and Noodles - They certainly deserve to be in the top 5 if not #1. I'd be interested to know why this didn't make your list.

UnderPar
UnderPar

La Crawfish Express in Pearland should make the list they have been my go spot since last season.

holendahead
holendahead

Hoodoo shhhhh Hank's is a secret for a couple years now. Very good crawfish with min wait and its always a packed house during season

Mvo
Mvo

Thank you!!!! I'm glad Simone mentioned how great The Shack is!! Gotta love that Meaux spicy!

TQro
TQro

All of that! Plus it's BYOB.  No shame in bringing your cooler packed.   Yep, cuticles and finger tips on fire if you get the Meaux spicy version. Beware if anyone decides to go, call before you do because they run out frequently.

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

LA Crawfish was all the talk amongst crawfish connoiseurs last year when it opened. Wrote a post about it last May.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Okay, I'm hooked. It's on my official list of places to check out ASAP.

imneverfull
imneverfull

Seafood Shoppe was better before it changed ownership last year.

Alishadanielle08
Alishadanielle08

YES!!!!! Seafood Shoppe is GREAT! But raised prices when new owner came!

Damianfbrown@yahoo.com
Damianfbrown@yahoo.com

I agree with u nacho the food is WAY over priced and is not that good..... And the crawfish SUCK...... They don't even deserve to be on this list.....

Texmex01
Texmex01

sounds like someone has a crawfish in their diaper......

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

It's also one of the only places in town I can satisfy my random out-of-season crawfish cravings, plus I like the boudin. So it stays.  :)

Shay Scott
Shay Scott

I am game... Was thinking the same thing.

Dale
Dale

I sure do like the idea of a crawfish crawl and I don't mind doing it reeeeaaaal slow like one a weekend! LOL!

Mvo
Mvo

Someone**

Christine Ha
Christine Ha

LA Crawfish is pretty good and should make the top 10 list though not #1.

Beetaylor71
Beetaylor71

Be sure to add Crazy Cajun on 290 and Hollister to your list. They blow all of these others places out of the water....email me if you want to go, My Treat!!!!!!!!!!

sbterry
sbterry

I know you typically go to places "in cognito", but I really am serious about meeting you there!

SirRon
SirRon

I respect all your comments, but I've had the crawfish for many years and they are exactly or nearly the same. I liked the place when it was a little more "seafood shop-y" inside, but the food hasn't changed much. People have always complained about the prices for as long as I can remember, so that isn't new either.

imneverfull
imneverfull

K, All the crawfish joints in Chinatown serve crawfish all year long.

Kat3130
Kat3130

I will second this. I live around the corner off of westheimer and the hideaways crawfish is some of the best. The seasoning is fantastic and the size of them is awesome. Right now 3 lbs will cost you $15 and it is a good bunch, you also get corn and potatos with that. So please try it out. 

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