Shoal Creek Saloon
909 N. Lamar, 477-0600
Mon-Wed, 11am-10pm; Thu-Sat, 11am-10:30pm;
Sun, noon-7pm (kitchen hours all days)

Shoal Creek is the local home for all of the Nawlins Saints football games -- 'nuff said? Louisiana native Bud George, a 20-year Cajun chef, builds his food from the ground up and does it the right way, including smoking his ducks for the gumbo and making his own boudin. Beauxdacious poorboys, muffalettas, etoufee, jambalaya, combos, and all the traditional sides -- Shoal Creek has small prices and the BIG taste.

Eaves Brothers Quality Seafood
5621 Airport, 454-5827
Mon-Sat, 8am-7pm

Quality has been in business since 1938, but Sam and Dexter have been running it for the last 10 years or so. It's the place where all your favorite restaurants get their seafood, so you know it's the freshest. What most don't know is that it also has some of the least expensive (dare I say cheap?) and highest quality Cajun food around: po-boys, etoufee, gumbo, shrimp Creole, and seafood of all types. Great for lunch or early dinner.

Hoody's Subs and Cajun Cafe
7210 W. Hwy71, 301-1411
Mon-Sat, 11am-9pm

Hoody's is a little-known gem with lots of buzz, currently located near the Y but poised (in September) to move to 1203 W. Sixth, where it will reopen as Robbie's Cajun Cafe, with an expanded, all-Cajun menu. The award-winning gumbo transports you to the bayou, and the poorboys are the stuff of legend. Authentic and original sides like corn maque choux and purple hull peas and rice. Catch them before they move -- and after they get there.

The Boiling Pot
700 E. Sixth, 472-0985
Mon-Wed, 4-10pm; Thu, 11am-10pm;
Fri & Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, noon-10pm

Home of the famous Cajun Combo popularized at the original location in Rockport-Fulton Beach on the coast. You're armed with a wooden mallet over a table covered with butcher paper to attack a boiled basket of blue crab, shrimp, sausage, spuds, and corn. It's work, but worth it -- try the sides of boudin, mudbugs, gumbo, oysters, and red beans and rice.

6319 N. I-35, 452-9363
Mon-Thu, 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm;
Fri & Sat, 11am-11pm; Sun, 11am-10pm

An Austin arm of the Papas chain from Houston, Pappadeaux is the 300-pound gorilla of the Austin Cajun scene. Pricey, loud, and raucous, and you're assured of a wait to eat and (possibly) to park. Huge portions selected from a huge menu, and Austin's Cajun seafood crowd just can't get enough. Try eating at the bar to avoid the wait and the crush.

Old Alligator Grill
3003 S. Lamar, 444-6117
Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat, 11am-11pm

Austin's near-south wing of the Cajun Empire, Old Alligator Grill has a loyal following of folks eager to eat its offerings of Creole chow. Slightly updated versions of the standards, along with the usual suspects: filé gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, and a whole mess of seafood, blackened and not. The prices are quasi-pricey, but things come with bottomless vegetables.

901 Round Rock Ave., Round Rock, 671-7925
Tue-Fri, 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm; Sat, 5pm-10pm

Gumbo's was started by Michael and Yoli Amr, and recently purchased by Fired Up, Inc. The Amrs are still a part of Gumbo's, and they've just added lunch to the mix, with plans calling for a second location to open at Eighth & Colorado as early as late October. Gumbo's is upscale Creole with sophisticated New Orleans-style selections, and well worth the price. Try Mike's Favorites and the fabulous pasta offerings, as well as the numerous gumbos.

Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen
214 E. Sixth, 479-0474
Sun-Wed, 11am-midnight; Thu, 11am-1am;
Fri & Sat, 11am-2am

Jazz is hoppin' all the time, with a widely varied menu offering all of the Cajun faves in a medium price range. It has a big appetizer menu and happy hour from 4-7pm Mon-Fri, with many of the entrees available as half orders all the time. The options lean more toward the blackened, sautéed, and grilled than they do the fried. Check out the numerous pastas and po-boys.

Landry's Seafood House
600 E. Riverside, 441-1010
Sun-Thu, 11am-10pm; Fri & Sat, 11am-11pm

Austin's version of the national chain is located in the old Magic Time Machine spot on Riverside with great views of downtown over the water. The menu is traditional seafood with some Cajun items in the mix, including gumbos, po-boys, and blackened and pecan-crusted specialties. Succumb to the signature Bananas Foster for dessert.

1101 W. Pecan, Pflugerville, 990-8206
Tue-Sat, 11am-3pm, 5:30-10pm

There have been waves of raves about this little spot owned by Bill & Debra, transplants from the Bayou State. All of the standard Cajun menu bases are covered (at medium prices), along with a wide assortment of veggies for the anti-meat crowd, crab cakes with Creole sauce, blackened catfish salad, and some nice pasta dishes. Try a slice of the sweet potato and pecan pie with Chantilly cream for dessert.

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