Where to Eat the Best Crawfish in Houston for 2020 — Updated
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Forget the holidays — crawfish season is here, and it’s the best time to be in the Bayou City. The mudbugs are boiling and the beer is flowing. While you can’t have a boil or a tailgate every day, you can certainly eat crawfish every day of the week with these specials, dishes and staples around Houston.
88 Boiling Crawfish and Seafood, 1910 Wilcrest: A longtime West Houston favorite, 88 Boiling Crawfish has a wide menu of seafood standards and, of course, signature crawfish boils. Seasonings include lemon pepper, garlic butter and a house specialty that combines the first two. Add an order of boiled king, blue or snow crab in spice levels ranging from mild to XXX.
BB’s Tex-Orleans, multiple locations: A true fusion of Texas and Cajun cuisines, this long-standing local chain serves up Houston’s favorite crustaceans just about every which way. The signature Tex-Orleans boils are double-seasoned by basting in a housemade spicy sauce after boiling. Or, stick to the classics with traditional Cajun seasoning, complete with all the spicy veggie fixins’ you can handle. Try an order of Crawfish Empanadas, Lloyd’s Crawfish Étouffée or Crowley’s Crawfish Gumbo for inspired takes on this seasonal protein.
Cottonwood, 3422 North Shepherd: This bar in Garden Oaks featuring a huge patio is famous for its springtime, weekend boils. Sundays, starting at 11 a.m., get your Creole fix courtesy of the Bayou Classics Food Truck. The boilers stay on until they sell out. For an even bigger party, swing by on Sunday March 15 for the 3rd Annual Crawfish Cook-Off. For $30 per person, get access to each competing team’s crawfish, Saint Arnold Brewing Company’s beer and live music. The event goes from 2 to 6 p.m.
The Cravin’ Cajun, 2323 North Fry: Bring your own beer (perhaps 8th Wonder Brewery’s Dome Faux’m, which helps temper spicy crawdads) and crank the spice level to “Atomic” at this BYOB Katy hot spot. Crawfish seasonings include garlic butter, classic Cajun and the surprisingly sweet and tangy house special.
Crawfish & Noodles, 11360 Bellaire: These days, this Chinatown staple is considered a Houston treasure. James Beard Award-semifinalist chef Trong Nguyen’s Bellaire seafood kitchen is credited with helping popularize the Viet-Cajun style of crawfish in Houston. While mudbugs are an obvious choice, the Crawfish & Noodles’ menu is extensive, featuring a variety of authentic Vietnamese noodle and Cajun-inspired seafood dishes. Crabs come in four varieties, including King and Dungeness, and can be either Cajun, salt-and-pepper or tamarind-seasoned. Classic Vietnamese dishes include phở, hu tieu, and hot pots.
Hank’s Crawfish, multiple locations: Three family-owned shops are all colloquially grouped under the Hank’s Crawfish moniker: Hank’s Crab Shack in Katy, Hank’s Cajun Crawfish on Bellaire, and Hank’s Cajun Grill and Oyster Bar on Westheimer. Each location serves a variety of Louisiana-style seafood with crawfish taking center stage. Their signature sauces and seasonings include classic Cajun, garlic butter, Vudeaux sauce, and citrus garlic, while spice varieties range from mild to the habanero-infused “New Orleans” blend.
The Houstonian, 111 North Post Oak: If you’re looking for less peeling and more eating, head over to TRIBUTE at the Houstonian, where executive chef Neal Cox is offering upscale Cajun takes on the humble mudbug. From now until June, you can try Crawfish Hushpuppies served with chorizo aioli, Crawfish Stuffed Artichoke and Pompano cooked in parchment topped with crawfish, mushrooms, sherry and lemon. All three dishes are available at dinner, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. daily. If you are looking for lunchtime fare, Manor House is serving Crawfish Bisque with green onion and garlic rouille Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Added 3/4/20.
King’s Bierhaus, 2044 East TC Jester and 828 FM 646 West, League City: If you’re near the Heights or League City, stop by this neighborhood bierhäuser any Friday or Saturday during crawfish season for Biers, Brats and Boils. Get your helping of both crawdads and shrimp for $6.99 and $17.99 per pound, respectively. Regular menu items include housemade brats, schnitzel and German staples from authentic family recipes, as well as the largest selection of German and Bavarian beers in Houston.
If your crawfish craving can’t wait for the weekend, or even five o’clock, try King’s sister concept next door, EggHaus Gourmet, for the newly debuted Crawfish Crossaint. An early-morning or midday take on seasonal tradition, this creative pastry is stuffed with rice and crawfish étoufée.
La Grange, 2517 Ralph: This Montrose patio bar might be known for its Tex-Mex dishes, but during crawfish season, the bright red critters are added to its Saturday menu starting at noon. The more you order, the cheaper per pound it gets. One pound is $9, three pounds are $25 and five pounds are $37. To drink alongside, take advantage of the Eureka Heights beer specials. Cans and drafts are $4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Throw in a side of Holy Queso with white cheese and green chiles for a uniquely H-Town experience.
Monkey’s Tail, 5802 Fulton: This Northside gem is known for its well-made craft cocktails and mix of Tex-Mex and Americana menu items. This year, add crawfish boils to the growing list of reasons to visit. From now until the end of the season, stop in any Saturday or Sunday for $6.75 per pound crawfish ($6 for takeout) from noon until sell out. Pair an order with any of beverage director Greg Perez’s signature cocktails like El De Jarrito, Three Milks and No… Pos Ta Cabron for an afternoon you’re sure to forget. (Just don’t forget to take a rideshare.)
Ragin’ Cajun, 4302 Richmond and 9600 Westheimer: This Bayou City institution has been around for over four decades. A go-to for authentic Cajun staples such as crab gumbo, crawfish étoufée, po’ boys, fried catfish and gator, its classic, Louisiana-style crawfish and crab boils are famous among Houston natives and New Orleans transplants alike.
Underbelly Hospitality, multiple locations: To celebrate the 2020 crawfish season in style and with characteristic grandiosity, chef Chris Shepherd’s restaurant group is introducing its first-ever “Crawfish Crawl”. It’s running all season long across all his restaurants through May 31. Stop into any location to get an official “crawfish passport” (punched with any crawfish purchase) and win prizes of increasing value as you fill its pages. The promotion is paired with daily mudbug specials, including varying crawfish dishes at Hay Merchant, Viet-Cajun-style crawfish every Sunday at One Fifth during brunch, the Chef’s Strip topped with crawfish each Wednesday at Georgia James, and peel-and-eat crawfish every Thursday at UB Preserv.
The Union Kitchen Washington, 6011 Washington Avenue: This beloved neighborhood kitchen will kick off the season on March 5 with a patio party featuring crawfish tossed in the house’s signature Fire Butter dipping sauce, developed by General Manager Jim Harvey and featuring whole butter, Frank’s Redhot, Tabasco and minced garlic. The party, which begins at 4:00 p.m. and continues until 9:30 p.m., will include drink specials and live music by Susan Hickman.
Starting on March 6, the Union Kitchen will serve market-price crawfish from open to close in the bar area and patio, with live music on the last Saturday or each month on the patio.