Recommendation for messy, delicious, no frills New Orleans seafood?

Going down to New Orleans this weekend for business and will (sadly) only be able to spend a night in that glorious city. It’s my first time going to NO and I really want to do it right, so does anyone have recommendations for the best seafood a man can eat? Doesn’t have to be downtown…actually it’s probably better if it’s out near Lake Pontchartrain that way it’ll be even fresher.

Commence your arguin’

There are too many excellent restaurants that serve seafood in New Orleans to list. However, since it is your first time, I would suggest hitting up one of the famous ones right in the heart of the action. Don’t be afraid of being a tourist because you will be.

The Acme Oyster House is a famous seafood restaurant right in the French Quarter. It is a little touristy (just like much the the French Quarter is) but it is high quality and gives both good food and a memorable experience.

I won’t balk at other people’s suggestions because there are many good choices but that is an obvious place to start.

Can’t beat the meunier amandine at Irene’s, and that’s all I have to say about it.

It’s the dish that first got Julia Child interested in food. I mean, not from Irene’s, she had it in Paris. But that’s the dish.

Mainly I’m looking at crab legs and crawfish if that changes anything

No frills? Messy? Delicious?

What you want is what is called, among other things, is a “low country boil”. Anybody else here feel free to jump in with other names for it or an actual place to get it.

You take shrimp, crawdads, crabs, spuds, corn on the cob and boil them all together in one big pot. Sometimes other vegetables, sausage, and various other edible/boilable items are also thrown in.

Dump out a heap from the pot on plate and get working.

IMO much better if well spiced up and the shrimp heads are on while boiling (they add flavor to the boil water).

I lived in New Orleans for college. The best, little known place that I ever discovered for seafood Po-Boys and boiled crawfish is the River Shack Tavern right on bayou road. It is technically in Jefferson, LA but it isn’t far from Uptown New Orleans proper and it is a beautiful drive. It is a funky place with live music and very authentically Louisiana style.

Seriously though, if you are only there for one night, I would stick to the French Quarter or the Garden District. That is a world-class experience and you may not get to experience it again soon. New Orleans isn’t like other cities you are familiar with at all. The atmosphere is always a constant party but you don’t need to know where you want to go when you start. You just start walking in the French Quarter and ask people what is really good that night and then choose based on that.

Whenever I tell people that have never been there that piece of advice, they really don’t understand until they get there and then all of them get it intuitively because that is the way it works because it is truly different from any other place on earth.

Don’t know your location, but you don’t want crab legs. Whole Blue crabs, soft shells, or crab meat made into something.

As mentioned already, there are many great restaurants in New Orleans that serve excellent seafood. By “no frills”, I’m assuming you’re not looking for an upscale, fine dining experience, but something more casual? If so, I would recommend Red Fish Grill which was recommended to me by a local acquaintance. It’s right on Bourbon St. so sure it’s a touristy place, but it doesn’t change the fact that they serve fresh, delicious seafood.

It’s been a couple of years now but I remember having oysters on the half shell and the grilled redfish. (I had to try the dish the restaurant was named after!)

Never been to New Orleans, but if I knew you (and I’ve wanted to go there all my life) I’d punch you and go to Disneyland.

Ah, crabs and crawfish. Take a look at this: Schaefer & Rusich Seafood delivers crabs straight from Lake Pontchartrain

I’ve never been so I can’t say much about it, but the crabs are straight out of Lake Pontchartrain like you requested.

There’s a lot to recommend Jacques Imo’s menu. On a weekend, there’s going to be a wait, though.

Seconded. I’ve got relatives in the area and have been to a few of these. You could probably just show up with a cooler of beer and some pecan pies and be welcomed as family.

Find an excuse to stay in the area longer. Nawlins can’t be experienced in a day.

They open at 5. Get there at 4 and start drinking at the Maple Leaf…that’s always worked for me!

Deannie’s Seafood (there’s a couple of them, I think). Awesome food. I grew up in the New Orleans suburbs (Metairie and Kenner), and this was our family’s favorite.

To be more precise, I don’t think you’ll see anything called a “low country boil” in Louisiana. That refers to the low country of South Carolina, where it’s typically done with shrimp. In Louisiana, you’re much more likely to see them on menus as a crawfish boil.

If you’re serious about no-frills, I highly recommend Castnets. They do have a little seating area, but I recommend getting a few pounds of whatever looks good (boiled shrimp!!!), some bread or fried okra, and taking it to somewhere pretty to sit.

The neighborhood is on the seedy side, but they’re right down the street from my inlaws so I load up every time we visit. Good place to get a bunch of raw oysters cheap, too, if that’s your bag.

P.S. Not that it matters much, but this place is on Lake Ponchartrain.

For a slightly different recommendation, allow me to suggest Brisbi’s ( They are a very new restaurant (they opened maybe a year ago), they are right on the lake (terrific view), and everything I have had there has been wonderful.


I MUST have a Shrimp and Alligator sausage Cheesecake.