Eat This Now

11 Great Cajun and Creole Restaurants in Metro Phoenix in 2021

Crawfish swimming in a sea of spices at the Angry Crab Shack.
Jackie Mercandetti
Crawfish swimming in a sea of spices at the Angry Crab Shack.
Po'boy sandwiches (fried seafood atop a lengthy piece of fresh, crusty French bread), etouffee and gumbo (shellfish served over rice in a soup-like sauce), and beignets (deep-fried, pillow-like pastries under powdered sugar) are all readily available in the Phoenix area if you know where to look.

Here are 11 local spots whose food can transport you to a French Quarter sidewalk cafe or a bayou cookout.

Angry Crab Shack

Multiple Locations

This super-casual, put-on-a-bib kind of place has a handful of locations in metro Phoenix. At Angry Crab Shack, starters include the Cajun Fries With an Attitude, meaning crispy fries served loaded with gumbo. You’ve also got po’boys with option of shrimp, soft-shell crab, catfish, or beer-battered cod on your baguette. Or try the by-the-pound Cajun Seafood Boil with choice of head-on or -off shrimp, king or snow crab, lobster, clams, blue mussels, and crawfish. Range your spice level from “Me No Likey” spice to “Ridiculously Hot.”

click to enlarge Try the dirty rice at Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen. - LAUREN CUSIMANO
Try the dirty rice at Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen.
Lauren Cusimano

Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen

2051 South Dobson Road, #18, Mesa

Since 1989, Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen has been serving the Valley — more recently, the people of Dobson Ranch in Mesa — some decently authentic Cajun food. Think boudin balls, gumbo by the cup or bowl, and shrimp etouffee. The restaurant also offers regional sides like the red beans and rice, jambalaya, and dirty rice, a fiery combo of rice mixed with seasoned ground beef, spicy pork sausage, and veggies. And if you’re trying to keep it light, they’ve got an array of salads including the fried catfish salad, crab and shrimp salad, and the Lagniappe (Cajun for "a little something extra").


click to enlarge Seafood gumbo from Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen. - DA’BAYOU CREOLE KITCHEN
Seafood gumbo from Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen.
Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen

Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen

313 North Gilbert Road, #100, Gilbert

Da’Bayou Creole Kitchen plates and bowls items like seafood and okra gumbo, gator po’boys, muffuletta, shrimp baskets, grilled redfish, and the Fish Ponchartrain entrée. The new Creole cuisine restaurant also offers a brunch menu with orders like the Voodoo Benny and the Breakfast Bread Puddin', but you should definitely be eyeing the Brunch Beignets.

click to enlarge Flavors of Louisiana is a top pick for Louisiana-style eateries in the Valley. - FLAVORS OF LOUISIANA
Flavors of Louisiana is a top pick for Louisiana-style eateries in the Valley.
Flavors of Louisiana

Flavors of Louisiana

Multiple Locations

The origin story here is just as interesting as the food. Established in 2008, Flavors of Louisiana combines both county and city Cajun flavors: New Orleans-style spicy-hot dishes with tomato-based red sauce, and Acadian flavors like rich, brown roux-based sauces. This is a nod to the parents of the Baton Rouge-born owner. Hank Williams fans may be drawn to the Cajun Trio — jambalaya, crawfish pie, and gumbo — and po’boy options range from shrimp, oyster, and crawfish to alligator, catfish, and muffuletta.

click to enlarge Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Tempe lives up to the name. - MEAGAN MASTRIANI
Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Tempe lives up to the name.
Meagan Mastriani

Hot N Juicy Crawfish

Multiple Locations

Arizona has three locations of the crawfish-centric Cajun chain Hot N Juicy Crawfish. The well-rounded menu includes by-the-pound seafood, fried baskets, two-handed po’boys, and a “For Play” section offering fried catfish, Cajun calamari, Cajun fries, and etouffee. But if you’re stopping by for the first time, choose from one of two combos — or as they're called here experiences. The Get Your Feet Wet combo, for example, comes with one pound of crawfish, one pound of shrimp, a dozen andouille sausages, two corn cobs, and two potatoes.

click to enlarge A Gulf Coast experience in the east Valley. - LA CRAB SHACK
A Gulf Coast experience in the east Valley.
LA Crab Shack

LA Crab Shack

1948 West Broadway Road, Mesa

Known for its delta bayou menu, LA Crab Shack offers east Valley residents a real Gulf Coast experience. When in season, live crawfish and oysters are flown in on the daily. To jump right into the options, you first choose your catch (think head-on shrimp, king crab legs, clams, blue crabs, and lobster tails), then your flavors (Rajun Cajun, garlic butter, house blend, and more) and spice level (mild to inferno). Other menu items include fried seafood baskets and appetizers, shrimp fettuccine with Cajun-spiced Alfredo sauce, and plenty of wine, beer, and cocktails.

click to enlarge Mr Claws is one of two new Creole restaurants in the Phoenix area. - MR CLAWS
Mr Claws is one of two new Creole restaurants in the Phoenix area.
Mr Claws

Mr Claws

1130 West Grove Avenue, #111, Mesa

Found in the Fiesta Mall district, Mr Claws offers seafood broil-level orders of shrimp, crawfish, green mussels, snow crab, king crab, and lobster tails. This new Cajun restaurant also lists fried seafood baskets, platters of spicy oysters, and specialties like shrimp garlic noodles.

click to enlarge The dirty rice balls at Southern Rail. - SOUTHERN RAIL
The dirty rice balls at Southern Rail.
Southern Rail

Southern Rail

300 West Camelback Road

Chef Justin Beckett's southern restaurant, aptly named Southern Rail, weaves together upscale dining with a front porch atmosphere. Entering the space (located since 2014 at The Newton), you get the sense you're on a tour of a Southern mansion somewhere near the Gulf Coast, and the menu — featuring items like the dirty rice balls, shrimp 'n’ creamy grits, red beans and rice, and the Gumbo Ya Ya — keeps you in that mindset.

click to enlarge A spread of hoe cakes, bread-and-butter pickles, and braised greens from The Larder + the Delta. - JACKIE MERCANDETTI PHOTO
A spread of hoe cakes, bread-and-butter pickles, and braised greens from The Larder + the Delta.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

The Larder + the Delta

200 West Portland Street, #101

The lunch and dinner menus at The Larder + the Delta focus quite a bit on Southern cooking, and anyone familiar with New Orleans cuisine will be dazzled by the garlic shrimp, which comes with herbs, crusty bread, charred lemon, okra, and (naturally) a wet nap, or the Mississippi catfish po’boy, which comes with jalapeno apple slaw, crystal hot sauce aioli, thick bread-and-butter pickles, and a side of fries. The Hoppin’ John — a bowl of Sea Island field peas with Carolina gold rice and herb salad — is also capable of briefly transporting you to NOLA.

click to enlarge Feast on jambalaya and other New Orleans-style dishes at VooDoo Daddy's. - VOODOO DADDY'S STEAM KITCHEN
Feast on jambalaya and other New Orleans-style dishes at VooDoo Daddy's.
VooDoo Daddy's Steam Kitchen

VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen

1325 West Elliot Road, #106, Tempe

If you love Cajun, Caribbean, and Creole-style food, VooDoo Daddy’s Steam Kitchen in Tempe has your jambalaya and gumbo fix. There’s also red beans and rice, po’boys, and beignets for dessert (or your hangover). The "steam kitchen" part of the name derives from the steam kettles (set at heat levels between one and 10, depending on preference) the restaurant uses to customize each order. The other half of the name? VooDoo Daddy is the gator seen in the colorful mural above the kitchen.

click to enlarge Welcome Diner's terrific trio: the hurricane cocktail, gumbo, and pork and grits. - JACKIE MERCANDETTI PHOTO
Welcome Diner's terrific trio: the hurricane cocktail, gumbo, and pork and grits.
Jackie Mercandetti Photo

Welcome Diner

929 East Pierce Street

The menu at Welcome Diner is a mess-load of from-scratch Cajun options with local ingredients. Dishes include the seafood etouffee with seasonal seafood, trinity vegetables, and Banyuls vinegar over rice, and the jambalaya with Red Bird Farms chicken, andouille, trinity, tomatoes, and Cajun spices served over jasmine rice and paired with Noble sourdough bread for soaking. But the signature dish is the gumbo — Schreiner’s andouille, house-smoked chicken nopales, trinity vegetables, Cajun spices, and dark roux. Order a hurricane for the full experience.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on November 20, 2018. It was updated on February 16, 2021.