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Annie’s Soul Delicious dishes in Los Angeles
Annie’s Soul Delicious
Carl Larsen

12 Savory Spots to Find LA’s Best Creole and Cajun Dishes

Jambalaya, po’boys, gumbo, fried chicken, and more make for a mighty Mardi Gras on the West Coast

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Annie’s Soul Delicious
| Carl Larsen

LA’s Cajun and Creole cuisines hardly need help in the popularity department. Whether a butter-filled gooey mac and cheese, flavorful steam from a seafood boil, or signature jambalayas, gumbos, fried chicken, and smothered meats stewed to deliciousness — these dishes aim to please any time of year.

That said, Fat Tuesday is the official kickoff for Mardi Gras, so it feels extra-special ordering from a local Cajun or Creole spot this time of year. There’s a dish for everyone, too, from a lobster mac and cheese to plant-based options from one of LA’s oldest restaurants, here are 12 places to catch the Mardi Gras spirit throughout Southern California. These restaurants are listed north to south.

ADDED: A Family Affair, Chef C’s Smokin’ Pot, Crystal’s Soul Cafe, Les Sisters’ Southern Kitchen & BBQ, Nola Cajun and Creole

REMOVED: Cafe Creole Baldwin Hills (closed), Lee Esther’s Creole & Cajun Cooking, Henry Parsons Project, Sal’s Gumbo Shack

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Les Sisters' Southern Kitchen & BBQ

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Deep in the San Fernando Valley is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen. The family-run operation opened in 1986 and staff there still prepare heart-shaped beignets, hush puppies, ribs, and gumbo, and a fried seafood platter with yams. It’s a good idea to check in throughout February and early March for the special Mardi Gras menu.

The Little Jewel of New Orleans

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Husband and wife team Marcus Christiana-Beniger and Eunah Kang opened up this charming Big Easy transplant on the east side of Chinatown, where po’boys, muffaletas, and house-smoked cochon de lait fly out the doors. For Mardis Gras, Beniger has a few specials on hand like the Louisiana shrimp boil basket, shrimp creole, and a crawfish-shrimp etouffee.

Little Jewel of New Orleans restaurant in Chinatown
Little Jewel of New Orleans restaurant in Chinatown
Eunah Kang

Annie's Soul Delicious

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Chef Annalisa “Annie” Mastoianni-Johnson keeps the festive vibes going year-round at her Mid-Wilshire restaurant. Opt for the smothered oxtails or the chicken wings tossed in a house-made Hennessy sauce, and always ask for extra cornbread.

Annie’s Soul Delicious dishes in Los Angeles
Annie’s Soul Delicious
Carl Larsen

Stevie's Creole Café

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The late Jonathan Gold shared good words about Stevie’s, labeling it the “best gumbo this side of New Orleans.” The locations have moved since opening in 1986, but recipes have endured —especially the peach cobbler.

Harold & Belle's

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In 2022, Harold & Belle’s will celebrate 52 years in Jefferson Park. For Fat Tuesday there’s a special menu and event happening, but there’s always a festive atmosphere when sitting down to order the jambalaya, or the popular Louisiana style catfish nuggets, and a recently launched plant-based menu with okra gumbo.

NOLA Cajun and Creole

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NOLA Cajun and Creole owner/chef Keiven Cross operates out of BLVD Market food hall in Montebello, where he pays tribute to his family’s Louisiana roots with gumbo, po’boys, and jambalaya.

Shrimp po’boy from Nola Cajun and Creole in Montebello, California
NOLA Cajun and Creole
Matthew Kang

A Family Affair Southern

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Nestled on the border of Inglewood and Westchester is A Family Affair, where two best friends prepare turkey chops, fried catfish, oxtails, and peach cobbler.

Crystals Soul Cafe

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Those avoiding animal products might feel left out during Mardi Gras, but LA has plenty of options similar Crystals Soul Cafe. The menu showcases vegan and jerk shrimp po’boys, along with a smoked and marinated vegan chicken with mango barbecue sauce, corn cake, collard greens and black-eyed peas.

Chef C's Smhokin Pot

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Chef Calvin Alexander opened his Carson-based restaurant in early 2021 after operating a food truck for years. His niece took over operations after Alexander died last year, but the menu remains the same quality, with savory dishes like the gumbo accompanying the lobster mac and cheese, Cajun chicken rice bowls, and plant-based jambalaya.

Garlic chicken from Chef C’s Smhokin Pot in Carson, California.
Chef C’s Smhokin Pot’s garlic chicken
Courtesy of Chef C’s Smhokin Pot

The Boujie Crab

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Owner and New Orleans native Nickey McKnight opened the Boujie Crab right when the pandemic began. Traditional Creole favorites are throughout the menu, but McKnight twisted things up a bit by offering a mostly seafood-based menu that moves beyond pork. Her bowls are generous with Cajun beef sausage and corn that can be topped with a protein of choice including snow crab, shrimp, and salmon.

Seafood gumbo from Boujie Crab in Los Angeles, California
Seafood gumbo from Boujie Crab
Courtesy of Boujie Crab

Georgia’s

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Georgia’s Anaheim and Long Beach locations are open for takeaway and on-site dining. They’re also channeling Mardi Gras with a $15 hurricane for two filled with rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine. Have one before trying “Nana” Gretchen’s jambalaya served over pasta or rice.

Darrow's New Orleans Grill

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Open Thursday through Sunday, Darrow’s is offering Mardi Gras specials for Fat Tuesday and potentially beyond. Pickup made-to-order beignets, fried catfish, shrimp and grits, or chicken and waffles.

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Les Sisters' Southern Kitchen & BBQ

Deep in the San Fernando Valley is Les Sisters Southern Kitchen. The family-run operation opened in 1986 and staff there still prepare heart-shaped beignets, hush puppies, ribs, and gumbo, and a fried seafood platter with yams. It’s a good idea to check in throughout February and early March for the special Mardi Gras menu.

The Little Jewel of New Orleans

Husband and wife team Marcus Christiana-Beniger and Eunah Kang opened up this charming Big Easy transplant on the east side of Chinatown, where po’boys, muffaletas, and house-smoked cochon de lait fly out the doors. For Mardis Gras, Beniger has a few specials on hand like the Louisiana shrimp boil basket, shrimp creole, and a crawfish-shrimp etouffee.

Little Jewel of New Orleans restaurant in Chinatown
Little Jewel of New Orleans restaurant in Chinatown
Eunah Kang

Annie's Soul Delicious

Chef Annalisa “Annie” Mastoianni-Johnson keeps the festive vibes going year-round at her Mid-Wilshire restaurant. Opt for the smothered oxtails or the chicken wings tossed in a house-made Hennessy sauce, and always ask for extra cornbread.

Annie’s Soul Delicious dishes in Los Angeles
Annie’s Soul Delicious
Carl Larsen

Stevie's Creole Café

The late Jonathan Gold shared good words about Stevie’s, labeling it the “best gumbo this side of New Orleans.” The locations have moved since opening in 1986, but recipes have endured —especially the peach cobbler.

Harold & Belle's

In 2022, Harold & Belle’s will celebrate 52 years in Jefferson Park. For Fat Tuesday there’s a special menu and event happening, but there’s always a festive atmosphere when sitting down to order the jambalaya, or the popular Louisiana style catfish nuggets, and a recently launched plant-based menu with okra gumbo.

NOLA Cajun and Creole

NOLA Cajun and Creole owner/chef Keiven Cross operates out of BLVD Market food hall in Montebello, where he pays tribute to his family’s Louisiana roots with gumbo, po’boys, and jambalaya.

Shrimp po’boy from Nola Cajun and Creole in Montebello, California
NOLA Cajun and Creole
Matthew Kang

A Family Affair Southern

Nestled on the border of Inglewood and Westchester is A Family Affair, where two best friends prepare turkey chops, fried catfish, oxtails, and peach cobbler.

Crystals Soul Cafe

Those avoiding animal products might feel left out during Mardi Gras, but LA has plenty of options similar Crystals Soul Cafe. The menu showcases vegan and jerk shrimp po’boys, along with a smoked and marinated vegan chicken with mango barbecue sauce, corn cake, collard greens and black-eyed peas.

Chef C's Smhokin Pot

Chef Calvin Alexander opened his Carson-based restaurant in early 2021 after operating a food truck for years. His niece took over operations after Alexander died last year, but the menu remains the same quality, with savory dishes like the gumbo accompanying the lobster mac and cheese, Cajun chicken rice bowls, and plant-based jambalaya.

Garlic chicken from Chef C’s Smhokin Pot in Carson, California.
Chef C’s Smhokin Pot’s garlic chicken
Courtesy of Chef C’s Smhokin Pot

The Boujie Crab

Owner and New Orleans native Nickey McKnight opened the Boujie Crab right when the pandemic began. Traditional Creole favorites are throughout the menu, but McKnight twisted things up a bit by offering a mostly seafood-based menu that moves beyond pork. Her bowls are generous with Cajun beef sausage and corn that can be topped with a protein of choice including snow crab, shrimp, and salmon.

Seafood gumbo from Boujie Crab in Los Angeles, California
Seafood gumbo from Boujie Crab
Courtesy of Boujie Crab

Georgia’s

Georgia’s Anaheim and Long Beach locations are open for takeaway and on-site dining. They’re also channeling Mardi Gras with a $15 hurricane for two filled with rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine. Have one before trying “Nana” Gretchen’s jambalaya served over pasta or rice.

Darrow's New Orleans Grill

Open Thursday through Sunday, Darrow’s is offering Mardi Gras specials for Fat Tuesday and potentially beyond. Pickup made-to-order beignets, fried catfish, shrimp and grits, or chicken and waffles.

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