The bright colors, jazzy music and spicy cuisine of New Orleans is sweeping through San Francisco and Los Angeles this Mardi Gras season.

While the City by the Bay and the City of Angels are a long way from the Crescent City, that doesn’t mean that the joyful spirit of New Orleans is lost in the California hubs.

In fact, San Francisco and Los Angeles are such huge fans of the Big Easy, that a number of their restaurants specialize in the southern fare that residents have the pleasure of enjoying all year long.

In honor of Mardi Gras, we’re letting you into our top five Cajun restaurants in San Francisco and Los Angeles that’ll have you celebrating the spirit of the holiday like true Carnival royalty.

San Francisco

San Francisco County, Cable Car, California Street, Overhead Cable Car

Boxing Room: Specializing in the Cajun and Creole specialties of New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, this popular restaurant uses seasonal Northern California ingredients in all of its dishes. Additionally, Boxing Room offers a seafood bar, an extensive selection of beer and wine and a full bar with classic New Orleans cocktails.

Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe: Nestled in San Francisco’s Portola district, this café is known Louisiana-style fare like oyster po’boys, authentic seafood gumbo, fried chicken, hush puppies and beignets. We love that many of the dishes use Louisiana imports such as French bread, spicy sausage, coffee, beer and more.

Cajun House: This casual, Cajun-Creole outpost specializes in seafood cuisine that includes crawfish, fried prawns, oyster, calamari and more. There’s also a wide selection other non-seafood dishes that truly let your taste buds savor the flavors of New Orleans.

Swamp: Offering a fresh twist on Cajun cuisine, Swamp incorporates Asian-inspired flavors into all its dishes. The restaurant’s specialties include fresh oysters, grilled alligator sausage, hush puppies, seafood gumbo and much more.

Crawstation: Using crawfish that’s shipped fresh daily from Louisiana, this down-home restaurant is all about bringing the distinct flavors of Cajun seafood onto your plate. Don’t worry, they even offer gloves/bib for the messy shucking process.

 

Los Angeles 

Cityscape view of downtown Los Angeles, California. Freeway drivers speed past palm trees and tall buildings on a sunny day.

Holy Crab: This Cajun/Creole seafood eatery offers a chic space for family and friends to come together and enjoy a variety of coastal favorites like clams, mussel, crawfish, shrimp and more. There’s also a good number of pasta entrees for those who wish to experience the flavors of the south through noodles.

Hot N’ Juicy Crawfish: Known for serving up juicy and flavorful Cajun crawfish, this casual crawfish, shrimp and lobster joint is recognized across the country for its authentic take on the Louisiana specialty.

La Louisanne: The flavors, sounds and lively spirit of New Orleans are present in Los Angeles’ very own La Louisanne, a plush and continental restaurant specializing in creole cuisine. In addition to delicious food, the eatery is also known for its nightly entertainment which consists of a live jazz performance and a ton of dancing.

The Gumbo Pot: Boasting to have “The Best Gumbo in Town,” this authentic diner located inside the Farmer’s Market serves up a variety of New Orleans favorites including jambalaya, cornbread, chicory coffee and of course its famous seafood gumbo.

Two Boots Echo Park: This New York-based pizza chain adds a fair of Cajun to its delicious pies. Cornmeal-crusted pizzas with quirky Cajun toppings are a must when visiting this kid-friendly locale.

 

Where are you planning on getting your taste of New Orleans in the Golden State? Let us know in the comments below.