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Crawfish jambalaya at Acadiana.
Acadiana/Facebook

D.C.'s Essential Cajun Restaurants

Find soupy gumbos, crusty po’boys, and crawfish-laced everything at these transportive establishments

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Crawfish jambalaya at Acadiana.
| Acadiana/Facebook

Though D.C. is considered a swamp — not a bayou — the area does enjoy a steady diet of Cajun cuisine.

A healthy amount of the chile-fueled dishes that typically flow out of family kitchens in Louisiana are served throughout the region. And while some may break out rainbow-colored king cakes once per year, or others tinker with sugar-dusted beignets from time to time, the establishments on this map never tire of plying customers with spice-crusted shellfish, grilled oysters, crusty po’boy sandwiches, and other southern staples.

Don’t see a personal favorite on the list? Sound off in the comments or shoot us an email (dc@eater.com).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Mokomandy

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20789 Great Falls Plaza #176
Sterling, VA 20165
(571) 313-0505
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This self-styled experiment in wedding Korean food with Cajun cooking doesn’t mix-and-match the cuisines, presenting each style individually. So wild boar-filled, kimchi-spiked rice bowls live alongside — but do not intrude upon — buttery shrimp etouffee, grilled oysters punched up by horseradish, and tasso ham-studded jambalaya topped with addictive pork cracklins.

Beignets with companion dipping sauces at Mokomandy.
Ching H./Yelp

2. Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple locations)

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2651 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 299-9448
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This award-winning, nationwide chain baits Cajun dining fans with spice levels ranging from “baby” to “extra spicy.” Once a comfort level and seasoning options — think: garlic butter, lemon-pepper, or seafood rub — have been decided, patrons can choose what to zap with said flavor combinations. Featured offerings include crawfish, lobster, blue crabs (in season), mussels, and more.

Spiced crawfish, shrimp, and more at Hot N Juicy.
Hot N Juicy/Facebook

3. Pearl Dive

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 319-1612
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Restaurateur Jeff Black’s neighborhood restaurant takes local oysters on a trip through the deep south, marrying briny specimens with andouille sausage hash, peppery chile butter, and a tasso ham-blue crab-sweet corn combo that makes mouths water. Assorted oysters are a common sight at the tightly knit bar or sidewalk patio. Tables inside tend to fill up with egg-topped fried catfish po’boys, soupy duck and oyster gumbo, and fragrant crawfish etouffee patrons mop up with garlic bread.

An order of fried oysters at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

4. Acadiana

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901 New York Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 408-8848
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Passion Food Hospitality group’s tribute to Louisiana fish houses caters to all kinds of Cajun food lovers. Dishes such as blackened swordfish and beer-battered soft shell crabs with ricotta dumplings are perfect for the expense account-set, while flaky hand pies and garlicky charbroiled oysters keep happy hour revelers coming back for more.

Barbecue Gulf shrimp at Acadiana.
Acadiana/Facebook

5. Po Boy Jim

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709 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 621-7071
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The Atlas District’s resident Cajun spot serves nearly two dozen specialty sandwiches mentioned in its name. There’s traditional versions (andouille sausage and peppers; blackened catfish; fried shrimp), trendier offerings (chicken cheesesteak, salmon BLT), and nods to global cuisine (jerk chicken with mango chutney; tofu patties with vegan remoulade). Prefer a knife-and-fork meal? There’s shrimp and grits, chicken pasta with Cajun cream sauce, and crawfish etouffee, among others.

A chipotle-spiced shrimp sandwich at Po Boy Jim.
Po Boy Jim/Facebook

6. Chasin' Tails (Multiple locatons)

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2200 N Westmoreland St #103, Arlington
VA, 22213
(703) 538-2565
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This local chain made a name for itself with its ready-made “Bayou ‘n a bag” seafood boils. The menu now includes protein-packed gumbo, zesty jambalaya, crawfish-laden mac and cheese, Cajun-spiced chicken wings, fried oysters, and more.

Crawfish etouffee at Chasin’ Tails.
Chasin’ Tails/Facebook

7. Bayou Bakery

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901 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

Pastry chef turned restaurateur David Guas’ flagship restaurant is a neighborhood treasure. Need to get going in the morning? He’s got gourmet coffee, biscuit breakfast sandwiches, and cooked-to-order beignets. Looking for something more substantial? The kitchen serves everything from grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and olive spread-covered muffulettas to daily blue plate specials until closing.

A meaty muffuletta at Bayou Bakery.
Amine A./Yelp

8. RT's

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3804 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria
VA, 22305
(703) 684-6010
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A Del Ray standby, RT’s has kept Northern Virginians in all the broiled oysters, sherry-spiked alligator stew, and “death by gumbo” platters they could eat for decades. Locals swear by the savory crawfish fritters, fried catfish smothered in shrimp etouffee, and crab-topped veal scallopini.

Cajun-style shrimp and grits at RT’s.
RT’s/Facebook

9. The Warehouse

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214 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-6868
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Located along Old Town Alexandria’s main drag, the Warehouse could just as easily reside in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter. It’s got a cozy atmosphere. A welcoming vibe. And an abundance of Cajun favorites including hearty seafood gumbo, fried oyster loaf, and crawfish-stuffed flounder.

A baked crab and crawfish dish at Warehouse.
Warehouse/Facebook

10. Okra's

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9110 Center St
Manassas, VA 20110
(703) 330-2729
Visit Website

A fixture in Old Town Manassas, Okra’s is all about channeling the Big Easy. During the summer, music from the street performers who cycle through the stage outside wafts into the friendly bar where regulars drain cold Abita beers and fruity Hurricanes. Inside, hungry diners have their pick of traditional Cajun fare — including creamy red beans and rice, sausage po’boys, and blackened catfish nestled on a bed of zesty dirty rice.

An order of red beans and rice at Okra’s.
Bill P./Yelp

1. Mokomandy

20789 Great Falls Plaza #176, Sterling, VA 20165
Beignets with companion dipping sauces at Mokomandy.
Ching H./Yelp

This self-styled experiment in wedding Korean food with Cajun cooking doesn’t mix-and-match the cuisines, presenting each style individually. So wild boar-filled, kimchi-spiked rice bowls live alongside — but do not intrude upon — buttery shrimp etouffee, grilled oysters punched up by horseradish, and tasso ham-studded jambalaya topped with addictive pork cracklins.

20789 Great Falls Plaza #176
Sterling, VA 20165

2. Hot N Juicy Crawfish (Multiple locations)

2651 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Spiced crawfish, shrimp, and more at Hot N Juicy.
Hot N Juicy/Facebook

This award-winning, nationwide chain baits Cajun dining fans with spice levels ranging from “baby” to “extra spicy.” Once a comfort level and seasoning options — think: garlic butter, lemon-pepper, or seafood rub — have been decided, patrons can choose what to zap with said flavor combinations. Featured offerings include crawfish, lobster, blue crabs (in season), mussels, and more.

2651 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

3. Pearl Dive

1612 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
An order of fried oysters at Pearl Dive.
Pearl Dive/Facebook

Restaurateur Jeff Black’s neighborhood restaurant takes local oysters on a trip through the deep south, marrying briny specimens with andouille sausage hash, peppery chile butter, and a tasso ham-blue crab-sweet corn combo that makes mouths water. Assorted oysters are a common sight at the tightly knit bar or sidewalk patio. Tables inside tend to fill up with egg-topped fried catfish po’boys, soupy duck and oyster gumbo, and fragrant crawfish etouffee patrons mop up with garlic bread.

1612 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

4. Acadiana

901 New York Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Barbecue Gulf shrimp at Acadiana.
Acadiana/Facebook

Passion Food Hospitality group’s tribute to Louisiana fish houses caters to all kinds of Cajun food lovers. Dishes such as blackened swordfish and beer-battered soft shell crabs with ricotta dumplings are perfect for the expense account-set, while flaky hand pies and garlicky charbroiled oysters keep happy hour revelers coming back for more.

901 New York Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

5. Po Boy Jim

709 H St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
A chipotle-spiced shrimp sandwich at Po Boy Jim.
Po Boy Jim/Facebook

The Atlas District’s resident Cajun spot serves nearly two dozen specialty sandwiches mentioned in its name. There’s traditional versions (andouille sausage and peppers; blackened catfish; fried shrimp), trendier offerings (chicken cheesesteak, salmon BLT), and nods to global cuisine (jerk chicken with mango chutney; tofu patties with vegan remoulade). Prefer a knife-and-fork meal? There’s shrimp and grits, chicken pasta with Cajun cream sauce, and crawfish etouffee, among others.

709 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

6. Chasin' Tails (Multiple locatons)

2200 N Westmoreland St #103, Arlington, VA, 22213
Crawfish etouffee at Chasin’ Tails.
Chasin’ Tails/Facebook

This local chain made a name for itself with its ready-made “Bayou ‘n a bag” seafood boils. The menu now includes protein-packed gumbo, zesty jambalaya, crawfish-laden mac and cheese, Cajun-spiced chicken wings, fried oysters, and more.

2200 N Westmoreland St #103, Arlington
VA, 22213

7. Bayou Bakery

901 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
A meaty muffuletta at Bayou Bakery.
Amine A./Yelp

Pastry chef turned restaurateur David Guas’ flagship restaurant is a neighborhood treasure. Need to get going in the morning? He’s got gourmet coffee, biscuit breakfast sandwiches, and cooked-to-order beignets. Looking for something more substantial? The kitchen serves everything from grilled pimento cheese sandwiches and olive spread-covered muffulettas to daily blue plate specials until closing.

901 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

8. RT's

3804 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria, VA, 22305
Cajun-style shrimp and grits at RT’s.
RT’s/Facebook

A Del Ray standby, RT’s has kept Northern Virginians in all the broiled oysters, sherry-spiked alligator stew, and “death by gumbo” platters they could eat for decades. Locals swear by the savory crawfish fritters, fried catfish smothered in shrimp etouffee, and crab-topped veal scallopini.

3804 Mount Vernon Ave, Alexandria
VA, 22305

9. The Warehouse

214 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
A baked crab and crawfish dish at Warehouse.
Warehouse/Facebook

Located along Old Town Alexandria’s main drag, the Warehouse could just as easily reside in New Orleans’ famous French Quarter. It’s got a cozy atmosphere. A welcoming vibe. And an abundance of Cajun favorites including hearty seafood gumbo, fried oyster loaf, and crawfish-stuffed flounder.

214 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

10. Okra's

9110 Center St, Manassas, VA 20110
An order of red beans and rice at Okra’s.
Bill P./Yelp

A fixture in Old Town Manassas, Okra’s is all about channeling the Big Easy. During the summer, music from the street performers who cycle through the stage outside wafts into the friendly bar where regulars drain cold Abita beers and fruity Hurricanes. Inside, hungry diners have their pick of traditional Cajun fare — including creamy red beans and rice, sausage po’boys, and blackened catfish nestled on a bed of zesty dirty rice.

9110 Center St
Manassas, VA 20110

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