The 11 Best Creole & Cajun Restaurants In Atlanta
Great tasting gumbos, po’boys, and other famous New Orleans foods from restaurants that give us the sudden urge to start a second line.
Our Louisiana transplants will swear that nothing compares to eating oyster po’boys in The Big Easy, but there are some pretty solid spots in Atlanta where you can get a taste of New Orleans without hopping on a flight or making an ill-advised deal with Marie Laveau. So, this one is for the whoadies and anyone else who loves a good gumbo and other Creole and Cajun favorites as much as we do.
When we’re ready to laissez les bon temps rouler and all that, we head to Bon Ton in Midtown, where we can crack open crab legs with our teeth under the glow of a sign that says “Fancy Service.” Under that neon pink light, the casual Cajun-Vietnamese restaurant sets the scene for an enjoyable date night with shared charbroiled oysters and sazeracs. Friend groups can gather in comfortable wood-panel booths and throw back rummy hurricanes, fried fish baskets and seafood boils (we don’t judge anyone for drinking the boil broth because it’s that good). All these good times should be credited to the tasty food because no matter your mood or who you’re with, you’ll find something, from cauliflower banh mi to étouffée, to enjoy.
The Po Boy Shop Basement Bar
The Po’Boy Shop might seem like a small, typical counter service joint in Decatur. But underneath the bright, bare-bones dining area is a neon-lit oasis with pool tables and darts for the 21-and-up crowd. Their menu has all the usual New Orleans standards—gumbo, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. But this place isn’t called The Po’Boy Shop for nothin’, so just get a damn po’boy (there are 21 to choose from, and they’re the best we’ve had outside of Louisiana). We’re partial to the Debris, which comes with tender roasted beef, gravy, and a warning label that it’s messy (can confirm). The visit isn’t complete without a strong Hurricane or Purple Voodoo that more than make up for being a long-suffering Saints fan.
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Buckhead’s Louisiana Bistreaux is usually bumping during lunch with suits grabbing a bite to break up the work day. At night, it’s less crowded, but the food is still sizzling (metaphorically and literally). There’s often a live band, so the giant open room makes for a noisy dining experience, but we like pretending we’re in the crowded French Quarter anyway. The extensive menu offers seafood in every form, including plenty of Creole- and Cajun-inspired dishes. The jambalaya is spicy and thick with a healthy amount of grease at the bottom of the bowl (IYKYK). If you’re torn between whether or not to get an appetizer with your entree, get the crawfish combo and have the best of both worlds–étouffée surrounded by a ring of fried crawfish tails.
Copeland's Of New Orleans
Drive by the Cumberland Copeland’s on a weeknight, and you might see a tumbleweed in the parking lot. But their weekend brunch buffet consistently brings a crowd with people lining up outside before it opens. The buffet line snakes through the dining area and has all the breakfast favorites (don’t skip out on the biscuits and gravy), including an omelet bar with toppings like shrimp and jalapeños. But we’re here for the oysters and the jambalaya pasta with a nice kick. And no NOLA brunch is complete without a mimosa or a Hurricane, and Copeland delivers there, too. For under $40 per person, the amount of tasty food choices and heavy seafood offerings feel a bit unreal, so contain yourself, ya heard?
Since this small, Mardi Gras-colored eatery sits in a gas station shopping center right off the Boulevard exit on I-20, it’s a convenient stop to gas up and grab a bite before hitting rush hour. With a long menu that ranges from muffulettas to seafood boils, Just Loaf’n comes through with big bayou energy. We’re fans of the oyster po’boy—the tangy remoulade spread balances perfectly with salty fried oysters, and the french bread is soft enough that we always finish our end pieces. Even the vegans in your krewe can get down with their faux shrimp platter, which comes with a heaping serving of Cajun-spiced fries and fried jackfruit that does a decent job imitating shrimp. And with a long list of snowball flavors, kids will love this pitstop, too.
The vibrant mural on Everythang NOLA’s exterior wall tells everything you need to know about the Sylvan Hills business—colorful, lots of bayou pride, and snowballs. Mmmm, the snowballs. Inside the tight takeout shop, you’ll find a ridiculous flavor roster for the popular shaved ice treat. You’ll be tempted by peach or pina colada, but the slurp-and-spoon dance you’ll play with your cup might be tastiest in pineapple-mango. We also really enjoy their other sweets (strawberry cake, cinnamon roll) and staples (a three-sausage gumbo is a must try) that make it hard not to like this Big Easy detour.
photo credit: Mhandy Gerard
Hippin’ Hops Brewery & Oyster Bar
Hippin’ Hops is the state’s first Black-owned brewery (in addition to this EAV hangout, they have a second location in Kirkwood). A brewery and oyster bar isn’t a combination you hear too often, so we love Hippin’ Hops for giving us a place to slurp down great craft beer and awesome oysters. But they also have a few Cajun-flavored items and po’boys that come through when we’re craving a taste of the bayou and want to wash it down with some smooth brews. While you could try the shrimp or catfish po’boy, we suggest staying with the restaurant speciality and getting one with the tasty fried oysters. Loud music aside, Hippin’ Hops keeps the vibe chill and relaxed with soft lit neon lights and cornhole outside.
The Food Shoppe
All of the workers at The Food Shoppe in Downtown Atlanta wear T-shirts with the instructions to “ask us about our bread pudding.” And we strongly recommend taking their advice because it’s some of the best bread pudding we’ve had, maybe ever. It’s hard to care much about the main course when the bread pudding is waiting, but their “Walk and Eat Bowls” (which makes sense since the narrow eatery only has two dine-in tables) provide a worthwhile distraction. Whether you opt for the aptly named (and incredibly cheesy) Ooey Gooey Chicken & Mac or the hearty Voodoo Jambalaya, these bowls go down easy with a blast of flavor. Or just skip the mains altogether and enjoy the massive portion of Angie’s bread pudding. Your call.
photo credit: Tabia S. Lisenbee-Parker
Cafe Bourbon Street
With a quad sprawling with artificial turf, two-level outdoor seating, and an empty bar set between several refashioned shipping containers, the West End’s Windsor Street Market has potential to be a cool hangout. But currently the only thing bringing people to the yard is the Cafe Bourbon Street food truck (they also have a stall in the Marietta Square Market). On nice days, we’re here mainly for the jambalaya egg rolls, which are filled with a well-seasoned mix of shrimp, andouille sausage, and chicken. The entree options, from the po’boy to chicken wing basket, don’t disappoint, but neither compare to the big flavors of the egg rolls. But a beignet sweet ending will tempt you to lounge a little longer and imagine how much better Windsor Market could be with a functional bar.
Big Easy Grille
Big Easy Grille in West Midtown is as much of a sports bar as it is a NOLA restaurant. The Saints, LSU, and Tulane flags on the ceiling clue you in that they’re supporting everything Louisiana has to offer, from food to football. The small dining room gives off distinct dive bar vibes with a low ceiling, wood on every surface, dim lighting, and a few booths. There are plenty of N’awlins faves like standard po’boys, a smoky gumbo, and jambalaya that has some seriously tasty sausage and is perfect for the heat-intolerant (we doused it with hot sauce). The fresh beignets were a little too doughy inside, so safe to say it’s no Cafe Du Monde, but for a reliable Crescent City meal, Big Easy Grille is a comfortable choice.
Just off the BeltLine in the Irwin Street Market, Yay Beignet is the perfect low-key cafe to hit after a walk. There are just a few plastic tablecloth-covered tables. But once seated, the smoky aroma of NOLA-inspired dishes will make you want real food before you dive into beignets. There are a handful of breakfast and lunch options like the solid cajun chicken biscuit or the cajun chicken po’boy that would have been helped by adding another chicken patty to balance out the big portion of bread. The watered-down grits are an inexcusable Southern sin, but the real deal here is dessert: regular- and bite-sized beignets plastered with powdered sugar and accompanied with chocolate, caramel, or raspberry sauce options.