Like any great port city, New Orleans is home to a diverse population, and the Cajuns – Europeans displaced from Acadia (now Nova Scotia) hundreds of years ago – are a unique culture representing an amalgamation of many different cultures.
According to some historians, a generalized rule that Cajuns are white and Creoles are Black or of mixed descent is too simplified. After arriving in Louisiana, Cajuns adopted the cooking techniques, seasonings and other ingredients from West African, Native and other Creole populations in the area and added them to their own. The result is the spicy, flavorful, seasoning-rich dishes of (especially) southern Louisiana we’ve come to love, and Oklahoma City is home to some delicious Cajun-Creole cooking.
Bourbon Street Cafe. Located right on the Bricktown Canal, this spot has been a dinner destination since 2000, and the full bar with a solid wine list makes it a good happy hour or date night option too. Start with Cajun nachos or get the huge Big Easy sampler for the table (crawfish, alligator, crab cakes, grilled and blackened shrimp, etc.). The restaurant is as much chop house as Cajun bistro, so you’ll find a wide variety on the menu and every heat level.
Brielle’s. This spot has moved around a bit over the past five years, and the new home on S. Meridian makes them even easier to get to. The catfish is one of the draws, and it is very well done. But they also have gator, blackened seafood, beignets and Southern-style meat pies.
Cajun Corner. Three locations in OKC make this one convenient and close to many locals. The menu is built around traditional cooking with some modern tweaks (oreo beignets, anyone?). They even have a vegetarian etouffee. You’ll also find catfish, shrimp, po’ boys and fried seafood baskets.
The Crawfish Pot. This southside spot is relatively new on the scene compared to some of the old dogs. The focus is in the name, so think hot pots full of crab, shrimp, clams, crawfish and even lobster. You’ll find pastas, po’ boys, and catfish, of course, and the full bar has some classics as well as New Orleans favorites like frozen daiquiris.
Off the Hook Seafood and More. The French popularized the dish, but they don’t get to keep it for themselves, but we can at least thank them for introducing frog legs to the Cajun-Creole menu. Off the Hook has them on the menu, along with po’ boys, catfish, grits, crawfish and more. And, yes, you should try the gumbo.
Pearl’s Oyster Bar. This Oklahoma icon is about to turn 40 in 2024, and they’ve been on the top of “best seafood” lists for decades. While the focus is broader than Cajun-Creole, they still offer a variety of dishes from the genre, including jambalaya, etouffee, andouille sausage and blackened seafood. Brunch is one of their most popular services, with Southern cooking dotted throughout the menu.