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Cajun-style seafood at Bootleg Special
Cajun-style seafood at Bootleg Special
Mike Diskin/Assembly Design Studio

Where to Eat Cajun-Style Seafood in Boston

Whether in a bag or in a bowl, flavor abounds

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Cajun-style seafood at Bootleg Special
| Mike Diskin/Assembly Design Studio

In Texas, Georgia, California, and beyond, Vietnamese immigrants have been opening Cajun-inspired seafood joints for years, serving up spicy, saucy boiled crawfish and other seafood, giving diners the opportunity to eat with their hands.

It took a few decades, but Boston’s finally onboard the Vietnamese-Cajun seafood boil train. The first location of ever-expanding local chain Shaking Crab debuted in Newton at the start of 2016, quickly followed by Holly Crab in Allston, Loui Loui Louisiana in Stoneham (and later Allston), and more.

Here’s where to find Vietnamese-Cajun seafood boils and similar dishes around Boston. Put on a bib, put on gloves, and get ready to get messy.

Note: Map points are ordered geographically from north to south (aside from the “coming soon” bonus point at the end), not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Southern Kin Cookhouse

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A Southern-inspired restaurant at Somerville’s Assembly Row churns out dishes like chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and fried okra, but the seafood melange of the frogmore stew lands Southern Kin on this map. It’s not a Vietnamese-Cajun seafood boil, and it doesn’t require a bib, but its mix of flavors — not to mention andouille sausage, corn, and a jumble of seafood — hit a similar note that’ll leave seafood lovers satisfied.

Overhead view of a white bowl full of sausage, pieces of corn on the cob, mussels, and shrimp
Southern Kin’s frogmore stew
Southern Kin [official photo]

Loui Loui

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Loui Loui puts Louisiana seafood front and center, optimizing the shaked-in-a-bag route for mixing in all the spices. Guests get to choose their combination of seafood, pick sides, and select a seasoning from three options: butter with garlic, lemon pepper, or Louisiana-style, all with varying levels of spiciness. There are also soups, fried seafood, chicken tenders, and assorted sides like cole slaw and french fries. Loui Loui also has locations in Stoneham and Lowell, as well as one each in New Jersey, New York, and Georgia.

Crawfish at Loui Loui
Crawfish at Loui Loui
Loui Loui/Facebook

Holly Crab

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One of Boston’s earliest entries to the scene, Holly Crab is the work of co-owners Ryan Kim and Rick Kim, who wanted to emulate Vietnamese-Cajun seafood they had tasted in California. With varieties of seafood ranging from crab and shrimp to catfish and oysters, everything gets shaken up in a bag with plenty of spices. The restaurant first opened in February of 2016 and now has a second location in Lowell.

holly crab
A seafood boil with andouille sausage and rice balls at Holly Crab
Holly Crab/Facebook

Bootleg Special

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The newest addition to Boston’s Cajun seafood scene offers po’ boys and crawfish poutine, not to mention desserts like beignets and sweet potato cheesecake, plus a full bar. As for the seafood boil, diners can choose from a variety of seafood options, three sauces (including the eponymous Bootleg sauce, which has a spicy Cajun flavor), and add-ins, such as corn and andouille sausage.

Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Frogmore

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Like the Southern Kin dish above, this one’s a bit of a departure from the Vietnamese-Cajun style, but it satisfies just the same. The Frogmore specializes in Southern cuisine, drawing inspiration in particular from the Carolina coastline. Its low country boil puts Old Bay flavoring to work spicing up a mix of shellfish, corn, potatoes, and house-made andouille sausage. The fixings are all simmered in Old Bay broth and served either as a single entree or for a whole table.

frogmore low country boil
The Frogmore’s low country boil
The Frogmore/Facebook

Brother’s Crawfish

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Brother’s Crawfish is the first of two similar restaurants in the area, and it serves everything from Cajun-style seafood to teriyaki chicken and rice. Its counterpart is My Sister’s Crawfish II, in Worcester, and they both have spicy seafood on the menu. Order it by the pound and pick your seasoning. (My Sister’s Crawfish II also serves pho and other Vietnamese staples.)

Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Phuong T./Yelp

Shaking Crab

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Quincy’s Shaking Crab is one of several in the Boston area, including restaurants in Newton, Cambridge, and on Boston Common. Newton was the first to arrive, opening in November 2015. Shaking Crab initially used a bag method to blend spices with the seafood, but it now opts for mixing the ingredients together in a big bowl. The restaurants also offer shrimp, catfish, and calamari po’ boys, plus sides of mac and cheese, fried rice, and french fries.

A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
Shaking Crab/Facebook

COMING SOON: Shaking Seafood

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Put this one on your to-do list for the spring: Shaking Seafood could open as early as May in Roslindale. The menu will bear a resemblance to Boston’s other seafood joints, with customers able to choose from several main items — including crab, lobster, and shrimp — and an assortment of sauces for dousing and shaking. As at Shaking Crab (though the restaurants are unrelated), Shaking Seafood will also offer fried seafood, like calamari and oysters.

19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
Google Maps

Southern Kin Cookhouse

Overhead view of a white bowl full of sausage, pieces of corn on the cob, mussels, and shrimp
Southern Kin’s frogmore stew
Southern Kin [official photo]

A Southern-inspired restaurant at Somerville’s Assembly Row churns out dishes like chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and fried okra, but the seafood melange of the frogmore stew lands Southern Kin on this map. It’s not a Vietnamese-Cajun seafood boil, and it doesn’t require a bib, but its mix of flavors — not to mention andouille sausage, corn, and a jumble of seafood — hit a similar note that’ll leave seafood lovers satisfied.

Overhead view of a white bowl full of sausage, pieces of corn on the cob, mussels, and shrimp
Southern Kin’s frogmore stew
Southern Kin [official photo]

Loui Loui

Crawfish at Loui Loui
Crawfish at Loui Loui
Loui Loui/Facebook

Loui Loui puts Louisiana seafood front and center, optimizing the shaked-in-a-bag route for mixing in all the spices. Guests get to choose their combination of seafood, pick sides, and select a seasoning from three options: butter with garlic, lemon pepper, or Louisiana-style, all with varying levels of spiciness. There are also soups, fried seafood, chicken tenders, and assorted sides like cole slaw and french fries. Loui Loui also has locations in Stoneham and Lowell, as well as one each in New Jersey, New York, and Georgia.

Crawfish at Loui Loui
Crawfish at Loui Loui
Loui Loui/Facebook

Holly Crab

holly crab
A seafood boil with andouille sausage and rice balls at Holly Crab
Holly Crab/Facebook

One of Boston’s earliest entries to the scene, Holly Crab is the work of co-owners Ryan Kim and Rick Kim, who wanted to emulate Vietnamese-Cajun seafood they had tasted in California. With varieties of seafood ranging from crab and shrimp to catfish and oysters, everything gets shaken up in a bag with plenty of spices. The restaurant first opened in February of 2016 and now has a second location in Lowell.

holly crab
A seafood boil with andouille sausage and rice balls at Holly Crab
Holly Crab/Facebook

Bootleg Special

Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The newest addition to Boston’s Cajun seafood scene offers po’ boys and crawfish poutine, not to mention desserts like beignets and sweet potato cheesecake, plus a full bar. As for the seafood boil, diners can choose from a variety of seafood options, three sauces (including the eponymous Bootleg sauce, which has a spicy Cajun flavor), and add-ins, such as corn and andouille sausage.

Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Shrimp with bootleg sauce, andouille sausage, and potatoes at Bootleg Special
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Frogmore

frogmore low country boil
The Frogmore’s low country boil
The Frogmore/Facebook

Like the Southern Kin dish above, this one’s a bit of a departure from the Vietnamese-Cajun style, but it satisfies just the same. The Frogmore specializes in Southern cuisine, drawing inspiration in particular from the Carolina coastline. Its low country boil puts Old Bay flavoring to work spicing up a mix of shellfish, corn, potatoes, and house-made andouille sausage. The fixings are all simmered in Old Bay broth and served either as a single entree or for a whole table.

frogmore low country boil
The Frogmore’s low country boil
The Frogmore/Facebook

Brother’s Crawfish

Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Phuong T./Yelp

Brother’s Crawfish is the first of two similar restaurants in the area, and it serves everything from Cajun-style seafood to teriyaki chicken and rice. Its counterpart is My Sister’s Crawfish II, in Worcester, and they both have spicy seafood on the menu. Order it by the pound and pick your seasoning. (My Sister’s Crawfish II also serves pho and other Vietnamese staples.)

Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Crawfish at Brother’s Crawfish
Phuong T./Yelp

Shaking Crab

A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
Shaking Crab/Facebook

Quincy’s Shaking Crab is one of several in the Boston area, including restaurants in Newton, Cambridge, and on Boston Common. Newton was the first to arrive, opening in November 2015. Shaking Crab initially used a bag method to blend spices with the seafood, but it now opts for mixing the ingredients together in a big bowl. The restaurants also offer shrimp, catfish, and calamari po’ boys, plus sides of mac and cheese, fried rice, and french fries.

A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
A bag of seafood at Shaking Crab
Shaking Crab/Facebook

COMING SOON: Shaking Seafood

19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
Google Maps

Put this one on your to-do list for the spring: Shaking Seafood could open as early as May in Roslindale. The menu will bear a resemblance to Boston’s other seafood joints, with customers able to choose from several main items — including crab, lobster, and shrimp — and an assortment of sauces for dousing and shaking. As at Shaking Crab (though the restaurants are unrelated), Shaking Seafood will also offer fried seafood, like calamari and oysters.

19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
19 Poplar St., Roslindale — the future home of Shaking Seafood
Google Maps

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