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A white bowl filled with gumbo with rice and big pink shrimp on top
Chicago has plenty of great gumbo to go around.
Bumbu Roux [Official Photo]

Where to Eat Cajun and Creole Food in Chicago

Gumbo and po' boys to heat up the night

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Chicago has plenty of great gumbo to go around.
| Bumbu Roux [Official Photo]

Chicago is obviously far away from the Big Easy in many ways besides geography. Traveling is potentially dangerous proposition due to the pandemic, but Chicagoans can celebrate New Orleans’ famous food with some tasty Cajun and Creole fare locally all year round. Satisfy those gumbo, po' boy, shrimp and grits, and even Hurricane cravings with a hearty southern feast and drinks.

Some of the area’s strongest Cajun and Creole contenders, Buddy Guy’s Legends and Maple Tree Inn, have gone into hibernation, entries include virtual restaurants, food trucks, and robust takeout operations. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

The pandemic continues to alter the dining landscape, stalwarts like Maple Tree Inn remain in hibernation. As of February 16, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 40 percent maximum capacity per room, or 50 people — whichever is fewer. At the same time, despite winter weather, a number of Chicago restaurants continue to offer outdoor seating. Regardless, the state requires reservations for indoor and outdoor dining. The level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Angry Crab

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5665 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60659
(773) 784-6848
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Few things are as representative of Southern cuisine than a seafood feast. One of recent years’ biggest surprise hits offers a variety of fresh catch—from crab legs and shrimp to crawfish and lobsters—for diners to get their hands on. Include a generous BYOB policy and it’s understandable why it can be one of the longest waits in town. There's also a location in Wicker Park.

2. Pearl's Southern Comfort

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5352 N Broadway St, Chicago
IL, 60640
(773) 754-7419
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Having a varied spread of dishes is always a good thing so head to Pearl’s for Cajun small plates and other Southern-inspired comfort foods. Sample a bit of everything by feasting on smoked pork poutine, crispy boudin balls, Mississippi catfish bites, savory crawfish cheesecake and more. The menu also offers a variety of barbecue options and big plates like blackened catfish and a double-cut pork chop.

3. Big Jones

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5347 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60640
(773) 275-5725
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One of Chicago’s top destinations for Southern cooking features a comforting menu of beignets, boudin rouge and other charcuterie, Cajun-style gumbo, shrimp and grits, and more educational and historic Southern recipes. And it also serves famous fried chicken, an Edna Lewis recipe that fries the bird in leaf lard, ham drippings and clarified butter. The Andersonville restaurant underwent an extensive redesign in early 2018.

4. Luella’s Southern Kitchen

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4609 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60625
(773) 961-8196
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Luella’s, a top spot for Cajun food, features a casual menu with a fine dining take on Southern cooking. Contemporary creations include a Creole-flavored roasted beet salad as well as traditional dishes such as chicken and dumplings and shrimp po’ boys.

5. Asian Cajun

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2428 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 879-9654
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This fusion restaurant in Lincoln Park offers an alternative for indecisive diners with a range of shellfish selections (spiced crawfish, snow crab, snails, mussels, and more) with sauces including Cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic butter — or a blend of all three. Po’boys are also on the menu, along with Cajun crawfish fried rice (crawfish tails, pork sausage, trinity). There’s a second location in South Loop.

6. Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

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1415 N Wood St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 360-8320
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Chef Brian Jupiter’s Wicker Park restaurant is bursting with New Orleans charm, from a menu of recipes passed down from his Louisiana-born grandmother to over-the-top Mardi Gras decor. Kitchen specialties include a Po’man’s Seafood Tower (fried shrimp, oysters, crawfish, catfish, hushpuppies, serves 2-3), deep, rich gumbo, and fried jumbo chicken wings. Jupiter also runs Frontier, a restaurant featuring whole-animal service in Noble Square.

7. Bumbu Roux

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833 W Haines St
Chicago, IL 60642
(847) 644-6331
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One of Chicago’s most unique restaurants, Bumbu Roux is chef Chris Reed’s delivery-only restaurant designed to highlight his culinary heritage: “Indonesian Mom + Creole Pop = Bumbu Roux,” he writes. Customers can find top-notch seafood gumbo and blackened catfish alongside Indonesian favorites.

8. Soulé

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1931 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

West Town’s stylish BYOB destination for creole-influenced soul food recently reopened for indoor dining with a menu of shrimp and grits, crab legs, fried catfish, lamb chops, and more. Chef and owner Bridgette Harris has also earned a following among celebrities including NBA legend Scottie Pippen, rapper Lil Baby, and TV personality Star Jones.

9. Wishbone Restaurant

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161 N Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 850-2663
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Longtime Cajun and brunch haven Wishbone moved to a new location on Jefferson Street in 2018 and continues to draw locals and visitors for favorites like catfish and eggs, jambalaya omelettes, crunch French toast, and shrimp and grits. Well-made cocktails are also part of the experience at this West Loop favorite.

10. Heaven On Seven

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111 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
IL, 60602
(312) 263-6443
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Longtime Chicago chef Jimmy Bannos' popular downtown Cajun restaurant has been around for three decades and is always a solid lunch and dinner spot for classics such as jambalaya, red beans and rice with andouille, and a variety of po’ boys. Decked out with Mardi Gras beads and bottles of hot sauce, Heaven on Seven may be the most well-known Cajun spot in the Chicago area.

11. Lowcountry South Loop

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1132 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
(888) 883-8375
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Another of Chicago’s popular Cajun seafood boil restaurants, Lowcountry’s South Loop spinoff gives diners highball cocktails, infused shots, and other booze offerings in addition to its selection of customizable seafood boils and sides that gained popularity at the original in Lakeview. Other dishes include fried Oreos, fried seafood, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and crab hushpuppies. The brand has just expanded beyond state lines with a brand new outpost in Milwaukee.

12. The Cajun Connoisseur

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4317 S Cottage Grove Ave
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 675-6237
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Kyle Kelly, the owner of popular local brand Cajun Connoisseur, has returned to food truck-style business after closing a physical restaurant in Kenwood. He continues to draw fans for his seafood gumbo, selection of po’ boys, and Cajun spins on mac and cheese and baked potatoes. Diners can track the truck’s locations via Instagram.

13. Virtue Restaurant

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1462 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615
(773) 947-8831
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Virtue is one of Chicago’s premier restaurants, a dream realized for James Beard-nominated chef Erick Williams. The restaurant’s menu is genre defying, but centers on southern cooking as a whole. Part of that diaspora includes dishes like gumbo made with chicken and andouille sausage, one of the best bowls in the city. The fried green tomatoes are also an indulgence.

14. Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe

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6501 W 79th St, Burbank
IL, 60459
(708) 229-8700
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It’s best known for its barbecue but diners can also find plenty of Cajun dishes on the menu at Chuck’s Café. Next time try a po’ boy or one of the many other specialties like crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and the Southern fried catfish dinner. Chucks’s also has a Darien location, but the Burbank spot is much closer to the city.

15. Nita's Gumbo

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8100 S Stony Island, Chicago
IL, 60617
(773) 734-2788
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Gumbo is an essential component of any good Cajun meal and the version here is the real deal. It’s a zesty stew loaded with popcorn shrimp, scallops, crab meat, chicken, and Andouille sausage with a perfect amount of spice. Even better, the restaurant tosses whole chicken wings in the savory roux to make tasty gumbo wings. The Stony Island location is takeout only but there’s a full-service spot in suburban Country Club Hills.

16. Ron's Cajun Connection

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897 E US Highway 6, Utica
IL, 61373
(815) 667-9855
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While it’s not located in Chicago and is beyond its outlying suburbs, Cajun Connection is too good to ignore. If Chicagoans are ever out near Utica, stop in for the “swamp to table” cuisine, as alligator po’ boys aren’t found very often in the area. The rest of the menu is equally engaging: Boudin sausage, Gulf shrimp, frog legs, fried oysters, Jamba-2-Fay (etouffee over jambalaya) and catfish Acadian are just some of the dishes that have lines spilling out the door. Hurricanes are also served; all that’s missing are the lax open container laws.

Don't let the weather keep you away. Cajun Ron and crew is cookin up some great food for ya'll. Special for this weekend is Seafood Pasta,Bubba Shrimp & Gumbo $20.00

Posted by Cajun Connection on Thursday, February 4, 2021

1. The Angry Crab

5665 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, 60659

Few things are as representative of Southern cuisine than a seafood feast. One of recent years’ biggest surprise hits offers a variety of fresh catch—from crab legs and shrimp to crawfish and lobsters—for diners to get their hands on. Include a generous BYOB policy and it’s understandable why it can be one of the longest waits in town. There's also a location in Wicker Park.

5665 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60659

2. Pearl's Southern Comfort

5352 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL, 60640

Having a varied spread of dishes is always a good thing so head to Pearl’s for Cajun small plates and other Southern-inspired comfort foods. Sample a bit of everything by feasting on smoked pork poutine, crispy boudin balls, Mississippi catfish bites, savory crawfish cheesecake and more. The menu also offers a variety of barbecue options and big plates like blackened catfish and a double-cut pork chop.

5352 N Broadway St, Chicago
IL, 60640

3. Big Jones

5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60640

One of Chicago’s top destinations for Southern cooking features a comforting menu of beignets, boudin rouge and other charcuterie, Cajun-style gumbo, shrimp and grits, and more educational and historic Southern recipes. And it also serves famous fried chicken, an Edna Lewis recipe that fries the bird in leaf lard, ham drippings and clarified butter. The Andersonville restaurant underwent an extensive redesign in early 2018.

5347 N Clark St, Chicago
IL, 60640

4. Luella’s Southern Kitchen

4609 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, 60625

Luella’s, a top spot for Cajun food, features a casual menu with a fine dining take on Southern cooking. Contemporary creations include a Creole-flavored roasted beet salad as well as traditional dishes such as chicken and dumplings and shrimp po’ boys.

4609 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
IL, 60625

5. Asian Cajun

2428 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

This fusion restaurant in Lincoln Park offers an alternative for indecisive diners with a range of shellfish selections (spiced crawfish, snow crab, snails, mussels, and more) with sauces including Cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic butter — or a blend of all three. Po’boys are also on the menu, along with Cajun crawfish fried rice (crawfish tails, pork sausage, trinity). There’s a second location in South Loop.

2428 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

6. Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

1415 N Wood St, Chicago, IL 60622

Chef Brian Jupiter’s Wicker Park restaurant is bursting with New Orleans charm, from a menu of recipes passed down from his Louisiana-born grandmother to over-the-top Mardi Gras decor. Kitchen specialties include a Po’man’s Seafood Tower (fried shrimp, oysters, crawfish, catfish, hushpuppies, serves 2-3), deep, rich gumbo, and fried jumbo chicken wings. Jupiter also runs Frontier, a restaurant featuring whole-animal service in Noble Square.

1415 N Wood St
Chicago, IL 60622

7. Bumbu Roux

833 W Haines St, Chicago, IL 60642

One of Chicago’s most unique restaurants, Bumbu Roux is chef Chris Reed’s delivery-only restaurant designed to highlight his culinary heritage: “Indonesian Mom + Creole Pop = Bumbu Roux,” he writes. Customers can find top-notch seafood gumbo and blackened catfish alongside Indonesian favorites.

833 W Haines St
Chicago, IL 60642

8. Soulé

1931 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

West Town’s stylish BYOB destination for creole-influenced soul food recently reopened for indoor dining with a menu of shrimp and grits, crab legs, fried catfish, lamb chops, and more. Chef and owner Bridgette Harris has also earned a following among celebrities including NBA legend Scottie Pippen, rapper Lil Baby, and TV personality Star Jones.

1931 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

9. Wishbone Restaurant

161 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661

Longtime Cajun and brunch haven Wishbone moved to a new location on Jefferson Street in 2018 and continues to draw locals and visitors for favorites like catfish and eggs, jambalaya omelettes, crunch French toast, and shrimp and grits. Well-made cocktails are also part of the experience at this West Loop favorite.

161 N Jefferson St
Chicago, IL 60661

10. Heaven On Seven

111 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL, 60602

Longtime Chicago chef Jimmy Bannos' popular downtown Cajun restaurant has been around for three decades and is always a solid lunch and dinner spot for classics such as jambalaya, red beans and rice with andouille, and a variety of po’ boys. Decked out with Mardi Gras beads and bottles of hot sauce, Heaven on Seven may be the most well-known Cajun spot in the Chicago area.

111 N Wabash Ave, Chicago
IL, 60602

11. Lowcountry South Loop

1132 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

Another of Chicago’s popular Cajun seafood boil restaurants, Lowcountry’s South Loop spinoff gives diners highball cocktails, infused shots, and other booze offerings in addition to its selection of customizable seafood boils and sides that gained popularity at the original in Lakeview. Other dishes include fried Oreos, fried seafood, fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, and crab hushpuppies. The brand has just expanded beyond state lines with a brand new outpost in Milwaukee.

1132 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60605

12. The Cajun Connoisseur

4317 S Cottage Grove Ave, Chicago, IL 60653

Kyle Kelly, the owner of popular local brand Cajun Connoisseur, has returned to food truck-style business after closing a physical restaurant in Kenwood. He continues to draw fans for his seafood gumbo, selection of po’ boys, and Cajun spins on mac and cheese and baked potatoes. Diners can track the truck’s locations via Instagram.

4317 S Cottage Grove Ave
Chicago, IL 60653

13. Virtue Restaurant

1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615

Virtue is one of Chicago’s premier restaurants, a dream realized for James Beard-nominated chef Erick Williams. The restaurant’s menu is genre defying, but centers on southern cooking as a whole. Part of that diaspora includes dishes like gumbo made with chicken and andouille sausage, one of the best bowls in the city. The fried green tomatoes are also an indulgence.

1462 E 53rd St
Chicago, IL 60615

14. Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe

6501 W 79th St, Burbank, IL, 60459

It’s best known for its barbecue but diners can also find plenty of Cajun dishes on the menu at Chuck’s Café. Next time try a po’ boy or one of the many other specialties like crawfish etouffee, jambalaya, and the Southern fried catfish dinner. Chucks’s also has a Darien location, but the Burbank spot is much closer to the city.

6501 W 79th St, Burbank
IL, 60459

15. Nita's Gumbo

8100 S Stony Island, Chicago, IL, 60617

Gumbo is an essential component of any good Cajun meal and the version here is the real deal. It’s a zesty stew loaded with popcorn shrimp, scallops, crab meat, chicken, and Andouille sausage with a perfect amount of spice. Even better, the restaurant tosses whole chicken wings in the savory roux to make tasty gumbo wings. The Stony Island location is takeout only but there’s a full-service spot in suburban Country Club Hills.

8100 S Stony Island, Chicago
IL, 60617

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16. Ron's Cajun Connection

897 E US Highway 6, Utica, IL, 61373

While it’s not located in Chicago and is beyond its outlying suburbs, Cajun Connection is too good to ignore. If Chicagoans are ever out near Utica, stop in for the “swamp to table” cuisine, as alligator po’ boys aren’t found very often in the area. The rest of the menu is equally engaging: Boudin sausage, Gulf shrimp, frog legs, fried oysters, Jamba-2-Fay (etouffee over jambalaya) and catfish Acadian are just some of the dishes that have lines spilling out the door. Hurricanes are also served; all that’s missing are the lax open container laws.

897 E US Highway 6, Utica
IL, 61373

Related Maps