Lent comes and goes. But in New Orleans, fried seafood is always on the menu. Beyond the many neighborhood fish fries that pop up seasonally, plenty of restaurants pride themselves on achieving the perfect fish fry — crisp of crust, not greasy, piping hot, and fried to order. Here are some of the best fish platters in town, usually with catfish as the star of the show. For fried seafood of the sandwich variety, here are 21 essential po’ boy spots in and around New Orleans.Read More
Where to Find the Most Delicious Fried Fish in New Orleans
A year-round look at the best piping-hot fried seafood in the city
Middendorf’s is so proud of its “world famous original thin-fried catfish” it trademarked the phrase. The fish arrives piping hot and piled high — and comes thick cut too. But thin is better. Same goodness at the Slidell location too.
‘Fest fans know Castnet is behind the crowd-pleasing softshell crab po’ boy, a vendor that always lines snaking into the track. But hit up this local gem in New Orleans East right by the lake year-round for some of the best fried seafood and po’ boys in town. There are casual picnic tables for chowing on site.
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The Blue Flamingo
This New Orleans East bar and restaurant is already legend after just a few years, a neighborhood restaurant with a sports bar feel and a destination for good music, fish plates, stuffed bell peppers, and birria taco Tuesdays. In addition to a fish plate, the shrimp plate, fish sandwich, and po’ boys are standout, and as a bonus, you can order a side of one or two pieces of fried fish.
The Blue Crab Restaurant and Oyster Bar
The view of the lake and the old-school vibe are two reasons to head to Blue Crab on Lakeshore Drive. Fried seafood platters are another, hefty helpings of fried oysters, shrimp, and catfish, dusted with just a hint of Creole seasoning. Get a combo to taste a little bit of everything.
Zimmer’s is a family-owned Gentilly institution, known for some of the best boiled crawfish in town. But the platters (and po’ boys) are also savory and rib-sticking, served with garlic bread and slaw. Fried softshell crab is on the menu in season.
Clesi's Seafood Restaurant & Catering
Master boiler James Clesi heads up this family-run eatery and caterer, with boiled seafood front and center always. Clesi’s also does a fine job at the fryer, the secret of course is pristine fresh seafood. The catfish platter comes with seven pieces, always hot from the fryer.
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Bevi Seafood Co.
Bevi is a neighborhood seafood market and restaurant on the edge of Carrollton that does a brisk takeaway business. And no wonder, the boiled seafood is jam-packed with flavor, and same goes for the fried, offered as platters and po’ boys. Get a combo of local catfish with oysters or shrimp, and debris fries on the side.
Love that you can get fried catfish on a salad here. Katie’s is a Midcity institution, family-owned and downhome friendly. The combo platter includes fried crawfish tails and homemade garlic bread. Go for brunch when it’s serving a fried catfish special.
8 Fresh Food Assassin Restaurant & Lounge
Chef Manny January brings serious fine dining chops to his place on Claiborne Avenue, where grilled lamb chops are divine and everything is stepped up a notch in flavor. Try 8 Fresh Food Assassin’s fried catfish with one of his terrific sides, like a seafood-loaded baked potato, mac and cheese, and tender greens.
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Just steps from the Canal Street streetcar line, Mandina’s is a casual, lively seafood and Creole Italian joint favored by local powerbrokers for years. There are usually two fried fish options, catfish along with whatever the Gulf fish of the day might be. Gluten-free diners can ask for it grilled, no problem.
Dooky Chase Restaurant
A Treme classic since 1941, Miss Leah’s light shines on as her family keeps her culinary legacy alive at Dooky Chase. Lunch is served Tuesday to Friday and dinner is Fridays and Saturdays, with fried catfish offered whenever the spirit moves. Suggested wine pairing is Maschio Prosecco or Piper Sonoma Brut for the combo plate.
Nonno’s Cajun Cuisine and Pastries
Chef Shermond Esteen is drawing crowds to his relocated Nonno’s in the Marigny, with its all-day breakfast, chargrilled oysters, and oversized fried shrimp platters. The catfish is good too, even better served with red beans and rice and a crispy piece of beef sausage on a Monday. No pork here, ever.
Tiger's Creole Cuisine
This longtime Treme favorite is a homey counter-service pickup spot, serving overflowing portions of wings, pork chops, gumbo, red beans, and even two kinds of yak-a-mein. But the star is arguably the fried seafood options, like the seafood-loaded potato with catfish and shrimp, fried catfish platter with greens and cornbread, and the crowd favorite. Catfish Reagan.
Red Fish Grill
Proof positive that there’s good food on Bourbon Street, Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill offers fried Gulf fish bites with roasted red pepper remoulade sauce for dipping as a stellar starter. Fresh fish comes blackened, roasted, or sauteed in a sage butter sauce as a stand-in for veal in saltimbocca on this creative menu. The restaurant is huge and able to accommodate groups easily.
Seafood shines at this Oak Street casual eatery from chef Marcus Jacobs and Caitlin Carney, the hardworking couple behind Marjie’s Grill. Jacobs sticks to the fresh and local playbook at Seafood Sally’s, from oysters raw and chargrilled to boiled shrimp and wild-caught Louisiana catfish, dredged in cornmeal and flash-fried, spicy slaw on the side.
Open Tuesday through Friday for lunch, Cafe Reconcile provides hospitality training for at risk youth, with acclaimed chef Martha Wiggins leading the charge in the kitchen. The menu is outstanding, elevated by the chef’s attention to from-scratch preparation, no corners cut. Try the Louisiana catfish, fried, blackened, or sauteed with lemon pepper, also available as a po’ boy on Leidenheimer French bread.
The High Hat Cafe
This Freret Street cafe from chef Adolfo Garcia features local seafood and farm-raised catfish, fried to order, of course. High Hat dishes slaw, hush puppies, and house pickles on the side, with three and four pieces of fish available. Or what the heck, get the whole fish fried with lots of lemon for squeezing, why not?
Joey K's Restaurant & Bar
Joey K’s has commanded this corner of Magazine Street for more than 30 years, a casual eatery dishing homestyle Creole eats and 18-ounce beers in huge frosted mugs. Although grilled seafood is an option, regulars adore the flash-fried catfish with fries, although the side of mashed potatoes and gravy is also a winner.
Barrow’s Catfish - Harvey
Thin cut, fresh, flaky, and oh-so-crispy, the fried catfish has been legendary at Barrow’s since the family-owned place first opened in Hollygrove in the ’40s. There’s only one location now, on the Westbank in Harvey, serving the same fresh seafood the restaurant’s been known for decades.