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Where to Eat the Best Soft Shell Crabs in New Orleans

It’s that time of year for the beloved delicacy

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May is here, and New Orleanians are on the lookout to get their soft shell crab fix. Given the short season and incomparable burst of sweet, fried heaven this delicacy provides, restaurants usually have trouble keeping these on the menu. And while we’ve confirmed that all of the spots below are currently serving up a soft shell option, if you’re on a mission for a softie its best to call ahead.

In addition to these restaurants, a lot of local favorites have soft shell specials available when possible during the season, including High Hat Cafe, Atchafalaya, GW Fins and Maypop, so keep an eye on those and let us know if we missed your favorite soft shell offering in the city.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Seither’s Seafood

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Everyone loves Seithers for boiled crawfish, but one of its other highlights is the always-on-the-menu soft shell crab platter. Another great family spot (and recent Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured restaurant), Seither’s creative menu, bright atmosphere, and friendly staff all make this place a joy to visit.

Brigtsen's Restaurant

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Frank Brigtsen has been delighting diners at this quiet Riverbend restaurant since 1986 with now-famous items like the (not-fried) seafood platter, paneed rabbit and crabmeat parmesean-crusted Gulf fish. But when available, which it typically is during the season, Brigsten’s soft shell crab dish is not to be missed. The current preparation is a soft shell pecan meuniere, and customers are loving it.

Clancy's Restaurant

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Charming Uptown restaurant Clancy’s is one of Eater NOLA’s essential 38 restaurants in part due to its decadent, fried, cold-smoked, crab-topped soft-shells served alongside perfect mashed potatoes and vegetables.

R & O Restaurant and Catering

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This classic, family-friendly Bucktown seafood and seafood joint is a go-to for Italian and Cajun classics, including always-available soft-shell offerings, including a platter, a po-boy, and even soft shell crab parmesan.

Station 6

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Available seasonally (yes, they have it right now), Station 6 in Metairie serves a lovely soft shell crab dish, made with one of the lighter touches on this list. Locally-focused and fresh, this casual-cool spot is a seafood gem all around.

Sala NOLA

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Head to the lakefront for fresh soft shells, as Creole-Italian bistro Sala just got them in this week (May 8). The family that’s brought you Riccobono’s Peppermill, Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe, and Cafe Navarre does classics well at Sala too, so you can be sure they’ll do justice to the beloved soft shell.

Mandina's Restaurant

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While a deliciously-prepared soft shell crab Meuniere or Almandine is a permanent menu item at Mandina’s, there’s no guarantee they’ll have it on the day you go, so call ahead if that’s what you’re hankering for. Otherwise go for one of the Creole-Italian comfort foods, sure to leave you satisfied.

Soft shell crab almandine at Mandina’s
Mandina’s/Facebook

Joey K's

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Joey K’s is a casual but lively neighborhood spot on Magazine Street best known for its red beans and rice, and second best known for its fried seafood. They offer an affordable fried soft shell, sandwich or platter, year round.

Cafe Degas

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This romantic French bistro on one of the loveliest blocks in New Orleans has a soft shell dinner special often, including during August’s Coolinary week and for other summertime specials. It’s fried crispy and served over a spring-y salad of baby greens, avocado, cucumbers, and baby corn.

Gabrielle Restaurant

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The Mid City revival of beloved pre-Katrina restaurant Gabrielle, ever-reliable, is a serving a soft shell special for as long as they are available. The preparation resembles a few others on the list (pan fried in butter, stuffed with crab dressing and topped with almond meuniere sauce), but you can be sure its one of the best.

Gabrielle/Official Photo

Bon Ton Cafe

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This CBD comfort food institution always has a soft shell platter on the menu, and you can choose to have just one or double it up. Be sure to save room after trying the seafood gumbo, one of the best in town.

Jack Dempsey's Restaurant

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The down-home spot on Poland Ave. in the Ninth Ward is all about fried seafood, and its soft shell po-boy is a favorite. With friendly staff and on the more affordable side, Jack Dempsey’s is also a nice throwback experience, away from the hub of downtown.

Seither’s Seafood

Everyone loves Seithers for boiled crawfish, but one of its other highlights is the always-on-the-menu soft shell crab platter. Another great family spot (and recent Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured restaurant), Seither’s creative menu, bright atmosphere, and friendly staff all make this place a joy to visit.

Brigtsen's Restaurant

Frank Brigtsen has been delighting diners at this quiet Riverbend restaurant since 1986 with now-famous items like the (not-fried) seafood platter, paneed rabbit and crabmeat parmesean-crusted Gulf fish. But when available, which it typically is during the season, Brigsten’s soft shell crab dish is not to be missed. The current preparation is a soft shell pecan meuniere, and customers are loving it.

Clancy's Restaurant

Charming Uptown restaurant Clancy’s is one of Eater NOLA’s essential 38 restaurants in part due to its decadent, fried, cold-smoked, crab-topped soft-shells served alongside perfect mashed potatoes and vegetables.

R & O Restaurant and Catering

This classic, family-friendly Bucktown seafood and seafood joint is a go-to for Italian and Cajun classics, including always-available soft-shell offerings, including a platter, a po-boy, and even soft shell crab parmesan.

Station 6

Available seasonally (yes, they have it right now), Station 6 in Metairie serves a lovely soft shell crab dish, made with one of the lighter touches on this list. Locally-focused and fresh, this casual-cool spot is a seafood gem all around.

Sala NOLA

Head to the lakefront for fresh soft shells, as Creole-Italian bistro Sala just got them in this week (May 8). The family that’s brought you Riccobono’s Peppermill, Riccobono’s Panola Street Cafe, and Cafe Navarre does classics well at Sala too, so you can be sure they’ll do justice to the beloved soft shell.

Mandina's Restaurant

Soft shell crab almandine at Mandina’s
Mandina’s/Facebook

While a deliciously-prepared soft shell crab Meuniere or Almandine is a permanent menu item at Mandina’s, there’s no guarantee they’ll have it on the day you go, so call ahead if that’s what you’re hankering for. Otherwise go for one of the Creole-Italian comfort foods, sure to leave you satisfied.

Soft shell crab almandine at Mandina’s
Mandina’s/Facebook

Joey K's

Joey K’s is a casual but lively neighborhood spot on Magazine Street best known for its red beans and rice, and second best known for its fried seafood. They offer an affordable fried soft shell, sandwich or platter, year round.

Cafe Degas

This romantic French bistro on one of the loveliest blocks in New Orleans has a soft shell dinner special often, including during August’s Coolinary week and for other summertime specials. It’s fried crispy and served over a spring-y salad of baby greens, avocado, cucumbers, and baby corn.

Gabrielle Restaurant

Gabrielle/Official Photo

The Mid City revival of beloved pre-Katrina restaurant Gabrielle, ever-reliable, is a serving a soft shell special for as long as they are available. The preparation resembles a few others on the list (pan fried in butter, stuffed with crab dressing and topped with almond meuniere sauce), but you can be sure its one of the best.

Gabrielle/Official Photo

Bon Ton Cafe

This CBD comfort food institution always has a soft shell platter on the menu, and you can choose to have just one or double it up. Be sure to save room after trying the seafood gumbo, one of the best in town.

Jack Dempsey's Restaurant

The down-home spot on Poland Ave. in the Ninth Ward is all about fried seafood, and its soft shell po-boy is a favorite. With friendly staff and on the more affordable side, Jack Dempsey’s is also a nice throwback experience, away from the hub of downtown.

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