Baton Rouge, Louisiana: 4 Seasons of Seafood
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, locals mark changing seasons in their own way.
Conversations, for example, might focus less on winter warming into spring and more on oysters making way for crawfish. In fact, Louisiana’s capital city celebrates four traditional “seafood seasons”: oysters, prized in winter; crawfish, a freshwater crustacean that peaks in spring; blue crab, a summer delicacy; and shrimp, with different varieties sought throughout the year. The fresh flavors of these local, seasonal harvests have helped shape Baton Rouge’s vibrant dining scene. Experience it for yourself in the following ways.
Cajun and Creole Cuisine
Baton Rouge is the crossroads of Cajun and Creole cuisines, respectively described as the country and city foods of Louisiana. While the two cuisines share some ingredients and even recipe names, the cooking styles differ: Cajun preparations tend toward the rustic; Creole preparations suggest sophistication. Lucky for you, there’s no need to choose one over the other in Baton Rouge. On one menu here, you might find plump Louisiana shrimp served with Creole-style remoulade sauce, deliciously complex with tart and spicy flavors, next to a hearty bowl of seafood gumbo, blending shrimp with meaty crab and rice in a dark roux.
Look for restaurant-markets that offer freshly prepared meals to enjoy on the spot and Cajun and Creole spice mixes to take away as souvenirs.
Restaurants and Markets
Tony’s Seafood, a market and deli where you can buy fresh seafood and spice mixes or a hot lunch, is an everyday celebration of Baton Rouge’s seafood seasons. Go for savory stuffed crab or crawfish pie, gumbo in three varieties, and po’ boy sandwiches stuffed with oysters or shrimp. Tony’s is also a good place to sample Cajun favorites such as boudin. Here, the Cajun sausage that traditionally blends pork and rice may be stuffed with tender crawfish or shrimp and crab.
Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar sources oysters from Louisiana and beyond to ensure that anytime you visit, you’ll find 50 different varieties on offer. Select your favorite to savor raw, or order them baked with boudin.
Even City Pork, a modern take on Louisiana’s traditional meat markets, works seafood into its menu. Here, you can pair a salad of fried Gulf of Mexico oysters with a plate of house-made charcuterie.
Tony’s Seafood is a prime location for sampling crawfish several ways, from simple boiled preparations spiced just right to savory crawfish pie.
Baton Rouge Food Tours
Downtown Baton Rouge is an emblem of the city’s dining scene, and the “C'est Si Bon Food Tour” will orient you. The guided walking tours visit a range of eateries in search of Baton Rouge’s culinary signatures, from home-style gumbo and po’ boys packed with seafood to gourmet shrimp and grits.
At Baton Rouge restaurants such as City Pork, choose from fresh seafood selections and local delicacies such as house-made charcuterie.
To join a citywide celebration of Baton Rouge’s culinary culture, time your visit with a food festival. In April, Crawfête brings the city’s chefs together for a showcase of recipes featuring crawfish, from aromatic étouffée to golden-fried crawfish cakes. In August, Fête Rouge hosts a competition among local chefs and a tasting of global wines.
Downtown Baton Rouge is an emblem of the city’s dining scene, with original restaurants and walking tours for foodies.
International flights connecting through Atlanta, Houston or Dallas can get you to Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, which is located only 11 kilometers from downtown. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (116 kilometers from downtown Baton Rouge) is also a great gateway to Baton Rouge and other surrounding Louisiana cities.