N'awlins Crab House charms taste buds with southern snacks and seafood steeped in Cajun and creole culinary traditions. Diners can investigate three menus as they search for edible pearls in oysters on the half shell ($15.95/dozen). Crawfish creole sates veggie cravings with tomatoes, celery, and colorful peppers ($15.95), and marinated sirloin medallions ($15.99) reward carnivores by supplementing USDA Choice beef with a half-dozen prepared-to-order shrimp. Guests may customize the Captain's platter ($23.95) by pairing snow-crab legs and a broiled lobster tail with poached, sautéed, or charbroiled prawns. Growing po boy sandwiches devour catfish, blackened mahi-mahi, and other seafood staples ($8.95–$13.95), emerging from the kitchen with crunchy batter exoskeletons and the power to lure mermaids into timeshare seminars.
Theo’s Steaks & Seafood showcases fresh fish flown in daily and premium meats aged for up to 20 days that are hand-cut on the premises. The menu’s newly plucked fruits of the sea include a New Zealand orange roughy topped with lemon butter and crabmeat ($16.95), and a medley of shrimp and scallops tossed with fettuccine and drizzled in the kitchen’s creamy homemade alfredo sauce ($18.95). An 18-ounce bone-in rib eye piggybacks tender texture on top of rich flavor and sports both a signature marbling and a rakishly tilted fedora ($26.95). Among the eatery’s Pavlovian-pooch-shaming proteins, a pair of thick, center-cut pork chops arrives bearing hickory sauce and oozing succulence ($16.95). Customers can dine inside among cushioned chairs and colorful wall murals, or on the restaurant's outdoor patio during warmer months. All entrees come with complimentary fresh-baked bread and cheese spread, and a rhyming dictionary to assist diners with the composition of paeans to the chef.
The chefs at Luby's Pub & Steakhouse coat sweet jumbo shrimp in house-made coconut batter, bake orange roughy in herb butter, and char-grill juicy burgers with onions for dinners, banquets, and custom catering. In the dining area, veal parmesan nestled on plates of angel-hair pasta shares tables with slow-roasted portions of prime rib au jus and farm-raised blackened catfish. Diners may also opt to sip cocktails on the outdoor patio during the summer months, when the sun is extra fiery.
Husband-and-wife duo Alejandro and Diana Guerra strive to bring the Mexican beach restaurant experience to Chicago at their Mexican seafood institution La Palapa. Here, patrons dine on spicy Nayarit-style seafood on an outdoor patio, basking under palapas?thatched palm-leaf umbrellas?with their toes planted in the sand-filled deck. Roving mariachi bands often pop in to serenade tables, and a menacing statue of a shark lords over the beachy scene, hoping to sink its teeth into helpings of seafood paella, spicy garlic calamari, and red snapper. The seafood combo melds shrimp, octopus, mussels, and scallops, and the Palapa shrimp is doused in Alejandro?s grandma?s own secret spice concoction.
Since it opened in a tiny dock space in 1950, Lawrence’s Fisheries has been plying the Chicago community with fresh seafood, including the best fried shrimp in the city, according to Chicago Magazine. The legacy started with founder Lawrence Schweig, whose commercial fishing operation on Lake Michigan reeled in fresh fish. Two generations later, the staff still uses family recipes and a signature breading process to churn out specialties such as fried large shrimp, frog legs, and bone-in catfish. Customers can get their fried fixings–as well as sandwiches and decadent desserts–24 hours a day. The counter spot retains its homey feel with picnic table seating and by serving its breaded bundles in white paper bags.