Crawfish étouffée is a Cajun dish for which crawfish tail meat is “smothered,” to translate from the French, in a brown stew of green pepper, scallion, butter, and Cajun spices (and tomato, depending on where you’re eating), and then served over rice. Deliciously rich with a hint of spice, it’s an absolute must when in NOLA. It's not a hard dish to find, but we do have a favorite spot for crawfish étouffée in New Orleans.

Where: Dive bar/restaurant Coop’s Place (1109 Decatur St., map) is probably the best place for a tasty crawfish étouffée in the French Quarter, offering informal digs with a healthy dose of attitude (don’t ask for a milk punch here). One peek at the giant, steaming stock pots in the outdoor kitchen out back tells you this place is an under-the-radar gem. Bonus: It serves food late (for this part of NOLA) and is located near the music bars of Frenchmen Street.

When: Mon + Wed-Sun, 11am-11pm (closed Tuesdays)

Order: The crawfish (or shrimp) étouffée ($16.95) here is a savory, hearty plate of rice and both shrimp and crawfish, plus okra, tomatoes, celery, peppers, and bay leaf—the perfect stomach-filling grub for fueling up for a night on Frenchmen Street. And it's delicious! The rabbit and sausage jambalaya and Cajun fried chicken are also excellent here, and we hear the smoked duck quesadillas are something special.

Alternatively: Crawfish étouffée is widely found in New Orleans; look for it at casual Mother’s (401 Poydras St., map) and the Bon Ton Café (401 Magazine St., map), both in the CBD (Central Business District). Or, for fancier surrounds (with prices to match), try it at K-Paul’s (416 Chartres St., map) in the French Quarter. Locals’ fave Mandina’s (3800 Canal St., map) in Mid-City offers it on Saturdays only.

Want a recipe? Etouffée is super easy to make at home. Check out the crawfish étouffée recipe NOLA inspired us to make.