First-class seafood, lobster bibs and a perfect blend of spices elevate cajun cuisine at District 3’s Crab Shack. By Dana Filek-Gibson. Photos from The Crab Shack.

Beside Crab Shack’s front door, a series of bubbling fish tanks house the day’s catch, from hefty lobsters to dozens of prawns treading frantically in the ice-cold water. Say hello to your dinner.

Ever since its grand opening in February, the spacious restaurant’s two-storey dining room fills up most nights, packed with diners sporting lobster bibs and plastic gloves and cracking open shellfish over paper-covered tables.

Still, the swanky seafood spot is perhaps Saigon’s most sophisticated cajun-style restaurant. Top-notch seafood comes swimming in bags of mouthwatering sauce, making for a satisfyingly messy experience.

Whether you turn up for lunch or dinner, the Crab Shack’s mains are the crux of its menu. Each main consists of one kilo of seafood, while add-ons like stir-fried noodles or garlic bread really round out the meal.

From fresh lobster to locally-caught tiger prawns and clams, and crawfish straight from Louisiana, diners select a type of seafood from the list which is then prepared in a sumptuous sauce. Though several varieties are available (cajun, lemon and pepper or garlic and butter) the best thing to do is to go for the all-in-one option.

Crab Shack’s appetisers, too, are a nice complement to its main dishes. To start off your meal, order a massive baked oyster with cheese (VND 79,000). Brought fresh from Nha Trang, these gargantuan oysters are topped with a decadent combination of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.

For groups, the Crab Shack also does a handful of winning combo meals. The best of the bunch is Combo 1 (VND 699,000), which features a half-kilo of crawfish, a half-kilo of shrimp, four grilled sausages and three pieces of corn-on-the-cob. Depending upon your appetite, these generous plates can serve between two and four people.

Whatever your order, feel free to get your hands dirty, as the Crab Shack stocks plenty of lobster bibs and plastic gloves to minimise the mess. Lunch diners will have no trouble walking in for a midday meal, but in the evening it’s not a bad idea to make a reservation, particularly on weekends, as the restaurant fills up between 5pm and 8pm.

11 Le Quy Don, D3
Tel:  08 39 30 95 42
11am–2pm, 5pm–10pm