The Four Best Local Seafood Boils

Seafood boil
The Exotic Platter at Exotic on the Run.

Photo by Tony Valainis

The bountiful seafood boil, in all of its regional variations, is messy business—but worth every laborious, butter-smeared mouthful. Go full steam at these four local crab counters.

NOLA Seafood Boil: At this hands-on tribute to the New Orleans culinary tradition that is equal parts dining and social event, seafood is brought to the table in double plastic bags along with bibs, gloves, and metal crackers for opening the crab legs. Drop your spent shells in the supplied metal bucket and wash up at the sink conveniently located at the back of the dining room when you’re done stuffing your face. 11135 Pendleton Pike, 317-826- 7282,

Exotic on the Run: The Exotic Platters at this westside boiled-or-fried seafood house are stocked with exceptionally plump and fresh seafood, including split lobster tails, fully loaded crab-leg clusters, and shrimp fat in their shells, plus the standard add-ins of corn on the cob, red potatoes, boiled eggs, and hunks of fried sausage. A punch of Cajun seasoning and a squirt of lemon bring out all of the flavors. 3106 W. 16th St., 317-672-7467,

Chef Oya’s The Trap: The popular Wednesday–Saturday pull- up window crams its Styrofoam containers with DIY combinations of crab legs, shrimp, lobster tail, and salmon anointed with one of owner Oya Woodruff’s signature Trap Buttahs in flavors that range from OG Garlic Herb to Island Curry. Opt for the additional sprinkle of shredded Parmesan, and grab a side of Trap chowder if you get there before it sells out. 3355 N. Keystone Ave., 317-762-6172,

Krab Kingz: Request your seafood combo seasoned with the Naptown blend (which mixes all of the shaken-spice options into one flavor bomb) at this eastside fast- casual spot that specializes in buttery Florida-style crab boils and seafood trays as heavy as concrete blocks. 10537 E. Washington St., 317-735-2099,