Fat Tuesday is officially upon us and that begs one question: Who serves up the best po’ boys in San Francisco?

Having visited New Orleans a little over a year ago, it’s really hard to compare the Southern food in San Francisco; it’s just not the same. But there are still plenty of restaurants offering up their own takes on these wonderful sandwiches.

To make it fair, I decided to try the same sandwich at each spot, sticking with shrimp po’ boys. The best shrimp po’ boy that I found is at Little Skillet (360 Ritch Street). What makes this po’ boy so great? First, the options: the shrimp doesn’t just come fried like at most restaurants; there is the option of getting BBQ shrimp, blackened shrimp or crispy cornmeal fried shrimp. Choosing the blackened shrimp, the first thing I noticed was the po’ boy was smaller than others I had tried. But what it may have been lacking in size, Little Skillet makes up for in the amount of shrimp. It just had a real Cajun feel to it, with a nice little kick.

Po' Boy at Brenda's

The best of the rest: The shrimp po’ boys at Boxing Room (399 Grove Street) and Brenda’s French Soul Food (652 Polk Street) were pretty similar. Both were huge portions (washing it down with a New Orleans beer will leave you in a food coma the rest of the day). Each restaurant also offered several other po’ boys on the menu, which I liked.

Two unique spots were The Front Porch (65A 29th Street) and Radish (3465 19th Street). I really liked the po’ boys at each of these spots, had more of a New Orleans ambiance like Little Skillet.  The Front Porch’s po’ boy had some of the best shrimp, unbelievably juicy and plump.  At Radish, the sandwich was fairly simple, but that’s almost better than mixed with all the lettuce and tomatoes.  I also tried the options at Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe and San Francisco Fish Company, but was not enamored with either sandwich at these locations.  At Queen’s, the portion was fairly small and not filled with much shrimp.  And at San Francisco Fish Company, the portion was even smaller and honestly just didn’t have much to fill up a hungry belly.

Po' Boy at Boxing Room

Although the true, authentic New Orleans po’ boy may never be captured in San Francisco, there are plenty of options out there for those with that Mardi Gras fever—and plenty of room in their belly.