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Best Bets for Galveston Dining

 From Seafood to Steaks, Sushi to Salads


Galveston visitors might order a delectible seafood platter of shrimp, scallops and fish.*

Best Bets for Galveston Dining

By Kathryn Straach

Anyone setting foot in Galveston is required to dine here at least once. Okay, so it’s not the law. It should be.

For an island with a population of 60,000, give or take a few, Galveston has a mind-boggling number of independently run, scrumptious restaurants spanning the cuisine palate.

It’s even more amazing considering restaurant mogul Tilman Fertitta is a hometown guy here. His restaurants --Landry’s, Rainforest Café and others -- are slowly taking over the Galveston Seawall like pieces of a Monopoly game board.

Despite the Fertitta empire, the competition is alive and kicking. One savory new hang-out is South American stand-out Rudy and Paco. It's known for its southern and central American food. Try the Vuelva a la Vida, a seafood combination in white wine and garlic butter sauce, or the Tres Leches cake made with three kinds of milk. 

If that’s not your cup of tea, you can find good Asian at Sky Bar. For seafood, consider Gaido’s, a nearly century-old seafood eatery.

Our insider’s dining secret is to also check out Casey’s. The food comes from the same kitchen as neighboring Gaido’s but the bill is less likely to cause indigestion. Clary’s is an off-the-beaten path gem with good Cajun seafood.

Want to grab a burger, gumbo or shrimp platter and mingle with the locals? Head for Sonny’s Place an institution since 1944 with medical students at nearby University of Texas Medical Branch. Plaques on the wall recognize students with individual achievements at Sonny's -- like dining there on more than 200 consecutive days!

If you desire dining with a view, Galveston doesn’t disappoint. Try Shearn’s on the ninth floor of Moody Gardens Hotel; the Spot’s upper deck, and Fertita’s restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf close to the cruise terminal.


Fisherman's Wharf restaurants features dining with a view.*

Following is our personal best bets for chowing down in Galveston. Please note: Several restaurants are cited in different categories; contact information is given on first reference.

Best Bets for…

Burgers: The Spot (409-621-5237 or www.thespotgalveston.com); Sonny’s Place (409-763-9602 or www.galveston.com/sonnys)

Sushi: Sky Bar (409-621-4759 or www.galvestonskybar.com)

Salad: Mosquito Café (409-763-101 or www.mosquitocafe.com)

Pizza: Mario’s Ristorante (409-744-2975 or www.marios-ristorante.com)

Muffuletta: – Maceo Spice & Import Company (409-763-3331 or www.maceospice.com)

(What’s a muffaletta? Typically it’s a loaf of bread split horizontally and made into a sandwich consisting of marinated olive salad and layers of meats and cheese. The olive salad – typically olives, celery, carrot and cauliflower – gives the sandwich its distinctive taste.)

Steak: The Steakhouse at The San Luis Resort, (409-744-1500 or www.sanluisresort.com);

The Steakhouse at the San Luis Resort offers fine dining, classy service and great steaks.*

Barbecue: Queen’s (409-762-3151 or www.galveston.com/queens)

Fried Shrimp: Gaido’s (409-762-9625 or http://gaidosrestaurant.com); Shrimp N’ Stuff (409-763-2805 or www.shrimpnstuff.com)

Shrimp Po Boy: The Spot; Shrimp N’ Stuff

Seafood: Gaido’s; Saltwater Grill (409-762-3474 or www.galveston.com/saltwatergrill); Casey’s (409-762-9625 or www.gaidosofgalveston.com); and Landry’s (409-744-1010 or www.landrysseafoodhouse.com)

Cajun Seafood: Clary’s (409-740-0771 or www.galveston.com/clarysseafood); Benno’s on the Beach, (409-762-4621 or www.bennosofgalveston.com)

Mexican: Original Mexican Café (409-762-6001 or www.galveston.com/theoriginal)

Italian: Luigi’s (409-763-6500 or www.luigisrestaurantgalveston.com)

Sunday Brunch: Bernardo’s at The Hotel Galvez, (409-765-7721 or www.wyndham.com)

White Linen Experience: Rudy and Paco (409-762-3696 or www.galveston.com/rudypaco);  Gaido’s; Clary’s; and Shearn’s (409-744-4673 or www.moodygardenshotel.com)

Creative Menu: Rudy and Paco; Mosquito Café

Great Exterior Views: Shearn’s; Fertita’s restaurants on Fisherman’s Wharf (409-765-5708) or the Spot’s upper deck

Great Interior (Jungle) Views: Rainforest Café (409-744-6000 or www.rainforestcafe.com)

Kathryn Straach, now a freelance writer, formerly wrote a column about traveling in Texas for 10 years while on staff at The Dallas Morning News. She lives in McKinney, Texas, but is packing her bags to move to San Antonio within the next few months.

*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used with permission of the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. All rights reserved Please do not link to nor copy these photos. Thank you. 

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