BEACHY KEEN GALVESTON
Sun, Fun and Seafood Beckon at Houston’s Closest Gulf Coast Escape
By Robin Barr Sussman
Spring is prime time for a road trip south to take in coastal views, ocean breezes and plenty of patios for al fresco dining. Once you get a taste of the Gulf shrimp-loaded gumbo, tantalizing steaks, fresh grilled fish and kicked-up po’ boys, you’ll want to stay all week.
For waterside dining, this West End favorite specializes in fresh seafood and spectacular sunsets. Expansive outdoor decks overlooking Galveston bay and a large indoor bar offer many seating options. Try the stuffed flounder.
14302 Stewart, 409-632-0233, www.watermansrestaurant.com
RUDY & PACO
A generous menu of beautifully presented Latin-influenced steaks and seafood and an encyclopedic wine list make Rudy & Paco one of the best dining venues on the island. Its classy and quiet ambiance gets voted “most romantic” repeatedly.
2028 Postoffice, 409-762-3696, www.rudyandpaco.com
With hand-blown chandeliers and custom art, this stylish spot makes a good choice for most occasions. Rich pasta dishes, crispy pizzas, and gussied up Italian style seafood headline the menu. You can’t beat the sunny view overlooking the San Luis Resort’s lush grounds and pool.
5222 Seawall, 409-740-8605, www.grottorestaurants.com
HOTEL GALVEZ & SPA
Reserve ahead for the famous (massive!) Sunday brunch at the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast. Anticipate flowing Champagne, an extensive seafood station, a pasta and meat carving station, and made-to-order hot breakfasts, plus desserts. $44.99 adults, $39.99 seniors, $26.99 children age six and older.
2024 Seawall, 409-765-7721, www.HotelGalvez.com
THE COVE AT THE SAN LUIS RESORT
Relish scenic views of the beach at this poolside coastal hideaway while enjoying cocktails and bites ranging from tacos to seared salmon with pickled beet salad. If staying the night, happy hour at The Cove is Sunday through Thursday, 8 to 11 p.m. Cabana rentals are also available for food and beverage service.
5222 Seawall, 409-744-1500, www.sanluisresort.com
VARGAS CUT & CATCH
Restaurateur Paco Vargas (of Rudy & Paco) brings this elegant newcomer with polished service to Postoffice Street. The talented kitchen serves up prime and Wagyu steaks, fresh seafood, and creative desserts — try the chocolate Paco dome smothered in hot fudge. Its Bar 21 offers a lighter menu during happy hour.
2102 Postoffice, 409-762-2101, www.vargascutandcatch.com
Seasonally changing Greek specialties star on the menu at this waterfront outpost at Pier 21 (with another location on the Seawall). Favorite dishes include Crab Stack layered with juicy mango, avocado and crabmeat; haddock Veracruz; Golden Greek salad; vegetarian plate; and the Greek fried fish po’ boy.
100 21st, 409-765-0021, www.olympiagrill.com
Steps away from Galveston’s historic Pleasure Pier, find this double-decker with a popular beachfront balcony and vibrant setting. Seafood is the specialty, but there’s something for the entire family including baby back ribs, pasta and salads. Bacon-wrapped Shrimp Kisses stuffed with jalapeno Jack cheese are justly famous.
2502 Seawall, 409-762-8545, www.fishtalesgalveston.com
PORCH CAFE & BISTRO
Here’s a chic, bright space with a wraparound deck and a dazzling Gulf view just a short walk from East Beach. Come hungry for a hearty weekend breakfast — think chicken and waffles or the pancake bar. Lunch on Bloody Mary ceviche, Thai chicken salad or the Porch burger stacked with fried green tomatoes and bacon.
1625 East Beach, 409-762-0808, www.porchcafe.com
WILLIE G’S SEAFOOD & STEAKS
Area residents, visitors, and the local business crowd count on Willie G’s for upscale dining. Rotating fresh fish specials might include Hazelnut Trout; Blackened Redfish Louisianne; Snapper Tuscano and grilled Salmon Ceretto with Parmesan risotto.
2100 Harborside, 409-762-3030, www.williegs.com
With more than a century under its belt, a survey of dining in Galveston would not be complete without a trip to Gaido’s. Here you’ll find fresh seafood, luscious crab cakes, and a famous pecan pie that brings out the best in Hill Country pecans.
3828 Seawall, 409-761-5500, www.gaidos.com
OLYMPIA GRILL’S GREEK SEASONING
Here’s a quick, low salt recipe from Olympia Grill in Galveston made from spices you probably already have in your pantry. Use it to season fish, shrimp or other seafood and meats.
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 teaspoons dried garlic granulate (or powdered garlic)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container.
Yield: ¼ cup