With its history as the second busiest immigration port in the U.S., Galveston is unsurprisingly a melting pot. And this pot has boiled over into the island’s vibrant food scene.
Although tucked deep in the heart of south Texas, Galveston’s culinary flair is influenced by nearly every part of the world. And, for lovers of fresh Gulf seafood, your taste buds will never get bored because no two restaurants prepare this island specialty the same way.
You can’t visit Galveston without indulging at the award-winning Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant & Bar. Chef Paco Vargas, a native of Nicaragua, creates a delicious Central American twist on steak and seafood, including his signature plantain encrusted red snapper served with raspberry chipotle sauce and lump crab meat. Rudy & Paco was named one of the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America by OpenTable in 2013.
The sons of Greek immigrants, Tikie and Larry Kriticos bring their secret family recipes to Olympia The Grill at Pier 21, where the harbor view is unmatched. The restaurant serves traditional Greek cuisine and fresh Gulf seafood, including some of the best oysters on the island.
For another Mediterranean option, try Mediterranean Chef, located on The Strand.
If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, stop by Maceo Spice & Import Co. for a special blend of spices. The Maceo family - children of Italian immigrants - has been creating its famous spice blends for decades, blending everything in-house. In addition to wonderful spice blends, Maceo makes a great Muffaleta and carries imported and specialty foods. For Italian cuisine, check out Sapori Ristorante.
India is a vast South Asian country with diverse terrain – from Himalayan peaks to Indian Ocean coastline – and history reaching back 5 millennia. Many tourists dream of traveling to places such as this to bask in their magnificence for a brief while. Galveston now makes that journey a bit easier, offering customers the delight of a brief escape from the normal routine to enjoy the experience of eating Indian food and enjoying Indian culture. Don't miss Himalayan Taste and Rice & Curry Cuisine.
The Germans certainly know food and that has been proven true by two award-winning German chefs on the island. For fine dining, locals flock to Shearn’s Seafood & Prime Steaks where they can enjoy signature dishes like the wonderful Shrimp De Jonghe.
For casual eats, don’t miss the nutritious delights of EatCetera, offering a European chic ambiance and a fresh, unique take on sandwiches, paninis, salads and more. The sundried tomato spread is to die for!
For the best Japanese food on the island, Yamato offers a unique family style dining experience where fresh sushi and hibachi are prepared right before your eyes by experienced sushi chefs. Yamato is popular for its artfully crafted sushi and entertaining atmosphere. Like soft shell crab? Reward your taste buds with Yamato’s savory spider roll. For another option, try Sky Bar Steak & Sushi located downtown on Postoffice Street.
One of the newest restaurants on the island, Farley Girls Café, has been receiving honors since it opened its doors in September 2012, including being named “Best Sunday Brunch” in the Galveston Daily News 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. This charming eatery, located in the island’s historic East End district, serves “a little bit of everything” with its eclectic menu of house made soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, seafood and more. Another great spot for varied cuisine is Saltwater Grill, where the fried asparagus topped with lump crab meat is delicious!
You can’t have Louisiana as your neighbor without letting a little Creole rub off on you. Shrimp N’ Stuff, a favorite among locals and tourists alike, is known for the best fried shrimp Po-boys on the island. Don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you... the seafood dinners, gumbos and salads are bursting with flavor and served in generous portions. For more food with a Creole flair, try Gumbo Bar on Postoffice Street or Benno’s on Seawall Boulevard.
Lovers of traditional Texas barbecue and steak won’t be disappointed in Galveston. For barbecue, head to Leon’s BBQ where Leon O’Neal’s special sauce and slow-cook techniques have earned him the title “Dr. Bar-B-Q.” And, you can’t have barbecue without ending it with a scrumptious piece of pecan pie from Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant. Although widely known for the best seafood on the island, Gaido’s best kept secret is its pecan pie, which has been named the “Best Pecan Pie in Texas” several times by Texas Monthly.
For high-quality beef, indulge at The Steakhouse at the San Luis Resort. For casual eats, try Café Michael Burger on the West End and wash it down with an in-house brew from Beerfoot Beach Bar. For a souvenir, stop by Lt. Blender’s Cocktails in a Bag for a delicious margarita to go!
Located in beautiful Pelican Rest Marina, Number 13 Prime Steak & Seafood boasts sweeping waterfront views on Offats Bayou. The restaurant features an upscale atmosphere in its main dining room as well as an outdoor, two-story terrace and adjacent patio – perfect for guests pulling in by boat. The menu features an attractive selection of dry-aged steak and fresh, local seafood. For more food with a view, try The Waterman overlooking Galveston Bay, Galvez Bar & Grill or The Spot along the Seawall or The Porch Café, steps away from East Beach.
Galveston has no shortage of sweet treats. For fresh baked goods, head to the charming East End Historical District for Patty Cakes Bakery, whose petits fours are oh so yummy! Also check out Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream and SkyKatZ Deli & Bakery as well as the classic favorite LaKing’s Confectionery for old-fashioned taffy, fudge and other treats made daily in the shop.