You’re here, you’re hungry, and you want to make sure you make the most of your time & money while on the Island. It’s no secret that there’s an abundance of unique Galveston restaurants, cafes & coffee shops for you to try. So, where are the best restaurants in Galveston, Texas?
As island residents ourselves, we love exploring all of our local options. From Gulf seafood to hand-crafted ice cream to Italian or Japanese cuisine, our island has the perfect variety of cuisine to tantalize your taste buds. There’s no reason to cross the causeway! Read on for our recommendations for Galveston restaurants that offer delicious Island dining.
What Food is Galveston Known For?
Galveston is best known for its fresh seafood and steak, as well as the wide variety of Mexican and Italian restaurants. Island institutions like Gaido’s Seafood, The Original Mexican Cafe, La Kings Confectionery and The Star Drug Store have been around for decades. New Galveston restaurants like Vargas Cut & Catch, Fish Company Taco, and Suki Poke by the Sea keep the local food scene fresh and exciting. No matter what type of food you’re craving, you can find it here on the Island!
Where to Find the Best Seafood in Galveston?
Looking for casual dining after a day on the beach? Planning a special night out? There are plenty of seafood restaurants in Galveston to choose from. Dishes include crawfish, shrimp, snapper, grouper and other Gulf fishes. Popular local choices include:
- BLVD Seafood
- Vargas Cut & Catch
- Shrimp `N Stuff
- Cajun Greek
Where is the Galveston Seafood Market?
If you aren’t interested in fishing, but still want to enjoy local Gulf seafood, then head to the markets on Pier 20 & 21. Katie’s Seafood Market and Sampson & Son’s Seafood are both longtime suppliers of fresh, locally-caught fish and shellfish. Stop by either downtown favorite and pick the perfect catch!
Katie’s Seafood Market is located at 1902 Wharf Road, near Pier 20. They specialize in Gulf Wild tagged red snapper, shrimp, yellowfin tuna, crawfish & more. Supplies and market price vary, depending on the season. Check their social media accounts for pics of what’s currently coming in on their boats. You can also order online or subscribe to their “Seafood of the Month” club if your craving can’t wait until your next visit to Galveston Island!
Sampson & Son’s Seafood offers locally-caught fish and shellfish including oysters and crabs, depending on the season. You’ll find them at 20 Pier 21, just down the road from Katie’s Seafood House, near the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum.
Where to Eat in Galveston?
Galveston is commonly broken up into four areas when talked about by locals. Most Galveston restaurants and shops are located along Seawall Boulevard or in The Strand Historic District. East End residents are only a short distance from both of those districts. While the West End is mostly residential, there are some great options for vacation rental guests who don’t want to waste valuable beach time by driving into town.
Galveston Seawall Restaurants
An abundance of local and chain restaurants can be found along Galveston’s seawall. The ones that our staff and longtime vacation guests keep going back to are:
- The Spot
- BLVD Seafood
- Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar
- Gaido’s Seafood
- Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant
- The Gumbo Diner
The Spot is a beachfront dining establishment that’s part of a 5-venue complex including the restaurant and four specialty bars: The Tiki Bar, Rum Shack, Sideyard and Squeeze. Choose from a selection of unique burgers or fresh seafood, grab a cool drink and enjoy the Gulf view from the deck. Kids will love the huge dessert case and large milkshakes. This popular spot gets very busy during the summer months, but is worth the wait!
Gaido’s Seafood and neighboring Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar both specialize in seafood. Gaidos’ first opened its doors in 1911, and it has been an island institution ever since. Nick’s is owned by a member of the same family, and has found its niche as a laid back beach bar with great views of the water.
Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant has been serving up delicious food since 1998. It’s received 5-star ratings from Texas Monthly for “Best Margarita” as well as being named one of the Best Mexican Restaurants in Texas.
The Gumbo Diner is a relative newcomer by comparison (2013). Don’t let the name fool you! In addition to gumbo & etouffee, this cozy diner serves up sandwiches, all-day breakfast favorites and New Orleans-style beignets.
Galveston Restaurants on The Strand
The Strand Historic District in downtown Galveston is a designated National Historic Landmark District comprised of gorgeous Victorian-era buildings that now house a distinctive array of eateries, galleries, and shops. Our favorite Galveston Strand restaurants for lunch or dinner in & around this area include:
- Rudy & Paco’s
- Trattoria La Vigna Italian
- Riondo’s Italian
- Vargas Cut & Catch
- Yaga’s Cafe
- Lolo Kai Smoothies & Wraps
West End Restaurants
One of the best parts about staying in a West End Galveston vacation rental (other than the quick beach access!) is having a fully equipped kitchen. But, it’s vacation! When it’s time to really relax there are plenty of local options that make feeding your group easy:
- Mario’s Pizza West End - pizza & pasta, eat-in or carry out
- Nate’s West End Steak & Seafood - casual burgers & seafood
- Seven Seas Grocery - freshly smoked BBQ
- The West End Restaurant & Sandbar Grille - overlooks Galveston Bay
- Waterman’s Restaurant - indoor & outdoor dining overlooking Lake Como
- Way West Pizza & Grill (delivery)
- Red Snapper Inn (Surfside Beach) - west of San Luis Pass
Galveston’s Best Brunch Spots
Local favorites for brunch on Galveston Island are Mosquito Cafe, Sunflower Bakery & Cafe and the popular Sunday brunch at Hotel Galvez. There’s nothing better than watching the sun rise over the Gulf from the deck, followed by a delicious brunch with friends or family!
- Mosquito Cafe - breakfast served until 2 p.m.
- Sunflower Bakery & Cafe - breakfast served until 3 p.m.
- Hotel Galvez - Sundays from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Reservations suggested.
Perfect Places for Your Galveston Date Night
Heading out for a night on the town? Galveston boasts a variety of unique bars and restaurants perfect for spending time with your special someone. Post Office Street is home to a host of delicious eateries and galleries, as well as The Grand 1894 Opera House. Several spots boast patio dining, perfect on a warm coastal evening.
Celebrating a special occasion? Try one of these fine dining establishments or upscale bars:
- Rudy & Paco
- Riondo’s Ristorante
- Sky Bar Steak & Sushi
- Hearsay on The Strand
- The Rooftop Bar
- The island’s only rooftop bar, boasting s a selection of wine, craft beers, single malt scotch and signature cocktails.
The laid back style of Island life lends itself perfectly to a casual date night. Stroll the galleries or create your own unique piece at Clay Cup Studios, then head to one of these local favorites for some delicious food:
Where Do Locals Eat in Galveston?
Island residents all have their favorite Galveston restaurants and we’d love to share some of the Sand `N Sea team’s favorites with you!
- Mosquito Cafe
- Sunflower Bakery & Cafe
- Shrimp `N Stuff Ave O
- Yamato Japanese
- Cajun Greek
While we can’t all agree on the best place for seafood, we are absolutely all on board when it comes to Galveston Restaurant Week. This foodie festival runs for about 2 weeks in January of each year. Check places off of your “Places to Eat in Galveston” bucket list! Participating restaurants offer special prix fixe menus, often with unique tasting menus designed just for the event.