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Trip to Corpus Christi & Port A - Will I Starve?

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My husband and I are planning a trip to Port Aransas and Corpus Christi in September. I'm already worried about leaving my food comfort zone and going on the road. Anyone have any restaurant suggestions for either of these cities or anywhere in between? We'll be celebrating our 15th anniversary. So, I'd like to find at least one nice restaurant. Help!

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  1. You may want to search the board for Port A and Corpus but here is a link to a recent post:

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/528594

    1. Corpus Christi: Water Street Grill.

      There are two actually located across the way from each other. You want the "party" one, not the tile lined family-friendly one--I got sick from the decor when I walked in here.

      Last time I went, food, service, and price were all excellent. They make a killer blackened red fish. Not exactly romantic, but still intimate.

      5 Replies
      1. re: nk.

        Oakville Grocery, on I-37 between San Antonio and Corpus, serves a very good burger. You'll find more details on the "Absolute Best Burger in Texas?" thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/382777

        Corpus is a very casual town, which is perhaps one reason why "nice" restaurants in town and good chow often do not go hand in hand. For instance, the Republic of Texas Bar & Grill in downtown Corpus is often mentioned as one of the city's finest spots. It almost certainly is among the most expensive. However, their food is terrible. My last (and only) meal there was an abomination, from the horrid crab "fondue" appetizer to the greasy crab cakes and revolting shrimp bisque. For my main course, I ordered the pork chops. The two huge pork-rib chops were easily enough to feed two people. They were also well cooked but pretty salty. Plus, it seemed to me as if the chops were seasoned with chain-restaurant-like industrial sauce from a can. The greens and daily starch on the side were below average. Even the bread basket was not worthwhile. The only decent item I sampled that evening was the warm spinach salad, but that alone is not worth a return trip. Every teenager in town on a big date is likely to be canoodling in the dining room, which does offer a great view. The service is like a small, but less than thorough, army. While it's always possible that the $30+ steaks are good, I suggest you pass on this place.

        There are many good casual places in CC, including Snoopy's, which is mentioned in the thread Rene cites above. Personally, I've soured on Water Street, though the locals in the family still seem to love it. My usual main courses—the fried shrimp and the blackened drum—have fallen off in quality, particularly the shrimp, which seem smaller and feature a less-flavorful breading. The drum's texture (which is naturally more tender than firm) has been downright mushy of late at Water Street. Their side vegetables, other than the sweet-potato fries, and their bread rolls have never really appealed to me, although these options (and especially their side salad) are much better than the usual fare at "family-friendly" restaurants.

        If I were celebrating, I'd probably make the drive to Robstown to dine at Joe Cotten's, a barbecue restaurant with somewhat formal table service (though the meat is still served on butcher paper).

        1. re: MPH

          I guess I should have had a disclaimer that it's been several years since I've been to Water Street. Sad to hear that it has gone downhill.

          1. re: nk.

            It’s true that my disappointing visit there was recent (early May), but while I really noticed a difference, my family in Corpus still enjoys certain dishes (blackened fish for the adults; kids’ plates for the youngsters). To them, it’s a "go to," unpretentious family spot.

            Here's hoping that Water Street gets back on track before our respective return trips that way!

          2. re: MPH

            Joe Cotten's was destroyed recently in a tragic fire. Most emloyees were offered work at Corpus restaurants as the community reached out to them.

            1. re: MPH

              So true, Greekgirl.

          3. Snoopy's is very good, laid back, not exactly an anniversary spot, but I recommend it for a lazy afternoon.

            1. My husband and I have lived in Corpus Christi for almost 11 years. We are both from Louisiana and consider ourselves "foodies".

              Water Street is a NO--stay away ! Mama Mia is VERY GOOD. Green Papaya on SPID is also very good. Snoopy's is a VERY laid back water joint with a great view and good fried seafood.Dragonfly on the island is also very good.

              1. I left off Cafe Aeby. It would be an appropriate anniversary spot. Katz steakhouse is not very predictable--sometimes good ---sometimes not. The steakhouse on top of the Omni -ditto-UNPREDICTABLE!!!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ccfoodie

                  Cafe Aeby is closed.

                  -----
                  Cafe Aeby
                  3815 S Alameda St, Corpus Christi, TX 78411

                2. go to la playa on Beach in Port A (not the one's in Corpus...completely different). Also venetian hotplate in Port A is excellent as well.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cbs2528

                    And at La Playa, order the strawberry margarita, and the flan. I haven't enjoyed their entrees as much as their appetizers. We usually order their soup and an appetizer and of course, margaritas.

                  2. I lived in Corpus for 8 years. Cafe Aeby is the best anniversary restaurant mentioned. But no, you will not find alot of fine dining here at least by big town standards.

                    1. Oh I forgot to mention Katz 21. It's mainly a steakhouse but I've had many good meals there.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TCS

                        Margie, you'll need some roadfood as well. Two dependable favorites that will likely be on or near your route:

                        Czech Stop or Geriks in West, Texas, just a few miles north of Waco for incredible kolaches. Geriks is better, but Czech Stop is open 24/7. No website for Geriks, but Czech Stop is www.czechstop.net.

                        Louis Muellers in Taylor, about 20 miles east of Round Rock. Some of the very best BBQ in the nation. Open Mon-Sat 10-6, closed Sundays. www.louiemuellerbarbecue.com.

                        Hope that helps!!!

                      2. I don't know what your "food comfort zone" is, so I'll just tell you some of my favorites.

                        In Corpus:

                        Hu-Dat Noodle House
                        http://www.hu-dat.com

                        Sultan Mediterranean Cuisine
                        http://www.sultanmc.com/

                        Padre Pizzeria:
                        http://www.padrepizzeria.com/

                        In Port A:
                        La Playa Mexican Grille (like someone else said - NOT La Playa in CC!

                        )

                        Marcel's

                        Venetian Hot Plate
                        http://www.venetianhotplate.com/

                        Oh, and I concur with others who state that the Water Street restaurants have gone down in quality over the past few years.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: greekgirl64

                          I live in Corpus Christi. Locals NEVER say Corpus. The service is not reliable at Water Street, but the food I order is always reliable.....Salmon with dill sauce, Fried Oysters (plate or Po boy), Raw Oysters, Penne Pasta as a side. My husband usually likes grilled fish. I do not like the Garlic Butter & the bread sometimes is not cooked enough. I am sorry that they dropped their fantastic Bread Pudding with Boubon Sauce. My favorite dessert.

                          Hu Dat is always excellent & very reasonable (low) prices. Started in Rockport, but do not know if one is still there. Three in CC.

                          Vietnam is a good date place, beautiful ambience, good bar (I like Manhattens) but has become too expensive to eat on a regular basis. Best fried shrimp in town...Black Pepper Shrimp.

                          Green Papaya is owned by members of same family that owns Vietnam. Similar recipes, much more affordable. Great food. Love the Vietnames Crepe on Appetizer menu. Tell them to bring lots of lettuce & show you how to eat. Cut a piece of crepe & wrap in lettuce leaf. Use Nuoc Mam as salad dressing. Enough for 2 small appetites to share. Makes me hungry writing about it. It is light not heavy food.

                          Dragonfly is okay, not great.

                          Port Aransas (hereafter PA): Everyone says PA La Playa is fantastic. Have never been there. Same goes for Venetian Hot Plate. . Shame Beaulah's closed. It was incredible. I saw in the paper that a new place has opened in the old Beaulah's at the Tarpon Inn. Looked worth trying. Virginia's in PA is always good for a drink & waterside views. Food is okay & reasonable.

                          Closed in CC: Sultan's , Cafe Aeby

                          1. re: lador

                            Can I say Corpus if I DON"T live in Corpus? :)

                            I used to travel to CC frequently and stayed at Omni. I had plenty of good solid meals at the City Diner. Fresh fish at lunch and dinner in a kitchy 50's diner setting. They serve breakfast too.

                            -----
                            City Diner
                            1226 W Marshall Ave, Longview, TX 75604

                            1. re: Lambowner

                              lador doesn't know what she's talking about. I have lived here for almost 20 years. Everyone says Corpus, especially in casual conversation.

                              1. re: greekgirl64

                                So true, greekgirl. I grew up in Corpus, but I live in New Orleans, where no one has ever heard of Corpus Christi. I was back in Corpus for 3.5 years recently and it is amazing to me how little rest rest of the world knows about the Sparkling City By the Sea! It's not necessarily a place for fine dining restaurants, partly because people eat well and entertain graciously in their homes.

                                As for the oft-maligned Water Street Oyster Bar, I love it, have never had a problem that wasn't rectified and/or comped, but maybe that's because I expect to enjoy myself and treat people with respect. And the food? Look up at the chalkboard over the kitchen to find some of the freshest seafood around. Your server will communicate your special needs to the open kitchen.

                                I love good food, fresh ingredients, and good service, and I appreciate it when I get it.

                                -----
                                Water Street Oyster Bar
                                7500 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

                                1. re: marthasway

                                  For some reason, I can't edit out that San Antonio location. WSB&G is located on the corner of Water Street and William.

                          2. re: greekgirl64

                            Sultan's has metamorphosed into a very upscale Mexican place called LaFonda. Haven't been there, but The owner and his wife has changed concepts again.