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Texas Coast recommendations please.

My wife and I are driving the Texas Gulf coast in early December. We are looking for recommendations for good local type restaurants along the way. We will be staying in South Padre Island, Corpus Christi, Gulfport and the Houston/Beaumont area. We especially like home cooking, BBQ, Seafood and TexMex. Thanks

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  1. If you are traveling on the coast along Highway 77 I recommend King's Inn Restaurant in Riviera on Baffin Bay. It is not fancy and the food is served family style but it is very good fresh basic seafood. The restaurant has been around since 1945 and is well know for their sliced avocado salad and good friend shrimp and fish. I go to the south Texas valley several times a year and always try to stop by Kings Inn.

    There are those hounds that would disagree with me but if you are in the Galveston area I still like Gaido's. Things is at Gaido's you have to know what to order. Stay away from salmon etc. and stick with Gulf seafood. I love their charcoal grilled shrimp, also their soft shell Saparito is very good.

    Baffin Bay Cafe
    1289 E County Road 2328, Riviera, TX 78379

    1. Drive the Blue Water Highway between Surfside and Galveston and eat at the Red Snapper Inn in Surfside. They have very fresh seafood, my favorites are the po boys, fish, shrimp, and oysters. I always ask for extra shrimp or oysters. The home fries are delicious, really just fresh fried potato chips.


      Red Snapper Inn
      402 Blue Water Hwy, Freeport, TX 77541

      1. Are you driving through Gulfport, MS? I don't know of a Gulfport, TX. Go to Fat Mac's or Willy Ray's for BBQ in Beaumont, TX.

        Fat Mac's Smokehouse @ 5555 Calder Ave., Beaumont, TX. 409 - 892 - 8600.
        Willy Ray's BBQ @ 145 Interstate 10, Beaumont, TX 409 - 832 - 7770.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Littleman

          It could be Rockport. I like the CrabN, and Panjo's Pizza, some of the best I've had in Texas, and it can hod it's own in NYC. Avoid the Big Fisherman at all costs.

          Panjo's Pizza
          1320 Airline Rd, Corpus Christi, TX 78412

          Big Fisherman Restaurant
          510 State Highway 188, Rockport, TX 78382

        2. I often drive the one hour to eat at Al-T's in Winnie, Tx. It's very good cajun cooking. Lots of fresh seafood. I always get their frog legs. Their dirty rice is delicious.

          There's a great bakery in Beaumont - Rao's. They have several locations but we go to the one on Calder.

          If you go through Port Arthur, stop at Nick's and get some boudin.


          Al T's Seafood & Steak House
          PO Box 1438, Winnie, TX 77665

          Rao's Bakery & Coffee Cafe
          2596 Calder St, Beaumont, TX 77702

          1. Houston/Beaumont area covers a huge territory and there will be zillions of possibilities. But Houston is 50 miles inland and I presume you aren't actually looking for recommendations there?

            I second Red Snapper Inn on the Blue Water Hwy at Surfside. Other places in the Brazosport area would include Cafe Annice in downtown Lake Jackson for seafood and pasta, a surprisingly upscale place for such a small town; also The Local across the street for sandwiches. In Clute, El Toro is the best Tex-Mex in the area, Brian's, right down the road, is the best bbq, especially for ribs. In Freeport, a more home-style menu can be found at On The River. The two best restaurants over-all in the area are Red Snapper and Cafe Annice.

            Cafe Annice
            24 Circle Way St, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

            Red Snapper Inn
            402 Blue Water Hwy, Freeport, TX 77541

            1 Reply
            1. re: brucesw

              I second Cafe Annice, it is VERY good. I haven't been in about 4-5 years but only because it's an hour and a half drive from me. Wish it were closer. I haven't been to Red Snapper Inn in longer than that but it has always been consistently good through the years.

              Cafe Annice
              24 Circle Way St, Lake Jackson, TX 77566

              Red Snapper Inn
              402 Blue Water Hwy, Freeport, TX 77541

            2. I LOVE the Peanut Butter Shrimp at Scampi's in South Padre Island. Not cheap, but a must try if you want to splurge a little.

              1. After living on the coast 8 years, we left Rockport nearly 3 years ago. Here are our notes from then.

                Captain Benny’s: best fried oysters anywhere, excellent fried shrimp & fish, & great fish tacos too.
                It’s BYOB. Not open for lunch; dinners Weds/Sat, last we knew.
                Captain Billy’s Wife’s Place: I asked which fish was in their fish sandwich & was told it was
                something frozen, probably from Alaska. Their shrimp were typical frozen popcorn
                shrimp. The place isn’t bad but why bother?
                Crab’N: similar to Charlotte Plummer’s but not quite as good.
                Latitude 2802: Rockport's 'fine dining' place. It’s good.
                Fai Foo Café: Vietnamese, surprisingly good. Informal décor, moderate $.
                Off the Hook: similar to Plummer’s but we liked it better. Overlooks the water.
                Tony Legener’s: good.
                Taquiera Jalisco: No!
                Panjo’s Pizza: No!
                Moondog: No! Well, it's an ok place to buy a beer & watch the Gulf but forget the food.
                Paradise Key Island Grill: No! The fish we were served was still mostly frozen.
                Boiling Pot: No! Bland expensive boiled shrimp & stone crab claws
                Big Fishermen: Absolutely not! Tourist trap supreme.

                Port Aransas:
                Trout Street Bar & Grill was decent.
                That bright orange place (Oceans of Seafood?) was good in a down-home fried kind of way.

                South Padre Island:
                Amberjack’s: only ok
                La Quinta: yes (w/coupon or off season)
                Padre Island Brewing Company: only ok
                Scampi’s: good, better than Amberjack’s

                Aka Sushi was good.

                Galveston: So-so for dinner: good for lunch.

                Hope y'all enjoy your trip.


                2 Replies
                1. re: FishTales

                  Last Friday evening, five of us had fried shrimp baskets at Dirty Al's in South Padre Island. The shrimp was lightly battered and larger than several of us expected - good value. The salad is very simple - chopped iceberg with 2 tomato slices and ranch dressing - and we knew that. Some reviewers have complained about the salad, but for what it was - it was good (fresh, crisp and the tomatoes were ripe). I was very pleased and would be happy to return on our next trip. The accompanying fries were also done right. I seldom order fries (or any other fried food), but this was an exception and the fries were tasty.

                  1. re: Milt

                    The OP has not returned. I guess he's not interested. There's a lot of good recommendations. Oh well..............Sigh..............I think I will go bear hunting.

                2. Hi! I thought I would ask here as opposed to starting a new thread. We are heading to South Padre over Christmas for about 10 days. We've been a couple of times before and like Dirty Al's a lot, splitting a salad and app at the brewery was fine. Ate at a bar a few times - okay/decent food, nice view and pretty laid back (can't think of the name).

                  This time we will be there over Christmas, and I'm wondering if there is a good place for a holiday meal? We'll have a car, so going into Brownsville is an option. Willing to spend about $25 - $30 a person before drinks - but this is flexible. Looking for a good, festive meal - doesn't have to be high-end.

                  TIA for any help!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: corneygirl

                    we took a group to GLOW in rockport, texas. only place we know of serving really fresh gulf fish (tilefish, grouper, snapper, blackfin tuna, scorpion fish !, kingfish...) on the coast. had some texas game and fun cocktails, too. we like this place a lot.

                    1. re: fishinrockport

                      Rockport actually has a new place in Holiday Beach (stay with me) on Hwy 35 that is serving some amazing seafood...snapper, tilapia, seasonal fish, oysters in season, best fried shrimp I ever had. It's called Salt Creek Cafe. It is a dumpy little place with the best food ever, and the prices run from about $7 to $14 for a steak, so the prices are great for the area.