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South Padre Island and surrounding area Eats

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Looking for recommendations for good restaurants in South Padre Island and surrounding area.

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  1. good luck, we've been to SP several times over the years and nothing has made an impression. Sea Ranch served us frozen Gorton's style shrimp. Dirty Al's is not bad, but food was greasy, even the fresh looking shrimp.

    1. Thought I'd try again...any suggestions? South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Harlingen, Brownsville?

      1. Just came back from a weekend on the island. Had dinner at Senor Donkey and Cafe Kranzler and breakfast at Ted's and Grapevine Cafe. In the interest of sharing info here are some quick breakdowns:
        - Senor Donkey: average to below average tex-mex, average service, average prices.
        - Cafe Kranzler: decent "American" cuisine but slightly overpriced for what you get. Probably one of the better food options on the island, it was quiet and appeared to be mostly populated by locals. Objectively speaking though, the cuisine/setting/service/cost balance would not fare well in a real restaurant market and I think this place probably survives on being a respite from the throngs of tourists at the assembly line establishments that make up the SPI restaurant market.
        - Grapevine Cafe: decent breakfast fare, particularly the breakfast tacos. Good coffee. Decent pricing.
        - Ted's: below average breakfast fare but cheap.
        This is obviously just a small cross-section of what's available but I was pretty underwhelmed. Best meal of the weekend was at Taqueria Almeida outside of Corpus Christ on the drive down (highly recommend).

        1. It's been years but Manuel's in PI is (was) a great breakfast spot.

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          1. re: waistedinkerrville

            Manuel's is mainland side in Port Isabel, I thought

          2. Manuel's was on South Padre Island before relocating to Port Miserable. Long time ago!!

            1. I'm in South Padre Island right now. Keep in mind it is near impossible to hit every restaurant in a week but I think I have some winner recommendations.

              One is in Port Isabel next to the Lighthouse. It is Will and Jacks Burger Shack. I had the No. 2 of steam grilled beef, sharp cheddar cheese, green chilis, bacon and toasted bun.

              Another was the Mahi Mahi Po' Boy sandwich at Pier 19 near the KOA campground. They billed theirs as the best on the island I guess in some contest. It didn't disappoint.

              Gabriella,s is an Italian restaurant. We had their Soprano pizza which is their loaded pizza. It is a wood-fired pizza. It is not a personal size pizza but medium 14" size and was too much for the two of us to eat it all in the restaurant. I'm kind of a pizza snob so would say their pizza was good but not great.

              Places I would not recommend are the Shrimp Haus at Schletterbans and Scampi's. Both to me reminded me of a bygone era and I'll never go back.

              Padre Island Brewing Co. brewpub has decent bar food but I went there for the beers. What seems to be sadly lacking on the island is good beer at most all the restaurants. They serve not much but national brews in cans because of the beach rules.

              Dirty Al's is OK by me. It is kind of a dive but the seafood was fine. Yummie's is a bistro type cafe that is pretty good but I haven't gone there yet this year. When I go by Blackbeard's and it seems always full. I haven't tried it yet but have heard good recommendations. I'd also like to try the PadreRitaGrill on Padre Blvd. They are suppose to have a 2012 first place in the World Championship Shrimp Cook-Off, but that could be some more made up self promotion for all I know. Beach Bar? Clayton's.

              1. I stopped at Yummie's Bistro yesterday and tried their Bistro Burger. They said quarter pound but this thing was closer to a half pound topped with bacon and cheese with Avocado on the side, and was good.