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an overhead shot of Galveston, with colorful buildings and the beach.
Galveston offers a weekend getaway for Houstonians.
Shutterstock/Eric V. Overton

Eat Like a Local at These 21 Galveston Restaurants

Where to find lunch, brunch, dinner, or drinks on the island

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Galveston offers a weekend getaway for Houstonians.
| Shutterstock/Eric V. Overton

Whether you’re staycationing or just day-tripping, Galveston is the ultimate stone’s throw destination from Houston.

Every year, the island welcomes millions of tourists and travelers, some of which stick around to take in attractions like Moody Gardens, Schlitterbahn, and of course, the beach. Others are headed to the cruise ship port, en route to their dream vacations, while many call the island, billed “the free state of Galveston,” home.

Summer and spring are popular times to visit, but as the temperatures dip and sweater weather hits, patios start filling up, and crisp fall and winter nights get more memorable in this quaint beach city. Regardless of timing — great seafood, homey cafes, and no-frills food joints abound, making the island a prime place for culinary exploration. Here’s a guide to some of the best dining on the island, including places enjoyed by Galveston’s residents.

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Yaga's Cafe

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The vibes are immaculate at this local comfort food hotspot, which has something for everyone. Find artisan pizzas, chef specials like coconut shrimp, brunch bites of salmon benedict, and diet-friendly offerings catering to those with keto diets. And if the food wasn’t enough, Yaga’s patio is one of the biggest in the city, and there’s live music from local bands on weekends.

The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe

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Breezy, down-home comfort food cuisine make this café a local hotspot for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. With specials such as its seasonal favorite pumpkin waffles and its crawfish pappardelle, revel in a stick-to-your-ribs mid-day meal and take in a crisp fall or winter day outside on one of the town’s best patios.

La King's Confectionery

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Candy doesn’t exactly count as a meal, but don’t be surprised to end up eating your weight in La King’s saltwater taffy or pecan logs. This sweet shop has been around for nearly 100 years, and there’s plenty of old-fashioned tradition still in play. Thick shakes and malts are served at the 1920s soda fountain, along with more than 20 options for ice cream and frozen yogurt made in-house.

The window at La King’s Confectionary.
La King’s Confectionary serves milk shakes and malts at its 1920’s soda fountain.
La King’s/Facebook

Trattoria La Vigna

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One of the best things about Galveston is its quality Italian food. Trattoria la Vigna stands above as a quaint and quiet spot with delectable, world-class options like spaghetti and clams or seafood risotto.

Black Pearl Oyster Bar

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Gulf oysters are (obviously) abundant in Galveston, but this bar is a legendary spot. In addition to the fresh, well-shucked bivalves, the cooked preparations, like oysters Haelen, topped with crab meat and cheese, are equally stellar.

Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant

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An island paragon, this upscale Galveston steakhouse features grilled meats and seafood with plenty of South and Central American influence. Ceviche, plantain-crusted Gulf snapper, and a selection of steaks offer a swanky dinner option that is also totally delicious. Pro tip: If you’re headed to Rudy & Paco for dinner, wear pants — shorts are only allowed during lunch and at the bar.

Taquilo's

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For great Tex-Mex, look no further than Taquilo’s. Order one of its signature beef, chicken, or shrimp fajita plates; nibble on some fresh ceviche; and pair it with any of its rotating margarita offerings. Its sidewalk patio is great for people watching or enjoying a cool night while overlooking the popular Post Office Street.

Maceo Spice & Import Co.

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Opened in 1944, Maceo Spice is a Galveston institution. In addition to the array of spices and sauces perfect for cooking at home, diners will also find a solid menu of sandwiches during lunch. The muffaletta is big enough for two, or go for the Spaisano, which features ham, capocollo, sopressata, provolone, and Maceo’s excellent olive salad on Italian bread.

Gypsy Joynt

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This hippie haven is less likely to be packed with tourists during the summer, making it a total hidden gem. Sandwiches, salads, wild pizza concoctions, and other standard American fare is on offer, all excellently made. Highlights include the cadre of big burgers topped with things like sweetened pecans and pear vinaigrette, and the Sleazy Mac and Cheese, made with crawfish, bacon, asparagus, topped with avocado. Don’t sleep on those cakes, cookies, and pastries, either.

Daiquiri Time Out

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Though technically not a restaurant, Daiquiri Time Out is too good of a time to be left off this list. The city’s premier cocktail bar features a seasonally rotating list of expertly crafted cocktails such as the Valor and Swagger, a warming mix of brown butter brandy, pear cider, Pimento Dram, and lemon. Hungry after a few? Enter a state of island bliss by stopping by the Crazy J’s food truck onsite for burgers, lobster rolls, and the house-favorite blue crab grilled cheese on buttery brioche. Insider tip: Monday nights mean hearty pasta specials.

Sharky's Tavern

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With a dive bar atmosphere and live music, Sharky’s is not only one of Galveston’s most welcoming watering holes but it’s also home to some of the best pizza. Its signature “Big Fred” is a favorite here, with fat stacks of pepperoni, jalapeno, and sausage. More adventurous offerings include a Jamaican jerk chicken-inspired pie or the Casablanca — a Moroccan-spiced beef, olive, and basil pesto-based crowd-pleaser.

If you’re chasing a good bowl of pho, Pho 20’s vegetarian bowl of soup is an explosive combination of tofu, veggies, and a thick broth with a depth of flavor. Try the bun cha, which is loaded with vermicelli noodles, grilled pork, and carrots and cucumbers.

A local’s best-kept secret, Bambu serves up some of the best Mexican food on the island, including what could be Galveston’s best “surprise” burritos — a combination of scrambled eggs,  cheese, bacon, refried beans, and potatoes. Their carne asada and barbacoa tortas are also worth the trip.

Leo's Cajun Corner

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No matter where you are in Texas, platters of smoked meats are encouraged. This homey breakfast and lunch spot offers riblets and Cajun boudin by the pound alongside hardy plates of brisket. Pork and oyster-packed sandwiches, and all your Cajun classics such as etouffee, drummies, and jambalaya also highlight this Bayou-by-bay, low-key joint.

Shrimp N Stuff

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Around since 1976, Shrimp n’ Stuff’s original location on Avenue O’s charming, blue facade is enough to make you peek inside without even knowing what’s on the menu. Rest assured, though, the crispy catfish po’ boy will absolutely not disappoint.

BLVD Seafood

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Swing by this casual, modern restaurant for excellent Gulf seafood that doesn’t require fancy pants. Feast on Gulf red snapper that’s crusted in pecans or blackened, and don’t forget to order a dozen oysters done BLVD style with blackened shrimp, crab, parmesan, and bread crumbs. Choose from the gigantic wine list or the cocktail list, featuring a perfect negroni.

The Spot

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It might be a bit of a tourist trap, but who can say no to bloody marys and beer by the beach? With five different venues in one space (including a tiki bar) the Spot is a sort of one stop shop for drinking and dining on the Seawall. Try the crispy fried coconut shrimp, and treat yourself to a giant pitcher of pina coladas.

An exterior shot of Galveston’s the Spot.
Located on Galveston’s seawall, the Spot is home to five different venues in one, including a restaurant and tiki bar with views of the ocean.
The Spot

The Gumbo Diner

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Everywhere on the island, someone is claiming to have the best seafood gumbo. It’s up to you whether or not you believe them, but the Gumbo Diner is the perfect place to kick off that quest.

Gaidos Seafood Restaurant

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A perennial Galveston favorite that’s been open since 1911, Gaido’s boasts white-glove service and a view of the sea, with dishes like pecan-crusted Mahi Mahi, crawfish asiago, and a classic cocktail menu that’s perfect for celebrating just about anything.

A plate of oysters cooked seven different ways.
Gaido’s offers a range of seafood favorites, including pecan-crusted Mahi Mahi and oysters cooked several different ways.
Gaido’s

Yamato Japanese Restaurant

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This long-standing sushi and hibachi spot has served up some of Galveston’s freshest Japanese fare for 20 years. Alongside the extensive selection of sushi rolls, find fried soft-shell crab, yakinuku-style steak, and teriyaki salmon. Fried green tea ice cream or Mississippi mud pie makes for a sweet finish.

Cajun Greek

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Offering some of the island’s most inventive, yet classic seafood fare, Cajun Greek is a sleeper hit with items like the creamy “ultimate” salmon mac and cheese or the Crabber’s Choice seafood soup — a spicy Texan take on the classic cioppino.

Yaga's Cafe

The vibes are immaculate at this local comfort food hotspot, which has something for everyone. Find artisan pizzas, chef specials like coconut shrimp, brunch bites of salmon benedict, and diet-friendly offerings catering to those with keto diets. And if the food wasn’t enough, Yaga’s patio is one of the biggest in the city, and there’s live music from local bands on weekends.

The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe

Breezy, down-home comfort food cuisine make this café a local hotspot for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. With specials such as its seasonal favorite pumpkin waffles and its crawfish pappardelle, revel in a stick-to-your-ribs mid-day meal and take in a crisp fall or winter day outside on one of the town’s best patios.

La King's Confectionery

Candy doesn’t exactly count as a meal, but don’t be surprised to end up eating your weight in La King’s saltwater taffy or pecan logs. This sweet shop has been around for nearly 100 years, and there’s plenty of old-fashioned tradition still in play. Thick shakes and malts are served at the 1920s soda fountain, along with more than 20 options for ice cream and frozen yogurt made in-house.

The window at La King’s Confectionary.
La King’s Confectionary serves milk shakes and malts at its 1920’s soda fountain.
La King’s/Facebook

Trattoria La Vigna

One of the best things about Galveston is its quality Italian food. Trattoria la Vigna stands above as a quaint and quiet spot with delectable, world-class options like spaghetti and clams or seafood risotto.

Black Pearl Oyster Bar

Gulf oysters are (obviously) abundant in Galveston, but this bar is a legendary spot. In addition to the fresh, well-shucked bivalves, the cooked preparations, like oysters Haelen, topped with crab meat and cheese, are equally stellar.

Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant

An island paragon, this upscale Galveston steakhouse features grilled meats and seafood with plenty of South and Central American influence. Ceviche, plantain-crusted Gulf snapper, and a selection of steaks offer a swanky dinner option that is also totally delicious. Pro tip: If you’re headed to Rudy & Paco for dinner, wear pants — shorts are only allowed during lunch and at the bar.

Taquilo's

For great Tex-Mex, look no further than Taquilo’s. Order one of its signature beef, chicken, or shrimp fajita plates; nibble on some fresh ceviche; and pair it with any of its rotating margarita offerings. Its sidewalk patio is great for people watching or enjoying a cool night while overlooking the popular Post Office Street.

Maceo Spice & Import Co.

Opened in 1944, Maceo Spice is a Galveston institution. In addition to the array of spices and sauces perfect for cooking at home, diners will also find a solid menu of sandwiches during lunch. The muffaletta is big enough for two, or go for the Spaisano, which features ham, capocollo, sopressata, provolone, and Maceo’s excellent olive salad on Italian bread.

Gypsy Joynt

This hippie haven is less likely to be packed with tourists during the summer, making it a total hidden gem. Sandwiches, salads, wild pizza concoctions, and other standard American fare is on offer, all excellently made. Highlights include the cadre of big burgers topped with things like sweetened pecans and pear vinaigrette, and the Sleazy Mac and Cheese, made with crawfish, bacon, asparagus, topped with avocado. Don’t sleep on those cakes, cookies, and pastries, either.

Daiquiri Time Out

Though technically not a restaurant, Daiquiri Time Out is too good of a time to be left off this list. The city’s premier cocktail bar features a seasonally rotating list of expertly crafted cocktails such as the Valor and Swagger, a warming mix of brown butter brandy, pear cider, Pimento Dram, and lemon. Hungry after a few? Enter a state of island bliss by stopping by the Crazy J’s food truck onsite for burgers, lobster rolls, and the house-favorite blue crab grilled cheese on buttery brioche. Insider tip: Monday nights mean hearty pasta specials.

Sharky's Tavern

With a dive bar atmosphere and live music, Sharky’s is not only one of Galveston’s most welcoming watering holes but it’s also home to some of the best pizza. Its signature “Big Fred” is a favorite here, with fat stacks of pepperoni, jalapeno, and sausage. More adventurous offerings include a Jamaican jerk chicken-inspired pie or the Casablanca — a Moroccan-spiced beef, olive, and basil pesto-based crowd-pleaser.

Pho 20

If you’re chasing a good bowl of pho, Pho 20’s vegetarian bowl of soup is an explosive combination of tofu, veggies, and a thick broth with a depth of flavor. Try the bun cha, which is loaded with vermicelli noodles, grilled pork, and carrots and cucumbers.

Bambú

A local’s best-kept secret, Bambu serves up some of the best Mexican food on the island, including what could be Galveston’s best “surprise” burritos — a combination of scrambled eggs,  cheese, bacon, refried beans, and potatoes. Their carne asada and barbacoa tortas are also worth the trip.

Leo's Cajun Corner

No matter where you are in Texas, platters of smoked meats are encouraged. This homey breakfast and lunch spot offers riblets and Cajun boudin by the pound alongside hardy plates of brisket. Pork and oyster-packed sandwiches, and all your Cajun classics such as etouffee, drummies, and jambalaya also highlight this Bayou-by-bay, low-key joint.

Shrimp N Stuff

Around since 1976, Shrimp n’ Stuff’s original location on Avenue O’s charming, blue facade is enough to make you peek inside without even knowing what’s on the menu. Rest assured, though, the crispy catfish po’ boy will absolutely not disappoint.

Related Maps

BLVD Seafood

Swing by this casual, modern restaurant for excellent Gulf seafood that doesn’t require fancy pants. Feast on Gulf red snapper that’s crusted in pecans or blackened, and don’t forget to order a dozen oysters done BLVD style with blackened shrimp, crab, parmesan, and bread crumbs. Choose from the gigantic wine list or the cocktail list, featuring a perfect negroni.

The Spot

It might be a bit of a tourist trap, but who can say no to bloody marys and beer by the beach? With five different venues in one space (including a tiki bar) the Spot is a sort of one stop shop for drinking and dining on the Seawall. Try the crispy fried coconut shrimp, and treat yourself to a giant pitcher of pina coladas.

An exterior shot of Galveston’s the Spot.
Located on Galveston’s seawall, the Spot is home to five different venues in one, including a restaurant and tiki bar with views of the ocean.
The Spot

The Gumbo Diner

Everywhere on the island, someone is claiming to have the best seafood gumbo. It’s up to you whether or not you believe them, but the Gumbo Diner is the perfect place to kick off that quest.

Gaidos Seafood Restaurant

A perennial Galveston favorite that’s been open since 1911, Gaido’s boasts white-glove service and a view of the sea, with dishes like pecan-crusted Mahi Mahi, crawfish asiago, and a classic cocktail menu that’s perfect for celebrating just about anything.

A plate of oysters cooked seven different ways.
Gaido’s offers a range of seafood favorites, including pecan-crusted Mahi Mahi and oysters cooked several different ways.
Gaido’s

Yamato Japanese Restaurant

This long-standing sushi and hibachi spot has served up some of Galveston’s freshest Japanese fare for 20 years. Alongside the extensive selection of sushi rolls, find fried soft-shell crab, yakinuku-style steak, and teriyaki salmon. Fried green tea ice cream or Mississippi mud pie makes for a sweet finish.

Cajun Greek

Offering some of the island’s most inventive, yet classic seafood fare, Cajun Greek is a sleeper hit with items like the creamy “ultimate” salmon mac and cheese or the Crabber’s Choice seafood soup — a spicy Texan take on the classic cioppino.

Related Maps