Whether you’re passing through Galveston, Texas, on a road trip, or are planning a beach getaway, there’s no denying that finding good food is a crucial part of any trip. Luckily, this Gulf Coast city has various dining options catering to all tastes and budgets. This blog post explores where to eat in Galveston, from breakfast cafes and international cuisine to tantalizing seafood.
Table of Contents
If you’re looking for uber-fresh seafood with a side of history, Gaido’s is the place to go. This fourth-generation family-owned restaurant has been serving Galveston since 1911 and is renowned for excellence. The menu features Gulf Coast favorites like shrimp, oysters, and crab and more unique options like blackened alligator.
Every entrée on the menu sounded delicious, but I went all in with a dozen of the best charcoal-grilled oysters of my life! I did have to try two side dishes, creamed spinach and blue cheese grits because they sounded (and were!) so wonderful.
I was too full for the pecan pie but heard rave reviews about it.
Not a seafood fan? No worries, Gaido’s also offers steak, chops, chicken, and pasta dishes. The elegant dining room is the perfect setting, but there is also a private dining space for 20 to 300 to celebrate your special occasion.
It had been a long time since I’d stepped foot in an old-school, upscale place like this, and I loved every bit of it.
Original Mexican Cafe
If you are craving Mexican food, Original Mexican Cafe, a family-owned restaurant, has served Tex-Mex favorites since 1916. The menu features all the classics, from burritos to enchiladas to fajitas and house specialties like the spicy shrimp Diablo.
We started our meal with a side of Chile con queso, followed by the Fajitas Jalisco, with lots of grilled veggies. I’ve eaten thousands of Mexican meals in my time, mostly chicken fajitas, and these were the best. I also liked the ranchero beans, a different variety than where I come from.
The Original Mexican Cafe portions are generous, so come hungry. My husband and I split our main course. The casual setting is perfect for families or groups of friends, and the margaritas and tres leches are not to be missed.
Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant
For a taste of Italy, head to Mario’s Seawall, a charming spot on Seawall Blvd. Family-owned restaurants are big in Galveston, as this was the third in a row that fit that bill. Mario’s has been serving Galveston since 1972 and is known for its award-winning homemade pasta and sauces.
Expect classic Italian dishes like spaghetti a la Mario’s, baked lasagna, veal marsala, pizzas, and seafood options, like lobster fettuccine Alfredo. They also have a Sunday brunch from 11 AM to 2 PM.
On my visit, my husband and I went for lunch. He chose the lunch buffet and thoroughly enjoyed the salads and pizza. I chose a baked pasta dish. We were both 10/10 happy with our choices.
Mario’s attentive server made us feel like family. I would be a regular there if I lived in Galveston.
Hearsay on the Strand
Looking for a more upscale dining experience? Hearsay on the Strand combines Southern hospitality with contemporary cuisine for a memorable meal. The menu offers a mix of small plates and entrees, with dishes like crab-crusted redfish, deviled eggs, and watermelon poke tostadas. I couldn’t wait to try the brunch, available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
My husband and I started with the candied bacon, which came with a side of maple syrup for dipping. My husband chose Chicken & Waffles for his main course, but I went with the breakfast burger, with fresh avocado and lots of cheese. A fried egg topped the stack, which quickly became a knife-and-fork burger. Yummy!
Hearsay’s drink menu is impressive, with craft cocktails and rare spirits. The setting is chic and sophisticated, with vintage elements and modern comforts.
Sunflower Bakery and Cafe
Check out the Sunflower Bakery and Cafe in the East End Historic District for a casual breakfast or lunch spot. This cozy cafe offers homemade muffins, sandwiches, and salads, as well as coffee and tea. It was one of the highest rated on TripAdvisor during my trip, and I knew I had to try it.
The atmosphere at Sunflower Bakery and Cafe is relaxed and cozy, with bright yellow walls and friendly service. Be sure to save room for one of their famous grilled cinnamon rolls, but the Migas breakfast plate gets my top vote.
Migas are three scrambled eggs with tortilla strips, onion, tomato, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese, served with fantastic potatoes and beans on the side. Warm tortillas are served on the side. Nom, nom, nom!
Sunflower Bakery and Cafe is closed Tuesdays. Biscuits come with strawberry butter — be still my beating heart.
Star Drug Store
For a blast from the past, head to Star Drug Store on the historic Strand. This vintage soda fountain has been a Galveston institution for over a century, with locals and tourists stopping for breakfast or lunch. It even covets the Oldest Drug Store in Texas title.
Star Drug Store offers classic dishes like burgers, sandwiches, milkshakes, and daily specials in an old-fashioned setting with a friendly staff. I tried the Galvestonian Omelet, with ham and Cheddar, and your choice of one side. I picked delicious sausage patties.
Note: Eggs Benedict is available on Saturday and Sunday.
The soda fountain menu has many tasty treats, like banana splits, hot lava cake sundaes, and egg cream, something I’ve had many times in New York City but rarely see on menus elsewhere. It was dreamy!
After your meal, browse the gift shop and pick up some souvenirs. They are open daily from 8:30 AM to 2 PM.
Taquilo’s Tex Mex Cantina
Another Tex-Mex favorite in Galveston is Taquilo’s, a lively spot on Postoffice Street. The menu has all your favorite classic Mexican dishes, like tacos, queso, and guacamole, as well as more unique options like the stuffed avocado.
We settled on the El Jefe, a chicken fajita chimichanga topped with Chile con queso. Rice and beans come on the side. I wasn’t expecting the food quality to be so good in what appears as a trendy restaurant, but it was absolutely delicious.
My husband rated the margaritas strong and tasty, while the cantina’s atmosphere was fun and lively. Per the website, they have award-winning margaritas and the beloved Ranch Water. Taquilo’s is a great spot for happy hour or a casual dinner with friends.
Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream
After your meal at Taquilo’s, cross the street and have dessert at Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream. This local favorite, with homemade ice cream in unique flavors like cookie monster, gingerbread, pumpkin crunch, and Dreamsicle, will please the palate and sweet tooth.
Ice cream cones, sundaes, shakes, and floats make up the majority of the menu, but get this…the Ultimate Naughty Nacho, with waffle chips, four scoops of ice cream, four toppings, cherries, nuts, and whipped cream.
I wanted to try this massive delicious-looking concoction but was entirely too full. I ended up with my old standby, a perfectly made chocolate shake. Be warned – the lines can get long in the summer months.
Where to Eat in Galveston: They All Delight
Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy dinner, international eats, or a casual lunch, a restaurant in Galveston will hit the spot.
Read more of our Texas posts: