Must-Eat Restaurants in Galveston TX
We've been coming to Galveston Island our entire lives. It is always one of our favorite places to spend time. And a big part of why we love it are the great Mom & Pop, family-owned and local restaurants that you just can't find anywhere else. So next time you're on the Island, be sure to take the time to eat at some of our favorite restaurants in Galveston...
1401 Market Street at 14th, Galveston TX 77550
You might recognize this one from our Best Restaurants of 2019 post
. The Original has been our favorite restaurant in Galveston for YEARS! We absolutely love this place. They've been serving up great classic Tex-Mex food from this location since 1916! You read that right. The Original is the oldest continually operating restaurant still in its original location in Galveston and likely in the entire region. This is our go-to place for Tex-Mex!
2323 Strand Street, Galveston, TX 77550
Another long, long-time favorite of ours! La King's Confectionery
has been serving up amazing homemade ice cream, salt water taffy, and a huge selection of homemade candy since 1976. But a visit to La King's isn't just about their delicious treats, you step back in time as you enter their mid-1880s building on Galveston's historic Strand, time slows down and any stresses you are feeling outside seem to melt away. If you're there on the weekends or during busier times, you might see them pulling fresh taffy on 100+ year old machines. If you only have a few hours in Galveston, make sure to put La King's on your must see list!
510 23rd Street, Galveston TX 77550
Another absolute gem located in Galveston's historic downtown, Star Drug Store is the Oldest Drug Store in Texas, orginally opening its doors in 1890! Today, they serve very good breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch, as well as old-fashion soda fountain treats, from behind their original 1917 horseshoe-shaped counter. (1917 is the year the Star began serving food.) The Star made history when it became the first desegregated lunch counter in Galveston. When you visit, be sure to notice the upstairs "loft" area that wraps around the restaurant. Back in the day, the pharmacist would send patients upstairs to lay down for a while so he could see how they were responding to medication.
The Original Mexican Cafe
Star Drug Store
3204 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston TX 77550
Want a view of the beach and the Gulf of Mexico as you eat? The Spot has indoor and outdoor patio dining. They specialize in burgers which are big enough for 2 folks to share (and we usually do!). Other good options here include their steak sandwich, nachos, chicken sandwich and, of course, fresh, local Gulf Shrimp! Their onion rings are hand-dipped and their desert bar is eye-popping. And if you want a drink, check out one of the attached bars, each with it's own unique atmosphere. Though not a "historic" restaurant, The Spot is made up of multiple old homes that were scheduled to be demolished. They were moved here to a vacant lot and repurposed into The Spot! The current owner is a BOI (Born On The Island) Galvestonian who started here as a dishwasher.
2711 Market Street, Galveston TX 77550
Much newer to the Island than a lot of our other favorites, and off the beaten path, Gypsy Joynt is a completely unique, eclectic experience. You would probably never find this place just by driving around, and the outside of their historic 1916 building doesn't really scream for attention, but they are definitely worth going out of your way for. Their laid back atmosphere is complimented by a creative and very good menu of everything from salads to pizza, sandwiches to mac-and-cheese. Vegans and vegetarians will love this place as much as the carnivores. As with most of the restaurants we talk about here, their prices are affordable. And holy cow y'all... you should see their desserts!
Original Location: 3901 Avenue O, Galveston TX 77550Downtown
: 2506 Ball Street, Galveston TX 77550
Food Truck: in Jamaica Beach!
This may be the only restaurant on our list that has more than one location! Shrimp 'N Stuff has been serving up delicious seafood in Galveston since 1976. (They were voted Best Seafood Galveston County Wide in 2019 and that says a lot!) Each of their locations (2 sit down restaurants and 1 food truck) has their own vibe and specialties. Their Avenue O location has a tree-covered patio. This is our go-to for fresh, local, affordable seafood in a casual environment. And they have "stuff" for non-seafood eaters too!
3828 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston TX 77550
If you're looking for a more upscale seafood dining experience, Gaido's is a Galveston institution. Since opening their doors in 1911, Gaido's has been a favorite splurge for generations of folks visiting Galveston. They say they peel their own Gulf shrimp, shuck their own oysters from Galveston Bay and fillet their own fish. Everyone from Presidents to Alfred Hitchcock have eaten at Gaido's over the years. Make sure you take the time to look at the old Galveston photos while you're there. You might even find images of the original Gaido's location, which sat over the water at Murdoch's Bathhouse.
3602 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston TX 77554
Although their gumbo is really good, The Gumbo Diner serves a lot more than just gumbo. A lot of folks around here know them for their All Day Breakfast! Whether its chicken and waffles or their classic New Orleans style beignets, everything we've seen here comes in a big serving size. In fact, the gumbo and po-boys come in two sizes, and the small gumbo was plenty big enough. If you like to eat a late lunch or an early dinner, ask about their "Early Bird Specials". While not exactly a "Mom & Pop", The Gumbo Diner is owned by a small Galveston restaurant group that owns and operates a handful of restaurants all on the island.
The Gumbo Diner
Shrimp 'N Stuff
512 14th Street, Galveston TX 77550
Serving breakfast, brunch and lunch every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, The Sunflower opened as a small bakery in 1999. Since then, they have moved to a larger location and grown their menu to include everything from corned beef hash to chicken fried steak. We see them as a kind of 21st century comfort food restaurant. The staff comes in every morning at 4am to bake their pies, pastries and muffins for the day. Like so many of our other favorites, this is a true family owned and operated restaurant that is part of the community. While you're visiting great places like The Sunflower, it's interesting to note that so many of them have recovered from significant storm damage. Hurricane Ike in 2008 brought 7 feet of water inside this building!
628 14th Street, Galveston TX 77550
Just down from The Sunflower (which is just down from The Original), you'll find another neighborhood cafe, Mosquito Cafe. Housed in a restored 1870s building, this cafe opened in 1999. To us, the Mosquito feels like a bistro with indoor seating and a dog-friendly patio. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with names like The Crabby Mosquito and Kahuna Tuna. Like most of our top Galveston restaurant choices, there is something for just about everyone here.
21706 Burnet Drive, Galveston TX 77554
For a unique experience, head West from the Galveston Seawall, through Jamaica Beach and out to the Sea Isle neighborhood. Tucked back behind the houses on the water, you'll find the West End Marina, home to a boat marina, small general store, high end restaurant, and The Sandbar Grille. The Sandbar sits underneath the marina's main restaurant. Boats are parked right up against it. The menu features salads, sandwiches, burgers, and fried or grilled seafood. The tables are made from old wooden pallets. It was quiet while we were there off-season, but they have karaoke on Friday nights and a big TV. This place is probably hopping on the weekends and during the summer!
And One From a Larger Collection of Restaurants...
2200 Harborside Drive, Galveston TX 77550
Born out of the local shrimping industry, this site was originally a receiving area for huge mounds of freshly caught Gulf shrimp and fish which were shipped all over the country. Today's building was built in 1966 to meet the Galveston Shrimp industry's growing demands. The owner's wife began making shrimp po-boys for their workers in 1970, and the restaurant was born! Today, Fisherman's Wharf is owned by BOI (Born on the Island) Galveston Native Tilman Fertitta and his company, Landry's. The restaurant has a great back deck right on the bay, so this is the best waterside dining of any restaurant on our list.
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