June 27, 2022

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15 essential Galveston restaurants and bars

7 min read

A Texan summer vacation wouldn’t be complete without visiting Galveston. Stretching for about 27 miles, this island is such a compelling tourist destination that you’ll forgive yourself for trying to buy out an entire boutique—leaving with just one keychain isn’t enough.

Between the kitschy tours and boardwalk fun, Galveston has the finest restaurants and bars to quench those cravings for seafood and other beach eats. From cozy shacks to oyster powerhouses, here are 15 restaurants and bars in Galveston to explore this summer.

Albatross

Spearheaded by Galveston native Brian Lepo (who helped modernize one of the city’s oldest bars, Island Pier Club), this watering hole offers decadent bar classics and fun entertainment. After a round of butchering or acing a karaoke tune, settle at a high table with pork-stuffed egg rolls and cheesy jalapeño poppers. Pair them with warm whiskey shots, cold beer or tangy vodka cocktails.

Find it: 815 21st St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-765-5778
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Bambú

This vibrant restaurant, which takes inspiration from traditional Mexican fare, dreams up a flavorful breakfast and lunch menu. Before diving into those morning activities, pop in and gorge on cheesy burritos; saucy platters teeming with beefy enchiladas or eggs scrambled with diced potatoes and chorizo; barbacoa tacos; and flautas alongside refried beans and orange rice. 

See also  6 iconic Houston restaurants you must visit

Find it: 1200 23rd St., Galveston, TX 77550, 409-497-2281
Hours: Monday, 6 a.m.-11 p.m.; Tuesday-Sunday, 6 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Black Pearl Oyster Bar

The world is quite literally your oyster at Black Pearl. Mere minutes from the island’s popular and historic Strand District, this neighborhood bar serves their signature seafood staples both raw and cooked. Even better, the menu boasts New Orleans and Louisiana twists. Steady that appetite with starters such as boudin balls and Gulf oysters, which come in a dozen and half-dozen sizes. Or spring for fried po’ boys, fresh salmon, grilled steak, shrimp diablo (sautéed shrimp simmering in a spicy cream sauce and rice) and homemade gumbo.

Find it: 327 23rd St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-762-7299
Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9:45 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.-9:45 p.m.

Daiquiri Time Out serves a variety of tropical-minded cocktails.

Daiquiri Time Out serves a variety of tropical-minded cocktails.

Daiquiri Time Out

Daiquiri Time Out

With a slew of awards under their belt, this retro bar is knocking it out of the tiki-inspired park. Inside, visitors are engulfed in timeless odes to island culture, every inch sporting technicolored lights, greenery panels and wallpaper cloaked with tropical designs. Daiquiri Time Out’s extensive menu also upholds the theme; one sip of their passion fruit-based Zombie, Piña Colada, Mai Tai or iced daiquiris will get you in vacation mode.

Find it: 2701 Market St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-497-2760
Hours: Monday-Thursday and Sunday, 4 p.m.-12 a.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-2 a.m.

Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant

Ever since their grand opening in 1911, Gaido’s commitment to serving quality seafood has never wavered. Diners can enjoy immaculate views of the ocean alongside crispy tuna tacos, heavy-hitting pastas and buttery filets. It doesn’t stop there: Platters and towers primed with shrimp, catfish tenderloins, blackened sirloin and crab await you.

Find it: 3828 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-761-5500
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. 

Island Pier Club

Alexa, cue the “Cheers” theme song. About two blocks away from the bustling seawall sits Island Pier Club, another bar owned by Brian Lepo of Albatross. The late Byron Everts, Jr. opened this bar as The Pier Grill in 1945. Nearly 80 years later, Lepo partnered with grandson Steve and Theresa Everts to continue pushing this historic bar forward. It’s a neighborhood favorite thanks to the quality beers, creative vodka spins such as a Chocolate Martini, and festive happy hour scene.

Find it: 1702 Ave. O, Galveston, TX 77550; 409-443-5114 
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 12 p.m.-2 a.m. 

Daiquiri Time Out is a classic hangout in Galveston.

Daiquiri Time Out is a classic hangout in Galveston.

Daiquiri Time Out

Leon’s World First Bar-B-Que

When dining in Galveston, indulging in classic Cajun eats is a given. However, smoked meats and links by the pound are just as popular, and guests can satisfy those barbecue hankerings at this neighborhood shack. Beef up already hearty platters of brisket, boudin and ribs (which come with their homemade special sauce) with sides like spicy rice and some of the best macaroni and cheese in town. Round out your meal with a tiny sweet potato pie, which can also be purchased in a full size for $15.

Find it: 55th & Broadway, Galveston, TX 77551; 409-744-0070
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 

Leo’s Cajun Corner

Once again, smoked meats of any kind are welcomed and adored in Galveston. This laid-back corner restaurant harbors quite the selection of meats during breakfast and lunch, including pork- and oyster-brimmed sandwiches, boudin and riblets by the pound, and brisket platters. 

Find it: 3201 Broadway Avenue J, Galveston, TX 77550; 409-765-5151
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Maceo Spice & Import Co.

Since their debut in 1944, this lunch counter and grocery store crossover has been a staple of Galveston’s culinary scene. When entering the restaurant, visitors are immediately immersed in an aromatic cloud of spices and herbs, thanks to the kitchen constantly pumping out sandwiches, soups and other daily specials. Sink your teeth into Maceo’s popular muffalettas, a cold cut sandwich with Italian salami, provolone cheese, ham and the family’s secret olive dressing.

Find it: 2706 Market St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-763-3331 
Hours: Closed on Mondays; Tuesday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tucked on a quiet residential corner, Mosquito Cafe is a Galveston favorite.

Tucked on a quiet residential corner, Mosquito Cafe is a Galveston favorite.

Mosquito Cafe

Mosquito Cafe

A gem in the heart of Galveston’s East End, this cafe seats flavor first in their homestyle meals. Cozy up on Mosquito Cafe’s outdoor patio with French onion soup, grilled shrimp, filet mignon tacos, innovative burgers, oven-roasted meats on a warm baguette and all the garlic noodles you desire. They also have a knock-out breakfast menu that doesn’t skimp on the portions, either.

Find it: 628 14th St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-763-1010
Hours: Closed on Mondays; Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Rooftop Bar Galveston

Tucked away in The Tremont House hotel, this outdoor space checks several boxes. Serving as the island’s only sleek rooftop bar? Check. A bar where you can simultaneously sip on top-shelf margaritas while overlooking downtown Galveston? Check. A small, yet enticing food menu that dabbles in fine cheeses, pressed sandwiches, and smoked or marinated chicken? Check. This chic hangout is a great place to catch up with friends after your beach activities.

Watch the boats go by at the rooftop bar at the Tremont House in Galveston.

Watch the boats go by at the rooftop bar at the Tremont House in Galveston.

The Tremont House

Find it: 2300 Ship Mechanic Row St., Galveston, TX 77550; 442-305-4500 
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 12 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 12 p.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sharky’s Tavern

Galveston is flourishing with draft bars, like this tavern that offers the perfect pair: wood-fired pizzas and beers. And of course, the occasional slushy cocktail. This spot has a little bit of everything, ranging from pepperoni and veggie-laden pies to chicken specials like their Kickin’ Chicken, Chicken Fajita, and The Yardie—their spiciest creation yet. If you’re in the mood for extra toppings, order The Boudreaux, a hefty number sprinkled with bacon bits, beef, a four-meat sausage blend and pepperoni.

Find it: 504 24th St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-443-5584 
Hours: Monday-Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Fried seafood goodness is abundant on the menu at The Spot in Galveston.

Fried seafood goodness is abundant on the menu at The Spot in Galveston.

The Spot

The Spot

They don’t tote that “Island Famous” sign for nothing. When cruising down Galveston’s Seawall, you’re bound to see groups swinging by different businesses for each festive need. But at The Spot, there’s no need to bar hop: Five different venues, including a tiki bar and restaurant, make up the entire beachfront property. Enjoy Gulf views while indulging in the Spot’s street tacos, endless baskets of chips and salsa, beer-battered fish and waffle fries, and beer by the pitcher.

Find it: 3204 Seawall Blvd., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-621-5237
Hours: Sunday-Monday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

Sunflower Bakery and Cafe

Nestled in Galveston’s historic East End, this quaint restaurant has all the hits: overly stuffed (in the best way) omelets, buttermilk pancakes, sugar-dusted French toast, crawfish-studded sandwiches, tacos and soups. Grab a gooey cinnamon roll from the bakery for good measure.

Find it: 512 14th St., Galveston, TX 77550; 409-763-5500
Hours: Monday and Wednesday-Sunday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed on Tuesdays

Yaga’s Cafe

When it comes to keeping meals vibrant and well-seasoned, Yaga’s Cafe understands the assignment. Swing by this eclectic bistro for brunch or lunch, for highlights including gravy-smothered buttermilk biscuits, $5 mimosas, stacked burgers, soups, salads, and shrimp tossed and sautéed in numerous ways.

Yaga's Cafe is located on Galveston's Strand.

Yaga’s Cafe is located on Galveston’s Strand.

Yaga’s Cafe

Find it: 2314 The Strand, Galveston, TX 77550; 409-762-6676
Hours: Monday, 12 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-12 a.m.; Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-12 a.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.



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