Port Aransas, Texas is known for its sandy beaches and warm waters, making it a perfect weekend escape. It is home to an array of seafood restaurants and places serving Créole and Cajun favorites. Discover the best spots in Port Aransas with this guide.
At Irie’s Island Food, the emphasis is on fresh food, made with high-quality ingredients and with a creative twist. Although the space is tiny, the choice is big, with all the family favorites including po’ boy sandwiches and burgers. Many come for the delicious tacos, served on home-made tortillas. Popular choices include the grilled wahoo taco and panko mahi taco. Grab a spot on the picnic tables outside or take-away for an afternoon on the beach. Irie’s is open from 11am-3pm, but go early, as during summer they often sell out before 3pm.
Don’t be fooled by outside appearances at Beach and Station Grill. This centrally located, colorful wooden bungalow serves great local seafood in a casual, relaxed setting. Take your pick from seating in the cozy inside or the terrace outside. The house specialties are broiled flounder and shrimps though don’t be afraid to follow the staff’s suggestions for the catch of the day. The restaurant also offers American staples like burgers and chicken. Save some space for dessert, with key lime pie and bourbon pecan pie among the choices.
Shells is a very cozy, family-run restaurant specializing in pasta and seafood with a Mexican twist. Go early, or be prepared to wait for a table. The restaurant has been running for more than 18 years, and was set up by a chef wanting to get away from the rat race and spend more time on the beach. We can certainly empathize. Try the chili-encrusted ahi tuna tacos or the farfalle with shrimp and poblano sauce.
For something a bit different, try real Italian food at the Venetian Hot Plate. Opened in 1995 by owners originally from Venice, the restaurant does a good job of bringing authentic Italian ingredients and tastes to the Gulf Coast. The Venetian Hot Plate is very popular, so reservations are recommended. Signature dishes include the misto mare (a combination of seafood), and beef medallions with a gorgonzola sauce. As expected, the accompanying wine list is worth exploring.
Crazy Cajun is a great place to enjoy the fresh local seafood with a distinct Cajun and Créole flavor. It’s the place to come for a fun and relaxed evening with friends, rather than a date night. Some nights have live bands playing to add to the atmosphere. Be prepared to get messy, as the food is literally dumped straight on the white tablecloth, and eating with your hands is encouraged. Try their signature ‘crazy Cajun favorites’ – a combination of fresh shrimp, crab, crawfish, clams, smoked sausage, corn-on-the-cob and potatoes. The seafood boils are another popular choice.
Housed in the historic Tarpon Inn, this is an upmarket choice in Port Aransas. Roosevelt’s is a good destination for a celebration. The restaurant serves gourmet dishes based on fresh ingredients. It is a small, intimate place perfect for a romantic dinner, which offers not only seafood staples, but also juicy steak. Sit back, enjoy the atmosphere, the service and, of course, the food.
Bar, Restaurant, Seafood, American, Wine, Cocktails, Beer, Pub Grub, $$$
The Black Marlin is a modern, airy building in the Palmilla Beach Resort & Golf Club, with live music and great sea views. It offers something for everyone, whether you’re looking for romance or a fun night out with friends. Take your pick from dining on the outdoor patio or sipping cocktails at sunset on the third floor. The diverse menu ranges from kobe burgers to bone marrow. Try their mahi-mahi grilled tacos, or their beef sliders.
Avery’s Kitchen, run by long-time islander Avery Hernandez, is just off the main road and offers a laid-back, homely environment. There is no liquor license, so if you want alcohol, bring your own. The restaurant has developed a reputation for its breakfasts, with choices such as pancakes and omelets. However, it’s also popular for lunch and dinner, with a good variety of local, fresh seafood. For those tired of seafood, Avery’s also serves comfort food, including rib-eye steak and chicken.
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Seafood and Spaghetti Works opened in its original location in 1979, initially as a water slide park. An ensuing oil spill convinced the owner to turn it into a restaurant instead. This turned out to be an excellent decision. The restaurant has an extensive salad bar and tasty burgers, alongside more typical seafood dishes, including crab cakes, calamari and ‘peel ‘em shrimp.’ They also offer tacos with shrimp, fish and oysters. Leave room to try the flavored margaritas and coladas.
Not strictly a restaurant, but Coffee Waves deserves a visit if you’re looking for a coffee or gelato fix to get you through a stressful afternoon on the beach. Its cozy interior is a good place to relax with a book or catch up on emails. Coffee Waves has a large selection of delicious iced and frozen drinks, in addition to the traditional hot coffees. It also serves sandwiches, muffins and other snacks to keep the hunger pangs at bay.