5 Best Restaurants in South Texas and the Coast, Texas

Dirty Al's Bait Stand and Seafood Kitchen

Dirty Al's serves fresh seafood but in a noticeably informal—and sometimes rowdy—environment. This place gets packed with pilgrims who have heard about its delicious fried shrimp and reasonable prices. The people-watching is often fantastic.


Once tourists have satisfied their urge to taste the fruits of the sea at island establishments, they discover that many of the best alternative places to eat are located in Port Isabel. One place visitors and locals alike go nuts for is this tiny taco joint near the lighthouse. The tacos are bigger than your head and filled copiously with whatever you want. Those in the know say the humongous breakfast tacos are the real gem. This place often has a wait, so get there early.
313 E Maxan St. Port Isabel, 78578, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Mon., Reservations not accepted

Republic of Texas Steakhouse


On the 20th floor of the Omni Corpus Christi hotel, you'll be on top of the dining world in this multilevel restaurant that specializes in prime beef (including chateaubriand for two, at $95), wild game (veal, venison, quail), and fresh seafood. Signature cocktails and a well-curated wine list complement the richly textured menu and spectacular views. If you dine here on Wednesday you may get to see the Corpus Christi yacht club regatta. An outdoor viewing area is available, although it can get quite windy 20 stories up.

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Sea Ranch

This is one of the pricier restaurants on the island, and the seafood here is worth it. The view of the returning boats late in the day also draws people for a drink on the outdoor deck. The restaurant prides itself on the freshness of its fish, especially the house specialty, red snapper. This is not a place to wear your bathing suit or shorts.

Water Street Seafood


Voted "Best of the Best Seafood" in Corpus Christi for 14 consecutive years, this restaurant pulls in the locals and piles on the tourists who enjoy Gulf seafood and Texas steaks with a little kick of South Texas flavor. Fish is fresh, never frozen; the sushi bar is not intimidating; steaks provide a worthy balance to surf-and-turf combinations; and all the sides (like smoked Gouda mac and cheese) and sauces (andouille cream; crab-and-crawfish nueces) are creative concoctions made in-house. The same menu is offered at lunch and dinner.