The Restaurant Scene Port Aransas, Texas

| August 31, 2016


You know good-and-well that if you are headed to the Texas Gulf Coast you are headed to seafood central. There are many ways to skin that fish if your destination is Port Aransas, Texas. Of course the seafood offerings have their seasons, and your choices in a town like Port Aransas, can also run the gamut if what you want isn’t on the menu. Grocery stores and Whataburgers are certainly there – you aren’t headed to the edge of the earth. It’s not South Padre Island (remember the $5-dollar grapefruit pie?), but I enjoy the “smallness” of it all, kind of reminds me of South Padre 1980.

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Whether you’re grilling at your campsite on the beach, or laid out in a lush condo kitchen, your best food outcome will be to go buy your own fresh seafood “off the boat” from a place like Oceans of Seafood on 165 W. Cotter Ave. Fresh shrimp, oysters and grouper from Oceans of Seafood, home cooked, beat all restaurants hands down. The shrimp was absolutely fresh, and my family (the elders) simply does not like fish unless it’s fresh. This time they went crazy over the grouper from Oceans, and I have to say it is some of the best fish I’ve had in a long, long while. I heard the fried oysters were good too, but I prefer raw.

Speaking of restaurants, there’s no shortage at Port Aransas, and they come in all varieties. There just was not nearly enough time to hit so many of them, so I’ll combine my experience with the experience of others on this trip.

Donuts? Try the Donut Palace on North Alister Street for fresh light donuts that don’t taste “factory made,” but with just a hint of something different in the ingredients. There’s also a Shipley Donuts for the traditionalists among readers, and it’s at 345 N. Alister.

Seafood? Well, the group gave mixed reviews to the most prominent seafood restaurant in Port Aransas, Virginia’s On the Beach. It’s considered a “must stop” by a lot of people who hit Port Aransas. Personally, I can do without the loud announcements facing the entire restaurant, “Rodriguez, Party of fourteen,” blaring out every few minutes. Maybe I’m showing my age, maybe that’s a part of the ambience,  but dang! We couldn’t have a decent conversation without stopping and waiting for the party announcements to end. And … they never end. Service was poor, and I am the only one at the table who gave the food a thumb up (that’s one thumb).

Two places I heard good things about were Seafood and Spaghetti Works at 910 S. Alister, andBehringer’s Landing ( I didn’t have the time or money to hit these, but I trust my recommendations.

Don’t lose any sleep over The Brewery, located at 429 N. Alister. What I mean to say is; okay, there’s unique beer there, but the staff was impatient (immature) with less knowledgable beer tasters in our party, and the beer itself came off as bottom of the barrel with very slim selection. Yes it is a microbrewery, but that is almost a “front” to the restaurant business, which is obviously what the business cares most about. Their brewery is basically fly paper, and it catches plenty of bar flies.

The reality is you will be very happy with buying off the boat, and you will be able to afford to eat A LOT MORE than you would from a restaurant! So plan to build some kitchen time into your trip to Port A, and you won’t be disappointed at all. I would think twice about eating my own catch there – depending on where it’s actually caught. I recall seeing those “Consumption Warning” signs around the launch at the port, but I get the impression some areas are better than others.

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Category: Adventure, Body-Mind-Soul, Culture on the Skids, Eating and Drinking

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