Blessed with the Gulf Coast, Texas has access to some of the freshest seafood in the country. The food in this state is truly a melting pot of flavors: influence from our next-door neighbors in Cajun country like the famous seafood boil and a touch of heat and acidity from the food of Mexico like Ceviche. Be it fine dining or fast casual, the seafood options are endless. I’m sharing 5 of my favorite seafood-focused spots, plus some honorable mentions.
Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen – Austin
Nestled under a lush canopy of oak and cottonwood trees, The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen has an expansive seafood menu. Their fan favorite, the Ora King Salmon, is cooked so the skin gets extra-crispy, then it’s served on a bed coconut-cilantro rice with bright, seasonal vegetables and a citrus-caper vinaigrette. Another great reason to visit? Their killer wine list. With over 200 different bottles, they have a perfect pairing for everything.
Rudy & Paco – Galveston
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Fresh seafood comes just blocks away from the dock at Rudy & Paco. Experience exquisite dining at one of the ‘Top 100 Restaurants’ in 2017 and ‘Most Romantic Restaurants in America ’in 2018 rated by OpenTable. The father and daughter duo, who run the restaurant, are inspired by their Central American heritage in their dishes like the plantain encrusted Pargo Simpatico — a pan sautéed snapper topped with jumbo lump crab. The hospitality sets them apart from the rest that keeps tourists and locals coming back.
Reef – Houston
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The chef at the helm of Reef, Bryan Caswell, is a seafood pro. In addition to serving over 60 different species of seafood, he’s also an avid fisherman. He infuses the fresh fish, mollusks and shellfish with the flavors of his travels to places like Hong Kong, Barcelona, and the Bahamas. Unfortunately, the restaurant had to close temporarily due to damage from Hurricane Harvey, but they are reopening in their refurbished space in Fall 2018.
Smashin Crab – San Antonio
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A visit to the Smashin Crab is a hands-on experience. Their family-style boils of plump shrimp, king crab, or seasonal crawfish are brought out by the bag and guests encouraged to eat with their hands with bib draped across their front. This spot is not for the dainty eater: your fingers and face will be covered in butter. Things are guaranteed to get a little messy.
Tookie’s Seafood – Seabrook
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Tookie’s Seafood is a bright and airy restaurant with an open kitchen for guests to look in on the action. Peek in on the cooks grilling oysters. Each one is served “Pelican-style” and topped with cheese, bacon and jalapeño. In addition to some of the best fried seafood in the state, you can also order a lighter favorite like Blackened seared tuna topped with shrimp, mango relish and a sweet soy glaze.
Austin: Shore Raw Bar & Grill