Seafood

Certain restaurants are known for their expertise at turning out signature dishes really well. They've pinned down the ingredients, mastered the process, and gained a strong following as a result. South Padre Island has had much success cultivating great restaurants and creating a substantial market for Seafood. Locals can't get enough of the city's excellent food, and you'll often find them, along with eager tourists, at popular Pirate's Landing or at Louie's Backyard, a major player in the field. Make sure you see what all the fuss is about!

6 Amberjack's Bayside Bar & Grill
A classic Gulf-side resort eatery, Amberjack's offers terrific views of Laguna Madre and a menu boasting everything from tropical cashew chicken and filet mignon to oysters Rockefeller and shrimp and crab quesadillas. The tropical-themed decor features large windows that allow sunlight to bathe the place during the day and cool gulf breezes to blow in after dusk. To complete the laid-back scene, the restaurant is accessible by water, and outdoor dining is available. Those who've spent the day fishing will be happy to know that the kitchen has a "we'll cook your catch" policy. (956-761-6500)

5 Sea Ranch Restaurant & Dirty Dave's Deck
Upscale but still in keeping with South Padre's unspoken "keep it casual" credo, Sea Ranch offers breathtaking water views, patio dining, and a smartly appointed dining room adorned with original artwork. The kitchen serves some of the island's top fish and seafood dishes, from fresh-caught red snapper (the house special) prepared any way you like to golden-fried grouper, fried Laguna Madre oysters, and Gulf Coast shrimp. Reservations are suggested. (956-761-1314)

4 Louie's Backyard
Although its tropical pink facade is more SoBe than Lone Star, this busy baysider earns high marks as a laid-back place to enjoy delicious local-inspired fare, play a few games of shuffleboard, and share cervezas or cocktails with amigos (at the sports bar). Famed locally for its seafood buffet, Louie's also serves up a few doozies from its traditional American menu, including mesquite-smoked baby back ribs, pasta dishes, southwestern chicken, and crabmeat-stuffed jalapeños (an appetizer, to be sure, but a "must try"). (956-761-6406)

3 Windjammer Beachfront Café
After "working" hard to enjoy yourself at this South Texas resort — fishing on the Gulf, swimming, sunning — treat yourself to an elegant seafood dinner at Isla Grand's signature restaurant, which offers terrific views of the grounds and the pool area. Comfortable seating and subdued lighting create an intimate scene that's ideal for a romantic dinner, and the menu features everything from steaks to fresh-from-the-Gulf seafood. (956-761-6511)

2 Pirate's Landing
This themed restaurant sports a unique decor of old model ships, weathered wood, wharf-like posts and railings, and myriad pictures of briny buccaneers doing their thing. As you'd no doubt suspect, fresh fish and seafood are house specialties, and options range from grilled tuna sandwiches to platters heaped with fried oysters, shrimp, and scallops. Mates with hearty appetites should consider plundering the all-you-can-eat daily special: fish filets fried, broiled, or blackened. Great prices, family-friendly service. (956-943-3663)

1 Schlitterbahn Shrimp Haus
After tackling the high-octane runs and shoots of one of the nation's foremost waterparks, you're certain to be tempted by the allure of Gulf-fresh fish and seafood. This is where the Shrimp Haus and its "101 ways to eat shrimp" comes into play. Featuring family-friendly spirit and great views of the dunes, the Schlitterbahn's full-service bar and restaurant have something for everybody, whether it's enjoying a cocktail in front of the televisions or tossing a few horseshoes in the pit. (956-772-9772)

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1
Amberjack's Bayside Bar & Grill 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
COST: $$
2
Sea Ranch Restaurant & Dirty Dave's Deck 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
COST: $$
3
Louie's Backyard 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: BAYSIDE
COST: $
4
Windjammer Beachfront Café 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Continental, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly
Neighborhood: SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
COST: $$
5
Pirate's Landing 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly
Neighborhood: PORT ISABEL
COST: $
6
Schlitterbahn Shrimp Haus 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Local Specialty, Seafood
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms
Neighborhood: SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
COST: $
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