South Padre Island Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in South Padre Island

April 15, 2018 Stefan Strunk

Right off the southern tip of Texas is the tropical paradise of South Padre Island. This barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico offers vacationers a sunny respite from the daily grind. Gaze at a magnificent sunset from the flats, laze on the white sandy beach or go deep sea fishing and cook your catch at Andy Bowie Park. Take a dolphin-watch tour, look for more than 300 species of birds at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center and dine on fresh Texas Gulf seafood.
Things to do in South Padre Island

1. Dairy Queen

2401 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6927 Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Highchairs Available American, Fast Food Lunch, Dinner SGD 26 +1 956-761-1072
Excellent
39%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
7%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 150 reviews

Dairy Queen

Reviewed By KaiUWulff - Brownsville, Texas

They are not only great for Ice Cream but offer as well Chicken & Dumpling plus all kinds of TexMex comfort food for cold days (or late nights after a bar visit).

2. Ceviche Ceviche

1004 Padre Blvd, Suite H-1, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6605 Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Free Off-Street Parking, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards Mexican, Latin, Seafood, Healthy, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch SGD 9 - SGD 12 +1 956-772-1555
Excellent
90%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 269 reviews

Ceviche Ceviche

Ceviche Ceviche is a custom ceviche bar which allows customers to customize their ceviche to their liking and preference. With more then 20 different toppings to choose from, customers are allowed to be as creative as they want while enjoying the "chop show" right in front of them. The two proteins used for ceviche are Mahi Mahi (Dorado) fish and fresh Texas Gulf shrimp which are both marinated overnight. Also come try the "Poke" prepared Hawaiian style. Fresh and Friendly, from the field to the fork, made with pure love.

Reviewed By Juru6 - Lapeer, Michigan

Here is my true and unbiased experience:
1. Store opens at 1130; two people in line before me when I arrive at 11:32. When I leave, line out the door. Total experience time was about twenty minutes.
2. Owner greets everyone, asks name, and serves you like you're her only and very special customer. She was zen like in her food prep- others might have sloppily chopped the avocado garnish but she prepared it carefully with thought
3. She serves an extra side sauce that is not typical ceviche but do not reject them. Tantalizing!
4. Amazing freshness
5. My mouth is drooling writing this five days later
6. I tried to figure out how to take as carryon on my flight

It's an experience, don't go here for a fast carry out. They take time to do it right. But for Gods sake, go here!!

3. Yummies Bistro

700 Padre Blvd, Ste J, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6653 Outdoor Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards Healthy, American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 16 +1 956-761-2526
Excellent
74%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Yummies Bistro

Reviewed By dalaham - Atlanta, Georgia

This is a must on our trips to SPI. This small bistro offers great food at a good price. Great service and great food are a great combination

4. Gabriella's Italian Grill & Pizzeria

700 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6653 Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Drinks, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 33 +1 956-761-6111
Excellent
66%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Gabriella's Italian Grill & Pizzeria

Reviewed By HERNAN77 - Mexico City, Mexico

This is my first time at SPI and we recommend this place, plenty of food to share, my wife my baby and I spent a great evening

5. The Meatball Cafe

2412 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6926 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Credit Cards Italian, Bar, Pizza, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Drinks SGD 9 - SGD 33 +1 956-299-4605
Excellent
65%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 353 reviews

The Meatball Cafe

OPENED DECEMBER 2015. Italian food made from scratch: Pasta, Pizza, Sauces, Sausage, Meatballs, Panini. Steak and Seafood menu. Full Bar.

Reviewed By discip1e - Lubbock, Texas

Fresh Italian food, delicious bread, wonderful antipasto, fried zucchini, bruschetta all amazing. The cannelloni is authentic. Chianti wine is delicious. The spinach salad is really good, we tried the shrimp with it. Service is top notch, love all the girls and the team concept. They make the pasta fresh and same with the bread. Prices are also just right.

6. Cafe on the Beach at The Palms Resort

3616 Gulf Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-7006 Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Highchairs Available, Accepts Credit Cards American, Bar, Cafe, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch SGD 10 - SGD 50 +1 956-761-2703
Excellent
60%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 512 reviews

Cafe on the Beach at The Palms Resort

Reviewed By Birdbet - South Padre Island, Texas

Great view, great food and good service! This is our favorite island restaurant, hands-down. You're right on the beach looking out of the water. They've got a variety of seafood, hamburgers and good drinks. Our favorites are the red snapper and the blackened shrimp tacos.Thank you very much! We're so pleased you enjoy our Cafe. My mouth started watering when I read your review (those are two of my favorite menu items!!) We hope to see you back again very soon! Thanks again....

7. Beachside Bar & Grill

310 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6501 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Valet Parking, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi American, Bar, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 956-761-6552
Excellent
67%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 363 reviews

Beachside Bar & Grill

Reviewed By Napunani - San Antonio, Texas

This Christmas Eve Sunday Champagne Brunch was absolutely wonderful!
If you are a brunch lover, then this legendary brunch is a must!
We saw it advertised locally the day before and called about 1.5 hours prior to arriving at 945am to ensure 10am seating was available and it was. We watched the staff hustle to open at 10am, but brunch entrees were not ready for serving until 1015am.
WHAT A SELECTION!! And the mimosa and champagne keep flowing and none of this one glass limit like so many other bunches. Our server was very attentive and never once let our flutes reach less than half full!
Made-to-order omelets and eggs, made-to-order pancakes and waffles, carving station (beef, Turkey, ham, salmon and lamb), chilled seafood table with raw oysters (I was in HEAVEN), crab, shrimp, and mussels, salad bar, cheese and cracker bar, and various entrees in the large heated serving trays. At the huge dessert bar with a chocolate fountain, a gentleman was there to create banana fosters and cherry jubilee upon request - OMG - that was very cool and it was amazingly good!
Everything was prepared well and not overcooked or warmed for a lengthy time.
The only thing horrible about this brunch is that it is NOT in the city where I live!!

8. Grapevine Cafe & Coffeehouse

100 E Swordfish St, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6975 Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Free Wifi Mexican, American, Cafe, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch SGD 14 +1 956-761-8463
Excellent
59%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
5%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 683 reviews

Grapevine Cafe & Coffeehouse

Established in 1999, Grapevine Café’s original owners created a simple restaurant offering breakfast and lunch favorites from traditional Mexican and American recipes. Under new ownership since 2006, the Grapevine Café has grown considerably in concurrence with the beautiful and surrounding city of South Padre Island, Texas. In many ways, we are still that casual eatery that serves delicious, simple and affordable food. Today, our menu boasts a greater variety of choices. We have added healthier menu items that are vegetarian and gluten free. We also offer a full line of gourmet, freshly ground coffee drinks and teas from our popular espresso bar. We take great pride in serving food that is made in-house, fresh and daily from proprietary, authentic recipes.

Reviewed By Sheri W

Food was great and prices very reasonable. We were seated immediately, and at the beginning the service was great; however, for some reason towards the end of our meal, our server seemed to disappear. We waited for quite some time for our bill, but finally just went up to the cash register and asked for it. That would not keep me from returning to this restaurant though. It's super clean and a nice atmosphere. If you need to eat Gluten free, this is definitely a place for you to go, as they have a menu dedicated to all gluten free foods. I ordered of the GF menu, not because I eat GF foods, but because it looked good, and it was excellent!

9. Sea Ranch Restaurant-Bar

1 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6402 Takeout, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner, Late Night +1 956-761-1314
Excellent
58%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 987 reviews

Sea Ranch Restaurant-Bar

Sea Ranch Restaurant has been serving South Padre Island visitors for over 35 years, and has established itself as the island’s premier dining destination. If you haven’t spent an evening at the Sea Ranch Restaurant, you haven’t truly experienced South Padre.Our menu is comprised of local seafood that is caught directly from the Gulf of Mexico, and it changes often based on what is in season. Every item is made with high-quality ingredients, from unbeatably fresh seafood to juicy steaks and hearty pastas. Start your meal off with our Ahi Tuna or Escargot appetizers, or try something a little spicier like our Stuffed Jalapeños. For your main course, pick from one of our countless seafood items including fresh fish, crab legs, shrimp, oysters, lobster and scallops. Our house specialty is the Red Snapper, which has become a customer favorite as well. If you aren’t in the mood for seafood, try one of our delicious grilled steak, chicken or pork dishes. We also have decadent pastas, from chicken or seafood Alfredo to Scott’s Shrimp Scampi served over angel hair pasta. No matter what you are in the mood for, we have a tasty, fresh option for you at Sea Ranch Restaurant.Seafood goes perfectly with wine, so we boast an extensive selection of wines. With over 122 choices ranging from $20 all the way to $500, we have the perfect choice to compliment your meal. If you have an event coming up, consider hosting it at the Sea Ranch. We can accommodate up to 77 people for anything from weddings and receptions to birthdays and meetings.

Reviewed By Xtina0920

I’ve come here a few times about once a year. During this most recent visit the food was bland. We ordered blackened salmon that had no flavor. The red snapper was juicy yet very bland. Not only was the food disappointing but so was the service. The older man was snappy and acted as if he did not want us to be there. I’m not sure if he was having a bad day but he was very stand-offish. He barely came to the table. Overall, the prices are too high for such low quality food.

10. Pier 19

1 Padre Blvd, at end of the road thru KOA rv park, South Padre Island, TX 78597-6402 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Mexican, American, Bar, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 13 - SGD 26 +1 956-761-7437
Excellent
54%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 1 reviews

Pier 19

We are a comfortable casual family restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and diner. WE also have a full service bar.

Reviewed By CaptainSPI - Sugar Land

My biannual review of Pier 19 has not changed. My problem is that I always go for the Flounder Cubano, this time only $20.00, which I split with my date. So much fish (remember both sides) and so well seasoned. Fries and cole slaw always good. This time we spit an half order (7) of oysters; fair size, and clean taste, but $10. With a Modelo and a chardonnay, the bill totaled $40. A good crowd on a rainy evening. Good service by Logan. It still ranks high on my list, try it out.

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