You’ll catch Corpus Christi’s best seafood at
Water Street Seafood Co. (309 N. Water St., 361/882-868, www.waterstreetco.com, $6–17). In fact, if you’re in Corpus for more than a day, it’s practically required that you eat a meal at this legendary downtown locale or at its adjacent sister location, Water Street Oyster Bar. Water Street takes everything tasty in the region—fresh seafood, Mexican influences, Cajun flavors, and good ol’ Southern cooking—and combines it on the menu for the ultimate Texas Gulf Coast eating experience.
For first-timers, the best place to start is the big blackboard, where you’ll find fresh catches and daily specials (think blackened snapper, broiled flounder). The regular menu is equally appetizing, featuring consistently in-demand items such as crab cakes served with a spicy rémoulade and mango salsa, seafood jambalaya packed with shrimp, chicken, sausage, and crawfish tails in a creamy tomato sauce, and Southern-fried catfish stuffed with shrimp.
Slightly more upscale and not quite as family oriented is the next-door Water Street Oyster Bar (309 N. Water St., 361/881-9448, www.waterstreetco.com, $6–19). This is a great spot to have a few cocktails and order some freshly shucked Gulf oysters on the half shell. The menu is virtually the same as the Seafood Company’s, so the aforementioned recommendations apply; you’ll just be able to enjoy the cuisine in a more refined atmosphere. Two additional recommendations: Order your salad with the walnut-based tangy dressing and try to save room for the hot chocolate brownie with ice cream.
One of the fanciest places in town to delight in a dish of succulent seafood while gazing upon its place of origin is the Yardarm Restaurant (4310 Ocean Dr., 361/855-8157, $8–27, 5:30–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat. only). This modestly sized, cozy spot (snug, even) offers tantalizingly fresh seafood including succulent oysters, flavorful shrimp, a snappy snapper papillote, and thick, juicy steaks.
On the opposite end of the sophistication scale is the consistently tasty yet über-casual Snoopy’s Pier (13313 South Padre Island Dr., 361/949-8815, $5–18, cash only). Located on the bay, Snoopy’s is an ideal place to grab a cold beer and a plate full of fried or boiled shrimp. Watch the sun set as you lazily peel shrimp or enjoy the flaky goodness of fresh catches such as flounder or mahimahi.
If you’re staying on Corpus Christi Beach, you’ll find two quality laid-back seafood restaurants within walking distance of your hotel and the beach. Pier 99 (2822 N. Shoreline Blvd., 361/887-0764, $6–19) is a Corpus Christi stalwart on the beach across from the massive USS Lexington. The portions here are nearly as big, particularly the combo plates overflowing with shrimp, crab legs, oysters, crawfish, and catfish. Be sure to order a bowl of the fresh seafood gumbo. Mellow live music keeps the atmosphere spirited most nights, providing a perfect Margaritaville moment for your tropical getaway.
Not quite as aesthetically pleasing, yet reliable in its good food, is the misleadingly named Blackbeard’s on the Beach (3117 E. Surfside Blvd., 361/884-1030, $5–18), located across the street from the Radisson and a couple blocks away from the ocean. This is another casual, family-friendly place where you’ll find a bar full of bric-a-brac and hearty helpings of fresh seafood and Tex-Mex specialties.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition