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There’s nothing like the hearty, warming comfort of a bowl of gumbo!
In Galveston, there is no shortage of restaurants to choose from when in search of a delicious roux, but you might have trouble picking a favorite (especially since chefs on the island like to put their own spin on this classic Cajun soup). If you’re in the mood for gumbo, here are a few visitor favorites.
pictured: Gumbo from Little Daddy's Gumbo Bar
Saltwater Grill is all about seafood. Located in downtown Galveston just steps away from The Grand 1894 Opera House and the many art galleries of Postoffice Street, this nautical spot serves up everything from seafood nachos to shrimp and grits. Its special gumbo – packed with shrimp, oysters and crab meat – is a hearty favorite year-round.
Gumbo bar is a gumbo lover’s dream. Located downtown on Postoffice Street, Gumbo Bar serves several varieties of this delicious Cajun soup – from classic seafood gumbo to prime rib gumbo. But if you’re going to eat here, you might as well go all out with the signature “Mumbo Gumbo” filled with the works, including shrimp, crab, oysters, chicken, sausage and prime rib served over steamed rice.
A tradition in Galveston for more than 100 years, Gaido’s is an elegant choice for lunch or dinner. Serving seafood dishes like blackened red fish and its signature Red Snapper Michael coated in parmesan, Gaido’s is a treat any time of year. Its Brooks Gumbo is a Thibodaux, Lousiana-inspired recipe with okra, shrimp and special spices. Don’t forget to top it off with a piece of Gaido’s famous pecan pie!
BLVD Seafood is a Seawall favorite with great views of the Gulf of Mexico and an even greater menu selection, from its casual lunch sliders to its sophisticated dinner options. No matter when you dine, gumbo is on the menu. Known as “The Jobber,” BLVD’s gumbo features shrimp, blue crab and andouille sausage with white rice. (Also worth a try is the restaurant’s seafood chowder made with fish, shrimp, clams, potato, bacon and a coconut milk cream base).
From the owners of the famous Katie’s Seafood Market, this relatively new restaurant offers boat-to-table seafood that is as fresh as it comes. Located on Galveston Harbor near Pier 20, Katie’s Seafood House features classic dishes as well as clever eats like “buffalo snapper wings” (friend fish on the bone). It considers its seafood gumbo a “labor of love” filled with fish, shrimp, crab, and oysters in a thick, bacon-fried okra roux with sausage.
Located at Pier 21, Fisherman’s Wharf has some pretty awesome waterfront views. What better way to take in the scenery of Galveston Harbor than over a delicious bowl of gumbo? Theirs features a smoky, dark seafood stock with shrimp and andouille sausage. (We suggest adding an order of the Galveston favorite “Shrimp Kisses” – bacon-wrapped, fried shrimp stuffed with jalapeño jack cheese).
This chef driven, farm-loving, gulf-to-table spot is your source for conscious island eats, offering plenty of variations of fish, shrimp or vegan veggie tacos (and soups!). While not the traditional “gumbo” that most expect, Fish Company Taco serves your choice of seafood or vegan veggie Tom Kha, Tom Yum, or Kimchi.
Located on 61st Street, this casual eatery serves a mix of Cajun and Greek-style dishes, from traditional Greek salads and gyros to its shrimp gumbo! (If you come with a big appetite, be sure to try one of their gigantic fried seafood platters or whole fish dinners).
Located on 23rd Street in historic downtown Galveston, Black Pearl gives off New Orleans kind of vibes. Featuring a full bar and plenty of Louisiana-style seafood dishes, like boiled shrimp, po’boys, gator bites and more, you can definitely satisfy your inner Cajun here. The Black Pearl gumbo is served with shrimp, oysters, crab, sausage, okra and a rich, homemade roux.
Located on 19th Street in one of Galveston’s historic neighborhoods, Sonny’s Place has the family-owned charm that is so prevalent on the island. Known for its New Orleans-style Muffaletta sandwich (a family recipe passed down for several generations), a visit to Sonny’s is worth a visit any day of the week. But its Friday-only gumbo, offered in shrimp, crawfish or mix, makes planning your visit for the end of the week worth the wait.
by Clayton Kolavo
by Kristen Vale