Pier 99 Restaurant, Corpus Christi
What to expect: Opt for the shrimp plus fried calamari, gumbo, or clam chowder against a backdrop of the museum ship USS Lexington and views of Corpus Christi Bay.
Check it out: 2822 North Shoreline Boulevard; 361/887-0764 or pier99restaurant.com
Snoopy’s Pier, Corpus Christi
What to expect: Great fried seafood in a bright blue building under the bridge to Padre Island.
Check it out: 13313 South Padre Island Drive; 361/949-8815 or snoopyspier.com
Marchan’s White Sands Restaurant, Port Isabel
What to expect: Nothing fancy, just fresh, well-prepared, plentifully portioned seafood and lots of local fans.
Check it out: 418 West Highway 100; 956/943-2414 or the-white-sands.com
Gilhooley’s Restaurant, San Leon
What to expect: Great oysters in innovative combinations (such as barbecued with garlic sauce and shrimp). Nice gumbo, too.
Check it out: 222 9th Street; 281/339-3813
Topwater Grill, San Leon
What to expect: This restaurant-bar overlooks an obscure patch of Galveston Bay southeast of Houston. Go for the locally harvested items, such as shrimp, oysters, crab, and black drum. And don't overlook the thick, spicy crab-and-corn chowder.
Check it out: 815 Avenue O; 281/339-1232 or topwatergrill.com