Corpus Christi: Savor the Flavors of the Gulf Coast Capital

By: Mauri Elbel
September, 2023
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From elevated waterfront dining experiences to fresh seafood sourced right off the shoreline, no trip to Corpus Christi is complete without indulging in coastal cuisine. On your next trip to the Gulf Coast Capital, save some room to experience these five restaurants that are making waves in Corpus Christi’s culinary scene.

Water Street Oyster Bar

Location: Downtown Corpus Christi 

Forty years ago, Water Street Oyster Bar got its start inside what was once a Corpus Christi transmission shop. Today, the popular seafood restaurant located in the heart of downtown Corpus Christi is a locally loved treasure and popular dining destination for loyal patrons and tourists alike. Boasting a stunning view of the Corpus Christi Bay, coastal vibes, and a mouthwatering menu featuring everything from mesquite-grilled Gulf catches to raw oyster selections and sushi, this long standing, family-owned gem is the perfect spot to savor the flavors of the Gulf Coast Capital. Stop by the restaurant, just blocks from Corpus Christi Bay, for a casual lunch, romantic dinner or hopping happy hour when sushi and oysters are half off from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. More at www.waterstmarketcc.com/oyster-bar-cc

Elizabeth’s

Location: Downtown Corpus Christi

Tucked inside the Art Museum of South Texas, you’ll find a culinary experience as beautiful as the art that unfolds just outside its doors. At Elizabeth’s, French-Mediterranean inspired cuisine and colorful cocktails  accompany breathtaking harbor views that pour in through floor-to-ceiling windows. Indulge in tapa-style dishes like salmon carpaccio, burrata with cherry tomatoes and basil, pressed focaccia with melted provolone, garlic margherita flatbread, and eggplant caponata with peppers, olives and pine nuts. You can’t go wrong with any plate, but be sure to save room for the warm sticky toffee pudding topped with caramel and ice cream for dessert. More at www.elizabeths-at-artmuseum.com

RELATED: Corpus Christi: 7 Family-Friendly Summertime Musts in the Gulf Coast Capital

Hester’s 

Location: Lamar Park Center and Six Points

Hester’s Café was born out of a combined love of food, family and service. Started by high school sweethearts Jason Rodriguez, a chef, and Hester Rodriguez, a baker, in 2006, this local Corpus Christi staple satisfies with scratch-made food that is as creative as it is palate-pleasing. Hester’s has something for everyone on its expansive menu, spanning delicious lunch items like hearty sandwiches and fresh salads to brunch favorites like eggs benedict, flavorful French toast and the cheesy B.E.A.T. –– savory toasted sourdough layered with apple smoked bacon, scrambled eggs, grilled avocado, tomato and house made queso. More at www.hesterscafe.com

Bellino Ristorante 

Location: Central Corpus Christi 

Helmed by Sicilian chef Francesco Inguaggiato, who was born and raised in Palermo, Sicily, Bellino’s features a menu of classic Italian Sicilian dishes and an extensive selection of imported Italian wines. Nestled in The Village Shopping Center, Bellino’s is Corpus Christi’s only restaurant with a strong Sicilian influence and it’s also the proud winner of The Bend’s Local’s List for Best Italian Restaurant in 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023. Sink your teeth into the homemade Pinsas –– pizza’s Roman ancestor –– a modern take on an ancient flatbread once prepared by peasants living outside Rome’s imperial walls. Or indulge in pastas made fresh in house daily, like the tonnarelli al pesto or fettuccine alla pescatora tossed with mussels, clams, shrimp and cherry tomatoes. More at www.bellinostexas.com

RELATED: Texas Beach Guide

Prime Steakhouse 

Location: Southside Corpus Christi 

Prime Steakhouse Whiskey Bar is a culinary dream-come-true for owner Tony Gonzalez, whose journey from a construction framer to a restaurateur serves as a testament to his unwavering passion for food. Dabbling in the food industry by starting a small catering company before launching the popular Flamin’ Grills food trailer, Gonzalez transformed his dream of owning a restaurant into reality just a decade later by building Prime Steakhouse and Whiskey Bar from the ground up. Known for  locally sourced, 45-day, wet aged prime beef steaks that are hand cut in house by the restaurant’s master butcher, Prime has emerged as one of the best steakhouse restaurants in the South Texas region. Chef Noah Saenz, a young and talented Corpus Christi native with a culinary journey that spans from Texas to Las Vegas, where he trained under renowned master chefs, runs Prime Steakhouse Whiskey Bar’s kitchen and brings diverse global flavors and French-inspired creations to the menu. Come in to enjoy the best steaks in the city accompanied by an expansive selection of wines, whiskeys and signature cocktails. More at www.primesteakhousewhiskeybar.com.

If You Go

Getting there:

The drive is just under 3.5 hours from downtown Austin to downtown Corpus Christi.

Stay:

From beachfront hotels to luxurious coastal properties, there are myriad places to stay in Corpus Christi. Find your perfect spot at https://www.visitcorpuschristi.com/places-to-stay/.

Do:

Work up your appetite by swimming, splashing and strolling along Corpus Christi’s nine beaches, try out surfing or parasailing, ride horses on the beach, visit the Texas State Aquarium, Art Museum of South Texas, and USS Lexington, book a fishing trip and much more.

Pro tip:

Visit Corpus Christi in the fall and winter months for fewer crowds and cooler weather.

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