Port Aransas Dining Experiences

Port Aransas dining experiences not critiques from The Texan Wonderer.

There are so many “dining experience” resources available on the internet.  Have you ever found one that is consistently dependable?  I have not.  I use Yelp to locate dining options when wandering about.  But, I find it to be hit or miss on the quality index as it depends upon people’s relative interpretation of quality.  I still tend to be influenced by the face to face suggestions of locals.

Iries Port Aransas

Can’t always judge a book by it’s cover. Irie’s Island Food

The reality is that we can all have varied “experiences” with each dining establishment.  Timing, background, culture, expectations, mood and taste are just a few of the individual filters that influence our personal interpretations.  Sometimes we prejudge a place based solely on external appearance.  As we all know this is a bad practice.

It made me wonder, why not just write about individual experiences.  One off visits with some observations. Not exhaustive reviews.  I am a real foodie.  A gourmet cook.  However,  I have no dream of becoming the next James Beard.  It is just plain good living to enjoy a wonderful Port Aransas dining experience with friends and family.  So the experience is the thing.  If I don’t write much about the food that simply means that there was nothing outstanding.

Castaways, Port Aransas

Castaways, Port Aransas

In early February the family and I descended upon several of the island’s eateries.  We experienced Irie’s Island Food, Castaways, Trout Street, Virginia’s and Cancun Mexican. Our eclectic tribe was made up by  seven adults (ages 28 to 70) and three children (ages 3,4 and 8).   So, yes we descended !  With rubber duckies, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books in hand we descended. We experienced.  They shuttered.

The Port Aransas Dining Experiences

Irie’s Island Food

Irie's Port Aransas inside

Inside Irie’s Port Aransas

This quaint little place is a  Port Aransas dining experience must for our family every time we visit the island.  They are only open 11-3 for lunch.  Irie’s puts out some very creative, well prepared food. There are only about four or five tables inside the building .  Several more tables are available for al fresco dining outside.  Lot’s of people take away food for dining at home.

The staff always make you feel welcome and appreciated.   It always seems to be busy.  Hungry patrons linger on the outside porch and patio in jovial anticipation of their food to be freshly  prepared. Their website states that they often sell out before 3:00.  That is a fact.

Irie’s homemade tortillas are a key component of many unique “insane” taco and wrap concoctions.  They also roast their own coffee! On this visit I had a fried Panko Crusted Oyster taco with shredded cabbage, pico and jack cheese along with a Curried Coconut Shrimp Taco with shredded cabbage and mango pico.  I bathed both tacos in Green Dragon sauce.  One of  over a dozen sauces that Irie’s offers to kick your dish up a notch.  Yum!

The kids love the Pig on a Stick, Chicken Sate and of course their Mac and Cheese.  Adults love everything.  On this occasion we carried the food back to the house.   It was excellent as usual.

Irie’s always makes me wonder.  How can such a small kitchen consistently put out such noteworthy food when a lot of the big places produce little of note ?

Castaways, Seafood and Grill

Erin and Steph Pina Colada (800x800) - Copy

Alotta Colada at Castaways, Port Aransas

This place has been frequented by my son-in-laws family for years.   Cold beer, festive Alota Coladas in a fresh pineapple and fried seafood.  The rustic beach exterior just screams seafood.

Castaways has expanded the inside seating/waiting area just inside the front door adjacent to the bar.  Wisely, the hostess seated our tribe on the outside porch dining area.  The kids were able to safely  move around a little in this thatch covered area next to the parking lot.   There were other families with children seated in the area.  So, none of those “shut those kids up” stares !

The waiter, Steve, has to be the best waiter on the island.  He was composed, experienced, knowledgeable and fun.   He was apparently the only waiter in the entire joint.  However, he was able to set our timing expectations with professional skill.  He brought the kids food out quickly and made sure the adults had plenty to drink.

Fried redfish sand castaways

Redfish Sandwich, Castaways Port Aransas

The Fried Calamari appetizer was enjoyed by all of the adults as we talked.  We also ordered a crab cake, coconut shrimp and hush puppy appetizer.  I spent my early years growing up in the D.C, Maryland and Virginia area.  I am a crab cake, steamed shrimp and hush puppy snob.  The kids enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and popcorn shrimp.

The favorite entrees were the fried redfish sandwich, fried oysters and caesar salad.  The caesar salad was me.  I had planned to “taste” a little of everyone’s entree.  We always order way too much food.

Steve, the waiter made this a very enjoyable evening. Ask for Steve!

Virginia’s On The Bay 

Virginia's Port Aransas dock view

Virginia’s, Port Aransas

We  descended upon this place on a Friday evening about 6:30.  It was already very busy though we had no wait for a table that would seat 10.

We were greeted by the pleasing sound of a talented solo guitarist singing country and soft rock songs.  He had all of the electronic gizmos that replicated an entire back up band for every song.   It was apparent that he had a following.  The entire place seemed to be packed with locals and gray haired snow birds.   The dude sounded good.   The crowd was still there when we left.

We like this place because of the location right on the marina by the pass.  You can sit on the porch and watch the ships cruise by.

The oysters on the half shell were fresh and cold.   Plenty of lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce and crackers  on the side.   The “Cajun Dump” made up of Gulf shrimp, crab legs, sausage, new potatoes & corn on the cob was  good.  The Shrimp Louie salad was more than an ample entree and the fried shrimp were good.

I didn’t want to leave as the entertainer was singing all of my favorites from my high school and college days.  However, it was getting close to bedtime for the kids.

Trout Street Bar & Grill

Trout Street B&G view from deck

Trout Street B&G, View from Deck

Another of our favorite dockside dining establishments in Port Aransas.  This place is bright and airy during daytime hours.  The serene view from the deck puts one at ease.  You can watch the boaters coming and going as you sip refreshing beverages.

Four of the adults in our tribe visited Trout Street for a late leisurely lunch on Thursday afternoon.  We ate inside at a window table.  There were about four other tables occupied while we were there.  The place was quiet.  Nice for a good conversation.

I had the Peel and Eat Shrimp and the Tuna Poke.  The Tuna Poke was good. As stated earlier, I am a steamed shrimp snob.  I am still looking for Steamed Shrimp to brag about when enjoying the Port Aransas dining experience.

Cancun Mexican Restaurant

This is our favorite place for breakfast tacos on the island.  The tortillas, pico and salsa are all great.  The kids love tortillas with honey and Chilaquiles for breakfast.

Port Aransas Dining, Cancun Mexican

Cancun Mexican, Port Aransas

The Chilaquiles for breakfast are great.  Chilaquiles is a traditional Mexican dish. Typically, corn tortillas cut in quarters and lightly fried are the basis of the dish.  Green or red salsa or mole is poured over the crisp tortilla triangles, called totopos. The mixture is simmered until the tortilla starts softening.  It is commonly garnished with crema, shredded queso fresco, raw onion rings and avocado slices. Chilaquiles can be served with refried beans, eggs (scrambled or fried), beef and guacamole as side dish.

Cancun has a convenient drive thru window.  We usually call ahead with our order for the whole tribe then visit the drive thru for easy no hassle pick up.  We don’t even need to get out of our pajamas.

Well that was the extent of my Port Aransas dining experience on this last rip.  Stay tuned for more and keep wondering!

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