One of the things I love about traveling is finding great food. Not just great food, but the local flavor is important to me. I have often been led to a bowl of disappointment when following recommendations from some of the big review sites or articles written by travel writers that have never been to the places they write about. Whenever I travel, I try to find local foodies and see where they point me. Well, I’m going to try and point you in the right directions with a list of my favorite local restaurants and the places you should by trying if you are visiting Matagorda County.
Coatal Que BBQ
Being a native Texan, BBQ is in my blood. I have traveled all over the state and tried all the top BBQ places. Coastal Que is a local secret that has not made the Texas Monthly Top 10 list, but it belongs in the top 3. The brisket is some of the best I’ve ever had and right up there with what Aaron Franklin is cooking up at his world famous restaurant in Austin. Brandy makes homemade sides and desserts daily that rotate. The pickles sold in the cooler up front are the ones you want. The cucumbers are home grown and pickled in house. Go ahead and get some; skip those store bought pickles that are out with the condiments. Coast Que closes in October and reopens in the spring.
If you love seafood then you can’t travel to the coast without eating local wild caught fresh seafood. Local Chef, Eddie Lanier, serves up the best seafood in the county. She sources many of her ingredients locally, but the fish is fresh, local, wild caught black drum. She gets them at the right size and they taste just like wild caught redfish, which you cannot get in a restaurant. That redfish you have been ordering in high end restaurants is farm raised and does not taste anything like the real thing. Unless you are going to catch it yourself, it does not get any better than this. The nut crusted fish or fish in parchment paper are local favorites. Eddie also makes the best fried shrimp and steak in the county. Her rib-eye would impress in any high end steakhouse. Spoonbills closes up in the winter so check their schedule. I also recommend you make a reservation for Friday or Saturday evenings in the summertime. On a holiday weekend you won’t get in without a reservation.
Nia’s Town Square Restaurant
This is a local secret and I had to live her for years before someone told me about this humble looking little place. Nia’s serves up great soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. They also have one of the best chicken fried steaks in all of Texas. The staff is friendly and the service is excellent. You won’t be disappointed if you stop in here for lunch.
The Fat Grass
Named from one of the many English translations of “Matagorda”, Fat Grass is a local favorite. Local celebrity Chef Shawn serves up some simple but delicious food. While Nia’s has the best chicken fried steak, Fat Grass serves a chicken fried antelope that you should not overlook. They have a great bar with a good selection of craft beers and cocktails. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
You will have to drive to Palacios for this little gem. When you pull up to it you will assume that either you took a wrong turn or that I have steered you wrong. Fear not and make your way inside this little convenience store to find a food counter serving up the best Asian food in the county. I know it is a gas station and you don’t believe me. Would you believe Anthony Bourdain? Yeah, he featured this place on his show. They are known for thief Pho, but everything is good. You can even get it to go and pick up some fishing tackle while you wait.