Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant – Galveston, TX

While driving along the Seawall in Galveston, we caught sight of a sandwich board advertising a lunch buffet. It was on the sidewalk outside of a building with an extensive patio and a tower reminiscent of Pisa. Of course, we had to investigate. What we discovered was a delightful experience we can’t wait to do again.

DSC_0816Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant is one of three locations on the island that offers Italian cuisine and oven-fresh pizza. On weekdays, they also offer a lunch buffet including ravioli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice (Italian style), spaghetti and meatballs, fresh salad, and lots of pizza. None of these dishes stints on the ingredients just because it’s a buffet!

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Buffet from salad fixings to pastas to meats and veggies.

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Pizza and garlic bread. Everything went so fast I couldn’t get a photo of full pans!

 

 

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Bottom center, counter-clockwise from the buffet: salad with cheese and black olives, cantaloupe, broccoli, fried fish, shrimp fried rice, cheese ravioli, and meatballs (more hiding under the ravioli).

Mario’s dinner menu has a greatly expanded repertory of Italian classics and in house specialties such as the lobster ravioli and the home-made gelato.

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DSC_0808Spacious inside as well as out, and sporting some interesting murals, this place was a haven from the sun, surf, and wind outside. From the aquarium in the entry, to the conservative dark wood furniture, the dining areas are soothing and enhance the dining experience in a subtly understated way.

According to their website: “Tucked away in the thick of seafood restaurants, you will find all the romance, fun and tradition of Italy with a Texas-size seaside view to compliment the richness of Mario’s Seawall’s pastas and pizzas. Experience authentic Italian cuisine at its finest, in Galveston’s oldest Italian restaurant.”

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Decorative toy fish in the freshwater tank by the entry.

Our server, Ana S., and the shift manager, Gina, were friendly, attentive, and happy to help with permission to take a few photos inside to help entice you to visit.

If you’d like a little grown-up time, Mario’s is a lovely place to share some time and a glass of wine. The quiet atmosphere and soothing surroundings make Mario’s an excellent highlight to any Galveston travel.

On the 1-5 scale, Mario’s lunch buffet gets:
Cleanliness – 5
Service – 5
Quality of food – 5
Flavor – 5
Pricing – 5
Overall experience – 5

Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant
628 Seawall Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77550
(409) 763-1693

— Ann Cathey

Medicinal Purposes Bar and Grill – Galveston, Texas

Medicinal Purposes is a bar and grill located on the eastern end of Galveston Island near the University of Texas Medical Branch.  Unlike many of the restaurants and bars in Galveston, Medicinal Purposes – or MPs, as they call it – boasts it’s own large parking lot.

Inside, MPs is spacious and comfortable.  The decor is eclectic and a bit eccentric – think med school meets Mardi Gras – the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient, and the jukebox is just plain awesome (while I did not peruse the selections myself, a couple of staff members plugged an amazing array of songs in – everything from “Seven Spanish Angels” by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson to “Beautiful Disaster” by 311, which should tell you all you really need to know about the personalities of the folks who work at MPs).

We did not try the drinks, though there are some specialty cocktails on the menu that sound delightful.  We went there for dinner, and dinner we got.  My dining companion ordered the boudain sliders while I opted for the daily special, the Islander Burger (with two sides).  My dining companion couldn’t pass up dessert, either, so we ended up getting the weekly ‘sweet’ (Louisiana Crunch cake) to go.  Our total tab for dinner, dessert, and two Cokes came to $31.35 (not including gratuity).  We walked away with dessert for later and enough leftovers for another meal.

As for the food itself…divine.

The boudain sliders – hand-breaded and deep-fried boudain patties, bacon, jalapeno, and cheese on tiny buns – were spicy with a hint of barbecue taste (likely from the bacon).  Though I needed to keep a drink handy, the flavor was simply amazing.  The sliders come with chips.  These are not your typical potato chips but thick cut slabs of potato fried to a perfect crunch.

The Islander burger is a sesame-teriyaki burger topped with pickles, lettuce, tomato, grilled pineapple, and roasted red peppers.  It may not have been the best burger I’ve ever eaten, as I have eaten a LOT of burgers in my time, but it was at least in the top five.  The patty was perfectly cooked, the condiments and toppings were in the proper proportions, and the flavors melded together beautifully.  The special came with two sides, and I opted for double fries so I could split them with my dining companion.  Much like the chips, they were not what we expected.  Instead of the standard fare, they were thick wedges (or, as I like to call them, real potatoes).  They were cooked just right, too: done enough to be tasty when ordered but with a little wiggle room for re-heating later.

We have not yet tried the cake, but I can only assume it will be as wonderful as the rest of the food.

So, in summation, Medicinal Purposes gets an A+.  I’ll be recommending it to anyone who will listen.  The food, atmosphere, and people are all amazing, and as an added bonus, they deliver.  I’m very glad we decided to give it a try, and we’ll be going back soon.

-LB Clark