Galveston RestaurantsIt’s my favorite time of the year in Galveston: Restaurant Week!

The annual event showcases the freshest ingredients, most flavorful dishes and tastiest culinary gems that Galveston has to ofer, and it is a benefit for the Galveston County Food Bank. The event runs through January 24.

For a city of about 48,000 people, having an abundance of great quality restaurants ensures the dining out experience is never dull. here are hole-in-the-wall places that every local loves, fancy places people are sure to get reservations for, local gems and foreign cuisine options, not to mention the freshest seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

La King’s and Star Drug Store give a glimpse of what was in their historic sites and marble counters. Who doesn’t like the nostalgic feeling of sitting at a soda fountain?

Even with many tourists filling our beloved restaurants, I never to cease to see a few fellow locals I know at whichever restaurant I choose to attend.

The restaurant staffs consist of friendly, familiar faces as well. There are some restaurants whose owners have much to do with the atmosphere of the place. Rudy & Paco owner Paco Vargas treats you like a long lost friend or relative. Charlie DiBella, of DiBella’s Italian Restaurant, makes you feel like an honored guest. The Galveston Restaurant Group, led by Danny Hart, Jonny and Joey Smecca, always seem to step up for every charity, and their restaurants are legendary, from Nonno Tony’s to Mario’s Seawall Italian Restaurant and many in between.

Mike Dean, the owner of Yaga’s Cafe and other island establishments, also brings the food outside with a chili festival being held today as well as a shrimp festival later this year.

For many, Saturday morning at Miller’s Seawall Grill or Shy-KatZ is a great beginning to a wonderful Galveston weekend! Happy hour on Pier 21 with Willie G’s, Fisherman’s Wharf and Olympia he Grill at Pier 21 is a great way to wind down ater a long day.

Many a special occasion is celebrated at Shearn’s at Moody Gardens, seawall establishments, such as The Spot, Landry’s Seafood, The Steakhouse at The San Luis Resort, and Saltgrass ofer great food and views.

Taking a break from shopping or have a date night downtown at Mediterranean Chef, Brews Brothers, M&M Restaurant & Bar, The Press Box, Riondo’s, Trattoria La Vigna and Eatcetera one is sure to enjoy.

There are plenty more, so please come and explore. Better yet, ask a local Galveston Realtor his or her favorite places, because there is something for everyone.

Seeing fellow islanders and familiar faces wherever I go is a privilege usually reserved for small towns, and having a large selection of locally owned restaurants is a privilege usually reserved for large cities. Galveston is doubly privileged in these ways, and I’m proud to live here.

Another reason why “those of us lucky enough to live by the sea are lucky enough!”

Original article appears in “Galveston Daily News”.