Hopefully you have already read my South Padre Island recap, (if not you can find it here), and are wanting more! Well, I’m happy to share my evening at the Painted Marlin Grille, the island’s best restaurant! A colorfully decorated space, surrounded by palm trees with outdoor seating overlooking the water, this is the ideal spot to have a cocktail while taking in the sunset.
First order of business was a tropical drink in hand, lucky for me the Painted Marlin Grille has lots of beach inspired cocktails. I wanted their signature drink so I ordered the Marlin Punch. This is a booze heavy drink so beware! 1800, Kettle One, and Bacardi mixed with tangy fruit juices. Not only was I watching the sunset over the ocean but my cocktail looked like the sunset in a glass!
I actually got to sit down with one of the owners, Phil, and Keith from Visit South Padre for dinner which was so much fun! I enjoy learning about how a concept came to be. The Painted Marlin was originally a fast, casual restaurant serving hot dogs and burgers. Slowly, new menu items were introduced and before they knew it everyone was coming in for fresh seafood and an elevated dining experience. The restaurant transformed to a relaxed waterfront bar and grill that prides itself in offering the best seafood on South Padre. Needless to say I was anxious to devour their menu!
First up were Shrimp Cakes and Ahi Tuna and I was in heaven. The Shrimp Cakes are similar to Crab Cakes, using shrimp as the base instead. They were served with a tangy, spicy sauce and julienned veggies. My stomach is literally growling as I’m writing this!
Oh, how I love you Ahi Tuna. So beautiful and delicious. And this portion size, oh my! We shared between four people and it was perfect, although two could knock it out no problem! Perfectly seared and seasoned, served with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi.
One of my favorite things about fresh seafood restaurants are their daily specials. The Painted Marlin Grille has “Catch of the Day” options so be sure you ask what they are! For my visit they had just received several pounds of jumbo shrimp from a local fisherman and created a dish called Mojo de Ajo Colossal Shrimp. Sauteed with garlic , butter, and red chili powder with just a splash of lime, served with white rice and veggies. Without question some of the best shrimp I’ve ever eaten!
For those of you with seafood allergies or vegan/vegetarian diets, don’t worry! There’s chef inspired dishes like the Veggie Stir Fry. Mushrooms, Squash, Zucchini, Cabbage, Carrots, and Onion sauteed with soy sauce and served over rice. A healthy and mouthwatering plate sure to keep you looking beach ready!
If you’ve ever read any of my other restaurant pieces, you should know the two parts of any meal I look forward to the most are cocktails and dessert. After I was blown away, not by a sea breeze but by my Marlin Punch, I was eager to dive into the sweets and I was not disappointed! The Molten Chocolate Cake was simply divine and a lovely way to end my visit.
So when planning a visit to South Padre Island, be sure to add the Painted Marlin Grille to the top of your dining list. From the ambiance, to the food and drinks, to watching the sunset, this is the perfect place to take it all in.
For more information, you can visit their website here.
I was provided dinner in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.