Baja Fish, The Original Mexican Café
Type: Modern American
Founded in 1916, in a rambling two-story building downtown, this place claims to be the oldest Galveston restaurant still in its original location. It has the gusto of a margarita-happy-hour haunt, but the food is a draw too, especially the fish tacos—lightly seasoned grilled tilapia cradled in homemade flour tortillas. 1401 Market, 409-762-6001. Sun–Thur 11–9, Fri & Sat 11–9:30, Sun 8–11 a.m.
Chicken, Mi Abuelitas
The 5 a.m. opening time is great if you’ve really pulled a bender. Resuscitation takes the form of shredded-chicken crispy tacos with the basic lettuce, tomato, and cheese adornments—the perfect marriage of crunchy exterior and tender filling. It’s accompanied by a zingy, manifestly fresh cilantro-and-serrano salsa. 1728 Forty-fifth, 409-621-1616. Mon–Fri 5–2, Sat & Sun 5–3.
Pork, Mercadito y Taqueria
Type: Classic Mexican
The cheery, bare-bones joint won’t win awards for decor—it’s a grocery store—but it’s a favorite of cops, day laborers, and other early birds and night owls. The crispy tacos with ground beef are satisfying, but the pork tacos—double-wrapped in fresh corn tortillas, with pico de gallo and queso fresco—are a revelation. Nicely spiced, they are almost pornographically juicy, and the rich salsa roja is a chile lover’s dream. 3802 Broadway, 409-762-5870. Daily 6–11.