20 Best Restaurants in Harlingen, TX

Best Restaurants in Harlingen, TX
Roberto Galan / iStock.com

Harlingen is a city in Cameron County, south Texas.

Situated at the Rio Grande Valley center, it offers plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities such as bird watching, hiking, and fishing.

The city is also an excellent destination for leisure activities throughout the year, boasting tropical weather, golf courses, and parks.

Of course, a trip to Harlingen wouldn’t be complete without checking out its dining scene, from South Texas favorites to local takes on American cuisine and international flavors.

Here are the best restaurants in Harlingen, Texas:

La Playa Mexican Cafe

Shrimp Amarrados at La Playa Mexican Cafe
La Playa Mexican Cafe via Yelp.com

Satisfy your Mexican food cravings at La Playa Mexican Cafe.

This Mexican-inspired cafe serves authentic Mexican food, from appetizers to Carnes, down to dessert.

Try some of their specialty fajitas like fajitas las brasas and house favorite carnitas.

Enjoy your meal with draft beer or frozen margaritas.

If you’re coming with a group of friends, they have platters for everyone.

You can also enjoy outdoor dining at their beautiful and colorful patio.

La Playa Mexican Cafe is along Sunshine Strip.

SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole

Closeup of a beef steak at SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole
SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole via Yelp.com

Feast on Texas barbecue at SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole.

This smokehouse offers excellent, non-sense barbecue, from the tender, flavorful brisket and the moist pork ribs to the smoky pulled pork.

Enjoy your meat by half a pound with some tasty sides, or get it on a sandwich with some chips.

They also have smoked chicken on the menu, served with beautiful sauces.

The place’s interior is inviting and spacious, great for a gathering with friends or family.

You can also head to their bar for a pint or whiskey.

SMOKE: Texas BBQ & Watering Hole is located along West Harrison Avenue.

Its place used to be the Rainbo bakery—an iconic Harlingen establishment—so you could also get a glimpse of the city’s past on its walls.

Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza

Canelloni with Sausage at Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza
Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza via Yelp.com

Get a taste of Harlingen’s take on Brooklyn pizza at Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza.

This local Italian restaurant is known in the region for its fresh homemade dishes, using ingredients from local markets.

If you’re visiting with friends or family, their 30-inch giant pizza is a must-try, available in two dozen flavors.

Also, enjoy their signature cheese lasagna and black Angus beef steak paired with wine.

For dessert, indulge in some crispy cannoli and delicious tiramisu.

Stefano’s Brooklyn Pizza is along US 83 Business.

Taco Palenque

Food served at Taco Palenque
Taco Palenque via Yelp.com

Dine on fresh Mexican food at Taco Palenque.

Whether you’re coming in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this restaurant serves flavorful, filling Mexican dishes that are great for any time of the day.

Start your day with freshly made breakfast tacos.

If you’re looking for a full meal, try their tampiqueña, a delicious plateful of enchilada, taco, fajitas, refried beans, and red rice.

They serve a variety of beverages to pair with your meals, including the favorite hibiscus drink Jamaica, horchata, margaritas, and beer.

You can find Taco Palenque along South Exp 83.

Colletti's Italian Restaurant

Delicious pasta at Colletti's Italian Restaurant
Colletti's Italian Restaurant via Yelp.com

Head to Colletti’s Italian Restaurant for a date night.

This charming family-run restaurant offers gourmet Italian dishes in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, featuring an open pizza oven and a spacious bar.

Enjoy juicy and tender steaks or their beautifully seared sea scallops.

You can also create your brick oven pizza with your choice of sauce and toppings.

Indulge in sweet gelato to finish off your lovely meal.

Colletti’s Italian Restaurant is located along South 1st St.

Khan’s Grill

Mixed meat noodles at Khan’s Grill
Khan’s Grill via Yelp.com

Go for dinner at Khan’s Grill after a long day in the city.

This Texas-based restaurant cooks an authentic Mongolian grill right before you!

After choosing your assortment of freshly cut vegetables, noodles, meat, and flavorful seasonings and sauces enjoy watching the chef whip up your dish on the grill.

Savor the beautiful aroma as your dish is stir-fried the way you want it.

If you’re following a specific diet, don’t worry, they cater to several diets.

You can find Khan’s Grill along Maco Drive.

Frankie Flav’z Craft Burger House

Cheesy double burger at Frankie Flav’z Craft Burger House
Frankie Flav’z Craft Burger House via Yelp.com

Burger lovers, don’t miss out on the unique, sumptuous burgers at  Frankie Flav’z Craft Burger House.

This restaurant offers a menu with over 20 craft burgers to choose from, made from Angus ground patties.

Of course, no burger meal would be complete without a generous serving of signature fries.

If you’re feeling creative, you can also build your burger.

In addition to burgers, they also have gourmet hotdogs and flavorful chicken wings.

Get some handcrafted margaritas to complete the experience.

Frankie Flav’z Craft Burger House is along Sunshine Strip.

Station 1 Bar & Grill

Delicious sea food at Station 1 Bar & Grill
Station 1 Bar & Grill via Yelp.com

Enjoy great food and the city nightlife at Station 1 Bar & Grill.

With a great bar atmosphere, you can easily unwind after a long day with their extensive selection of wine, cocktails, and craft beer.

Sip their signature old-fashioned or try the local favorite smoke & fire.

Check out some of their local Texas craft beer on tap.

If you’re hungry, go for the station sirloin steak.

You can also indulge in sliders, nachos, and wings with your beer.

You can find Station 1 Bar & Grill along Sam Houston Drive.

El Pato Fresh Mexican Food

Tacos at El Pato Fresh Mexican Food
El Pato Fresh Mexican Food via Yelp.com

Step into the colorful El Pato Fresh Mexican Food and indulge in fresh South Texas tacos.

This casual restaurant valley chain serves an array of fresh, flavorful Mexican dishes, but the star of their menu is, of course, tacos.

The local favorite, slow-cooked beef and chicken guisado in freshly made tortillas are a must-try.

Complete your taco with your choice of ingredients for a satisfying meal.

You can also check out their selection of daily specials, perfect if you can’t decide what to get for lunch.

El Pato Fresh Mexican Food is located along Sunshine Strip.

Laurel Park Bistro

Exotic dessert served at Laurel Park Bistro
Laurel Park Bistro via Yelp.com

If you’re looking for a fancy dining experience, head to Laurel Park Bistro.

This modern restaurant is in a historic home with a rich heritage, offering brunch and dinner in a beautifully intimate setting.

Enjoy brunch classics with your mimosas.

They offer a course menu for dinner, which changes with the season.

Their drink selection includes wine, rose, craft beers, and wine cocktails.

Laurel Park Bistro is along Sunshine Strip.

Wing Barn

Salad at Wing Barn
Wing Barn via Yelp.com

Enjoy Texas wings and beer at Wing Barn.

Providing some of the best wings places in the state, this family-owned chain serves wings and plenty of crispy fried goodies.

They serve delicious appetizers,  potato chips, and fried Oreos.

Indulge in their mouthwatering chicken wings with your choice of sauces from the more than a dozen options ranging from savory to spicy.

Also, try their burgers, sandwiches, and hotdogs, best savored with freshly cut fries.

Check out also their daily specials.

You can find Wing Barn along North Ed Carey Drive.

Sir’s Martini Lounge

Snow angel served at Sir’s Martini Lounge
Sir’s Martini Lounge via Yelp.com

Unwind with drinks, food, and music at Sir’s Martini Lounge.

Enjoy its must-try flight of unique margaritas with some late-night tacos.

Catch happy hour and lounge around with their frozen drink specials.

With a pleasant atmosphere, this lounge bar is perfect for spending a fun night with friends in the city.

Sir’s Martini Lounge is along Van Buren Avenue.

Antigua Bakery & Cafe

Tart served at Antigua Bakery & Cafe
Antigua Bakery & Cafe via Yelp.com

Stop by Antigua Bakery & Cafe for their comforting meals and delicious cakes and pastry.

This charming local and inviting cafe offers light meals and sweet treats perfect for a leisurely lunch.

Try their healthy sandwiches served with a comforting soup and salad.

Finish off your meal with a slice of cake or a serving of blueberry muffin.

Take some cookies to enjoy on the road.

You can find Antigua Bakery & Café along East Harrison Avenue.

New York Deli

Grilled Chicken Salad at New York Deli
New York Deli via Yelp.com

Grab some delicious sandwiches at the lovely family-owned New York Deli.

This laid-back place offers a broad menu of deli items, from hearty sandwiches to salads and burgers.

Have a classic turkey melt or lox & bagel, served with pickles and your choice of a side.

Also, try their grilled specials, such as bison burger and Brody burger with homemade Texas chili.

If you’re feeling creative, you can also build your sandwich with a meat of your choice.

New York Deli is along North A St.

Pho #1 Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant

Beef curry at Pho #1 Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant
Pho #1 Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant via Yelp.com

Come in for the comforting Asian flavors at Pho #1 Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant.

This restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy authentic Vietnamese and Thai dishes.

The Vietnamese menu includes traditional favorites, from the warm and hearty noodle soup pho and egg rolls to the signature sandwich banh mi.

If you’re in for some spice, check out their Thai menu offering spicy tom yum soup, pad thai, and curry.

They also have an extensive menu of daily specials that offer dishes with more variety of Asian flavors.

Pho #1 Vietnamese & Thai Restaurant is along South Expressway 83.

Hime Sushi Bar & Grill

Sahimi at Hime Sushi Bar & Grill
Hime Sushi Bar & Grill via Yelp.com

Sample Hime Sushi Bar & Grill’s local take on the Japanese teppanyaki.

This restaurant offers a wide range of authentic Japanese dishes.

Start with mouthwatering appetizers from their sushi bar.

For the main course, indulge in steak, scallops, filet mignon, salmon, and lobster cooked perfectly on the iron grill.

Pair your dishes with some sake or Japanese beer from the bar to complete your Japanese dining experience.

Check out their organic offerings at the tea lounge if you want some comforting tea after a filling meal.

You can find Hime Sushi Bar & Grill along North Ed Carey Drive.

Oyster Bar

Fisherman's platter at Oyster Bar
Oyster Bar via Yelp.com

Visit Oyster Bar for some delicious seafood plates.

This seafood restaurant offers a wide selection of classic seafood dishes.

Enjoy fresh whole gulf flounder or baby snapper—fried or broiled as you like—with potatoes, salad, and hot rolls.

Also, try their gourmet specials, such as deep-fried scallops and a variety of plates if you want an assortment of seafood.

Of course, dining at a seafood restaurant wouldn’t be complete without some oyster and shrimp cocktails.

The Oyster Bar is along the Sunshine Strip.

Bandera Coffee Co

Coffee at Bandera Coffee Co
Bandera Coffee Co via Yelp.com

Get your coffee fix at Bandera Coffee Co.

This quaint shop offers coffee and a lovely atmosphere to gather and catch up with friends.

Enjoy a classic espresso, cappuccino, or cortado.

If you’re more on the craft side, try their calabaza head for that pumpkin kick on your cold brew or their grapefruit shandy for grapefruit juice layered with cold brew.

They also have tea-based beverages, including trendy matcha drinks.

Check out their shop for beans to enjoy brewing back home.

You can find Bandera Coffee Co along Van Buren Avenue.

Schoolhouse Creamery

Come icecream at Schoolhouse Creamery
Schoolhouse Creamery via Yelp.com

Beat the heat with some delectable treats at Schoolhouse Creamery.

This local ice cream shop offers premium ice cream with over 20 unique and classic flavors.

Order a creamy scoop, or sample different flavors with your kids!

They also have other yummy treats on the menu, such as shakes, bubble waffles, and sweet baked goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth.

The Schoolhouse Creamery is along Sunshine Strip.

J&B’s Cafe

Veggie Pita at J&B’s Cafe
J&B’s Cafe via Yelp.com

J&B’s Cafe downtown is a local, family-owned cafe with an excellent neighborhood feel.

The place is not too noisy, with just the right level of soft music for an afternoon catch-up with friends over a light meal or dessert.

Enjoy their fresh sandwiches, paninis, scones, and comforting soup.

They also serve coffee perfect for pairing with sweet treats, such as cakes and cookies.

Get a glimpse of the city’s past when you see the nostalgic photos of Harlingen on display around the cafe.

You can find J&B’s Cafe along East Jackson St.

Final Thoughts

Harlingen is a city rich not only in leisure and outdoor recreational activities but also in great restaurants, cafes, and eateries.

From barbecues, tacos, and craft burgers, to international flavors, the city’s vibrant dining scene offers plenty of options for every visitor.

Your South Texas experience won’t be complete without trying some of the best restaurants in Harlingen, Texas.

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