Owner Lucy Chao was inspired to model her small restaurant located off Katy Freeway, Azul Seafood Tapas, after her happy place: the beach.

When Chao thinks of seafood, she said she imagines herself sitting near a coast, eating fresh fish with a view of the blue ocean. That is where the name Azul came from, she said. “Azul” means blue in Spanish.

“Our food is pretty interesting, with influences from different parts of the world,” Chao said. “We’ve taken the Japanese cuisine and incorporated some Spanish-Mexican and Asian flairs to make it unique. Guests can enjoy fine dining our way without traveling into town.”

Chao was inspired to open the eatery for two reasons: to serve the community and to set a good example for her children.

“It was not for my children to take over the restaurant one day,” she said. “It was for them to understand what it means to have good work ethics.”

Chao spends six days of her week running the restaurant, and she said she enjoys building close relationships with her customers.

Regular customers Melissa Graner and Amy Hart have been coming to Azul every Tuesday for two years. They sometimes eat at the restaurant twice per week because they enjoy visiting with the chef, Estuardo Morales.

“This is our favorite place,” Graner said. “I love the people who work here. The chef is amazing. The food is like artwork. It’s almost too pretty to eat once the chef puts it on the plate.”

Hart added Azul is not just a sushi place, but rather a place where customers can enjoy seafood dishes such as tostadas, fish tacos and short rib spring rolls.

Chao said she came across many challenges in pursuing an opening for Azul, but Hurricane Harvey affected her business the most.

“That was a tough time for us,” Chao said. “Business became a standstill as people were recovering.”

Azul Tapas celebrated its two-year anniversary July 28, and she said there are no plans to open a new location.

“I’d like to spend my time here and be more personable with clients,” she said. “That’s what a community is.”

Azul Seafood Tapas

21945 Katy Freeway, Ste. C, Katy
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Mon.