Courtesy of Morton's The Steakhouse
Food & Drink

The Best Restaurants in Houston to Get a Christmas Day Brunch or Dinner

Published On 12/24/2017

no reservations

Courtesy of Mala Scichuan

Mala Sichuan

Chinatown (& Montrose)

If you're into traditions, you can partake in this time honored Jewish one of going out to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas. This Chinatown cult classic (which rocks an in-the-loop location on Westheimer as well) is hands down one of the city’s finest examples of tongue-scorching Sichuan fare. Heat up the holidays with crazy hot duck tongue and pork intestine glass noodles, or go for more basic (but still spicy) dishes like dan dan noodles and peppercorn beef. Whatever you do, be sure to order family-style.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with entrees from $10.95 and up, open from 11am to 10pm in Chinatown and 11:30am to 10pm in Montrose

Bowl & Barrel

Bowl & Barrel

Memorial City

Need an evening escape? This boutique bowling alley and gastropub will open at 6pm, sparing you the pain of sitting through another one of cousin Tevin’s “jokes.” A limited, tasty menu will be offered, with 18-inch pizzas, giant pretzels, and its famous Burgers in a Bag (that’s three bacon-cheddar sliders with fries). Christmas patrons can also help “drink the tree” by choosing a $3 Real Ale Hans Pils from Bowl & Barrel’s original beer bottle Christmas tree.
Price: Food from $9-$25 (plus the cost of actually bowling); walk-ins are accepted, but call 832-690-4480 to reserve and ensure a lane

Cadillac Bar Houston

Cadillac Bar

Washington Corridor

In Houston, Mexican is pretty much acceptable anytime, anyday, including Christmas Day. This homegrown joint will be open from 10am to 3pm, making the holiday caliente with its legendary brunch buffet. That’s over 60 items like pancake stacks, waffles, made-to-order omelets, plus Tex-Mex classics including tamales, enchiladas, tres leches, and chocoflan. Tack on the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and you have yourself a merry little Christmas indeed.
Price: $27.99, walk-ins welcome, and late reservations accepted, but make a reservation if you want to ensure a specific time slot

Luby's

Luby's

Katy (& other locations)

With a stocking full of locations dotting the city, this old-school cafeteria will be open and serving up a Texas-sized Christmas Day special. Get a colossal prime rib ($15.99) or blackened chicken and bacon-wrapped shrimp ($13.99) with your choice of two sides -- think au gratin potatoes, mac & cheese, and fried okra -- plus bread.
Price: Holiday specials for $13.99 to $15.99, walk-ins welcome, check individual locations for hours and openings

Flickr/Gina Pina

House of Pies

Upper Kirby (& West Loop)

Those that need to soak up a rough holiday can do so at House of Pies. The 24-hour Houston institution stays open every day, including Christmas (and New Year’s, if you’re looking ahead). It’s all about classic diner foods here, with everything from ham, steak & eggs, pancakes, and biscuits & gravy, to sloppy burgers, melts, and chicken-fried steaks. No matter what time you visit, you’ll want to finish your Christmas feast with a slice of Bayou Goo for best measure.
Price/Reservations: A la carte (true diner pricing with country breakfast for $6 and CFS for $13)

Katz's Deli & Bar

Katz's Deli

Montrose (& The Woodlands)

OK, OK, we know that a Jewish deli may not scream “Christmas!” -- but couple the fact that “Katz’s never kloses” with the fact that you can get a pastrami sandwich the size of your head no matter the hour, and this 24-hour haunt is a bona fide holiday miracle. Get the aforementioned head-sized sandwich along with things like matzo ball soup, noodle kugel, and an entire slice of New York cheesecake blended into a milkshake because as we said… it’s a miracle.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with sandwiches running around $10-$18

needs reservations

Hotel Alessandra Houston

Lucienne

Downtown

Set on the second floor of the beautiful Hotel Alessandra, this sophisticated newcomer is open for a prix fixe Christmas Day brunch. Executive chef Jose Hernandez brings French techniques to the upscale Mediterranean and continental European menu, with starters including endive apple salad with candy walnuts, crab cake with roasted pepper coulis, and mushroom cappuccino with porcini Chantilly cream, and a Parmesan biscotti. The second course features beef Wellington, roast farm chicken, and striped bass in lobster nage. And the meal finishes with pistachio napoleon or caramel chocolate mousse. An a la carte kids menu is also available, with options like Cheddar burger and fries, spaghetti with tomato sauce, petite filet, and chicken tenders and waffles.
Price/Reservations: $55 per person from 11am to 2:30pm; reservations can be made on OpenTable

Chavari

Charivari Restaurant

Midtown

Set in an unassuming strip center in Midtown (what some may call the land of bad decisions), this fine dining spot is pretty much the definition of a hidden gem. Here, Transylvanian chef Johan Schuster uses his roots to bring the sometimes mucky Bayou City a kiss of European class. Spend your Christmas not talking to anyone because you’re too entranced by your a la carte holiday spread, which can include things like buckwheat blinis and caviar, foie gras with caramelized apples, Christmas duck with red cabbage and potato pancakes, and a traditional linzer torte.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with hours from 11am to 8pm; reservations can be made on OpenTable

Radio Milano

Radio Milano

Memorial City

This modern Italian CityCentre restaurant will serve a three-course prix fixe brunch from 11am-3pm. Whet the appetite with mini blue crab cakes with sauce ravigote, fresh berry parfait and prosciutto, and an arugula and fig salad; then dig in to mains like with Hong Kong fried toast stuffed with chocolate and banana, chicken wings and waffles with habanero maple, Chilean sea bass in beurre blanc, and Prime rib with garlic mash (those looking to really spend can up the ante with a chicken-fried lobster tail). The meal ends with your choice of sweets: a chocolate bomb, budino al caramello, or panna cotta.
Price/Reservations: $45 for adults and $30 for children; reservations can be made online

Avenida Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse Southwest Houston

Avenida Brazil Churrascaria Steakhouse

Woodlands (& Clear Lake & Stafford)

You may want to wear your stretchy pants for this one because you’re about to get the holiday meat sweats. With three Houston locations, this Brazilian steakhouse offers the traditional churrascaria experience, starting with an excellent salad bar and continuing with all the gaucho-served meats you can comfortably consume. Turn your coaster green or red (how Christmas is that) while you feast on 15 cuts of meat, including, but not limited to, grass-fed New Zealand lamb chop, center-cut filet and Angus picanha, pork ribs and sausage, bacon-wrapped and cognac-marinated chicken, and Gulf shrimp and salmon.
Price/Reservations: $49 for the full experience, $20 for just salad and sides, $35 for seafood, salad and sides, and $24.50 for kids 6-10; reservations can be made online

Brenner's Steakhouse

Brenner's on the Bayou

Rice Military

Wine and dine this holiday with Brenner’s classics, from cognac-spiked lobster bisque and freshly roasted oysters on-the-half-shell, to bone-in ribeye with all the fixin’s -- i.e. truffle butter, smoked mac & cheese, roasted mushrooms, and caramelized Brussels sprouts. And if you’re really doing it right, finish your holiday feast with a Grand Marnier soufflé. Brenner’s Steakhouse is also open and doing the same deal.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with entrees ranging around $30-$50 (plus sides, apps, and desserts); reservations can be made from 11am to 7pm on OpenTable for both the Rice Military and Memorial locations

Four Seasons Hotel Houston

Quattro

Downtown

This classy Four Seasons eatery is offering two options on Christmas Day: a festive brunch from 10am to 3:30pm and a holiday dinner from 6pm to 10pm. At brunch, fill up on freshly-carved beef, a sushi and raw bar, roast lamb and fish, and a ton of desserts. The evening feast offers a special holiday menu, buffet stations, and optional wine pairings. And really, is it even Christmas without wine?
Price/Reservations: Brunch costs $105 for adults and $49 for children 6-12, dinner costs $68 per person plus $40 wine pairings; reservations can be made on OpenTable

Courtesy of Tolouse

Toulouse Cafe and Bar

River Oaks District

Not only is the über luxe River Oaks District all lit up for the holidays, but this stylish French bistro is open all day long. Treat yourself to a classy lunch (11am to 4pm) of fresh water oysters, salade nicoise, and a burger trimmed with all the goodies: guanciale, Gruyere, avocado, and sauce gribiche. Or go for dinner (4pm to 11pm), where you can give yourself the gift of things like bacon-wrapped lobster tail tournedos, diver scallops, sweet breads vol au vent, Australian rack of lamb, steak frites, and praline chocolate cake, which is obviously served a la mode because it’s freaking Christmas, you guys.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with lunch plates ranging from $20 to $40; reservations can be made on OpenTable

Morton's The Steakhouse

Morton's the Steakhouse

Downtown (& Galleria)

Go classic with a holiday steakhouse dinner at Morton’s, where a Partridge in a Pear Tree isn’t just a line in a Christmas song, but a cocktail made with two kinds of vodka, allspice dram, and prosecco. Get the beverage for $17 alongside the côte de boeuf, a limited-time tour de force featuring 36 ounces of bone-in USDA prime rib-eye, brushed lovingly with garlic-herb butter. That will cost you a steep $110, but you can also order off the regular menu of steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, and more.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with steaks for $39 and up; reservations can be made on online

White Oak Kitchen

White Oak Kitchen + Drinks

Galleria

Set in the Galleria mall, this modern American restaurant will be serving a holiday brunch and dinner on Christmas Day. Brunch brings two courses, with choices like huevos rancheros, smoked salmon Benedict, a bison truffle burger, roast turkey feast, and pecan and sweet potato pie. The evening service bumps the courses up to three, with starters including goat cheese salad with guava nectar, pumpkin and butternut squash soup, and zucchini frites with chipotle radish dip. The main course offers a stocking full of choices, from herb-rubbed rib-eye with cheesy truffle and crab mac to a fiery seafood linguine in tomato cream (looks like you’ll have to loosen the belt buckle for dessert). Parking is at the Blue Garage near Tiffany & Co. and The Westin Oaks Hotel.
Price/Reservations: $25 for holiday brunch (10am to 4pm) and $45 for holiday dinner (4pm to 10pm); reservations can be made online

Royal Sonesta Houston

Royal Sonesta Houston

Galleria

Things get festive the second you step into this trendy hotel, where a warm apple cider station awaits your arrival in the lobby. Both ARA Restaurant and the Axis Lounge will be open on Christmas Day with the regular menu and a special holiday entree: tournedos Rossini (with brioche), seared foie gras and Perigourdine sauce will serve as the highlighted dish for lunch and dinner.
Price/Reservations: A la carte with a $45 holiday special; reservations can be made from 5:30pm to 10pm on OpenTable

Up Next
Potente
Food & Drink

Houston's Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
H ouston’s had a rough year. But that’s not to say we haven’t banded together and shown the world what it means to be #HoustonStrong AND brought home our first World Series title in the process -- shout-out to Altuve! And while we’ve fared through the hardships, there were plenty of phenomenal things happening in background, especially in the culinary world. More specifically, the return of an old favorite, a hot concept from a Top Chef, and one restaurant that will be changing faces every year. Here are the Houston hot spots you’ll want to be eating at going into 2018.
Mauro Luna

Field & Tides

Heights

Gulf Coast fare paired with delicious cocktails and a yard to hang in
This 11th Street newcomer from chef Travis Lenig (formerly of Liberty Kitchen) plays to the tastes of the Third Coast, with both by-land and by-sea offerings in a warm and cozy setting. The space is small, so you may encounter a slight wait on busy nights; but fear not, there’s a yard and cocktails to keep you occupied. When you’re ready, you’ll want to start with a few appetizers -- pimento cheese fritters and sambal-glazed fish collars -- before moving onto the big guns, like confit duck leg with dreamy corn pudding and caramelized scallops over flawless shrimp and crab risotto. Brunch fans will also want to revive themselves with zippy house Bloodys and slow-roasted pork and pancake stacks on weekends.

Aqui

Montrose

A Top Chef alum brings reenergized Asian food to Houston
Top Chef and JBA winner Paul Qui’s first Houston project arrived to quite a buzz this summer, for good reason. Though the striking roof and high-ceilinged space gives off a bare yet tranquil vibe, the food is anything but, with bold, bright flavors dreamed up by Qui and chef de cuisine Gabriel Medina (a hometown hero known for stints at Kata Robata and Soma Sushi). Travel to Southeast Asia via kamayan or “hand-to-mouth” bites like the Singapore hot chili crab and fried bao. Order yourself a few “perfect bites” -- literally bite-sized puffs, cakes, dumplings, and toasts made for one, and/or bring some friends to share tom yam noodles, grilled octopus adobo, and the star of the evening: a succulent, crispy skin lechón served with Filipino pork liver sauce.

Kimberly Park

Killen's STQ

Galleria

A meats expert adds seafood to the lineup and will make you re-think that steak
Smoke and steak combine at this relaxed space from acclaimed local chef Ronnie Killen, which took over the former Bramble space near the end of 2016. Earlier this year, Killen tapped Graham Laborde (previously of Bernadine’s) as operations chef for all Killen’s restaurants, which added some serious seafood savvy to the barbecue and steak focused kitchen. Book your reservations in advance and gear up for a meal that will no doubt loosen your belt a few notches... but you know, in a classy way. We’re talking pecan-smoked pork belly glistening in habanero-cherry sauce; Creole shrimp over grits cake; the choicest wood-fired rib-eye and NY strip; and the pièce de résistance, a silky/smoky bacon tres leches bread pudding.

Kitchen 713

Washington

A reopened soul food joint is back and better than ever
Once a tiny, bare bones restaurant housed in EaDo, Kitchen 713 closed in 2016 to find new digs (and get a liquor license). At the turn of the year, it emerged bigger, better (it got that license), and somehow, even more satisfying. It’s all about pure, unadulterated soul food, here... though you’ll find way more than just one the city’s best takes on shrimp & grits. Chef and co-owners Ross Coleman and James Haywood take inspiration from around the globe, bringing their take on soul food to the highest level. Dig in to fiery and smoky Caribbean jerk ribs, catfish tikka masala that’s at once light and rich, and a stupendous New York strip. Also, since this is the South, weekend brunch means fried chicken, mac & cheese, and biscuits, obviously.

Julie Soefer Photography

One Fifth Houston

Montrose

For five years, this restaurant will change its concept every year. Go now.
From Underbelly chef-owner and champion of all things Houston, Chris Shepherd, this concept is literally changing up its game once a year for five years. First up was One Fifth Steak, which gained fans aplenty under the careful direction of the incredibly talented chef de cuisine Nick Fine. Now, Shepherd, Fine and Co. have turned their attentions toward love languages and the cuisines that represent them. One Fifth Romance pleases with dishes that can probably make anyone fall in love -- mussels escabeche, duck heart Bolognese, truffle chicken roulade, and orange-anise croquembouche. Just don’t forget to make your reservations now, as the tides will turn once again in August and September.

Ohn Korean Eatery

Chinatown

An Asiatown legend opens the neighborhood’s hottest new spot
Mike Tran has quietly been taking over Asiatown, winning over locals with favorites like Mein, Tiger Den, and the newly revamped Night Market. The same attention has been paid to what just may be his coolest venture, Ohn. This time, a clubby K-Town vibe adds sex appeal, while the kitchen dishes out shareable plates that are downright addicting as hell. Sip late-night soju straight from a watermelon keg and complement it with kimchi fried rice, jeyuk bokkeum (spicy pork stir-fry), sweet and hot twice-fried Korean chicken, and corn cheese -- a cheesy riff on creamed corn that is an absolute must for the table.

Jennifer Caswell

Oxbow 7

Downtown

Elevated bayou food in an unexpected location
Gulf Coast chef Bryan Caswell already had seafood (Reef), barbecue (Jackson Street BBQ), and Tex-Mex (El Real) under his restaurant umbrella. And now, along with his wife, Jennifer, he has a modern concept in Downtown’s Le Meridian -- one that vows to change what you think you know about bayou fare. Refined techniques and touches enhance what the kitchen describes as “elevated bayou cuisine” -- East Texas caviar service with house potato chips, creme fraiche and ghost pepper caviar; crispy duck egg with duck confit and basil oil; and even Caswell’s take on bun rieu, a traditional Vietnamese crab stew that gets poured tableside. Aside from elevated small plates, the restaurant also plays to the hotel crowd with double cheeseburgers and build-your-own breakfasts.

Potente

Potente

Downtown

The only Italian steakhouse you’ll need to know in Houston
With a piping hot location across from Minute Maid Park, this highly-anticipated concept from Astros owner Jim Crane hit a grand slam (!) when it nabbed chef Danny Trace (of Brennan’s fame) to helm the kitchen this spring. Potente oozes sophistication, with a dark and luxe interior that evokes a modern villa, top-notch service and superb wines, and high-end Italian steakhouse fare that pays respect to local ingredients. Dine on a beautiful branzino hit with burgundy grapes and romanesco; impossibly silky burrata caprese, dressed up with things like confit cherry tomato and smoked sea salt; and cacio e pepe upped with black truffles shaved tableside.

Mark C Austin

Riel

Montrose

Southern food from a Canadian chef and a constantly changing menu
All hail Manitoba-born chef Ryan Lachaine (Underbelly, Reef), who fires off worldly dishes straight from Riel’s showstopping open kitchen. Said dishes offer some familiar tastes from our French Canadian neighbors, like the artful Montreal smoked meat and rye, and sticky toffee pudding with foie gras torchon. That said, the ever-changing menu is just as likely to feature influences from Houston’s culinary melting pot, from Vietnamese fried oysters and Gulf redfish karaage (with its tail intact), to a beautiful corn gnocchi dusted with cilantro, lime, and cotija fondue.

Jenn Duncan Photography

Theodore Rex

Warehouse District

Simple but spectacular plates with a menu that will change due to chef’s “boredom”
In a shock felt around the city, 2017 brought the closure of our beloved Oxheart, a year after chef Justin Yu won James Beard’s Best Chef Southwest for his highly revered veggie-centric tasting menu. But it wasn’t always Yu’s plans to be confined by tastings, so he shut down his spot inside the historic Erie City Iron Works building and re-birthed it entirely. With a new, playful look, new chef de cuisine (Jason White) and new a la carte menu, Theodore Rex sets the tone for a new kind of dining -- one that mesmerizes with simple plates of pan con tomate and farm potatoes dripped in chicken in the same way as it does with mains like collards-steamed grouper and Texas wagyu with fermented radish. Note: The menu will change often due to “availability, quality, and boredom,” so come expecting the unexpected.

Xochi

Xochi

Downtown

A hometown hero is dishing out Oaxacan cuisine after winning his first James Beard award
With a James Beard Award under his belt, chef Hugo Ortega is storming out of the gates. That’s thanks in part to the deserving chef’s latest concept, the sleek Oaxacan paradise set on the ground level of the gorgeous Marriott Marquis (the one with the Texas-shaped lazy river). Equally as gorgeous are Xochi’s impeccably composed plates -- a showstopping labyrinth of moles, from the deep and earthy to the smooth and mellow; house-made masa preparations showcasing endless varieties of corn and topped off with wood-roasted octopus, roasted pork rib, and chorizo ismeño, and impossibly good homemade chocolate desserts from Hugo’s pastry chef (and brother), Ruben. Drinks come from the masterful Sean Beck, who’s built a thoughtful library of agave-focused cocktails and interesting wines to pair with it all.

Morris Malakoff

Yauatcha

Galleria

Upscale dim sum that’ll have you prying your friends off the couch every Sunday
It’s fitting that this Michelin-starred London import is housed in the Galleria’s luxury "jewel box" building. Every plate coming out of the kitchen is a gem, both in a breathtaking, aesthetic way and a more figurative “give me that now!” way. This is not your typical Chinese dim sum teahouse -- Yauatcha offers a more contemporary tasting experience, and although that comes with an uptick in price, we’re guessing you’ll find shelling out the extra cash totally acceptable. Bring friends and sip tea while ogling over the restaurant’s delicate and artful preparations, from crispy duck rolls and scallop shui mai with tobiko caviar, to seasonal chocolates and patisserie.

Food & Drink

This Texas BBQ Sandwich Uses Glazed Donuts Instead of Bread

Published On 10/30/2017