Where to Eat in Houston Right Now
From white tablecloth sushi to Vietnamese-style burnt ends and everything in between.
The fact that Houston is by some measures the most diverse city in America explains why it’s also one of the country’s most exciting food destinations. From Texas barbecue joints and world-class steakhouses to booming Indian, Japanese, and Vietnamese (and Vietnamese-Cajun) scenes, Space City’s cultural melting pot has created an enviable culinary patchwork found nowhere else. And we haven’t even mentioned the Gulf Coast-accented take on New American that’s put H-Town on the radars of David Chang, the late Anthony Bourdain, and countless other culinary luminaries.
As pandemic restrictions begin to ease, Houston’s restaurants and bars are roaring back—with new virus-fighting precautions and plenty of outdoor seating for safety’s sake, of course. Whether you’re in the mood for a sashimi omakase or a good old-fashioned chicken fried steak, we’ve got you covered with the absolute most exciting places to eat and drink in Houston right now.
The gist: The Goodnight Hospitality team recently opened the doors to this stunning Mediterranean tasting menu emporium next to their critically-acclaimed Rosie Cannonball, also on this list. A cozy lounge section offers a more relaxed format with small bites a la carte.
The food: Chef-partner Felipe Riccio whisks diners through a modern, Levant-oriented journey in six or nine courses, which might range from snapper crudo with chermoula to couscous with fennel and urchin. Helmed by an all-star team spanning beverage director Mark Sayre, master sommelier and partner June Rodil, and bar manager Alex Negranza, the wine and cocktail programs are also of note—and make good use of the 11,000-bottle-deep cellar lurking below.
The cost: Tasting menus $145 - $195 per person, wine pairings $65 - $175 per person.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.
Tonight & Tomorrow
The gist: As part of boutique hotel La Colombe d’Or’s grand reopening comes this luxuriously renovated day-to-night restaurant spotlighting Chef Jonathan Wicks’ modern European cuisine with a Houston twist—all in the stately dining room of a 1920s mansion.
The food: Stop in for varied breakfast options like chilaquiles, bagels and lox, and a sourdough tartine served with avocado, egg yolk, and furikake. Dinner is a similarly international affair from the appetizers (curried carrots with labneh, fresh-caught Gulf crudo) down to the entrees (bucatini with squash and heirloom tomatoes, red snapper served Vietnamese-style with vermicelli, chili, and basil). Houston references abound beyond the food, too—a bourbon-spiked cold brew cocktail, the Rushmore Academy, alludes to hometown hero Wes Anderson’s film set at a local private school.
The cost: Starters $10 - $30, dinner mains $23 - $68, lunch, breakfast, and brunch mains $13 - $34, cocktails $14 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.
The gist: Liberty Kitchen alum chef Lance Fegen quite literally returns to his old stomping grounds with this Italian-American concept stashed inside the former Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar space at 1050 Studewood. The new(ish)comer is retrofitted to resemble a casual-chic Italian diner complete with red lettering and red leather booths.
The food: A selection of Sicilian pizzas anchor the menu, featuring toppings like sweet Italian sausage and fried eggplant. Also on offer are Southern Italian comforts like bucatini carbonara, chicken saltimbocca, and Sunday meatballs in a tomato-veal gravy. The restaurant’s bar stays open late, serving cocktails alongside trussed-up bar bites like oysters and chowder fries.
The cost: Starters and shareables $6 - $22, pizzas $15 - $18, dinner mains $15 - $39, cocktails $10 - $18, wine and beer prices vary.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Toast.
Blood Bros BBQ
The gist: The brainchild of Chinese-American brothers Robin and Terry Wong and pitmaster Quy Hoang, this critically-acclaimed Asian-inflected ‘cue joint turns out a daily-changing menu that offers new discoveries each visit.
The food: Beyond staples like brisket fried rice and the pulled pork-stuffed Pig Moe sandwich, recent offerings have included Vietnamese thit nuong pork belly done in the style of burnt ends and Mexican-inspired seared octopus served with chimichurri and street corn. With the Blood Bros. team teasing two new concepts, LuLoo’s Pantry and LuLoo’s Bodega, set to open later this year, there’s never been a better time to get reacquainted with their genre-defying take on Texas fare.
The cost: Meat by the pound $16 - $24, sides and shareables $12 - $60.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out online.
The gist: Chef Aaron Bludorn’s namesake restaurant and New American stunner may have been the best thing to come out of Houston in 2020. It’s the first solo project for the former Café Boulud chef, who is married to (and recently a parent with) Victoria Pappas of the local Pappas restaurant empire.
The food: Set in the former Pass & Provisions space on Taft, Bludorn shows of the chef’s skillful European technique with a much-welcomed punch of Gulf Coast love, with next level dishes including the brioche donut and foie gras, Gulf cioppino, and lobster pot pie. Get a reservation to see what all the highly worthy fuss is about (especially now when black truffles are in season).
The cost: Dinner selections run from $13 to $60+, and you’ll want to add on things like caviar and freshly shaved black truffles, too.
How to book: Book a reservation online.
The gist: This brand new sushi experience comes from the genius team behind MF Sushi, including sushi guru and chef Chris Kinjo, aka “Magic Fingers.”
The food: Kinjo has worked his “magic” once more to open this lil’ bro to acclaimed Museum District haunt, MF Sushi. Consider this a more casual iteration, sitting right on White Oak
and offering a thoughtful landscape of eats from grilled whole squid and wood-smoked hamachi to a tour de force of sushi and sashimi.
The cost: Small plates and apps run $3 - $20+ and sushi and sashimi run from $3-$35.
How to book: Call 832-767-5872 for reservations.
The gist: Cali-raised chefs and buds Gary Ly (who you may remember from Underbelly) and Lung Ly spent some time chefing and hanging out in tiny record dives in NYC together before returning to Houston to open up this totally cool kitchen, bar and lounge. Transforming the former Night Heron space, its name is a nod to hip hop group Souls of Mischief’s song, “93 ‘Til Infinity,” and that chill hip hop vibe carries throughout your experience.
The food: Expect good tunes and even better food, with playful, chefy plates like the foie gras torchon PB&J mixing with comfort grub from a fried chicken sandwich to pork cheek shepherd’s pie.
The cost: Plates run from $8 to $18, and you’ll want to order a bunch of ‘em.
How to book: Walk-ins only.
The gist: Hometown chef Travis McShane brings his impressive culinary chops back to Houston, with a damn good roast chicken by his side.
The food: McShane, a Houston native who climbed the ranks in acclaimed chef Jonathan Waxman’s haunts from Barbuto in New York to Adele’s in Nashville, plays with Mediterranean and Italian influenced New American fare. Don’t miss the half chicken, a simple stunner with lemon, salsa verde, and herb jus; or the ever-changing lineup of gnocchi, bucatini, linguine, and more.
The cost: Shareables and mains are $12-$58 at dinner, and there’s brunch and lunch, too.
How to book: Book a table online.
The gist: The talented crew behind Nancy’s Hustle has created another home run neighborhood joint on Houston’s east side.
The food: This time, the team moves its attention to pastas, pizzas, small plates, and ice creams by the scoop. Bring a friend and grub on mortadella tortellini, blue crab and chili butter polenta, fried mussels and aioli, and pies topped with everything from anchovy and garlic to pineapple, speck, and jalapeño. For dessert you’ll want some of that ice cream, think mint stracciatella, meyer lemon sorbet, and toasted almond scoops finished with olive oil, maldon sea salt, and labhen whip.
The cost: Small plates are $6 - $18, pizzas and pastas run $10 - $19+, and desserts start at $4.
How to book: Book a table to dine-in or order food to-go online.
The gist: You’ll find creative tastings at this sushi hideaway stashed in an office building off West Alabama from acclaimed chef Billy Kin, who caught all of our attention at the now-closed Blackbird Izakaya.
The food: A5 wagyu sliders stacked with Hudson Valley foie gras, exquisite truffle and scallop sushi, and oysters with Japanese salmon caviar are just a few of the enticements. Kin puts out a multi-course omakase—AKA a chef-led tasting menu—and you’ll definitely want to be one of the lucky 14 diners to experience it (trust).
The cost: Tasting menus $150 per person, BYOB corkage fee $20.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.
Belly Of The Beast
The gist: LA born-and-bred chef Thomas Bille (who had a brief stint at Xochi) treats his casa as su casa at his first restaurant, an unassuming ace up tucked away in Old Town Spring.
The food: Tacos are a thing of beauty—and they are legit beautiful at this New World taqueria and Mexican restaurant, which fills its scratch-made tortillas with showstoppers like overnight lamb barbacoa, fall apart cochinita pibil, smoked king trumpet mushrooms, and charred habanero plus birria broth for dipping. There are more than just tacos, of course—bright ceviches, traditional huarache, soul warming pozole, and a masterful Sunday brunch also make an appearance.
The cost: Starters and sides $2 - $14, tacos $3 - $12, dinner mains $21 - $24, brunch mains $11 - $19.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Cake.
Street To Kitchen
The gist: Chef Benchawan Jabthong Painter (who grew up in Thailand and spent time in locales like Theodore Rex) dishes out unapologetically traditional Thai cuisine at this street food spot in the far East End.
The food: When Painter says her food is “unapologetically Thai,” she means she’s not using any sugary, watered down short cuts. Things are legit made from scratch in her kitchen, from the steamed pork and shiitake kanom jib dumplings and spicy northeastern-style larb to rice noodle shrimp pad Thai and fiery green curry. You’ll also want to try your new favorite fried chicken, dished up extra crispy with fried lemongrass and a Thai chili cilantro sauce at its side.
The cost: Starters and shareables $5 - $15.99, fried chicken $10.99, sides $2 - $4.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out and delivery online and via UberEats.
The gist: Berg Hospitality (B&B Butchers, The Annie, B.B. Lemon, etc) brings Old World charm to town with this intimate, moody supper club & lounge experience.
The food: Veteran chef and JBA winner Robert Del Grande invokes a bygone era of society via his menu of luxe traditions, from King crab terrine and Petrossian caviar service to lobster Thermidor and Wagyu filet. There’s also a Texas Wagyu “hot dog service” for those looking to keep it casual in the fanciest way possible.
The cost: Starters are $16 - $38, caviar service runs $95+, and entrees are $22 - $82.
How to book: Secure reservations online.
The gist: Goodnight Hospitality’s ever-inviting pizza and pasta spot adds to its already bangin’ repertoire (which also includes a honky-tonk, wine & cheese shop, and cocktail lounge/soon-to-come fine dining spot).
The food: An Italian (and sometimes Spanish and Portuguese) menu centers around a pizza oven and wood-burning grill, with smoky Basque chicken, grilled Napa cabbage, cavatelli alla bolognese, a speck & chile oil pie being just some of the standouts. To-go bonus? You can also add cocktail kits, wine, and pints of gelato.
The cost: Primi, contorni, and pizzas will run $12 - $18, while larger secondi plates are around $30.
How to book: Place an online order for to-go and delivery or make dine-in reservations online.
The gist: The duo behind Dubai’s Spice Route Co tapped rising star chef Mayank Istwal to show off the fare of his native India in an over-the-top dining experience.
The food: A mix of traditional and cutting edge eats match the majestic atmosphere at this extraordinary Indian concept. Expect dramatic presentations of pani puri (filled with fresh ceviche, no less), gorgeous stuffed squash blossoms, fiery smoked goat meat, and butter chicken done three ways.
The cost: Starters $16 - $29, dinner mains $16 - $38, brunch mains $20 - $30, dessert $18 - $25.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.
Guard And Grace
The gist: From Denver chef Troy Guard, this uber luxurious steakhouse sits in a glass-enclosed, two-story space in downtown’s One Allen Center.
The food: Big, bold, and playful flavors are on the docket here, from Pop Rocks-topped hamachi crudo and a grand seafood tower fit for a boss to filet flights and the brontosaurus tomahawk with foie and bone marrow butter.
The cost: Starters and salads $12 - $190, dinner mains $48 - $56, steaks $24 - MP, sides $11 - $18, cocktails $12 - $16, beer and wine prices vary.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.
The gist: This game-changing restaurant from chef and local hero Chris Shepherd (and his talented team—including but not limited to chef de cuisine Matt Staph, culinary director Nick Fine, and pastry director Victoria Dearmond) shifts its focus to Southern comfort food.
The food: After taking a turn through steaks, pastas, oysters, kabob, and more, the dynamic team at One Fifth shines its masterful light on Southern comforts—chef’d up, of course. Start with hush puppies, crab stuffed jalapenos, and Viet-Cajun peel ‘n eat shrimp, then move on to big plates from flounder Pontchartrain to oxtail ragout before finishing with Dearmond’s epic desserts like the cornbread custard cheesecake with Nixta corn liquor.
The cost: Snacks $10 - $22, mains $25 - $70, dessert $9, cocktails $8 - $12, beer and wine prices vary.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
Bravery Chef Hall
The gist: Downtown’s cool factor cranked up at least 10 levels when the talented chefs (including Uchi veterans Daniel Lee and Patrick Pham, MasterChef winner Christina Ha, and more) took center stage inside this glossy modern food hall.
The food: Start by making a killer smörgasbord of Vietnamese street eats from The Blind Goat and Korean bibimbap from sister concept The Sighted Pig before embracing BOH Pasta & Pizza's alarmingly good pastas and Roman-style pizza al taglio. Change things up with first-class sushi and yakitori from Kokoro or double-down on Texas ribeye from wood-burning steakhouse Cherry Block Craft Butcher. Elsewhere, chargrilled oysters and lobster from Margaux's Oyster Bar demand a date night return. Done and done.
The cost: Most dishes $3 - $30.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
The gist: The mod, Euro-style bistro comes from the powerhouse trio behind Better Luck Tomorrow, which includes bar genius Bobby Heugel, culinary whiz Justin Yu, and restaurateur Steve Flippo.
The food: With a kitchen backed by Mark Clayton and co., menu offerings like pasta a la béarnaise, mussels bruschetta, and French cheeseburger -- in which a perfectly fatty beef patty and a gorgeous house-baked pain de mie bun are made all the more mouthwatering by an oozing cascade of raclette cheese -- certainly hit the spot. Add retail-priced wine and take a look at Sunday brunch and the newly added Sunday steak night.
The cost: Breads, salads, and starters are $7-$15, pastas run $12-24, entrees are $18-$32, and there’s a Chef’s Choice dinner for two for $85.
How to book: Place a contactless pickup to-go order online, or book a Resy to dine-in.