In recent times, no metropolis’s culinary profile has risen extra shortly than Houston’s. Town will not be solely house to James Beard Award-winning culinarians and the newest High Chef installment, nevertheless it’s additionally a haven to a number of the largest and most vibrant immigrant populations that infuse the area with distinctive flavors and cuisines. Nonetheless, the most important and most various metropolis in Texas is arguably one of many nation’s most underrated eating locations, and it’s simply ready to be explored. Use this as a information to immerse your self and style your manner by Houston’s exceptional culinary tradition.
Welcome to the Land of Oil and Cash
Residence to essentially the most various inhabitants of residents within the nation, the culinary scene on this sprawling metropolis is really unparalleled. As soon as solely often called the land of oil barons and extreme humidity, James Beard Award-winning cooks like Chris Shepherd and Hugo Ortega have drawn eyes from throughout the nation to Houston’s eating places.
When you have a day to take a deep dive into town’s restaurant scene, begin the morning at espresso nerd David Buehrer’s Blacksmith to sip an expertly brewed cup of joe imported from Guatemala or Colombia alongside Vietnamese steak and eggs. For lunch, go to Hugo’s in Montrose for chef Hugo Ortega’s ceviches, intricately spiced mole dishes, and a number of the metropolis’s finest margaritas.
Then, spend the afternoon driving down Bellaire Boulevard in Chinatown, stopping in at award-winning spot Crawfish & Noodles for a second lunch. Pre-dinner cocktails at James Beard Award-winning cocktail bar Julep or Anvil Bar & Refuge are important, as is dinner at EaDo favourite Nancy’s Hustle, the place squid ink linguine in fermented chile butter and beef and butter dumplings await.
The place to Begin on Eater Houston’s Greatest Maps
Eater Houston is the place to go for complete guides to town’s finest foods and drinks — with every part from steak, fried rooster, and cocktails to burgers or brunch. When the sheer variety of choices appears overwhelming, listed here are some high picks which can be a stable guess each single time.
Hottest Eating places: A few of the hottest tables in Houston proper now are at Aaron Bludorn’s latest enterprise in Rice Village, Navy Blue, the place seafood dishes abound; Jun, a “New Asian American” restaurant within the Heights from High Chef finalist Evelyn Garcia and chef Henry Lu; Tim Ho Wan, the primary Texas outpost of the favored one-Michelin-starred dim sum home; and Ciel, an upscale River Oaks restaurant that provides reside leisure into the wee hours.
Important Eating places: Searching for succulent fajitas and saucy enchiladas? Head to Candente for its stellar brisket enchiladas, or the Authentic Ninfa’s on Navigation, which, based in 1973, is thought for introducing the nation to fajitas and shelling out wood-fired proteins, freshly-made tortillas, and bowls of melty queso. For some Southern soulful dishes like braised oxtail and chili biscuits, head to Lucille’s, and a few intriguing, upscale spins on fast-food classics at Riel.
Burgers: Burger choices in Houston appear infinite. Whereas burger-chan presents flavorful patties with punchy condiments like kimchi relish and sambal mayo, Montrose mainstay Lankford Grocery & Market serves up one in every of Area Metropolis’s spiciest burgers. Close to the suburbs, get to Killen’s Burgers in Pearland for a ridiculously juicy brisket-chuck patty, or a Hippo Burgers location up north within the Humble space for an enormous chew. Within the metropolis? Hit the drive-thru on the Burger Joint for super-thick shakes, kimchi-topped burgers, and extra.
Barbecue: Whereas it won’t have the status of Texas Hill Nation, Houston barbecue definitely holds its personal. The brisket, sausage, ribs, and extra at spots like Feges BBQ, Gatlin’s, Killen’s, the Pit Room, and Spring’s Corkscrew all solidly fulfill a longing for smokey meats. Additionally nice is Reality BBQ, a Hill Nation expat that serves killer brisket alongside towering muffins for dessert, and Katy’s Brett’s Barbecue Store, which serves up brisket enchiladas on choose days of the week.
Brunch: Houstonians virtually deal with brunch like a sport. As such, there’s an abundance of cuisines and vibes that may fulfill any urge for food. Go to Bosscat Kitchen & Libations for vibe eating and indulgent eats like “Fruity Pebbles” French toast and doughnut burgers; Traveler’s Desk for mimosa flights and a pattern of globe-trotting dishes like jerk rooster, seafood risotto, and crab samosas; or the Annie Cafe & Bar for a extra elevated brunch expertise on the picturesque terrace.
Fried Rooster: Houston is arguably the perfect metropolis within the nation for fried rooster because of its numerous takes on the crispy and comforting fried fowl. Strive Himalaya’s spice-laden and skinless rooster, served with a tangy mustard sauce; Dak N Bop’s additional crunchy model of Korean fried rooster with home made sauces; or Frenchy’s, a neighborhood staple providing yard chook to go.
Tex-Mex and Mexican: Chef Hugo Ortega’s Xochi needs to be a bucket checklist cease for anybody within the neighborhood of Downtown Houston. Searching for basic Tex-Mex? Head over to Teotihuacán Mexican Cafe for fajitas, enchiladas, and a lot extra.
Tacos: Town wouldn’t be what it’s with out its scrumptious array of tacos. Devour tacky quesadilla tacos de fajita from the cash-only El Taconazo taco truck utilizing the hood of your automobile as a desk. Jam out with birria tacos at Tacos Dona Lena in Spring Department, or cease by Brothers Tacos Home, thought-about town’s taco Mecca.
Banh Mi: With Houston boasting one of many largest Vietnamese populations within the nation, it’s no shock that town presents some most brag-worthy banh mi choices — usually for underneath $10. Go-to scorching spots embrace Cali Sandwich & Pho, Roostar, and Saigon Hustle, which presents a number of the freshest sandwiches and rice bowls by means of its drive-thru.
Seafood: Contemplating town’s proximity to the Gulf, seafood is a significant a part of town’s culinary material. Head to Gatlin’s Fins & Feathers for an ode to neighborhood fish fries and scrumptious gumbo, Kata Robata for top-tier uncooked choices and sushi, or Goode Co. Seafood for a number of the finest catches within the metropolis.
Steak Nights: With numerous steakhouses serving up the perfect cuts, there’s no scarcity of choices, however locals know that a number of the finest steaks are served throughout weeknights at native bars and eating places, like Monkey’s Tail, Cottonwood, and Higher Luck Tomorrow.
Vegetarian: Houston is definitely large on its meats, however the metropolis additionally is aware of methods to do vegetarian meals effectively. Cease by native Third Ward establishment inexperienced seed vegan for sandwiches, just like the sturdy grilled mushroom Illy cheeseteak, or bask in a vegan barbecue on the Houston Sauce Pit meals truck, which cooks up barbecue stuffed potatoes, vegan sausages, and extra. Tex-Mex joint Cascabel, which serves up a melty potato-based queso and bistec chimichangas, can also be a must-try.
Margaritas: Tex-Mex and margaritas go hand in hand, and there’s an abundance of agave-based drinks to maintain you buzzing daily of the week. For frozen or on the rocks, head to Flora for its easy but refreshing rendition of the margarita — utilizing solely contemporary lime juice, agave, tequila, and a cricket salt rim — or get festive with extra flavors at Eight Row Flint, which serves a mangorita rimmed with tajin.
Wine: When wine is what you need, know that Houston has a bevy of top-notch wine bars and wineries which can be serving to put Texas’ wine scene on the map. For an academic tasting, go for the reservations-only Good Vineyard, which hosts sit-down courses. Go for brunch and bubbles at a’Bouzy, or decide to pattern and pour your individual glass at Roots, town’s first “self-automated” wine bar.
Beer: The native beer scene has grown exponentially in Houston lately, which signifies that there are many spots for drinkers to take pleasure in native brews. Discover a well-selected assortment (and glorious bar fare) at Houston’s most interesting, Saint Arnold. These particularly looking for sours will discover a journey north to Humble’s Ingenius Brewing Co. value it.
Ice Cream: Regardless of the time of 12 months, it’s most likely scorching sufficient to eat ice cream in Houston. Honeychild’s Candy Lotions and Fats Cat Creamery serve up a number of the metropolis’s most reliably scrumptious flavors.
Halal Delicacies: With over 70,000 Muslims residing within the area, Houston is house to one of many largest Islamic communities within the South, which suggests a plethora of great halal choices. Devour halal meats smoked Texas-style at Chuckwagon BBQ in Katy, tacos at Taco Fuego, and freshly baked bread and Lebanese-styled pizza at Cedars Bakery.
Pizza: Neopolitan, Detroit, or New York-style: Houston can fulfill any pizza ardour. Get pleasure from a wonderfully fired pie within the backyard at Coltivare, on the fashionable Gypsy Poet, newcomer Tiny Champions, or at Pizaro’s Pizza Napoletana, which has been verified by the official Vera Pizza Napoletana group for serving “genuine” Neopolitan pies.
Houston Meals Neighborhoods to Know
Arguably the most well liked eating neighborhood in Houston proper now, the Heights is filled with glorious eating places. Get pleasure from sushi and hand rolls at Hando, or lump crabmeat fried rice and duck breast soup at Thai restaurant Kin Dee. If it’s glad hour, try Eight Row Flint’s huge patio, full with loads of booze (like barrel-aged whiskey and frozen gin and tonic) and tacos.
Residence to a few of Houston’s most well-known eating places, Montrose is a veritable eating paradise. Begin the day with pastries from Widespread Bond and low from Blacksmith, then head to Hugo’s for enchiladas, ceviche, and (in fact) margaritas at lunch. Earlier than dinner, take pleasure in expertly-mixed martinis and Manhattans on the vaunted Anvil Bar & Refuge, then enterprise off to Ostia for its signature roasted rooster with a aspect of fried potatoes and a creamy aioli, or go for squid ink campanelle with blue crab and feather-light tiramisu at Marmo.
Enterprise vacationers flock to Houston’s Downtown for work, however there’s extra within the metropolis middle than simply energy lunch locations. When lunch rolls round, strive the Oaxacan fare at Ortega’s Xochi or go for selection at Lyric Market, a buzzy meals corridor that’s house to 1929 Po Boy Kitchen, Unhealthy CHX Scorching Rooster, and Indian avenue meals stall Kati Roll Wala. Searching for a swankier vacation spot? Strive steakhouses like Guard and Grace and Vic and Anthony’s, Italian restaurant Potente, or a mix of West African delicacies at Put up Houston meals corridor’s Chopnblok. Finish the night with a nightcap at a neighborhood bar like Warren’s Inn, Angel Share, or Captain Foxheart’s Unhealthy Information Bar & Spirits Lodge.
Although near Downtown, Midtown’s received a complete vibe of its personal with a superb array of eating places to select from. For breakfast, The Breakfast Klub is a Beyoncé-approved Houston establishment and a very good spot to attain rooster and waffles or fried catfish and grits for breakfast, whereas Damian’s Cucina Italiana, Brennan’s of Houston (which serves up Creole delicacies), and Houston’s all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue joint Gen Korean BBQ Home make participating dinner choices.
One of many ritzier of the notable eating neighborhoods, River Oaks is house to a few of Houston’s flashiest eateries. Drop a giant chunk of change on an excellent larger hunk of meat at Steak 48, or stomach as much as the oyster bar at chef Ford Fry’s State of Grace. In want of one thing a bit extra informal in River Oaks? The patio at Backstreet Cafe is an ideal spot to park on good climate days. Whereas shopping the retailers at River Oaks District, cease into Amorino Gelato for a flower-shaped frozen deal with that tastes nearly as good because it appears to be like on Instagram.
It is perhaps named after a shopping center, however the meals in Houston’s Galleria space is decidedly higher than meals courtroom fare. Trendy Indian restaurant Musaafer serves a wide-ranging menu that stuns each single time, whereas Etoile Delicacies Et Bar presents simple French plates de résistance, like a lemon and saffron asparagus risotto with shrimp and a wild boar ragout Bolognese.
Extra aptly described as “Asiatown,” this neighborhood alongside Bellaire Boulevard can just about fulfill any culinary itch. Dig into genuine Sichuan delicacies from James Beard-nominated eatery Mala Sichuan Bistro, or run — don’t stroll — to Crawfish & Noodles for spicy, garlicky Viet-Cajun crawfish. Searching for Houston’s famously nice pho? Strive Pho Hung or Pho Binh by Evening. Thai, Japanese, Uyghur, Korean, and fusion choices are additionally on supply, which signifies that it’s most likely good to dedicate a full day to exploring every part Chinatown has to supply.
Katy Asian City
Anchored by H-Mart, this suburban enclave is house to dozens of Asian retailers and eating places, which means loads of eating choices and bubble tea variations await. You should definitely cease by James Beard-nominated chef Alex Au-Yeung’s flagship for Phat Eatery, which dishes out Malaysian avenue meals and dim sum. Strive the char siu and Peking duck at Chung Wang BBQ, heat bowls of pho loaded with a large brief rib at Yummy Pho and Bo Ne, and a lot extra.
Houston Glossary of Phrases
Vietnamese Iced Espresso — A potent mix of Vietnamese darkish roast, drip espresso, and sweetened condensed milk. Houston’s favourite method to begin the morning.
Kolache — Made with a yeast dough and stuffed within the middle with jams, cream cheese, poppy seeds, and different candy fillings, Czech immigrants introduced this candy pastry to Texas within the mid-1800s. Right now, kolaches are important Texas breakfast fare and at the moment are served in a extra savory vogue with fillings like sausage, egg and bacon, boudin, and even brisket. The klobasnek, usually filled with sausage or floor meat, is famous because the kolache’s savory cousin.
Viet-Cajun Crawfish — A fusion of two of Houston’s most distinguished cuisines, Vietnamese and Cajun, with an emphasis on Gulf seafood. As a substitute of the normal crawfish boil, these mudbugs are tossed in ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and pack loads of warmth.
Keep Within the Loop
Eater Houston is up to date a number of instances each weekday with breaking information tales (restaurant openings, closings, and many others.), options, guides, and extra. Listed below are just a few methods to remain within the loop:
• Bookmark the Eater Houston homepage. New tales will at all times present up close to the highest, together with choose essential tales pinned to the highest. Different tales will circulation down towards the underside of the web page as they become older. Additionally, try our large sister, Eater.com, for nationwide and worldwide meals information.
• Subscribe to our e-newsletter, which matches out each weekday night and contains hyperlinks to the day’s high tales.
• Like us on Fb and comply with us on Twitter for updates on new tales and extra all through the day.
Get in Contact
Have questions that haven’t been answered right here? Wish to ship in a tip or a criticism or simply say howdy? Listed below are some methods to get in contact with the Eater Houston employees:
• E-mail us at [email protected].
• Ship us a tip, which might be nameless if you happen to select, at our tipline.
• Work together with us on Fb or Twitter.