Although the pandemic caused a few staples to close their doors, Houston’s restaurant sector has flourished in recent years, adding to the city’s already abundant and diverse dining options. The barbecue scene may be booming, but so are menus that focus on plant-based menus. People may be tempted to begin with some good old-fashioned home-grown Tex-Mex, but the city’s diversity makes it an ideal site to explore flavors from around the world and fascinating fusion menus.
Some people believe Houston to be the world’s culinary capital because it features an overwhelming number of cuisines and restaurants that keep both local diners and visitors returning for more. And with a never-ending list of new establishments opening their doors, the question of where to dine each month still stands. Recommended Houston eateries are included below.
Uchiko, located in Houston’s newest Post Oak Place development, first opened its doors on May 23. Its chef, who formerly worked at Momofuku Las Vegas and the Mina Group’s Ramen Bar, brings an impressive experience to the city.
Uchiko incorporates improvements in smoking technology with the best features of its forerunner, Uchi. Popular dishes include the Hama chili, karaage, quality sushi, sunomono, Japanese cucumber, and seaweed salad. In contrast, more exotic options include the gyutoro maki, which is stuffed with wagyu short rib cooked for long hours, and the koviche, which is stuffed with lobster, fried slices of sunchoke, grapefruit, and tiger’s milk. The s’mores dessert is fun to assemble, but the sweet potato okashi with its ganache middle, scorched honey ice cream, and black garlic caramel will blow your mind.
2. The Warwick
Executive Chef Antoine Ware embraces his New Orleans and Cajun origins at this highly anticipated New American restaurant,The Warwick, housed in the former Houston’s building on Fountainview.
The sweet and savory 16-ounce Hawaiian rib-eye is marinated for 48 hours in a pineapple, brown sugar, and ginger mixture and is served with the restaurant’s signature creamy spinach dip and Thai noodle salad. The new restaurant has a sleek design and serves delicious food, including Gulf shrimp with a chile sauce, lamb chops on the grill, and a warm caramel cake.
3. Georgia James Tavern
The Georgia James Tavern is a low-key dive bar with a touch of Art Deco and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It brings Old Hollywood vibes and local charm to the ground floor of Market Square Tower. Try one of the many fantastic cocktails, such as the High Horse (dry gin, lemon, orange, peach, vanilla, and amaro), or select from a wide selection of bourbons and beverages the world, from the Medoc area of France to Napa Valley. There are various fruited Berliners, local Texas IPAs, and even imports from as far away as Belgium, all of which are reasonably priced. There is no tasting menu, but the burgers and fries are made with the utmost care and the finest ingredients (it shows). The “Elvis Cookie,” which combines peanut butter, banana, and bacon, illustrates the irreverence of the menu.
Located inside the Museum of Fine Arts, Le Jardinier is a beautiful, romantic atmosphere ideal for a museum restaurant. The taste and quality of the cuisine alone are worth a visit. A sprig of rosemary here, some beautifully colored beets there: Vermeer would have been happy to eat at Le Jardinier. Each dish is a culinary art, but their deliciousness is only part of the story. You’ll want more of the burrata appetizer served with winter squash, pecan gremolata, and spiced red-juice poached pears. The chef’s commitment to farm-to-table cooking is shown in the abundance of high-quality ingredients he uses in dishes like the chestnut agnolotti topped with wild mushrooms and toasted hazelnuts. Try the vegetables; you will be pretty pleased.
5. Wild Oats
The recently opened Wild Oats farmers market in Houston, Texas, features a genuinely native Texas experience thanks to the efforts of the Underbelly Hospitality team. Nick Fine, culinary director, and chef-partner at HFM uses a custom-built live-fire grill to explore the regional cuisines that make the Lone Star State unique. Among the dishes on the menu are Crispy Pork Shank with späetzle, a nod to Central Texas’ German roots; Bellaire Campechana swimming with crab, shrimp, and spiced tomatillo; and R-C Ranch Wagyu done CFS-style with a cowboy-inspired bacon poblano sauce. It’s like having a piece of Old Texas, but with a gourmet twist.
Inspired by his grandmother Nobie, Executive Chef Martin Stayer serves you regionally inspired, masterfully prepared meals and abundant shareable. Most people begin with the puffy pull-apart milk bread known as Dilly Bread, which goes wonderfully with smoked fish roe. However, the Sweet Potato Tots with harissa spice should not be overlooked. What’s one dish that never goes unnoticed? Even though the menu at Nonno’s Pasta is constantly changing, the tagliatelle bolognese remains a constant. Get some of that and whatever else is in season, whether it’s the ‘Nduja Wanna Scallop with lemon and Calabrian chile or the Truffle Butter King of Mushroom Gnocchi. Regardless matter how things turn out, they will conclude with one of the best darn pies you’ve ever tasted.
The interiors of Verdine are decorated in an eco-chic style, and they feature cozy and attractive blue sofas. The restaurant offers counter service for lunch and table service in the evening; hence, the area is rearranged during the day to reflect these respective modes of operation. On the menu, traditional comfort foods are given inventive vegan makeovers. For example, carnitas are made with jackfruit instead of pork and are served with roasted corn salsa, chipotle aioli, and pickled red onions. The house burger is made with a patty of lentils, walnuts, and mushrooms. Another dish that stands out is the best falafel.
Riel, located in Houston’s posh Montrose district, features the cuisine of chef Ryan Lachaine. The majority of the menu is a mashup of Lachaine’s two favourite culinary worlds: the Odessa Coast and the Gulf Coast. Dishes like the truffle-and-caviar pierogis, maize gnocchi, and market oysters with coconut-lime granita are all inspired by Lachaine’s upbringing in both regions. However, Lachaine’s “vegetarian version of chicken wings,” the cauliflower tempura with kimchi spicy sauce, is the dish to order.
9. Theodore Rex
In its place in the city’s Warehouse neighborhood, acclaimed chef Justin Yu has opened an effortlessly sleek and designed small-plate restaurant. In contrast to Oxheart, Theodore Rex does not offer a tasting menu; nevertheless, if you want to sample the entire spectrum of offerings on the menu, you can design your tasting menu with the assistance of your server. Melon and sumac, frozen yogurt, and oregano are just two examples of flavors that, at first blush, may seem like an odd combination. Order the Texas Wagyu strip loin, a dish that is both reliable and traditional when nothing else seems to work.
At this classy restaurant Marmo, you may order dishes like prime ribeye carpaccio with truffle dijonnaise and a darn fine Chicken Parm. Steaks are also available, and they come in a variety of cuts from across the world, including the famous Porterhouse and New York Strip; many of these steaks are dry-aged in-house, and they’re topped with sauces like Porcini Bone Marrow, Black Garlic Mostarda, and Aged Beef Fat Butter. Drink some robust Italian juice and listen to some local artists play the piano while you do all this.
At this Indian restaurant, you can choose your adventure by dining in the cocktail lounge, fine dining restaurant, or tapas bar. At the tapas bar, Indian street food classics like golgappa burst with flavor and can be requested by honking a horn. Step into a fairytale and choose your adventure at this Indian restaurant. The unique mushrooms that have been pan-seared and garnished with truffles, the soft ostrich kebab, and the jackfruit samosas are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Your meal will end on a luxurious note with the cardamom chocolate mousse, crowned with a gold kiss made of 24-karat gold.
Bludorn, located in the Pass & Provisions space on Taft, features the chef’s masterful European technique along with a welcome punch of Gulf Coast love through next-level dishes such as Foie Gras with churro and cherry, a perfectly balanced Gulf Cioppino, instant classics such as Lobster Pot Pie and Short Rib Ravioli, and a Baked Alaska you never knew you needed. Make a reservation at the soon-to-open Navy Blue in Rice Village to see all the buzz, and look forward to Bludorn’s next project this autumn.