Houston is the fourth largest cosmopolitan destination in the United States with plenty of nightlife, arts, shopping and of course tons of restaurants as well. It’s easy to find things to do when you visit here, like spending the day in the Museum District or heading downtown to check out the Space Center Houston. If you are looking for budget friendly activities there are plenty of low-cost and free things to do as well.
If shopping is your activity of choice, you won’t be disappointed with all of the different shops, malls, antique stores and boutiques there are to browse through. You could easily spend a whole day doing nothing but shopping and not come close to covering all the different places there are.
One of the fun parts of traveling is getting to explore a different area’s restaurant scene, especially if you are a foodie. Houston has over 10,000 restaurants, offering cuisine from over 70 countries and regions in the United States. Houston was named the Country’s Most Exciting Food City, by Tasting Table Magazine and Food and Wine called it The Newest Capital of Great Food.
We have listed the best places to eat in Houston below to get you started on your culinary excursions. With so many places to choose from you may find it overwhelming to try and decide so we’ll help with this great list. These restaurants are some of the best of the best Houston has to offer with delicious barbecue joints, fine dining restaurants, diners and much more. After trying these places you will see why Houston is gaining such popularity as the place to go for interesting and delicious food.
Dining at Hugo’s brings the earthy, authentic flavors of Mexico right to your table and you don’t even need a passport. Executive Chef Hugo Ortega is dedicated to bringing you the kind of Mexican cuisine that has been unchanged by the rest of the world. When He opened Hugo’s in 2002, Ortega journeyed to his homeland to rediscover the foods there. The menu reflects that journey with traditional dishes from all over Mexico, made from scratch in the Mexican tradition. This includes the chocolate, cheeses. And tortillas that you will get to enjoy. Choose from such delicious authentic Mexican dishes as the Enchiladas de Pollo which features two chicken enchiladas topped with special Chihuahua cheese and a choice of sauces including green tomatillo, mole or tomato-chile. It is served with refritos and arroz blanco; or the Carnitas; made from tender pork that has been slow-cooked and is served with onion, cilantro and fresh made salsa Mexicana. On Sundays, you can enjoy their delicious and expansive Sunday Brunch that is loaded with traditional Mexican dishes, scrumptious desserts and tasty cocktails while listening to the live music. The Latin-influenced building that houses Hugo’s was originally built in 1925 and has been restored to its original splendor. The interior includes appealing elements of traditional Old Mexico along with some chic contemporary elements as well. Come to Hugo’s for a unique and authentic Mexican cuisine dining experience that makes you feel like you crossed the border.
Taste of Texas
Visit: Taste of Texas
Owners of the Taste of Texas Restaurant, Nina and Ed Hendee, opened its doors in 1977 with the goal of providing exceptional service and good old fashioned, Texas hospitality to their guests and they have accomplished that and more. Taste of Texas sets the standard for other steakhouses, by focusing on serving only the finest prime rib and steaks available. They only serve Certified Angus Beef which is the most consistent and highest quality beef on the market today. Only 8 % of all beef makes that cut and yet Taste of Texas makes sure that ALL of their steaks come from that 8%. The steak at Taste of Texas is juicy. Tender and bursting with delicious flavor due to the high marbling that each cut contains. The trim specifications at Taste of Texas are very strict. These strict standards mean the most incredible steak experience for their guests. If you’re really hungry, try their Ribeye steak by the ounce where you can choose a ribeye as big as you think you can eat. The minimum is 16 ounces. You could also decide to try the slow roasted prime rib from 10 ounce servings to a whopping 24 ounce serving. All of the steaks can be paired with your choice of grilled jumbo shrimp or a lobster tail if you desire. With the delicious array of appetizers, side dishes and desserts that are also on the menu, you will leave Taste of Texas satisfied and full and with a brand new appreciation for what steak should taste like.
One of the many exciting things about Reef is the menu that changes every day to take advantage of the fresh catches that are available daily. Chef/Owner Bryan Caswell was an avid fisherman while he was growing up. He grew up with an appreciation of the treasures that come from the Gulf of Mexico and highlights them in the delicious dishes he creates. Reef isn’t just about Gulf seafood though, it also pays tribute to the many different influences that food from Houston possesses. Included on Reef’s menu is a delicious selection of Mexican carnitas, Vietnamese hot pot, and Indian raita among other delicacies. In Houston, all the different food cultures are enjoyed and Chef Bryan echoes that in his exceptional restaurant. There is truly something for everyone here and the dining experience that every guest will enjoy will be one they remember for years to come. Don’t forget to try some of their wines that are kept in temperature-controlled storage for the best taste and that are sold at phenomenal prices as well.
Visit: Aquarium Restaurant
If you want to have a dining experience that you will never, EVER forget, come dine at Aquarium Restaurant. Guests are seated around an aquarium that is 150,000 gallons. Guests can watch the different varieties of sea life including rays, sawfish, and much more, swimming right by your table as you dine. The graceful swimming of the fish can be mesmerizing as you sit at the table and watch them unbelievably close by. Not only does Aquarium restaurant provide plenty of visual appeal, it provides a feast for the palate too. The menu is full of pasta dishes, steaks, seafood specialties, salads, chicken and much more. You can finish your meal with a scrumptious dessert as well. It’s hard to describe the beauty of Aquarium restaurant but it is an experience you don’t want to miss for a romantic dinner for two or a dinner the whole family can enjoy. The second floor houses the Dive Lounge which is an upscale bar that offers a place to relax and get a cocktail before dinner or after your meal is complete.
Visit: Fung’s Kitchen
Fung’s Kitchen started off as one of the first true authentic Hong Kong style restaurants. Master Chef Hoi Fung and his family are dedicated to putting authenticity into the dishes that he creates so guests can enjoy the taste and passion that every dish contains. Guests appreciate this sincerity and word started spreading about Fung’s Kitchen. Decades later, Fung’s is still going strong, not as just a good Chinese restaurant but as an icon of true Cantonese tradition, dining and culture. They only serve the freshest, live seafood and hand-picked ingredients that provide guests with a taste that is unmatched. The menu is jam-packed with over 500 dishes that can be enjoyed for lunch, dinner and private dining. They are also famous for their Dim Sum. Many famous people have made Fung’s a regular stop from the Houston Rockets to former Presidents of the US and food critics and news stations as well. Even the Queen of Thailand has dined here. Fung’s offers many celebrations throughout the year including the Chinese New Year and also offers a fun and engaging lunch and learn class. You don’t have to travel to the Far East to enjoy true, authentic Chinese cuisine, all you need to do is dine at Fung’s Kitchen where they stand by their philosophy of customer’s first, authenticity and quality.
Goode Company Barbecue
Visit: Goode Company Barbecue
Goode Company Barbecue is a family owned and operated restaurant that takes serving the finest Texas cuisine seriously. They opened the doors in 1977 and the barbecue pits haven’t stopped since that time. This dedicated family has spent the last 35 years providing guests with the best blend of Texas cuisine and culture that you can find anywhere. They want their guests to come dine and feel like they can relax and stay awhile. Not only does Goode Company Barbecue serve the best tasting barbecue around, they also serve delicious seafood fresh from the Gulf and offer guests a tasty taqueria joint as well as a place to listen to great live music. The décor of Good Company is a tribute to the Old West with black and white photographs on the walls of cowboys, entertaining, cheeky, hand-painted signs and a beautiful collection of leather saddles bringing visual appeal to your dining experience. There is also a huge 25,000 pound propeller in the restaurant as well. One thing you won’t find at Goode Company is an electric or gas stove. They cook their food over mesquite, a tradition that Jim Goode grew up with. The distinct flavor this wood smoke produces is second to none and has been the calling card of Goode Company for decades. All of their food is cooked over this sweet-smelling wood that you will see stacked up outside the restaurant. The staff and Owners of Goode Company Barbecue are dedicated to providing every single guest that walks through the door made-from-scratch, slow-smoked and hand-crafted foods every day. They feel they just taste a lot better and you will definitely agree.
Visit: Grotto’s Ristorante
At Grotto’s you will experience the ambiance of an Old Country Trattoria and enjoy the taste of classic Italian cooking that will make your dining experience something truly special. The menu is full of dishes that are carefully prepared using timeless recipes that have been passed down for generations. Some of these signature dishes include Papperdelle con Verdura, Neopolitan thin crust pizza that is crispy and delicious, and Snapper Siciliano. Grotto’s Restaurant hand-makes everything they serve, such as the wonderful antipasti display, to the many different entrees that they offer. You will get to enjoy authentic Italian tastes and flavors that will make you feel like you are in Italy. Don’t forget to try their famous Peach Bellini or one of the Italian or Domestic wines they offer from their extensive collection. The menu is full of entrees that feature chicken, beef, veal, and fish and they have a wonderful selection of desserts you won’t be able to resist. A dinner at Grotto’s will help you make your anniversary, birthday, proposal or romantic first date something truly spectacular.
Brennan’s of Houston
Visit: Brennan’s of Houston
Brennan’s opened in 1967 and was a sister restaurant to the famous Commander’s Palace located in New Orleans. Since its opening it has evolved into Houston’s premier location for dining experiences that are memorable for many different reasons, least of which is their true Southern Hospitality. Every member of the Brennan’s of Houston team, from the person who takes your reservation to the chefs, waiters, bussers and others behind the scenes, is dedicated to providing the highest standard of perfection and excellence. They also want to ensure that your memories are precious whether they are proposals, successful business deals or anniversaries. The menu changes often, based on seasonal offerings and availability. They create their delicious dishes based on the freshest, highest quality ingredients that are in season so you get the benefit of their peak flavor. You’ll be able to enjoy such dishes as the Hunter’s Honey Roasted Duck or the Shrimp Chippewa and that is just the beginning. Whatever you order at Brennan’s, you can be sure that it will taste incredible.
Visit: Star Pizza
At Star Pizza you will never get pre-made pies because every single pizza is made to order from only the freshest, finest ingredients. The made-from-scratch sauce is made from a special blend of spices and herbs that are sure to please. They make their pizza dough in-house, fresh every day using flour that is untreated and unbleached. It takes a little longer to prepare a Star Pizza but they guarantee it will be the best pizza you have ever tasted. Some of the special offerings that Star Pizza offers that sets it apart from other restaurants is the deep-dish pizza, a selection of vegetarian toppings, and they also offer a whole wheat crust. Since Houstonians are usually fans of the traditional steak and potatoes were not used to pizzas that needed a knife and fork to eat or with vegetarian options but the concepts were embraced and Star Pizza is one of the most popular pizza places in town. The guests that come to Star Pizza are what matter to the owners and it is their needs and demands that dictate not only the hours that the restaurant is open but also the high quality of the ingredients and attention to detail that is a mainstay of this delicious pizza place.
The name may be hard to pronounce but what you will remember about UCHI is the incredible tasting food. They combine fresh seafood from all over the world with local seasonal ingredients to create dishes that will amaze and satisfy every guest. The traditional Japanese offerings that UCHI provides their guests are combined with new and innovative textures and flavors to create something truly remarkable. Their produce is procured fresh every day. They have nurtured close relationships with local farmers and the seafood served in the restaurant is flown in every single day from Tsukiji and Fukuoka markets located in Japan. They maintain a dedication and promise concerning the fish that they serve, stating that they will only use seafood that is responsibly fished and sustainable. How their fish is caught is just as important to them as the freshness. Executive Chef Cole is not just a chef that watches over things, He brings an incredible energy to UCHI by interacting with the guests, hearing their opinions and comments and also expertly using high quality knives to create what can only be described as culinary art. Chef Cole also interacts closely with the other sushi chefs, the cooks, the bartender and the chef de cuisine to make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same standards of excellence. UCHI is also a place that you can go for your dinner parties or business dinners. They have a private dining room that can accommodate as many as 26 guests and two smaller dining rooms that can hold 13 guests each. Whatever your occasion and whatever your needs are, UCHI and the incredibly dedicated staff that are there will make sure that your evening is a huge success.