024 GRILLE 945 Gessner Road | 832.359.0600
17 | inside Hotel Alden
1117 Prairie. 832.200.8888
51FIFTEEN | inside Saks Fifth Avenue 5115 Westheimer. 713.963.8067 www.51fifteen.com
ABSOLVE | WINE LOUNGE 920 Studemont St., Suite 150 | 281.501.1788 www.absolvewinelounge.com
Located in the booming Washington Corridor, Absolve Wine Lounge offers a stylish, edgy twist on the Houston wine bar experience. The interior décor of Absolve is a playful mix of modern, baroque and Bohemian. The wine menu is an ever evolving balance of the most popular wines in the market and hand-selected boutique wines. We feature an extensive wine list including many offerings by the glass. We also have a tremendous selection of beers that include local, domestic, import, premium import, craft, specialty and seasonal. The food menu consists of classic and creative tapas dishes. Our happy hour is every day of the week from 4-7pm and features $5 glasses of wine and appetizers. Specials: Sunday-Thursday: 4pm-12am | Monday: Half-price Glasses | Tuesday: Wine Flights | Wednesday: Happy Hour All Night | Friday-Saturday: 4pm-2am
•2010 West Gray Ave. 832.200.1492
•21 Waterway Ave. 281.367.1492
ARTISTA | inside the Hobby Center
800 Bagby. 713.278.4782
AVA KITCHEN+WHISKEY BAR
2800 Kirby. 713.386.6460
5 Houston Locations
800 W. Sam Houston Pkwy., CityCentre 713.827.354
BLACK FINN AMERICAN GRILL
1910 Bagby., #100. 713.651.9550
Driving around Midtown you might have noticed this rather expansive newcomer to the neighborhood. Not only does this space offer a dining room but also a grille room, saloon and patio, each offering individual comforts. The dining room outfitted in photography and work from local artists is ideal for family dinners and business. Looking for full dining but in a more relaxed bar-like setting then the Grille is for you, with booth and bar seating. Should you need to hide out in a booth and work, outlets and Wi-Fi is available. The Saloon merges social dining, sports and business. Check out the game while you dine anytime early or late, or use the space for happy hour or special events. The patio offers a comfortable setting no matter the weather (heaters for cold weather) with local musicians providing acoustic sets Friday and Saturday evening. Open until 2am and it’s dog friendly! No matter the mood, Black Finn offers four dining experiences to suit you. And your options don’t end with the particular rooms; their menu offers a vast array of delights from flatbread, burgers to enchiladas, filets, pastas. Whatever you are craving, you’ll find relief here. Their Ginger Tuna is a tangy, citrus delight of sushi grade ahi steak with stir-fry vegetables and a smashed rice cake with a citrus soy. Looking for a cure, the Hangover Burger combines ham, a fried egg, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion on top of a burger for fast “relief.” For indulgence, try the Iron Skillet Mac–N-Cheese Surf or Turf. A blend of cheeses, cavatappi pasta, bacon, tomatoes and toasted bread crumbs are mixed with your choice of lobster, red chili chicken or barbeque pulled pork. For a dining experience catered to your mood and need, Black Finn has it all.
By Beatrice Allen
BOWL 607 Richmond. 832.582.7218 www.eatatbowl.com
BRC 519 Shepherd Drive 713.861.2233 www.brcgastropub.com
Offering a unique rotating selection of craft and micro brews, served alongside a creative menu of truly inspired and sophisticated “pub” food.
CAFE EXPRESS 12 convenient locations in Houston www.cafe-express.com
CANOPY 3939 Montrose Blvd. 713.528.6848 www.canopyhouston.com
CINQ | at La Colombe d’Or
3410 Montrose Blvd. 713.469.4750
COURSES | inside the Art Institute of Houston
1900 Yorktown. 713.353.3644
CROSSROADS 1204 Caroline 888.402.5837 www.houseofblues.com
DAILY REVIEW CAFE
3412 West Lamar. 713.520.9217
DANTON’S GULF COAST SEAFOOD
4611 Montrose. 713.807.8889
EDDIE V’S PRIME SEAFOOD
•12848 Queensbury Ln. 832.200.2380
•2800 Kirby @West Ave. 713.874.1800
FOUNDATION ROOM | HOB
1204 Caroline. 832.667.7800
2502 Algerian Way. 713.581.6101
HEARSAY GASTRO LOUNGE 218 Travis St. 713.225.8079 www.hearsayhouston.com
KENNY & ZIGGY’S | NEW YORK DELICATESSEN RESTAURANT 2327 Post Oak Blvd. 713.871.8883 www.kennyandziggys.com
There are a lot of derisive jokes on how Texans feel about New York, but when Kenny & Ziggy’s opened in Houston 12 years ago, a whole lot of Lone Star State folk were biting their tongues. Literally. Tongue, on a triple-decker sandwich that came with corned beef, turkey and Russian dressing. Kenny & Ziggy’s is the star of the Lone Star, known for its sky-scraping sandwiches, bountiful breakfast plates and Old World favorites. Ziggy Gruber is the chef/owner and third-generation “deli maven.” His family opened the first Jewish deli on Broadway. Theatrical? The menu definitely is! Look for Fiddler on the Roof of My Mouth, Seize Her Salad, and Give Me Liverty or Give Me Schmaltz! Love the classics? Try Hungarian Goulash, Corned Beef and Cabbage, Kasha Varniskas, and delectable Smoked Fish. Dessert? Whoa! New York-style Cheesecake, Pecan Someone Your Own Size Pie and the World’s Largest Éclair.
Laurenzo’s 4412 Washington Ave. 713.880.5111 www.laurenzos.net
Family is the foundation of Laurenzo’s Prime Rib, which grew out of six decades of family recipes for spaghetti sauces, tortillas and more – luckily, the Laurenzos consider customers to be kin. Owner and Executive Chef Domenic Laurenzo aims to delight customers, serving Prime Rib seasoned to perfection with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic, seared Ahi Tuna Steak with a sesame crust and miso vinaigrette and the Green Chile Bacon Burger served on brioche with applewood smoked bacon and a smothering of melted Asadero cheese, Hatch green chilis and guacamole. From the first course to the finish, the staff wants you to “Enjoy Every Moment,” anticipating every detail to serve you a meal that hangs somewhere between family dinner and culinary splendor.
Liberty Kitchen 1050 Studewood St. |713.802.0533 www.libertykitchenoysterbar.com
Serving creative, inspired seafood and classic American comfort food, with an edge. Make our neighborhood joint, your neighborhood joint.
LINE 7 LARIAT | HOTEL ICON 220 Main. 832.667.4470 www.hotelicon.com
LOCAL FOODS 2424 DUNSTAN | 713.521.7800 www.houstonlocalfoods.com
Brought to you by neighbor Benjy’s, this counter-style service spot woos you with locally sourced fare with a flair for quality as said neighbor. The location that used to call Antone’s home (and has kept their name in the concrete at the entrance) has been transformed into a clean, industrial haven. Green and blue dot the mostly white space with metal touches. An array of white light fixtures hang above a wall dotted with banquettes. It might be kismet that their menu flows nicely with the décor. Their menu comprised of sandwiches, soups, salads and sides offers light options with a couple more substantial items (hello, crispy chicken sandwich with buttermilk dressing) thrown in. Sandwiches come with two sides or a cup of soup. This menu is ideal for lunch or those looking for a meal that is neither overdone nor overly dressed. We stopped in for lunch and, while the area across the street is under construction, there is still plenty of parking, which is always a perk in the Village. I suspect the lot will be a lot tougher to maneuver once word spreads about Local. After checking out the menu, I went with the Gulf shrimp and blue crab sandwich with green goddess dressing and the avocado soup. The avocado soup also features of potato and leek. I’ll warn you on the “cup.” Let’s just say , if I got a cup, I don’t want to know what a bowl is! It’s more like a large, bulbous cup. I can’t complain though because this soup was so awesome, I was DELIGHTED to have leftovers. A piping hot green bisque-like soup is topped with some of their homemade chips. It’s a beautiful blend of all three components with not one being overly obvious. My sandwich came out on this toasty mini-baguette type bread, full of crap, shrimp, shredded lettuce, a bit of pickled red onion, all dressed in a subtle green goddess dressing. I felt like I was indulging even though in reality my meal was quite light. And for this locally sourced deliciousness, that was a plentiful serving and exceptional quality at a mere $12. I’d say that is a steal.
By Beatrice Allen
MARIPOSA | inside Neiman Marcus
2600 Post Oak Blvd. 713.621.7100 ext.2166
McCORMICK AND SCHMICK’S
•1151 Uptown Park. 713.840.7900
•1201 Fannin St. 713.658.8100
• 791 Town & Country Blvd. 713.465.3685
Four Riverway. 713.871.8181
1310 Nance St.832.830.8592
1300 Lamar. 713.276.4700
RDG | Bar Annie 1800 Post Oak Blvd. 713.840.1111 www.rdgbarannie.com
3915 San Felipe. 713.599.1960
ROOST 1972 Fairview St. | 713.523.7667 www.facebook.com/RoostHouston/info
After reading many reviews of Roost in preparation for my visit, I made it in to this casual neighborhood restaurant that is gaining momentum. Once inside, the name comes to life. It’s a cozy, small but well-arranged layout. It is reminiscent of a neighborhood restaurant in Paris where just like Roost, they don’t take reservations but you’re welcome to wait. And like I had read in a review, Chef Kevin Naderi is not only seating you, he’s manning the bar and kitchen. Wine is decently priced, with our pick being a light Italian Pinot Grigio at $18 a bottle. We started with the popular roasted cauliflower, a mainstay on their revolving menu. With bonito flakes dancing atop the cauliflower that is dressed in miso and topped with pine nuts and scallions, one bite and it’s no surprise why this is a favorite. This Asian- inspired dish will win the hearts of those that aren’t even cauliflower fans with its sweet, savory richness. If you’re craving big flavors try the house salad served with chilled bib lettuce, shaved radish and carrot in a truffle poppy seed dressing. The truffle is subtle not overpowering the entire salad, and the chilled, crunchy lettuce is ideal. We followed it up with their farmer’s market vegetable enchiladas, in an authentic salsa verde, cotija cheese sprinkles and a pecan crema. This dish is a piece of Mexico. If you are more inclined to light, subtle clean flavors, their Texas peaches salad with wedges of peach atop a house-made ricotta, thinly sliced prosciutto and baby greens dressed in rosemary oil is perfectly balanced. The seared catch of the day combines a warm and cold element with the seared fish filet atop a fresh, crisp tabouleh with herbs and cucumber in a tahini sauce dotted with heirloom tomatoes. Please note: like those mentioned above by the time you read this, these entrées may not be available. But that is the beauty! Discovering everything Chef Naderi and his kitchen are capable of creates an element of surprise to your dining experience. One of those surprises, that is also permanent on the menu due to the fanfare, is their coffee n’ donut holes dessert. You CAN’T leave without ordering this. Topped with crushed pistachios, dulce de leche and served with a scoop of coffee ice cream, roosting has never sounded like a better idea!
By Beatrice Allen
ROOTS BISTRO 507 WESTHEIMER RD. 713.524.1000 www.rootsbistrohouston.com
Diggin’ into the soul of real food is what Executive Chef German Mosquera is doing at ROOTS BISTRO, the second green-certified restaurant in Houston. With a menu bursting with flavor-packed farm-to-table fare, anyone passionate about premier organic, quality, authentic, creative and nutritionally balanced food will love this place. A bamboo-covered bar is welcoming while walls decked with colorful art by local artists adds a pop of color. Our waiter Kye was exceptionally helpful and offered insightful menu suggestions. The menu features tapas style dishes divided into Tierra (meats), Verdura (veggies) and Lumbre (fire-roasted pizzas). The menu is seasonal and changes daily, and even though you’ll recognize some menu items, chances are the flavors and combinations are new, making it a fresh new experience. My picks: TX Lamb Ribeye & Sprouted Mung Bean. The meat is fresh from Black Hill Ranch and then sous vide (sous vide is French for “under vacuum”and describes a method of cooking in vacuum-sealed plastic pouches at precisely controlled temperatures) in Kobe beef fat for 24 hrs. then quickly seared for color. The mung beans are mixed with BBQ beans and dal (Indian lentil) to create a super hearty combination seasoned with a reduction of mustard seed, cinnamon, beer, maple syrup and heirloom tomatoes. I expected the lamb to be gamey, but it wasn’t, it was perfect! The Moulard Duck Oso Bucco is a nice, savory dish. Served over a raw squash “pasta” with oyster mushrooms, Swiss chard and sweet corn. A really tasty and original way to get your veggies. The duck is braised in a lamb and white port stock for about 3 hrs. The Kobe Flank & Swiss Chard Potato Hash – skirt cuts tend to be a tough cut of meat, but the way it was prepared made it deliciously tender. Rubbed in Himalayan sea salt and extra virgin olive oil and marinated for an hour, then sous vide for 24 hrs. and quickly seared to seal flavor. The potatoes from the hash are wood-fired and sautéed with steamed garlic and Swiss chard with a pinch of lemon juice. You must also try the Fire- Roasted Kale and Idiazabal Cheese Bake on Cedar!
By Pixie Ibañez
•2311 West Alabama. 713.533.0777
SPARROW BAR + COOKSHOP 3701 Travis. 713.524.6922 www.sparrowhouston.com
Recently, celebrated Houston chef and restaurateur Monica Pope left behind her landmark t’afia in its prime to chart a new culinary adventure – a fresh start that is a result of Pope’s continually evolving dialog with food, family and community. Sparrow Bar & Cookshop is a back-to-basics concept that finds its story in the intimate, 1930’s era warehouse building at 3701 Travis Street, where t’afia was born and helped to re-gentrify a now bustling neighborhood. Sparrow represents a new freedom, a more free-flowing and easily shareable menu that often activates guest interaction in the final composition of dishes. “At Sparrow, I am going to be cooking the things I would make at home for my family and friends – fresh, unpretentious and full of flavor,” says Pope. “I want people to stop by without a reason or reservation, but we’ll certainly accommodate that too.”
TEXADELPHIA 920 STUDEMONT, SUITE 900 | 713.861.7826 www.texadelphia.com
Texadelphia’s newest home is located at Studemont and Washington in the corner spot of a shopping center that used to house Terlingua. This seems more suitable to the area. Boys flock to this establishment. Just ask our Associate Editor Pixie Ibañez who found herself to be the lone female there one day waiting for her lunch. My husband is one of those boys who loves it. You would imagine I’ve had it before but nope. I think it’s a misunderstanding on the fare. It wasn’t until I tasted a bite of Pixie’s cheesesteak that I understood the allure. For my first order ever, I went with a classic Angus beef, grilled onions, mozzarella cheese plus their mustard blend on the side. The bread is soft and absorbs the beef flavor, while the subtle addition of cheese melts to the warm beef. Add in the grilled onion, the mustard blend and it’s a warm savory mix. NO mystery meat here – just 100% certified shredded Angus beef pieces that are perfectly tender with each bite. The mustard sauce is a savory but sweet blend of what seems to be spicy and honey mustards. With a name like cheesesteak I expected it to be smothered in cheese and not much else. Well, the very opposite seems to be true. The beef is sliced thin and then diced up into tiny pieces but the sandwich is loaded with it and just a showing of cheese. The beef is truly the star, with the cheese playing second fiddle. Now that I am educated on the Texadelphia cheesesteak, I get it. I like it. And not only do they offer this appetizing sandwich but they are a sports grille, i.e., TVs for sports viewing. Next time the game is on and you need a place to go, this sandwich and sports grille should be on your list!
By Beatrice Allen
THE CHELSEA GRILL
4621 Montrose Blvd. 713.942.9857
Located in the heart of The Museum District, The Chelsea Grill offers menu items such as Braised Beef Short Rib and a Cajun Pasta that will keep you wanting more. The casual dining grill also offers a great Sunday Jazz Brunch Buffet for just $16.95 with traditional breakfast items and four lunch items that change each week.
THE BIRD & THE BEAR BISTRO 2810 WESTHEIMER www.thebirdandthebearbistro.com | 713.528.2473
The space formerly known as Rickshaw, adjacent to Chuy’s, has been transformed into a bistro that is equally charming as its moniker. The space, even with walls painted black, is warm and inviting. Red touches, mirrors along said walls, gorgeous chandeliers and dangling antique furniture add a chic quirky vibe. One can only imagine the way the light bounces off the mirrors at night to add a glow to the room. For lunch, the dining room was all abuzz. The noise level is a bit lower across from the main dining room, off the bar area, although the space is smaller but cozy. On this particularly cold day, I started with a cup of Ouisie’s Gulf Coast seafood gumbo. This hearty gumbo comes full of vegetables (notably the okra and peppers), seafood chunks and a heap of rice. I was almost inclined to order another serving; one cup just wasn’t enough to enjoy this hot delight. For my entrée I had Ouisie’s Not Entirely Classic Caesar – romaine lettuce leaves are topped with jumbo lump crabmeat, Parmesan cheese, fried capers, drizzled in aioli and Caesar dressing, topped with croutons with a deviled egg and anchovy on the side. (If assembling your salad, i.e., cutting your romaine to bit-size pieces, is not your thing then I would steer clear.) It’s a tangy, light version with loads of fresh lump crab for each bite. With prices ranging from $5 for a cup of broth to $22 for the Caesar salad, be prepared to spend a bit to get a whole lot of Ouisie magic. A note: Valet parking is the most convenient (and might be the only) form of parking since the lot is for Chuy’s patrons. That being said, I can’t wait to go back for dinner with the girls!
By Beatrice Allen
1611 Lamar. 713.337.7321
THE LAKE HOUSE
1600 McKinney. 713.337.7320
2815 South Shepard 713.527.9090
After the much talked about week closure to perfect their spring menu (a practice they will do quarterly), Triniti is back to prove that NOTHING has changed except for the menu. The execution of each dish, the presentation and the service are still unrivaled. Once seated in a spacious booth we perused their new menu along with the addition of a lunch prix fixe menu at only $22 for three courses. The selections on this prix fixe change weekly. With my mother enticed by the greens and palm salad not offered on that menu, we went rogue. We tried said salad, the tuna poke for starters and the salmon entrée and chicken salad toast, respectively, topped off with their cheesecake for dessert. The greens and palm salad with long beans, hearts of palm, cucumber, pine nut sprinkles and chicks of goat cheese is crisp, clean and refreshing for the weather. The tuna poke with tuna and tomato diced together and layered atop avocado with crispy onions on top has an Asian influence for a completely different fresh flavor profile. When you serve tuna like this, it has to be good quality or you will taste it. The salmon entrée, a filling and regular sized portion, is served medium rare with a chickpea cake and carrot top nage. A simple pairing compared to the layered chicken salad. This is not your normal chicken salad, with pickled beets, tarragon and pistachio. Its light dressing paired with a side of greens and deviled eggs makes for complex delight, a refreshing update to the standard. You’d be mad to miss out on their desserts. They create true art from this course. Our deconstructed cheesecake: Arranged beautifully on the plate are spheres of cheesecake, dots of strawberry gel, strawberry foam, a scoop of strawberry sorbet and almond shortbread rounds. Together they create the cheesecake experience. Don’t wait for the next quarter to indulge the senses in the pleasure of Triniti. Bar opens daily at 4 pm. LUNCH Monday – Friday 11am – 2:30pm | DINNER Monday – Thursday 5pm – 10pm |Friday & Saturday 5pm – 11pm. Sunday 4pm – 10pm |Sunday wine specials.
WHICH WICH [dt tunnel] Pennzoil Place. 713.222.2999 El Paso Energy Place. 713.658.9161
800 W. Sam Houston Pkwy., CityCentre 713.461.9273
AUNTIE CHANG’S DUMPLING HOUSE
2621 S. Shepherd. 713.524.8410
BLUE FISH SUSHI
550 Texas. 713.225.3474
FISH [sushi] 309 Gray St. 713.526.5294 www.fishhouston.com
HONG KONG DINER “NOW DIM SUM”
909 Franklin St. 713.236.1688
4500 Montrose Blvd. #C. 713.529.5057
KATSUYA | STARK 2800 Kirby Dr. 713.590.2800 www.sbe.com/katsuya
The highly anticipated import from California has officially opened its doors in super hot West Avenue. The modern, quirky, sexy space is true to Starck fashion. Oversized images of lips and eyes adorn the walls in the main dining room while at first step into the space the bar area is separated with those quirky yet cute good luck kitties (several of them) in lit cube, waist-high pedestals. To the right of the bar is their lounge area with plush rugs and seating. Once seated in the main dining room, music mixes with the clientele banter making this an ideal spot to start your evening. This infectious vibe rings true even on a Tuesday. We ordered several plates to share and they come out when ready in no order. For starters we had their popular, yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno. Fresh yellowtail, ponzu and jalapeno prove to be light and refreshing. We couldn’t resist the creamy rock shrimp. Crispy bite size rock shrimp are tossed in chef’s spicy creamy sauce. It’s addicting. Followed with the Katsuya ceviche. A light and refreshing blend of sashimi and citrus ponzu that is more creamy than the yellowtail ponzu. We couldn’t leave without ordering their signature dish, the miso marinated black cod. I wouldn’t normally jump for cod but this is truly prepared wonderfully. They use a sweet miso and bake the cod to “deliver unparalleled flavor.” I couldn’t say it better myself. Other notables we tried are their Robata yellowtail collar and their robata avocado. Both prepared simply but deliciously. Be aware sushi isn’t cheap. It rarely is and this is no exception but entirely worth the experience, the quality and the atmosphere.
By Beatrice Allen
KONA GRILL [japanese+american] •501 Westheimer. 713.877.9191 •16535 Southwest Freeway. 281.242.7000 www.konagrill.com
KUNG FU SALOON 5317 Washington Avenue #A | 713.864.0642 www.kungfusaloon.com Mon-Fri: 3pm-2am | Sat-Sun: 11am-2am
Kung Fu Saloon on Washington Avenue is known for three things; their 17 Old School Arcade Games, their selection of local beers on tap and pickle shots. Now, Washington Avenue’s best spot for drinks is also Washington Avenue’s best spot for food. On the menu you’ll find some unique Asian-inspired dishes including cheeseburger egg rolls, a stir fry philly cheesesteak and a sweet and sour chicken sandwich, just to name a few.
KUBO’S 2414 University Blvd.#200. 713.528.7878 www.kubos-sushi.com
LES GIVRAL’S KAHVE [vietnamese]
801 Congress St. 713.547.0444
3403 Milam. 713.520.5300
NIT NOI [thai]
8 Houston Locations
NORI SUSHI BISTRO
700 Town and Country Blvd. 713.467.0400
•3908 Westheimer. 713.621.5800
•12860 Queensbury Ln. #234 CityCentre 713.331.2792
RED PIER [asian fusion]
2701 Milam St. 713.807.7726
800 West Sam Houston Parkway N.713.365.9922
3201 Louisiana. 713.526.8885
904 Westheimer 713.522.4808
All the hype and rumors are true. It is amazing. It can be pricey. And there is almost always a wait. Regardless of reservations. It’s small to have that many people waiting but we’re all there for the same thing, for the Uchi experience. Now that we’ve saved you of all the things that will give you a headache, let us tell you why you need to endure this for one of the best meals of your life. You wait because their philosophy is to serve each dish one at a time and in the order you should enjoy them. There will never be a platter of dishes on your table. Just one plate impeccably presented for you to savor each component that makes that dish mind-blowing. The décor is a dim, organic shell of natural wood. Which is perfect for creating Zen in a space that is constantly busy. Most notable (that we order every time because they have yet to disappoint) are the yokai berry, hama chili, walu walu and the hamachi nabe. The yokai berry, from the cool tastings on the menu, features little cubes of Atlantic salmon, Asian pear and leaves of crunchy dinosaur kale sprouting along the plate with yuzu. Also from the cool tastings is the hama chili. Baby yellowtail is served with ponzu, thai chili and orange supreme. Both are clean and fresh, cool plates that act like a cleanser of sorts to ready you for the rich flavors that are to come. From the hot tastings, we had the walu walu and Hamachi nabe. Oak-grilled escolar, candied citrus, yuzpon and myoga make up the walu walu. A tender piece of escolar is served with a spoon to soup up the wonderful sauce beneath it with each bite. Our absolute favorite though is the hamachi nabe. A bowl is presented with koshi hikari rice, baby yellowtail chunks hidden throughout a farm egg on top sprinkled with bonito flakes in a soy broth. The presentation is amazing when they drop in the sauce to mix all the components together and the flakes “dance.” You can eat it right away or let the bowl (it’s a hot bowl) sit and it makes the rice crispy. Either way, if you are sharing, it will be gone in a flash! The best way to order though is to ask your server. They are all highly knowledgeable and ready to help with any question.
By Beatrice Allen
Uptown Park. 713.871.1200
2946 S. Shepherd. 713.526.6888
5900 Memorial Dr., #102. 713.861.5588
10705 Westheimer. 713.783.3600
GOODE COMPANY TX BARBECUE
5109 Kirby. 713.522.2530
729 Studewood. 713.861.7400
ARAYA | ARTISAN CHOCOLATE
2013 W. Gray St. 832.967.7960
AVALON DRUG CO. & DINER
•2417 Westheimer. 713.527.8900
•12810 Southwest Frwy. 281.240.0213
BABA YEGA CAFE 2607 Grant St. 713. 522. 0042 www.babayega.com
Baba Yega Café is an unexpected hideaway in the heart of Montrose that offers a tranquil atmosphere overlooking a koi pond and waterfall. Come by and check out our daily deals! Plus $3 Daily Drink Specials! Monday-Friday, 11am–2pm Express Lunch Buffet $12 |Monday Steak Night 4–9pm $12 Tuesday Pasta Night 6–9pm $12 | Wednesday Burger & Beer Night $6 Burgers and $2 Beers. Happy Hour Monday–Thursday, 4–7pm and Friday, 3–8pm; $2 off All Appetizers and $1 off All Drinks. Thursday Vegetarian Night All Vegetarian Fare $6. $2 Mimosas and Bellinis all weekend! Sunday Industry Night with 50% off your check with your pay stub! Saturday, 10am–2pm Express Breakfast Buffet $12. Sunday Brunch: 9:30am–3pm $21 It’s awesome!
2604 Dunlavy. 713.528.1993
218 Gray St. 713.521.0700
1151 Uptown Park Blvd. 713.622.7283
4005 Montrose. 713.526.1319
1732 Westheimer. 713.528.5282
FOUNTAIN VIEW CAFE
1842 Fountain View. 713.785.9060
FUEL KITCHEN + HEALTH BAR
1005 Waugh Dr. #C 713.528.5282
318 Tuam @ Bagby 713.528.0198
The globe on your fork! American, Greek, & Latin Cuisine. This Houston institution serves breakfast and lunch daily. Open 7 days a week.
INVERSION COFFEE HOUSE
1953 Montrose, #A. 713.523.4866
ISLAND GRILL + JUICE BAR
•5709 Woodway. 713.334.4036
•4024 Bellaire Blvd. 713.665.5388
4100 Montrose, #C. 713.524.3737
MICHAEL’S COOKIE JAR 5330 Weslayan St. | 713.771.860 www.michaelscookiejar.com
Michael’s Cookie Jar is Houston’s only locally owned cookie bakery featuring chef-prepared cookies made with real butter and natural flavors. Our menu features home-style Americana cookies, fancy tea shortbreads, dessert bars, specialty ethnic cookies, hand-decorated cut-outs, logo cookies, gift boxes and party trays. We always have complimentary samples at the bakery! Visit us Mon-Fri (9am-6:30pm) and Saturday (9am-5pm).
MORE THAN CAKES
1100 West Dallas. 713.652.5135
OoH LA LA | DESSERT BOUTIQUE www.oohlalasweets.com
Ooh La La Dessert Boutique, Katy’s cutest one-stop dessert shop, is making Houston a little sweeter with the addition of their latest location – Town & Country Village in Memorial! With award-winning JUMBO cupcakes, creamy cheesecakes, ice-box pies, cookies, pastries and more, kick back on their patio or bring your laptop and take advantage of free Wi-Fi while sipping on one of their dozens of coffee, frappe and tea offerings. Ooh La La also has two locations in Katy, at Cinco Ranch and at Park Row. For locations and hours visit oohlalasweets.com. Subscribe to their newsletter and receive a FREE jumbo cupcake just for signing up, and another whenever your birthday rolls around.
3237 Southwest Frwy. 713.665.6226
SALENTO WINE CAFE
2407 Rice Blvd. 713.528.7478
4014 Westheimer. 713.871.9929
SUGAR BABY’S CUPCAKES
3310 S. Shepherd. 713.527.8427
SWEET CITY CENTER 801 Town & Country Blvd. Suite A 713.64.SWEET(79338) www.sweethouston.com
If you’re looking for a caffeine or sweet fix served to you by a friendly staff in an unpretentious environment, SWEET is your spot. Not another chain or franchise, locally owned SWEET proudly serves locally roasted coffee, freshly baked croissants, cupcakes, cookies and macarons all prepared from scratch daily on premise. No matter what side of town you’re in, SWEET is happy to deliver anywhere in Houston and sweeten any occasion at the office, at home, for a party or a wedding. From corporate meeting sweets or personalized party favors to individual 6” cakes or elaborate wedding dessert tables, SWEET is happy to cater it. The sweetest part of it all is SWEET’s eco-awareness – from its recycled storefront interiors to baking in unbleached liners, to all of its recycled packaging, boxes and cups included! Be sure to try their mini key lime pies, macaron ice cream sandwiches and tea with tapioca!
TAFT STREET COFFEE 2115 Taft www.taftstreetcoffee.org
THE BREAKFAST KLUB
3711 Travis. 713.528.8561
THE BUFFALO GRILLE
•3116 Bissonnet. 713.661.3663
•1301 S. Voss. 713.784.3663
OPEN COFFEE CLUB
2503 Bagby. 713.874.0082
PETITE SWEETS 2700 West Alabama. 713.520.7007 www.petitesweetshouston.com
Enjoy an explosion of confectionary flavors and textures, baked fresh daily. Macarons. Cupcakes. Cookies. Frozen Custard. Coffee. Conversation.
3614 W. Alabama St. 713.622.4224
3636 Rice Blvd. 713.667.3402
L.A. BAR 4302 A Richmond Ave. 713.335.2227 www.ragin-cajun.com
Open for Lunch & Dinner – Tuesday–Sunday| Dominic B. Mandola’s new concept feels like you’re stepping through a door down in the warehouse district of New Orleans. From the Old World brick bar accented by mahogany wood trim to the casual grace of dimly lit chandeliers, L.A. Bar is a full-service restaurant offering an Old New Orleans-style dining experience. Contemporary Creole cuisine shines with dishes like Char-Grilled Oysters (a New Orleans tradition) and Shrimp Creole, Seafood LaFourche Pasta, New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Wedge Salad and homemade NOLA Beignets. Come in, relax with a cold one or your favorite cocktail and enjoy our Happy Hour Menu!
THIS IS IT SOUL FOOD 207 Blodgett St. 713.521.2920 www.thisisithouston.com
5 Houston Locations
ZIMM’S LITTLE DECK
601 Richmond Ave. 713.527.8328
ZYDECO LOUISIANA DINER
1119 Pease. 713.759.2001
BISTRO LE CEP
11112 Westheimer. 713.783.3985
BRASSERIE 19 [french]
1962 W. Gray. 713.524.1919
BRASSERIE MAX + JULIA [french]
4315 Montrose. 713.524.0070
2521 Bagby. 713.271.7231
219 Westheimer. 713.529.7788
GREEN SEED VEGAN 4320 Almeda Road. 713.487.8346 www.greenseedvegan.com
Green Seed Vegan is serving up local plant-based cuisine for all who have pondered the thought of “eating clean,” folks who are curious as to what vegans eat or simply those who would love to grant their digestive organs a long overdue vacation, and would prefer their meal liquid à la 16oz. Maybe you are just ecstatic the vegan gods have answered your prayers and Houston finally has real vegan food (anti-tofu zone). Join us and taste the rainbow of locally grown fruits and vegetables, nutritious gluten-free superfoods, and while you are at it, grab a fresh pressed raw juice from our elixir bar.
LE MISTRAL [french]
1400 Eldridge Parkway 832.379.8322
3833 Richmond. 713.621.1114
“Europe without the Passport”
PHILIPPE REST+LOUNGE [french]
BLVD. Place. 713.439.1000
THE QUEEN VIC PUB [european]
2712 Richmond. 713.533.0022
“Keep Calm & Dine on” Come celebrate our 2-year anniversary in September. London-style Gastropub with British and Indian Cuisine. Est. 2010.
PORTUGALLIA [portuguese] 12120 Westheimer #98. 281. 497.8012 www.portugallia.com
Portugallia, what a nice surprise. At first the location seems a bit questionable (frankly I’m not a fan of restaurants on the edge of a buzzing street), but my skepticism was quickly put to rest the moment I walked through the door. The space is tastefully decorated, nothing too high-end but not basic either, and very clean. A rounded glass wall separates the main dining from the private party room, so you get privacy without being cut off from the action. Tall waterfalls frame the outdoor patio, clearly disguising the roar of Westheimer traffic. Palm trees and terracotta pots bursting with blooming fuchsia flowers create a lively surrounding. I was expecting Brazilian fare considering there has been a Churrascaria boom in recent years, but I was pleasantly surprised that the menu consisted of authentic Portuguese cuisine. Trying something new can be a bit intimidating for some, but don’t be discouraged; the menu offers plenty of familiar items such as Sopa de Legumes (veggie soup) and Filet Mignon com Langosta (filet mignon w/grilled lobster tail and mashed potatoes). For starters I ordered the Mista de salgados, a sampling of Pasteis de bacalhau (fried cod fish cake w/ potatoes and parsley), Rissol de Camarão (shrimp stuffed pastries), Pasteis de massa tenra (beef stuffed pastries) and Croquetes de carne (mixed ground beef lightly breaded and fried). Winner of that round was the fried cod fish cake, by far! Just keep in mind that portions are small and only includes one of each, not ideal for sharing. If you are a chorizo fan, I suggest you ask for the Linguiça (not on the menu), a leaner chorizo-style sausage packed with flavor. You’ll want to eat them all! For the main course I opted for the Frango assado á Portuguesa, a perfectly seasoned and grilled to crispy perfection half chicken (yes, it’s a lot!), served with grilled veggies, ruffled fries and a crisp house salad. Doggie bag, please!
By Pixie Ibañez
12610 Briar Forest Dr. 281.679.5555
4100 Westheimer. 713.960.8472
NARIN’S BOMBAY BRASSERIE
3005 W. Loop South. 713.622.2005
2800 Kirby @ West Ave. 713.522.2022
2415 Times Blvd. 713.523.4753
Giancarlo is always searching for the freshest, seasonal ingredients to prepare in true Mediterranean fashion. A native Italian, he creates daily dishes of treasures from the sea, bounty from the garden and the best of the terra. Experience Italy…the Sardinian way!
ARTURO BOADA CUISINE 6510 Del Monte Dr. 713.782.3011 www.boadacuisine.com
This vibrant gem is located off Voss Road at Del Monte. The neighborhood eatery serves up an eclectic blend of Italian, Spanish and Latin cuisine not to be missed. Try unique tapas like the camarones henesy en hamaca, mussels tomatillo, ceviche and many more. The wood-burning oven puts out authentic thin crust pizzas, with favorites such as the carnitas pizza. We also offer a flavorful selection of seafood and steaks. Our homemade desserts are a must, from wood oven baked apple pastry to Arturo’s famous crème brûlée. The hand-picked wine list offers a variety of boutique and exclusive wineries. We are very happy to accommodate any of your special requests. OPEN FOR LUNCH & DINNER TUE – SUN
BRIO TUSCAN GRILLE CityCentre. 713.973.9610 www.brioitalian.com
BRIO-RIVER OAKS 3029 KIRBY DR. 713.528.8200 www.brioitalian.com
Opening its first location inside the loop in the space formerly known as Pesce, Brio aims to impress with not only its beautiful expansive space but also its dense menu. There is no shortage of space (unless you are there for the wildly popular happy hour deals) or shortage of food when we are talking serving sizes. I had been warned but nothing prepared me for my shock at the size of my beef carpaccio appetizer. It was presented in a serving dish one would use at a dinner party – enough to feed a table of four to five. Needless to say, I shared with the rest of the table. Notables from our meal included their Pasta a la Vodka and Pasta Fra Diavolo. We ordered one split which will take the serving size down to something more manageable if you are inclined to not take home leftovers; otherwise, you are presented a heap of pasta that covers your plate. The Pasta a la Vodka has delicate ricotta-filled handmade pasta with crispy pancetta, garlic, basil in a spicy tomato Parmesan cream sauce. The delicate pasta with ricotta and velvety sauce make for a luxurious combination to the palette. The Pasta Fra Diavolo with penne in a spicy tomato cream sauce with green onions and your choice of either shrimp or chicken is a lighter take on a cream sauce compared to the Pasta a la Vodka. Plus the spicy factor is mild. Although similar in some aspects, each provides a different flavor profile. Like we mentioned above, their happy hour is popular. And who would expect less when you can taste what they have to offer for a mere $3.95 a dish on a limited menu plus $5 beverage options. Their bar brings the outside in with large functioning windows that are kept open weather permitting. With happy hour from 3-7pm Monday through Friday plus a reverse happy hour starting at 9pm, get there early or stay there late. If you’re looking for a place to fill your belly, feel like you got your money’s worth in not only food but also attention, Brio is the place. –Beatrice Valencia
14545 Memorial Dr. 281.497.0612
2 Houston Locations
Wash away the end of summer blues at Piatto Ristorante’s Happy Hour from 4pm to 7pm, Mon-Fri. Drink specials are just $4 and $5, with $7 appetizers at this Carrabba Family eatery! Happy Hour at Piatto is perfect for a ladies’ night out, special date night or just because! Owned and operated by John M. Carrabba, the four generations of recipes pay tribute to the traditional, flavorful home-style Italian cuisine. Piatto is a casual, yet elegant atmosphere, also offering private banquet rooms, full-service catering, box lunches and delivery at each location: Royal Oaks, 11693 Westheimer, 281.759.7500 and Galleria, 4925 W. Alabama at Post Oak Blvd., 713.871.9722. Piatto Galleria’s private dining room seats up to 30 guests; Piatto Royal Oaks has two private dining rooms that seat up to 25 and 50, but can be combined to seat 75.
1080 Uptown Park. 713.418.1000
901 Commerce @ Travis. 713.229.9715
1212 Waugh. 713.528.3473
VALENTINO | HOTEL DEREK 2525 West Loop South. 713.850.9200 www.valentinorestaurantgroup.com
ALMA CEBICHE + BAR [peruvian] 1275 Eldridge Pkwy. 281.293.0001 www.almahouston.com
The only remaining clue that this building once housed Chatter’s Café & Bistro is the WIFI name. Located in the Energy Corridor in Memorial, Alma Cebiche + Bar underwent a transformation that took approximately 3 days to complete. Former Samba Grille chef David Guerrero stunned Houstonians by announcing his plan for the 3-day transformation and again by actually following through with it, a feat that has only been seen on reality television. The Peruvian hideaway highlights Guerrero’s attention to detail and the importance of cohesiveness in every aspect of the restaurant, from the logo to the layout and cuisine. After walking inside and being greeted by a life-size human torso statue, you are immediately drawn to the casual and approachable surroundings that translate into the food as well. While I am no Peruvian princess well versed in foreign food, Guerrero serves up dishes that are exotic and fresh, but not intimidating enough to make you second-guess what you’re eating. I had the Pescado Saltado Nikkei, a dish that incorporates corvine, red onion, tomatoes, oyster sauce, soy sauce, tamarind, sesame oil, green onions, sesame seeds, fried potatoes and white rice into a sleek black bowl. The presentation was incredibly welcoming, and only after I finished the entire bowl did I realize exactly why it was so delicious: the unique combination of ingredients and Peruvian touch. I also had the Pionono, a vanilla sponge cake, dulce de leche, hazelnuts, lemon, roccoto gele and caramel sea salt ice cream for dessert. The caramel sea salt ice cream was the perfect combination of sweet and salty with chunks of hidden caramel inside the undoubtedly creamy treat. Guerrero takes great pride in his work. Translated from Spanish, “alma” means “soul,” which makes complete sense after my dining experience.
5114 Kirby Dr. 713.522.5888
3055 Sage Rd. 713.622.8877
3407 Montrose. 713.523.8226
BISTRO BAR [puerto rican]
800 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. CityCentre 713.973.1601
CAFE PIQUET [cuban]
5757 Bissonnet. 713.664.1031
CHAMA GAUCHA [braziliam]
5865 Westheimer 713.244.9500
Chama Gaúcha is Houston’s newest and most lavish Brazilian steakhouse. Known for outstanding service, the authentic Brazilian “churrascaria” offers a variety of succulent flame-roasted meats – including lamb, pork, chicken and beef on skewers – carved tableside by gauchos.In addition to several cuts of meat, the continuous service includes a trip to the fresh and bountiful salad bar followed by a basket of traditional, mouthwatering pão de queijo (cheese bread). Fried plantains, buttery garlic mashed potatoes and fried polenta are served family style. An excellent, extensive wine list and authentic Brazilian cocktails complement the unlimited fare. The fine dining surroundings feature an inviting yet modern atmosphere reminiscent of the beautiful Pampas in southern Brazil and include three private rooms and a swanky bar lounge. Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse is open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Reservations recommended.
CONVIVIO 700 S. Durham 832.360.1750 www.conviviohouston.com
A taste of Spain. Convivio means “get-together,” party, reunion. At Convivio you can have a great night with friends, eating the most authentic Spanish food Houston has to offer and enjoying an excellent wine list. Dine on recipes from the owner’s family, ones passed down from generation to generation. Chef Alberto Flores and his team spent three years in Spain learning the original cuisine. Specialties include the “croquetas de chorizo” and the “albondigas.” Convivio also features a bar and lounge where you can enjoy signature cocktails like the Agua de Valencia, a refreshing mimosa with vodka, gin, cava and fresh orange; El Mouro Martini which has saffron-infused vodka, mango and sweet vermouth; or a wine list that features 90% imported Spanish wine. The fun never ends at Convivio where happy hour is every day from 5-7pm
CUCHARA [mex] 214 Fairview 713.942.0000 www.cuchararestaurant.com
Being of Mexican descent, when I heard the news that A Mexico City Bistro would be opening up in the space that formerly housed a food mart I frequented often back in the day, I didn’t know what to expect.
To imagine how they could turn that space into something remotely resembling anything that you would see in Mexico had me baffled. Plus the rumor that the food would be “authentic” had me wondering what would be on their menu in such a case. To take authentic Mexican cuisine, narrow down the plethora of dishes you could make that would appeal to an audience that has queso running through their veins would be a challenge.
I was raised on these dishes, so to me it was exciting. That said, many of our seasonings and ingredients could be considered acquired tastes. I was intrigued.
Being the prepared customer, I viewed their menu online, read reviews, asked colleagues about their experience. The resounding review was positive.
The particularly charming, quirky space features stunning murals by artist Cecilia Beaven. On a main dining room wall, the kitchen, little nooks, the bar, even the ceiling, Cecilia’s mesmerizing work will find you seeing new aspects throughout your meal. This, combined with a modern aesthetic and warm touches, is reminiscent of a hip area called La Condesa in Mexico City. It’s where cool meets tradición. Cool ambience but traditional fare.
Apprehensive of the hype, we dropped in right at 5pm for an early dinner. We were seated promptly at a table by the window; had the weather been nice we would’ve sat on their inviting patio that faces Fairview. From their cocktails we had a traditional Paloma and the creative Bandido. The Bandidio, a mix of Sotol (a type of tequila), lemon, chia seeds and Pimm’s #1 makes for an interesting textural and flavor profile. It’s not sweet, not bitter and somehow has a tamarind touch. Their Paloma is perfection. Tequila blanco, lime and grapefruit soda create a refreshing Mexican classic. We typically don’t see them pink in color but it makes for a beautiful presentation. And with the authentic taste, the color is really of no consequence.
We started with their quesadillas de huitlacoche and the tacos crujientes de Jamaica y queso. Before these came out we were treated to mini Picaditas. Where I’m from, they are like sopes. Thick corn cakes are topped with black refried beans topped with Mexican cream and fresh cotija cheese crumbles. The flavor was spot on with what my grandmother use to make in Guadalajara.
You can taste the homemade flavor. As we say, it’s casero. Right down to the red salsa served with it that is spicy and you can see the black specs from pan-searing the peppers and tomatoes. I had to peek into the kitchen and nothing is more exciting than seeing muchachas (women) preparing tortillas and more.
Don’t expect to see your typical Tex-Mex quesadilla with cheese oozing out between a flour tortilla. Here it’s corn dough, filled with a cheese and huitlachoche (a black mushroom) mixture, and then it’s fried. It’s a crispy, cheesy, savory pocket. The huitlachoche, although black, is very similar to a regular mushroom flavor in earthiness.
The tacos cruijientes are similar to a flauta but they too come in the same corn dough, stuffed with a hibiscus flower and mild cheese mixture that is then fried to perfect golden crunchiness. Both are drizzled with authentic Mexican cream. It’s a little more off-white than bright white like the norm.
Impressed with all we had started with, we went with the Mula de Nopal and Pollo Adriana.
The Pollo Adriana’s presentation, in various colorful little cast iron pots and skillets, is a common theme. You’ll find sides and salsas presented in the same manner. The chicken is cut very thin and stuffed (layered) with calabacita squash and cheese, then covered in a poblano pepper sauce. The homemade mild sauce is ideal, and I even scooped up my rice with it to enjoy it. It’s a deceivingly light dish. I found myself more full from the botanas.
The Mula de Nopal is for the adventurous. It’s an acquired taste when it comes to textures and spice. Being Mexican, I’m used to both. Grilled cactus filet is stuffed (more like layered) with panela cheese and mounted on a house salsa. The salsa is a dark rustic red on the adobo or chili de arbol side – it has a definite kick. Panela is a thicker, denser cheese that combined with the nopal provides a balance to its soft texture.
Should you order a side, you can’t go wrong with equites. This classic Mexican treat is corn kernels mixed with cream, lime, cotija cheese and chili powder. You can’t leave without completing your Mexican culinary experience with a cup of café de olla and buñelos. Café de olla is sweet Mexican coffee served black. It needs nothing more and will be sure to wake “even the devil.” The buñelos are fritters stuffed with a spicy chocolate served with Papantla vanilla ice cream. It’s sweet and savory. With a mild combo like this, it’s easy to finish off.
In between the authentic cocktails, casera salsa, tortillas, dishes, the ambience to even the music, this is a real Mexican gem. Go for a cocktail, stay for dinner. There is nothing like this Mexico City bistro. Viva Mexico!
By Beatrice Allen
CYCLONE ANAYA’S [mex]
4 Houston locations
5120 Woodway Dr. 713.963.8273
EL GRAN MALO [mex]
2307 Ella Blvd. 832.767.3405
EL MESON [cuban]
2425 University. 713.522.9306
EL PATIO [mex]
•6444 Westheimer. 713.780.0410
•2416 Brazos. 713.523.8181
EL REY [cuban-mex]
4 Houston locations
EL TACO TOTE
6154 Westheimer. 713.706.3233
EL TIEMPO CANTINA [mex]
•3130 Richmond. 713.807.1600
•1308 Montrose. 713.807.8996
EL TORO [mex]
11920 Westheimer. 281.920.4840
FREEB!RDS WORLD BURRITO
13 Houston locations
GLORIA’S 2616 Louisiana. 832.360.1710 www.gloriasrestaurants.com
Out of old Ruby Tequila’s ashes rose Gloria’s. Don’t expect the same gimmicky, whimsical Tex-Mex. Gone is the tie-dye craze, replaced with a mature look complete with chandeliers. An expansive bar with banquette seating, plus a main dining room that offers banquette, table and various nooks assures there is enough space to accommodate the masses. And not just for brunch, lunch and dinner but for happy hour and beyond. They extend their hours Friday and Saturday evening for live musical entertainment on their stage. Yes, stage. They clear out the middle area of the dining room to create a dance floor for salsa dancing. Which we hear is already a hit! Their menu is comprised of Tex-Mex and Salvadorian dishes. We opted for the Salvadorian route and had their Salmon Costeno and Pescado Acajutla. Both are served with a hefty portion of grilled vegetables and a bit of rice while the salmon is served with an addition of honey plantains and the Pescado includes a side of refried beans. The marinated salmon is cooked in a banana leaf, comes served atop said leaf drizzled with an ancho chili pepper sauce. This isn’t a spicy sauce but more of a smoky flavor. The Pescado is a tender tilapia fish fillet pan seared with garlic, butter and served with sautéed onion mix. Two very different flavor profiles but equally good. We couldn’t leave without dessert. Their tres leches has a subtle coconut addition that works without being overwhelming. It’s almost hard to say where the flavor comes from, the frosting or the cake itself. Speaking of the cake, it’s a wet cake that isn’t drenched or falling apart into mush. It’s a solid presentation plus all the balance of a great tres leches. Gloria’s rises to the occasion and surprises with good food, attentive service plus entertainment.
By Beatrice Allen.
GUADALAJARA DEL CENTRO 1201 San Jacinto. 713.650.0101 www.guadalajarahacienda.com
•22 N. Chenevert. 713.222.0767
•1314 Texas. 713.247.9651
LA FISHERIA 4705 INKER ST. 713.802.1712 www.lafisheriahouston.com
Driving on Shepherd, this place is impossible to miss. If you see this brightly multicolored house to your right, you have arrived at the right place. The visual stimulation doesn’t stop there. Once inside, raw wood, bright colors, Mexican references (luchadores), practical wares and creative esthetics make for an atmosphere that is only missing sand and the roar of ocean waves out back. For lunch we dined on a medley of tacos, ceviches, tiradito and shrimp cocktail and topped it off with a Mexican classic – churros! Everything is served once it’s prepared. There’s no science to it other than sharing the deliciousness with those you’re with. The Taco Camaron served in a corn tortilla with tamarind and chipotle dressing with pickled onion and a cabbage mix is sure to please with its crunchy, tangy combo. If freshness is on your mind, it gets no more authentic than their Ceviche de Huachinago (red snapper) in a Seville orange dressing and, true to Aquiles’ style, a mystery flavor. Combine that with their salmon and white fish tiradito with its fine slices and their Acapulco Golden Cocktail de Camaron made classic style with avocado and lime, and you’ll be in a beach state of mind. And don’t you dare skip dessert! Their churros, Mexico’s famous dessert, are 100% authentic. Served with a side of homemade chocolate and honey-herbs liquor in a mini-cup for dipping, it’s the ideal sweet but savory nightcap.
By Beatrice Allen
LAS VENTANAS [mex]
14555 Grisby Rd. 281.752.6990
LATIN BITES CAFE [peru]
5709 Woodway Dr. 713.229.8369
LUCIO’S [new american latin]
905 Taft. 713.523.9958
Lucio’s has been Houston’s premier BYOB restaurant since opening its doors in 2007. With favorites such as the butternut squash risotto topped with jumbo scallops and our famous sesame-crusted ahi tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes, it’s easy to see why! Now open for lunch, Lucio’s central location between Downtown and River Oaks makes it the perfect spot for a business luncheon or a casual meet-up with friends. Our award-winning patio is the perfect shady spot to try the sockeye salmon served with a sweet corn cake and topped with horseradish cream, one of many featured entrees on the new Fall menu. Join us on the patio for Happy Hour and wine dinners throughout the season.
MAJORCA [spanish] 07-A Gray St. 832.582.7176 www.majorcabistroandtapas.com
Come dine with Midtown’s best, Majorca Bistro and Tapas. Once you walk through the doors the Spanish-chic art and culture will sweep you away as you enter the medieval portal of romance. The room is spacious and we can accommodate up to 100 people for holiday parties, business events and also wedding receptions. Let restaurateur Ali Bendella and co-owner/chef Hicham Naff guide you on a never-ending culinary journey with the amazing combinations from their Majorcan menu of dishes. Lunch, dinner and happy hour specials are perfect to enjoy with friends and family. Looking to experience Midtown’s nightlife, come enjoy our entertainment on Thursday through Saturday. Plus, Sunday brunch with a DJ that brings a variety of sounds to satisfy the audience. Majorca exemplifies what words cannot attempt to capture.
MARIA SELMA [mex]
1617 Richmond. 713.528.4920
NINFA’S THE ORIGINAL
2704 Navigation Blvd. 713.228.1175
819 W. Alabama. 713.520.7744
POLLO CAMPERO 4 locations Houston.pollocampero.com.
So fresh! So bold! So Latin! It’s time to take your taste buds on a culinary adventure. From Guatemala to Argentina and all tastes in between, when it comes to fresh Latin flavors, Pollo Campero doesn’t miss a beat!
Famous worldwide for our authentic Latin fried and citrus-grilled chicken, Pollo Campero offers a big, bold and exciting menu of fresh flavors and ingredients from all across Latin America. Think Chicken Molcajete and Argentinean Steak Tacos, handmade Cubana Pork and Tamarindo Chicken Empanadas. Or Peruvian Quinoa Salad, Sweet Plaintains and Golden Yucca Fries. All served fresh and made to order.
What’s more, you can create your very own Latin tour of taste with our new “Latin Mix Dishes” – your choice of any 2 or 3 of our fresh hand-rolled empanadas, 7 made-to-order taco recipes or a quarter of Peruvian Citrus Grilled or Traditional Fried Chicken plus a signature side. Starting at $6.99, it’s the ideal way to explore all our fresh Latin flavors. But no Latin adventure is complete without one of our refreshing Horchata, Mango or Guava Agua Frescas or ice cold Latin cervezas. But save room for dessert because the Chocolate Dulce de Leche is the best. Or as we say, “¡Lo mejor!” Located in Washington Heights, Webster and Missouri City, there’s a Latin adventure just waiting for you to take. For directions, or to skip the line and order ahead. And, yes, Pollo Campero would please any crowd. Just ask for a catering menu full of Fresh Latin Flavors to enjoy.
RADICAL EATS [vegetarian mexican] 3903 Fulton St. 281.222.7647 www.radicaleats.com
Although they’ve been in their location off Fulton since July 2011, it’s new to us! By luck, when reviewing Juicy in the Sky, we also got a sample of what they had to offer. Now that they have their own space, we get the entire rockin’ experience! If you’re on a mission to get more veggies onto your plate, they’ve mastered the art of Mexican food gone vegetarian. No animal, hydrogenated fats or preservatives are used in their cooking period. This little café packs personality plus great bites. (Vinyls for music of your choosing so long as you listen to the entire album.) For lunch we ordered all the specials for the day per recommendation: Verde Enchiladas, King Ranch Casserole and Cajun Naca Tamale. The zesty verde enchilada is a corn tortilla filled with seasonal greens topped with tomatillo sauce. Not every enchilada comes with cheese, folks. This version is light and good for you. You get the Mexican food craving and some benefits too. How many places offer that drenched in cheese and mole sauce? Their version of King Ranch has layered potato with local greens, tortilla and nogada. Nogada is a walnut sauce that works perfectly as a substitute for the copious amounts of cheese you usually see in King Ranch Casserole. It’s a real treat that you shouldn’t miss out on. The last dish to impress, because we were apprehensive with the whole Cajun factor, was the Cajun Naca Tamale, which unlike a regular tamale is more flat and served in a banana leaf as opposed to a corn husk. This tamale had tomato, red bell pepper, local cauliflower and okra in a Creole sauce. It made for the most flavorfully complex out of the three that we couldn’t stop eating. They make fresh salsas to dress any of your dishes or have with chips that are also amazing. More veggies. More freshness. More local. More Radical Mexican food.
By Beatrice Allen.
11920 Westheimer. 281.531.5569
SAMBA GRILLE (south american)
530 Texas. 713.343.1180
TACOS A GO-GO
3704 Main. 713.807.8226
THE LEMON TREE [peru]
•12591 Whittington. 281.556.0690
•207 Gray St. 713.655.0430
1111 S. Shepherd. 713.522.7654
If Cheech Marin and Frida Kahlo ever had a daughter, she’d probably grow up to open a place like Tila’s, Houston’s eclectic home for authentic Mexican cuisine. For over a decade, savvy aficionados have gathered at this cozy River Oaks abode, formerly a tailor shop, to savor recipes handed down from generations to original dishes found nowhere else. Tila’s is all about fresh ingredients that tease and titillate! From brie and pear quesadillas to tequila-marinated salmon with fresh kiwi and mango slices, the cuisine is anything but predictable. Only the vivid imagination and tequila-inspired tastes of Tila’s could conjure up such extraordinary fare. The patio provides the perfect retreat to unwind with Tila’s one-of-a-kind, all-natural margaritas and an impressive selection of over 80 premium tequilas. Patrons will be inspired to do absolutely nothing at all and love every minute of it.
TINTOS [spanish] 2015 West Gray. 713.522.1330 www.tintosrestaurant.com
At Tintos, plan on having a posh and relaxing experience. With two separate dining rooms to choose from and a shady, tropical patio available, come enjoy delicious Spanish-inspired tapas and sip on a great glass of wine from your favorite Spanish region. Alberto J. Alfonzo, Chef and Owner, comes from Spanish immigrant culture, tasting and cooking the foods of his parents’ homeland. To create his menu, Alberto traveled to Spain, one of his favorites places in the world, to visit with family and friends, restaurant owners and chefs, to not only enhance his family recipes, but to explore the latest food trends in Spanish cuisine. With resources in hand, combined with a lifetime full of dreams and over 15 years of experience, Tintos Spanish Restaurant & Wine Bar was born. Open daily for lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch.
2411 S. Shepard 713.595.8226
Many have come and gone in this space. but Torchy’s Tacos has CONQUERED! This Austin implant is kicking tush and taking names. If you thought it looked busy from the street, it’s just as busy inside. The interior is pretty basic: order station, beverage/condiment/utensil station, main dining room and a patio. But I see where they are going with this. They aren’t here to impress you with décor, it’s all about the food. We stopped by around 1:30pm for a late lunch and there was still a slight line to order but it moves pretty quickly. Another heads-up – parking is a bit tight. We ordered the Baja Shrimp, Mr. Pink and the Dirty Sanchez (still embarrassed I had to say that out loud). The Baja Shrimp comes with hand-battered fried shrimp with cooked cabbage slaw topped with pickled jalapeños and onions, queso fresco, cilantro and a wedge of lime, served with their chipotle sauce in your choice of tortilla. We got ours on corn and the corn comes with two tortillas instead of one. This was one of our favorites. We split it into two so we could taste more. This is a good idea if you get one that is exploding with ingredients. Our Mr. Pink also came on corn tortillas so we split it as well. Guajillio-seared Ahi tuna, cabbage fresca, cilantro, queso fresco wrapped in corn tortillas with a wedge of lime and their chipotle sauce for topping. It’s fresh and has a hint of sweetness with a savory kick. The Dirty Sanchez is in a category of its own. It’s the ideal taco for when you’re not feeling 100% after a late night. Served on a flour tortilla, scrambled eggs are layered with fried poblano chile, guacamole, escabeche carrots and shredded cheese, served with their poblano sauce. This is not served with a splitting option but if you’re feeling bad, you aren’t going to share anyway. We loved the vinegar carrot, fried poblano combo. I would prefer the queso fresco here too only because of those two components. That would seem more complementary than shredded cheese. It’s interesting, it comes loaded with ingredients, and we can’t wait to have another one with a Mexican Coke®.
By Beatrice Allen.
2416 Brazos. 713.523.8181
CAFE LILI [lebanese]
5757 Westheimer. 713.952.6969
•2520 Montrose. 713.528.1308
•301 Milam @ Market Square
Ask people what they love most about breakfast at Niko Niko’s, and you’ll get answers as varied as the menu. For some, it’s the chance to start the morning with a bracing jolt of strong Greek coffee and a classic pastry. For others, it’s the healthy indulgence of a Greek Yogurt Parfait, with layers of honey, sour cherry and walnuts mingling with creamy, authentic Greek Yogurt. But almost everyone agrees that their breakfast pita is the best Greek invention since democracy. Niko Niko’s had scarcely introduced their breakfast pita when the Houston Press named it one of their “100 Favorite Dishes” in Houston. Just one bite, and you’ll see why. It starts with warm, fluffy pita bread wrapped around an unimaginable combination of eggs, potatoes, steak, falafel, grilled onions and peppers, Greek link sausage and Kasseri cheese. These were the original classics that had the critics raving, the bloggers blogging and customers lining up around the block. But Niko Niko’s didn’t stop there. They’ve just added the Cypriot Breakfast plate, a mouth-watering mélange of sunny-side-up eggs, Loukaniko sausage, grilled Halloumi cheese, marinated tomatoes, olives and cucumbers served with a soft, warm pita. Try one today and see if the morning sun doesn’t shine a little brighter. But it’s not just meat and potatoes for breakfast. For those with a sweet tooth, Niko Niko’s is now offering Baklava French Toast. It’s classic French Toast, but topped with walnuts and homemade honey sauce, and sprinkled with powdered sugar, cinnamon and orange rind. And for the health-conscious, there’s always the delicious Greek Yogurt Smoothie, made with 0% fat, strained Greek Yogurt and your choice of strawberry, mango or pomegranate and blueberry. Start your morning at Niko Niko’s and see how fresh, how fast and how delicious breakfast can be.
PHOENICIA DELI [lebanese]
12151 Westheimer. 281.558.0416
•Downtown COMING SOON
2800 Kirby Dr. 713.386.6460
BOMBAY PIZZA CO.
914 Main St. 713.654.4444
DOLCE VITA PIZZERIA ENOTECA
500 Westheimer. 713.520.8222
417 Travis. 713.225.5656
•710 West Gray. 713.521.7465
•1403 Heights. 713.864.7465
3201 Louisiana St. 713.524.8222
•77 Harvard. 713.869.1241
•2111 Norfolk. 713.523.0800
•788 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. 713.827.1120 •2405 W. Alabama. 713.520.5999 •Town & Country www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Fleming’s Town & Country is located just minutes from the Memorial City Medical Center and Houston’s renowned Energy Corridor, and conveniently located near the Memorial suburbs, Katy and Uptown/Galleria. Fleming’s River Oaks is located in the heart of Houston, between Greenway Plaza, the Galleria, the Houston Medical Center and Downtown. Private Dining for All Occasions. Whether you’re hosting a small social gathering or large business function, Fleming’s will custom-tailor an event worthy of the occasion. It’s the personal touches that make an event special, and no one understands this better than our Private Dining Directors. They’ll work with you to ensure that every detail – from the food and drinks to the ambience and timing – is exactly right.
1801 Post Oak Blvd. 713.877.0720
•5000 Westheimer. 713.629.1946
•1001 McKinney. 713.659.3700
PAPPAS BROS. STEAKHOUSE
5839 Westheimer Rd. 713.780.7352
RUTH’S CHRIS STEAKHOUSE
6213 Richmond Ave. 713.789.2333
SHULA’S STEAKHOUSE HYATT HOTEL
1200 Louisiana St. 713.375.4777
SPENCER’S STEAKS + CHOPS
1600 Lamar. 713.577.8325
1200 McKinney. 713.659.6000