Houston is one of those cities where no matter how many times you visit, there is still something new and amazing to discover. Rest your head at the trendy and elegant Post Oak Hotel Houston at Uptown Houston, in the tony Post Oak Uptown district, which is similar to Atlanta’s posh Buckhead neighborhood. Mingle with the movers, shakers and hipsters who flock here for the downtown views, lush rooms and Sunday Brunches. It’s Houston’s only five-diamond hotel—for a reason. You can even shop at The Galleria, a high-end mall, visit the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum or go back in time at the Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston.
But when you’re done with all of that, it’s the food that you really need to get into. As the state’s foodie capital, Houston has some of the finest dining money can buy. We’ve rounded up a few delicious faves you simply must indulge in on your next visit to H-town.
This 13-seat tasting-menu restaurant is the brainchild of Jonathan “Jonny” Rhodes, who has created a unique, utterly delicious neo-soul dining experience. “We focus on the historical context of food, whether it be social, political or economic,” he says. Rhodes serves cuisine based on African-American traditions, like Okra Seed Coffee. The dishes on the rotating five-course menus (Carnivore, Herbivore or Classic) are cooked over an open flame and served with a big helping of knowledge.
Our picks: 1. “Afrofuturist” Pecan Soup. 2. Smoked Wild Boar Ribs. 3. Banana Republics of America Avocado Parfait.
Houston and New Orleans have many connections, including this classy eatery, which is an offshoot of the Brennan family restaurant dynasty in NOLA. Expect top-quality Texas creole cuisine and equally excellent service. The vibe and splendid comfort food are enough to inspire you to try cooking the dishes at home. How do you get started? “Your plate is your canvas,” says general manager Carl Walker. “Consider, What do I have lying around? Then add your creative self.” Imagination is indeed a key ingredient at this hot spot.
Our picks: 1. Ginger Pear Snap cocktail. 2. Snapping Turtle Soup. 3. Crawfish Boudin Stuffed Quail. 4. Bananas Foster.
The welcoming aura at one of H-Town’s toniest Mexican restaurants is fostered by its humble executive chef, Hugo Ortega. He emigrated from Mexico to Houston, worked as a dishwasher and a busboy and was homeless for a short while before meeting his wife, Tracy Vaught. She helped him go to culinary school and fulfill his dream of offering a dining option that celebrates the cooking he did with his family. “We make our own nixtamal and roast and grind our own cacao beans,” he shares. His establishment’s authenticity is bolstered by the freshest homemade ingredients.
Our picks: 1. Lechón (braised pig with crisp skin). 2. Callo de Hacha (pan-seared scallops). 3. Churros Rellenos con Dulce de Leche.
Chef Chris Shepherd lusts for innovation. He’s put his own ingenious spin on a steak house in this vast, industrial-designed restaurant named in homage to his parents. Push the envelope? Have you ever heard of Bacon Sausage? “I had the idea to cure the pork belly like bacon, grind it, stuff it into a casing and smoke it, so you have the delicious taste of bacon—but as a sausage,” says Shepherd. His smart tips on cooking steak? “Seasoning with an adequate amount of salt and pepper and temperature control.”
Our picks: 1. Fondrèche Cinsault Blend Rosé wine with Viet-Cajun Roasted Oysters. 2. Ribeye Steak or the Coriander and Cumin Lamb Chops. 3. Corn Bread Pudding. 4. Cheddar Cheese Ice Cream.
MAD is short for Madrid. Think tapas and the magical wonder of small plates of food. The menu is divided into two parts: traditional and modern tapas. Want the traditional? Try the Empanadillas de Cochinillo. The modern? Go for the Cucurucho de. MAD’s ultra-modern interior, evokes a frenzied young atmosphere. Picasso plates are mounted on a wall. A DJ’s music fills the air. Blink your eyes you’d swear you were in a lively Madrid disco—that serves tasty food.
Our Picks: 1.) Pimento Gin and Tonic coupled with the Mad ‘N Cheese (aka mac ‘n cheese). 2.) Secreto Ibérico de Bellota (skirt steak). 3.) Cocomber (vanilla shortbread, coconut cremeux, cucumber).
Hurricane Harvey flooded the first incarnation of the splendid seafood restaurant REEF, which has served over 92 different species of fish. Chef Bryan Caswell took that opportunity to regroup: “I’ve been able to literally bring to the table creations I’ve been dreaming about for years.” One of those visions is now his signature masterwork, “Crab Fat & Dough,” which features Sabayon and Housemade Bread & Butter Pickles. It looks like a crab is trying to escape from a mini-cake, legs first.
Our Picks: 1.) Pair a Hemingway Daiquiri with your Pickled Shrimp with Scallion Pancake and Preserved Lime Crema appetizer. 2.) Crispy Skin Snapper. 3.) Texas Peach Cobbler.