Wondering where to eat in Houston? After all, of all the unique things to do here, eating should be at the very top of your list! Space City is truly one of the best places for food. With over 10,000 restaurants that serve this city of 7 million, the only real problem you’ll have is figuring out which of your pants is the stretchiest! Here is my starter list to help you out!
Where to Eat in Houston
The Breakfast Klub
Attention, breakfast lovers! If there’s one place you have to visit on your trip to Houston, it’s The Breakfast Klub. Located in Midtown, this spot not only has been named one of the best breakfast restaurants in the country, it’s a favorite of the Houston-born queen of music herself – Beyoncé!
The Breakfast Klub was started by native Houstonian, Marcus Davis, over twenty years ago when he decided the city needed a community-oriented (or should I say kommunity-oriented) morning spot that offered both a welcoming environment and some seriously soulful dishes. Yes, there will probably be a line, but it will be well worth the wait. Be sure to try the Katfish & Grits or Wings & Waffle dishes; they’re the signature menu items that started the whole shebang.
Anyone who’s visited New Orleans knows of Commander’s Palace – the turquoise blue Victorian restaurant with a dress code and incredible menu. But did you know they had a sister restaurant over in Houston? It’s called Brennan’s and it combines the best of Southern hospitality with the most incredible Creole cuisine.
First opened in 1967, the restaurant has become known for its lovable, unpretentious staff who know how to truly create a unique dining experience for each visitor. If you’re planning on a weekend in Houston, you won’t want to miss out on their Creole Jazz Brunch.
Blood Bros. BBQ
One of the most respected BBQ joints in Houston, Blood Bros BBQ is a must-visit for meat lovers. The menu is the perfect fusion of classic barbecue dishes with Asian twists.
This Asian-American restaurant was founded by two biological brothers and their best friend from high school. The trio of Robin Wong, Terry Wong, and Quy Hoang first began with backyard BBQs for friends before trying out pop-ups all around the city, quickly becoming something of a cult favorite. After eight years of fans begging for a restaurant, they finally opened one right along Bellaire Boulevard.
I’m not kidding when I say prepare your stretchiest pants for this dinner. Even the most traditional BBQ aficionado is going to be salivating over these dishes. I might’ve gotten a little carried away diving into my meal when I visited…
Blue Nile at River Oaks
If you’re looking for authentic Ethiopian in Houston, head right over to the family-owned Blue Nile at River Oaks. Blue Nile began all the way back in 1994 when Tina Ameblue left her $4.25-an-hour housekeeping job and opened the restaurant’s first modest location. Since then, it’s developed a reputation amongst locals for the incredible dishes and friendly environment. If you come earlier for lunch, try out the Ethiopian coffee ceremony!
Kenny and Ziggy’s Delicatessen
Kenny & Ziggy’s Delicatessen is what happens when you take a New York City classic and place it in the heart of Texas. Co-founder Ziggy Gruber is something of Jewish deli royalty. Not only did he run his own successful deli in the city, he’s the third generation Gruber men who have. His grandfather, Max Gruber, opened the very first one in 1927. You could say deli meat practically runs in his blood. Combined with a Cordon Bleu culinary education in England and experience in a Michelin 3-star restaurant in London, Ziggy truly knows his way around a kitchen.
Ziggy has been in Houston since 1999 and has truly meshed two very different cultures together in some of the most mouthwatering dishes you’ll ever try. Literally – your mouth is going to be watering trying to fit some of these massive sandwiches in!
Fun fact: Ziggy’s family is from Budapest and he was married in the very synagogue I visited when I went for “Places to Love.” Small world!
Located in Houston’s EaDo neighborhood, Nancy’s Hustle is another spot that has quickly become a local favorite since opening at the end of 2017. The name is an ode to two things – Houston’s nickname of “Hustle Town” and the Fat Nancy’s diner in Mad Max – while the menu is European-American.
The food here is both delicious and inspired with the stand out dish being something called Nancy Cakes, made with cultured butter, smoked trout roe, and chives. The executive chef, Jason Vaughan, was even a 2020 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas.
Since Himalaya Restaurant was first founded by James Beard Semifinalist Chef Kaiser Lashkari in 2004, it’s consistently topped all sorts of “Where to Eat in Houston” lists. The menu is heavily inspired by Lashkari’s childhood in Pakistan with many authentic Indian and Pakistani items. However, what really helps the restaurant stand out is the Texan twist he’s able to put on many dishes. One not to miss – his take on fried chicken, aptly called Himalaya fried chicken!
Originally started as a vegetarian restaurant in 1972, Hobbit Cafe is a mainstay in the Houston restaurant scene even as its menu has evolved to include meat and seafood. They take their name very seriously, abiding by the quirky, happy traditions of Tolkien’s hobbits. With a setting inspired by the Shire itself, this cafe offers good food, fantastic beer, and some especially refreshing drinks for those hot Texan days. Hang out on the patio, order up a Space City Slurrpie, and just enjoy the relaxation.
When it comes to authentic Mexican cuisine in Houston, Hugo’s is truly the end all, be all. The goal of James Beard Award-winning Chef Hugo Ortega when he opened his namesake restaurant in 2002 was to introduce diners to the many diverse foods and regional cuisines of his home country. He’s definitely succeeded as this restaurant has become a local favorite over the last two decades.
Located in a historic building in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood, Hugo’s features a menu full of dishes made from scratch in the Mexican tradition. Whatever you wind up ordering, be sure to top off your meal with a Hugo-rita – a delicious cocktail made with tequila, Triple Sec, agave, and lime.
Located in Katy Asian Town, James Beard Semifinalist Alex Au-Yeung opened up Phat Eatery in 2018 and quickly developed a cult following of foodies eager for his mouthwatering dishes. The menu is inspired by Au-Yeung’s childhood in Hong Kong, his Malaysian heritage, and the melting pot of cultures that exist in both countries. You know the food is good when the restaurant’s only been open a few years and already has had to expand!
Phoenicia Specialty Foods
If you, like me, enjoy a little grocery shopping when visiting somewhere new, then you’ll want to be sure to make a stop at Phoenicia Specialty Foods. This grocery store started way back in 1983 as a simple Mediterranean-style deli and today carries over 15,000 products from over 50 countries. You really will have the world at your fingertips!
Shop around for some unique groceries, stop into their deli, which still exists today, and then grab a sweet treat at their bakery for the perfect picnic in one of Houston’s many parks.
Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Want to grab a beer at the oldest craft brewery on Texas? Pop right into Saint Arnold Brewing Company. This brewery has been going strong since 1994 and has both a year-round menu as well as some seasonal and special releases. Book a tour to see the process and then enjoy their onsite beer garden and restaurant!
Turkey Leg Hut
The stuffed turkey legs at Turkey Leg Hut are legendary. It all started when Lynn and Nakia Price began selling them in the Houston Rodeo parking lot in 2015 and has since transformed into an extremely popular spot in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood. You know you’ve made it when Snoop Dogg is Facetiming you for a turkey leg!
While the menu is full of the kind of hearty Creole dishes that’ll have you salivating, the real stars are the restaurant’s namesakes – the turkey legs. Choose from options like the Cajun crawfish macaroni and cheese leg to the stuffed leg and see why there’s often a line out the door for these guys!
White Rhino Bar & Patio
White Rhino Patio & Cocktail Bar stands out for two reasons – their drinks are damn delicious and their commitment to sustainability goes above and beyond just about every other place I’ve ever visited. When I say they take sustainability into account in every detail of their business, I mean it. The paint on the building, the water you’ll get with your drink, even the sand that decorates the outside patio – all of it is made with the environment in mind. And if your wondering about the name, it comes from the fact that a portion of all their profits go towards saving the rhinos.
As you can see, when it comes to where to eat in Houston, this city has you covered. There are so many options and all of them sure to have you leaving stuffed and happy. Whether you’re looking for authentic dishes from all over the world or just want a solid barbecue fair, I dare you to find a type of cuisine Houston doesn’t have.