London's Michelin star import makes a grand debut on the Houston foodie scene, and it's arrival was anything but quiet. After much anticipation, the upscale dim sum and patisserie restaurant opened it's doors to a wave of people- so much that there were reports of wait times up to a few hours. Holy cow, what is this, Austin? This place definitely elevates the Houston food scene. Impeccable service, delicious dim sum, and heavenly desserts. It's definitely trendy a trendy spot to see and be seen.
Try: Baked venison puffs, crispy aromatic duck, Chinese chive flower dumpling, tropical dome, pork soup dumplings, raspberry delice, mascarpone cake with red berries, and chocolate pebble
2) Eight Row Flint
From Agricole Hospitality, the geniuses that brought you Revival Market and Coltivare- is the place you'll want to go to post work day or work week or weekend. Or rather, anytime, all the time. Kick back on the dog friendly patio with tv screens playing what's important (uh, Rockets playoff games, duh) and enjoy a specially crafted cocktail or two. Or beer. Whatever mood you're in, Eight Row has your back. Soak up that poison with some good 'ol chips and queso, tacos, and tex mex fare from the food truck on the premises. Did I mention a fantastic happy hour with $3 tacos, beers, and $5 cocktails? You're welcome.
Try: Eight Row Frose, Bramble, Apple Blossom, chips & queso, quesadillas, brussels sprout taco
3) Under the Volcano
Monday steak night! Tiki cocktails, coffee cocktails, all sorts of odds and ends can be found at this eclectic bar in the West University/Rice area. The steak comes with salad, potatoes, and a juicy steak, all for about $16. End your evenings here, order a glass of wine, and spill out all your troubles Under the Volcano.
Try: Monday Steak Night Special, pina colada
4) Brasserie Du Parc
It's pretty amazing to see what the Superbowl can do to your hometown. The Discovery Green/Convention center area was pretty before, but wait till you see it now. Brasserie du Parc sits at the edge of the park and is downtown HTX's neighborhood French Brasserie. Hang out at the bar for a delicious cocktail or glass of wine, or have a leisurely dinner with friends on the terrace. Want to enjoy the park and eat delicious food? There's a walk up crepe window for that. Read an in depth review here.
Try: Salade de chevre, raviolis aux champignons, mussels mariniere, and ile flottante
5) Tongue Cut Sparrow
A lot of people aren't familiar with the term "Japanese speakeasy". American speakeasies are full of glitz, glamour, drama, and of course, more often than not, the focus is on the cocktail. Japanese speakeasies also focus on the cocktail, but with a quiet and subdued elegance, and they put very great emphasis on the smallest details. Head into Pastry War, head towards the back, and go up the stairs, and you'll find yourself at Bobby Heugel's (Anvil) newest bar, Tongue Cut Sparrow. Inspired by their travels through Japan, Heugel and busines partner Peter Jahnke's intimate cocktail bar only contains 25 seats, with half reserved for well, reservations. It's like being tucked away in another dimension, quietly sipping a delicious cocktail while nearby, there are probably a group of corporate folks downing tequila shot after tequila shot. Try your luck on weeknights- higher chances of walking in and grabbing a spot.
Try: Royal Fizz, Daiquiri no. 4
6) Moku Bar @ Conservatory
Poke is everywhere. Literally. and up until Moku Bar came to Conservatory, it was everywhere except downtown Houston. I am not kidding when I say that I could eat here everyday. My longest streak was eating here for three straight meals in a row. The ordering process is similar to Chipotle - order your carb (or lack therof), protein, and toppings. Easy peasy. Prices are adjusted (higher) because well, it is downtown after all. But that's okay, poke is a regular part of my diet now, and that's all that matters.
Try: spicy salmon, truffle yellowtail, shrimp chips
7) Yokushi Robata
Not sure why this place isn't as popular as it should be but hey, I ain't complainin'. No lines for me. Tucked away in a strip center across from the Costco in the Greenway area is a robata crankin' out all the favorites - grilled meat skewers, poke, ramen, and lots of other tasty dishes that are perfect for sharing with a group of friends over drinks. This is also the only place I know of in Houston that serves Okonomiyaki- a Japanese pancake served with cabbage, bacon, kewpie mayo, and bonito flakes.
Try: Okonomiyaki, beef skewers, poke, pork katsu, chicken thigh skewers
Sometimes all you want to do is just chillax with a pizza and beer on a hammock. Axlerad is the place of dreamers and weekenders. Delicious cocktails, a variety of beers on tap and an excellent wine selection will quench your thirst. Make your way past the hammocks and order a piping hot pizza from Luigi's, delectable cheesy string pizza pull shot and all.
Try: everything? (but not all at once. drink responsibly)
Us Houstonians like to brag that our city is one of the most diverse in the country, if not the world (personal bias). You can see that reflected in our food scene, where cultures fuse with food and drink to create some of the most amazing places you'll ever visit. Take Cafeza for instance. Inspired by cafecerias in Buenos Aires and Barcelona, Cafeza brings together coffee, tea, wine, cuisine, music, and art in a lovely space on the corner of Houston and Summer. Lots of seating and outlets, inside and outside seating, aromatic teas, delcious coffee, and oh my goodness the churros. What more could you want in life?
Try: Churros, black bean empanadas, carajillo, strawberry white tea
10) Lily & Bloom
Main St in Downtown Houston has become the next "it"destination for your Friday/Saturday night bar hopping adventures. Bars and restaurants line each side of the street, and with the Metro rail running to and fro in between, you could get from one end to the other in no time. If you aren't looking carefully you may pass Lily & Bloom (and also two other bars) on your way to Allen's Landing. It's a spacious bar, with large screen TVs for catching a sports game or two. But it's name reveals it's classic and subtle elegance, and there are a number of delicious cocktails for you to try.
Try: Lady Montenegro, Pina Reliever