Whether it’s fine dining or traditional southern food, Houston’s culinary landscape is as diverse as its multicultural population. Originally a port town, the fourth largest city in the US has an eclectic mix of restaurants specializing in everything from Korean pho to chicken pot pie to seared red snapper. With its location just a few hours from the South American border, there are few places in the US that offer such authentic Mexican cuisine (served with a side of true southern hospitality). Here is Elite Traveler’s guide to the best restaurants in Houston.
On Westheimer Road, Da Marco restaurant serves up Italian cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Well-dressed patrons dine on classics like potato gnocchi and wild branzino paired with wines from a comprehensive list of reds and whites from around Italy. Though Mediterranean cuisine is the focus, there is still an unmistakable Texas influence on Da Marco’s menu. Guests can also enjoy short ribs, porterhouse and roasted Texas quail.
Opened in 1967 as the sister restaurant to Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, Brennan’s has long been a Houston favorite for its Texas Creole cuisine. Seasonal dishes center on Creole tradition, with selections like Texas wild shrimp remoulade and gulf fish pontchartrain. Brennan’s Chef’s Table experience seats guests in the middle of the kitchen for an immersive degustation journey, while the Wine Table invites guests to a five-course tasting. If it’s not enough to order from the menu, you can don a uniform and help create it with the Chef for a Day program.
Étoile cuisine et bar
Located in Uptown Houston, Étoile Cuisine et Bar is the ideal spot to sample classic French cuisine. Owners Philippe Verpiand and Monica Bui have created a city staple, highly regarded for its take on well-loved classics and warm and inviting atmosphere. From coq au vin to moules marinière, it’s all to be found here, with top notch service and attention to detail to boot.
If quality Italian fare is what you’re pining after, look no further than Sorrento in the bohemian Montrose district. Located just moments from Bayou Music Center, this classic venue – complete with live piano – is perfect for everything from a pre-show meal to a swift business lunch. With traditional Italian dishes served in a cosy and elegant setting, Sorrento combines familiarity with impeccable service for what is a nigh-on perfect dining experience.
Originally a landmark deli, the restaurant currently housed at 807 Taft Street is run like a chef’s table for a unique Houston experience. Guests are offered either an omnivore or vegetarian menu over five or eight courses. The Pass also features a supplemental menu that carries out a specific theme using many locally sourced ingredients. Pair exciting dishes with wine, beer and cocktails for an engaging, eventful meal.
Pappas Bros Steakhouse
A Texas staple, Pappas Bros Steakhouse has locations in Houston Downtown and Houston Galleria as well as Dallas. The legendary steakhouse group has maintained a family feel since the first restaurant opened in 1976. Pan-seared bass, lobster and salmon are available to order, but the highlight is the comprehensive steak menu. Choose from filet mignon, prime ribeye, porterhouse and veal chop among other cuts.
With four dining rooms and a terrace for alfresco dining, Cinq is the perfect place to indulge in European-inspired cuisine. In La Colombe d’Or hotel, Cinq serves gourmet fare like chateaubriand, cedar smoked moullard duck breast and braised young goat. The elegant setting reflects in luxurious boutique hotel that houses Cinq restaurant, ideal for a romantic meal for two or private event.
Based in Houston’s Four Seasons hotel, Quattro is one of the best Italian restaurants in the city. Chef Maurizio Ferrarese’s simple menu focuses on locally-sourced produce and exquisite ingredients, offering a delightful range of antipasti, pasta, pizze and secondi courses. For those seeking privacy and confidentiality, there are four private dining rooms. Not to mention the welcome option of a gourmet take-out during service hours if you call in advance.