Photos by Shy Hardiman

Tila's is an uber quaint restaurant and bar located in River Oaks, right on the Shepherd Dr. curve, making it hard to miss. The Mexican grill’s outer appearance may seem small, but once you get inside, there’s enough seating for an entire office party to have lunch together.

Tila's Restaurante & Bar
1111 S. Shepherd Dr.
713-522-7654
tilas.com

Something else you may notice about the deceptively large space is that it's full of pigs. No, not the waiters—the staff is actually one of the restaurant's better features. Swine chic is the aesthetic inside Tila's, where you'll find wooden pigs, porcelain pigs, pigs with chef hats, and pigs with wings all over the place. If you listen closely enough, you can probably hear some squeals.

More importantly, though, is the menu. Tila's is one of over 100 restaurants participating in Houston Restaurant Weeks. Originally established in 2003 as just a week-long event, the now-32-day-long month of menus is a way for patrons to get dining deals at their favorite restaurants while a percentage of the profit from those meals is donated to the Houston Food Bank. When you go to a participating HRW restaurant like Tila’s, make sure to ask for the HRW menu so that a portion of your bill goes to charity.

For my lunchtime HRW menu at Tila's—which gets you two courses for $20—I opted to start with Tila's guacamole and chips. Tila's combines chunks of avocado, tomato, onion, and a hint of citrus in its guac to go with lightly salted tortilla and plantain chips. 

For my HRW entree, I chose the pollo al hongo—just one of the many chicken dishes the restaurant prepares. That’s "hongo" pronounced ON-GO and it is a grilled chicken breast smothered in mushrooms (the hongos) and melted manchego cheese topped with onions. The chicken is marinated to give it a distinct, flavorful taste and a tender consistency.

Tila's entrees come with a plethora of sides, my favorite of which are the creamy spinach and the garlic mashed potatoes. Pro tip: use the tortilla and plantain chips to scoop up the creamy spinach. The mashed potatoes come with a slight chunkiness for texture and the garlic adds a welcome kick.

If, after all that, you still have room left, then take a gander at their dessert menu (which is separate from the HRW menu at lunchtime, but included in the $35 three-course HRW dinner menu). Multiple flans and a tres leches cake are among some of the traditional Latin sweets that you’ll find. The ancho fudge pie is exactly what it sounds like and more—white and milk chocolate sauce drizzled over a slice of fudge pie surrounded by fresh strawberries.

Houston Restaurant Weeks runs through September 1, and Tila's Restaurante & Bar will be waiting for you with their HRW menu until then—along with all their pigs.

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