As our city continues to get hipper, Houstonians are beaming with pride more and more each day. Supporting local is a way of life around here, but as Houston rises to the ranks of cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, some Houstonians may often wonder, What do those cities have that we don't?
Allow me: stunning city views, maybe a lake or two, the Pacific Ocean as far as the eye can see. I love Houston as much as the next gal, but I will admit that I enjoy a killer view every once in awhile, especially while I dine. While Houston is more or less lacking in the natural scenery department, there are hidden gems sprinkled throughout the city that spotlight breathtaking views of Houston's beauty, both natural and man-made.
Brenner's on the Bayou
A tranquil oasis in the middle of the city, Brenner's on the Bayou is unlike any other restaurant in Houston. Within close proximity to Memorial Park, the upscale steakhouse sits right on Houston's famed Buffalo Bayou. The two-level dining room leads outdoors to a sprawling, covered patio lit up most evenings with blue lighting (and appropriately called the Blue Bar). Nestled amidst lush greenery and a serene waterway, there are nothing but gorgeous views at every turn. The well-manicured grounds have often been used for weddings, wine festivals and much more with the lush property providing a stunning backdrop for any special occasion.
Brenner's traditional meat-centric menu includes steaks, chops and a variety of decadent sides, is also available as a three-course dinner during Houston Restaurant Weeks throughout the month of August. As the scenic views from the Blue Bar are a major highlight of dining at Brenner's on the Bayou, happy hour is naturally a popular time at the restaurant. Small plates like sliders and mini gyros, wine and cocktails can be enjoyed for $5 and, of course, pair perfectly with the magical views.
Brenner's on the Bayou, 1 Birdall St., 713-868-4444, brennerssteakhouse.com
Spindletop at the Hyatt Regency
Perched atop downtown Houston's swanky Hyatt Regency Hotel, the Spindletop Restaurant offers panoramic views of Houston from 34 floors up. The revolving restaurant's location deep in the heart of downtown allows guests to get an intimate look at the city, from towering skyscrapers to historic landmarks. With a two-level dining space and a trendy lounge area, there isn't a bad seat in the house.
Spindletop's menu boasts contemporary American fare such as seared mahi mahi, mesquite smoked chicken and its signature avocado dome with jumbo lump crabmeat. Catering to guests with a full bar and a stellar wine list, Spindletop provides a backdrop for a special occasion unlike any place else in the city. And while a full rotation inside Spindletop takes approximately one hour, you will no doubt see every last bit of the city with a birds-eye view.
Spindletop at the Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana St., 713-375-4775, hyatt.com
Not quite as high up as Spindletop, Up in Highland Village will nevertheless take you to great heights with delightful views of the bustling activity in Highland Village below. Located atop a low-rise building, elevator-only access at street level invites you to go where else? Up.
Glamorous and chic, Up is the destination for celebrating a birthday, anniversary, shower, reunion or even one of those no-reason-let's-splurge-dinners. Floor-to-ceiling windows surround the dining room and invite guests to view not only the posh street scene below, but the downtown skyline in the distance. Known for its distinct bar and lounge adorned with an over-sized spherical chandelier, Up invites guests to toast to life and enjoy the city views with a glass of wine or a craft cocktail.
Up Restaurant, 3995 Westheimer Rd., 713-640-5416, m.mainstreethub.com/uprestaurant