We're already celebrating the arrival of patio weather at Houstonia with this month's review of Heights Biergarten and King's Bierhaus, two of the greatest places to sip a brew outdoors that have opened this year. But what else is new since the last time temperatures dropped into the comfy 60s and 70s? Admittedly, the Heights is currently inarguably winning Houston's outdoor dining game, and we had to leave off some of the best (sorry Balls Out Burger!) in favor of a bit of geographic diversity.
Not too much. Unsurprisingly most of the big-money patios are inside the Loop. Know a stellar off-the-radar spot we missed? Let us know. We've got some serious al fresco enjoyment ahead of us and may try it soon.
Frequent live music is a major draw for choosing to sit outdoors, but so are bocce, cornhole, Connect Four and table tennis. What to eat? How about a smoked brisket pot pie with cheddar crust to chase away the chill? The fryer gets a well-deserved workout, too, cooking up everything from corn dogs to chicken fried steak in black pepper-bacon gravy.
In The Woodlands, you've got more than one option if you want to sit on this expansive covered patio complete with a Goode-branded cornhole game. That's because the outdoor seating joins two restaurants, an outpost of Goode Co. Barbeque and the all-new Kitchen & Cantina, which pays homage to the family's Mexican roots. Just decide whether you want fajitas and enchiladas or brisket and Czech sausage, then settle in for a comfy afternoon or evening.
If a meal here feels like hanging out on a friend's front deck, that's because it sort of is. The location, formerly Au Petit Paris, is a renovated house with all the implied comforts. But we're pretty sure you're closest pals can't shuck an oyster like chef Martin Stayer's team, nor can they throw together a from-scratch pasta dish like his tagliatelle Bolognese or charred green onion cavatelli.
Regarding garden-enhanced dining in the Heights, you say Coltivare, we say Presidio. One possible tie-breaker is the fact that there are two ways to sit outside at the new restaurant. The covered seating out front has a view of the garden, while the fully exposed area out back feels like you're already in one. It doesn't matter which inspired small plates you order, as long as you leave room for the life-altering brownie.
Sick of dining on the ground? The second-floor bar at Hungry's has your solution. There, relax on the terrace overlooking Rice Village. We're a fan of the tenderloin tacos with honey-habanero aioli at dinner—at brunch, it's fried chicken and eggs with Anaheim chile cream sauce. Either way, don't sleep on the cocktails. This is a bar after all, where everything is made from scratch, including the beet juice for the gingery Just Beet It.