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While Houstonians enjoy dining in strip centers just fine, sometimes it’s nice to please the eye as well as the palate. Enter these local jewels.

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

This handsome steakhouse and butchery is all dim lighting, exposed brick and crisp white linens. Reach the next level of scenic euphoria by dining on the rooftop patio, which offers a choice skyline view. Get one of the much-adored carpetbagger filets, or, during the Booze & Bites happy hour, a charcuterie board.

Batanga

You’ll be in the heart of the action at this downtown stunner, which sits right under Market Square’s Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower. The historic building, home to a saloon back in the 1880s, now plays host to a funky sangria-and-tapas joint—think oxtail mole, braised albóndigas and red snapper ceviche. Happy hour brings inexpensive mojitos, wines and Latin American–style flatbreads. 

Brasserie du Parc

On the ground floor of One Park Place downtown, right on Discovery Green, you’ll find this classic brasserie, which wouldn’t feel out of place in Paris. Snag a seat on the covered patio or try a cozy nook in the chandelier-lit dining room, and spoil yourself with baked Burgundy snails, a croque monsieur, or mussels with pommes frites. For a quick bite, hit the crêpe window.

Brenner’s on the Bayou

The lush foliage, well-manicured gardens, and cascading waterfall at this rustic standby make for quite the breathtaking scene, a popular choice for weddings, events, and, of course, date night. Hit the patio for a martini at Blue Bar before moving inside for your meal. Favorite starters include chile butter–roasted oysters and cognac-kissed lobster bisque, while mains range from bone-in ribeyes and double-cut chops to duck-leg confit and shrimp and grits. 

The Grove

This glass-encased eatery, nestled among Discovery Green’s century-old live oaks, has its own rooftop garden, from which chef Robert Del Grande pulls fresh herbs and produce for his modern plates—think fried oyster salad, smoked beef belly with jalapeño and pickled celery, and Cajun redfish crostini. Dine in the sleek indoor space or grab a seat on the patio, a great choice for happy hour.

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The Kitchen at the Dunlavy

Overlooking Lost Lake on one side and the banks of Buffalo Bayou on the other, this striking destination offers plenty of eye candy on the inside, too, with its eclectic collection of stunning chandeliers. Offering counter-service breakfast and lunch daily, it’s popular with joggers, families and young crowds who can’t get enough of the delectable avocado toasts, picnic plates, and buttermilk drop biscuits. 

Monarch at Hotel ZaZa

Like the Hotel ZaZa that houses it, this restaurant and lounge is just plain sexy. Sit on the luxe terrace—an especially sultry experience come evening—and you’ll be treated to views of the Museum of Fine Arts and Mecom Fountain. The menu offers a wide range of tasty options, from buttermilk flapjacks and chilaquiles to red curry scallops and bourbon-braised pork shanks.

Spindletop

Take the glass elevator 34 stories up through downtown’s Hyatt Regency, and you’ll be treated to incredible panoramic—and, yes, rotating—views of downtown Houston. The dateworthy restaurant offers seafood with a Southwest spin, from blackened snapper in serrano-butter sauce to Gulf seafood pots for two.

Tiny Boxwoods

Set in the middle of a River Oaks nursery, this impossibly chic space features meticulously curated gardens and a see-and-be-seen crowd that comes especially dressed to impress at brunch. Popular menu items include the house migas, charcuterie boards, picnic plates, and lamb burgers. The remarkable chocolate chip cookies and crisp Petit Sirah sangrias look especially great on Instagram—along with a Balenciaga triangle bag, of course.

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In this Article

Tiny Boxwoods

$$$ American/New American 3614 W. Alabama St.

With the same owners as the nursery next door, Tiny Boxwood’s benefits from the inclusion of gorgeous gardens, fruit trees, and flowering shrubs.  A brunch f...

Editor’s Pick

Spindletop

$$$ American/New American 1200 Louisiana St.

This downtown classic atop the Hyatt Regency Hotel does indeed spin: the restaurant makes a full rotation every 45 minutes, meaning that even if you're only ...

Editor’s Pick

Monarch Bistro

$$$$ American/New American 5701 Main St.

The lush, climate-controlled terrace of this New American restaurant is a showstopper, offering views of Mecom Fountain and the Museum of Fine Arts. Brunch—w...

Editor’s Pick

The Kitchen at the Dunlavy

$ American/New American 3422 Allen Pkwy.

Dine under 39 chandeliers of all shapes and sizes at this breakfast and lunch spot specializing in Southern Californian cuisine. At dinnertime, the gorgeous ...

The Grove

$$$ American/New American 1611 Lamar St.

The Grove’s five private dining rooms can hold anywhere from 20 to 240 people, and all afford breathtaking views of Discovery Green and the downtown skyline—...

Brenner’s on the Bayou

$$$$ Steak 1 Birdsall St.

Too few places in Houston afford a picturesque view, hence the appeal of the lush bayou backdrop at Brenner’s, which is nearly next door to Bayou Bend and sh...

Brasserie du Parc

$$$ French 1440 Lamar St.

The team behind Étoile Cuisine et Bar takes a casual turn with this Downtown brasserie. Visitors to Discovery Green can stop by the crêpe window, while diner...

Batanga Tapas + Drinks

$$$ Latin 908 Congress Ave.

At Batanga, standouts include oxtail mole and duck confit tostadas at dinner and the chilaquiles and vanilla pancakes at brunch on the weekends. Spanish beer...

Editor’s Pick

B&B Butchers & Restaurant

$$$$ Steak 1814 Washington Ave

At lunch, the old-school deli slings swoon-worthy sandwiches like Hungarian salami and liverwurst on a warm Kaiser roll; at dinner, B&B’s swanky dining r...