Best New Restaurants 2015

A Midtown Restaurant Crawl

Midtown makes its mark.

By Katharine Shilcutt September 29, 2015 Published in the October 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Start your night off right with a feast at Oporto Fooding House and Wine.

Image: Kate LeSueur

While it’s always boasted great watering holes, Midtown’s dining offerings have long been overshadowed by Montrose and the Heights. No more. Several high-profile eateries have opened in the last year alone, with more planned for the coming months. Witness the excitement first-hand with the following expert-level crawl.

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Image: Kyle Hilton

You will require:

  • At least three friends but no more than five (for ease of transport)
  • Uber or a friend who can parallel park and won’t be drinking 
  • Comfortable shoes and stretchy fabric at the waist 
  • Cash (easier on your waiter/bartender than multiple credit cards)

Suggested itinerary:

Dinner: Oporto, 7 p.m.

Make reservations, as seats fill up fast at this popular new spot on Gray. Order the pizzette do mar topped with shrimp and calamari, the spicy Gulf shrimp with piri piri pepper, the heavenly stuffed dates and as much modern Portuguese food as you can fit on one table.

Dessert: Fluff Bake Bar, 9 p.m.

From there, walk two short blocks to this cute-as-a-button cupcakery. When the sun goes down, Fluff transforms into a seductive spot for fancy plated desserts (think pistachio cake with rhubarb and tonka bean) paired with unusual wines and beers. On balmy evenings, snag a table in the bakery’s charming courtyard.

Drinks: Izakaya, 10 p.m.

It’s time for an aperitif next door. Pick from a full spread of fascinating Japanese-inspired cocktails, like the subtly sweet Hotei Highball with mandarin orange soda, cappelletti and dry vermouth, or sample something from the full wall of Japanese whiskeys.

Dancing: Barbarella, 11 p.m.

Uber it to San Jacinto and McIlhenny and dance off all those calories in style at Midtown’s best club. Tuesdays are for pop-punk/emo kids, Thursdays for ’90s kids, but Barbarella weekends are for everyone.

Double Up: Jinya Ramen, 1 a.m.

Take one last trip to Louisiana and Elgin and end your evening with a soul-stirring, recuperative bowl of tonkotsu. Jinya Ramen, one of the best of the new ramen joints, stays open until 2 a.m. on weekends. Think of its rich, creamy broth as a warm glass of milk before bed.


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