Cheap Eats

Date Night for Cheap—Hear Us Out!

No one likes a cheap date, except for these—all of which promise an elegant evening of ambience and legitimately fine dining.

By Katharine Shilcutt May 31, 2016 Published in the June 2016 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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BYO picnic to Miller Outdoor Theater, made easier with to-go boxes from the aptly named Picnic in West University.

Doshi House

This cute-as-a-sitcom-set Third Ward café serves a single, always-vegan option for $6.95 at dinner each evening. Get to know each other over pozole on Fridays or toast with Karbach Hopadillo beers over “not-so-butter chicken” on Saturdays—and if your date isn’t okay with having a meat-free meet-up, well, at least you’ve established that fact early on. 

BYOB: $5 corkage fee

Pampa Grill

A meal at this intimate, family-run Argentine restaurant in Spring Branch feels like nothing so much as an escape to Buenos Aires, if only for the evening. We love lingering over the house-made gnocchi and ravioli ($9.90 and $10, respectively). 

BYOB: $5 corkage fee

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Café TH

Café TH

This EaDo Vietnamese sub shop transforms into a romantic little spot at night. Flickering candles and a soundtrack of ’40s standards provide a backdrop for the lusty beef stew with French bread and bowls of delicately gingery crab-and-shrimp soup—both go for $8.50 for a small bowl, $10 for a large.

BYOB: $5 corkage fee

Allô French Rotisserie

This is dinner and a movie done right: Split an elegant rotisserie-roasted chicken (a whole bird is $19) and pair it with $7 glasses of house Chardonnay at this Gallic sidewalk café in Champions, then take a short stroll under the twinkling lights of Vintage Park to Alamo Drafthouse.


This cute West U café does all the hard work for you, packing perfect lunch boxes, each with a sandwich or salad, fruit salad, chips, cookie and a pickle (starting at $9). Stop by, then surprise your sweetheart with an al fresco afternoon at the nearby Menil Park or a free performance at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park.

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