Editor's Picks

8 Best New Restaurants in Midtown

Midtown has grown into a serious dining destination.

By Brooke Viggiano December 4, 2017 Published in the December 2017 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Maba tilapia 017 ozx57e

Lemongrass tilapia at Maba

No longer just for woo girls and boys, this ’hood is finally growing up, with new options sure to please both party people and serious diners.

Belle Station

After quietly opening at the turn of 2016, this hip bar has become a destination for modern pub grub done right. Think colossal wings dripping in bourbon Sriracha sauce, caramelized and vinegar-kissed brussels sprouts studded with bacon, and burgers hit with a boozy glaze and topped with nutty aged Cheddar. True to Midtown form, the place offers an ample side of fun with your food.

Beer Market Co.

This bar is a beer lover’s dream: There’s 24 rotating taps flowing with seasonals, hometown brews, and unexpected, but welcome, out-of-towners, plus a vault housing hundreds of cans and bottles from around the globe. Flat-screens cover just about every inch of the sleek indoor-outdoor space, making it a choice spot for game day shenanigans. Recommended fare includes hot wings, burgers and, especially, drool-worthy, buttery pretzels with cheese dip.

Crispy or Grilled

Watch out, Houston, the chicken waffle cone has arrived. Find the Insta-worthy masterpiece at this Halal fried-bird truck, usually parked outside of Little Woodrow’s on Brazos Street. Crispy fried chicken is doused in your sauce of choice—we like the zesty South of the Border and the fiery Buffalo blue cheese—before being piled high into a freshly griddled cone. Try the same delicious poultry over fries, in a basket or wrap, or between buttery toasted buns.

Maba Pan-Asian Diner

Born in Southern Vietnam and raised in the U.S., chef-owner Wayne Nguyen offers playful renditions of familiar Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese dishes at his sleek, fast-casual space. Pho fries arrive dusted with traditional pho spices along with cilantro, hoisin and Sriracha, while the General Tso’s chicken is a beautiful, crispy-skinned, deboned chicken leg that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the takeout classic.

Chicken cone cuvayo

Chicken and waffles' next, delicious, iteration

Momo Food + Wine

Chef-owner Moon Jamaluddin was inspired by her own world travels when creating her restaurant’s enticing menu of exotic small plates and bar snacks. Standouts include Indo-Chinese Hakka-style street noodles speckled with ground lamb and bright cilantro, spiced-chickpea waffles, and unusual nachos made with potatoes and lentils. Not into sharing? Get a hot dog loaded with caramelized onions, garlic mayo, Dijon, jalapeño ketchup, relish and shredded cheese. The wine and cocktail list is short but smart; try the El Centenario, a spicy mezcal number kissed with chili, lemon and cacao.

Retrospect Coffee Bar

This little coffee bar inside a refurbished 1920s gas station joins Axelrad and Luigi’s Pizzeria in revamping its block. The coolly casual hangout is perfect for lingering over locally sourced roasts brewed in a custom Slayer espresso machine, inside or at a picnic table in the light-strung yard. There’s craft beer and wine on offer, too, plus as a crêpe stand slinging delicate creations named after Texas icons like Ima Hogg and Marvin Zindler, filled with ingredients such as salmon, avocado, goat cheese, eggs and turkey.

South Bank Seafood Bar

This rustic seafood house offers New England–inspired cuisine alongside local favorites. The clam chowder fries, which come smothered in luscious chowder, chives and chunks of bacon, are our new favorite way to eat the Yankee specialty. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s bright and fresh campechana, crispy fish-tempura tacos, and dark gumbo stacked with turkey, crawfish and shrimp. The drinks list includes local beers, on-tap cocktails, and 30-plus whiskeys.

Winbern Mess Hall

Oh My Gogi! and Happy Endings food trucks have joined forces to go brick-and-mortar in the old Sparrow Bar + Cookshop. The trucks are still in the parking lot outside, but the cooking happens inside, where the casual space has the convivial vibe the name suggests, complete with revamped patio and full bar. As for whether to go for kimchi quesadillas from Oh My Gogi! or a quarter-pound dog with wasabi mayo and bonito flakes from Happy Endings—all we can say is, there is no wrong choice.

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