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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.