Ask any serious Houston diners for their buffet brunch recommendations, and Hugo's and Caracol will be among the first places mentioned. The spreads from chef Hugo Ortega are just that good—there's no denying the glories of never-ending chiles rellenos, chilaquiles and ceviches. And since March 5, his buffets have formed a wonderful triptych with the addition of brunch at Xochi, Ortega's new Oaxacan-focused restaurant attached to the Downtown Marriott Marquis. And no surprise, it's already worth mentioning in the same breath as the other two .

But the fun isn't all on a plate. When we visited, the line to be adorned with skeletal Dia de los Muertos-style face paint was longer than the queue to fill up plates at the buffet. We were more concerned with the edible entertainment, though. It ranges from colorful salads to tostadas ready to be filled with guacamole and ceviche, hearty meat dishes to an almost embarrassing glut of desserts. Our advice: Take it slow to avoid overstuffing yourself.

Or even eat with sanity. The price for brunch is a surprisingly not insane $34 for adults, $12 for kids under 12. That means a return visit won't cause financial distress. We're planning ours already.

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Xochi

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 1777 Walker St.

This elegant eatery on the ground floor of the Downtown Marriott Marquis isn't your average hotel restaurant. It's Houston's first upscale Oaxacan restaurant...

Editor’s Pick

Caracol

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 2200 Post Oak Blvd., Ste. 160

The cool crudos at Caracol, chef Hugo Ortega’s beguiling Galleria-area restaurant, may be the perfect antidote to the summer heat. Among the offerings: lime-...

Editor’s Pick

Hugo’s

$$$ Mexican/Tex-Mex 1600 Westheimer Rd.

Hugo’s chef/owner Hugo Ortega has been a finalist for the James Beard Award three times; no surprise, as his Montrose restaurant has been the city’s top choi...