Dining

Eight Row Flint Ice House. Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins.

Dining

With a population as ethnically diverse as Houston’s, it stands to reason that an eclectic restaurant scene would emerge. And that’s exactly what has happened. In fact, Houston has become a food lover’s paradise. Name any country and most likely there is a restaurant in the Houston area that serves delectable dishes from “back home.”

The great restaurants in Houston come in all price ranges and sizes, and are found all around town. With such a vast and varied assortment of eateries from which to choose, many Houstonians rely on word of mouth to make their selections. Reliable online restaurant guides from OpenTable, Zagat, and Yelp are also available to help newcomers get their culinary bearings. Local favorites for exceptional dining include Tony’s, Nino’s, Mockingbird Bistro, Brenner’s, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, The Grove, the Raven Grill, Ouisie’s Table, and Prego. Popular national restaurants Houstonians enjoy include Smith and Wollensky, Morton’s, Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse, the Capital Grille, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, and many more. Other local establishments feature Gulf Coast seafood, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, French, Italian, Persian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Hunan, Puerto Rican, Brazilian, Peruvian, and Argentinean cuisine—a virtual smorgasbord of flavors you owe it to yourself to experience. A few more casual hotspots include Gatlin’s Barbecue, Andes Café, Irma’s Southwest and the Original Ninfa’s on Navigation.

It seems that one word has been on the lips of foodies everywhere for a while now, and that word is, “brunch.” Who doesn’t love waking up after 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and still getting a huge breakfast, not to mention mimosas and Bloody Marys? Hot spots for weekend brunch in Houston include Hugos, Piggy’s Kitchen & Bar, Backstreet Café, the Dunlavy and Common Bond. For those looking to get a little closer to their food, local farmers’ markets spring up around Houston on the weekends, where vendors proudly display their homegrown fare and homemade product. The Urban Harvest Farmers Market is held Saturdays year-round and boasts more than 50 farmers and vendors selling everything from freshly harvested produce and artisan breads to grass-fed beef and emu eggs.

In the case you’re not quite sure how to prepare your grocery store or farmers’ market items, several cooking classes around the city will teach you to be the chef in your own five-star restaurant! Well Done Cooking Classes offers hands-on cooking classes in a cozy, intimate kitchen area. Teachers provide one-on-one, personalized lessons as well as group lessons, ranging from cooking basics to how to throw a dinner party. For large events, one of Houston’s many catering companies may be the way to go. TJ’s Catering has been regarded by the Houston Business Journal as one of Houston’s largest and most established catering companies. Many of Houston’s top restaurants also offer private dining spaces for large events such as business meetings and rehearsal dinners. State of Grace, Eddie V’s, Flemings, III Forks, and Brennan’s all offer large, private dining spaces.