The Brooks Guide to Houston Food

Alright, you’ve been asking for this, so here it is — my thoughts on all the places to go and eat in Houston (well, the ones I’ve been to).

Brunch

  • State of Grace: this place is for shit for dinner. But brunch is amazing. All of the options. (Sid Mashburn is next door too which is the best menswear in Houston. Tell Kyle I sent you, and say hi for me.) Reservations a must.
  • Little Hen: (Erin’s rec) great spot for brunch, but not only do you need reservations, but probably someone with a membership is best too. Primarily a ladies spot.
  • Common Bond: great pastries and other breakfast type things. Coffee too.

Lunch

  • Zero’s Sandwich Shop: only the one on Dallas St (the other one is a different owner). Easily the best sandwich in Houston. Get a large for sure. Busy at lunch, but fast. Note: they default to putting black olives on the sandwich, so you’ve been warned.
  • Time for Thai: in the tunnels, Thai Cashew Nut Chicken is the one to get.
  • POST: there’s a grilled cheese place here which does a Philly Cheese Steak Grilled Cheese. Get that. Avoid the pizza place. Rolling Phatties is good too.
  • La Taquiza: Birria Tacos, second best in Houston. Birria Torta, best in Houston as it’s a family recipe for the bread.
  • Guard and Grace: Go for lunch only, a little pretentious. Sandwiches/burgers are the way to go. Then save room for the chocolate chip cookies as they are excellent. Reservations are better.
  • Birria Los Primos: best Birria tacos in Houston.
  • Himalaya: Chicken Hara Masala. Do it.

Dinner

  • Annabelle Brasserie: they scrape hot cheese on to your bread table side. What more do you want? Flowery vibe, great date spot, awkward lunch spot for men (it’s 100% women having lunch in groups). Reservations a must.
  • Flora: steak fajitas are the way to go. Awesome location, cool atmosphere and date spot. They are super annoying about being on time, but they never seat you on time, and instead want you to spend $60 at the bar. Reservations a must.
  • Nobie’s: get Nonno’s Pasta and the olive oil cake. Super quirky but excellent. Awful parking situation. Reservations a must.
  • Bludorn: probably a top three restaurant I’ve been to. Best in Houston. Huge fan. Next level service. $$$$ Reservations a must.
  • Backstreet Cafe: a Hugo restaurant and he’s won a ton of awards over the years. Best for lunch and their menu recently changed for the better. A fine place for dinner but there are better. For prime dinner service you need reservations, the rest of the time you can likely sneak in.
  • Hugo’s: another Hugo place, cool vibe and solid fancy Mexican food. It can be a little loud. Reservations a must.
  • Brasserie 19: French dining in the oddest location. Excellent food and wine all around. Tell them it’s your birthday to get an off menu dessert. Great for lunch and dinner, gets busy. Reservations a must.
  • a’Bouzy: they live and die by champagne. Good food, valet only. Order bottle of champagne for the fan fare. All the food is good. The fries especially. Reservations a must.
  • MAD: go for Tapas. Excellent ‘scene’ wide range of ages. Entrees are meh, tapas good. Cocktails are solid. Atmosphere is aces. Reservations a must.
  • Da Gama: Portuguese Indian fusion. It’s excellent. Annoying parking lot. Odd location. Good drinks. Small. Reservations a must.
  • Oporto: Same owners as Da Gama, but all Portuguese and wine. Good stuff with shareables. Reservations a must.
  • Riel: say it with me “butter burgers” best I’ve had in Houston. Cauliflower Kimchi is also a hit. Small and great parking! Everything else is fine. Reservations a must.
  • Potente: one of my favorites. It’s next door to Minute Maid as it’s a Jim Cramer owned place so check the schedule and don’t go on a game day. The Filet is exceptional. As is the award winning truffle cacio e pepe. Reservations a must.
  • Savoir: literally no idea how to categorize this. Really solid all around and super nice servers. Cool atmosphere and odd dishes that somehow work. Reservations a must.
  • Rosie Cannonball: get the pizza, skip the rest. Reservations a must.
  • BCN: look Ben dislikes this place but Erin likes it. The gin and tonics are on point though as is the odd potato appetizer thing which is really good. Reservations a must.
  • Ostia: Italian and all the food is good if a little bit fancier than needed. Really cool vibe though. Reservations a must.
  • Georgia James: completely over the top steakhouse where I felt like the youngest person there. Absurdly expensive and silly. Weird vibe. But the steak was legit. Reservations a must.
  • Xochi: another Hugo spot and his best one. Wild menu but it’s all great. The dessert menu is exceptional. Annoying to get to if events in the area. Nice vibe bit a touch loud. Amazing cocktails. Reservations a must.

Dessert