7 signature restaurants in Houston, 1 reason to go and 3 foods to order

On 713, the city’s official “unofficial” day, there is no shortage of Houston-centric things to do to celebrate. For many of the city’s foodies, eating out at one of the city’s most “Houston” restaurants is a treat. After all, H-Town has been praised for its dynamic culinary scene, garnering more national attention this year after serving as host location for the final season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and taking home a big win at the James Beard Foundation Awards in June.

A list of the best places to eat in Houston could easily go as high as 713 restaurants, but we have one even better. Inspired by the city’s ancient area code, our guide lists 7 signature restaurants, 1 reason to try each, and 3 must-have dishes from their menus. whether they are The best ever It might be a topic of debate, but there’s no doubt that these restaurants are the perfect Houston for standing the test of time, staying worthwhile and keeping our mouths watering for more.

Chicken and waffles at the breakfast club.

Amy F. via Yelp

Breakfast Club

It’s not called Breakfast Klub for nothing – the all-day breakfast café is a friendly gathering place for all who respect the sanctity of a hearty morning meal. The perfect balance of sweet and savory is mastered here with pairing golden fried chicken wings with sugar-crushed Belgian waffles, pancakes or French toast. The restaurant also has a full coffee bar, serving delicious delicacies such as Caramel Macchiatos as well as bottomless coffee.

One reason to go: This Black-owned establishment has been a pillar of the Midtown neighborhood for over 20 years, and waiting in its endless line is just as part of the experience as eating in it.

3 main dishes:

  • Waffle wings, Belgian waffle served with six fried chicken wings
  • katfish and grits, marinated catfish fillet and grits, served with fries or eggs and crackers.
  • Breakfast club, made with bacon, ham, turkey, eggs, tomatoes and cheese on toasted sourdough.

look for it: 3711 Travis Street, Houston, TX 77002; (713) 528-8561
hours: Sunday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday 8 am – 2 pm

Spicy Lobster Fit Cajun In Lobster And Noodles.

Spicy Lobster Fit Cajun In Lobster And Noodles.

Karen Warren, Staff / The Houston Chronicle

Lobster and noodles

A star among Houston’s many great Asiatown restaurants, Crawfish & Noodles has appeared on the Food Network, Travel Channel, and David Chang’s Netflix series “Ugly Delicious.” The menu features a lot more than lobster and noodles, but it’s no surprise that you shouldn’t miss these. Viet-Cajun crawfish are intensely flavorful and available by the pound, while loaded noodle dishes like pho and mi combine a rich, flavorful, home-made broth with different types of meat.

One reason to go: Houston is the birthplace of the Viet Cajon lobster, and run by Trung Nguyen, a two-time James Beard award winner, this iconic place in Asia is one of the best restaurants to be found all year round.

3 main dishes:

  • Crawfish Vet Cajun, regular, light, medium or spicy
  • Muc chien gion, fried calamari prepared with house spices
  • Crab, in blue, dungeon, ice, king, salt and pepper, tamarind, and cajun types

look for it: 11360 Bellaire Blvd #990, Houston, TX 77072; (281) 988-8098
hours: Mondays, 5 to 10 p.m.; Wednesday – Thursday, 5-10 pm; Friday, 5-11 p.m.; Saturday, noon – 11 pm; Sunday, noon – 10 pm

Hugo Ortega restaurants serve ostiones asados ​​in several ways.

Hugo Ortega restaurants serve ostiones asados ​​in several ways.

deep smile


Despite the changes in Montrose over the past 20 years, Hugo’s comfortable presence on the Westheimer Curve still exists. The menu at this popular Houston restaurant derives from Chef Hugo Ortega’s indigenous Mexico, which features dishes such as crispy duck with poblano mole, carnitas, and fresh seafood. The popular Sunday brunch, during which highlights from the entire menu are featured, is one of the best restaurants in town.

One reason to go: James Beard Award-winning, Mexican-born Chef Hugo Ortega checks all the boxes for an excellent dining experience. This is evidenced by an abundant wine list, carefully prepared vegetarian dishes, and first-class service from loyal members of staff.

3 main dishes:

  • ostiones asados, half or a dozen roasted oysters topped with spicy tomato butter, panko and parmesan cheese
  • Barbacoa, slow roasted lamb in cactus skin served with tortilla
  • Churros rellenos stuffed with dulce de leche and served with Mexican hot chocolate and homemade chocolate ice cream.

look for it: 1600 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006; (713) 524-7744
hours: Tuesday – Wednesday, 3-9 pm; Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

You can't beat the meatloaf at Killen's BBQ for a good dose of protein.

You can’t beat the meatloaf at Killen’s BBQ for a good dose of protein.

Kimberly Park / Kimberly Park

Killin’ grill

Killen’s BBQ has gained rapid fame for its long, windy lines at opening time, and celebrity and award-winning guests, under the guidance of Le Cordon Bleu trainee Chef Ronnie Killen. Texas-sized beef ribs are served daily, and Killen’s old-fashioned desserts, such as banana pudding and main cheesecake, have a fan base as are smoked meats.

One reason to go: The city is brimming with worthwhile barbecue options, but Killen’s BBQ has expanded its footprint in the past two decades, making it the one restaurant you can count on for smoked meats, whether you find yourself in Pearland, The Woodlands, or inside NRG Stadium during a Texas game.

3 main dishes:

  • beef rib
  • Burnt belly ends of pork
  • carrot cake

look for it: 3613 E Broadway Street, Pearland, TX 77581; (281) 485-2272
hours: tuesday – thursday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 11 am – 8 pm; Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM

Spread from Ninfa's Original's on Navigation.

Spread from Ninfa’s Original’s on Navigation.

Sean Chippendale

Ninfa original on navigation

Not to be confused with the new Ninfa’s Original in Post Oak—which is also under the direction of Chef Alex Padilla—Ninfa’s Original’s on Navigation has been a cornerstone of Tex-Mex dining in Houston for nearly 50 years. It was here that Ninfa “Mama Ninfa” Lorenzo thought about carbon tacos, when she stuffed tender fajita meat into fresh tortillas. The rest is Houston history.

One reason to go: Tacos al carbon may be easy to find these days, but a pilgrimage to their original hometown should definitely be on your Houston menu.

3 main dishes:

  • Mama Ninfa Original Carbon Tacos
  • Chizu Flamedo
  • Beef Fajita with Steak Skirt

look for it: 2704 Navigation Blvd., Houston, TX 77003; (713) 228-1175
hours: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Monday to Thursday, from 11 am to 10 pm; Friday – Saturday, 11 AM – 11 PM

Pappas Bros.  Steakhouse is one of the best places in Houston to eat steak.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse is one of the best places in Houston to eat steak.

Lindsey Brown

Papas Bros Steakhouse

In Houston, the Papas name is synonymous with signature cuisine, and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse offers the best steakhouse experience. With its old world dining space, excellent cuts and seafood menu, and service staff’s attention to detail, dinner is a delight from start to finish.

One reason to go: There are plenty of great steaks in Houston, but at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, you’ll get a great steak with all the bells and whistles of a world-class fine dining restaurant, from the extensive wine list to delicious desserts. .

3 main dishes:

  • dry rib
  • Bacon wrapped scallops
  • Milk chocolate marshmallow mousse

look for it: 5839 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057; (713) 780-7352
hours: Tuesday – Thursday, 5-9 pm; Friday – Saturday, 5-10 pm; Monday, 5-9 pm

Scottish salmon with black lentil broth and Fresno Chili Romesco sauce at Annie's Café & Bar.

Scottish salmon with black lentil broth and Fresno Chili Romesco sauce at Annie’s Café & Bar.

Jane Duncan

Annie’s Café & Bar

What started as Annie’s Café in 1980 is simply known as Annie’s today. Names and hands have changed hands several times in between, but it remains one of the most interesting restaurants in Houston for its star talent, Texas-influenced American menu, and stunning space on luxurious Post Oak Boulevard. Now under the supervision of the Berg Hospitality Group, Annie is more festive during Sunday brunch, and holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with food and drink specials, photo galore and live music.

One reason to go: Annie is one of the pioneers of fine dining in Houston. The city’s culinary scene cannot be spoken of without mentioning this time-honoured restaurant, which has withstood many big changes in its four decades and continues to be one of the best places to dine in the city today.

3 main dishes:

  • Wild mushroom soup
  • Crab tostada
  • Bailard chicken

look for it: 1800 Post Oak Blvd Suite 6170, Houston, TX 77056; (713) 804-1800
hours: Sunday – Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm; Friday – Saturday, 11 am – 10 pm

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