SUPER BOWL WEEKEND: Our Houston Insider’s favorite restaurants

So many restaurants and so very little time this weekend, how do you know which is worth your time? Our very own Houstonian has you covered with the best restaurants around the city.

man and woman sitting on bridge

It seems like every restaurateur, sommelier, and chef that wants a James Beard nod comes here to stand ground, including neighborhood favorites like interior Mexican staple Hugo’s. There is also Chef Anita Jaisinghani’s inspired Indian eatery, Indika, Houston-kissed Austin import Uchi, and Pass & Provisions, the dual-concept peanut from Chefs Seth Siegel-Gardner and Terrence Gallivan. Heavyweights like Da Marco and Mockingbird Bistro continue to keep locals well fed, while younger guns like Roost, Pax Americana, and BCN Taste + Tradition keep up the area’s well-deserved street cred.

As it turns out, Houston has a whole lot of epicenters (that’s urban sprawl for you). That’s not to say Downtown doesn’t have an excellent food scene. It does, and with the revamp of the Avenida de las Americas strip, we only expect it to get better. For now, you can satiate your cravings with everything from Fusion Taco’s globally kissed tacos and MKT Bar’s Lebanese queso to Indian pies and Bombay Pizza. That’s a lot of fusion, though there’s also straight-up deliciousness in the form of dry-aged bone-in beef at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Vic & Anthony’s, and III Forks, double-decker burgers at Hubcap Grill, South African pub fare at The Springbok, the Texas trinity at Jackson Street BBQ, and a game-changing tasting menu at the James Beard award-winner, Oxheart over in the Warehouse District. Or, if you prefer to spend the entire day underground, go down under at Conservatory, a food hall and beer garden that hosts a crepes shop, ramen bar, BBQ stand, and a Greek cafe.

Yes, Midtown is known for its hard-partying bar scene. You’d be surprised, however, that the restaurants lining the streets go equally as hard. You can eat around the world on the Midtown superblock near Elgin, with oysters and seafood from the deep South at Holley’s, all-you-can-eat gnocchi and pies fresh from Italy at Piola, spicy tonkotsu and gyoza at JINYA Ramen, and fancy French fare at the always elegant Artisans. Down the street, go for bananas Foster and a Creole-studded everything at powerhouse Brennan’s, and just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find all the banh mi you could ask for in Little Vietnam, plus hotspots Reef, Ibiza, and the breakfast klub. With sexy newcomers like Oporto Fooding House & Wine, Izakaya, Weights + Measures, and Midtown BBQ (because barbecue is sexy, too), it’s time to start thinking of Midtown as a culinary destination.

Upscale big box steakhouses like Del Frisco’s, Morton’s, and The Palmline every nook and cranny of this shopping district, though there’s plenty of homegrown joints showing off Houston charm, too. There’s coastal Mexican grub at Caracol, French three ways at La Table, and authentic New York-style deli sandwiches that are bigger than your head at Kenny & Ziggy’s, for starters. Then there’s the legitimately good restaurant inside Saks, a fish market and restaurant with a “seafood sommelier,” and a fresh new look from an old favorite, Café Annie.

Rice Village
Don’t let the parking situation deter you (you can always just admit defeat and pay for the Arcade garage like we do); it’s worth every bit of momentary stress to feast on pork gyros and feta-brined chicken over Hellenic wines at the James Beard nom’d Helen Greek Food and Wine; or to linger over house-made pastas and Italian wines at Coppa Osteria. To get your sandwich fix, all-star lunch stop Local Foods is it, and for world-class delights, there’s French bistro eats at Café Rabelais, Turkish classics at Istanbull Grill and coastal fare at Sud Italia.

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