10 Best Restaurants And Diners In Houston, Texas

10 Best Restaurants And Diners In Houston, Texas
With a soft spot for Tex-Mex and good ol’ Texas BBQ, Houston’s culinary scene borrows heavily from various traditions while cultivating its own edge. Here are the city’s 10 best restaurants in this Texan city.

Max’s Wine Dive

Max’s Wine Dive is best described by their mantra: ‘Fried Chicken and Champagne?… Why the Hell Not?!’. This unique dining experience pairs Southern comfort food with some of the best wines found worldwide, proving that Houston is indeed a foodie mecca. Founded by Jerry and Laura Lasco, who believe that unpretentious dives are the best places to enjoy upscale food, Max seamlessly blends comfort and haute cuisine with modern innovative cooking and Texan classics. Try the Famous Southern Fried Chicken that is marinated in-house with jalapeno and buttermilk, or the pulled pork-stuffed peppers that are unique to this establishment. If Washington Ave. is full head to the restaurant’s second site in Fairview St. for a little more space.

© Max’s Wine Dive 


Underbelly offers ‘the story of Houston food’ with its fresh, local, underused ingredients in honor of Houston’s history as a center of agriculture and a port city. Drawing from his visits to dive restaurants in interesting neighborhoods around the city, Chef Chris Shepherd creates dishes inspired by these dynamic spots. His dishes accent the unique taste of Southern foods, but also mix in inspiration from various other regions of the USA. The interior décor too can be described as modern with a Southern twist: barn-like ceilings and photographs reflecting the people who have had the largest influence on the chef over the years create an intimate, cozy ambiance.

Underbelly, 1100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 528 9800


Mexican food is a staple in Texas, and finding authentic dishes can be a challenge for Houstonians. Fortunately, Hugo’s Restaurant in the Montrose district exemplifies Mexican food done right. Opened in 2002, this restaurant is praised for its ability to bring traditional, regional Mexican cuisine to the people of Houston. Chef Hugo Ortega does not waver from his origins and uses fresh ingredients with heated spices to create a signature nostalgic flavor. In addition to great food, Hugo’s is noted for its stunning architecture: sweeping staircases, wide windows, and intricate detailing on the brick facade are part of the building designed by architect Joseph Finger, also responsible for the city hall’s impressive Art Deco style.

Authentic Mexican Dishes © Hugo’s

Kata Robata

Kata Robata prides itself on being Houston’s premier sushi and Japanese tapas restaurant featuring an exclusive menu from Executive Chef Manabu ‘Hori’ Horiuchi. When it opened in 2010, Kata Robata changed the face of sushi dining in Houston: blending both traditional and modern Japanese cuisine, the grilled meats, vegetables, and sushi ae prepared with great care and guaranteed to be the freshest they can be. For a signature meal try the chawan mushi, ramen, or donburri, unless you feel like attempting the lobster mac and cheese. The extensive list of signature rolls presents interesting ideas from ever-creative chefs, served inside the trendy interior.

Kobe Beef © Kata Robata

Local Foods

Local Foods is a hip, modern spot serving up a gourmet selection of sandwiches, salads, and prepared meals made from local ingredients; much of the produce is sourced straight from the farms of Gundermann, Atkinson, and others, alongside the famed Texas Wild Gulf Shrimp. The original Rice Village location offers seasonal menus that change often depending on the availability of natural ingredients, meaning that the food is as fresh as can be. The sides are slightly experimental but definitely worth trying – go for the quinoa or couscous. To refresh after a hot summer afternoon also try the mintade which combines orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit into one amazing drink.

Local Foods, 2424 Dunstan Rd, Houston, TX, USA, +1 713 521 7800


Bakery, Restaurant, American, $$$
A four star-restaurant in the historic Warehouse District, Oxheart brings out the flavors of simple ingredients with the help of its expert chefs and focus on reasonably priced tasting menus. Served within a comfortable, friendly environment, the food at Oxheart is sincere and refreshing in a sea of pretentious restaurants that try too hard. The rustic wood tables were built by a local carpenter, and hand-painted murals show Oxheart’s commitment to local artists; the waiters even wear leather aprons crafted by a luggage maker. There’s also a bakery on-site for those looking for a small bite of Oxheart’s local focus.
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While many Houston diners prefer the taste of sushi, those looking for a taste of India can find it at Pondicheri, where classic home-style street foods of India are brought to the masses of Houston. By inventively pairing these traditional flavors with locally sourced ingredients, each meal is nourishing and tasty. Pondicheri also features daily fresh baked goods from the Bake Lab and sells spices, chutneys, and other Indian snacks for take home from the shop. With a casual and comfortable environment, Pondicheri encourages patrons to spend time working with outlets and free wi-fi.

Bake Shop Cookies © Pondicheri

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q

Bar, Restaurant, $$$
Interior Shot
Interior Shot | © Rudy's
Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q is one of the true staples of Texas with roots as a convenience store and gas station. In 1989, Rudy’s added a barbeque restaurant to its list of services, and has since garnered a reputation as the place to go for authentic BBQ across the state. The venue features red-and-white checkered table cloths in true patriotic fashion, while the wood-beamed ceilings create a barn-like façade. The BBQ pits are 100% wood fired and burn slower to ensure the juicy meat is fresh and tasty. In much the same spirit, the recipes have remained the same since the opening of the first Rudy’s, so visitors are guaranteed a home-style experience.
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The Pass & Provisions

Deli, Restaurant, American, $$$
The Pass & Provisions restaurant is housed in a historic building that was constructed between 1954 and 1955 and began as a deli and import company. In modern times, it serves as a place where cooks, chefs, and staff converge to ‘plate, garnish, and expedite a menu’. The Pass attempts to channel the energy of the central point at the restaurant where ideas are created: each chef serves tables personally, describes the dishes and answers questions, creating a mutual experience that emphasizes the process of bringing food to the plate. Diners will enjoy the international wine list and eat in a casually elegant atmosphere that is upscale in style.
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Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
Triniti Restaurant nods to the culinary triad of sweet, savory, and spirits thanks to Chef Ryan Hildebrand, who lined up a team of culinary wizards to create this progressive American restaurant. With a focus on seasonality and local sourcing, the collaborative effort brings guests a dining experience as opposed to a simple meal. Wine Director Stephanie Perkins has also helmed a wine program to ‘mirror and enhance the cuisine’, while the ladies behind the bar create some of the most innovative craft cocktails. From the design of the building to the artwork within, Triniti is a must-try for all those looking for that something special.
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