Located just outside Houston, Texas, the city of Spring was bound to inherit some of the cosmopolitan flavors of its neighbor. In Spring you’ll find everything from contemporary American bistro dining and upscale pan-Asian to juicy burgers and made-from-scratch lunchtime eats. Here’s our selection of the best restaurants and local eats while visiting Spring.
Opened in 2013 by chef Joseph Macri, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, and his wife Maria Gagis Macri, The Black Sheep Bistro is one of the most recent additions to Spring’s dining scene but has already gained a firm following in local diners. Located in Old Town Spring, a historic former railroad community turned boutique shopping complex, The Black Sheep Bistro specializes in contemporary American and global cuisine, with several recipes drawing on Joseph and Maria’s Italian and Greekheritage. Standout dishes include saganaki (kefalotyri cheese flambéed tableside and served with ouzo and fresh lemon) and the crawfish mac and cheese.
Just Burgersmakes the bold claim of serving the best burgers in town, but take one look at the menu and you’ll see their confidence is justified. Chef Ambrose Pina, who opened the restaurant in 2012 with his wife Amber, cooks by his motto ‘life is too short to eat a bad burger’ and has crafted a menu brimming with gourmet burgers bound to make your mouth water. All burgers are hand-formed and made with fresh Black Angus chuck and come in varieties including the California Burger (topped with avocado, bacon and pepper jack cheese) and the Southwest Burger (with ancho-mayo, avocado, jalapeno and pepper).
Serving a range of soups, salads, sandwiches and quiches, Ellen’s Café is a popular daytime restaurant that prides itself on serving wholesome, homemade lunches. Ellen’s Café is located in a cute, yellow-painted house and its warm, bustling dining room welcomes guests with the aroma of freshly baked bread and simmering homemade soups as soon as they enter. Choose from eats including the California Sunshine sandwich (cream cheese and walnuts topped with alfalfa sprouts, avocado, lettuce and tomato on multi-grain bread) or spinach and bacon quiche and finish one a homemade dessert of peach cobbler.
A Spring dining scene mainstay since first opening its doors in 1995, Puffabelly’s Old Depot Restaurant is a laid back restaurant offering casual American fare served alongside a slice of live music. Despite facing adversity in its 20 year history, the original restaurant burned to the ground in 1999 and had to be completely rebuilt, Puffabelly’s has remained popular with guests who return again and again for its famous burgers and performances from local musicians like Davin James. Choose from tasty bites like the hearty bacon cheeseburger, chicken fried steak topped with cream gravy and hand-breaded, deep-fried Gulf shrimp.
Located within MainStreet America’s Guest Center, MAIN is an upscale-casual restaurant specializing in contemporary Southern fare infused with globally inspired flavors and crafted from fresh, locally sourced produce. Guests can dine inside at one of MAIN’s cozy booths or outside on its scenic patio overlooking a park and water fountain, while dining on executive chef Lawrence Fogarty’s tempting eats. Start with an appetizer of deep fried baby back ribs with ginger-soy glaze, cilantro and garlic, before moving onto the pan-seared red snapper entrée with fingerling potatoes, green beans and shallot-brown butter. Finish with a slice of Texas pumpkin pound cake.
Eden Café specializes in eclectic homemade comfort food. Drawing on a mix of American, Italian and Cuban influences, Eden Café offers guests a varied menu. Appetizers include options like crab cakes or calamari with house-made marinara sauce. While entrées include Cubanropa vieja, a dish of shredded beef cooked in tomato-red wine sauce with garlic, bell peppers and onions served with fried plantain and Spanish rice, and fried chicken with country-style gravy.
An upscale restaurant specializing in sushi and pan-Asian cuisine, Rakuu first opened its doors in early 2014 and ever since has been wowing local diners with its eclectic, healthy cuisine and chic ambience. Featuring an intimate, stylish dining room complete with cozy booths and a minimalist style, Rakuu is the perfect dining destination to sample a varied range of Asian fare. Choose from sushi dishes like smoked salmon sashimi and red snapper nigiri or opt for an appetizer of deep-fried pork wonton dumplings followed by a bowl of Vietnamese pho noodle soup and wash down with some of Rakuu’s premium cold sake.
The Italian Café is a family owned and operated restaurant and one of Spring diners’ preferred destinations for intimate, mom and pop-style Italian dining. Plenty of Italian classics feature on the restaurant’s menu from appetizers like scampi (shrimp sautéed in garlic butter and white wine) and mozzarella caprese to entrées such as beef and ricotta cannelloni or Veal Veronese (pan-seared veal and shrimp with artichoke hearts in a creamy white wine sauce). Guests can also opt for a gourmet Italian pizza or fish dish like zuppa di pesce, mussels, clams, shrimps, calamari, fish and scallops in a tomato broth.
Bar, Charcuterie, Restaurant, Wine Bar, Mediterranean, $$$
The perfect Spring dining destination for lovers of great wine and food, Crescent Moon Wine Bar offers over 300 wines from across the globe available by the glass, flight or bottle complemented by an eclectic menu with distinct American and Italian influences. A Tuscan-style dining room featuring custom stonework walls, high arches and plush seating welcomes guests to try delicious dishes like the Southwest crab cake appetizer served with corn and bacon relish and the maple-chipotle glazed pork tenderloin with wild rice risotto and mushroom madeira wine sauce. Alternatively, pair a bottle of Crescent Moon’s wine with a charcuterie or cheese board.
Located inside Spring’s inSPIRE Rock Indoor Climbing Center, 5. Ate Café combines owner and chef Charlie Williams’ two greatest passions: rock climbing and cooking amazing food. Opened in 2013, 5. Ate Café is the perfect place to fill up on some hearty, casual grub after a hard day’s scaling the drywalls of Texas’ largest rock climbing gym. Opt for a gourmet Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, slow-roasted crispy pork belly, spicy mayo, house pickled daikon and carrots, fresh jalapeno and cilantro, a certified Angus beef burger or an artisan stone oven baked pizza like the Italian topped with provolone cheese, pepperoni, capicalo, soppresata, red onion and fresh parsley.