J-Dub’s Burger Barn
For juicy, cooked to perfection burgers with all your favorite sides, look no further than J-Dub’s Burger Barn – a casual, welcoming eatery located in a lovely old house that first opened its doors in late 2012. All of the eatery’s burgers – from the Katy Cowboy (topped with bacon, cheddar, onion rings and BBQ sauce) to the Pizza Burger (with pepperoni, mozzarella and pizza sauce) – are made from freshly ground beef and brisket, guaranteeing a quality burger every time. Try the Homerun – a huge feast of three patties with bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, mayo, mustard, ketchup and American, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses – recently featured in Katy Magazine’s Best Burgers round-up.
J-Dub’s Burger Barn, 5415 East 5th Street, Katy, TX, USA, +1 832 437 9701
Located in Katy’s lovely Cinco Ranch neighborhood, La Balance is a French fine-dining bistro serving Gallic cuisine with a contemporary twist. Since opening its doors nearly two years ago, La Balance has earned many a rave review. In 2014 it was presented with a Best of Katy 2014 award for Best French Restaurant. Chef Oscar Hernandez’s impressive menu features all the classic dishes you’d expect from a French bistro – escargot, foie gras, steak tartare and filet mignon – alongside dishes like le magret de canard (duck breast with cabbage and huckleberries). There’s also the much raved about dessert, chocolate soufflé with hazelnut sauce.
La Balance, 20680 Westheimer Parkway, Suite 10, Katy, TX, USA, +1 281 206 7974
Little V Vietnamese Bistro
Family-owned and -operated, Little V Vietnamese Bistro first burst onto the Katy dining scene in late 2013. It is headed by owners and sisters Tuyen and Ha and has since gained a name for itself for its authentic Vietnamese and Asian fusion cuisine. From the menu to the decor – a chic and stylish space with a beautiful tapestry depicting a scene from a Vietnamese village – guests are treated to an authentic dining experience. Try a bowl of pho available in flavors like chicken, shrimp and meatball or a tempting specialty entree like curry prawns – jumbo shrimp in coconut curry sauce served with a side of steamed jasmine rice.
Da Vinci Ristorante Italiano
This place was opened in 2009 by chef-owner Alex Salmassi – a graduate of Paris’ Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute who has previously owned restaurant in France and South Africa. Da Vinci Italian Ristorante is one of Katy’s best loved Italian bistros. Authentic, made-to-order Italian dishes abound on Da Vinci’s menu from vitello parmigiana (breaded veal topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella) to creamy lobster ravioli. These are offered alongside nightly specials like filetto gnocchi – filet mignon, sun-dried tomatoes and brandy-mushroom served on a bed of gnocchi. Finish with a traditional Italian dessert like zabaglione or ricotta lemon sauce-stuffed cannoli.
Babin’s Seafood House
With three locations across the Greater Houston area, Babin’s Seafood House is local dining go-to for delicious Gulf Coast caught seafood dishes. Babin’s menu brings the authentic tastes of New Orleans-style cooking, served with a hearty helping of bon temps hospitality, to local diners. On the menu are items like catfish caught in the Atchafalaya swamps, freshly shucked oysters and fish filleted fresh in house. Enjoy its famous gumbo Cajun-style with okra and crawfish or an Acadiana specialty like Tampico. It is freshly caught, pan-sautéed whitefish topped with shrimp, pico de gallo and lemon butter and served with a side of traditional Creole dirty rice.
Babin’s Seafood House, 21851 Katy Freeway, Katy, TX, USA, +1 281 829 9200
Often hailed as the best barbecue joint in the Katy area, Midway Barbeque is a longtime local favorite that first opened its doors around 20 years ago. A counter serve restaurant with distinct lodge-like decor, Midway Barbeque is homey and welcoming. It is the perfect local dining choice for hearty barbecue, which unlike some other restaurants is not cooked over an open flame. Instead, it is smoked over pecan wood for a cooked-to-perfection taste. Both a regular and gluten-free menu are offered. They feature options like pork, turkey, ribs, sausage and sliced brisket served with sides such as coleslaw, fried okra and BBQ beans.
Midway Barbeque, 6025 Highway Boulevard, Katy, TX, USA, +1 281 391 2830
Alegria Brazilian Grill
If authentic Brazilian churrascaria whets your appetite, head on down to Alegria Brazilian Grill. This is a warm, family-oriented restaurant that first opened its doors in 2013 near the city’s Katy Mills shopping mall. Try a tempting specialty dish like the hearty churrasco misto (mesquite-grilled Brazilian steak, chicken drumstick and sausage). Or go for the feijoada – a slow-cooked stew of black beans, pork rib meat and smoked sausage served with white rice, collard greens and farofa. Finish with an authentic dessert of pudim de coca, a Brazilian-style coconut flan, washed down with a cup of hot, aromatic cafezinho.
Ephesus Mediterranean Grill
Bringing to southeast Texas the authentic tastes of Turkey, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Ephesus Mediterranean Grill is a family-owned restaurant serving a range of hot and cold mezze-style dishes, kebabs and grilled meats. Kick start your meal with a light appetizer of falafel (ground chickpea and vegetable patties deep-fried and served with tahini sauce) or stuffed grape leaves. Then try a hearty kebab of marinated, char-grilled ground lamb. Finish your authentic meal with a traditional Turkish dessert of keskul – a chopped almond and pistachio-based milk pudding.
A casual, farm-to-table restaurant and all-day diner opened by new restaurateur Aaron Lyons, Dish Society prides itself on fresh, seasonal dishes crafted from ingredients sourced from local producers including Sustainable Harvesters, Slow Dough Bread Co and Black Hill Ranch. Executive chef Albert Vasquez heads up a menu featuring traditional diner favorites given a modern, healthy twist. Expect innovative dishes like brisket-stuffed sweet potato, fried Texas quail and grilled Gulf shrimp with smoked Gouda bacon grits. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch, Dish Society is the perfect spot to get your fix of locavore fare at any time of day.
Dish Society, 23501 Cinco Ranch Boulevard, Katy, TX, USA, +1 281 394 7555
The Original Marini’s Empanada House
The Original Marini’s Empanada House opened its doors in Houston in 1971 and quickly became known for its signature empanadas before a tragic fire in 1985 signaled the end of the business. Thankfully for local diners, the original owners’ children resurrected the much-loved venue. Today, the restaurant has locations in Katy and Houston. A huge range of empanadas await diners from the Hippie Argentino (stuffed with diced salami, sautéed onions, raisins and spices) to the Demichelli (with avocado, tomato, onions, garlic, cheese and mushrooms). For diners with a sweet tooth, there are a number of dessert empanadas – apple cinnamon and banana dulce de leche included.