Finding an easy, cookie-cutter mold in which to talk about Houston restaurants isn’t simple task. Sure, Texas is known the world-over for its barbecue, but Houston is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world as well as one of the largest cities in America with around 2.3 million residents and counting. That means the distinct enclaves of exciting international cuisine around the city aren’t just delightful, they’re the true backbone of Houston restaurants as a whole. Little India is ripe with the flavors of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Chinatown (sometimes referred to as New Chinatown) plays host to myriad Asian cuisines and cultures, not just Chinese, including the city’s thriving Vietnamese community. Hop in your car, and a trip to Houston easily becomes a trip around the world.
If you’re coming to Texas, at least part of you (if you’re a meat-eater, anyway) is coming for the barbecue. That Houston can deliver on this promise is no surprise, but once you have a bite of ribs or brisket from Gatlin’s BBQ, you might be in for a shock. It’s that good. We’re not the only ones that think so, though: it twice won the Houston Press Best Barbecue award. Originally run out of a house on 19th Street, a line out the door wasn’t an uncommon sight. Thankfully, there’s a bit more room at their new outfit (though there’s definitely still a line). Just make sure you come hungry, because there are three types of ribs (baby back, St. Louis style, and beef), hearty sides, juicy brisket, and if you can’t decide? Order the Kitchen Sink: a towering sandwich topped with spicy sausage, brisket, dirty rice, jalapeños, cheddar, and housemade barbecue sauce.
Pro Tip: Going for dinner? Get there before 7 p.m. for your best bet at getting your choice of meats—once they run out of something, they’re out for the night.
“You gotta have fun with it, and I say this all the time, it's not curing cancer or puttin' babies on the moon, it is barbecue."
If you’re tired of the usual when it comes to steaks and chops then you need to head to Tango and Malbec to spice things up. One of the more romantic restaurants in Houston, it specializes in Argentinian cuisine, specifically steak. So make sure you come hungry because you’ll definitely want to make room for the bife de lomo (or grilled tenderloin), which owner Gina Pagni-Ferreira considers her pièce de résistance. Not sure what to pair it with? Gina’s got your back there, too. She worked with the restaurant’s chef for three months perfecting the signature Malbec martini. A smooth and unexpected combo of vodka, St. Germain, and Malbec, it’s quickly become a customer favorite that works as well as an aperitif as it does during dinner.
Pro Tip: On weekends, you can catch tango performances during dinner!
“Fantastic Food and atmosphere Can't wait to go back!” – Richard K.
“Sunday Brunch selection is awesome. Pear salad was delicious. Grilled platter was plenty. Chocolate Torta & Quartro Leches cakes were sweet but really good.” – Pong C.
“Second time there and it is consistently great, wonderful food, great ambiance and attentive staff.” – Jonathan
Pondicheri stands out among Houston’s slew of stellar asian restaurants. A semifinalist for the James Beard Awards, it’s chef Anita Jaisinghani’s love of her culture’s cuisine that shines through. She pulls inspiration from four key regions of India: Pujab, Goa, Sindh, and Kerala. She then tweaks and toys with those flavors to put subtle new spins on tried-and-true classics, making it more than one of the best Indian restaurants in Houston—it’s among the best, period, earning nods from the Houston Chronicle and Eater.
We suggest going for the gunpowder chicken which comes in a black sesame and pepper masala for a uniquely spicy kick. If you’re looking for dessert, you can get a fix for your sweet tooth here, too. Just head to the onsite Bake Lab for a bevy of goodies such as chocolate pistachio cake and coconut mint cookies.
At Two Guys Pizzeria, the choices aren't exactly endless, but they’ll definitely make your dinner decision a tough one. These hand-tossed pies come in mouth-watering varieties such as the pesto chicken deluxe, which pairs feta cheese and fresh garlic, and the italian prosciutto with roma tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. But the pizzeria also offers the opportunity to build your own tasty combination. Then the question becomes should the meal start with garlic bread or wings? Should it end with cheesecake or cannoli? At the end of the day, though, even if customers have a hard time choosing what they want, a happy stomach is pretty much guaranteed.