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Restaurants & Nightlife

With a population as ethnically diverse as Houston’s, where one out of every four residents was born abroad, it stands to reason that an eclectic restaurant scene would emerge. And that’s exactly what has happened—from Downtown to the Clear Lake area and the East End to Memorial, Houston eateries have made this a food lover’s paradise. Name any country and most likely there is a restaurant in the Houston area that serves delectable dishes from “back home.” 

grotto restaurant


Chris Shepherd — perhaps Houston’s most famous chef — is celebrated for creating restaurants like his now-retired flagship Underbelly that tell Houston’s story through food. For the James Beard Award winner, that means immersing in the lesser known traditions of H-Town’s Asian communities, Indian enclaves, Latin neighborhoods, Creole kitchens and more. Find his uniquely delicious dishes at his restaurants — Georgia James, Wild Oats and Pastore Italian Kitchen.

Every neighborhood in Houston has options worth exploring. Foodies know that Lower Westheimer in Montrose has risen to national notoriety for its superstar chefs, cool coffeeshops, bustling bakeries and trendy-bar-next-door vibe. But other districts are vying for gastronomic greatness: In Downtown, hotel restaurants are surprisingly chic, like James Beard-winning Hugo Ortega’s Xochi inside the Marriott Marquis, the new C. Baldwin hotel’s Rosalie, and Bayou & Bottle in the Four Seasons. In EaDo, a trio of exciting spots from the nationally lauded crew Agricole Hospitality — Miss Carousel cocktail bar, next-door pizza place Vinny’s, and Gulf-Coast-cool Indianola — draws a crowd nightly, and Nancy’s Hustle has quietly become one of the most talked-about restaurants in Texas. 

River Oaks and the Galleria boast a handful of high-end steakhouse experiences, like Doris Metropolitan, Steak 48 and Mastro’s. Inside the mall, find stylish sushi and more at Nobu and, across the way, amazing Indian food at the palatial and beautifully designed Musaafer. The Heights is the latest ’hood to emerge as a foodie destination, with outposts of many Houston go-tos — Common Bond bakery, Local Foods sandwich shop, The Burger Joint, farm-to-table fave Dish Society — opening here in the last few years. It’s more pedestrian-friendly than other areas, which makes for an easy and fun progressive dining experience. 

While reliable online restaurant guides from OpenTable, Zagat and Yelp are available to help newcomers get their culinary bearings, many visitors like asking for local recs. Suggestions for fine-dining may include Tony’s, B&B Butchers, Uchi and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse; hole-in-the-wall haunts and casual hot spot as might be Gatlin’s Barbecue, El Tiempo, Breakfast Klub and Mala Sichuan

For those looking to get a little closer to their food, local farmers’ markets spring up around Houston on the weekends, where vendors proudly display their homegrown fare and homemade product. The Urban Harvest Farmers Market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays year-round, and boasts more than 50 farmers and vendors selling everything from freshly harvested produce and artisan breads to grass-fed beef and emu eggs.


Beyond the international flavors putting Houston on the culinary map, the city is also home to a diverse array of nightlife. 

For those seeking chic cocktail bar vibes, head to Bobby Heugel’s Anvil, Houston’s first craft cocktail establishment where an extensive menu of handcrafted drinks awaits. For a more upscale atmosphere, check out Heugel’s nearby Tongue-Cut Sparrow

Those looking for a lively outdoor atmosphere should look no further than Axelrad in the Midtown area or Heights Beer Garden in the eclectic Heights neighborhood. Wooster’s Garden and Holman Draft House, also both in Midtown, offer fun patios and a mix of cocktails from the easygoing tropical to the intensely boozy. The Midtown and Washington Avenue neighborhoods both draw crowds to their diverse array of bars and night clubs. 

Houston is also a live music mecca with venues such as The Rustic, House of Blues, White Oak Music Hall and Warehouse Live to name just a few. 

H_GHP_Miss Carousel Bar_5_2019

Arts & Culture

Houston is one of only a handful of cities in the country with resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines including opera, drama, musical theater, symphony and ballet. There are also 19 different arts and cultural institutions that make up the walkable Museum District.

Parks & Outdoors

Of all the things that make living in Houston so enjoyable, high on the list are the city and county parks along with state and federal recreation spots.

Neighborhoods & Communities

Houston offers a wide variety of neighborhoods to suit the taste and budget of residents. Find your perfect neighborhood.

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