Houston’s food scene is hot, with a smorgasbord of outstanding dining options. The city has even been ranked No. 1 in a number of food categories, including brunch, burgers and specialty food shops. Whether you’re looking for an upscale gourmet feast, the quintessential Houston experience, international cuisine or just an awesome burger, you’re sure to find it here.
Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Hopdoddy was birthed in Austin export, but just recently opened up its doors in Houston. With its reputation for some of the best burgers in the state, it was welcomed with three-hour lines out the door. This isn’t just your usual burger, not only is the beef ground in-house, but there are all sorts of swanky garnishes. Among the creatively-crafted choices is the popular Ahi Tuna Burger with sushi-grade tuna, sprouts, teriyaki, honey wasabi, nori chips and pickled ginger. Order up the Goodnight/Good Cause, made with Angus beef, Tillamook cheddar, jalapeno and hcikory BBQ sauce, and Hopdoddy will donate a dollar to a good cause. You can even choose from extras like the farm fried egg, field mushrooms and apple-smoked bacon. Wash it all down with a creamy, indulgent milkshake in flavors like red velvet cake, stout chocolate or caramel & sea salt.
Holly’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar
Holly’s Seafood Restaurant & Oyster Bar is surely one of the reasons Houston was named the best city for brunch in the country by Travel + Leisure. Seafood is really a must at brunch, and you’ll find lots to choose from, like the Seafood Spanish Tortilla featuring octopus and shrimp, and classics like Shrimp & Grits and the Texas blue crab roll. There are non-seafood items too, including Cornish Hen & Waffles, and the crispy pork belly and fried-egg sandwich. The raw bar slings oysters, along with five different ceviches. Whatever you choose, be sure to pair it with a smoky Brunch Bloody Mary, it’s “brunch in a glass with a smoky Scotch twist.”
Houston does Italian right too, particularly at North Italia. This recently opened eatery has been a huge hit from the start. Only months after opening its doors in early 2015, it was named as one of the best under-the-radar restaurants in the city. While it is a chain, it doesn’t feel like one, with a signature handmade pizzas that rival the very best in town, the chance to watch pastas and breads rolled out from scratch in the glassed-in kitchen, and hearty to-die-for entrees like chicken parmigiana, spinach tortellini and short rib ricotta gnocci. Other hits include the truffle garlic bread and the happy hour cheese and cured meat boards.
Roost is an unpretentious neighborhood bistro in Montrose that’s been referred to as a “culinary United Nation,” and a “quintessential Houston dining experience.” It receives accolades for its intimate dining room and locally-focused fare that utilizes ethnic ingredients. Persian-American Chef Kevin Naderi’s fried cauliflower has been called one of Houston’s top foods to eat before you die, with its “lightly fried cauliflower florets covered in bonito flakes that wiggle and dance around due to the heat from the cauliflowers underneath.” It’s a crispy feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Naderi explained that he added the Japanese fish flakes on top of this signature dish to keep it from tasting Middle Eastern, so that he doesn’t get “put in a box,” calling his style “ADD cuisine.”