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The melting pot of Houston’s cultures shine through its variety of foodie offerings. Here is a place where you can stop in for Southern cuisine, taste an array of Spanish tapas, munch on pub food, savor authentic Mexican, and tear up a bone at a barbecue joint. We’ve provided a selection of 20 these cultural offerings for you to seek after when visiting the Midtown Montrose area of the city- starting with the top 10 restaurants in the area.
BCN Taste & Tradition. BCN Taste & Tradition offers guests a Spanish dining experience on the cutting edge of the gastronomical world, combining modern techniques with classic flavor profiles. With frequent foodie events held to please every palate, the restaurant has garnered both local and national attention, including having one of the Top 10 dishes in Houston in 2016 with their can’t-miss sea cucumber and bomba rice calasparra with a lobster reduction. Reservations are recommended.
The Breakfast Klub. This is a southern breakfast joint par excellence. Visitors rave about the Chicken and Waffles, but the other whimsical offerings include Green Eggs and Ham, the B “A” LT (bacon, avocado, lettuce, and tomato), as well as a whole section of the menu dedicated to healthier offerings. They don’t take reservations, so arriving early and being prepared to wait are par for the course–but well worth it–for frequent patrons at either of their two Houston locations.
Sterling House. Perhaps nightclubs aren’t always considered to be the best source of upscale dining, but Sterling House manages to not only cover both bases, but astonish patrons with the high-quality club experience alongside an excellent gastropub eatery. Located in a historic building owned by former Governor Sterling, the food tends to highlight middle eastern flavors meshed seamlessly with familiar barbecue. The beverage menu offers unique original interpretations of classic mixed drinks.
Majorca. Finding a Tapas restaurant in Houston isn’t unusual, but by combining Spanish Tapas with Mediterranean tastes, Majorca manages to consistently come up in conversations with savvy locals about the best-hidden food gems in the city. Open after 4 pm, their reasonable prices and tasty menu attract customers who appreciate the fresh ingredients and impeccable service.
Tacos A Go-Go. Despite the major hurdle of a complete lack of parking, Tacos A Go-Go has become a mainstay on the Houston restaurant scene, with its kitschy, rockabilly design aesthetic. Winning “Best Breakfast Taco,” “Best Guacamole,” “Best Taco,” and “Tacos You Must Eat Before You Die” might overinflate the egos of some chefs, but Marival Gomes just keeps churning out homemade tacos while supporting local arts and nonprofit community groups, making this a tasty and ethical dining choice.
The Hay Merchant. This brew pub goes beyond merely serving patrons craft and local brews. Their Mud Turtle program offers guests the opportunity to learn, drink, and win prizes with the knowledge gained. For those with more comestible goals, the food menu focuses on classic bar food–with a twist. The weekend brunch is one of the best in Houston, incorporating Asian flavors, vegetarian selections, and some exemplary baked sweets that change regularly.
Indika. An Indian restaurant under a Yoga studio might sound like a gimmick, but at Indika, the food takes a starring role. The modern design in the dining room belies the authentic spices and flavors wafting out of the kitchens. Weekend specials show up in fan’s Facebooks feeds to whet appetites, and their unlimited prix fixe brunch menu is perpetually booked solid.
Hugo’s. Executive Chef Hugo Ortega’s native Mexican cuisine brings a wide array of authentic tastes to the table. Housed in a 1925 Latin-inspired and lovingly restored building, Hugo’s has a long list of awards, from James Beard to Gourmet Magazine. Sommelier Sean Beck is a draw unto himself, carefully curating a wine list perfectly paired with the seasonally changing menu.
Underbelly. Maybe Houston isn’t immediately identified with Creole food, but Underbelly is proving that the largest port city in the South is the ideal site to eat a diverse, complex menu drawn from all the communities making up Houston. Emphasizing locally sourced foods and nose-to-toe eating philosophy, the menu changes constantly. The unique menu offers no appetizers, only dishes to be shared family style; prices reflect that each item will serve more than one.
Ship + Shield. Named for the Viking ship bar and the handcrafted shield tabletops, this unique candle-lit viking-themed restaurant, bar, and firepit offers food that outshines the decor. Ship + Shield’s menu features both familiar and exotic proteins, such as wild boar and pickled herring alongside pork and lamb chops. Popular drinks include Scandinavian spirits, mead, cider, and draft beers.
The Pit Room. Barbeque in Houston isn’t a new concept, but The Pit Room manages to perfect the tradition. With an entire made-from-scratch menu and on-site pit smoking, in addition to heritage bred pork and USDA Prime beef, dinner options include single entrees and family-style sharing options. Their Patio on Richmond bar is also a neighborhood-friendly patio bar and popular nightlife destination for relaxed entertainment.
Riel. With features in Esquire, Zagat and Eater, it’s certain that executive chef, co-owner and Maintoba-native Ryan Lachaine is unwaveringly dedicated to his menu pulled from the landscape of the Texas gulf coast, his Ukrainian heritage and the French-Canadian fare so close to his native home. Patrons are delighted by pure, unpretentious dishes sourced from within the region. https://www.rielhtx.com/
Roost. This fifty seat, cozy space comes with a menu that changes every three weeks, keeping eager diners frequently returning for new experiences. Dishes are marked by seasonally sourced, farm fresh local produce with flavors hailing from the American south, Asia and the Middle East. http://www.iloveroost.com
MATCH. MATCH is Houston’s premier destination for dance, music, theater, visual art, film, performance art, and more. The goal of MATCH’s founders was to create an open center for creativity to bring together a disparate community of artists and performers. Events range from business talks to learning opportunities to more traditional artistic functions. The industrial space is light and open and can be rented out for weddings and other special occasions.
The Menil Collection. This 30-acre “art neighborhood” emphasizes new perspectives and diverse outlooks. Some of the most popular exhibits include Surrealist art, Medieval art, African and Pacific art, and post-WWII American art. The goal of the Menil Collection is accessibility; no admission fees are charged and all public programs are free. The entire campus was designed around the ethos of wandering and dialogue, so visitors are encouraged to meander and interact with each other and their environment.
Houston Center for Photography. Although currently closed for installation, the next program at the Houston Center for Photography will be unveiled March 3rd: “Her Feet Firmly Planted on the Ground” and “PictureThis.” In addition to the physical space, HCoP also curates an online and print forum for the photography community. Admission is free, and over 300 class are offered during the year through the Learning Center.
Miller Outdoor Theater. The Miller Outdoor Theater has been a staple of Houston’s art scene for 94 years. As it has developed from its early days as a mere permanent grandstand, the mission has also grown: to provide free cultural and entertainment reflecting the diversity of the community surrounding 7.5-acre Hermann Park. The theater offers an 8-month season and both hillside picnic seating as well as seating for up to 1,700 under the canopy, which was installed in 2009.
Classical Theatre Company. From the name alone, some might think CTC is dedicated to the preservation and production of a repertoire unchanged for decades, but that could not be more wrong. Instead, the goal is to “boldly re-envision classical drama, on the stage, in the community, and in the classroom.” Offering events throughout the year from classical canon, in 2016 CTC was awarded the National Theater Company Grant Award by the company that runs the Tony Awards.
The Ensemble Theatre. Founded in 1976, the Ensemble Theatre is the nation’s oldest and largest African-American theater, which seeks to preserve and share African-American artistic expression. With a strong focus on young people, the theater offers three different programs, including Tour Education, The Young Performer’s Program, and Artists in Residency. Both the Executive and Artistic Director were recognized this year among the top 50 Professionals and Entrepreneurs by D-Mars Magazine.
Stages Repertory Theatre. Stages’ unwavering commitment to theatre starts with their beginnings, which featured performances in the basement of a downtown brewery. Since that time, the theatre has moved its creative works to their current two-theatre facility at the Star Engraving Building. Now in its 38th year, the theatre is a professional AEA theatre, displaying new works while also maintaining the integrity of the older literary classics in a bold, risky way. Performances have been nationally recognized in elite publications like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal for their varied repertoire of world and regional works. http://stagestheatre.com/
It’s hard not to enjoy the electricity of the Midtown Montrose neighborhoods. Now that you have these restaurants down, you can start to explore the area in ways you haven’t before. Mark them on your to-dos and get going!
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