As anyone who knows me knows, I am always looking for the hottest new restaurants. Being that I have completely embraced my new home, I wanted to share my picks for must eat if you’re visiting the great city of Houston for the holidays.
These are in no particular order so feel free to pick the ones that suit you best
1. Coltivare: This fabulous restaurant was opened by the same owners as the community beloved Revival Market. All who know Revival and all of their wonderful local groceries are not surprised at Coltivare’s success. Opening the beginning of last year Houstonians have embraced this local gem. It has already been named Houstonia magazine’s top new restaurant of the year and was nominated in Bon Appetit magazine’s top 50 new restaurants in America for 2014. Foodies and normal folk alike are enjoying truly local ingredients, house made fresh pasta, veggies from the restaurants garden, seasonal menu changes, and the best pizza this side of Italy. I cannot stress enough if you eat one meal in Houston, it should be here. Come prepared to wait because they are pulling a April Bloomfield on us all, no reservations… The secret is out and it is completely worth your wait!
2. Punks Simple Southern Food: For those of you raised in the South and imported to the big city, you will be pleasantly surprised by this new foodie spot. Think back to your hometown, the local dive that cut the entire chicken apart, hand breaded, and fried it, the way it is supposed to be. When I say all pieces, I mean even the coveted “pully bone”, and if you don’t know what that is google it. Growing up after church on Sundays we would hurry to lunch and fight over the pully bones in the buffet. My favorite item on the menu is obviously the fried chick, you can order it for 1-2 people or 3-4 people. Everything comes out family style, served with one of their fabulous made from scratch biscuits, and a new take on your grandma’s mashed potatoes, mashed horseradish (trust me on this one). The restaurant is plays old country (think Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash), has a fabulous rustic feel, a neon “Southern” sign, and the ceiling is covered with an eclectic mix of chandeliers. For this Houston import its like taking a more upscale trip back to the dinner I grew up with in small town Arkansas.
The Hubby enjoying a fried chicken plate at Punks
3. Ruggles Green: I add this one to the list because I am still amazed at the number of people who have not been here. Ruggles was originally started with money that was won from a recipe contest that the owner had submitted his fabulous white chocolate bread pudding recipe to. You may hate bread pudding, but then you must have never had Ruggles bread pudding. Trust me when I say they deserved the fund to start these local restaurants. The original restaurant is in the Montrose area of town but then they have Ruggles Bakery, The Original Ruggles, and my favorite Ruggles Green. They have several locations, so lucky for you whatever part of this massive growing city you visit you probably have a Ruggles Green with in 20 minute of you. It is a certified organic restaurant with the answer to any food allergy issue you may have. I have literally tried almost everything on the menu and it is all good. They have everything from burgers and sandwiches to pastas and pizzas. They work with local farmers and even for this veggie lover, their salads are probably the best in town.
4. Americas: It doesn’t get much more Houston than this except for my next recommendation. This is a South American restaurant with possibly one of the best steaks you’ll ever eat. Don’t let people lie to you, skip Taste of Texas, and Vallones, go to Americas. Especially for the odd ball like me who still must have the have the steak well done. The steak is always tender and full of flavor. Do not leave this restaurant without ordering one of their wonderful tres leche cake. Their tres leche cake is just as iconicity Houston as the Ruggles bread pudding in my opinion. On a side note the same team runs Churrascos, Arista, and Amazon Grill, all also great restaurants.
On my Birthday a few years ago enjoying a tres leche cake at Americas.
5. Hugos: This is probably the most iconic Houston restaurant and it is a great example of excellent Tex Mex. Chef Hugo Ortega actually has three fabulous restaurants. All are equally good, the Tex Mex is just the best example of our local fare. Backstreet café another of his restaurants has one of the best brunch in town and Caracol (the newest restaurant of Chef Hugos) has a wonderful authentic Mexican take on seafood.
The hubby and I enjoying brunch at Backstreet Café .
I know I left many restaurants off including the best donut shop, see here. So now I have technically given you six options (including my donut pic). So many great Houston restaurants so little time.