Houston's Best Patios: The 10 Best Unexpected Treasures

Photo by Groovehouse
Get your tropical drink on at Kata Robata's intimate patio.
Over the last four weeks, we have been guiding you around Houston's best patios in several different categories:

This week's fifth and final category: Houston's unexpected treasures.

Kata Robata

From the street, you may think that Kata Robata is merely another sushi joint -- albeit Houston's best sushi joint -- in a strip mall. But the restaurant has cleverly carved out an intimate patio at the rear of its space, perfect for the robata portion of its name. And the sushi bar has also been putting on fabulous happy hours there recently, where sous chef Seth Siegel-Gardner occasionally gives away such goodies as roasted suckling pig.

Photo by Troy Fields

The East End is only quiet for now. In another 10 or 20 years, this part of Houston may very well look like Montrose does today. For now, enjoy the peace and quiet on the patio at colorful Bohemeo's, which also happens to offer some of our favorite coffee and fish tacos in town. The view of the downtown skyline at dusk is unparalleled, and live music at night is always a treat.


Down in Clear Lake, you could easily be forgiven for driving straight past Mediterraneo; after all, the Middle Eastern restaurant/market is in a slightly run-down strip center that looks like a chunk of Cheshire accidentally landed in Texas in all its Tudor glory. But the patio at Mediterraneo is glorious, all rainbow-colored umbrellas and lush foliage disguising the front entrance itself. Go for the sea breeze, stay for the hummus.

M Lounge

As with Kata Robata, you'd never know there was a patio behind M Lounge above its sister restaurant, Mint Spice, out in Sugar Land. M Lounge itself is an opulent bar and lounge with nearly four times the seating of the restaurant below, and that's before you take the massive patio into account. You can't see it from the front of the strip center, which is nice; it makes the patio into its own private sanctuary (although it could do with some more shady greenery and umbrellas outside this summer).

Photo by Troy Fields
Niko Niko's at Market Square

This isn't exactly hidden, although a green area this nice and this welcoming being created out of the old Market Square was definitely unexpected. It's extraordinary to feel so connected with the cityscape around you as you nosh on Niko Niko's excellent breakfast pitas or knock back a few margaritas with dinner. Bonus: You can bring the kids and the dogs; there are play areas for both. And starting this month, movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and My Big Fat Greek Wedding will be screened on selected nights.


From the street, it's difficult to make out Brasil's entrance (it's on Dunlavy) let alone tell that there's a beautiful back patio waiting for you. But it's there for you, breakfast, lunch and dinner (although you'll do good to stake out a table on busy weekend mornings). After you're done with your meal, you can browse through Domy's books and other offerings -- the bookstore shares the patio, more or less -- and on weekends you can usually catch a movie in the evenings.

La Vista

What's most unexpected about this longtime Galleria-area haunt isn't the patio itself, but how a little Italian restaurant tucked into an awkward corner in a strip mall on Fountainview turns into a full-blown city-style cafe at night, with sidewalk seating spilling out nearly into the parking lot. But instead of noise and fumes from a busy street, Fountainview is usually much quieter, giving this sidewalk cafe a distinct advantage over its busier peers.

Photo by Troy Fields

In winter, the patio is heated and cozy. In the summer, it's shaded with azure sails and cooled by misting fans. You're guaranteed to find comfort either way, even though the patio itself backs up to a Randall's in an Oak Forest strip center. But as pretty as the patio is, you're not going to notice. The excellent guanciale cheeseburger and stunning wine selection serve as pretty great distractions.

Zelko Bistro

You can't even see Zelko's patio from the street, which makes it that much nicer once you're back there. A giant wooden fence separates you/Chef Zelko's garden from the steady stream of cars on 11th Street and imparts the distinct sense of dining in someone's backyard. The cute cottage in which Zelko Bistro resides just furthers the aesthetic. Order a burger, a beer and a slice of lemon icebox pie to complete the picture.

The Barbed Rose

Did you know you can sit outside in the open-air Burger Bar that's the kid sister to The Barbed Rose and eat more than just burgers? You can, in fact, order from the entire Barbed Rose menu outside and enjoy the steakhouse's upscale food in a much more casual atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that the patio itself has a pleasant view onto a wooded park just off the town square in Alvin, which makes it feel almost like you've taken a short vacation just a few miles away from Houston proper.

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Location Info

Mediterraneo Market & Cafe

18033 Upper Bay Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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What happend to Byantio Cafe and Bar! They have a great patio its huge you can get free Wi-Fi while smoking your hooka and the food rocks! Would like to see them in the Cafe section write up soon.... its a long time coming.. The Kalamaki is the bomb!! Fun Times to Be Had!


Agree. The shaded patio at Byzantio is very cool after work, late-nite after concerts, after a walk or ride at Memorial Park.


Just FYI Katherine, Plonk backs up to Kroger, not Randalls.


Even though it's just outside of Houston, Corelli's Italian Cafe in Sugar Land has a great patio to enjoy!


Cafe 4212 jazz Bar has one of the best undiscovered patios in Houston. I was invited there for an event and was very impressed by the patio out back. Located near the intersection of Wheeler and Almeda.

Christina Uticone
Christina Uticone

I love the patio at Brasil - more than I like Brasil! I cannot believe Kata has a patio. Yes, I eat there twice a month and I am stunned to discover this. Time to go out for sushi!


I don't know if you've mentioned King Biscuit, but it's an unexpected patio at an unexpected restaurant hidden in plain sight overlooking the bayou and I-10 spaghetti bowl.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Hate to break it to you, but King Biscuit closed over the weekend.


The totally average food was bound to get them eventually. The space is awesome though, indoor and out, hope another restaurant or bar takes it on.

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