The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Late-Night Eats

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Stir-fried macaroni -- hold the cheese -- at our No. 1 spot.
For the next 20 weeks, we'll be rounding up the runners-up to our 2011 Best of Houston® winners. In many categories, picking each year's winner is no easy task. We'll be spotlighting 20 of those categories, in which the winner had hefty competition from other Houston bars and restaurants.

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Photo by Mandy Oaklander
5. Majorca Bistro & Tapas

If you like the idea of having a little breakfast in your alcohol-sodden stomach past midnight, try the meaty albondigas with a fried egg on top at Majorca. It's within walking distance of a great many bars, making its 2 a.m. closing time very attractive to those who need some buffering between drinking and hitting the road. It's planning to stay open to 4 a.m. soon, meaning that you'll be able to get your tapas fix nearly around the clock.

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Hell. Yes.
4. El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

Montrose should ideally have a surfeit of great late-night dives, but they're few and far between these days. Theo's (formerly One's a Meal) and Chapultepec are still reliable options, but sometimes you need something with a bit more oomph in it: That's where the No. 7 enchiladas at El Real come in. Drenched with creamy queso and and rich with cumin, these onion-topped enchiladas will cure what ails you, even at 3 a.m.


Location Info

Venue

Map

El Real Tex-Mex Cafe

1201 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Crave Sushi

2900 Travis, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mai's Restaurant

3403 Milam, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Tan Tan Restaurant

6816 Ranchester, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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38 comments
Kyle
Kyle

 House of Pies, Moon Tower Inn (3 month RIP), Chacho's, La Tapatia, Tacos A Go Go, BRC Gastropub, Sköl Casbar.

ElRealesnobueno
ElRealesnobueno

#4... hell to the no. I'm not paying $12 or so for a grease bomb to bring down the blood in my alcohol stream. WHEN will people stop giving this place a pass because of Robb?

I give credit where it's due. It is not due at El Real. El Real is El Bullsh!t. Too much hype before they opened. Not only did it not live up the the hype, it is crap. (for high prices)

When my liver is crying I go to Chachos and get a carne guisada burrito (meat and cheese only - if you don't order it this way, you get mostly rice, lettuce, avocado, and other fillers) double sloppy! (double sloppy is enchilada and queso on top). About $6 and more food than I could eat in 3 sittings. Great salsa bar also!

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

I second Chacho's for late night, too. The portions are huge. Overall, though, this is a great list. You cant beat Tan Tan. If there were more room, I would add House of Pies which gets the after 3am crowd, and Katz's, but that's about it. 

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

I was worried that the place wouldn't live up to the hype, so I checked 'em out a few months after they opened.  It's now my favorite Tex-Mex place; the recipes are authentic, and the flavors are superb.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Albert:

When they are "on their game" this place is phenomenal.  But they have also had nights where the food is sub-par.  Hopefully folks that had a "meh" experience will be willing to give it another try. 

Ali
Ali

So, because of this post I actually ventured out to El Real tonight. I wanted to see if was truly crap or truly gold. 

I really enjoyed my dinner. I had a fajita salad. All veggies were chopped fine and very fresh and well-mixed. (I hate salad that comes out stacked or in big chunks.) Perfectly fried shell (not greasy). Great jalapeno ranch dressing. And the fajita meat was outstanding. Smoked with a slightly sweet flavor and really unlike anything else you get at your typical Tex-Mex. 

I loved the atmosphere. I loved the homage to vintage Tex-Mex restaurants and the string lights and the old western shown on the wall. I found it all charming and fun.

I thought it was priced correctly for the location and the type of food it is. I think we paid $34 (pre-tip) for 2 entrees, 2 cokes and a margarita. This isn't any different than what we pay anywhere else. 

My only critiques were that I didn't love the margarita and I felt our waitress could have been more attentive. The margarita was too bitter for my taste and our waitress wasn't bad, but she wasn't super friendly or outgoing. 

I'm not sure I'd make this my Tex-Mex standby - especially since I live so close to Spanish Flowers and Teotihuacan, but it's definitely a place I'd go to again or take out-of-town guests for a little Houston history and culture.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

My two late night haunts were always Mama's Cafe on Westheimer and good ol' Taco Cabana.  I'm quite surprised neither were listed or commented on yet.  I'm actually going to ask around via FB and see what else we are missing.

Megan
Megan

Oh, Taco Cabana.  Excellent choice.  I have fond memories of a TC run after going out with grad school friends one night.  :)

Ali
Ali

Mama's is great for some good late night grease... or anytime grease, really. Sometimes I go there and order so much fried food they should just fry the plate too. I'd probably eat it.

Doc Ricky
Doc Ricky

Contenders for late night dining: Pho Binh (By Night and on Westheimer).Our friend, Fufu Cafe (it's just down the street from Tantan).You wouldn't believe crowds at Chacho's after hours. Come to think of it, I spotted Kaiser there one night. Hey, it's late. 

Jennifer Groves
Jennifer Groves

What the hell? I was excited to read this but what a disappointment. If Mai's is mediocre why didn't you do a little more research and put something else on the list? The comments are really enlightening at least - if you like Andy's no wonder you like El Real.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I might think Mai's is mediocre, but I'm clearly in the minority -- especially at 3 a.m.

Ali
Ali

If I were to choose a late-night place in Montrose, I'd totally go with Katz's. 

Ali
Ali

I am a fan of Spanish Flowers. Partly because I live down the street. But also, because I can get delicious Tex-Mex, pancakes, eggs or fried fish there at any time of the day or night. 

Makes a little drunk girl happy.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Seeing those enchiladas makes me mourn for the passing of La Jaliscience. DAMN! Or should I say SHIT!TA

Craigley
Craigley

Aguacate Burrito, baby! (covered in queso of course with two bowls of onions and carrots please.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

Oh Hell Yeah! I had forgotten about the carrots. There is a name for that dish but it escapes me. I always know I'm in a good place when they have that sitting on the table. Now I know where that feeling came from originally. Thanks.TA

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Oh man, how many times did I end up in there at the end of the night?  

Tombyron
Tombyron

I've seen betterr lists in truck stop bathrooms

tww
tww

Katharine:

Don't use "shit"; It's not coll and it's unbecoming.  It announces that you are not to be taken seriously as a lady or as a food critic.

bibulb
bibulb

...You're new here, aren't you?[/thevillage]

Ali
Ali

It's like you've never read this blog or The Houston Press before.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Have we met? I think I lost my "proper lady card" when I walked down the aisle to The Smiths in flip flops.

Ali
Ali

You just earned so many cool points in my book.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

"There is a light that will never go out"?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

No, lamer. Too lame to even repeat here. Anyway, I'm not married anymore, but I don't blame Moz.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

tww:

First off, what does a small Scottish island have to do with saying the word shit?  I think most men prefer a woman who can let her hair down and be herself.  Have fun with you ladies that lunch crowd.

Leila Jane
Leila Jane

The Oh My Gogi! truck in the Village is great late at night. mmmm OMGfries.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

I mourn the former glory of Late Nite Pie when it was in its OG location. That said, no love for BB's or Tacos a Go Go? Maybe it's just me, craving Mexican food 24-hours a day.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Shit, yeah. BB's and Tacos a Go-Go are both great. Wish I'd done a Top 10 list now...

ec
ec

What's on those enchiladas?  Wolf Brand Chili?  No thank you.  Give me a taqueria before any of this food!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Hey! Who's knocking Wolf Brand Chili? That shit was a staple in my childhood diet.

Texmex01
Texmex01

and still gets put into my Superbowl 5 cheese Queso!!!

n8d0g
n8d0g

Can we at least give an honorable mention to Whataburger?  That place has been getting a large percentage of our city home safely every weekend since... ever.

Jack_Around
Jack_Around

Pretty much the only time I order menudo is at Andy's Home Cafe in the Heights (11th/Studewood) at 3 am. It always seems to mitigate the next morning's pain.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Seconded on Andy's. I quite like their Colombian enchiladas too.

bibulb
bibulb

Thanks for the Andy's love - they're the first place I had Colombian Enchiladas, and I still love theirs.

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