The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 5 Restaurant Playlists

Categories: Top Five

Underbelly_093.jpg
Photos by Troy Fields
One of the best things about Underbelly (and its wine bar) is its playlist.
The only times I notice the music in a restaurant are when it's really bad (Christmas music playing year round at Sichuan Cuisine), really out of place (Nine Inch Nails blaring out of the speakers at now-closed Tony Vallone joint Ciao Bello or Cannibal Corpse washing over the line of patrons at Amy's Ice Cream) or terrifically good.

The last category is far more difficult to find, as most restaurants focus -- rightly so -- on many other facets of the dining experience (the food, the service, keeping your water glass filled, etc.) ahead of the music. However, there are a handful of excellent exceptions to this rule.

5. Haven

In keeping with its locavore roots, chef Randy Evans's restaurant has an entirely Texan playlist, from Willie Nelson to Lyle Lovett. The only thing keeping it from being higher on the list is the fact that its portfolio of Texas artists could stand to be diversified: Let's hear some Selena or Lightnin' Hopkins, some Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison, some Toadies or even Polyphonic Spree. Texas has a great musical heritage aside from just country-and-western music.

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Coppa's music is appropriately soulful and funky.
4. Coppa

The excellent music selection is one of the first things I noticed about Coppa on my initial visit: Sam Cooke blended into The Black Keys, with the overall balance of the playlist heavy on classic Motown and old-school soul that matches the soulful cooking coming out of chef Brandi Key's kitchen.


Location Info

Sichuan Cuisine

9114 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Amy's Ice Creams

3816 Farnham, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Haven

2502 Algerian Way, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Underbelly

1100 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nabi - CLOSED

1517 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Coppa Ristorante Italiano

5555 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

El Gran Malo - CLOSED

2307 Ella, Houston, TX

Category: Music

My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
ummm
ummm

Tacos A Go Go.  Playlist reflects the place well.  Johnny Cash, Rev Horton Heat, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bad Religion.

Amy Garcia Leonhardt
Amy Garcia Leonhardt

Plonk always has great music.  70's Bowie, Cake, Devo and other great stuff.  Plus, last time we dined at Plonk they had the Planet Earth series on not one but two T.V's.  I was in heaven!!!  Of course they could be playing Vietnamese Muzak and I would still return for the Medianoche sandwich and Guanciale burger.

The AHHHHHhhhh master!
The AHHHHHhhhh master!

Went to Nabi Monday night, Short Ribs tough, when I told the waiter "good flavor but tough" he offered to replace with a new dish, I declined since I was almost finished. He did mention saying something to the cooks and later when I told him I didn't want anything else, he said something along the line of that is best since they might spit on my food. NOT  KIDDING! Went to wash my hands, check was waiting on me which I gladly paid. $20.48 TAB - paid $21.00 and yes I feel I over-tipped. Sad part is I liked the flavor and there is several things I would like to try, unfortunately the waiter's sarcastic commments will prevent me from returning  

ummm
ummm

Done whining yet? the whole place smells like your tears and leaking spinal fluid.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I've noticed that you've left this exact same comment across many other posts about Nabi. I agree that your experience was truly odd, but I think you've gotten your point across by now. Thanks for sharing.

The AHHHHHhhhh master!
The AHHHHHhhhh master!

 Actually is wasn't the exact same comment and it was only one other place.  Please stick with the facts

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

I know the music is good when I pull out my phone to Shazam a song. Local Foods and Benjy's are notable. The new Sweet Creperie had some great French oldies (Edith Piaf) mixed with more current singers like Carla Bruni. And, they're not restaurants but Sunny's Bar Downtown and Lizzard's Pub both have great sound systems and fantastic music from their jukebox.

Urban Swank
Urban Swank

Brasserie 19 gets our vote! Once "Play That Funky Music" came on, we were sold! 

Burgerland Orgy
Burgerland Orgy

Natachees is always playing great old Rockabilly, Doo-Wop and other assorted R&B. It's probably a Sirius or Pandora station, but it suits the place.

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