Top 10 Octopus Dishes in Houston

Categories: Top 10

Coppa octopus.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Octopus carpaccio by Chef Brandi Key at Coppa, $15
Octopus. Regardless of how it's prepared, I generally love eating the squirmy, tentacled creatures. A great, low-fat seafood option, octopus has this wonderfully distinctive texture. It's also light and fun to eat -- the perfect summertime dish. Our city's chefs must feel the same way I do, because I've found so many dishes, my original idea for a Top 5 has morphed into a Top 10. And here they are, for your eating pleasure: Top 10 Octopus Dishes in Houston.

10. Octopus carpaccio at Coppa

One of the most popular appetizers on the Coppa menu, the octopus carpaccio is regularly cited by the servers as a "must-have" dish, and rightly so. Cooked in wine and water, then set in a terrine mold before being quickly chilled, the octopus is then sliced so thinly that it's translucent. Paired with a small salad of mizuna greens, pickled Fresno chiles, fingerling potatoes and diced Castelvetrano olives, this fun, light appetizer is easy on the eyes and the palate.

Mambos octopus.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Garlic butter octopus at Mambo Seafood, $7.99 for half a pound.
9. Octopus in garlic butter sauce at Mambo Seafood

Octopus may not feature on the menu in the same way that the fish does at Mambo's, but it's definitely something you can order and something you won't forget. Order it with garlic butter sauce, and you'll be amazed as I was at the deliciousness that awaits you. With a taste like Spanish tapas, and served in a generous portion that can be shared, it can be eaten by the spoonful or with an order of Mambo's famous fried rice. You'll marvel at how tasty and flavorful this dish is.

Latin bites octopus.jpg
Photo by Carlos Ramos
Pulpo al olivo by Chef Roberto Castre of Latin Bites, $16
8. Pulpo al olivo at Latin Bites

Peruvian Chef Roberto Castre makes an excellent sashimi-style appetizer, pulpo al olivo, from Gulf Coast octopus that is delivered to his restaurant daily. To soften the texture of the octopus and enhance its natural flavors, he boils the octopus with salt, onion and tomato. The thinly sliced pieces of octopus are arranged on a plate, interspersed with small kisses of sweet potato puree, Peruvian corn (choclo), dots of house-made aji amarillo mayonnaise and slivers of green onion, then finished off with some olive oil. Creamy, sweet, tangy, fatty and crispy, the dish has a little bit of everything, yet is distinctively Peruvian in style. Muy bueno!

Triniti octopus.jpg
Photo by Kimberly Park
Grilled baby octopus with chorizo by Chef Ryan Hildebrand of Triniti, $18
7. Grilled baby octopus at Triniti

One of the new dishes on the summer menu, Triniti's baby octopus combines the lightness of cucumber with the salty essence of chorizo. The small little tentacles are charred to give it a smokiness, which is complemented well by the strong spices in the chorizo. Texturally, the crisp crunchiness of the fresh cucumbers, which are rolled and interspersed throughout the dish, serves to accent the slightly chewy firmness of the octopus flesh. Marbled potatoes and chorizo oil finish off this lovely dish.

BWT octopus.jpg
Photo by Mai Pham
Octopus carpaccio by Chef David Grossman of Branch Water Tavern, $14
6. Octopus carpaccio at Branch Water Tavern

Chef David Grossman's version of octopus carpaccio utilizes fresh local ingredients in a dish that is as refreshing as it is beautifully plated. The moist yet thinly sliced red wine-braised octopus carpaccio is topped with a medley of colorful, heirloom cherry tomatoes, grapefruit wedges, fennel and crispy garlic chips. The fennel, grapefruit and tomato give the octopus an organic spiciness and tang, while the garlic chips add a distinctive crunchy component to contrast nicely with the softer texture of the octopus, an unexpected surprise that ties the entire dish together.


Location Info

Coppa Ristorante Italiano - CLOSED

5555 Washington, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mambo Seafood

6697 Hillcroft, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Latin Bites

5709 Woodway Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Triniti

2815 S. Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Branch Water Tavern - CLOSED

510 Shepherd, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ibiza

2450 Louisiana, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Fisheria

4705 Inker St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Da Marco

1520 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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10 comments
Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Maybe they lightened it up for the summer. I loved the salad with it; had it last week.  The octopus itself is fantastic. 

Valdemort
Valdemort

What happened to the yukon golds that Da Marco once served with the octopus? Twas a perfect pairing of terra and mare.

Siempreagro
Siempreagro

Baby octopus with canellini beans at Poscol. Perfect summer dish with an Italian white wine and tan Italian GF.

Gretelsen
Gretelsen

 Aquiles recently explained that an absence of octopus was due to a seasonal thing, and would only be temporary....I would love to know more about that. Anyone?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I want this for my birthday. All of this. A buffet of all 10 octopus dishes. Ye gods.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

I agree, the tostada de enamorada, which was topped with pulpo, was superb.Maybe he'll bring it back one day....

nate
nate

The pulpo al carbon at Hugo's is the best menu item I have eaten there.  So, so good.

Houstess
Houstess

I've enjoyed a couple of these.  I was disappointed that La Fisheria took pulpo off their lunch menu entirely, except what is found in a seafood cocktail.  He once offered a pulpo taco at lunch we enjoyed as well as the carpaccio.

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