Top 10 Restaurants in Upper Kirby

Categories: Top 10

upperkirbybooth.jpg
Photo by Michael Shum
I'll never understand the tenuous connection that ties Upper Kirby to the UK, although I'll admit the red phone booths scattered throughout the area are pretty.
With the construction three new Carrabba's family restaurants along Kirby and the continued success of West Ave -- the mixed use shopping/living/dining development on the corner of Kirby and Westheimer -- the Upper Kirby district is a stronger dining out destination today than it has been in years.

The last time that we rounded up the 10 best restaurants in the area was two years ago, and things have certainly changed since then. Gone are seafood favorites Pesce and Yelapa Playa Mexicana -- in their place are the decidedly less interesting Brio Tuscan Grille and Estate nightclub, respectively. On the bright side, however, is the addition of so many new and interesting restaurants in the Upper Kirby district that it's hard to narrow the list down to 10 anymore.

In fact, some of the city's best restaurants -- perennial favorites and Best of Houston® winners among them -- now lie within the Upper Kirby confines, making this recently repaved stretch of road one of the best spots to hit for a night out.

Disclaimer: For the purposes of this post, Upper Kirby is defined as west of Shepherd, east of Buffalo Speedway, north of Bissonnet and south of Westheimer.

Honorable Mention: Elevation Burger and Nosh

While both restaurants are far too new to be included on the list, both have already been garnering great reviews. Our own Joanna O'Leary enjoyed "the fresh eggy bun and wonderful caramelized onions" on her Elevation Burger, while Greg Morago at the Houston Chronicle writes of Nosh that "its thoughtful menu tugs at a communal foodie soul despite what some might interpret as 'fancy' pretensions."

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Photo by Imelda Bettinger
Take Chuy's advice and don't sweat the small stuff.
10. Chuy's

Before you stop reading right here, consider this: Chuy's is consistently packed for a reason. The kitschy decor and equally kitschy Tex-Mex food -- while transported here from Austin -- are fun, enjoyable crowd-pleasers. The margaritas (especially the Texas Tinis) are strong and well-balanced. The happy hour offers a free build-your-own-nacho bar with unlimited visits. In season, the Hatch chile specials are unrivaled. The creamy jalapeño dressing (which we all know is just Ranch dressing with a kick) is a Texas treasure. The Elvis Presley Memorial Combo is the stuff of legend. And Chuy's will gladly top anything -- anything at all -- with a fried egg.

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Photo by Troy Fields
Spicy adana kebabs at Turquoise Grill.
9. Turquoise Grill

Turquoise Grill began its life serving office building snack bar-type items like breakfast tacos and burgers alongside more traditional fare like Turkish kebabs made by friendly owner Yilmaz "Jim" Dokuyucu. Over time, it grew to be one of the most popular Turkish restaurants in town, and not solely by virtue of being one of only a handful of Turkish places in the city, and gradually did away with most of its American fare. Dokuyucu's dishes like the meat-topped lahmajun and inegol kofte (Turkish meatballs) brought Turquoise Grill such acclaim, in fact, that he opened a second location in Sugar Land not long ago. These days, one of the best ways to spend a low-key evening is grabbing dinner at Turquoise Grill before heading across the street to catch a show (and down a few pints of local beer) at the great McGonigel's Mucky Duck.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
An oyster-filled po-boy at BB's Cafe.
8. BB's Cafe

The fourth -- and, so far, the largest at 1,800 square feet inside and 1,400 square feet of patio outside -- location of popular Houston chain BB's Cafe offers the same great Cajun food that made the original Montrose BB's such a hit when it first opened in 2008. It's also the prettiest of the three locations, with a light-and-bright dining room that features just enough Cajun flare to let you know to expect excellent po-boys, gumbo, oysters and two of our favorite dishes in town: Grillades & Grits and the so-called "Cajun poutine," the Tex-Cajun Virgin.


Location Info

Elevation Burger

3819 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nosh Bistro

3983 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Chuy's

2706 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Turquoise Grill

3701 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

BB's Cafe

3139 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goode Co. Seafood

2621 Westpark Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Goode Co. Taqueria

4902 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hawthorn - CLOSED

3200 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Giacomo's Cibo e Vino

3215 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Queen Vic Pub & Kitchen

2712 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pondicheri

2800 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Haven

2502 Algerian Way, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
18 comments
UpperKirbyResident
UpperKirbyResident

I’m not sure if Sorrel Urban Bistro was open when this list was put out, but, as of June 2014, I would put it at the top of the list!  I agree with @julianbajsel that Houston’s (formerly known as Hillstone formerly known as Houston’s) deserves to be in the list as well.

markh
markh

A new Del Frisco's has opened in West Ave near Eddie V's...... plan on checking it out soon

markh
markh

Last time I ate at Kata Robata, I felt the quality was going downhill.    Also, BB's is not as good as the original on Montrose was.   The menu is not the same anymore, plus the last couple times I went, the gumbo was cold, had to send it back, and then they forgot about it, and other things went wrong.  We started going to the original on Montrose when it first opened in Houston and loved it.   Has it changed too?    I will have to try Giacamo's, as it sounds and looks good....

markh
markh

Carabba's on Kirby is the original and not a franchise store.  It offers great food!

markh
markh

Eddie V's is a fantastic restaurant!   The entire menu rocks!

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard topcommenter

Think the whole UK thing might be the initials of Upper Kirby?

julianbajsel
julianbajsel

Hillstone (formerly Houston's) on Kirby has consistently served high-quality entrees over the years. Although the prices have steadily crept upwards, I think it's more an indication of inflation than anything else and still very reasonable when compared to other establishments. Sad to see they didn't make the list but I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, although it seems a bit unfair to put Chuy's and Goode. Co on there while simultaneously ignoring them. I'll have to check out a couple of these other places on your list but that dish from the Goode Co. taqueria looks far from appetizing, let alone intriguing.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

Finally got to Giacomo's--so charming. The food is wonderful. Doesn't hurt that the puppy pictures by the front door look EXACTLY like our dog.

Had the Amberjack dish @ Kata the day before Tgiving. Spectacular.

vigoM
vigoM

Love Giacomo's! Bird and Bear might have made it, had they not fallen asleep at the wheel.

Kylejack
Kylejack topcommenter

"Before you stop reading right here, consider this: Chuy's is consistently packed for a reason."

 Argumentum ad populum.

 The Hatch chile items are the only thing I ever liked there.

katie
katie

Chuy's but no El Tiempo?  Wrong.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editortopcommenter

@FattyFatBastard Yes, I technically understand the connection. I've just always felt it was a bit silly.

EricS
EricS

@Kylejack A place can be popular and terrible, but I've never understood the Chuy's hate. There's good stuff on the menu, and the service is always friendly.

vigoM
vigoM

@FattyFatBastard @julianbajsel They didn't just change the name. They changed the name to allow for charging more. Hillstone is a slightly more upscale property in the chain than Houston's. ABMP. Always Be Maximizing Profit, as Alec might have said.

Anse
Anse

I am not a Chuy's hater. I just don't understand why it's so incredibly popular. Endless self-serve chips and salsa is not a justification for an hour-long wait for a table. The food is solid if not exceptional, though.

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