Top 10 Restaurants in Upper Kirby

Categories: Top 10

Photo by Gary R. Wise
Breakfast thali at Pondicheri.
3. Pondicheri

Another slice of Indian fusion heaven can be found just down the street, where chef/owner Anita Jaisinghani has been wowing West Ave visitors at Pondicheri since it opened last year. In fact, Pondicheri wowed us so much that we awarded it Best New Restaurant in the 2011 Best of Houston® issue. Pondicheri is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering casual counter service during the day and upscale table service by night. It even offers classic Indian takeaway, albeit with Jaisinghani's modern, Gulf Coast twist on traditional Indian food. This clever restaurant that takes all comers while still creating some of the most breathtakingly interesting and soulful Indian food anywhere, like Texas shrimp chaat with corn and avocado, paneer-stuffed chicken legs or oatmeal chocolate-chile cookies.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Ika mata at Cove, the new raw bar inside Haven.
2. Haven / Cove

The recent addition of new raw bar Cove has made the Houston food scene sit up and take notice of Haven once again, not that anyone had really forgotten about chef Randy Evan's farm-to-table temple nor the reliable Southern classics with a twist that he turns out daily. With new restaurant-within-a-restaurant Cove offering up inventive, all-raw dishes from across the world under sous chef Jean-Philippe Gaston, Haven's traditional vibe is turned on its ear in the most refreshing of ways. Grab a small dish or two (and a cocktail) at Cove, then grab another entree and dessert at Haven to enjoy the best of both worlds without even having to hit two restaurants.

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Amberjack sashimi and foie gras at Kata Robata, one of this year's 100 Favorite Dishes.
1. Kata Robata

It says a lot about the changing palates of Houston diners that a highly modern sushi restaurant with a strong undertone of French fusion was our choice as Best New Restaurant in 2010. But the food at Kata Robata (and the casual atmosphere that belies some of the menu prices) was truly the biggest draw of any place that opened that year, and still continues to draw crowds today. Omakase platters and daily specials such as amberjack sashimi with foie gras prepared by the talented Manabu Horiuchi, formerly of Kubo's, are both playful and breathtaking at the same time -- as well as quite a bargain. The desserts under pastry chef Chris Leung are equally intriguing, with a lighter and more intelligent touch than is normally found in any pastry program -- let alone at a sushi restaurant. And that's a recurring theme at Kata Robata: fresh, flavorful, inventive and high-quality food for a lot less than you'd expect to pay, which is why it was awarded Best Sushi in the 2012 Best of Houston® issue and why it remains our favorite restaurant in the area.

Check out our other Top 10 neighborhood lists:

Top 10 in Montrose
Top 10 in the Heights
Top 10 in Rice Village
Top 10 on Washington Avenue
Top 10 in the East End
Top 10 in the Galleria
Top 10 in Midtown
Top 10 in Memorial
Top 10 in Greenway Plaza
Top 10 in The Woodlands
Top 10 in Spring Branch
Top 10 in Little India
Top 10 in Far Northwest Houston
Top 10 in Chinatown

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Location Info

Elevation Burger

3819 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Nosh Bistro - CLOSED

3983 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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


2800 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Haven - CLOSED

2502 Algerian Way, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kata Robata Sushi & Grill

3600 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

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.


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


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....


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


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

FattyFatBastard topcommenter

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


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 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.


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

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.


Chuy's but no El Tiempo?  Wrong.

kshilcutt moderator editor

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


@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.


@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.


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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