Top 10 Restaurants in The Woodlands

Categories: Top 10

Silly Jilly
If you can't decide what to get for a dessert, choose the mini dessert trio.
3. Kirby's Steakhouse

Kirby's sits on a hill-top near I-45 in The Woodlands Mall area and has one of the best steaks in town. Any time you visit Kirby's, you have to order the pepper steak: a filet mignon coated in cracked peppercorns with a cognac pepper sauce draped over the top. If you're feeling seafood, I recommend the pan roasted sea bass with a lobster risotto. Both items are scrumptious. Start your meal with the lobster bisque and a blue cheese wedge salad and you're in for a tummy satisfying night.

2. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille

The Woodlands location for Perry's is in my opinion the best. The restaurant always offers excellent service, followed by a delicious meal; it's a feel-good experience all around. The escargot at Perry's is hands-down the best escargot I have had, and I have eaten some in Paris. It's buttery, salty and melts in your mouth. But, the star of the menu is their famous pork chop carved tableside. The first time I ordered this I didn't know what I was getting myself into. There are three sections to the pork chop and the server tells you to go in order when you're eating the entree. I couldn't finish the first section, but that didn't stop me from tasting the other two juicy and savory sections. It's a lot of food, but makes for great leftovers the next day. If you're feeling a little fishy, go for the hong kong style sea bass or the pecan-crusted red snapper. It will rock your world.

Photo courtesy of Amerigo's Grille.
The black and white sesame seed crusted salmon filet is savory and outstanding.
1. Amerigo's Grille

I absolutely love Amerigo's. My parents visited Amerigo's for the first time while I was in college and promised to take me the next time I came down. Last Christmas, we spent our Christmas Eve dining there and it was one of the best Christmas Eve dinners I have ever had. We began our meal with the calamari fritti -- breaded and fried to perfection. Afterwards, I ordered the bosc pear salad with dried cranberries, gorgonzola and pears with a blueberry-pomegranate dressing. My mom ordered her favorite Italian entree, cioppino, a seafood stew with lobster, snapper and shellfish sitting in a tomato sauce, with crusty bread to soak up all the sauce. I ordered the snapper, served with crabmeat and was a happy camper. It's a wonderful Italian restaurant to enjoy a night of celebration or a quiet dinner for two. I guarantee you'll leave with a smile on your face.

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 Upper Kirby
Top 10 in Greenway Plaza
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

Hubbell & Hudson Bistro

24 Waterway Ave., The Woodlands, TX

Category: Restaurant

Ace Chinese Restaurant - CLOSED

4775 W. Panther Creek Drive, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

Grimaldi's Coal Brick Oven Pizzeria

20 Waterway Ave., Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

Black Walnut Cafe

2520 Research Forest Drive, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant


9595 Six Pines Drive, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

Kirby's Prime Steakhouse

1111 Timberloch Place, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music

Perry's Steakhouse and Grille

6700 Woodlands Parkway, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

Amerigo's Grille

25250 Grogan's Park Drive, Spring, TX

Category: Restaurant

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Thanks for the great article, I would love to try some of these places in the future.. If you didnt already know about it this may help your readers, you can search for chinese food places near your address


LOL! Katherine, any idea how much it would cost to try all ten of these recommendations?!? Having dined at a few of them, I know it would cost a pretty penny. Amerigo's? I was WHOLLY unimpressed, and it is WAY too expensive to give them another shot.


@SoftShellCrabJunkie where is your favorite place for soft shell crabs? i love papadeaux's blackened soft shell crabs, but i need other choices.  i didn't care for fukuda's soft shell crab, but their sushi was to die for.


Ace Chinese Restuarant? That should not only NOT be in the top 10, it should be in the bottom 3 worst restaurants in the Woodlands. That place is HORRIBLE. Masa's Sushi is way better! Seems like you haven't been to the Woodlands in about 10 years because there are many better restaurants than the ones you listed.

gossamersixteen topcommenter

Wow suburbanites are opinionated, who knew with all those chain restaurants that prevail..


Only been there once for lunch, but I was more than impressed with La Lupita.

Sandy Kreps
Sandy Kreps

Those are good, but I think you forgot Asian food. Try Masa's Sushi & Robata Bar or Ploy Thai Cuisine.

Mary Beth Elderton
Mary Beth Elderton

I think that Ryan H. Cope's assessment is pretty accurate. Amerigo's and Ace Chinese may deserve spots in the top,but the rest are kind of late-coming pricey fads geared to tourists or Woodland's pretensions.

Albert Nurick
Albert Nurick

Marlo, I have to disagree. Luca & Leonardo and La Lupita may be unique, but they're not particularly good.

Ryan Cope
Ryan Cope

You missed a lot. This is a list of restaurants for the local elitists and the well funded. Just because the food costs a fortune doesn't necessarily make it good. There have been a lot of what I consider massive failures of restaurants who's only true value is the remarkable placement of their location. Outside of that I've been wholly unimpressed with many of the places on the waterway… Again epicurean doesn't necessarily make something good. Want to great hamburger? Go and get a Honeybee ham hamburger. What a great Mexican cuisine? Go to El Bosque over by Sams. The food is extremely affordable, there's a lot of it, and the service is among the best and easily the fastest I've ever had. Pietown is also really good, and if you would take the time to just step into a couple of "mom and pops" types of places around here you would be wildly impressed. This article seems like an editorial and elongated ad to keep the money clientele coming to the money businesses. I mean, think about it, when you watch the Travel Channel or the food network what's the ratio of how often you see them going to a town raving on about the local expensive restaurant versus them covering the local obsession over the quirky "mom and pop's" places that marry very good with very unique menu items and manage to couple those with a very homie atmosphere that is a far more practical and economic choice for a wider, more diverse array of clientele. And the food just tastes better!


This post reads like it was lifted out of one of those Where magazines you'd find in a hotel room, where forgettable chain joints are give breathless praise no matter how much they suck. If you want me to drive to the Woodlands, don't give me a list of places I can find a location closer to home or a better dining experience in my own neighborhood. Unless you're trying to say there's nothing to eat in The Woodlands, this is a big list of fail.

Marlo Saucedo
Marlo Saucedo

You missed Americas (only RO & TW, & the RO venue is very different), Goose's Acre, Luca & Leonardo, 1252, & La Lupita. 1252 began in TW & then spread to Houston. Goose's Acre, Luca & Leonardo and La Lupita are all TW originals and really should have been included. Everyone's Top Ten is different, but I wouldn't have put Perry's near the top: You can visit a Perry's in two other Houston locations; it's not uniquely TW's.


I live in the Woodlands as well, and I was rather surprised by several of the choices.  If I'd not known the source of this list, I'd think it was written by a retired couple that's lived in the Woodlands forever, who has a very conservative palate, doesn't care much about value, and who's reluctant to try new or less fancy spots.

I realize that every palate is different, of course - you like what you like.  But I think that most Press readers would be dissatisfied with many of your selections.

Some specific comments and suggestions:

10.  Mi Cocina.  Yikes.  This Dallas import is known as a see-and-be-seen place, with food that's mediocre at best.  I've been once, and was unimpressed by the food, especially at the elevated prices.  This isn't Dallas - you don't have to pay these kinds of prices for good Tex-Mex, much less mediocre Tex-Mex.  Better choices:  Chuy's, Alicia's, El Bosque, and a half-dozen more.

9.  Hubbell & Hudson Bistro.  Excellent choice.  Chef Austin Simmons is turning out some impressive work.  I think it's the best restaurant in the Woodlands, and holds its own with the best in Houston.

8.  Via Emilia.  Generic old-school Italian.  Not terrible, but unexceptional - could be in a strip center anywhere.  Better choices:  Pallotta's, Eden Cafe, Grotto.

7.  Ace Chinese.  Ancient, terrible Americanized Chinese.  It's not 1999 anymore; you've got actually good Chinese food in the Woodlands now.  Better choices:  Chef Chan's, China Bridge, Lucky Cafe

6.  Grimaldi's.  Safe choice.  They can be very good, but they are uneven.  And they're hardly a new addition to the Waterway, unless you've not been there in a few years.

5.  Black Walnut.  Great choice, but you need to venture beyond the breakfast menu.  They have some unique pastas and sandwiches.  Quirky menu has been refined since Hubbell & Hudson bought them a few years back.

4.  Jaspers.  Beautiful setting, very good take on upscale home cooking.  But they've lost a step in the past few years - some of my old favorites aren't as deftly prepared as they were before.

3.  Kirby's.  Generic upscale steakhouse that's not as good as the big-name chains.  High prices, unexceptional food.  Sadly, this is the type of restaurant that thrives in the Woodlands, offering a slew of expected choices in a pretty setting for too much money.  Better choices:  Hubbell & Hudson, Jasper's, Perry's, Fleming's

2.  Perry's.  Much better steaks that Kirby's, and the epic pork chop.  Good choice.

1.  Amerigo's.  Really?  This was the best restaurant out here back in prehistoric days, but they've been far surpassed by more modern establishments.  Prices way out of line for what they're serving.  ($35-43 for seafood pastas?!?)  They used to be the only "fine dining" game in town, but now there are many better choices, like Hubbell & Hudson Bistro, America's, Jaspers, etc.

What's missing?  The most obvious ones:

Capri, which the Press has called the best Italian restaurant in all of Houston.  Authentic Italian cuisine - unsurprising, since the proprietor immigrated from Italy.

Pallotta's, a more Americanized Italian place that prepares excellent takes on the classics plus some unique dishes that I've not seen elsewhere.  Our go-to Italian spot.

Corkscrew BBQ.  Some of the best 'Q in the entire Houston area.  No place else in the Woodlands is even close.

Crust Pizza.  Great pizzas made with fresh ingredients, including some very clever non-traditional choices

Eden Cafe.  Lovely small family restaurant offering an eclectic menu that's very well prepared.

Masa's Sushi - Expertly prepared sushi cut generously from impeccably fresh fish

Kan's Sushi - Tiny, jewel-like location tucked away in Alden Bridge.  Talented chef turns out impeccable sushi.

Chef Chan's - Much better than average strip center Chinese spot.  Light years ahead of Ace.

Jax Burgers - Locally owned burger micro-chain that turns out mouth-watering half-pound burgers and addictive garlic fries.


fwiw, i agree, the original entry is a big ball of wrong. thanks for taking the time to point out alternatives for those who do not live here. maybe the original listing was generated out of sentiment for go-to comfort meals and happy memories. 

what i like about the secondary list is the varied price points. not everyone who lives here can afford meals at kirbys, perrys, jaspers and amerigos. i know i can't.

Mistur Ray
Mistur Ray

Yes you did. For starters how about Dosey Doe Music Cafe / Dosey Doe, Inc.? You should really do an article on them...


What about Brothers or Crust Pizza? So many chains (not that I'm surprised).


Happy to see that Via Emilia didn't go out of business. Now I know where to find them. I drove by the 1960 location the other day for the first time in a while and saw they were gone.  Guess I'm heading to the Woodlands. Love their food!!!


You know what the Woodlands has that I would like near my house? Brothers Pizza. Seriously solid Brooklyn-style pizza delivery.

Kylejack topcommenter

Ah Jasper's, where they upcharged me because I didn't want ice in my Scotch.


All great restaurants and I have dined in all 10 with the exception ofVia Emilia. But it's not a very well rounded list in my opinion. With the exception of Ace, Black Walnut and Grimaldi's, it's not a very family friendly list. Perfect for date night and empty nesters, though. For those who will be tempted to venture into our fair section of the world, it should also be noted that the list is heavy with the more expensive dining options here.


del.martinis topcommenter

Yea...but they're in the Woodlands!  :( 

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